Designed by Chris Bissette, The Wretched is an independently published solo RPG where you, as the player, is the last surviving member of an intergalactic salvage ship after an engine failure. And to make matters worse, there’s an alien life form, that you thought you ejected out an airlock, but it’s skitters across your hull looking for a way in. It will. You know it.
One caveat to this game is that you need some sort of way to record your log entries. You could make an audio recording or a video log or you can do what I did, and just write it up in a document. So, depending on your creative ability (or perhaps acting ability,) there are a few ways to approach this.
You will also need a standard deck of playing cards to provide access to random events in the RPG book, a single six-sided die, and believe it or not Jenga. The Jenga tower represents the status of your ship. During the game you will be instructed tom remove pieces from the tower, if it the Jenga tower collapses, it’s game over. There’s is a free online resource that replicates this without the use of a block tower by randomizing a number decreasing in value from 100. When it reaches zero guess what happens. There are other ways you will fail and lose and by “fail and lose,” I mean die.
I don’t want to give too much away as that could spoil your play of the game. So, let’s give a 30,000 foot view. Each turn is two phases: Tasks and The Log.
Phase One: The Tasks
- Roll your die and draw that number of cards from the deck, keeping them face down.
- Turn over the first card you drew and consult the Operations Manual. If the Operations Manual asks you to do a specific thing, do it.
- Continue turning over cards and consulting the Operations Manual until your tasks are complete.
- When you have completed all your tasks for the day, discard the cards you have used unless you are told otherwise.
Phase Two: The Log
- Take a moment to consider the events of the day, keeping in mind what you have learned about the state of your ship, the actions of the creature, and how you are feeling.
- Record your log for the day whether that’s in writing, audio or video.
If you like writing, or even acting, then The Wretched could be for you. Like any RPG, it requires imagination and some creativity. If that’s not your thing then you may not enjoy playing this. It is self-guided by means of the book acting as your game master. Each play session lasts maybe an hour, maybe a little more. It all depends how detailed you get in your log.
In my play-though, all the systems on my ship collapsed and I died alone in the vast, icy black of space. Pretty dark stuff, I know. (Do you really think you can or will survive?) I personally love the creativity that comes with solo RPGs and what you make of them. My one quip about the game is the debrief at the end. Once you know it, it may be difficult to play it again. As a creative, it doesn’t bother me but for others once you know the outcome, or should I say “truth” about the universe you are in, it could ruin it for future play sessions.
For sci-fi fans, I couldn’t resist naming my character after one of my favorite characters from a tv show I still watch to this day. And the ship name pays homage to an old 70’s tv sitcom. In Part 2, you’ll be able to read my playthrough. Coming Soon.
You can learn more about The Wretched on BGG.