This is the one hundred sixth entry in the Scratching That Itch series, wherein I randomly select and write about one of the 1741 games and game-related things included in the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. The Bundle raised $8,149,829.66 split evenly between the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and Community Bail Fund, but don’t worry if you missed it. There are plenty of ways you can help support the vital cause of racial justice; try here for a start. Lastly, as always, you may click on images to view larger versions.
three print at home 8 fold zine solo RPGs for when you wanna game on the …
That’s right, folks. This one is actually three games, which means if you bought the bundle you actually got 1744 things for the price of 1741. Probably more, actually, because I’m guessing there are some more multi-packs in there. Also, as the term “strollplaying” suggests, each of these games requires going for a walk.
The trio pack comes with a .jpg file called “How_To_8_Fold”, which is fortunate, because the games themselves are designed to be printed and folded into pocket-sized booklets. On my first attempt I realized I’d made all my folds in the wrong direction, but I was able to re-crease them and it turned out OK. The games themselves fit on 1 page when unfolded, although one game has a second piece of unfolded paper that’s used later. Without further ado, the pack includes:
Reclaim tasks players with finding three locations during their stroll based on various prompts and sketching them in the pages of the booklet. Then, players are asked to imagine these spaces being reclaimed by nature, sketching the plant growth that overtakes and consumes them. I liked this one, even though my simple pencil sketches became pretty messy as I tried to add networks of vines and bushy foliage to everything. That’s more due to my own limited drawing skill than anything else. Reclaim does require urban spaces, however. Those strolling through rural areas will have trouble finding locations to sketch that fit the criteria. Anyone walking through a city, however — especially if visiting a different city, or wandering a lesser-known part of a familiar city — could have a lot of fun with this.
How To: Make A Ghost Story
I had the most trouble with this one. It’s about constructing a narrative, with a found location as an inspiration. I was able to find a house that looked like the kind of place that might be haunted, but found it hard to construct a story about it. There are plenty of prompts, but ghost stories and horror tales aren’t things I’m usually into, so I had difficulty coming up with character motivations. Why do ghosts haunt things? Usually because they were murdered or something, right? So I guess some murders happened. The thing is, I actually liked the prompts, and I bet players who are into horror fiction would enjoy concocting a chilling tale about whatever mysterious locale they stumbled upon during their walk. It’s also the only game that does not require drawing anything, so those less inclined towards the visual arts may appreciate that.
A New Landscape: A Fantasy Map Making Game
This was my favorite. I do think it would work better when walking around an unfamiliar environment, since it asks players to find and sketch six landmarks that interest them. I already know several landmarks in my neighborhood, so I found myself thinking of places to sketch even before I set out on my stroll. I still found a few that I wasn’t expecting though. After sketching these locations in the pages of the booklet, players are tasked with transplanting them onto the map given on a separate, unfolded page. Each location is assigned a role in this fantasy world from pre-set prompts, and then paths and trade routes are sketched in, as players flesh out the world’s history and culture. I opted to do the actual map-making after I got home, so my choices of sketches would not be influenced by the eventual map building I would be doing. I was surprised at how cohesive the result was, regardless. A fun time for anyone who likes worldbuilding.
As a final note, I want to say how enjoyable the walk itself was (I played all 3 games on the same walk due to limited time, but I’d recommend sticking to one at a time if possible). Having these little objectives for my wanderings made a bigger difference than I thought it would. I don’t go for walks as often as I should in these pandemic times, and now I wonder if it’s because they feel a little too aimless. These games convert that aimlessness into something productive (beyond the general physical and mental benefits of going for walks, obviously) and made it much easier to motivate myself to head out. They all actively require exploration, so I couldn’t just take the same routes I’d taken before, either. So while these would be great for those traveling to new places, anyone looking for some motivation to head outside for an afternoon might also want to try them out. If you missed it in the bundle, a strollplaying game trio pack is sold for a minimum price of $3 (that’s $1 per game, math fans!).
That’s 106 down, and only 1635 to go!