Lovecraftesque second edition is available to pre-order

Lovecraftesque. The eldritch horror roleplaying game where you create the mystery at the table. Pre-orders now open. Image shows the Lovecraftesque box cover with a skull-like monster lurking behind a lone character in the woods. Alongside this are the new rulebook with a striking red-and-white cover, and a spread of cards from the new edition.

Lovecraftesque second edition successfully crowdfunded in late 2023. You can now pre-order it here, or if you’d like to know more, read on!

A Storytelling Card Game Of Eldritch Horror

Lovecraftesque is a storytelling card game of creeping cosmic horror, emulating the tone and pace of eldritch horror stories. The game will guide you to create the story of a lone individual who stumbles upon clues to a terrible evil. It creates slow-building, brooding horror that the main character at first dismisses, until all too suddenly it becomes impossible to deny. The ending will certainly be bleak, and the main character is likely to meet their doom.

A mock up of the cards used to play the game
Brand new cards help streamline gameplay and inspire your group

Lovecraftesque is an emergent mystery game, which crafts a story out of clues that you take turns to create. The game includes hundreds of creative prompts to help you generate your story and guide the main character towards a confrontation with cosmic evil. You take turns to drip weird events into the story, building up your mystery one clue at a time.  Each player creates a secret theory about the horror and the truth about the horror emerges from those theories. By the end you’ll reach a chilling climax that none of you could have predicted at the start.

Lovecraftesque is easy to learn and teach, simple and intuitive to play, with hundreds of prompts to fire your imagination. It can be played with 1-5 players in around 2 hours.

Lovecraftesque is created by Josh Fox and Becky Annison of Black Armada Games, the award-winning publishers who brought you Wreck This Deck, Last Fleet, Flotsam: Adrift Amongst The Stars and Bite Marks.

A mock up of the Lovecraftesque core box
A New Edition

We created the first edition of Lovecraftesque back in 2015. It was our first game design project and we were delighted with its success. It’s received critical acclaim, won awards and gained thousands of fans around the world. But we were new to publishing then, and the costs and risks meant we were unable to realise our full vision for the game. In this new edition we’ve created the game we always wanted to.

The second edition is fully card-driven. It gives your group more support for their creativity through prompt cards that help you get your story set up and populate it with interesting clues, characters and locations. The story will seem to write itself.

There are also brand new card-based scenarios to get your story off to a flying start. Check out the scenarios list to see the incredible range of fresh exciting settings for eldritch horror, written by a diverse slate of talent from across the industry. Like the rest of the game, these are written on cards, meaning you can easily mix and match to make up your own weird tales.

With the new card-driven approach the game is even easier to learn, teach and play. The rules and structure of the game are written into the cards and your progress is tracked on the board, so you always know what you’re meant to be doing. As always we include teaching text to make it easy for you to learn and teach the game at the table, and tools to avoid the stereotypes of Lovecraft’s own work.

We are also commissioning new art by Vincent Sammy and Paul Tomes to make the game look cooler than ever before.

Lovecraftesque second edition will be available as a boxed set with the rules and all the cards you need, and as a virtual tabletop for online play.

Lovecraftesque is crowdfunding from 10 October to 9 November 2023. Pre-order now and become one of the first to back the project!

Lovecraftesque second edition has brand new scenarios!

We are just 24 hours off the launch of our crowdfunding campaign for Lovecraftesque second edition. If you are excited for the new edition you should follow the campaign now so you can back as soon as the campaign goes live!

As part of the new edition, we have commissioned a ton of new writers to create brand new scenarios for the game, as well as writing a bunch ourselves and updating a few of the scenarios from the first edition. They really are incredibly diverse – not just the writers themselves, but the fresh and exciting settings that they have brought to eldritch horror. I don’t think you’ll find a more unique and original set of cosmic horror scenarios anywhere (though the first edition of Lovecraftesque gives it a run for its money!)

The new scenarios come on cards, just like the rest of the game’s creative prompts, and provide pre-generated characters, locations and clues that you can use to create a story with a distinct flavour. These aren’t pre-plotted adventures, but rich ingredients that you deploy at the table to create your own eldritch mystery. Whenever you use them, they’re mixed in with some standard cards from the core game. As a result, every play through is different, and every scenario is infinitely replayable.

More than that, you can recombine the cards in the scenarios with each other and with those in the core deck to create scenarios of your own. With about 240 cards across the scenarios, it is an awesome bank of cosmic horror ideas and prompts.

