What a strange feeling to read such a wonderful game, so close to my own game design sensibilities! I too have written a game where you play characters who have left a place and then return years later, while others have stayed put; where you update a map of relationships and a double map of places as you play... I find in your game some of the nostalgia that is in mine, without an ounce of adventure or entangled plots, which calls for even more drama-focused sessions. A great read, which promises some great games!
An Altogether Different River
A downloadable game
This edition of An Altogether Different River was funded on Kickstarter as a part of Zine Quest 3.
It has been some time since you’ve left home, but now it’s finally time to return. To what, though?
The home you held in your mind, and the home you will encounter will not be the same. You are not the same.
You can’t step into the same river twice. You can’t go home again.
This is a GM-less roleplaying game meant for 2 to 4 players and a single session of about 3-4 hours. It is inspired in parts by Downfall, by Caroline Hobbs and Microscope, by Ben Robbins. Cover and interior art is by Venessa Tang. You will need pencils and paper and maybe a deck of cards to pick randomly from lists.
It is about a Town, the people who have left it and returned, and the people who stayed behind.
It is about returning home and grappling with what has and hasn't changed.
At the start of the game, you will collaboratively build a Town out of several elements. You will draw two maps for the Town: one for the Town Then, and one for the Town Now.
You then create your characters and choose whether they left the Town and returned, or stayed throughout the period. You also highlight certain questions you want to explore through your characters and relationships. You will track this through a relationship map which you draw between the Towns.
Then you introduce and explore different aspects of the Town and play through different scenes to flesh out the Town and the characters, seeking to answer the different questions you have.
You can look to Town card prompts to add different aspects of the town, then highlight how the Town has changed by picking an aspect and showing its form in both the Town maps. Based on what you know of the Town and its history, you can pick questions to form the basis of scenes between various characters to explore the Town in more detail.
Once you've answered a few questions, you'll move to end the game, even if you have questions left unanswered, as time passes on for the inhabitants of the Town.
Here are some actual play videos that show how the game is played:
In order to download this game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $10 USD. You will get access to the following files:
Support this game at or above a special price point to receive something exclusive.
Can't or don't want to pay for this zine? That's fine, just pick up a Community Copy for free.
- Physical copies available in the USJul 29, 2021
- An Altogether Different River v1.02 Designer CommentaryJun 08, 2021
- An Altogether Different River v1.02 Release NotesMay 31, 2021
- An Altogether Different River - Additional Design NotesMay 18, 2021
- An Altogether Different River v1.00 Release NotesMay 06, 2021
- An Altogether Different River Kickstarter LaunchFeb 11, 2021
- An Altogether Different River Zinequest KickstarterFeb 05, 2021
- An Altogether Different River v0.03 ChangelogJan 21, 2021
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Ah thanks for checking out the game! I love what you've done with Two Summers as well! Even though we ended up with different approaches to game formats/mechanics, it's really cool to see your take on themes and ideas that I am in love with also. I'm looking forward to trying out Two Summers too!
A clearly set out, thoughtful collaborative story making / world building tool / game, with some delightful line drawings that help set the mood
A very neat game by Aaron here, I played and made a very compelling story of a city above a treacherous desert with so many actors in play! It was very rich and interesting, I'm sure you'll agree when you play!
This is a wonderful game that does a great job of building on its premise to deliver sad, nostalgic experiences every time. Highly recommended for people who like storytelling games.
I just barely missed your Kickstarter for this, so sad! Is there any chance you will be selling more physical copies in the future? I would love to grab one (and Homebound too) but I understand if it is too late.
Hello! If you are based in the US, I am working with Floating Chair Club for US fulfillment so that's probably your best bet to get a physical copy later, as I will be sending them extra copies to cover any damaged/lost copies anyway, so look out for that. If you're based elsewhere, drop me a message or email and I'll let you know what I can do once I confirm fulfillment options where you are.
I am in the US! I'll keep an eye out there. :) Thank you!