Last week I jumped into the Holiday Season with three specifically Christmas-y indie TTRPGs to play, either alone or with your friends. But not everyone is big on Christmas, and maybe you want to capture all the good feelings of the season: family, togetherness, love, cooperation; without wrapping it up in the trappings of the season. I get that. So as promised last week here are three Indie TTRPGs that I think capture the spirit of the holidays without a Santa or a Rudolph in sight!
Under the Floorboards – If you follow me on Twitter (and you should, I’m effing delightful) you’ve likely seen me post about Under the Floorboards. It’s quickly become my favourite game for moving from “want to play something” to “playing something” in the shortest amount of time. Written by Chris Bissette and based on a series of books called The Borrowers, about tiny people who inhabit the interstitial spaces in our homes, it is a delightfully easy game to get playing. The concept of playing tiny people living in “our” world is quirky enough to tempt the most hardened RPG player to give it a go. And speaking as a GM, setting up a game is so easy it feels like cheating. If you live in a house or have been in a house, you have your setting. Now think about what it would be like to navigate that space if you were only inches tall, add in something the characters need, and you’re done, get to playing! The mechanics are wonderfully light, everyone starts as members of the same family unit, and the game thrives on a balance between cooperation and giving everyone a moment to shine. I promise you, you will never have as much fun crossing a living room as you will in Under the Floorboards!
Camp Flying Moose for Girls of All Kinds – From fellow Canadian Alicia Furness comes the gently adventurous Camp Flying Moose for Girls of All Kinds, adding real magic to the already magical summer camp experience. Players will take on the role of campers at Camp Flying Moose, exploring mysteries and oddities as well as delving into the teenage experience. I think my favourite thing about this game is that GMs and players alike will have the most fun by coming up with shared adventures and stories that can be solved and told with empathy and caring. Monsters aren’t always what they seem, and sometimes the scariest things aren’t monsters at all. Through it all the girls of Camp Flying Moose must navigate using their skill and friendship. It’s a beautiful game which captures all the best parts of being at summer camp, with just the right additional tinge of magic and wonder. If you want a play experience which feels like huddling around the campfire with your friends, get you a copy of Camp Flying Moose for Girls of All Kinds.
Ryuutama – I talked about Ryuutama back in April during my #ReadIndieRPGs videos and it’s a game I keep coming back to. It has the same feel as all of the most whimsical Miyazaki films. This is a world devoid of the usual wizards and warriors. Instead, the players take on the role of farmers, minstrels, shopkeepers, and the like, who have answered a call for adventure and taken to journeying the open road. Along the way they encounter wonders, puzzles, and yes, the occasional danger. Players are challenged to overcome obstacles cooperatively and with imagination and heart. I particularly like the “Ryuujin” aspect; the GM creates a character which spends most of its time “off screen”, but guides, protects, and challenges the characters at every step. It’s a beautiful way of managing the narrative that allows for great cooperative storytelling. If you want to tell some truly heartwarming stories with your friends in a fantastical world, Ryuutama is the game for you this Holiday season.
And that’s it, my friends, three games that I think will bring you a warm TTRPG experience this holiday season, without the actual trappings of the Holidays. Do you have some favourite games you play for heartwarming experiences? I’d love to hear about them! Drop them in the comments on our Facebook Page or reach out on Twitter! Take care!