The Forgotten is a live acting game that takes place in a city under siege during the last days of a civil war. Players confront hunger, injury, and demoralization through a simple system that uses a custom deck of cards and a customizable soundtrack. As a group, they will create a desperate story of courage and sacrifice. Will they scrape by and live to see another day?
The game uses a unique set of cards that reveal events that happen to your characters during the night. It includes a pdf of the cards to print and cut-out at home, and if you'd like you can order your own physical full-colour deck from Drive Thru Cards once the project is completed. This deck will cost approximately $13 USD plus shipping (this cost is separate from your backer pledge, but as a backer you'll receive a special print-on-demand code that gives you the discounted $13 deck, normally $20).
It's been almost two years since rebel forces occupied the city and government forces surrounded and laid siege to your home. The city has been reduced to the prize in a tug-of-war between two equally vicious and uncaring factions. You don’t care about this war. It doesn’t matter who wins or loses anymore, if it ever did. All that matters to you is that your home, the place you grew up and built your life, is being torn apart, day by day, brick by brick. You just want this war to end before there’s nothing left to fight over.
You’ve found each other amidst the chaos: close family, estranged relations, lovers, rivals, old friends, and new. Now you work together to keep each other safe. Each night, a couple of you go out, risking shelling and snipers to scavenge for supplies, while someone stays awake to keep watch over your shelter. Most of the time it's quiet and you've been lucky so far, but winter is fast approaching and people are getting more desperate every day.
The rules of The Forgotten seek to add to the dramatic tension of the game without distracting from it. They lend consequence to player choices and then the players use those consequences to inform their play.
The game also includes a soundtrack that provides ambient sound effects of the world outside and cues players when scenes begin and end. Here's a sample of one of our day and night tracks: this one is titled Rainy Day.
The default length of the game is 90 minutes, plus set-up and debriefing, but the customizable nature of the game’s mechanics allow you to decrease or extend the duration to suit your needs and preferences.
During play, you act out your character's days and nights in what we call Day Scenes and Night Scenes. Day Scenes last 15 minutes. At first, Day Scenes are quiet, playing out the tension of staying hidden in close quarters while battles between the rival factions take place out in the streets. The soundtrack informs you when night is falling and that it's time for you to go searching for supplies, stand guard, or rest.
Night Scenes last three minutes. What happens during the night is dictated by the cards you draw. The cards tell you what supplies you find, but also any struggles you encounter. The game then fast forwards and a new Day Scene commences, giving players an opportunity to recount the night’s events, dealing with crises that arose and reeling from losses. Things quickly become more and more desperate as supplies dwindle, spirits are crushed, and you have to start making difficult decisions just to survive.
Although The Forgotten is designed as a live action game in which the participants act out what they say and do within the game, it can be easily adapted to accommodate a structured tabletop experience. Some newcomers might prefer this method of play, as it allows people to describe details instead of acting them out.
Each of our reward levels includes a rules PDF, including printable game cards, and any digital stretch goals we reach. All that’s needed to play is included - you'll just need to cut out the cards and name tags. All backers will also be supplied with a code for a print-on-demand version of the deck through Drive Thru Cards at cost (estimated at $13 USD / $18 CAD).
Survivor: You'll receive a digital copy of the game and all digital stretch goals. You also get a code for a print-on-demand version of the deck at cost (estimated at $13 USD / $18 CAD).
Quartermaster: Everything from the Survivor reward level plus you'll gain access to an exclusive add-on deck featuring new events, characters, and cards that open up campaign play.
Trader: Everything from the Quartermaster reward level (digital copy, print-on-demand code, and access to exclusive cards). Plus you'll work with me to create a new Event, one of the core card types that generate story in the game.
Scout: Everything from the Quartermaster reward level (digital copy, print-on-demand code, and access to exclusive cards). Plus you'll work with me to create an original character for the game.
Lookout: Everything from the Trader and Scout reward levels (digital copy, print-on-demand code, access to exclusive cards, create your own event card, and create an original character card).
Reward levels that include custom events and characters will be included in the base game for all backers. They will also be given a due date once the campaign is funded which will be based on our release progress to reduce the possibility of delay.
