IndieCade’s International Festival of Independent Games happens in early November and will feature a dazzling array of computer games and streams.
9th Level Games’ MAZES may feature. The game has been nominated for an award.
MAZES is a tabletop RPG, though, and not a computer game. It’s part of a trend. IndieCade has made efforts to ensure “games” didn’t exclusively mean “computer games”, and the site even talks about LARPs. The other aspect of the trend is that an increasing number of entertainment awards are keen to include RPGs. Thirsty Sword Lesbians became the first tabletop RPG to win a Nebula award this year.
It’s also fair to say that this isn’t MAZES’ first rodeo, and the RPG has been nominated for awards, including ENNies, and it won the IGDN Indie Groundbreaker Award for Best Rules in 2020. While it’s great to see tabletop RPGs in IndieCade, we’re yet to see the ultimate winners.
MAZES uses the roleplaying ruleset polymorph to give a crunchy RPG experience with minimum setup and prep without sacrificing technical depth. Each player in a polymorph game uses a d4, d6, d8, or d10 die, and when they ask, “can I do something,” they roll their dice and check their character sheet to see if they succeed.
The MC (game master) never rolls dice.
9th Level Games’ MAZES team are;
- Chris O’Neill (Lead Designer)
- Patrick Clapp (Designer & Writer)
- Justine Jones & A. Shipwright (Art)
- Nat Mesnard (Short Fiction)
- Adriel Wilson & Heather O’Neill (Production)
Chris O’Neill said in a statement;
Once upon a time, I took a roller coaster and found myself trapped in a magical and mysterious maze that was called “a dungeon.” I am as hopelessly lost in its labyrinth now, as I was the first time that I faced the evil magic-user Bargle or fought the water weird as I explored the Dungeon of Dread. MAZES is a thoroughly new take on the venerable dungeon crawler. It is hewn from the very bones of the past. We take direction from the guides of Basic. We stole the grit and grime from the Unearthed Arcana. We explore Tunnels filled with Trolls, and the twisting passageways are the same caverns mapped out by Palladium and by the Arcanum. The strange beasts hail from Ardruin. The glory imported from Glorantha. The tomes are borrowed from the libraries of Midkemia. From this dungeon deep, I have come to lay my offering upon the altar of the Fantasy Heartbreaker– one last time.
In many ways, Mazes is just a reformulation of an already discovered thing – an attempt to try and capture the magic spark of that original fantasy roleplaying experience. In other ways, important ways,it is something new and exciting. I have spent much of the last decade playing with dice and ideas around a new, streamlined, elegant answer to many of the problems in roleplaying – an answer that we call polymorph. After the initial publication in Zine Quest, and a host of other polymorph games, what you hold in your hands is the definitive MAZES game. Simple roleplaying rules for daring adventurers going down into dangerous dungeons to fight dragons with funny little dice. So, my stalwart companions – light your torches, and take up your die – we venture into the Maze!
- Download MAZES
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