Owlbear Omelette on the Gaming Table

Lexi, from the wonderful YouTube RPG review channel, The Gaming Table, just released a review of Owlbear Omelette! It’s always a pleasure to see your games played, reviewed, or commented on, and I was thrilled to see this!

I sent Lexi a few of my games, and had no expectation that she would review them, or if she did whether they would be positive or critical, so it was lovely to see this video.

As always, it’s important to say that all of the wonderful art in Owlbear Omelette was created by the very talented Juan Ochoa. I love working with Juan, and Owlbear Omelette was the third (I think) thing I had worked with him on. For anyone curious, the others are Rascals, The Tales of Ulos graphic novel for Guf Studios and Thunderworks Games, and after Owlbear Omelette came Prisoners of the Elf King, and Ganymede Outriders…

Anyway – check out the review of Owlbear Omelette from The Gaming Table, and if it inspires you to look for a copy of the game, you can get it below, or from Exalted Funeral, Indie Press Revolution, and other online game stores. You can also find digital copies on itch and DriveThruRPG.

Looking Forward to the rest of 2024…

Ganymede Outriders have been fulfilled! All digital files and physical copies have been sent out – and I’ve even seen some photos of them in the wild! If you backed, and have your copy – I’d love to see it – post a photo in our Discord channel, or hit me up on socials!

If you didn’t back Ganymede Outriders, and are keen to see what it’s all about, you can find it on Itch here, and on DriveThruRPG here. Physical copies are available from the Caradoc Games webstore, and will soon be available from Exalted Funeral and Indie Press Revolution!

So what else is coming from Caradoc Games in 2024?

With Every Fibre is the next game coming from Caradoc Games. A rules light OSR style fantasy game, With Every Fibre uses 1D10 for skill tests, and a range of dice types for damage. The game is designed for quick test resolutions, and has some fun rules, including traits characters can learn and unlock – which allow them to use special abilities with different weapons – like using a great sword to attack multiple opponents, or a great axe to re-roll damage dice.

I’ve had a lot of fun playtesting this game, and already have a number of adventures underway, or already ready to release (with the game of course). Trouble at the Farmstead and Behind the Wall include a full adventure with art and maps, as well as additional rules, while The Old Sounding Tower is a cross fold adventure with a map, perfect for a one shot, or for a couple of short sessions in between longer games.

I’m thrilled with how With Every Fibre is coming together, and have had a lot of fun playtesting it over the last few months. Keep an eye open for With Every Fibre hitting Kickstarter in late July or early August!

The Game of Clocks

The time has come. I will be running Blades in the Dark soon. This is a game I have loved the sound of for some time, it’s a game I’ve had on my shelf for some time, and it’s a game I’ve looked forward to playing/running for some time.

Famous for the use of clocks, a clever mechanism for tracking extended tasks, background effects, or pretty much anything else your creativity can apply it to (which seem to have originated in Apocalypse World, but really come to life in BitD). Blades in the Dark strikes me as the game of clocks for another reason: it is game system that feels like a set of intricate and interacting cogs and wheels.

Blades is undoubtedly a clever game, it is well designed, and I love the intricacies that seem to flow out of the system (I am yet to run it – this is a view after reading the rules only). It feels like a deeply thematic game, and one where every mechanism feeds into creating a style of play that fits its very evocative setting.


I’ll be the first to admit: I am pretty terrible at reading rules. I rarely read a full rules book, even for games I have run extensively. I too often skim read, skip sections, and don’t bother reading whole sub-systems until I need to know them, and even then, well, see above. I am not a huge fan of crunchy and detailed rules sets. At the same time I absolutely love games that lean into their themes and settings. Blades pulls me in two different directions. On one hand the many many interacting elements have my brain screaming at me to back out while there is still time. On the other I am deeply curious and almost morbidly fascinated to see how all the little wheels look when spinning together.

