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  • Writer's pictureKatrina Waldman

Spotlight: ZiMo/ZineQuest Projects

We are reaching the end of February and there have been some absolutely phenomenal ZiMo/ZineQuest projects this month, so I thought I'd highlight some of my faves - funded or not!


The Details Of Our Escape (Possible World Games)

We'd travelled for weeks under a perpetual overcast sky, the 2348 of us, one strumming massive crowd, all the introverts, the herbalists, the builders, the dancers, the tinkerers, the mapmakers, the novelists, the queers, the cellists, the browns, the pint sizes, the rotunds, the bean poles, the polymaths: our backs, shoulders, and heads adorned with packs of parchment and hand tools, tubulars of graphite and unrefined oils, cane alcohol, spring waters, drying plants, ground and diluted pigments; thirteen people had to drag the laid-in compass compass, members of this group rotating on the hour; the aerialists carried the bread machine. Someone kept throwing their keys in the air. The Details of Our Escape is a "caravan-style" TTRPG, which means players control groups of 10-600 people within a larger 2348-person caravan. Dominos drawn at the start of the game dictate the size of each group, but each player decides what binds their group together, what they're fleeing, and what they're searching for. 

My utter excitement for The Details Of Our Escape built over a number of stages. First, look at the gorgeous art from Linnea Sterte. Secondly, the writing from Renee Gladman in the preview excerpts for the Kickstarter is just PHENOMENAL stuff. And if this wasn't already enough of an exceptionally talented team of creators? I then realised that this was coming from game designer Tyler Crumrine, the magnificent mind behind Beak, Feather, & Bone and the Possible Worlds RPG series. This is a collaboration not to be missed, and I'm intrigued by both the use of dominoes (with unique designs by Miru's very own HINOKODO) within the game, and the fact that players will be playing such a large group of people! Price: $10 Digital, $20 with Physical


Fealty takes place in Kyr, a land of diverse geography, people, and faiths, at the center of many crossroads and surrounded by other ambitious nations. The world has been shaken by the sudden appearance of magic that sundered the land, changed the weather, and destabilized almost every nation. After several wars and natural disasters, borders were redrawn and peace settled once more.  Players take on the role of commoners elevated by ability or chance to the role of courtiers. You may be the Inkpot who governs law and words, the Champion who leads the nation's armies or defends the monarch's body, or the Fool who masks the truth with japes. Each of these playbooks gives you unique moves that let you spend and gain tokens that let you define the world, advance plans of action, and try to quell growing threats against the monarch, the nation, and the citizens.

The artistic design in Fealty just absolutely shines and I absolutely fell for that before anything else - but the concept? Incredibly intriguing! It gives me some of the same vibes as video games like Reigns, Sort The Court, or Yes, Your Grace which all make for an incredible idea for a TTRPG! I particularly love the different playbooks and types of terrible monarchs that have been hinted at, and when accompanied by some gorgeous maps from Eli Kurtz, this is sure to be a stunning game to have in your collection! I was overjoyed that it funded so quickly, and cannot wait to see how it turns out!

Price: CA$15 Digital, CA$35 with Physical


The Magus & The Oracle (momatoes)

In this game, you use dice and pen to write the unique history of your character's quest for arcane mastery. You will navigate strange encounters and confront complex opportunities for learning spells—or cultivating tenuous bonds. Fueled by ambition and purpose, you embark on a journey for ultimate power. But sacrifices must be made. Do you relentlessly pursue your goals, or do you cling on to those that you love? The Magus is a solo journaling RPG. Unlike multiplayer campaigns, you set the pace and drive the story through introspection and writing; using the power of prompts that spur you to control your wizard's destiny. And unlike many solo journaling games, the Magus is crunchy — you will use all your dice to play and manage your character, for unparalleled structure to your narrative. Now powered by the Oracle, a 78-card deck filled with prompts and illustration to bring life to your writing.

We all know that I am somewhat fond of solo journalling games, and ever since I reviewed The Marvelous Children Of Inang-Uri, I have been wanting to explore more games by momatoes, a Diana Jones award finalist whose game ARC: Doom is revered as one of the best Indie table-top Games of 2021. The Magus & The Oracle is a duo of goodies - a combination of the game originally released in 2021, and a companion deck of prompts that are illustrated beautifully and designed to guide your journalling experience. The game itself, originally published in 2021, draws inspiration from Thousand Year Old Vampire by Tim Hutchings and looks to provide a unique and interesting storytelling experience for the player! Price: €20 Digital Game + Deck, €60 Physical Game + Deck


Outliers (Samantha Leigh)

Outliers is a single-player journaling game in which you play a research assistant trying to do their job in an absurd environment. You may be fresh out of college, but one look at your syrup-leaking laptop shows you that this is no ordinary lab, despite what the disembodied voice of the Principal Investigator (P.I.) tells you. 

