A sneaky peek at some projects in the works!

There’s a lot on the go right now! I’ve slowly been plugging away at various projects (not the least of which is the Minor Arcana: Monsters & Echoes spin-off series), but I thought I’d share a few up-and-coming projects I’ve been chipping away at lately.

The most eagerly anticipated (at least in my circle) is the mystery party game The Secret of the Wooden Princess. The pandemic certainly put a hamper in the whole getting-folks-together to playtest, but we’re almost there! This fairy tale-style mystery won’t offend any sensibilities; no gory murders here! Instead, eight strangers from across the kingdom have each received the same message luring them to the edge of a dark forest. They must step into the woods to discover what happened to the long lost Princess Amelina.

Both Camp It Up! and Darkness on the Edge of Town are single-session TTRPGs in similar three-phase formats as The Carter County PTA and The Village Fete. In Camp It Up!, players are campers planning and performing an end-of-summer performance. Will this turn out to be a wholesome romp or a horror slasher? Perhaps even little more adult and jaded Wet Hot American Summer? Or maybe you’ll burn it all down just like Wednesday Addams. That’s definitely what you’ll get with Darkness on the Edge of Town. Players here live in a small town overshadowed by some mysterious dark force. No one knows what the Darkness is, but you are all about to find out. Using a deck of either tarot or standing playing cards, you will draw to determine what clues you uncover as you enter the Darkness. Is the explanation Supernatural, Paranormal, Conspiratorial, or just something Mundane?

While those were all in development, I happened to excavate an old hard drive wherein I found old notes I made for a card game literally twenty years ago. Unwanted Roommates is inspired in game-play by Groo: The Card Game, a wonderful game by Sergio Aragonés and Ken Whitman, which is sadly long out of print (again: twenty years ago). I updated my old notes, made some changes (including adding some inspiration from the much-loved Fluxx), whipped up some cards, play-tested a bunch, and now have Unwanted Roommates: a fast-moving game where you attempt to establish a stylish apartment while avoiding destructive roommates crashing your place.

Last, but certainly not least, this is the one I’ve been working on the most: The Growing Room. This is arguably my most extensive project so far, with many moving pieces and complicated elements. This solo role-playing mystery combines journaling with a choose-your-own-adventure style mystery. You are a student at Roseworth Academy, a dark academic world of subtle, earth-based magic within which lurks many dark secrets. I wanted to create a world you can really get lost in, combined with a compelling mystery.

Phew! That’s a lot on the go! I have also been thinking a lot about escape rooms lately, so I may throw another escape room project a la Lost in the Woods in there too. Husband and I just did the amazing Operation: D.B. Cooper escape room at the NW Escape Experience in Vancouver, Washington and although we didn’t solve it (sadly – but we came SO CLOSE), we had a blast. It’s got me thinking all about escape rooms again!

Whether or not I add even more to my heaping plate, stay tuned, as I am aiming to roll these out as soon as they are ready. While The Secret of the Wooden Princess, Darkness on the Edge of Town, and Camp It Up! will be available for free as digital downloads, I am exploring options for having hard copies available of Unwanted Roommates and The Growing Room. Both will certainly work best as a hard copy, as printed and cutting out your own cards can be tedious, and I really want The Growing Room to be something you can immerse yourself in; that experience just isn’t the same in a digital medium. Let me know your thoughts if you have a strong preference! At the end of the day, accessibility is the most important thing!

xo Ash

Is this some sort of game, er, story to you?

Yeah, this one is definitely not a game. But, rather, a prequel to a game?

Unable to shake the world and characters I’d created with A Breach at Stronghold, I dove in head first and just kept writing. Subscribe to my Substack for “monster-of-the-month” episodes with an overarching story. Each “episode” unfolds through eight chapters, which “air” a chapter at a time, every Tuesday and Thursday.

The Minor Arcana: Monsters & Echoes novella series was created as bonus content for the A Breach at Stronghold murder mystery party game. The novellas exist independent of the game. Playing this game is not required before reading the stories; nor does one need to play the game after reading it. It is merely an expansion of the world created for A Breach at Stronghold, as that proved to be a world uneasy for me to shake.

In keeping with the world of the game, this urban fantasy/paranormal series is in the vein of shows like SupernaturalBuffy the Vampire Slayer or The X-Files, and fiction like Kim Harrison, Charlaine Harris or Cassandra Clare.


XO Ash

Get lost… in the woods!

Introducing our new mini-escape room-style game, Lost in the Woods. For one or two players, this game creates the escape room experience in your own home and without the nerve-wracking time limit!

I was inspired by a mini escape-room game, Escape from the Museum, by Professor Puzzle, which my mum gifted me as a stocking stuffer a couple of years ago. It was a fun weekend challenge to put together the escape room story and craft the puzzles. After having Husband playtest a few of them (apologies for a couple of typos that threw off a whole cipher puzzle!), I’ve put on the finishing touches et voila!

