Alice Is Missing RPG
Alice is Missing is a silent role playing game about the disappearance of Alice Briarwood, a high school junior in the sleepy Northern California town of Silent Falls.
During the game, players use their phones to send text messages to each other as they unearth clues about what happened to Alice. The game runs over a single session of two or three hours.
There is no formal game master, but one player will need to explain and facilitate the rules. In the first 45 minutes, players create their characters, their relationships to Alice, and their ties with each other. The next 90 minutes follow the characters text message conversations as they uncover Alices fate.
The game is played live and without verbal communication. Players inhabit their character for the entirety of the 90-minute play session, and instead of speaking, send text messages back and forth to the other characters in a group chat, as well as individually, as though they aren’t in the same place together.
Haunting beautiful, deeply personal, and highly innovative Alice is Missing puts a strong focus on the emotional engagement between players, immersing them in a tense, dramatic mystery that unfolds organically through the text messages they send to one another. Right at home with games like Life Is Strange, Gone Home, Oxenfree, and Firewatch, it’s designed to feel as much like an event-style experience as it does a role-playing game.
Alice Is Missing runs over a single session of 2-3 hours, with 3-5 players. In the first 45 minutes, players create their characters, their relationships to Alice, and their ties with each other. The next 90 minutes are spent uncovering secrets and unearthing clues in an attempt to discover where Alice is, and who is behind her disappearance.
Though text messages seem to be the most common mode of communication in our modern era, they are rarely utilized as a storytelling medium.
The integration of texting into the gameplay unlocks a brand new way to play RPGs that is unlike anything you’ve likely experienced before. It’s personal, immersive, and perfect for remote play.
Powered by simple but unique card mechanics that give everyone equal footing in telling the story, the game runs without a GM, or gamemaster, and instead empowers the players to create the story together.
While in-game time is fluid and the text messages could take place over the course of a day or more, the actual gameplay lasts a total of 90 minutes and is accompanied by a beautifully cinematic, licensed music playlist (featuring artists such as Message To Bears, This Patch of Sky, Justin LaPointe, and Be Still The Earth) which acts as both a timer and a soundtrack for the game.
How to Play
You’ll start by choosing characters, drawing a motive for how that character acts, and assigning relationships to one another. Then, using the appropriate prompts on your character card, each player will record a secret voicemail to be played at the end of the game.
You’ll then establish some important information about your town of Silent Falls by choosing suspects and locations you think could have played a part in Alice’s disappearance. Lastly, you’ll receive Clue Cards that will be used during the game to generate information about the mystery you’re unraveling.
Once the timer starts and the game begins, you’ll flip your Clue Card when the number on the timer hits the number on the Clue Card’s back. This will often result in you drawing a card from the Suspect or Location deck and combining it with the prompt on the Clue Card to create the information your character uncovers.
This clue is then worked into the text conversation between the characters organically.
These clues will continue to be revealed throughout the game, building tension and heightening the stakes until the 10-minute card flips, and the game comes to its climactic end.
The End of the Game
Once the timer goes off at 90 minutes, players will have the opportunity to send one last text message before the secret voicemails play over the closing music track. Once the voicemails are finished and the current song ends, the game comes to a close.
By putting its lens on the relationships, tensions, and story arcs between the characters looking for Alice just as much as the search for Alice itself, the game challenges players to explore aspects of emotional intimacy and personal connection in a unique and accessible way.
Alice Is Missing inherently deals with mature themes and potentially-difficult topics such as gender, sexuality, violence, and grief. We’ve been lucky enough to bring on the incredibly talented Lauren McManamon (Girl Underground, Good Society: A Jane Austen RPG, Codex) as our editor to ensure these topics are approached in a thoughtful and responsible manner.
We’ve also included important tools to help navigate these themes at the table (and off the table) to ensure everyone has both an exhilarating and positive experience.
Though the game has been in development for the last year, in an unintentional way, it mirrors the reality we now face during this era of social distancing; the craving for connection despite the distance that may be between us.
Alice is Missing provides a unique way to play without the traditional hang-ups that come with trying to structure a Virtual Table Top session. Since the only time you'll need to 'go to the table' is to grab a card. The meat of gameplay exists on your mobile devices.
* 72 cards
Designer: Spenser Starke
Artist: Julianne Griepp