Till the end of the line

Lu and Dom see each other every single morning. On the first ride of the day, at the first stop of the line, in the first car of the train. After a five-minute journey, Lu gets off the subway. See you tomorrow.
You could set your clock to their meetings, or bet your head on them. The world could end before they changed their routine. It is more than habit, more than tradition. It’s a constant of every possible reality, a pillar of the universe as we know it.
What in the world would happen if they ever lost sight of each other?

Till the end of the line is a scenario specifically tailored to accommodate a variable number of players. Let’s say, 2 to 30? The challenge is to all play with a single idea and only two characters, as we multiply the number of parallel dimensions in which the action unfolds. It’s the simplest, most practical solution, and it’s also eerily similar to the gaming equivalent of a speed date.

Author: Oscar Biffi
Roles: 2 to 30, no gender suggestions.
Time: 2 hours.
Replayability:

High.
Two kinds of roles with different instructions and fifteen variants each, low incidence of secrets, highly diverse experience between games with few players and games with many.

Leitmotiv: Surreal humour, escape from reality, parallel universes, existential crisis, the value of friendship
Handouts: Lu’s character sheet
Dom’s character sheet
Lu’s Alter Ego sheets
Dom’s Alter Ego sheets
Lu’s team leader instructions
Dom’s team leader instructions
Audio track
Numbered tags

 

The Theatre of Major Arcana

On a stage that seems to have shut the world out, under the guidance of an absent yet obnoxious Director, a motley acting troupe is ready to audition. Mask over mask, scene after scene, by playing someone different they may come to know themselves, and maybe even find a purpose.

In The Theatre of Major Arcana, acting is a means to experience emotion, and emotion is a vessel for self-discovery. The players will wear one mask on top of the other, letting the timeless symbology  of tarots guide them as they impersonate  an actor, only free to be themselves in the scraps of time between a role and the next.
When the character is on stage, what is left of the actor?

Authors: Yuka Sato & Valerio Amadei
Roles: 9 to 12, no gender suggestions.
Time: 4 hours.
Replayability:

Medium.
The characters are actors and their role in each scene is defined by a random card draw, but the scenes’ outlines themselves are fixed.

Leitmotiv: The game of theatre, tarots, masks on top of masks, universal values, self-discovery.
Handouts: Major Arcana Deck
Minor Arcana, Swords Deck
Minor Arcana, Pentacles Deck
Minor Arcana, Wands Deck
Direction notes
Actor Rules
Audio track

 

Sturm und Drang

Christ, what the hell is going on? Have you ever seen this kind of shit?
Rain, thunder, ice, flames… Fuck, all that’s missing is frogs! It’s like the sky is falling. Being outside is suicide, what with this damn wall of water crumpling you up and pushing you around. Trying to drive is even worse: The hail is just gonna wreck everything and leave you caged in your car. I need a place to save my hide.
66 Stop Groceries? Okay, the third 6 some lunatic sprayed on the sign doesn’t help, but I have no choice. This damn night came straight out of the Devil’s asshole.

In Sturm und Drang, the players are called to flesh out and weave together the murky stories of characters at a crossroads in their lives. In the heart of the storm of the century, they’ll shine light on pieces of their past that may push them towards a new beginning, a turning point, or simply to their end, in a postmodern  tragedy meant for players looking for thrills and ready to get their hands dirty.

Author: Andrea Rinaldi
Roles: 11 or 9, 7 male and 4 (or 2) female.
Time: 3 hours.
Replayability:

Medium.
Character relationships can develop differently in every iteration.
The investigation is less replicable.

