The Triptych & Diptych

Triptych (trip-tick) n. A picture or carving on three panels able to fold over the centre; a set of three associated works so placed esp. as a centre piece; a set of three writing tablets hinged or tied together; a set of three artistic works; such used as an altar piece; a treatise in three parts.

Diptych (dip-tick) n. A picture or carving as above, except one of the panels has been nicked.

Each year Pheno invites respected designers to present bespoke single-session games: a set of three more serious games (the Triptych) and a pair of lighter, more humorous games (the Diptych).

These games have tended to be systemless (emphasising characterisation and drama over rules use and tactical simulation), and showcase what we consider the best of Pheno roleplaying: characterisation, genre, entertainment, innovation.

Players and teams can enter each game by itself and the games will be judged separately, but complete teams finishing all three games of the Triptych will also be eligible for the Triptych Perpetual Trophy. Teams finishing both Diptychs will be eligible for the Diptych Perpetual Trophy.

The Triptych

The Triptych games may not be always dark and angsty, but they will be pretty serious in tone. All are for 5 players.

The Diptych

The Diptych games are a light brain cleanser after the Triptych. They may be silly, they may not. They are for 5 players.

The Triptych


by Xole Karman

Near the end of a great war, the hero Paris is dead, and five women of Troy come together.

Hekabe, to bury her son.
Tomorrow, she will lose another.

Helene, to mourn her husband.
Tomorrow, she will be remarried.

Kassandra, to lead the rites for her brother’s funeral.
Tomorrow, she will become a mother.

Polyxene, to prepare her brother’s body for burial.
Tomorrow, she will be murdered.

Penthesileia, to sing of the dead warrior’s glories.
Tomorrow, she will die in battle.

Tomorrow, Troy will fall.

An Unshelled Turtle Production, for five people, by Xole Karman.

What’s the game again?The feminine view of an event normally described from the masculine perspective.
Genre/settingMythic/Bronze-Age Greece.
SystemNone. A basic knowledge of the Trojan War would be helpful for players. Read Wikipedia.
RatingMA15+. Please use care selecting this game as it has emotional content and characters with backgrounds of abuse.


Building Home

by Tina Ryan

There are no guarantees in life. Even having a solid job on an established colony doesn't mean safety. Accidents happen, space is vast, some things cannot be cured, people die. You and your friends know this well, having lost your families far too young, with no one to take you in.

The Weyland-Yutani Corporation, Building Better Worlds—took responsibility for you and placed you at the Weyland-Yutani Corporation Orphanage and Educational Facility on planet Wolf-Lamoy. However, your time as a ward of the Corporation has come to an end, and it's time to take responsibility for your selves and start earning your keep.

What kind of future do teenagers with no money, no family and a corporate education have?

What's the game again?SciFi Horror for 5 players.
SeriousnessI'm sure it will all turn out fine.
Genre/settingSci-Fi Horror.
SystemThe game mechanics are small and will be fully explained during play.
RatingMA. Warning: violence, death and gore.


Don't you forget about me

by Sandra d'Argeaval

The accidental death of Tim Williams, on the night of the school formal in 1985, shook the graduating class of Stanhope Public High School to the core. Some mourned, some were angry, and some even blamed themselves.

At the 20 year reunion, five ex-classmates examine the choices they made, the lives they lived and ponder the life that could have been. As they toast Tim’s memory, the room fades away…

Five people get the chance to go back to high school. What would you change if you could?

What's the game again?What are we if we are not the sum of our choices?
SeriousnessThis game contains serious/adult themes.
Genre/settingA school reunion with skeletons in the closet


Let Them Eat

A comedy of entitled nobles, fabulous outfits, and disenfranchised zombies, for 4 to 6 players.

The night of the Royal Ball is the biggest night of the year for the nobility of the land. It's the chance to advance one's position, cozy up to the Empress, and be seen looking fabulous. There is literally nothing more important than looking good at the Ball. Literally nothing.

Which is a problem, because the peasants are revolting. Literally. They're doing that peasanty shambling walk, and their skins are all peasanty grey, and they're doing that awful peasanty moan that they do. They're far too lazy to work the land and so they're demanding that the royal court give them grains. "Grains, grains," they moan. Or at least you think that's what they're saying. Thankfully you can barely hear them over the music of the ball.

They're banging pretty loudly on the palace doors though, and some of them are starting to press up against the stained glass windows, and one might worry they're about to get in if one wasn't so busy looking fabulous. In any case, it's clear that dealing with the peasants is someone else's problem. *You* have a spotlight to steal…

Let Them Eat is a comedy for four to six spoiled nobles. Players take the role of aristocrats trying to impress their peers during a zombie peasant uprising, and are required to balance the competing priorities of agreeing with the Empress, wearing something outstanding, and not being eaten by the undead. The game uses a custom card-based system to structure play. Play is competitive and character death is possible, but all players are guaranteed participation throughout the session.

What’s the game again?Period zombie political drama
Genre/settingHorror comedy
SystemCustom, no rules knowledge required
Movie ratingM (comedic violence and gore)


Race for the Throne

The King is dead… a Kingdom mourns. One of five cousins must step forward.

A new ruler will be crowned… a Kingdom speculates and the common people mutter.

Will it be Serephrima, daughter of the old Kings sister?
But she’s a female. Yes, however her betrothed isn’t bad and if they marry quickly he’ll rule.
Nobody knows why they’ve delayed the wedding five times already.

Will it be Donovan, the eldest of the royal cousins?
But he’s always coming down with something, he’s so sickly he could die at any moment and then we’d have to go through this all over again. Yes, however he just needs a nice good, healthy girl to get with child and we’ll be all good.
You better hope he’s smart enough to see that.

Will it be Scott, son of the old Kings younger brother?
But he’s so dumb, you know he’ll just be a pawn for the most cunning and smartest of the Lords. So he has good friends, one of them will take the reins. After all, it’s not the first puppet we’ve had on the throne: remember King Dilbert, Duke Dogbert kept the Kingdom stable.
Duke Dogbert nearly drained the coffers completely with all those social welfare programs.

Will it be Micheal, the youngest of the royal cousins?
But he’s sworn his oaths to the Gods, it would blasphemous to make him a secular ruler. We can find a Deakin somewhere to release him from his oaths and it won’t hurt us to go to temple more often.
But I don’t want to go to temple more often…

Will it be Glinda, daughter of the old Kings younger brother?
She’s a witch, burn her! She’s not a witch, she’s a sorceress and everyone knows that a good sorceress is the best sorceress.
That’s still uncanny magic.

Will it be Apollyon, the old Kings bastard?

So the five Royal Cousins ride to the Foley to gently discuss:

Who will LOSE the race for the throne?

What’s the game again?A game for 5 reluctant royals.
SeriousnessNot very.
Genre/settingMagical Fantasy
Movie ratingM