Your Move Jam on

A game jam about designing a game with a single PbtA-style Move is just about to wrap up!

Figuring out how to make a compelling single-move game was a fascinating process. My wife and I both submitted designs.

Her design is Bring Home the Babe, a game of bargaining with the fey to get back your stolen baby sibling. Your two stats, precision and potential, are a shifting measure of whether you are following your parents’ lessons or your own heart. Become too grown up and you’ll have to leave fairyland. Become too lighthearted, and you’ll never be able to.

My design is The Tabula Initiative, where you are an amnesiac black ops asset, trying to regain your memory and outrun your past. Your one move lets you rely on muscle memory to recover maneuvers from the recesses of your mind. Strong hits let you build up a Repertoire of recovered maneuvers you can deploy without a roll. Rolling well gets easier if you increase your Programming stat—but if you let your Programming reach 4, you are a fully on-mode Tabula operative once again.

Who else submitted to the jam? Have you checked out the other entries? What do you think about the ways people designed within the one move constraint?


My official submission was Cat Science, a game about cats who are trying to learn about their world. You roll “Do a Science” every time you conduct an experiment, and you can accumulate co-author credits that you can use to affect other cats’ experiments.

I also wrote Wizards in a Van, which is about a group of wizards going on a road trip in their van. The one move kicks in when you cast a spell. One of the results can be to spraypaint yourself on the side of the van, which gives you added narrative authority in the game. There are no stats, just gear you can swipe from other players to use in your magic rituals.

Both of them are GMless, because that’s how I roll.


Those sound really interesting! Have you playtested Tabula?

Yes, gave it a whirl before submitting to the jam. Here’s my tweet-length recap.

The Repertoire mechanic was fascinating. Deployed carefully, it meant the PC could become an omni-competent Bourne-like character… but the cost to building up the Repertoire is edging closer and closer to reclamation by Tabula and/or learning more and more about the terrible things you’ve done in the past.

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