Last year at XOXO, we saw attendees hanging out in our cafe, at the tables on the street, and in the bars nearby playing board and card games they love or, in some cases, prototypes of games they’re working on.
This year, we decided to try something new. In the Unmarket, near our registration tables, we’re offering a library of independent board, card, and RPGs to borrow and play throughout the weekend, curated by Playtest’s Matthew Baldwin and Max Temkin.
And on Saturday night, while Film runs upstairs, we’re hosting XOXO Tabletop—a chance to meet and play with several independent game designers, as well as our resident game gurus.
If there’s a game you love, or you’re working on one you’d like to show off, bring it along! We’ll have a bunch of tables set up in the Market downstairs for you to run games, and an open bar with a rotating tap list of incredible local craft beer and wine upstairs on Saturday night.
We’ve already announced the lineups for our Music, Film, and Arcade events. Here’s who we’re bringing to XOXO for Tabletop.
Like all our other evening events, Tabletop requires an XOXO pass and is open to all passholders.
Burning Wheel / Torchbearer
Indie RPG legend Luke Crane creates fantasy role-playing games that focus on characterization and storytelling instead of loot and 12-sided dice, from Burning Wheel and Mouse Guard, to his most recent, Torchbearer. Each system is about difficult choices, challenging the beliefs of the player-character to advance long, character-driven stories.
Cards Against Humanity / Werewolf
If you haven’t played the “party game for horrible people,” now’s your chance. Three years ago, Chicago-based designer Max Temkin and seven of his friends from high school launched a Kickstarter project for a game they first created at a New Year’s party in 2008. The result, Cards Against Humanity, has topped Amazon’s bestselling games list for over two years. Not for the easily offended.
If we’re lucky, Max will also bring his new decks for Werewolf, a game of accusations, lying, and mob justice. In 1997, legendary game designer Andrew Plotkin reskinned the parlour game Mafia with a werewolf theme, spawning a party game that’s infected tech and gaming gathering ever since with its disarmingly simple rules and addictive gameplay. (P.S. I’m a villager.)
A quick and casual dice game, Dungeon Roll tasks players to assemble a party and press their luck exploring deep dungeons and defeating monsters for treasure. Each player chooses a Hero, granting them special abilities, and roll seven Party Dice to assemble their party and battle monsters, claim treasure, and heal their party. Can you loot the dungeon and kill the Dragon? St. Louis-based designer Chris Darden joins us at Tabletop to show off his Kickstarter-funded blockbuster.
Emperor’s New Clothes
Jonathan Liu’s new game, currently in production, looks more like avant-garde art more than a board game. In Emperor’s New Clothes, the board, cards, dice, box and manual are all stark white. The rule sheet and downloadable party are all blank. Like the classic fairy tale, it’s a game of bluffing and make-believe. But who’s bluffing who?
Machine of Death
In the near future, an enigmatic machine can reveal your eventual cause of death. Nobody knows how it works, but it’s always right. “Drowning” could be from falling off a boat or passing out in a bowl of oatmeal, but nobody knows which.
Based on the collection of short stories, Machine of Death is a game of problem solving. Using The Machine’s predictions and the target’s current location, find increasingly bizarre and hilarious ways to kill your target with random tools, liquids, and furniture in David Malki’s card game of creative assassination.
In Relic Expedition, players manage their backpack of supplies as they race to collect ancient treasure lost deep in the heart of the jungle. As players explore, the jungle board grows in unpredictable ways, making each game different the last. Last April, brothers Randy Hoyt and Tyler Segel raised the money to manufacture the first print of Relic Expedition on Kickstarter. Tyler, the game’s creative director and artist, joins us to show off the upcoming release.
In Story War, the only way to win is to control the story—spinning the most entertaining tale inspired by randomly chosen scenario cards. Join creator Brad O’Farrell and artist Vondell Swain at XOXO to use your shared pop culture context to make up elaborate battles and crush the opposing team with your imagination.
Like Apples to Apples, every battle’s moderated by a judge that rotates every turn. Players are also free to make stuff up, as long as they can be convincing, so your characters are able to do anything as long as the judge lets you get away with it! Each battle ultimately evolves into an organic story and a memorable shared experience.