This is not meant as a criticism of John Harper or Blades in the Dark by any means, Blades reads like a piece of masterful design, and I admire what it sets out to do immensely. It’s just that over the years my tastes in role playing games have leaned further and further toward smaller games and simpler systems.

I fully intend to run the game, my game group is excited to play it, and I am excited to run it. But every time I pick up the rules book a part of my mind cries out in desperation. Why? Because this is not the sort of system I typically like to run. At the same time it is exactly the sort of system I like to run. Go figure.

Blades in the Dark is a clock. All the little cogs and wheels so intricately placed together look like they work as one. Spinning or tweaking one feels like it will affect the whole piece. I am excited to see it in play: to leverage this to alter that, to turn one cog to see what happens to the wheel, but I am fighting myself to get there, my mind telling me to put the book down and find something else to do.

At some point I’ll have to revisit this post and write about how it all goes down. Hopefully well… like a clock ticking down, it’s only a matter of time before I find out!

Venture into the Frost!

The digital files for Ganymede Outriders have been fulfilled!

If you backed Ganymede Outriders, you should have received emails from Itch and DriveThru will access to your copy of Ganymede Outriders, and the linked files!

If you have the opportunity, please consider leaving a rating on Itch and DriveThruRPG – every rating helps increase visibility, and means more people are likely to find and play Ganymede Outriders.

I am thrilled to be able to release this game, and it’s down to the support of our backers. Thank you! I hope you get even a fraction of the enjoyment from reading and playing Ganymede Outriders as I have in creating it.

If you didn’t back Ganymede Outriders, and are keen to see what it’s all about, you can find it on Itch here, and on DriveThruRPG here.

What have backers got so far?

Ganymede Outriders

The core rules are a 40 page A6 sized book, including background on Ganymede, and all the rules required to play.

A Call for Help

A 24 page A6 sized PDF adventure, with interior art and map by yours truly, and additional rules on racing.

Let the Cards Fall

A whopping 40 page A6 sized PDF, with additional information on the setting of Ganymede Outriders, and 14 adventure outlines inspired by the weird and wonderful imaginations of our Commander level Backers.

Example of Play

Is… well it’s exactly what it says in the title!

The Drift System

A PDF document perfect to send to players, or to use a reference when creating your own spin off material/games. It includes all the rules for the Drift System used in Ganymede Outriders, as well as some additional commentary on why the rules exist, or how they might be modified.


The two page character sheet and single page vehicle sheet for Ganymede Outriders.

So what’s next for Ganymede Outriders?

Once the print copies have been delivered here at Caradoc Games, I’ll begin fulfillment to all Outrider and Commander level backers. For anyone who missed out, and wants a physical copy, they’ll be available from the Caradoc Games website, and from Indie Press Revolution and Exalted Funeral after I have finished fulfillment to backers.

With the ‘Drift System’ file in the downloads, and with Ganymede Outriders available for use under the Caradoc Games License, I hope that anyone who is keen takes the opportunity to create their own content for Ganymede Outriders, or utilising the Drift system. If you do – make sure to let me know so I can celebrate and share!

I plan on kicking off a ‘Drift Jam’ on Itch.io later this month, and would invite everyone to consider creating something for the jam – whether it’s a business card with a table of crazy Ganymede Events, an adventure, or a spin-off hack of the game system or setting – I’d love to see it!

What’s next for Caradoc Games?

Aside from the above? Well…

Behind the scenes I’ve been working on our next game: ‘With Every Fibre‘. This is a fantasy game set in the city of Fasthold – a once floating city that has crashed to earth in an unknown landscape. Adventures can take place in the fortress of Fasthold itself, in the dangerous mines and tunnels beneath Fasthold, or in the unknown wilds beyond the shadow of the city… 

This is another A6 game, with a full unique system and setting in one book. I’ve been playtesting this one for a while now, and am really excited to share more in upcoming months. It’s also the first game I’ve released where I have drawn all the art!

Owlbear Omelette – Cooking with Gas!

