Non-Binary Rolls: Tabletop One-Shot Megabundle Gives A Fascinating Overview Of Non-Binary Design.
The independent table-top role playing game (TTRPG) community is at the cutting edge of gender-diverse design and expression, and the resurgence of the zine format and the birth of simple storefronts like Itch has made it easier than ever for people to join the community.
With so many games on offer it can often be hard to know where to start. Thankfully, the Tabletop One-Shot Megabundle gives folks a fantastic chance to enjoy the work of many non-binary creators for one low price. The bundle was started on Twitter, where developer SprintingOwlDesigns crowd-sourced a collection of games they believed were easy to pick up and play. Many non-binary creators responded to the call, and their work can be seen throughout the bundle.
The first thing that hit me as I scanned through the bundle is the sheer variety of games on offer. Long gone are the days of all tabletop games being about non-copyright infringing hobbits. Now there is a TTRPG for every genre and setting, from Keganexe’s Le Tigre influenced post-apocalyptic “Phanta”, to the varied and unique settings of Rath’s “Charcuterie” collection, which covers everything from cities full of birds to mischievous young monsters going on a night out. The bundle has something for every palette.
Some of the work featured in the bundle examines frank and creative explorations of the nature of gender and queerness. For instance, “Behind The Masc” is a zine containing several works focused on re-envisioning non-cisgender masculine identity created by a group of non-binary creatives, overseen by Beau Jágr Sheldon. Beau’s other game, “Let Me Take A Selfie,” continues this exploration, taking the humble selfie and using it as a mechanic in four unique games about identity.
Other games add a queer twist to popular media and concepts folks might already be familiar with. B. Everett Dutton’s “FIST” is a game inspired by Metal Gear Solid “and the not-technically-stated-but-incredibly-obvious queer love story between Snake and Otacon.” “FIST” takes this concept and turns it into a wonderfully surreal game about supernatural mercenaries.
But it isn’t just queer bodies that are explored in the bundle. Several games traverse locations and realities that will resonate with many queer people. For instance, Alex Black’s “Are You Lost, Traveller?” is a TTRPG about exploring forgotten web spaces, many of which will feel very familiar to those who grew up with the early 2000s internet.
But the bundle is more than just direct meditations on being queer. It is a celebration of non-binary creatives designing games that push the boundaries in many directions, both philosophical and mechanical. #EnbyLife’s editor Rae White submitted a poetry game they created with Ray Cox called “Architype Augmented.” This guided poetry experience gives players the chance to work with their friends to “build rooms out of prose” and to “make architectural poetry together.” Ray Cox’s other submission to the bundle, “Last Knights On Earth,” is a pulp micro-RPG that is about being a “dirty, greasy, bloody hero trying to do one good thing at the end of the world.”
Other games in the bundle take a new look at the fantasy genre, such as CannibalInteractive’s “It’s Six Random Characters and a Single Floor Dungeon, That’s the Whole Game,” which turns the stereotypical fantasy dungeon into a tale of struggle and perseverance. Declan Lowthian also turns the fantasy genre on its head with “Detail,” a fantasy world building game where players focus on the small elements that make up a world rather than the large.
The Tabletop One-Shot Megabundle is a fantastic introduction to some of the most exciting non-binary creatives within the TTRPG space. If you want to see how delightfully queer games can be, check it out.
About the bundle
About the author
Jon Greenall is a queer, non-binary creator who uses they/them pronouns. They are a writer, game designer, and visual artist. Their creations focus on media, gender, and lovingly poke fun at the absurdity of the modern world. They can be found on Twitter at @starshinescrib
Image credit @frogappreciator