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You have arrived at the Place of Tables. The table is optional but traditional, with usually space for 5 players and taking 3 hours to play.

Pre-written characters are usually provided as part of the scenario, or sometimes created as part of the introduction.

Tabletop games at Phenomenon don’t always stay on the tabletop and some designers make use of the space available in creative ways.

Dice may or may not be involved. While some games at Phenomenon are system-based (i.e. a published system), others are “systemless” (which actually means home-brew systems or games that otherwise do not rely on dice).

New designers are highlighted: 

Blood from Black Wattle


An Australian story from John & Pip Hughes

Stories abound of Black Wattle Station, bunyip aristocracy grown fat on stolen blessings. The homestead with its strange high tower dominates an ancient valley set silent midst blue-grey mountains. The town of Buckenbowra squats below: less blessed, half-ruined, timid and resentful. The mountain blacks have gone now, the gold diggings lie abandoned, and a full generation of young men are lost to the Great War.

The mountain wind whispers of past atrocity, tales of outrage and harsh dealing. Life and death here are uncertain.

The letter says that something terrible walks the mountain. Something that took a girl. The letter says you can still hear her calls in the night.

An Australian tale of the 1920s, set in the High Clyde south of Braidwood, eternal and unceded country of the Yuin nation.

Together, we conjure a tale of sorcery and dark secrets, of family and tribe and all that blood tears asunder. We scream in the face of monstrous reality. We suffer the cosmic loneliness of love. We partake of a dreadful communion.

A touch of Cthulhu Gothic. Terrible. Wanton. Holy. Please roll SAN.

More details at https://myth-o-logic.org/convention-modulz/blood-from-black-wattle/

Pheno game ratings
How many players? 5
What's the game again? A Call of Cthulhu mystery with more than a touch of Gothic.
Seriousness? Pretty serious, with moments of levity.
Genre/Setting Australian historical horror, with game mechanisms to encourage moments of gothic passion and wild romance.
System Simplified Call of Cthulhu, with a focus on character-led storytelling.
Movie Rating (MA). The story touches on historical racism and violence. Supernatural themes. Gothic passions. Slime.


A Fair Bonny Crew (of Pirates)

By Xole Karman & Andrew Smith

In 16xx, the Governor of Tortuga wrote a letter to his brother-in-law at Court begging to be sent “amiable prostitutes” to “stave off that beastly practice of marital union between male sailors”.

The dastardly courtier instead emptied the women's prison to fill his brother’s ship: thieves, revolutionaries, inconvenient wives, debtors, women caught pretending to be men, and maybe even ... a witch.

The voyage was long and stormy. When the good ship Hippolyta eventually made it to the Caribbean, the male crew, sick with bad food and convinced the women were bringing them bad luck, tried to maroon them on a desert island. The women fought back.

Now, the ship is theirs. But it was not an easy victory: the heroine captain who led them was slain in the fighting, and the smoke of her pyre yet wafts over the sails.

Now, the freedom of the sea is theirs. No man is their master. And honestly, could a bunch of women do a worse job of running a ship?

Now, they are pirates.

A fair bonny crew of pirates.

A game for five discarded women seizing a new life as pirates, by Xole and Andrew.

Pheno game ratings
How many players? 5
What's the game again? A Fair Bonny Crew (of Pirates) is a traditional Pheno tabletop for 5 players. The characters are the new pirate crew of the Hippolyta. We envision you will spend some time working out how you want to run your ship, then decide which of the pirate quests seeded in character backgrounds you want to pursue (such as hunting treasure with a map, seeking revenge on villains, or founding a new colony). 
Seriousness? 3 (we'll leave it to the players)
Genre/Setting Pirates!
System Play is narrative. There is a very light character building system. 
Movie Rating M (but this can be brought back to PG easily enough)



By Wren Weatherwax

You wake up. You don’t know where you are or how you got here, but you’re not alone. Surrounding you are people you’ve never met before, and they look as confused as you are. You pick yourself up off the ground, and look around. In front of you is a woman.

She smiles politely at you, sharp fangs glinting in the light.

