5 Low-Prep, GMless Games to Play from Far Away

5 Low-Prep, GMless Games to Play from Far Away

Welcome to the quarantimes. All across the land, folks are starting remote D&D games in an effort to find something to do with their distant friends, and you’re starting to think a tabletop RPG sounds like fun, too. But wait! You don’t have a friend you can easily designate as DM (or GM, as the case may be), and you certainly don’t want to put in that kind of planning time.

Well, good news: You don’t always need a GM to play TTRPGs. I love telling stories with my friends, but I’ve never in my life been able to commit to GMing… so I’ve built up a stable of GM-less games that I can pull out and play with zero prep. (more…)

April Roundtable: Games and Social Connection

April Roundtable: Games and Social Connection

Since we’re all in social isolation/distancing/shelter-in-place mode, the Sidequest team decided to reminisce about games and social connection: how we’ve used games to foster and grow friendships and relationships in general. (Some of us discuss how we even do that now, all while staying safe!) (more…)

Playing with Loss in Kentucky Route Zero

Playing with Loss in Kentucky Route Zero

I felt I had to be efficient when I played Kentucky Route Zero. I had pieces to edit, and things to do, and I played the game in stolen moments on subway rides and early weekend mornings before other commitments made themselves unavoidable. I couldn’t get trapped in my own completionist tendencies, I had to finish and finish soon. (more…)

Heaven’s Vault Is Too a Game for Linguists

Heaven’s Vault Is Too a Game for Linguists

About a year ago, one of our beloved editors sent me a link to a Verge article about a cool new language-y game from the folks who did 80 Days. In the article, pull-quoted and all, the developers say that although the then-upcoming game, Heaven’s Vault, is full of linguistics and decoding, they don’t “think this is a game that linguists are necessarily going to like.” This rubbed me, an (admittedly ex-)linguist, the wrong way, but ultimately may have been a shrewd publicity move: I vowed then and there that I would play this game, and I would have opinions about it comma dammit. (more…)

Grief in Gris is Gentle, Immersive, and Limited

Grief in Gris is Gentle, Immersive, and Limited

Gris is beautiful, haunting, and sweet. It is a story about loss and the ensuing grief, and—more importantly, I think—about recovery. The game guides you gently through a beautiful, fantastic world, full of watercolor textures; simultaneously barren and full of quietly chittering wildlife. Gris holds itself at strange inflection points: it is somehow full of soft sharpnesses and comforting desolations. (more…)