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Guide a massive sci-fi caravan with a bag of dominoes in artbook-meets-RPG The Details of Our Escape

Developed as a digital residency in partnership with artist Linnea Sterte and and author Renee Gladman.

Illustrations from tabletop RPG The Details of Our Escape
Image credit: Linnea Starte

Tabletop RPGs and dice exist, for a lot of players, as synonymous concepts - Dungeons & Dragons conjures images of twenty-sided resin bouncing across a table, while Tales from the Loop or Blades in the Dark sessions embody pools of d6 dice. But a gorgeous new tabletop RPG trades dice for another timeless, black-and-white tool: dominoes.

The Details of Our Escape is the most recent project from Beak, Feather and Bone creator Tyler Crumrine, better known online as Possible Worlds Games. Launching as part of ZineQuest/Zine Month 2024 on Kickstarter, this collaborative storytelling game puts players at the head of a caravan thousands-strong as they travel a wondrous landscape in search of a new home.

Crumrine developed the project with two accomplished creators from outside the tabletop industry as part of a digital residence. Eisner-nominated comics artists Lennea Sterte and Windham-Campbell Prize winning author Renee Gladman apparently traded short fiction and illustrations, bouncing off each other’s ideas for an entire year. Then, Crumrine took the resulting body of work and constructed a tabletop experience that synthesised both into something that’s as much an artbook and science fiction tale as it is an interactive game.

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The result is journey explored via a bag of 28 standard dominoes (designed by MIRU RPG series creator Hinokondo), where each of two to seven players controls different groups within a caravan full of 2,348 people - all of which left their old homes in search of something profound or safe or welcoming or… well, the details rise out of the play, as with any good collaborative storytelling RPG. Dominoes drawn at the game’s outset will determine a subgroup’s size, while the group will fill in the rest of the details - what they seek, what drove them on this quest and the ties that bind them together.

Players will draw a hand of dominoes for each section of the journey, placing them on the table to build a path-like sequence. The numbers correlate to certain encounters that might spell fortune or trouble for the groups involved, and each player will have their chance to take control of the resulting narrative. While all 2,348 members share the journey to an unknown destination, they don’t all necessarily share values, principles or problem-solving skills. Factional quibbling is to be expected, as are difficult choices about what the caravan must do to continue forward.

Illustrations for storytelling RPG The Details of Our Escape
Image credit: Linnea Sterte/Possible Worlds Games

As soon as one player runs out of dominoes, the caravan will encounter a Door (capitalised here because that door might just be metaphorical) that the group must work together to unlock in order to continue forward. Crumrine describes “pulling from knowledge gathered on your travels” in order to accomplish this goal, but how that works out on the table is left unclear. Regardless, if the caravan can’t (or chooses not to) overcome the Door, then the players describe the new settlement that springs from the journey’s end.

The Details of Our Escape’s Kickstarter campaign will run through February 29th and is funding both a print and digital edition of the tabletop RPG. The physical book will be a saddle-stitched, full-colour zine that will begin shipping to backers in June 2024, and a PDF version will become available roughly around the same time.

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The Details of Our Escape

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Chase Carter avatar

Chase Carter

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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.
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