Tabletop Awards 2022

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Roleplay on the subway in a tabletop RPG about underground trainlines

Tunnel tales.

Explore an underground world of trains and adventure in the tabletop roleplaying game Meanwhile, in the Subway.

A tabletop RPG that’s compatible with other titles such as the bizarre sci-fi TRPG Troika and Electric Bastionland, Meanwhile, on the Subway takes place in a system of trainlines underneath a city.

The game’s subway system doesn’t adhere to rules of any map or route, rather the tunnels turn this way and that, leading to any number of strange and unusual stations. Each station in Meanwhile has its own unique attributes and adventures, with the player characters able to travel through the network to discover new oddities, non-player-characters and stories to tell along the way.

An image of the map from Meanwhile, in the Subway

As inhabitants of a surrealist city, Meanwhile is a sci-fi tabletop RPG and setting that enables players to experience extraordinary adventures via a series of train tunnels underground. Meanwhile is played using a subway map – on which the game itself is printed – with players and the game master able to travel through its strange world using the map as a reference. There are hundreds of stations included in Meanwhile, each existing on a series of subway lists and containing all sorts of weird seeds for adventures. Game masters can use the random generators Meanwhile comes with in order to develop their own stories for their players to experience.

Rather than being a traditional dice-rolling RPG, Meanwhile has its own gameplay system that’s based on the interpretation of one-word symbols, with players having a chance to succeed by selecting the right symbols, instead of simply rolling dice. Alternatively, the GM and players can choose to play Meanwhile as a setting with another system like the aforementioned Troika or Electric Bastionland.

Meanwhile, in the Subway was created by Côme Martin, who has also worked on other tabletop RPG projects such as Feathered Adventures – a TRPG that has players becoming a group of anthropomorphic bird who go on adventures together – and the tabletop roleplaying game about searching for a lost friend, Green Dawn Mall.

Johnny and Wheels run through some of the best TRPGs that aren't Dungeons & Dragons.

The layout for Meanwhile was created by Nicolas Folliot, who has also helped to create Green Dawn Mall and a supplement for Brindlewood Bay called Good Buy Cruel World.

The digital version of Meanwhile, in the Subway is available on Itch.io for $12 (£9.50), whilst a physical version can be acquired for $22 (£17).

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About the Author
Alex Meehan avatar

Alex Meehan

Senior Staff Writer

After writing for Kotaku UK, Waypoint and Official Xbox Magazine, Alex became a member of the Dicebreaker editorial family. Having been producing news, features, previews and opinion pieces for Dicebreaker for the past three years, Alex has had plenty of opportunity to indulge in her love of meaty strategy board games and gothic RPGS. Besides writing, Alex appears in Dicebreaker’s D&D actual play series Storybreakers and haunts the occasional stream on the Dicebreaker YouTube channel.

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