We are fulfilling print-on-demand decks through Drive Thru Cards. Backers will be sent a print-on-demand code that will allow you to purchase the cards at an additional cost to you, estimated at $13 USD / $18 CAD plus shipping. This is a purchase to be made to Drive Thru after the campaign.
Why print and fulfill physical copies through Drive Thru? Quite simply, the cost and convenience of doing so. Drive Thru Cards offers a great price for printed cards and their shipping rates are very reasonable.
We have a slew of great stretch goals for this project from our incredibly talented extended team.
$2000 - Additional Photo Art: Our photographer, Anna, will produce new photographic art for the project that we'll use for new card backs and will appear in the rules.
$3500 - Expansion Game: Kira Magrann will write a hack of The Forgotten including new cards and new rules. This game is set in a dark future where a totalitarian patriarchal regime confines the rights of all its citizens, but mostly those of its women. The game will deal with themes of gender politics, resistance, and feminism.
$5500 - Expanded Soundtrack: Tim of Tabletop Audio will create a professionally remastered soundtrack for the game featuring improved ambiance with enhanced sound effects and mixing. These tracks will add to, not replace, the current tracks for the game, giving you even more options to customize your play.
More stretch goals to come....
I designed The Forgotten as a way to teach myself and others about the horrors of war, and to focus on its often overlooked victims, the civilian. The Forgotten doesn’t focus on the war itself, or its soldiers, but instead zooms in on the problems that the people trying to live through it face. It’s a grim tale and exaggerates certain elements of these stories in order to deliver a fast-hitting and dramatic story, but I tried to balance that by not forgetting that there is good in everyone.
In times of great struggle, people often come together in inspiring ways and we tried to bring that element into the game to balance the loss and suffering you'll face. Some people will turn on you, it’s true, but some will give selflessly even when they have little to give without thought of reward or payment. The Forgotten is story of humanity, full of our best and worst qualities.
I know that this game can never capture what it’s truly like to live through something as terrible as war and how it tears apart a person’s life, but my hope is the game will teach people that war is not something to glorify or celebrate, but to fear and denounce.
“I had the privilege and pleasure of being able to play during play testing and I was thrilled at how accessible, intuitive and intense the game was.
It doesn’t matter if you already have experience with improvisational games and live-action roleplay or if you’re exploring it for the first time: ‘The Forgotten’ makes it easy to immerse you in a compelling, emotional and sometimes harrowing story that will be different every time you play it.”
-Jamie Snetsinger, creator and director of Elegy: A Doompunk Larp
"Holy shit this game just doesn't quit. Some larps I only play once. Some I'll play once a year or once every few months. I've played this week after week and it just doesn't give up or become a drag."
"The Forgotten combines communal resource management with dramatic relationships under pressured situations in a crucible as likely to result in grave tragedy as bittersweet victory. Each run I've played have been different, yet always gripping."
The Forgotten is a powerful game, as well as being an amazing gateway into larp and freeform gaming for anyone with a table top or video game background. It uses concepts and structures from both of those types of games to build an intense, easy to play experience where you get to embody your character’s fears, losses, and (just maybe, if you’re lucky) triumphs.
If you’ve wanted to try larping, but couldn’t find an easy in, or if you have friends you want to get into larping who aren’t down with the idea of sitting in a closet meditating on the futility of their vampiric existence, then The Forgotten is the bridge you’ve been looking for.
And if you’re an old hand at freeform and larp, you should check it out because it’s just a really good game.
“You stay here and I'll go look for wood
Do not fear, I'll be back soon enough
Do not let the fire die
Neither let it burn too bright”
-You Stay Here, Richard Shindell
Risks and challenges
I've worked hard to ensure all the bases are covered on this project. The game has seen extensive playtest with multiple groups. I've designed all the cards needed and written the first draft of the rules.
All that remains is for the text to go through editing and revision and then layout. The card design needs to revised as well to make sure we have the best-looking cards to offer you, but that is a minor update that should only take one or two revisions to nail down.
Fulfillment of the physical decks will be handled through DriveThru Cards, an established printing company with a solid reputation. We have no fears or concerns about their ability to fulfill cards and we will have ordered multiple proofs to ensure this.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (28 days)