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Play tabletop RPGs inspired by Alien and Kiki’s Delivery Service with no preparation

Express exploration.

The Littlebox: Journeys series of boxed tabletop Roleplaying games enable players to tell stories together without any preparation.

Part of a series of tabletop RPGs, Decaying Orbit and Saltfish & Almanacs are two games entirely contained within their own small boxes. Unlike many other tabletop roleplaying games the Littlebox games enable players to start without any preparation needed, with characters being created in minutes and stories told within a few hours.

Decaying Orbit is a sci-fi roleplaying game that has players exploring a now abandoned space station through the mind of the artificial intelligence that remains there. As the newly reawakened AI program, the players will collaboratively piece together the events that led up to the disappearance of the crew and the current state of the space station – now drifting into the burning heat of a star. The story of the station is told in three acts, with the first outlining the ordinary lives of its inhabitants, the second how things went wrong and the last how it will be remembered.

Inspired by the likes the films such as Sunshine (2007) and 1979’s Alien, Decaying Orbit has the players devising a final transmission for Earth telling the tell of what happened to the crew. Before they begin playing, the group will choose between three different stations, with each one having a different mission. As the players move from room to room, they’ll unveil the space station’s past how an AI would – using camera footage, data and lost audio. The cause of the space station’s misfortune is revealed via a twist card, which the players can integrate into their story however they like.

Saltfish & Almanacs looks to provide a decidedly more lighthearted roleplaying experience, with players becoming lone merchants who travel across a fantastical world to peddle their wares. Taking inspiration from wholesome rural stories such as Kiki’s Delivery Service and Spice and Wolf, Saltfish & Almanac focuses on the trade-route of various merchants and the kind of adventures or encounters they might have. As merchants, players will buy and sell goods in order to chart their journey – unlocking unique moments as they do. Players might also collect friends and companions to join them along the way.

Though players will each be controlling their own traders, they’ll all be part of the same world and will be able to visit the places that the others have passed through, seeing the impact that their actions might have had on the place. As the seasons change and time progresses, the world around the merchants will move and grow, with the opportunities to visit places opening and closing in response.

Decaying Orbit was written by Sidney Icarus, a game designer who has previously created titles such as Matches to Paper Dolls and Rider’s Last Rites. Saltfish & Almanacs was co-designed by Vee Hendro & Hayley Gordon, the co-authors of Jane Austin inspired TRPG Good Society and the co-founders of the publisher responsible for releasing the Littlebox: Journeys series, Storybrewers Roleplaying.

The Kickstarter campaign for Decaying Orbit and Saltfish & Almanacs – which also includes the two previous entries in the series, Villagesong and Our Mundane Supernatural Life – is live until May 17th, with a pledge of $78 (£44) getting backers a copy of both games estimated to arrive in January 2023.

About the Author

Alex Meehan avatar

Alex Meehan

Staff Writer, Dicebreaker

Alex’s journey to Dicebreaker began with writing insightful video game coverage for outlets such as Kotaku, Waypoint and PC Gamer. Her unique approach to analysing pop culture and knack for witty storytelling finally secured her a forever home producing news, features and reviews with the Dicebreaker team. She’s also obsessed with playing Vampire: The Masquerade, and won’t stop talking about it.

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