2022 is shaping up to be one of the biggest years for tabletop roleplaying releases yet. There are a bevy of big releases set to land this year, many of which have been hotly anticipated for a good while now. Though licensed RPGs have been dominating Kickstarter and the retail market recently, with 2022 certainly being no exception, we also wanted to highlight many of the original upcoming RPGs set to hit store shelves - or, in many cases, backers’ hands - over the next 12 months.
Upcoming RPGs 2022
- Avatar Legends
- Yazeba’s Bed and Breakfast
- One More Quest
- Exquisite Crime
- Cowboy Bebop RPG
- DIE RPG
- Fight with Spirit
- Blade Runner RPG
From adaptations of beloved cartoon series and films to cyberpunk-inspired affairs from talented creators, there’s undoubtedly an RPG for everyone coming out in 2022. It’s incredibly exciting to see the kind of licences being chosen for roleplaying games, alongside the unique mechanics being implemented in the original titles. We’re going to be seeing perhaps one of the most unusual years for RPG releases that we’ve ever witnessed, which only means that the medium is set to be pushed that much further.
Stay abreast of all the best and most brilliant tabletop roleplaying games coming out over 2022 with our list of the upcoming RPGs to play this year.
1. Avatar Legends
Will the biggest TRPG Kickstarter yet be the biggest RPG of 2022?
Release date: Summer 2022
The idea of roleplaying in the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra sounds great, doesn’t it? As it turns out, we’re far from the only people to feel that way, as the upcoming RPG based on the animated series, Avatar Legends, quickly became the highest-funded tabletop RPG of all time on Kickstarter last summer.
Avatar Legends brings the teenage drama and element-bending action of both ATLA and Korra to the tabletop in faithful fashion, using the Powered by the Apocalypse system also seen in publisher Magpie Games’ roleplaying adaptation of board game Root to capture the feeling of controlling earth, water, fire and air while characters attempt to also maintain personal balance in their emotions and philosophies.
The upcoming RPG doesn’t just stick to the timeframe seen in the TV shows, with the option to play before, during or after the Hundred Year War that precedes the original series, as well as the modernised future of Korra’s era.
Avatar Legends’ full rulebook will see a release this summer following a delay from its planned release in February. Before then, you can get an early taste of the game and explore the Four Nations through its free quickstart.
2. Yazeba’s Bed and Breakfast
Wanderhome’s creators serve up a whimsical mix of Ghibli and Moomins
Kickstarter date: March 2022
Wanderhome was one of the most delightful RPG surprises of last year, serving up a wholesome slice of pastoral fantasy in its pacifist’s paradise of hard-working animals.
The next upcoming RPG from Wanderhome designer Jay Dragon - joined here by co-creator M Veselak - and publisher Possum Creek Games looks to offer up another whimsical wonder. Like Wanderhome, Yazeba’s Bed & Breakfast is a GM-less RPG that veers away from the combat of many traditional fantasy RPGs as it trades D&D for B&B.
Players control permanent residents of the titular guest house, who interact with their fellow long-term inhabitants and NPC guests. Both the players’ characters and visitors are looking for something, inviting players to discover more about each individual and the world over the course of each session and the game’s ongoing campaign. Think the bathhouse staffing of Studio Ghibli classic Spirited Away meets the friendly-neighbour interactions of Animal Crossing and you’re somewhere close.
Marking Yazeba’s departure from the familiar structure of conventional roleplaying games is its deliberately episodic format, inspired by series such as Moomins and Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends. Each tailormade chapter follows a particular inhabitant of the bed and breakfast, introducing variations on the game’s central gameplay to reflect a distinct mood.
In practice, the game works like a mix of tabletop RPG and legacy board game, which players able to unlock new guests and chapters - tracked via sticker ‘mementos’ - as they play through earlier chapters. The end result is a unique journal of the group’s time together and their experiences with the varied visitors to the bed and breakfast.
