Sunday, August 21, 2016

New Kiwi Games

Welcome to a round-up of the latest roleplaying games created by New Zealanders.  Previous instalments in this series include Roleplaying Aotearoa Style (April, 2015), the rise of New Zealand Roleplaying products, (Aug 2013) and  New Zealand Roleplaying Products (Feb 2011).  Now, on to the 2016 edition:

We start with The Sprawl, a Powered-by-the-Apocalypse RPG of mission-based action in a gritty neon-and-chrome cyberpunk future. On the back of a successful Kickstarter, Hamish Cameron has created a game where you are the extended assets of vast multinational corporations, operating in the criminal underground, and performing the tasks that those multinationals can’t do... or can’t be seen to do. You are deniable, professional and disposable.

Another Kiwi to successfully harness Kickstarter is Ciâran Spencer Searle, who raised funding for Transylvania, a hidden role party game of vampires and villagers played in a darkened room for six or more people.

Next up, Steve Hickey released Soth, a diceless game of cultists vs investigators where you play cultists in a small-town, trying to summon a dark god.  If you complete three more rituals, Soth will rise. But can you conceal your murderous crimes from family and friends?

Also of note, Left Coast, Steve's role-playing game about a science fiction writer in California, who struggles as the weirdness from her novels spills into real life, was a runner-up for the 2016 Indie RPG Award for Most Innovative Game!

Catherine Pegg has also been busy.  The Face of Oblivion, is a science-fiction chamber LARP for 6-8 players, designed around a hard choice.  Disaster is coming: will you save a large group of people that you are responsible for, or a smaller group of everyone you ever loved and everything you ever cared about?

Catherine also released My Bloody Valentine, a LARP scenario for 6-8 players, where instead of spending Valentine's Day with your loved one, you're stuck having biscuits and a cuppa with your landlady.  And it's worse than that - she's making you talk to her other tenants. Trouble is, Miss Elisabeth is so nice, she'll let anyone in. They're nuts!  How long before you're climbing the walls?

Anna Klein released two live action roleplaying scenarios during 2015.  Argonautica is an intense vignette inside the lives of eight characters who have found themselves in desperate enough circumstances to take part in an unpleasant shock reality TV show, wherein they sequestered from the world at large for four months, and subjected to the general ridiculousness of reality TV challenges. Partway through the game, a horror element is introduced, and the tone of the game becomes one of personal horror.

Boats Against the Current (also by Anna)  is an introspective live action roleplaying scenario for 9 players, set New York, in the throes of the roaring twenties.  Recently, an eccentric but much talked about millionaire socialite died under questionable circumstances. Speculation abounds in the streets, and splashed across the papers - who was this man, really? Where did he come from? Who killed him? And why?

At the end of 2015 I released Death of Legends, a GM-less dark-fantasy roleplaying game that tells the story of epic deeds against great odds in aid of UNICEF New Zealand, and followed this up with a high-fantasy expansion First KingdomsDeath of Legends was recently awarded an Indie Groundbreaker Award for Best Rules and was second runner up for the Indie RPG Award for Best Free Game of 2015. 

I also released another Christmas Special scenario for the EPOCH survival horror roleplaying game Polaris Six and Candidate, a micro-game of political ambition.

New Zealand game designers have also been well represented in international competitions.  Rose Docherty was a finalist for the renown Game Chef 2016 competition.  Rose's game, Making History is a game about history, hard decisions and public memory.  Hamish Cameron entered a game called Mirror Ball, a game about the many faces of technology and I entered Fragment (see below).  Rose also created School of Magic, a card-based RPG where you play teenagers in a mage school as part of the Fantasy RPG Design Challenge.

This is the biggest list to date, and I think it reflects the growing strength and diversity of New Zealand game design.

If you know of a product I've missed, comment below.

Also of Note
Mike Sands has been hard at work on Heavy Metal Æons, a roleplaying game of heavy metal inspired science-fantasy adventures.  A playtest document is currently available. 

My 2016 Game Chef entry Fragment, a game of machines and memory is currently available to playtest.

Holding On, Morgan Davie's entry into the 200 word RPG challenge recently went micro-viral.

A couple I missed; Jenni Sands has been busy writing Monster of the Week mysteries, including Murders at the Music Festival, and The Shadow Man, and she's working on a new game called Purification: a facilitator-less story game with cards, violence and lots of death.

Grant Robinson has been  writing for Shadowrun.  In Amber Waves of Grain The runners are going to have some unusual jobs, including spreading some poisons and making sure innocent lives are spared (if they’re so inclined). They’ll have to be on their toes to steer clear of the authorities, get all the pieces of this particular scheme in place, and in particular answer the pressing question: Just what is Mr. Johnson up to?

Grant also contributed to Court of Shadows, an alternate setting for Shadowrun, Fifth Edition, emphasizing the magic and intrigue of the Seelie Court.

Hot off the press, Malcolm Harbrow has created The Devil's Brood, a LARP for nine players and an organiser, inspired by history and The Lion in Winter.

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