As you recruit participants, collect data, and perform miscellaneous tasks around the lab, recording your daily activities in your lab notebook, you can only hope that the lab gets awarded a new grant before the money runs out. That's not to mention the Institutional Review Board (IRB), which will shut the study down if you stray too far from procedure. It shouldn't be hard to stay on track when your participants are clones, time travelers, and cryptids...right?

I'm a huge fan of Samantha of Blinking Birch Games's work - their hit, Ennie-nominated game Anamnesis was one of my first introductions to solo journaling games as a whole and so a game written by them that has that synopsis? I'm instantly interested! I love dealing with cryptids, the word, and the unknown in games and I think a scientific standpoint is a really interesting route to take to let the imagination run wild! There is a killer team behind this too, which I'd highly recommend checking out alongside Outliers itself! Price: £9 Digital, £12 with Physical


Thrifty Trades Of Fey (GameTee)

Welcome to the Thrift Shoppe; a crooked boutique which appears in the twilight between realms. An eccentric collection awaits you - gently-used magical junk, outgrown occult oddities, and second-hand sorcerous scrap - all available for trade!

Prepare for amusement, absurdity, and a touch of fey mischief. But, buyer beware! Trades with the fey are not without consequences. Every unexpected bargain comes with a twist, a turn, or a tad more mischief than bargained for. The price may be low - but remember, the fun might be at your expense! 

I am thoroughly obsessed with the concept of this Thrifty Trades Of Fey - I love anything related to the fey and this just oozes with well-written content inspired by that. It's system agnostic, which is great in itself because it can easily slot into anyone's game or campaign, and the punny title in itself makes it worthwhile! It's made by GameTee, a business that I know craft goods of fantastic quality that I've bought from many times (I happen to be an ambassador of theirs, for full transparency)! They've made a bunch of other great zines too which you can check out on their website - Plantlore, Blood Orchid, Slumbering Combe, and Tunnel Of Love! Price: £5 Digital, £8 with Physical


Tiny Fables (Josiah S. Moore)

Tiny Fables is a sandbox-style adventure for Mausritter set in an old-growth forest warped by fae magic. Echoing the themes of classic folklore and fairy-tales, this module confronts players with the narrow distinction between warmth and darkness, cruelty and whimsy, and danger versus reward.

Those who answer the call to adventure will need to overcome impossible odds by relying on their cleverness, courage, and most trusted allies. Will they become the heroes of their own fables? Or will they prove themselves fools in a cautionary tale? The difference between the two fates is razor thin. Regardless of the outcome, it's sure to make for a great story.

This is the kind of project that makes me excited to play Mausritter again! I'm a huge fan of fairy tales and folklore, and Tiny Fables has them by the bucketload, all while you get to play as tiny mice! I'm extremely impressed by the quality of this as well - Josiah will be doing both the illustrations AND the content, and that's so awesome! His previous contributions to the Mausritter community are impressive and found in the Mayfield zine, and the recently funded Tomb Of A Thousand Doors! Price: CA$16 Digital, CA$27 with Physical


Solstice (Tanya Floaker)

For as long as any can remember, your rural home town of Moncrieffe, Scotland, has held to the Old Ways. When the longest night draws near, everyone comes together by the bonfires to seek respite from the darkness. There is drinking, dancing, singing and fireworks. One of the eligible young adults, judged by the town to be pure, will be named The Chosen of the Solstice. Will you choose to defy social expectation, or accept your assigned role and burn to death inside a giant wicker man? Solstice is a folk horror role-play game set in rural Scotland at the tail end of the 1990s. Everyone plays young adults. Compelled by social expectation, they compete to be The Chosen of the Solstice, assigned to burn alive inside a giant wicker man. 

I have to thank J.C. Darcy for bringing this one to my attention, for I am a folk horror fan! The concept of Solstice is incredibly intriguing AND appealing too, largely because you are playing to compete to be the thing that most Folk Horror themed games have you desperately trying to avoid - being the sacrifice. I think that's such an interesting approach, and will allow for some incredible role-play and storytelling amongst players! The physical product looks like it will be gorgeous too, so it's definitely worth checking out.

Price: £10 Digital, £20 with Physical


These choices represent just a tiny snippet of the amazing projects that have been funded or are still raising money during this incredible month! Have you seen any amazing games or projects that you think should have made the list? I'd love to hear about them - let me know!

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Feb 29

What a top tier piece of writing here. DAMN. You make me want to get and back all of these right now! In such a vast sea of ways to find new creatives on the internet, these kinds of posts are the ones I appreciate the most. Thank you so much for writing this! Can't wait for the next one!!


Feb 28

Thrifty Trades of Fey may be the greatest rpg title in history.

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