It was announced today, Owlbear Omelette was nominated for the Freeplay Game Awards in the non-digital category!

I am shell-shocked and egg-cited that my small-fry game sits in such esteemed company!

The awards are announced at the Freeplay Ceremony on the 29th of February. I’m not sure I’ll be able to make it there, and I can’t imagine winning when I know a lot of the games in the same category are amazing pieces of design, writing, production, and art, but even to be nominated is a huge honour!

Want to know more about Owlbear Omelette? This short video won’t help, but I had fun making it, and that’s the main thing!

If anyone is interested, you can pick up hard-boiled copies of Owlbear Omelette from the Caradoc Games webstore, from Indie Press Revolution, from Exalted Funeral, and more!

While you’re about, check out the website of the amazing Owlbear Omelette artist: Juan Ochoa!

Looking Forward…

If the last post was looking back at the worn path of 2023, this one is about looking forward into 2024. What has Caradoc Games got planned for this year, and what are some things I’d like to work on outside of that?

Ganymede Outriders

Scheduled to be the first release for 2024, Ganymede Outriders will be hitting Kickstarter in February as a part of ZineQuest/ZiMo

Ganymede Outriders is a big game in a little package. The game uses a custom designed system built for thematic and quick play; putting the emphasis on fun and high action.
Ganymede Outriders includes a full RPG system, and is ideal for both one-shots and campaign play. It is designed to be played with 2 to 5 players and a GM.

Ganymede Outriders will be published as a 40 page A6 zine – another pocket sized book because I like the format, and it keeps the shipping cheap for overseas buyers.

I’ve been working on a bunch of support material for this one, including an SRD, an example of play, and an adventure. It will be available for people to hack, remake, or create for under the Caradoc Games license. Which means you can make stuff using the system, or for the game setting, for free or for sale, without Caradoc Games expecting a tithe.

Everything for Ganymede Outriders is done and ready to roll, and I am super excited for this to launch. I think the setting is fun, and the rules lean into it – something I love doing with all my games!

Ganymede Outriders will be the first game I launch in 2024, but it won’t be the last.

With Every Fibre

Coming in second is With Every Fibre, which will probably be launched somewhere on crowdfunding a month or so after Ganymede Outriders, or the middle of the year at the latest.

With Every Fibre is a fantasy dungeon crawl. The system is designed to OSR-like, but uses D10s for skill tests, and a range of other polyhedrals for weapon damage, spells, and the like. Here’s the pitch:

With Every Fibre is a rules-light fantasy adventure game. Between the covers you’ll find the rules of play, spells to cast, weapon traits you can unlock for special powers, adversaries to face down, tables to roll on and more.

With Every Fibre includes a full RPG system, and is ideal for both one-shots and campaign play. It is designed to be played with 2 to 5 players and a GM.

With Every Fibre will be published as a 48 page A6 zine. I’m really proud of this one. First of all I think the game system is fun, and contains some interesting ideas. Mostly though because all the art and maps for With Every Fibre and the adventure were done by own hand!

Like Ganymede Outriders, everything for With Every Fibre is already done – the rules are written, the art is complete, the layout is finished… So basically, it’s ready for launch!

Heralds… Maybe…

The third release for 2024 is likely to be a game I have been working on for a while called Heralds… A game where setting building and map creation are a strong part of the game – but I haven’t decided whether this will be a setting book, or whether it will come with a game system as well. Knowing me, I’ll probably end up designing a game system for it, but who knows!

This one is planned to come out late in 2024, I don’t know the page count, and while it’s partly written, I need to go back and rework stuff I put down to paper from a couple of years ago… it’s very much fluid at the moment.

Of course, if Ganymede Outriders or With Every Fibre do particularly well, this third release for the year might be something expanding those systems, and Heralds might be bumped back to 2025. Speaking of which, at some point, probably in 2025, I want to revisit Corsairs and Rascals.

A Podcast?