Here is the full list of scenarios.

  • A Place In The Country by Lynne Hardy. The Norton Hotel Consortium plans to turn Rowan Hall into a luxury hotel and spa. But what mysteries lurk within the dilapidated hall and gardens? And why is its current owner so desperate to sell? 
  • A Witch’s Love by Michele Gelli. Caterina Sforza (1460~1509), ruler of Imola and Countess of Forlì, political leader and alchemist, was a tough cookie. She held hostage the Vatican’s conclave and she’s said to be a witch who had a well to dispose of bodies of “discarded” lovers. Can Caterina’s presence cross space and time? Can her love change the destiny of a team of archaeologists that are investigating her old castle?
  • Atlantis Swallowed by Becky Annison. Thousands of years ago and the sea levels are lapping at the heels of Atlantis. With greater technological prowess than anything a modern civilization has seen, they are confident they can hold back the waters. But a deeper rot has seeped in through the cracks.
  • Blow Ye Winds by Sasha Sienna and Jonathan Sims. In 1831, the British port of Peterhead processed the butchered blubber of over a thousand whales a year, hunted and killed off the coast of Greenland. Dr Andrew Campbell has left his landlocked life behind to serve as surgeon on the whaling vessel Sanguine, but his first voyage will not be an easy one as a strangeness begins to affect the ship.
  • Echoes of Vulcan by Darla Burrow. It is strange days in Pompeii. Phantoms walk the streets, doors open to tunnels where once they opened to courtyards, and birds fall dead from the sky. Something awful is coming, but what is it and how does it connect to the mysterious Cult of Mithras?
  • Ex Nihilo by Joshua Fox. A spaceship is sent to explore the last frontier of science by entering the black hole V616 Monocerotis “Mon”. The journey into the singularity is even more terrifying than expected.
  • Mr Giggles Comes To Dinner by Misha Bushyager. Your kid won’t shut up about their ‘imaginary friend’s’ exploits. So far, so normal, until you start experiencing them too.
  • Nothingness has a thousand endings by Bryan Thao Worra. In this scenario, the witness takes a step into the 1990s Southeast Asian refugee community in a working class neighborhood in the US to resolve a mysterious debt of uncertain consequences.
  • On Ilkla Moor Bah’tat by Becky Annison. Ilkley Moor is a dark and foreboding place for a young world war II evacuee miles from the city she called home. What lurks in the soothing waters of the suspicious Hydro Hotel and are the locals friendly or ready to offer her up on a plate?
  • The Chicxulub Horrors by Santiago Villa. In the coast of Yucatán where an ancient meteorite has created a gargantuan underground crater that is now a web of tunnels, a man disappears. During the art boom of the 1930’s in Mexico, painter and muralist Hervé Pelletier has gone missing and his wife, Amaranta Vera, has arrived at Chicxulub Puerto, a town nestled over the crater’s dead center, to look for him.
  • The Hidden Cabinet by Helen Gould. A scenario about whispered rumours, duplicitous politicians, and what really happens in the corridors of power. What will you find behind these closed doors?
  • The Sea Hungers by Thomas Manuel. It’s Bombay in 1728. As the East India Company recovers from a ferocious defeat at the hands of legendary pirate admiral Kanhoji Angre, a naive, young marine discovers a sinister plot involving sacrifice and spirals of blood.  
  • We serve and protect by Kenneth Hite. A long hot summer of protests rocks the streets of Chicago in the 1970s, and you rock with them. Until the cops pen you in, snatch you up, and take you to the precinct house, where worse things than rubber hoses wait in the basement. The Chicago Police Department serves and protects… but what inhuman entity do the cops who have you serve? What dark secrets do they protect?
  • Wolfshead by Joshua Fox. Sherwood, Nottinghamshire, in the 13th century. A hapless cutpurse robs the wrong person and finds themselves in possession of a strange item. Now they have the Baron’s men hunting for them – but that may not be the worst thing that stalks the night.
  • The Copycat Canal Murders by Becky Annison. Ritual murders spanning a century are investigated again in the age of DNA profiling and AI. Will the truth of the horrifying secrets on the foggy banks of the canal finally be revealed?
  • The Outer Gods by Nick Bate. The year is 23XX. Humanity has colonised the Solar System aboard reality-rending liveships, warding themselves against unearthly things hiding in the dark through ritual and prayer. Monette is one such liveship, a salvager investigating the sudden reappearance of a lost generation ship. What will they find aboard the deadship Yog-Sothoth?
  • The Siren’s Caw by W.H. Arthur. Every summer, visitors from London and beyond are drawn to the seaside resort of Brighton. Are they called here by the eldritch forces from beneath the waves, or is there something even more sinister from across time and space?
  • Through The Waters, Darkly by Josh Fox. A research and exploration base has been set up at the bottom of the deepest place on Earth: the Mariana Trench. The small team of scientists are isolated in the cold depths as they explore the last frontier of our planet. Isolated, yes: but not alone.

