Flipping the script on the classic dungeon crawl, The Skeletons is a meditative, structured freeform game that puts one to six players in the role of undead guardians of a mysterious tomb. When the game begins the characters don’t even know their names, much less who they are guarding, but over time all will be slowly revealed.
“The most exciting thing about the game, to me, is the pacing,” said designer Jason Morningstar, “the passage of time is represented in play by actually taking moments in meditative introspection. If a hundred years pass between intruders, you actually sit in darkness for a couple of minutes. This sounds really strange but people love it— we’re so primed to look at frantic activity as a hallmark of successful play that is is a relief to just pause and let the game breathe.”
“To me the collaborative artwork is the best part,” said Bully Pulpit Games’ Steve Segedy, “you actually build the tomb together, sketching it out and adding and removing elements as time wears on. And of course everybody gets to embellish their skeleton’s bare bones illustration as they play.”
The game comes with seven weird characters, each loaded with questions whose answers will be revealed in play— and which will always be interconnected and unique. A variant setting by award-winning game designer Sara Williamson is also included, whose elements can easily be mixed and matched with the core game.