One of the things I have been considering is starting a short review series – one where each episode is less than twenty minutes, and focuses on a single table top role playing game. One of the reasons I thought about doing this is because there are so many indie games that struggle for reviews, I thought it would be nice to do something to fill that gap. Yeah – it would probably keep a fairly positive focus, but that’s mainly because I’m motivated to talk about the things I like. I’ve done podcasting before, and I’m not sure I have the energy to make this a multi-person affair, so it would probably just be me talking into a microphone. Sure it could be TikTok or YouTube or whatever, but I’m not really interested in creating video content, and I almost never watch these forms of game media myself, stick to what you know right?

Other Stuff…

Three games and support material is a pretty reasonable release schedule for 2024, but there are other things I am working on, including a novel manuscript, creating more art for my projects, and other things both personal and professional. We’ll see how it goes.

Looking Back…

I’ve written about my gaming goals for 2024, and in the great tradition of the new year haze, I want to continue in that vein of thinking. But first, we need to look back.

2023 was a relatively quiet year for Caradoc Games, at least in terms of releases. Prisoners of the Elf King launched as a Kickstarter in February of last year, and only just scraped over the line thanks to the generosity of a friend. I was a little disappointed in how Prisoners of the Elf King fared on Kickstarter. I think it’s a fun game, and more than that, I think it’s a fun read. It’s done reasonably well post Kickstarter though – so there is a silver lining! With the post Kickstarter sales the game managed to cover it’s costs and make a little bit of money. By which I mean I paid the artist and made that money back, and managed to keep some change for myself as well, and if not enough to pay me for the design time, writing, and layout, is better than it not covering costs!

For anyone interested, Prisoners of the Elf King a game that pokes fun at some of the classic tropes in fantasy fiction, and in particular the Hobbit (who would have guessed from the name). If you want to know more, you can pick up a below, or from Indie Press Revolution, or from Exalted Funeral.

Why did it not fare so well?

It could be the format – A6 might not be as popular as A5, or something with a hard cover. To be honest, I don’t think this is the main issue, it just failed to capture much attention on Kickstarter. It could be that it was because it was marketed as a one-shot game – it is an adventure and all the rules required to play that adventure. I think it’s a fun idea, but maybe it’s not a commercial idea. This concept (story arc and bespoke rules set) may be something I come back to, but for now I’m going to focus on making game systems and settings that are not built around one plot concept, however funny I think that concept might be (and trust me, it’s funny). The next few games from me will keep the format, but will be fully fledged RPGs.

Sales of my other games also slowed down in 2023, though I did send off my last copies of Corsairs and Rascals to Indie Press Revolution. Corsairs has sold about 600 copies, and Rascals about 500. I could order another reprint of both, but sales have slowed, and to be honest, both of these are games I’d like to revisit.

At one point I’d love to do a bigger version of Corsairs, with the supplements rolled in with the core rules, maybe even a hard cover if that was possible. We’ll see.

Rascals is a game I am really proud of. I think the playing card system is solid, and I like it a lot. Again it’s a game I’d like to revisit, maybe as a second edition, maybe using the same core system in a different setting.

For now, both these games are almost sold out. The last copies available can still be purchased from Indie Press Revolution (Corsairs, and Rascals) and Exalted Funeral (Corsairs, and Rascals).

Why the slow down? I honestly don’t know. It could be related to the economy, but it’s most likely related to two factors:

1) I wasn’t very active in promoting my games in 2023. A fact that is almost directly related to

2) A main source of traffic for me in the last was through Twitter, which fell of a cliff in 2023. Post engagement is really low, directed traffic is really low to non-existent… Twitter was the main platform I used for putting out news and promotional material related to my games, and it was killed in a brutal if not amusingly ironic fit of capitalistic hubris.

Last year, when it came to considering how I’d promote my games, or whether I should post something, I just felt very disengaged and lacking in motivation. I tried all the things everyone else in the TTRPG industry tried: Hive, Mastodon, Tribel, Threads… the only one I have come to kind of enjoy is BlueSky, aka Twitter with the serial numbers filed off, and you can find me on that site here.