Yazeba’s Bed & Breakfast already stands out as one of the most original upcoming RPGs releasing in 2022, and the promise of more secrets and surprises to discover as we play through has us excited to nestle into a comfy chair, sip a warm cup of coffee and crack open its pages.
3. One More Quest
The Dungeon Fighter board game series gets its own RPG spin-off
Kickstarter date: Q1 2022
If you’d asked me which board game series would be getting its own roleplaying spin-off game, the Dungeon Fighter franchise wouldn’t exactly be my first guess. A series of excellent dexterity games that have players venturing through dangerous locales as a party of classic fantasy archetypes, whose abilities are triggered via players successfully hitting a target using a set of dice, Dungeon Fighter always occupied its own weird and wonderful place in the tabletop industry - but wasn’t exactly the pinnacle of world-building and characterisation.
However, One More Quest, the spin-off RPG set in the same world as Dungeon Fighter, may just be exactly what the roleplaying doctor ordered. Whilst the setting isn’t anything to write home about - though there is some fun Monty Python-esque humour in there - the mechanics behind One More Quest certainly help it to stand apart from its roleplaying contemporaries. Rather than rolling dice, whenever players want their character to perform an action they must attempt to hit a bullseye target using a die. The closer a player’s die lands to the target, the better the resulting action will be.
Similarly to the board game series the RPG spin-off is based on, players may be given a ridiculous handicap when performing their throw depending on the situation their character finds themselves in. For example, should a player character be attempting to avoid another character’s notice, the player will need to throw their die from underneath the table. Applying fun and unique mechanics to the basic roleplaying structure may ensure that One More Quest stands out from the crowd.
4. Exquisite Crime
Solve a mystery with scribbles in Jiangshi designers’ latest RPG
Release date: June 2022 (digital), December 2022 (boxed)
Banana Chan and Sen Foong-Lim became the indie RPG designers of the moment in 2021 with the Kickstarter for Jiangshi: Blood in the Banquet Hall, their RPG that puts players in the roles of a Chinese-American family looking to run a restaurant business by day and fend off the legendary hopping vampires by night.
The designers are back in 2022 with another brilliantly inventive roleplaying game that combines player-driven storytelling with highly original gameplay mechanics. This time, players should prepare to grab a pen and paper.
Exquisite Crime blends together a horror-tinged murder-mystery in need of solving with the traditional drawing game Exquisite Corpse, in which players collaboratively draw a person without seeing their fellow artists’ contributions - leading to often surreal creations.
Players draw vision cards to inspire details about the suspect, victim, location of the crime and witnesses, before describing what they see to another player who draws their interpretation. The process - which recalls deduction board games such as Dixit and Mysterium, only in reverse - is repeated by each player to gradually form the complete depiction of the crime, which is revealed to the group.
Players also have the opportunity to create their detectives investigating each mystery, using Zener cards - repurposed from the debunked 1930s test for extrasensory abilities - in an inventive character creation process.
Exquisite Crime looks set to continue Chan and Foong-Lim’s penchant for groundbreaking roleplaying and storytelling established in Jiangshi and take it in a brand new direction. With its blend of surrealist art creation, player-driven mystery-generation and the comedy-horror of unleashing your friends’ unconscious inspiration, it promises to be something very special.
Mörk Borg gets a cyberpunk twist in a sci-fi and industrial music inspired spin-off game
Release date: June 2022
Released in 2020, Mörk Borg immediately captured the attention of roleplaying game enthusiasts across the industry and community. With it’s striking art-style, dark themes and unusual layout, Mörk Borg was exceptionally hard to ignore. Several Ennie Awards later - those are essentially the highest award an RPG can win - and the heavy metal inspired roleplaying game is already getting its first spin-off in the form of Cy_Borg, whose title is both the most obvious and absolutely genius creative choice ever made.