Leitmotiv: Postmodern, crisis, tragedy, squalor, violence, death, rape, perversion, drug abuse, mental illness, suicide, racism, burglary, disease, blood, anger, vengeance.
Handouts: Kennet Hicks’ character sheet
Konstantin Bartosz’s character sheet
Trice Hetad’s character sheet
Robert Garland’s character sheet
Lilian Thurman’s character sheet
Ellison Harlan’s character sheet
Gary Ghronel’s character sheet
Heather Smith’s character sheet
Dante Sparrow’s character sheet
Frank Cunningham’s character sheet
Mark Einnod’s character sheet
Note on the three acts
Notes on Shining light

 

Something about us

Florence, 2016. The apartment block in Via dell’Olmo 27 is, like any respectable apartment block, a land of relationships, quarrels and disputes. Behind every door lies a world the other residents know nothing about, and within each set of walls prisoners coexist, victims of their inability to communicate: couples growing ever more distant, men and women locked in a quest for solace.
From the outside, a young manager observes the ups and downs of this particular  corner of humanity and wonders: Is there a way to truly understand each other, or are we all inevitably doomed to solitude?

In Something about us, players will step into the shoes of the occupants of Via dell’Olmo 27 and attend two meetings of the residents’ council, bearing the weight of their secrets, their frustrations, and all the things they never got to say– perhaps to someone important.
Maybe between one meeting and the next the daily grind will finally allow them some time to talk eye to eye with that person, if only for a brief moment. There’s no telling what may come to the surface and what will be left unsaid.

Authors: Barbara Fini & Rafu
Roles: 10, 5 male and 5 female.
Time: 3 hours.
Replayability:

Medium.
Information on the other roles is incomplete by necessity.
The middle section is managed with an auction, and the results are never the same.

Leitmotiv:

Italy, love, activism, loneliness, drug abuse, adultery, infertility, illness, maternity, suicidal thoughts, homosexuality, poverty, emigration,  incommunicability.

Handouts: Luciano Avellini’s character sheet
Alice Gabbrieli’s character sheet
Vincenzo Salemi’s character sheet
Camilla Lanzi’s character sheet
Gioele Zacchei’s character sheet
Rosa Mistretta’s character sheet
Giada Fadda’s character sheet
Ria Santos’ character sheet
Dario Ristori’s character sheet
Attilio Daddioli’s character sheet
Quotes
Meeting notices
Map of the building
Names for the auction

 

The Age of Men

Since time immemorial, the people of the Vale have been fighting a desperate battle against Dragons. A conflict that would have already been lost centuries ago, were it not for the Regents. Thanks to their gifts, a spark of hope has finally ignited in the hearts of men: The shadows of Dragons no longer darken the skies.
But celebrations were cut short, for not long after the victory the Regent of  Zamar and the Oracle of the Monastery were found dead, perhaps assassinated. And now, amidst the turmoil, a summons comes…

The Age of Men puts forward a mystery to unravel, not to come to the right conclusion, but to guide the characters through hard decision after hard decision. The protagonists will need to uncover the truth about themselves by looking at their own reflection in the eyes of others. Will they be able to trust each other? What will they sacrifice for the greater good? Will they be the heroes humanity needs?
The answer is in their choices, set to a pressing, epic rhythm, like in the best fantasy novels.

Author: Lorenzo Martinelli
Roles: 9, 7 male and 2 female.
Time: 3 hours.
Replayability:

Medium.
Uncovering the characters’ secrets is a vital part of the game. There are multiple possible endings and different roles face different themes.

Leitmotiv: Dragons, fantasy, spells, conflict between good and evil, power and responsibility, the value of family, the meaning of love.
Handouts: Allen’s character sheet
Solomon’s character sheet
Drystan’s character sheet
Faramond’s character sheet
Ninon’s character sheet
Wilhelm’s character sheet
Renier’s character sheet
Lylie’s character sheet
Giraut’s character sheet
Finale diagram

 

Wanderers above the Sea of Fog

Three con artists. A fake painting. An almost perfect plan.
The Three signatures are more than a criminal gang– they’re a family. But what should have been their last great masterpiece is about to become their swan song. What choice will they make when they find themselves cornered? Money and the chance to finally start a new life, or a friendship that might just turn into a prison?