All of that, combined with changes to MailChimp – which I use for my mailing list – made it feel very difficult to get any sort of engagement. I think for 2024 I am going to focus on three things: BlueSky, my mailing list, and this blog.

A bit of a quiet year for Caradoc Games, and a part of this was the fact I changed jobs, and a part of this was that I felt a little disengaged from the whole thing. Prisoners of the Elf King was the only game I released last year, but I did put a lot of work into the design and development of some other games that will be coming in 2024. More on that in the next post…

Gaming goals for 2024

2024 is nigh. In my last post I wrote about the games I played in 2023, for this coming year I’d like to set a challenge for myself: to play some of my unplayed role playing games.

I like reading RPGs. I like reading new settings, new rules, seeing how different games try and capture different themes and ideas, and seeing how different companies lay out their games. A side effect of this means I have a bunch of games on my shelf that I have never played.

Getting new RPGs to the table is, for me at least, a little more challenging than knocking out a few of my unplayed board games. RPG rules books are typically bigger and more involved, and playing a game is usually much more of a commitment. Add to this the fact that I also design and self-publish my own RPGs, and that somewhere in the gaming schedule I like to fit in as much playtesting as possible, means that getting new games to the table can be a challenge.

Nearly two years ago my game groups decided to start rotating games and GMs – we play through an adventure or campaign, then switch games and GMs. It’s been a great way to play through a variety of games, which suits me as I tend to be a bit of a game magpie – I like to play a game for a bit, and then try something new.

So what games are we talking about? Well I have a lot of unplayed games on my shelf, and this list does not include all of them. This is a list of the games I would most like to get to the table (in no particular order)…

  • Mausritter
  • Mutant Year Zero: GenLab Alpha
  • Ryuutama
  • RuneQuest
  • Star Wars (the West End Games version)
  • Primal Quest
  • Agon
  • Blades in the Dark
  • Nibiru
  • Troika
  • Orbital Blues
  • Fiasco
  • Wurm
  • Into the Odd
  • Fate Accelerated: Masters of Umdaar

15 is too many games for me to GM over the course of 2024; I have a number of games I will be releasing next year, and need some playtest time for those, and our group rotates GMs. So I’m going to set my sights on a more realistic number: I want to knock 6 games off this list by the end of the year.

In addition I want to sort through and work out how I would like to play through these games. Will it be running…

  • An adventure of 3-5 sessions?
  • A mini-campaign of 5-10 sessions?
  • A longer campaign of 10-20 sessions?

When it comes down to it, I would like to do all three of these options, but not equally. I think we might be able to manage one longer campaign, a couple of mini-campaigns, and a couple more adventures.

At the moment I am playing in a game of Mothership and GMing a game of the Expanse. It is probable that the Expanse is going to end up being the longer campaign, presuming the players want to continue playing. We’re playing through the published campaign: Abzu’s Bounty. Several sessions in and we haven’t finished the first adventure of that campaign, so I am guessing it’s going to take a while. It has taken some set-up though, so who knows – maybe the later adventures won’t take as many sessions to play through.

My upcoming game With Every Fibre is probably going to take up at least a mini-campaign of playtest time, but there’s a chance I’ll be setting up a dedicated playtest group and we may be able to get that one done without impacting the scheduling of the other game groups I am part of.

Some of these games have specific requirements. GenLab Alpha comes with a campaign to run through, and I feel like getting the best out of it means running that campaign. All my groups play online, and that means finding a way to run them in an online format, whether through a VTT, over Discord, or through some combination of other online platforms. For games like Mausritter, with it’s little mini-game of storing equipment, that might present a challenge. For other games there are already character sheets and rolling macros built into some VTTs, which makes them more accessible for my groups.

