No Boundaries

“Dinosaurs are like lame dragons.”

“What?”

“That’s why they died! They didn’t have magic!”

“I don’t think that’s right. That doesn’t sound like real science.”

“We don’t want people reading science. Studies show: the more people read about science, the less they read about fantasy!”

-exchange between a fantasy-obsessed customer service rep and a mildly confused bookseller in a game of No Boundaries

Retail Hell

Back in July, I decided to take part in an annual event called Game Chef. This is a game design competition where participants are given a theme and four elements and must create an entirely new game based on those items—in just 9 days. I decided I had to give it a shot because… well, it started with a walk. Caroline and I were out strolling through our neighborhood and she mentioned that Game Chef was about to begin. I’d never tried it before, but had always been curious.

“What are the elements?” I asked.

“Yarn, smoke, cut, echo,” she said.

“And what’s the theme?” I continued.

“Borders,” she replied.

Yarn… smoke… cut… echo… borders… the words swirled in my mind, turning over and over, each one drifting into and out of focus as I pondered how I could weave them together into a cohesive whole… and suddenly, I knew what to do. How to make it all fit. How to push the theme to its limit and right over the edge.

So I made a game about a failing bookstore chain.

No Boundaries is a GMless story game for 3-5 players about dysfunctional relationships at work. You play as low-level employees of a bookstore called Boundaries Books & Cafe, and have “crossed the line” with the characters to your left and right in some way. The story takes place over a year as the suits at corporate try (and inevitably fail) to stave off bankruptcy; every three months, management implements a stupid new plan to “save” the company, which always goes awry. It’s a game about generally unstable people dealing with the slog of a low-paying retail or food service job, where every worker is little more than a replaceable cog in a slowly-rusting machine—funny, yet poignant.

As I said, I wrote this for Game Chef. I managed to play it twice within the nine-day design window, but when the day came to submit it… I forgot. Straight up forgot. Quite embarrassing! And perhaps fitting since it’s a game about incompetence…

Anyway, the game is available to download for free; give a try and let me know what you think!

Posted by Marc, who looked like this in 2008:

Coffee man-boy

yeaaaaah

Bonus Downfall Elements

It’s been a few years since Downfall hit the shelves, and since then countless worlds have risen and fallen through your stories.

One of the things I’m still most happy about is the rich and interesting worlds people create. Each session brings something totally new and unexpected. With that in mind, I mixed together some extra elements to freshen up Haven creation. I hope they bring something new to your fun; after all, the most important element of Downfall is you. <3

bonus elements

Download and print!

Posted by Caroline

Downfall Wins Award for Best Setting

I’m so excited to announce that Downfall received the Indie Groundbreaker Award for Best Setting this week at GenCon! Wahoo!

To me, the award being given to Downfall highlights that it’s players that bring worlds to life. After all, I didn’t make the setting, you do that every time you play. Because, really, Downfall’s setting is created each game—by the players at the table. So this award goes out to all you gamers! Keep making those awesome worlds. <3

Head over to IGDN to see the complete list of winners! And congratulations one and all!

-Caroline

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Downfall nominated for Golden Geek award

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Downfall has created quite a splash since its release earlier this year!

First off, the game was nominated to be 2015 Golden Geek RPG of the Year! This award, bestowed by the well-known gaming website RPG Geek, is part of their 10th Annual Golden Geek Awards. We’re honored to be nominated alongside so many other great titles from the past year.

 

In other news:

If you don’t have a copy of Downfall yet, you can buy a PDF or print copy right here on our website!