In Wanderers above the Sea of Fog each character is portrayed by two players- one for their real identity, one for their part in the fraud; one for their bonds and feelings, one for their lust for money; one for their Brains and one for their Brawn. Even the Gull has a hidden side, however, and ripping them off will prove to be a difficult task.

Author: Oscar Biffi
Roles: 7-8, no gender suggestions.
Time: 3 hours.
Replayability:

Medium.
The game experience differs greatly between Brains and Brawn, the story is open-ended and plot twists are entirely up to the players.

Leitmotiv: Con artists versus real artists, friendship versus ambition, crime versus integrity, style versus power.
Handouts: Chaucer / Austen’s character sheet
Marlowe / Woolf’s character sheet

Byron / Shelley’s character sheet

Moriarty’s character sheet
Name tags

 

Winds of change

It’s common knowledge that there are as many wars as there are fairy tales, and it’s easy to think there is nothing left to learn about them. Wars between peoples, between friends, between brothers – these tales have been told time and time again. But if one bears a bookmark in the great tome of human folly, it should be the war between Polabians and Vendevians. A nation torn asunder, like black and white, from one day to the next.
Its witnesses are seven youths, seven friends, seven partners in misfortune. What does it mean to grow up together, when the winds of change blow everything apart?

Winds of change is not set in a real country, nor does it focus on the horrors of historical wars. Instead, it tries to tell the tale of seven lives made surreal by a world that seems to have lost its mind.
The characters are revealed through letters and journal pages, mute testimonies, fragments of existence waiting to be re-assembled. Four scenes, each set seven years apart from its neighbours, will beat out the merciless flow of time.

Author: Oscar Biffi
Roles: 7, 6 male and 1 female.
Time: 2 hours.
Replayability:

Low.
Although the game is completely open-ended, the four scenes map out the main points of its story.

Leitmotiv: War and oppression, fairytales and reality, friendship and diversity, social pressure and the burden of choice.
Handouts: Veles’ memoirs
Jarilo’s memoirs

Ziva’s memoirs

Svetovit’s memoirs

Kresnik’s memoirs

Tawals’ memoirs

Borevit’s memoirs

Billboards

 

Under the Mountain

The King is dead and five knights pay homage to His pyre. Around them whisper the voices of the People under the Mountain– an ancient enemy, shrouded in dark-ness, the hand behind the downfall of the Kingdom. Yet the King’s body bears no marks made by fang or claw: It was a blade that struck him down.
Did one of the knights truly commit the ultimate betrayal? Or will their loyalty shine bright, a beacon of hope in the darkness under the Mountain?

Under the Mountain strives to recreate an epic, chivalric feeling without the use of spells, monsters or great battles. A chamber heroic fantasy, where grief twists the tales of a glorious past to give form to the King’s memory: Even though no single player will portray Him alone, His character is far from absent.
The whispers of the People under the Mountain, eager to pit the Knights against each other, pose an unforeseen threat to their devotion to the code of chivalry.

Author: Oscar Biffi
Roles: 6, no gender suggestions.
Time: 2 hours.
Replayability:

Medium.
Playing the People under the Mountain makes for a unique experience. Memories of the past are created from pre-written prompts. Secrets are of moderate importance.

Leitmotiv: Heroic fantasy, chivalry, the five stages of grief, conflicting memories, collectively shaping a character, paranoia.
Handouts: The Squire’s character sheet
The Last Knight’s character sheet
The Stable Master’s character sheet
The Champion’s character sheet
The First Knight’s character sheet
The People under the Mountain’s character sheet
The King’s Mask

 

Castaways

And so it was that War came to the Island they called home. It made them castaways, threw them to the mercy of the winds and the biplanes from the Mainland, as the soaring terrors tear through every spell known to the Archipelago. Before them lies the infinite expanse of the Sea, with no hope in sight.
But the waves carry messages in bottles, precious fragments of a past that may yet return meaning to the future.

