It can be easy to miss non-European and non-American game scenes. Digital marketplaces and physical shipping routes already favour nations at the top of capitalism’s food chain, and the press covering the smaller space tend to carry blind spots for spaces that aren’t predominantly white, this author included.
That’s why initiatives like the upcoming RPG LATAM Jam carry such vital import. Organised by designer M.A. Guax, along with a host of others, the jam tasks Latinx creators and those from Latin American to submit a new project of their own or in collaboration with each other. In this way, an influx of art from an underrepresented group (in the West, at least) can find increased visibility with audiences beyond their borders.
Rules for contributing can be found on the jam’s Itch.io page but encompasses original work, hacks of existing Latin American games and co-authorship. Gaux recently tweeted an explanation that games from any language - Portuguese, Spanish, English or any other - will be accepted.
Jams from underrepresented communities have the added benefit of exposing players and designers to an existing ecosystem of experiences beyond what they may be familiar with. It can be all too easy to limit the possibility space of tabletop RPGs to popular systems like Powered by the Apocalypse, Blades in the Dark and Dungeons & Dragons 5E. And that’s not to say players won’t find hacks or bespoke titles building on those beloved series.
But scrolling through a curated list from designer and illustrator Emanoel Melo of Brazilian games provides evocative entries like Boitatá, a Mork Borg-compatible undead godsnake drawing on local folklore, and a zine detailing the mystical sport of Ur-Futsal played in the liminal spaces and fey corners of reality. There are solo adventures in 2-bit dungeons and Melo’s own Forged in the Dark cyberpunk one-shot supplements.
The RPG LATAM Jam will remain open for a month, until April 11th, and all submitted games can be downloaded or purchased from its page on Itch.io.