A downloadable mapmaking game

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The monsters' time is over.
But some still remain.
Along with the strange fruit That fills pockets,
And their bellies.
We strive for another world
Perhaps the world from before.
But the world from before Is gone.
We must grow
Something new.

Gathering Storm is a collaborative world-building game. Your planet was occupied by an alien force, who brought their customs, rules and an alien fruit. After years of resistance, the occupation has ended, but they’ve left behind this fruit, and everyone holds a secret from those difficult times. 

In Gathering Storm, the game guides the players through adding elements to a map, imagining a postcolonial sci-fi world and then giving a set of characters to inhabit this space through a streamlined standard card-based system. Through a series of prompts, players come to terms with hidden histories and present injustices. No previous experience of tabletop gaming is necessary to play. 

Players 1-6
Duration One 1-2 hour session
Requires Paper, pens, a standard deck of cards and a coin. 

The game is a completely self-contained GM-less game that teaches the players the rules as they play. Characters are assigned from the face cards, secrets are assigned through the hearts and jokers. The rest of the card deck is used as the oracle, giving prompts for events that happen to the community.

Gathering Storm is an open source system, entirely CC-BY-4.0, so remix, hack and reconfigure the text however you want. Let me know what you create.

The zine is made available as standard A5 pages and spreads, but also for an A2 double-sided print for an outsized (A5) pocketmod made of one single piece of folded paper. It is reasonably legible printed on A3 for an A6 pockemod.

This game has come out of thinking about my familial link to colonial food production and the legacy of agriculture as a tool to consolidate authority. My  grandfather always regretted what happened in Kenya. The introduction of the pineapple cash crop, the use of insecticides like DDT that destroyed a whole ecosystem, the enclosure of lands, the entire colonial project. It was the beginning of the silent spring, at the time of a last brutal chapter for the British Empire.

He was a part of the Swynnerton Plan, a British scheme to create an indigenous land-owning class in Kenya, consolidating colonial authority through agriculture. The plan failed to quell the rebellion, but helped to create a corporate pineapple industry that survives to this day. But now the earth is burning, crops are failing, and people try to live on.


A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiong’o

Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler

The Quiet Year by Avery Alder

Orbital by Jack Harrision

The Deep Forest by Mark Diaz Truman and Avery Alder Mcdaldno

The Ground Itself by Everest Pipkin

Beak, Feather & Bone by Tyler Crumrine

The Word for World is Forest by Ursula K. Le Guin

The game has been developed as part of Delfina Foundation’s fifth season of the Politics of Food, in partnership with Gaia Art Foundation


Get this mapmaking game and 10 more for $15.00 USD
View bundle
Buy Now
On Sale!
35% Off
$10.00 $6.50 USD or more

In order to download this mapmaking game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $6.50 USD. You will get access to the following files:

gathering storm booklet A5 pages.pdf 2 MB
gathering storm booklet A2 pocketmod.pdf 12 MB
gathering storm booklet A5 spreads.pdf 2 MB

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If you're in need and can't afford a copy of the game, help yourself to a community copy of the digital zine. Please rate the game if you do so. 


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This is a thought provoking game with a lot of depth. I work alongside regenerative farmers as part of a local food supply web and so the themes are very dear to me. The game play just works! I like the secrets, the splitting of the pack and most of all the map making and annotating. This makes more sense to me than a purely word based journalling and helps keep a game play focus. I really like the references and inspirations. These give Gathering Storm a very solid context. It is also so good to see gameplay sitting in alongside others arts at the Delfina Foundation.  A quick note on the A5 spreads I am picking up stray text on the last page .. curious! Thank you very much for this David


Thank you so much Gwyrdh, I'm so glad the game both worked easily and as resonant. It took a lot of research and playtesting to get to this point, so it's gratifying that the effort lead to a more cohesive experience. Your work sounds fascinating, I'd love to hear more, and hear any more about slices of gameplay. Oh and good spot on the spreads issue! I was using that back page to store some unused ideas and didn't realise it had transfered to the pdf, as I must have checked only the "pages" version. I've uploaded a corrected file.

That was speedy :-) Well my work ranges from a workers cooperative running an organic farm shop with www.harvestworkerscoop.org.uk to storywalks and farm exploring with www.organicarts.org.uk I have come to the conclusion that mostly everything is storytelling with a view to supporting healthy people and communities. Tomorrow we are off to sing to apple trees!! I am curious to see how it happens but the first Gathering Storm gameplay led so well from prompt to prompt there was a real logic to the evolving story. All of this is from an involvement in DnD way back in the 70s and a recent rediscovery of itch.io and the huge range of game styles and inspirations. I am always looking for where the game can link to my working practice. Thanks for asking :-)


The gameplay is based on Avery Alder’s The Quiet Year, with some specific alterations 


The game is inspired by Ngugi Wa’Thiongo’s novel, A Grain of Wheat