With five bottles to build an imaginary boat, the players of Castaways are called to weave the prompts given by their character sheets and their own free interpretation
into improvised scenes to gift each other.
Each participant will see their role grow, change, even turn on its head, all thanks to the creativity of the group:  This absolute narrative freedom will bring to the surface both the true wishes of the characters, and the destination they will ultimately set sail for.

Author: Oscar Biffi
Roles: 5, 3 male and 2 female.
Time: 3 hours.
Replayability:

High.
The creative tools available to the players make each iteration of the game unique.

Leitmotiv: War, the value of memories, the meaning of identity, the appetite for imagination, individuality and responsibility, collective narration.
Handouts: Alosa’s character sheet
Notacanto’s character sheet

Smeriglio’s character sheet

Lanzardo’s character sheet

Remora’s character sheet

Bottle labels

 

Tell-Tale Hearts

This night feels endless, paced as it is by the hammering beat of restless hearts. The old patient of a psychiatric clinic has been killed and the head physician privately turns to a detective to find out whether the murderer is to be found within its walls.
But the investigation is in danger of opening an unexpected window to darker depths – what lies there may well be more painful than the blood trail itself.

In Tell-Tale Hearts, the mystery of the Old Man’s death is nothing but a means to explore the twisted inner world of the characters. What will happen when others strike at us with harrowing revelations about ourselves? Will we end up believing ourselves murderers, or will we still point our finger to someone else?
The game mechanics aim to trigger a spiral of crushing paranoia, as an homage to Edgar Allan Poe.

Author: Oscar Biffi
Roles: 4 male.
Time: 2 hours.
Replayability:

Low.
Revealing new and unsettling information is the core of the game.

Leitmotiv: Secrets, paranoia, who’s the real madman?, identification vs. investigation, Edgar Allan Poe.
Materiali: Wilson’s character sheet
William’s character sheet

Ernest’s character sheet

Auguste’s character sheet

 

First they came

Berlin, 1942. In a chilling climate of suspicion, at the height of the Third Reich’s delirium of power, blood and steel, the SS comb the streets looking for the last undesirables of the regime, those who managed to survive wave after wave of deportations and summary executions. Cowering inside a building in the squalid outskirts of the city, three people listen as shrill whistles dissect the air of the coldest winter in human history, spurring the bloodhounds in their search. They know they must hide, lest this be their end.

In First they came, players will step into the shoes of three opponents of the Third Reich to feel the pain and paranoia carved into the hearts of the German people by the persecutions of the regime. By reliving the characters’ trials, they will have a chance to understand how they came to their predicament.
What mistakes and atrocities did they condone to save their own lives? Were they part of the problem, as well?

Authors: Andrea & Alessandro Giovannucci
Roles: 3, no gender suggestions.
Time: 1 hour.
Replayability:

Medium.
The three character sheets are made up of multiple-choice questions. The audio track that will span the length of the game also comes in two versions.

Leitmotiv: Guilt, egoism, melancholy, indifference, resistance and complicity in the Nazi regime
Handouts: Anna / Aaron’s character sheet
Bathilde / Berthold’s character sheet
Christina / Camill’s character sheet
Apartment inventory
Audio tracks

 

The last sunset

In a room like countless others, a couple is called to face their buried past and its far-reaching shadow, following them to the last, crucial sunset. A man, a woman, a pointed gun and distant memories fill the last rays of light as the day comes to its end.

Regret, success, failure, desire: It’s all about choices.
In The last sunset those made by the players will define the present situation, as well as the relationship developed by the characters over the years. Envelope after envelope, choice after choice, they will decide which of eight letters will dictate the couple’s fate. What could its contents reveal?

Author: Francesco Rugerfred Sedda
Roles: 2, 1 male and 1 female.
Time: 1 hour.
Replayability:

Medium.
Multiple endings. The experience greatly varies between roles: the female character, Lynx, is fully replayable, while the male character, Falcon, is not.

Leitmotiv: Regret, remorse, melancholy, life as a couple, pulp, deep web.
Handouts: Falcon’s character sheet
Lynx’s character sheet
Possible ending letters