A downloadable game

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You wake with a disturbing sense of déjà vu.

You encounter strangers you already know.

You sense that there is something important you're forgetting.

You can only hope you'll remember this.


CW: violence, murder.

Cage of Sand is a time loop horror game for one or more players. You will need a deck of tarot cards, some paper and something to write with.

Cage of Sand follows a protagonist only vaguely aware of the fact that time has begun to repeat itself. They wake and begin their daily activities, interacting with and learning about other the characters that make up the story's cast. A seemingly insignificant event marks the beginning of a set of strange and gruesome murders, culminating in a deadly disaster before time repeats and the memories fade.

Play to discover the truth.

Digital Materials

Cage of Sand was originally designed as an in-person game to be played around a table. A few extra tools have since been added to facilitate digital/online play: currently, that consists of either a macro-enabled Excel spreadsheet containing all the key rules and some programming to draw cards, or a set of digital play materials which can be uploaded into your virtual tabletop of choice. Further options may be added at a later date.

SRD

Cage of Sand now has an Systems Reference Document (SRD) for developers! Use this document if you would like to make a game with similar mechanics to Cage of Sandhttps://luciellaes.itch.io/fallen-through-the-hourglass-srd

Scraps Burgers Anthology

Cage of Sand will form part of the Scraps Burgers anthology targeted for release in late 2020. To learn more and keep updated, visit the official website: https://www.scrapsburgers.com/.

Purchase

Buy Now$5.00 USD or more

In order to download this game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $5 USD. You will get access to the following files:

VirtualTabletopMaterials.zip 3 MB
CageOfSand.pdf 265 kB
CageOfSand-MacroFormat.xlsm 3 MB

Exclusive content

Support this game at or above a special price point to receive something exclusive.

Fancy Certificate of Ownership

So I hear you like NFTs. What if instead I wrote out a fancy certificate with a URL and a vague, unquantified claim of ownership of said URL on it and then charged you $1,000 for it? That might sound like a lot of money, but it's cheap when you consider that you can sell the certificate and turn a profit off someone else who thinks that the certificate will continue to rise in value due to global warming.

Community copies

These community copies have been set aside for anyone unable to afford the sales price. Please only claim a copy if this applies to you. I will add a new copy for each full price sale of the game.

Game + EOI in a facilitated session

This reward includes a) paid access to the game materials, and b) an expression of interest in a facilitated session at no additional cost. These sessions are not guaranteed and may be rejected at my sole discretion. You can also contact me on Twitter @luciellaes or via email at luciellaes@gmail.com if you'd like to discuss availability and any key requirements, or if you have purchased a copy of the game prior to this reward becoming available.

A facilitated session means that I will screenshare the Excel file and run through the prompts with you. All sessions are remote at this stage. You can invite up to 4 other people, and the game should run for about 2 hours, give or take 30 minutes. I am also happy to work to special needs, such as running silent or text only sessions - though for transparency, the game materials assume the ability to view images of tarot cards in order to play the game.

Please note that all games will run with safety tools included, and you are expected to respect my boundaries and those of any other players. Additionally, I expressly do not run games for fascists, queerphobes, TERFs, SWERFs or anyone holding similarly hateful views. If you voted conservative at the last election in your country, or otherwise if you think that Black/Blak lives don't matter, please do not engage.

Development log

Comments

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Cage of Sand is a solo (or optionally multiplayer) tarot-based timeloop horror game. It's short, has a stark but lovely layout, and comes with a number of safety tools.

It *is* very player-GM'd, and a lot of its mechanics run on interpretation of prompts, so if you're not comfortable telling a lot of your story yourself, you might want to modify some mechanics and appoint a GM.

Overall, this is definitely worth checking out if you enjoy timeloop fiction such as Re: Zero, Tragedy Looper, certain stories about cicadas, Happy Death Day, etc. If you haven't tried timeloop stories yet, or haven't hit one you really enjoy, this is still absolutely a good starting point if you also enjoy horror.

Minor Issues:

-I'm not sure I completely understood the 54321 mechanic. Is it a grounding exercise? An automatic break in gameflow to cut the intensity? That seemed to be the intent, but I didn't spot an explanation outright.

(+1)

Thanks very much for the review!

54321 is an optional safety tool based on a common grounding technique. My intent was to leave it up to players to decide when/if to use it, but I suggest at least placing the card on the table and glancing over it once per loop as a reminder that it's available if needed. I'll have a look at the wording and see if I can make this clearer. Thanks again :)

A fantastic game, lending itself to new and original stories each time it's played while keeping the same plot threads and themes. Brilliantly captures the mood of Umineko and similar games, and is just a joy to play. Easy to pick up and try, easy to teach, and incredibly engrossing.

(+1)

CAGE OF SAND is a tarot RPG about a time loop horror story, inspired by stories like the When They Cry series. I absolutely love the setting, and the mechanics are ingenious. You play as someone who just woke up from a nightmare, and you interact with NPCs represented by tarot cards. And then (spoiler alert) everyone dies, and the cards get shuffled. With each time loop, you obtain new information and get closer to unravelling the mystery. I really adore the use of tarot cards for open ended story telling, and I can see the parallel between shuffling the cards and going through a time loop, which is very cool.