"I am the Fox. Welcome to my domain. We have been waiting for you for a very long time. It’s time to begin your journey here. Please stay with your designated companions, lest you end up somewhere unpleasant. Once you have collected five, please see me again so we can get you to your correct destination. It will be challenging but I have complete and utter faith in you. And don’t worry, our friendly forest folk will ensure you make it through intact. Well, mostly intact. Just don’t get eaten. That would be embarrassing.

Well, that’s all from me. Remember, you must collect five before we can get you to your correct destination. Are you ready? Well I don’t suppose it actually matters. Your time starts now."

Pheno game ratings
How many players? 4-6
What's the game again? A homebrew tabletop for 4-6 ordinary people who find themselves thrust into a world they don’t understand, with an obscure goal shrouded in mystery. Which path will you take?
Seriousness? 3 to 4
Genre/Setting Fantasy light horror.
System Homebrew
Movie Rating Appropriate for all ages


Flotsam's Children

By Random Jones (with assistance from Maz Weaver and Loki Carbis)

Earth, 1980...

How long do you have to live to be called immortal?

One hundred years? Two hundred years? Four hundred years? More?

Or are you just long-lived until you can prove you can’t die?

And what about the person who has lived those four hundred years and has no idea why? How do you handle living a normal life once you notice you simply stopped getting older some time ago? When you see your friends get older and their children get older and you simply... don’t.

How do you handle immortality when you simply don’t know why?

And what do you do when you wake up screaming one morning from a nightmare you can’t remember to a world that no longer feels quite right?

Flotsam’s Children is a tabletop game for 5 immortals stuck on earth having no idea what is going on. It is set in the world of Roger Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber, however no knowledge of those books is required to play.

Flotsam’s Children is a companion game to Paper Jubilee, however both games are independent and neither is reliant on the other.

Pheno game ratings
How many players? 5
What's the game again? A tabletop game for 5 immortals who have no idea why.
Seriousness? On the serious side, I expect a 4 out of 5
Genre/Setting Set in Roger Zelazny's Amber universe, knowledge of those stories is not required. Knowledge of the 1980s might be more relevant.
System Using the Amber Diceless Roleplaying Game, no pre-existing knowledge is required.
Movie Rating MA15+


A Little Magic

By Stuart Barrow

That so-called High Magic Guild, with its lofty entrance requirements! When was the last time they admitted a halfling wizard? It doesn't happen!

But Brenda Flamehair has a plan — she'll top the class, rise to glory, and cut those tallfolk wizards down to size!

She just needs two more halflings and a trenchcoat.

It’s time to show them all what a little magic can do.

A Game about Three Short Wizards (and a cleric and a bard).

Pheno game ratings
How many players? Five players: Three short wizards and a bard and a cleric. Three halflings, a gnome and a goblin. Not necessarily in that order.
What will we be doing? You'll be transcending structural barriers with wit, subterfuge, slapstick and high-jinks. The five characters will be run through a job which is part heist, part uni entrance exam and part epic quest, with the aim of exposing a corrupt organisation and saving the world.
Seriousness? 2, but flexible. At base it's a silly slapstick game about serious issues. There will be seriousness and goofiness for players to lean into as they choose.
Genre/Setting High Fantasy — D&D without saying D&D.
System Mostly systemless with some custom mechanics to support the game. D&D-themed without actually being D&D. Bring a d20. 
Movie Rating PG (some adult themes). Kids welcome. Content warning for fantasy racism, fantasy ableism and structural inequality. 



By Jake Nelson

After countless aeons, at last the stars are right. From the cold eternities of space and the blackest depths of the ocean, they come once more: the Great Old Ones, the mad gods, the rightful rulers of the cosmos.

In every dark corner of this insignificant world, their lunatic followers mass, speaking blasphemous incantations and eldritch rituals in foul and forgotten tongues. Their goal — no less than to usher in their masters' reign, to revel in the destruction of the apes that crawl across the planet's surface.

Only a few stand against them. A small handful of brave souls determined to hold back the inevitable and help humanity survive another day.

And they are...

Akane! Chieko! Keiko! Rui! Yume!


