This is the one hundred seventy-seventh 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 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.

Our one hundred seventy-seventh random selection from the Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality has opened its trenchcoat, revealing that it is actually seven games standing on top of each other. It’s An Anthology of Cozy RPGs, by Ludipe (who, I am pleased to realize, is the same developer who made Tie Simulator 2020, a game about learning to tie a necktie that has players hold their keyboards against their chests like a tie), and its tagline in the bundle reads:

Seven tiny unconventional RPGs to enjoy with friends

Tiny and unconventional!? Whatever will they think of next?

This one is cheekily sneaking in seven different games as a single bundle entry. Given that we’ve already come across a Strollplaying Game Trio Pack, this means that the bundle doesn’t really contain 1741 games and game-related things, but at least 1749. Thankfully, we’re knocking all seven of these out with a single post, so we can get our numbers in order. I thought that the “RPGs” in the title would be tabletop role-playing games, but they’re actually more like live-action role-playing games (LARPs), where players must inhabit characters and act out scenes together. They were written for the 200 Word RPG Challenge, which means the rules for each game clock in at 200 words or less. That means they’re pretty simple, but I’ve tried to avoid just repeating them in full here. I lack the time and motivation to organize groups to play these, as usual, but I’ve written my impressions of each below.

Wink, Wink

This game reminded me of a live action version of the board game Codenames. Two players are spies who must get their passwords to each other, while a third player is a rival agent who has crashed the conversation. With just five minutes to talk, the spies must get their passwords to each other, without the rival agent being able to guess what they are. This one strikes me as difficult to win, but with a high potential for humor. Do you make obvious bluffs by mentioning unusual words often, while the real password is something else? Or maybe you’re not bluffing, just tricking the rival agent into thinking you are. But will the other spy realize what you’re doing? There’s also potential to use other cues like gestures or nearby objects. I suspect a lot of the fun here would occur after the game is over, when everyone can explain what they were trying to do.

Famous International Experts

This one must be played in a library or bookstore. The premise is that players are international experts attending a conference, but upon arrival realize they don’t know anything about the subjects being discussed. Time to improvise! Each player has 90 seconds to skim a book and then three minutes to give a presentation on it. As someone who must present at conferences as part of my job, I doubt I would enjoy this game very much; I tend to stress out about presentations and over-prepare. But I can see the comedic potential in just winging it. It reminds me of some similar games I’ve seen, where players must give a presentation using slides they’ve never seen before, adjusting on the fly as each new slide appears. But where those are almost antagonistic, since someone else prepared the slides for the players, here the only interaction is picking books for each other. Once a player has their book, their presentation is completely under their control. I like that premise! It would probably be hard to actually play without disturbing others in the library or bookstore, though.

Cheap Walking Tour

This one places one player as a substitute tour guide, who may or may not know all the facts about the city they’re leading the group through. They lead the others on the tour, mixing real facts and fake stories, while the group may ask questions and take photos. That’s basically it! Honestly it seems like going on a nice walk with others is the main point here, and I like that. Mix in a little improvised comedy while you’re at it, why not?

God’s Dinner

In this game, players assume the roles of gods who have gathered for an annual feast. These gods love boasting about how they’ve meddled with mortals. The game must be conducted in a public place, since a core component is picking out passerby and explaining who they are and how they fit within one’s godly machinations. This one is a little closer to a traditional game, in that players first define what type of god they are and then take turns selecting people as pawns in their schemes. It sounds interesting, but the fact that it requires the unknowing involvement of strangers may make it uncomfortable to play in practice. It could be interesting, as long as the passerby aren’t weirded out by it. Unfortunately, it seems a very real possibility that they would be.

Herlock Sholmes: The RPG

The police have been investigating a crime scene for hours. Then this upstart private detective shows up and claims to have solved it immediately. This one is an improvisational back-and-forth: the police provide the details of the case to the private detective, who must describe their theory of what happened. The rookie police officer then starts providing extra clues, one at a time, and the private detective must account for each of these without changing any major parts of their story. This seems like a game aimed at an experienced improv group, who can give each other challenging prompts while trusting that their colleagues can spin a convoluted and amusing tale from them. That won’t work out for everyone, but I can see this being really funny with the right group.


This one is cool. It simply asks two players to create a radio show together, taking turns picking songs to play (from some music-playing app) and talking about them. Players can decide on specific structures for the show (e.g. different segments) and can define more details about the show as they see fit. What a cool idea! I volunteered at my college’s radio station, and before I started I envisioned something like this, where I would just play cool songs I liked or maybe even whole albums. The reality was different: there were existing departments with their own formats and large libraries of music, which in the end was great because it meant I got to learn about a lot of new music I hadn’t encountered before. But I like the idea of returning to my earlier naive idea of a radio show, where I can play random pieces I like or happen to be interested in at the time. One for the music lovers out there.

Explorers of the Known Land

This game has players meet at an agreed upon location, and then split up to draw maps of it. It should be small enough that they’ll run into each other often. The idea is to combine mapmaking with creative freedom, with each player able to emphasize some aspect of the location that speaks to them. I think I would be terrible at this game, as I would inevitably try to make the most accurate map possible and completely miss the point. Others, however, might enjoy creating totally different maps from one another, as they each focus on whatever aspect of the place speaks the most to them. I like this idea. In fact, it reminds me a bit of the Strollplaying Game Trio Pack I mentioned at the start.

So there you have it: seven quick role-playing games to try out with friends, many of which double as excuses to get out into public spaces. Ludipe includes a disclaimer that these games have not been tested, but they seem simple enough that any problems that arise could be easily addressed with house rules. If you have a group of friends who like improvisational acting, An Anthology of Cozy RPGs is definitely worth a look. If you missed it in the bundle, they’re sold for a minimum price of $1, which is only 14 cents per game!

That’s 177 down, and only 1564 to go!