Taking place in a cyberpunk setting where the consequences of uncontrolled capitalism have fully come home to roost, Cy_Borg sees players becoming misfits fighting back against the corporate systems and policing departments seeking to oppress the people. Whilst Cy_Borg will feature many of the kinds of topics that we’re used to cyberpunk narratives dealing with - capitalism, transhumanism and technology - it’s bound to do it in a way that we’ve likely never seen before, if Mörk Borg is anything to go by.
Having more RPGs be inspired by genres of music is a fantastic thing because it’s a concept that makes so much sense considering how immersive music can make roleplaying. Cy_Borg will be taking inspiration from the industrial and underground hip hop music of the 1990s, which I may have little-to-no knowledge of but that doesn’t mean I’m not excited by the prospect.
5. Cowboy Bebop RPG
The anime RPG prepares to jam
Kickstarter date: H1 2022
When it comes to animated series with buckets of style, character and action, few shows match the jazzy sci-fi universe of ‘90s anime Cowboy Bebop. Director Shinichirō Watanabe’s anthology of bounty hunters scouting the solar system for their next paycheck - while also trying to outrun their own past - has been lavished with praise over the last two decades and gone on to inspire countless other series, stories and games.
Even so, it was still a surprise to hear the announcement of an upcoming RPG based on Cowboy Bebop when it landed last year, ahead of its planned Kickstarter and release in 2022. Even more surprising is the fact that fans will be able to continue the adventures of Spike, Jet, Faye and Ed by roleplaying as the characters from the series. In what may be considered good news, the Cowboy Bebop RPG will stick to the original series, without delving into the movie spin-off or short-lived live-action Netflix remake.
While yet another licensed RPG based on a beloved franchise may have you rolling your eyes - you’re certainly not alone in being sceptical - the upcoming RPG’s creators say that it will go beyond just being another D&D reskin, with the promise that the gameplay will have a “jazzy” feel to suit the series’ musical energy. Driving things will be a modified version of Not the End, the acclaimed RPG from Italian design studio Fumble GDR built on a hex-grid traits system and multicoloured dice - here, used in homage to Spike’s heterochromia.
We’ll discover what else Cowboy Bebop: The Roleplaying Game has in store when it launches on Kickstarter in the first half of 2022. Could it be the next massive animated adaptation after Avatar?
7. DIE RPG
A comic book about a tabletop RPG becomes… a tabletop RPG
Kickstarter date: Spring 2022
What do you get if you combine a pair of acclaimed comic creators with a beloved group of indie RPG designers? You get DIE RPG, a tabletop RPG based on the tabletop RPG based on the comic book… about a tabletop RPG. Stay with me on this.
DIE RPG adapts the comic book by writer Kieron Gillen and artist Stephanie Hans, which tells the Jumanji-like tale of a group of friends who are sucked into the fantasy world-made-real of a Dungeons & Dragons-esque tabletop roleplaying game. They emerge two years later traumatised and unable to tell the wider world of their ordeal, only to venture back into the meta-world - comprised of a twenty-sided planet in the shape of a d20 - decades later.
Having already adapted DIE into a tabletop RPG freely available as a work-in-progress version for a few years, Gillen and Hans have now joined forces with indie roleplaying darlings Rowan, Rook and Deckard to publish an official DIE RPG. The full release will clean up Gillen’s existing beta ruleset - now dubbed DIE Core - introduce support for longer campaigns and expand the overall gameplay and lore offering.
Originally scheduled to launch on Kickstarter last autumn, the DIE RPG campaign slipped into 2022 due to the ongoing worldwide paper shortage and shipping crisis. The upcoming RPG is now expected to land something this spring, with its fascinating source material and the combined acclaim and talents of its creator supergroup set to make it one of the most promising upcoming RPGs of the next 12 months.
8. Fight with Spirit
The sports anime-inspired roleplaying game of all our dreams is finally arriving
Release date: December 2022
I may not be an expert on sports anime - or any anime of any kind, really - that’s very much a position held by our beloved Matt Jarvis, but what I do know about is the 2000 classic teen sports comedy film Bring it On!. So, when I heard there was going to be a tabletop RPG inspired by said 2000 classic teen sports comedy coming out in 2022, I was immediately interested in hearing more.