Lovecraftesque second edition launches on Backerkit crowdfunding tomorrow – Tuesday 10 October, at 11am ET / 4pm BST. Follow the campaign and be one of the first to back the new edition.

Lovecraftesque 2e has hidden UV art!

We’re ONE WEEK away from the launch of the Lovecraftesque 2e crowdfunding campaign and, to celebrate, I want to share with you a very exciting part of Lovecraftesque 2e which is *hidden UV art*. The new edition will come with a UV torch, and when you shine it on the box, board and rulebook you’ll see extra detail that was invisible before.

The cover of Lovecraftesque shows a lone figure investigating some weird-looking cocoons while a skull-like monster lurks behind them.

When you turn the torch on, extra detail is revealed: tentacles, egg sacs and a summoning circle centred on the figure.
A mock-up of what the UV cover will look like

We first saw this approach in the Italian edition of Lovecraftesque 1e by Narrattiva, and we’re stealing it wholesale. Every illustration will contain hidden details and the text itself will be splattered with sigils, blood stains and tentacles. Check out the Italian edition cover below – you’ll be seeing something very similar on the new edition’s rulebook.

The Italian edition of Lovecraftesque 1e

The art for this game is going to be SO GOOD. You’ve seen the awesome cover by our lead illustrator Vincent Sammy, who also illustrated Bite Marks. There’s more where that came from. Check out this gorgeously creepy illustration for the game’s board, also by Vincent Sammy – shown here with its UV art.

The board for Lovecraftesque 2e.

And we also have Paul Tomes creating interior illustrations for the book. We’ve long admired Paul’s style and we’re really excited to have him on board. Take a look at this terrific piece showing horror about to unfold in a mine. Again, there will be UV on this one, but you’ll have to wait to see that.

A cross section of a mine, with tiny figures dressed in high-vis. Lurking behind the rock face are enormous tentacles about to break through.
One of Paul Tomes’ illustrations for Lovecraftesque 2e

As always, commissioning art for games is my favourite bit about being a small press publisher. It’s always delightful to see our weird ideas turned into something gorgeous, and to support artists while doing it.

The campaign for Lovecraftesque 2e is here.

Lovecraftesque 2e: what’s new

We are just TWO WEEKS from our crowdfunding of Lovecraftesque second edition (you can sign up to be notified when the campaign launches here). There are a ton of exciting things to share about the new game and I’ll be announcing them day by day.

But let’s start really basic: what is new in the game’s core design?

It’s still a GMless storytelling game where you share control of one main character, and also share the job of creating the clues that drive the mystery. It’s still about slow-building mystery culminating in worldview-shattering horror and a bleak ending for the main character.

But the game now comes with a plethora of prompts to help you create the characters, locations and clues.

You get a dedicated deck of Location Cards with prompts to generate the places where the horror unfolds, and a deck of Character Cards with prompts to create NPCs your main character might encounter. The two of these together help you rapidly generate the setting for your game; perhaps you’ll be presented with a Holy Place, a Remote Location and a Natural Feature and immediately think to yourself “that sounds like a monastery in the mountains”. Once you’ve decided your basic setting, the cards enable you to create a bunch of ready-to-go story elements that you can grab and quickly turn into a scene.

Then there’s the Mystery Deck, which is the engine that drives the unfolding mystery. The Mystery Deck contains Clue Cards with a theme for a Clue. Themes like technology, strange writings, weird construction, and rites & customs. With each card, you can straight away imagine the sorts of eldritch weirdness you might create. But to make it even easier, the cards contain a handful of prompts that you can quickly flesh out to turn into a Clue.

The Mystery Deck also contains Special Cards, just like the ones in the first edition of the game, that allow you to break the rules. These shake up the story so that just occasionally the main character will get killed midway through the story, and pick up a new character; or, even more surprising, they might actually defeat the horror at the end.