While my first instinct was to making this as shiny-looking as a tangible boxed game could be, I also quickly realized that most people will probably just want to print it at home. As such, there are three files to download at Minor Arcana Games over at itch.io: the printer-friendly version, a low-resolution PDF, and a high-resolution PDF with crop marks and all, if anyone actually does feel like going crazy with the print runs!

XO Ash

Fire up the popcorn machines!

It’s time for the village fête! In our latest TTRPG, The Village Fête, players work together with others to plan and put on a festival for the quaint and idyllic village of Purehaven. Moving through three phases (creating your Purehaven, planning the fête, and running the fête), players will get to flex their event-planning muscles and let their creativity loose!

During the last phase – the actual fête itself! – players will draw cards from a standard 52-card deck to find out what crazy things happen or warm and fuzzy memories are made. At the end, you – the Purehaven Planning Committee – all kick back at the local pub or tavern to enjoy a drink and reminisce about the wonderful day you just had.

Create your village, plan your festival, then find out what happens!
Download for free at Itch.io!

I created The Village Fête as a way to indulge in (problem-free?) event planning and to celebrate small communities. I wanted to give players the chance to build their own small village, plan what wacky and wonderful things that village would celebrate, and then let the day of celebration unfold.

The Village Fête is purposefully open for modification and adaptability. If you want a world of high drama (a la The Carter County PTA), go for it! If you’d rather create a cozy world where everyone gets along, it’s yours! Additionally, you can role-play as much or as little as you’d like. Perhaps you want to flesh out the characters of the Purehaven Planning Committee and act in character; or perhaps you’d prefer to act third-person narrators describing what the committee does. The choice is yours! The game – and the fête – are what you make of it!

Enjoy! And when it’s all over have a round at the pub on me!

XO Ash

Have a micro-RPG, as a treat.

By either random chance or sinister machinations I cannot possibly comprehend, more than few micro (business card size) RPGs have crossed my path in the last week. These micro-games fit (you guessed it!) onto a single business card. The premise alone thrills my sense of economy. How can you cram a whole game onto just a business card?

But this was a challenge I wanted to take on as a creative exercise one night. So I curled up on the couch ready to start, but remained unsure what the heck my game was going to be about. And then my cat yawned, annoyed at the interruptions to her attempted nap, and – voila! – I had my idea!

Download Catnap for free as a PDF from Itch.io!

In one night, I wrote, formatted, and play-tested the game, Catnap with Husband (the cat was happily asleep by this point), and I gotta say, the expediency of the process is shockingly pleasing. The little reward bell in my brain couldn’t stop dinging.

The game takes no more than several minutes to play and I hope that’s all it takes to make you smile!

XO Ash

It’s time to unleash the drama.

I am simply agog with excitement to share a new single-session TTRPG, designed for those of us who really just want to be dramatic. In The Carter Country PTA, you are the various members of the local Parent-Teacher Association, and you have your own pet project or wild overhaul you want accomplished at Carter County School. This is your… *drumroll please* Agenda Item).

With the next PTA Meeting looming, you will all explore the melodramatic and over-the-top backstories behind your Agenda Item, with each character leading their own flashback. That’s right – no GM required! And no dice either! You’ve got to duke these conflicts out yourselves. (With your words only, of course! We’re all prim and polite members of the PTA, after all.)

Download The Carter County PTA for free from Itch-io!

Designed for a single-session game with no prep required (just pick up and play!), the Carter County PTA was inspired by the classic song 1968 “Harper Valley PTA,” written by Tom T. Hall and recorded most famously by Jeannie C. Riley (but also Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn and many others) and the fact that we’re always looking for excellent single-session pick-up-and-play games whenever we’re visiting with our fellow RPG friends out of town.

I have a hunch this game will also pair very well with any beer or wine. 😉

XO Ash

Join us for an evening of murder.

Minor Arcana presents genre-inspired twists on the classic dinner party murder mystery games that entertained countless suburbanites in the 80s and 90s! But far from the posh drawing room-inspired sagas that encouraged your parents and their neighbours to dress up like flappers, our murder mysteries have a more contemporary spin!

With quirky genre riffs, our murder mysteries are similar to the dinner party style, where each player has a booklet for their character detailing their backstory and arrives for the evening in character (costumes optional). They differ, however, in that – unlike the traditional dinner party mysteries – players do their reading ahead of time (10 pages tops!), so they arrive already knowing everything their character does.

We find this keeps the fun moving on the night, as all new revelations made and clues uncovered are done so as a group, rather than everything grinding to a halt while everyone reads through several chunky blocks of backstory they probably already should have known.

As recent events forced us to discover, these murder mystery dinner parties can also be played in a virtual space. You might all have to fend for yourselves dinner-wise, but all you really need are eight people (ideally former theatre kids), ready to embrace their characters and have a great time! 

XO Ash