Using their pure hearts and their unbreakable spirits, these magical girls banish the Old Ones back to the howling void between the stars with the power of love and friendship!

That is — if they can survive the challenges of high school!

THIS WEEK’S EPISODE: School Play Drama!! Curse of the Yellow Sign!!!

LOVE LOVE LOVECRAFT! is a magical girl game for 3–5 players, using FATE Accelerated Edition (FAE). Newcomers welcome. Little knowledge of the Cthulhu Mythos needed (though it helps you get the jokes), but knowledge of Magical Girl tropes is best. Management reminds all players that Radiant Purifying Sparkle Wish Beams are not toys, and can cause permanent damage if aimed directly at the eyes.

Pheno game ratings
How many players? 3–5
What's the game again? Magical girls fight Cthulhu. Sorry, you wanted more?
Seriousness? No.
Genre/Setting A bright, sugary, rose-tinted, rainbows-and-ribbons mahou shoujo sparklefest, where love conquers all, friendship is the most powerful force in the universe, and the bad guys NEVER win as long as we have EACH OTHER! Also, the Great Old Ones are there.
System FATE Accelerated Edition (FAE).
Movie Rating G


Not on the Spectrum

By Evan & Micah Paliatseas

The first sign of trouble was colours leaching out of things. Then food started losing flavour, music became monotonous, and technology just stopped working.

Then the Rainbow Bridges opened, and the Elves, Dwarves, Orcs and others came through. Refugees from an alternate world where the Achromatapocalypse was almost complete; they spoke with horror of all things being only White, Black or Gray. They fled a world of perpetual war between Purity, Joylessness and Despair, seeking new homes in a place they thought had not been corrupted. They were wrong.

But they did bring hope. We have formed communities. We have worked together to make tools to fight the Grayscale. We have learned to Paint. Some have learned to tap into the monochromatic, even to re-colour things to how they once were. Or even paint them anew and... different.

We islands of vibrancy, in a world of shade.

Pheno game ratings
How many players? 4 to 5
What's the game again? Not on the Spectrum is an adventure in an ex-modern now-fantasy world where weapons are paintbrushes, pencils and highlighters, where your spells and powers that might cause damage are designed to re-colour things. Hit points (hue points) are reflective of how corrupted you are when you are grayscale, and how resistant you are when you are vibrant. The game style is Fantasy Action-Adventure, with high concept exploration of the world and character, and narrative/creative problem solving.
Seriousness? 3
Genre/Setting Fantasy/action. Themes: colours as analogies, thinking outside of binaries, working together, self-confidence, self-control and self-acceptance.
System Tabletop using DnD 5e with significant variation.
Movie Rating G (option to run M rated adult version in evening time slots)


Two Thousand Years After

By Belinda 'Bel' Kelly

Two thousand years ago, in the Age of Magic, legend tells that the Heroes of the Golden Griffin defeated the evil archmage Morgareth. They bound themselves with a vow that if the dread wizard returned, so would they.

Now, the Age of Magic is nothing but a distant memory; a time of myth and fantasy. Magic is gone from the world. Elves run fashion magazines. Ogres are the stars of a world-wide wrestling league. And the Dark Lord’s castle is the city’s most popular tourist attraction!

But now, the Heroes of Golden Griffin have returned. Some are have been reincarnated and live ordinary lives, while others have crossed through the years, the memories of the last battle still fresh in their minds. Their ancient vow calls. The dread wizard is stirring with a dire plan for the modern world.

Can these remnants of the past age get their act together for one final act of heroism, or do such deeds belong to a fallen time?

Pheno game ratings
How many players? 5
What's the game again? This is a character-based game where players are focused on getting the band back together, resolving differences and arguments from two thousand years ago, and  finding out if the spirit of ancient heroes still has a place in the modern world. Some inspirations include the movie Eternals and Die (the comic).
Seriousness? 3
Genre/Setting Urban fantasy
System Mechanics to determine the results of skill checks and powers. The game system uses a version of the CORE RPG.
Movie Rating PG. Kids: I could do teenagers, but probably not kids.