Grab a blanket, a choice hot beverage and your favourite pen in order to banish the winter doldrums with a collection of five journalling RPGs now available on Kickstarter.
The Hibernation Games bundle, coordinated and produced by indie designer Lucian Kahn (Visigoths vs Mall Goths), collects five solo journalling games from other creators all themed around “literal and metaphorical hibernation”. Each designer approached the topic from a different angle, some preferring to ponder on rest and recuperations while others embraced the search for warmth and comfort against the perpetual chill.
“This anthology will be great solitary entertainment during the ongoing pandemic, and will continue to provide gaming experiences for rainy and snowy days when the world opens up,” Khan states on the Kickstarter description. “Each game uses its own unique system to lead you on a creative adventure by yourself.”
Developed as part of Zinequest 3, the Hibernation Games bundle will be printed as a 40-page physical zine with colour covers. Sam Mameli is providing cover art, and the layout will be provided by Nathan D. Paoletta.
The Thaw, designed by Jeeyon Shim, puts players in the shoes of a solitary defender against an unknown threat buried beneath the ice. The ice should have held eternal, and yet you prepare to fight for the sake of all your people. Interestingly, an ice cube melting in a bowl marks the game time - once it disappears, the unknown foe will reappear.
Digital and analogue game designer Anna Anthropy contributed I Love You, Alive Girl, a story of love told through messages hidden in the reviews of online product reviews. It’s cyberpunk insofar as the player struggles against a system they cannot hope to understand, much less conquer, and the faceless algorithm will consume your passionate words if they aren’t phrased just right.
Vidya Voleti’s Gelatinous Cube takes the perspective of an adventure whose career abruptly ends after being swallowed by a gooey, geometrical adversary. They cannot escape, but neither are they dying anytime soon - instead, they watch as their prison inexorably crawls through a dungeon without any ability to interact with it. It sounds like a ghost story of haunting solitude with a fantasy tabletop spin.
Drawing Dead is designer Will Jobst’s take on the afterlife’s ferry tender, toting a quartet of souls to their final resting place. The player reveals the discarded life and secrets of their charges by leading them through hands of poker. The knowledge may be shocking and tragic, but their fates are sealed. You can only uncover the past.
Kahn’s own contribution, Life of a Spell Scroll, is decidedly absurd and asks players to “pretend to be a spell scroll” carried by an adventurer, witch or other sorcerous being. What eldritch power is etched on your parchment? What happens to you as your owner goes about their likely dangerous life? Kahn recommends taping things to your body, scrawling runes on your skin and using a wide variety of implements to decide the fate of a humble tube of paper.
The Hibernation Games Kickstarter bundle, which has already surpassed its $3,500 (£2,562) funding goal, runs until February 17th, Backers can secure a physical, softcover copy of the zine for $19 (£14). Shipping is expected to begin in December of this year.