The game also comes with scenarios, just like the first edition, written by a diverse international slate of authors and covering fresh and varied venues for cosmic horror. What’s new is, the scenarios are written on cards. This makes it simple to set up the characters and locations where everyone can see them, and dish out the clues to the group. Further, you can recombine the scenario cards with cards from other scenarios and those from the main deck to create your own scenarios, and for infinite replayability.

The scenarios aren’t stretch goals: we’re funding them as part of our main goal. There will be a set included in the main game, and more available as expansion packs. We’ll be announcing details in the coming days.

Alongside those you have the Story Track and Story Cards, which guide you through the game. They serve a similar role to the teaching guide in 1e, walking you through each part of the game so you always know what to do next. This is a bit like the way games like For The Queen present each new step of the game on cards, making it simple to follow the structure of the game.

We haven’t got rid of the teaching guide, by the way – we know this was a favourite feature of the first edition. What we have done though is integrate it into the rulebook so that the whole text is now presented as a read-out-loud guide.

Finally you have Rule Cards which describe the key rules of the game – things like the creeping horror rule which limit how extreme the clues can be. These serve as a handy reference but also help to highlight when the rules change mid-game – it’s very satisfying to discard the rules that have been limiting the horror and know that the leash is off!

All this makes for a hugely improved experience: better creative support, slicker, easier to learn rules, and a more accessible game. I’ve successfully taught and played a full session of Lovecraftesque in 90 minutes and the group was BUZZING with how much fun they had and how easy it was to pick up.

I’ll be back with more over the next two weeks. In the mean time, if you haven’t already, you should get yourself signed up to be notified when the project launches. Don’t miss it!

Lovecraftesque second edition is coming!

Check out the preview page and sign up for updates

We’re launching a new edition of Lovecraftesque, the classic storytelling game of creeping cosmic horror. Lovecraftesque creates chilling eldritch mysteries that keep the whole table in suspense right until the end: the story emerges over a single session as if by magic without any prep, planning or discussion. The first edition was critically acclaimed, won the Gioco Dell’Anno (Game Of The Year) award, was a finalist in the IGDN indie groundbreakers, and influenced a generation of mystery games like Brindlewood Bay, Apocalypse Keys and Bleak Spirit. We’re crowdfunding a new second edition boxed set, building on the lessons from the first to make an even slicker, more inspiring, easier-to-learn experience, with brand new art and a plethora of exciting new scenarios for the game. The campaign launches in October.

If you like the sound of that you can find out more and sign up for updates here.

Cute familiars and spooky mansions!

Familiar Friends is a cozy journaling game about the lives of witches’ familiars, and the silly adventures they get up to. It’s solo-first but it also works as a light GMless game for a gang of familiars. It’s a lot of fun! You can get it now by supporting the Black Armada Patreon – and of course it will be available on our itch store in a few months.

Ghost Hunt Live! is a game about TV ghost hunters staking out spooky mansions and uncovering the lives of the ghosts they find there. It’s a Lovecraftesque hack where your TV psychic will gradually discover the truth about a haunted place, ably aided by the crew of your TV show. GHL is on its way to the Black Armada Patreon imminently.

It’s a good time to join the Patreon – for a mere $5 you can get our previous release Polis, plus Familiar Friends and Ghost Hunt Live! when it releases. Not bad!

Wreck This Deck is available to pre-order

Wreck This Deck, the dark urban fantasy journaling game of demon summoning and deck crafting, is at the printers and shipping in the next few weeks. If you missed the crowdfunding campaign, you can pre-order it here.

Wreck This Deck is LIVE on Backerkit!

Wreck This Deck is a dark urban fantasy game of solo journaling, demon summoning and deck crafting. Summon and bind demons into your Demon Deck, defacing the cards as you go. The game was first published during lockdown and saw a lot of play, and we’re now crowdfunding the print zine that it always deserved, using Backerkit’s new crowdfunding platform.

In Wreck This Deck you will:

  • Delve into dark knowledge and live life on the edge as a demon-summoning deck runner.
  • Bind demons into your haunted deck, wielding their strength for yourself.
  • Modify playing cards, creating a personalized deck spattered with paint, blood and sigils.
  • Unleash the power of your demon deck to fight corporations, right injustice and protect your community. 

Pledge now to help us get the strongest possible launch!

Dragonmeet and Indie Games on the Hour

We will be at Dragonmeet this weekend – our first convention since the start of the great unmentionable. Dragonmeet is at the Novotel in Hammersmith on Saturday December 4th 2021.

