Huh. I think I need a Jenga tower.
Page 19, Game 23: Wretched Wasteland by Stuart W.
Wretched Wasteland is a solo game where you play with a deck of cards and a Jenga tower, which is something I’d never heard of before this trawl but is apparently its own genre; I think this is the … third? … such game I’ve encountered so far. And my reaction to it is the response I keep having: “This looks kinda cool. I should get a Jenga tower and try it sometime.”
I mean, I could do it WITHOUT the Jenga tower. If I wanted to be a punk.
Anyway. You’re a scout for a Fallout-style community of survivors, and you found the bad thing: a camp full of raiders. You need to get back to your people and warn them. But, they spotted you, and are after you. As if there weren’t enough things trying to kill you already.
(Which as I’m thinking about it leads to a bit of a plot hole: if it’s that hard for you to get back to your home, wouldn’t it be similarly hard for them? Isn’t the lethality of the wasteland working in your community’s FAVOR right now? In fact, isn’t the biggest threat facing your people the risk of you kiting these assholes back to your home? I feel like it would be an interesting added dimension; do I try and lure these fuckers into danger, try to shake them, or selfishly hope that my peeps will be able to waste them once I get within sight of the compound? But this is, I think, an entirely different game.)
Draw a card, look up what it means, resolve the effect. Pull a block from the Jenga tower when told to; if it falls, the wasteland got the better of you. The game encourages you to write a fiction of what’s happening as you go — or maybe even record an audio log. You know, like the kind of plot hook you find lying around all over the place in these sorts of games.
If you play this game as intended, you wind up with an artifact that you could toss into a post-apocalyptic RPG completely devoid of any of this context. That’s kinda fucking awesome.
I wanna play this. I don’t have the Jenga tower — and more importantly, I don’t have the energy, because I’m hitting those Sunday-afternoon blahs right now. But by the time I get my hands on a set of blocks to play this with, I hope I remember writing all of this, because this honestly looks really cool.
Will this next game be something more appropriate for someone running out of energy on the weekend?
Page 27, Game 3: I Signed Up To Be The Substitute Familiar Of A Struggling Witch To Pay My Bills And I’m Just Now Realizing… by Alex Zandra
“An illustrated light novel about magic, witches, familiars, and gender feels”
Ooh, very nice timing, “light novel.” I mean, it’s hard as fuck to do fiction well, but if it describes itself as “light” I’m optimistic that at least it’s not gonna waste my time. Let’s give it a look.