Last November, I didn’t want to prioritize my time to participate in NaNoWriMo. (You know, National Novel Writing Month) However, I did observe it by learning and playing journaling RPGs. There’s a surprising number of ways to play RPGs solitaire but I do find that journaling feels very natural.
Monday, October 23, 2023
Returning to the Swamp You Die In
I wanted to revisit some of the journaling games I played to warm up for this November. While I thought about starting with Alone Among the Stars (a really strong game that I feel you should try to figure out if journaling games will work for you), I went with The Swamp You Die In for Halloween’s sake.
(Don’t worry. I’m sure Alone Among the Stars will get played more than once in the coming weeks)
That said, The Swamp You Die In is a very gentle way to ease back into journaling games. It consists of six tables of very directed writing prompts. In the course of six die rolls, you are guided on a nightmare journey through a swamp you will never escape.
Presentation and quality do a lot to make The Swamp You Die In work. Going back into it with fresh eyes helped me appreciate that. It is formatted at a comic book, which is more engaging than just a set of tables. And the prompts are very focused, helping push a horror narrative along.
Of course, there’s a real limit to the replay value. It’s honestly a game I can’t see myself playing more than once or twice a year (while Alone Among the Stars is easy to go back to over and over again)
However, in revisiting it, I’m more impressed than ever how well The Swamp You Die In does with its razor focused goal. It gives you just enough freedom to be creative while holding your hand the rest of the way into the heart of the swamp.