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Indie RPG Spotlight - Dread

Indie RPG Spotlight - Dread

Dread is a special role playing game. It doesn't use dice or cards for conflict resolution. It uses a Jenga tower. The mechanics of this lead players into the careful buildup of tension, the punctuated climax (where someone typically dies), the backing off, and the resumed slow build. In a sense, this role playing game elegantly uses its rules to emulate the structure of that particular tension-driven style of horror story. It is an excellent example of mechanism design, in the sense that the rules are designed to lead players toward a particular outcome regardless of their individual intents or abilities.

Well, aside from their abilities at Jenga itself.

Rym and Scott of GeekNights presented "Beyond Dungeons & Dragons" at PAX Australia 2013. (They've previously presented this at ConnectiCon 2008, PAX Prime 2008, PAX Prime 2009, PAX East 2010, MAGFest X, and dozens of other conventions). This is a short excerpt from that full lecture, spotlighting one of the specific game examples they used.

Full Lecture

Source Link


  • Played Dread at Origins several years ago. Yes it does do the tension thing great. Only problem in our game was that my buddy and I are serious ROLEplayers so we were pulling blocks at a much faster rate than was expected with the adventure.

    Example: look through a house for supplies.

    The adventure as written specified one pull per room to gain supplies. Adventure as we played it we were pulling sticks every time we moved furniture or opened a cabinet.
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