Fight with Spirit is a TRPG that looks to help games masters and players tell their own stories about underdog basketball teams overcoming the odds, or ice hockey players setting aside their differences to band together and win the big tournament. What’s so great about Fight with Spirit is that it seems to be setting out to pay as much attention to the drama side of things, as much as the sports. Depending on the ambitions, traits and type of team that the players choose from, they’ll have their own unique journey through the trials and tribulations of competitive sporting.
In Fight with Spirit, players won’t just be forming bonds and relationships with their fellow teammates, but will also have the opportunity to establish relationships - even romantic ones - with characters from rival teams as well, which is sure to make for some pretty engaging storylines. The creators behind Fight with Spirit have already proven their ability to make some brilliant RPGs, such as the Jane Austin inspired Good Society, but the premise alone should be enough to get people interested in Fight with Spirit.
Blunder your way through high society in a comedy RPG inspired by Fawlty Towers
Release date: August 2022
It kind of feels like Flabbergasted was designed for me, Alex Meehan. When I was younger, I used to watch a show called Jeeves and Wooster with my mum, and if that was ever made into a roleplaying game it would be Flabbergasted. In the TRPG, players become aspiring members of the upper-classes of the early 20th century. But rather than feeling yucky and disingenuous like an RPG centred around the wealthy might feel, it comes across as self-aware and charming.
Instead of having players live out fantasy lives in the luxuries of wealth, Flabbergasted depicts the world of the rich socialites as being utterly ridiculous and irresistibly mockable. Players are encouraged to create characters who do not fit in with the upper-classes or otherwise fully embody the worst traits of the Bright Young Things. Even though the focus of Flabbergasted is on the wealthy, players are allowed to make characters from a variety of classes, thereby making the perfect setup for classic British comedy - afterall, the UK is obsessed with class. Players can expect to encounter various ludicrous scenarios across the fictional city of Peccadilo, with some characters wanting to avoid embarrassment as much as possible and others actively seeking it out.
It’s just fantastic to see more roleplaying games being made that aren’t wholly centred around combat. Flabbergasted is the kind of TRPG that I was born to play and one that I cannot wait to devise an accent for.
10. Blade Runner RPG
The world of Ridley Scott’s classic science fiction film is brought to life in its first RPG adaptation
Release date: 2022
There are a lot of licensed roleplaying games set to be released in 2022, but aside from the already hotly anticipated Avatar RPG, the Blade Runner TRPG might be the one I’m most excited about. Both the original Blade Runner and its amazing sequel, Blade Runner 2049, are some of my favourite films of all time, so it’s definitely a licence that I’m passionate about. I’ve already written quite a bit on why I think Blade Runner could make for an amazing setting for a roleplaying game, purely on account of the way the initial film treats its world and environments. But there’s even more to the excitement than that.
Firstly, the publisher, Free League Publishing, has already proven that it can create fantastic and faithful RPG adaptations of Scott’s films with the Alien RPG, which accurately translates the tense atmosphere of the 1979 horror masterpiece. Secondly, the game’s setting doesn’t seem to be entirely piggy-backing off the films, as the RPG is set to take place in the time between the first and second movies. This means that Free League is, well, free to establish aspects of the setting we might not have seen before and make its own creative mark. Whilst players will be blade runners - the policing force tasked with finding and destroying illegal androids - there’s still so much about the premise for games masters and players to explore narratively, morally and emotionally.
The artwork revealed for the Blade Runner RPG is already so evocative of the spirit of the films that it makes me physically shake in excitement. The murky time frame between the original Blade Runner and 2049 offers plenty of opportunities for GMs and players to tell their own narratives, which are sure to stay true to many of the amazing themes that the franchise is known for - from the corruption of the police force to the nature of humanity itself.