This month’s Fandible Patreon notebook entry is a special one for me – it’s been six years in the making. It also marks 12 consecutive months of Notebook content from the entire Fandible crew. I am so proud to finally be able to release Out of the Box into the world for Patreon supporters at the $5 level and higher.
Out of the Box started back in 2013, when I was fully immersed in the game design conversations happening on Google Plus. It seemed like everyone was creating a game then, and I wanted in on the fun. So I began toying (…pun intended) around with a little game about toys and their adventures when humans weren’t paying attention. The inspiration is absolutely heavily drawn from the Toy Story franchise, but I’ve been obsessed with the secret lives of toys since I was first introduced to The Velveteen Rabbit, and I’ve muddled about with variations on the theme ever since.
In November 2013, I took “The Toy Box” to Metatopia, and halfway through the weekend landed on the title “Out of the Box” as a much more descriptive, active title. The original logline was A game of epic adventure on a small scale. Play as beloved childhood toys working to protect your child from the things that go bump in the night, on a quest to be so loved that you become real. I had three rounds of playtests, and unfortunately basically don’t remember anyone’s name from back then (in my defense, it was six years ago!). But there were great conversations happening about the themes of childhood and nostalgia that the game evoked. I was on the right track!
And yet the game sat on my digital shelves for six years. I just couldn’t quite get the system to sing. I wanted something light, something that allowed for a wide variety of character types. I wanted Fate…but even that seemed like a lot for a light little game about toys.
Eventually, Fate Accelerated came out though, and it all clicked. Then I just needed a reason to dust the game off and put on the finishing touches. I’ve been kicking this around for a year, since we first launched the Fandible notebooks, and here it finally is.
Out of the Box is still “a game of epic adventure on a small scale.” You play as Real Toys, to borrow a concept from The Velveteen Rabbit, who, like the cast from Toy Story, can interact with the world when the humans aren’t paying attention. Additional inspiration comes from media ranging from The Brave Little Toaster and Winnie-the-Pooh, to Bunnicula and Fraggle Rock, as part of the fun comes from playing toys who know they are toys…but still have a child’s understanding of the world. It’s built on the Fate Accelerated system (you’ll need a copy of that to play), and includes new mechanics to build your toy box (to help flesh out the world you live in), plus a new stress track, called Exposure, to track when the adults get suspicious of finding these Toys all over the house.
As mentioned, this marks the twelfth GM’s Notebook for the Fandible Patreon, and the fourth original game released. If you back us at the $5 level or higher, you not only get access to Out of the Box, but Three Goblins in a Trenchcoat (and the supplement Three if by Trenchcoat),We Are the Cartoon Heroes, and Cats & Corpses. Plus there’s Shadowrun and Star Wars supplements, system-agnostic adventures for superhero games, an End of the World scenario, and even a Purge-themed random table, and more!
Look out for news next month on how the first six months of Fandible Notebook content can be accessed without a Patreon subscription!
I hope you’ll enjoy reading, and playing, Out of the Box. Please let us know if you have a chance to bring it to your table!
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