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FÄNGELSEHÅLA transforms an IKEA instruction manual into a minimalist tabletop RPG

Flatpack adventures, assembly required.

Cover mockup of tabletop RPG FÄNGELSEHÅLA
Image credit: Dieku Games

You know how Swedish furniture purveyor IKEA paints arrows on the floors of their warehouse-sized stores and designs their instruction manuals such that anyone can understand them without language? New independent tabletop RPG FÄNGELSEHÅLA has adopted that same approach (along with more than a bit of IKEA’s style) for a minimalist title about dice, dungeons and silly words.

FÄNGELSEHÅLA, or FÄNG for short, is specifically designed for one-shot adventures and undergirded by a system using six-sided dice and as few words as possible. Chasing a certain strain of old-school game design, this funky RPG wants players deep in the weeds as soon as possible.

To that end, character creation consists of choosing amongst five character options - lv, Dvärg, Krigsman, Tomte and Trollkarl (Elf, Dwarf, Warrior, Gnome & Wizard for those who don’t read Swedish), and once you’ve chosen that you simply grab an heirloom, a curse and you hit the cafeteria for a plate of meatballs and lingonberry soda. FÄNG's characters and monsters toys with the IKEA man's design (does he have a name?) with some genuinely hilarious results. Tattoo the little stencil-art dragon on me, immediately.

What is OSR? Retro RPGs keeping old-school D&D alive Watch on YouTube

Four different stats (Will, Tinker, Agile and Tuff) are used to answer all contests by translating their value into dice that players add to a pool, plus any extras from character traits, items and other benefits. The top two results are added together and compared against a difficulty rating that caps out at 12 - ties offer a complicated success and special Luck Dice can offset failures.

FÄNG also implements a system of tracking damage and trauma dealt to characters known as The Doom Stack. Dice stacking is not unique to this RPG but still fairly uncommon, and the Doom Stack orders players to create an increasingly unstable tower when they fail an action roll. Characters immediately fall unconscious once it tumbles down, and accidentally (or intentionally) jostling the tower triggers a dungeon trap. Daring players can risk additional stress by bolstering their rolls with Doom Dice that are added to the stack after the roll is resolved.

FÄNGELSEHÅLA is the creation of indie designer and podcaster Garry Snow, and the RPG’s Kickstarter campaign will crowdfund a softcover print and digital edition of the rules through February 21st. Physical fulfillment is expected to begin in October of this year, while backers can access a PDF version starting in June.

FÄNGELSEHÅLA's Kickstarter video.Watch on YouTube

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Chase Carter avatar

Chase Carter


Chase is a freelance journalist and media critic. He enjoys the company of his two cats and always wants to hear more about that thing you love. Follow him on Twitter for photos of said cats and retweeted opinions from smarter folks.