Two Free Microgames

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about games, and reading games, and wanting to design games.

A couple of years ago, Wil Wheaton issued a challenge to “just make stuff.” It was limited in scope– for one day, just make something, and then release it for others to enjoy.

I make stuff all the time, of course. Between knitting and gaming and writing, I’m in a state of pretty much nonstop creativity. My shower should really have a whiteboard in it… and now I have a product idea…

But I digress. “Make something.” What came out of Wheaton’s challenge was Threadbare, a stitchpunk RPG about broken toys in a broken world. It’s still in beta, but I’m getting excited about the possibilities. Threadbare is a cool setting and an interesting world. If I were going to release/publish it, I would definitely make a variation that is powered by Apocalypse World and/or a Fate setting (if not a blend of both). The setting and concept are far more interesting, in my opinion, than the clunky mechanics that I come up with.

As a result of all the time I spend thinking and writing about games, I’ve started to write some games. One great way to practice writing games is to enter game design contests, like the one for The Dungeon of Lost Coppers hosted by Dyson Logos, or the Night of the Barrel on that ends tonight, by Matthew Bannock. The ConTessa convention was a great source of inspiration and contests. For that one, I wrote this little microgame called d3 GUM: Generic Universal Microgame.


It’s a universal tactical RPG that uses a d3, with an optional rule for using a fudge die instead of a d3.

It’s actually not that robust of a game, but I enjoyed making it. I describe it as “Gurps as a d3 microgame” because it’s super-crunchy for such a small game.

It fits on a quarter piece of paper, double-sided. I’m considering having it printed up as postcards, because I think that’s hilarious.

I also  made this little game:


It’s another microgame. This one fits on a 4″ coaster, and is a story game about beers conspiring against each other, for glory. This is my entry into the Night of the Barrel contest– the other entry as of today is a really neat game, also pub-themed, that reads like a crossover between The Hangover (the movie) and Baron Munchausen (the game).

This is the third game I’ve made, like, ever, aside from writing countless adventures to run my players through as a GM. This week will also challenge my creativity as I am running two games online– one is the first adventure in a new Dungeon World campaign (The Five Shores), and the other is a 2-session arc of Timewatch for the Wednesday night D&D group (you may remember them as the TuesdayDnD group… we had a scheduling change).


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