I think setting the goal at 6 games is a reasonable target, if we get more played, even better, if not, well, 6 games is a reasonable benchmark, and I’ll be happy if I can tick that off by the end of 2024. There’s a reasonable chance that some of the other people in my game group might GM one or two of these games, and if that happens, you can be certain I’ll be counting it!

So that’s it – my goal for 2024: knock 6 games off my unplayed list.

What are your gaming goals for 2024?

Games Played in 2023

It’s been a long minute since my last blog post, and since one of my goals heading into the new year is to post more here, what better way to start than with the traditional spree of end of year posts! This one is all about the RPGs I’ve played during 2023.

I’m leaving playtests and sessions of my own games off the list – this one is purely games made by other companies and people. I play in two groups, sometimes as a player, sometimes as the GM. I am a bit of a magpie when it comes to RPGs, I like to read them, I like to play them, I like new systems and settings, new ideas and ways of doing things. A few years ago one of the groups I play in talked about running mini-campaigns – 5-10 sessions of one game, and then rotating games and GMs. Perfect! Surprisingly, this year I ended up playing in and running a few lengthy campaigns. Two are done (for now at least), while one is still on-going.


Phanta, by KeganExe, was one of the longest running campaigns I played in this year. A post-apocalyptic game with light rules and an engaging setting. I really enjoyed the rules set for Phanta, it’s simple and it works: roll 2D6 (3 if you are skilled), add two dice together, and check what you got. This is one of those systems where you can fail, succeed with a cost, succeed, or succeed with a bonus. I like those sorts of systems a lot, and Phanta does it well. What I particularly enjoyed about this game was the intimacy of the setting. You are part of a small community, in a world that feels large, dangerous, and both familiar and unknown.

The sense of community and intimacy in our campaign of Phanta was in equal parts due to the game system doing its job, then getting out of the way and allowing the story to happen. To the campaign we played, Lonely Souls, having been written to bring the relationships the characters develop within the communities in the game to vivid life. And to the fact that the campaign was GMed by it’s author Megs, who did a wonderful job of bringing her vision of the world of Phanta to life.

All told I like Phanta, and I think anyone running the game should do themselves a huge service by picking up Lonely Souls – it’s a great campaign!


Alien, by Free League, is almost the polar opposite of Phanta. It’s a big game, by a big company (in the TTRPG world at least), set in a famous and well established IP. We didn’t play too many games of Alien, so my opinions are limited. It’s a system I would probably like to come back to. One of the over-riding things I remember about this game was that it felt dangerous and difficult. Characters often struggle, and the dangers of fear, panic, and failure are ever present and pervasive threats. These are elements that sit perfectly within the context of the setting, and I think the game does an admirable job of bringing the world and tone of the Alien franchise to life.

All the game groups I play with play online, and for Alien we tried a new VTT: Foundry. Learning a new game, through a detailed VTT like Foundry was almost too much, and I felt that engaging with the OS was often pulling me out of the experience of the game itself. This is no negative comment on our excellent Alien GM, who managed to express the horror and palpable danger of the setting well, but just part and parcel of learning something new. A massive hats off to our GM for this – well done navigating a detailed VTT with a new game Will! I think revisiting Alien with or without Foundry would be interesting. On the whole I enjoyed the game, but I’m not sure I’d like to play a long term campaign using the system.


I’m not a huge fan of horror if I’m being honest; zombies, vampires, cosmic horror, I don’t usually find these sort of settings particularly interesting. I’m more than happy that other people love them of course, they’re just not my cup of tea. Imagine my surprise when I found myself actually enjoying Vampire, I mean, my character (an erstwhile musician called Note) still tries to be the good guy, and only reluctantly engages in the darker elements of Vampire-hood (it’s the reluctance that counts right?). But no. I actually enjoyed this game. Vampire has been around for many years, and 5th edition is, I’ve found, a lot of fun. Roll a pool of D10s and count the successes, hunger swaps skill dice for hunger dice, and too many 10s on those is never a good thing. The system is tried and true, and it works well.