We will be on the UK Indie RPG League stall, with a bunch of great designers from Biscuit Fund Games, Certain Death, The Rolistes, Sinister Beard Games and Wordplay Games.

We’ll be bringing all our usual big games with us – Lovecraftesque, Bite Marks, Last Fleet – but also a raft of our smaller zine-size and 2-page games that we have printed for the occasion. The map below shows where you can find us in the lower trade hall. Drop by and say hi!

We will also be at Indie Games on the Hour, Dragonmeet’s best gaming experience. Show up on the hour any time between 9 and 5 and we’ll set you up with a 2-hour game! No booking required. You can dip in and still have time to explore the rest of the convention, or binge-play back to back sessions of awesome indie games. We will be on the 2nd floor in room D3 (Fronsac). There’s a list of the games we’re offering is shown below (subject to Covid uncertainty of course).

TimeGames on offer
9-11Avatar: Legends; Microscope Sleeping Beauty; Rogue Scroll; Galactic.
10-12Yazeba’s B&B; For The Queen; Mork Borg; Mausritter.
11-1Goblin Country; Paris Gondo – The Lifesaving Magic Of Inventorying; Liminal; Out Of The Ashes.
12-2Smithy of Sacrilege; Cthulhu Dark; Quietus; Stealing The Throne.
1-3Project Cassandra; Terminal Salvage; Avatar: Legends; Microscope Sleeping Beauty; One More Quest.
2-4Folk, Form, Phenomenon; Radical Catgirl Anarchy; Love & Barbed Wire; Stealing The Throne.
3-5Stealing The Throne; Liminal; Out Of The Ashes; Zombie World.
4-6One More Quest; Goblin Country; Stealing The Stones; The Great British Snake Off.
5-7Project Cassandra; Terminal Salvage; Folk, Form, Phenomenon; Radical Catgirl Anarchy.

We also have games available to pick up and play in our Games Library including: Apocalypse World, Cheat Your Own Adventure, Dialect, Dungeon World, Fiasco, Goblin Quest, Lady Blackbird, Lasers & Feelings, Lovecraftesque, Masks, Microscope, Monsterhearts, Monster of the Week, Night Witches, Psi*Run, Trophy Dark …plus lots of smaller games such as Honey Heist, Adventure Skeletons and more.

Hope to see you there!

The UK Indie League

We’re a small group of indie tabletop roleplaying game publishers based in the UK.

Upcoming Events

We’ll be attending UK Games Expo 2024. We are at stall Stand 1-856. Drop by and visit!

We’ll also be at Dragonmeet 2024 – details TBC.

The League Membership

Biscuit Fund Games is the small press name for the creations of Chloe Montgomery and Alyssa Ridley, two trans women in their mid-20s working together to create exciting new roleplaying and tabletop games.

Black Armada Games, creators of games that unlock the creativity of your group, bring your favourite genres to life and give you feelings in your heart. We publish Wreck This Deck, Lovecraftesque, Bite Marks, Last Fleet and Flotsam: Adrift Amongst the Stars, along with many smaller games.

Certain Death is the publishing company of Chris Longhurst, writer and game designer behind Strike Force Omega, Pigsmoke, Bleak Spirit, Gods and Monsters, See Issue X, and more.

The Rolistes is the home of tabletop RPG fans across the Channel, the Pond and beyond. Kalum started this multimedia umbrella with several podcasts and streamed shows, before branching out into live events and now tabletop RPG publishing. His first step in game design is Paris Gondo – The Life-Saving Magic of Inventorying. The Rolistes also publishes translations, between French, English and Spanish, of small format roleplaying games including Shakespeare in Role and The Feather & the Butterfly.

Sinister Beard Games publishes tabletop RPGs for beautiful weirdos, including Quietus, the roleplaying game of melancholy horror, Night Reign, and the upcoming Extreme Meatpunks Forever. It’s run by Oli Jeffery, who’s been regretting the name every since he chose it.

Wordplay Games

Welcome to Black Armada

Black Armada Games is run by Joshua Fox and Becky Annison. We create roleplaying games that unlock the creativity of your group, bring your favourite genres to life and give you feelings in your heart. We lovingly craft our games to provide memorable experiences, and work with awesome artists and printers to create beautiful physical books. You can find all our games in our store or, if you really love our stuff, back our Patreon to get regular games from us.