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RPGs about building and exploring settings


I have a friend whose favorite part of RPGs is building worlds and exploring what is possible and seeing what stories the characters have to tell. So I’m looking for good games with little-to-no crunch and, if there is a setting, it’s broadly defined with a lot of space for players to fill in the details. Games that come to mind are Ben Robbins’ Microscope or Kingdom, maybe Fiasco or Primetime Adventures? I know she’s played Monsterhearts and liked it.

Actually, now that I think about it, a lot of low-crunch games focus on collaborating storytelling and world-building, so feel free to name your favorites and why you like them.


The quiet year.


^^ Seconded.


Yeah. The Quiet Year.


I don’t know if you heard of it, but The Quiet Year could fit your description.

Joking aside, a lot of Avery Alder’s game work for this. For just two player I heard good thing of Scoundrel in the Deep. One player plays an adventurer searching for treasure, and the other one plays the perils he will have to face. The neat thing is that you can only play your turn for as long as you can hold a matchstick burning. And it’s pay what you want (0$ if you want!)


I hear people that The Quiet Year fits the description. But I was reading Leigh & Quinn’s review of it, which I might paraphrase as, “Sad but enjoyable experience, glad they played it, probably won’t play it again.” How do others feel about it?


Check out our PBF (very minorly tweaked for the forums).

I would play this live every week with the right group.


I played it a few times already, and I love it everytime. The thing is you have to start with a strong pitch for a community every-time, and then build from it, otherwise I think it could feel same-y. If you can start with something different, it really helps to have a more colorful game. I don’t think it has to be sad, even though it never ends well. It can feel really hopeful in a sense.


A little while back there was a thread about an RPG set in the world of the Sunless Skies video game. Not sure if that exactly matches the brief, but it is fairly rules light and bery much narratively driven, with play centred around exploring characters and the unknown expanse.


Ooh, the person I’m asking for does like Sunless Seas/Skies for all the weird stories that occur (I haven’t played either, though I did dabble in Fallen London). As a treat, once, I made her Zzoup.


The PBF is my first time playing it but… I genuinely want to play it so much more. Its unlike anything I’ve had the privilege of playing and it really hits a specific part of my brain that I didn’t expect.