Category Archives: Indie Frontiers

Exploration and analysis of the cutting-edge RPG work happening in the wild. This is the best place to find new games, experimental design, and up-and-coming authors.

Tiny Tome Kickstarter Review – 50 Games in 50 Pages

The single page roleplaying game certainly has a place in the industry. Some of them have become very popular, and some have even won awards. All of them take on the challenge of game design with an eye towards keeping rules lite and tight, trying to do more with less and deliver a focused experience. From a publishing perspective, though, there are problems. If you want a physical version, you’re printing the PDF or whatever out at home. Publishers aren’t going to do a print-run for a game on a single piece of paper, right? Well, maybe they just needed strength in numbers, because the Tiny Tome project is going to bring us 50 single-page roleplaying games in a neat book curated and published by Long Tail Games!

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Zine Month Round Up #5

Practicing a new (and literally newer than most) language via a roleplaying game.  The exchange between the distance between two people and the people themselves. A doomed mech pilot trying to help the survivors of their people reach safety. Delving in the darkness, maybe never to return. Saving the Jewish people by masquerading as Queens. We’ve done it once, twice, thrice, and four times before, let’s check out one last batch of Zine Month games and make it five, then have a serious talk about itchfunding!

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Zine Month Round Up #4

Artificial intelligences trapped in a video game. A baker’s dozen of bounty hunters. High adventure on the high seas. A quantum camping trip. The story of a skyship through the ages. We’re more than halfway through Zine Month 2022 and… nowhere near halfway through covering every project, gosh, who could? But we’ve got another five of them that are worth your time and quite possibly your money, so let’s count it off with Round Up # one, two, ah one, two, three, Four!

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Zine Month Round Up #3

Sending messages to someone you’ll never see again across growing interstellar distances. A giant whirlpool crawling with pirates. A bar crawl on the borderlands. Trying to make sure your people don’t fall off the map. A rescue mission into an environmentally hostile forest chock full of horrible mutants and dragon cultists. A veritable library of zines. Zine Month ’22 continues onward at a typically breakneck pace, although maybe that’s just the time dilation we’re all going through… nevermind! You’ve had two rounds of ZiMo content already, so how about a third?

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Zine Month Round Up #2

Diving into a sea of dreams to pluck secrets from memories. Goblins going grocery shopping and making a mess of it. Horrible abominations made by scientists who say ‘who’s playing?’ when accused of playing god. A mirror-themed adventure that would have Link and Samus feeling right at home. Death metal Viking cats. Zine Month continues. and so does our coverage! Given the contents of this particular round up and a bit more time to ruminate on things, I’ve got some Thoughts about Zine Month itself and its relationship to Kickstarter… but we can talk about those later! You’re here for the zines, so let’s see what we’ve got!

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Zine Month Round Up #1

A John Carpenter-flavored horror adventure that moves from the Antarctic to a 90s mall. Climbing a holy mountain to beg for mercy from the gods. Dark age peasants stumbling upon sci-fi tunnels, and the change that discovery brings. Dark metal fantasy with most of the metal used to build giant robots. A slumber party pillow fight where letting yourself be vulnerable is more important than winning. It’s Zine Month 2022, so let’s start seeing what tabletop roleplaying zines are making their crowdfunding run!

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Find Catharsis and Get Payback with Capitalites

Content Warning: Sexism

When we were kids, my sister and I played with dolls. I had a small team of GI Joes. I’m not sure when I fell out of love with them really. But sometime before they got their own movie, I had clearly decided that playing with soldiers from an American paramilitary organization was not, in fact, good wholesome fun. My sister played with Barbies which was potentially worse. Did you know she – Barbie, not my sister – runs in every presidential US election now? Her last ‘glam-paign’ promised to turn the White House pink. If this was an Onion article, I would’ve laughed. But it’s not – it’s a successful public relations program by a billion-dollar toy company. It’s a well-worn refrain nowadays that we live in a time where satire is complicated.

When I first heard of Capitalites by Samuel Mui Shen Ern, I thought it was satire – a la Crazy Rich Asians, a skewering of Asia’s wealthy. But I was wrong. Capitalites describes itself as “a slice-of-life, coming-of-age tabletop roleplaying game about young adults living in the big city” that explores “real-world themes like ambition, sex, family, and friendships and the sacrifices you make in order to grow up”.

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Indie Frontiers: Ind Of The Year #2

The journal of a lone lighthouse keeper, their compatriots having vanished as a storm rages all around the island. The Dwarves of the Renidar Mountain Ranges, with all of their unique deities and cultural foibles. A project manager with little hope of success, filling out Status Reports and desperately trying to keep their job.  As we continue to close in on the end of the year we also continue to check out the Ind of the Year . . . Bundle of twenty-five different indie games from around the world!

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Indie Frontiers: Ind of the Year #1

Immortal beings returning to a home long left behind, discovering what’s remained and what’s changed. Treason and death on a long march to safety. A curse, a tree, and the pages of a journal documenting the whole self-inflicted tragedy. Extreme tactical joy-giving (’tis the season, after all). It’s time to cap off 2020 by taking a look at a wide variety of indie tabletop roleplaying games – each of which you could enjoy on their own, sure, but until the end of the year you can get 25 games in the Ind of the Year Bundle!

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Indie Frontiers #3: Big Bad Blitz Part 2

As I’ve wandered into the Indie Frontiers this past year, I’ve heard tales of a fabled place where indie RPG designers gather from across the land: Big Bad Con. This yearly tabletop and LARP convention is hosted in Walnut Creek, CA, a short seven hour drive from my home in Los Angeles. I had never been to an RPG convention before, but this was too good an opportunity to miss. I left LA with a backpack full of dice and a mission—a mission to interview as many up-and-coming indie RPG designers as I could find.

Today’s interviewees: Taylor LaBresh, Suzanne Schenewerk, Justin Ford, Adam Vass, Sidney Icarus, and Charles Simon.

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