With all of that said, a huge part of my enjoyment of Vampire stems from our GM – who has created a whole ‘current era’ Vampire setting in Melbourne, with all the factions and power players vying for position and prestige. This has been our second venture into Vampiric Melbourne, and it was a lot of fun. Vampire was also the second of our longer running campaigns for 2023. Normally I like to swap games and characters, try new and different things, but I know that when we revisit the Baron of St Kilda, I’ll be happy to be playing Note again. Hats off Rino, hats off… When we return Note’s Keytar will be ready.


‘Die alone in space’ seems to be the refrain that guides Mothership. I’ve already established I’m not a huge fan of horror, but this game is well thought out. I prefer systems where the characters feel more capable, but I appreciate the design decisions that have gone into Mothership – and what I like more than capable characters, are games that pick a lane and lean into it. Mothership does this in spades – it’s a game that knows what it wants to be, and the game system is thoughtfully geared toward enabling that sort of play. I like that a lot.

Mothership is a percentile based system, and the game is engineered so that you have a reasonable chance of success at those things your character is trained in, but fairly low chance of success at everything else – it fits the vibe of the game very well. The current game of Mothership I’m playing in is my second foray into the system, and I am enjoying it. Here’s to unlikely but hopelessly optimistic goal of surviving a few more sessions!

The Expanse

I love the setting of The Expanse, a gritty sci-fi world of warring factions in our own solar system. It’s great! This is the game I am currently GMing, and I’m enjoying it quite a lot. Roll 3D6 – one of them is a ‘Stunt’ die – if the total plus your ability is equal to or higher than the difficulty you succeed. If any are doubles and you succeed, you get stunt points equal to the number on the stunt die to spend on extra cools things.

The system works well, though I find it a curious mix of light and heavy. Light in that there are areas that the system chooses to deal with without going into a lot of detail (weapons and equipment for example), and heavy in that there are areas where the system chooses to add detail (operating in different gravities, stunts, investigations, and relationships for example). It’s a curious mix because it feels like a light system, but one where the designers have chosen to dig a bit deeper on the areas they feel accentuate the setting.

On the whole I am enjoying the Expanse. I like the stunt system, but there are a lot of stunts to choose from when you do get stunt points, and they can often feel quite situation specific. I’m not sure whether I would prefer a lighter approach to stunts – something like the way advantage works in Fantasy Flights Star Wars series of games – but it is a neat system. I imagine with more play the players will get to know the stunts available, and particularly the ones they like to use, and that might make the system feel a bit smoother.

One thing I’ve come up against with the Expanse is that the setting – one in which the characters can spend quite a bit of time on board space ships – can feel a little rail-roady. Unless the ship is operated by the characters, they are bound wherever the ship is headed, and they can’t really get off if they don’t like it. It’s thematic, for sure, and it is probably an issue that rises from the way I have run the games so far and the adventures we have played; something worth considering. Still, it’s been good fun!

Final Thoughts

I wrote above that all the games I’ve played this year have been online. We’ve used Roll20, Foundry, Google Docs, and voice chat over Discord with real dice rolled on our own respective tables. I’ve enjoyed trying some different platforms this year, but my key take-away has been that whatever platform we use, I tend to prefer something light – some art or a map to set the scene, but eschewing too many tokens and too much tracking – it starts to feel a little like a video game at that point, and not my thing. This probably reflects the sort of game systems I tend to like as well…

Aside from some one-shots and sessions/mini-campaigns of games I have written or are developing, these are the games I have played in and run in 2023. Some big rule books and detailed settings, and some smaller games with lighter systems and more tightly focused settings. It’s been a good year: a mix of shorter mini-campaigns of 5-10 sessions, and longer 20+ session campaigns. There aren’t any games I would say that I would rather not have played. Moving into 2024 I’ll be continuing to run The Expanse, and continuing to play Mothership. What else awaits in the new year, well, only time will tell!