A downloadable metagame

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A gm-less,  diceless, game for 3-6 players, in the belonging outside belonging family. To play this game, you'll need to look at the rules there for Playing the Dream.

A playset inspired by Hermann Hesse's The Glass Bead Game. Play as academics, students, bureaucrats, and people, working together to build a better world through understanding beauty and games. Overcome the scars of war and apocalypse. Grapple with the shortcomings of academic and well-intentioned communities. Teach classes and go to your friends' lectures. Build a utopia together, for everyone, if you can.

A submission to the belonging outside belonging jam.


The cover image is from a cosmography manuscript of the 12th century, courtesy of The Walters Art Museum. The background image is courtesy of Wikimedia. Both images are in the public domain.


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Click download now to get access to the following files:

The Glass Dream Game.pdf 864 kB

Development log


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The Glass Dream Game is a *really* scholarly-feeling rpg about a university trying to bring about a utopian society in the wake of a serious war.

The pdf is 16 pages. There's very little art, but the layout is excellent and extremely easy to read.

The game uses the Belonging Outside Belonging system, so there's no dice, but failures let you accumulate a currency to exert more power over the story.

There also isn't a strong intrinsic hook---there's nothing the setting is immediately under threat by---so you'll either have to improvise your own or lean into the game's more balanced tone. It feels like it wants players to in-character grapple with lots of small, philosophical questions about direction and intention, but you could probably run it where it's about the university trying to head off a second war.

Overall, I think if you like high-concept stories, stuff with a slower burn, and GMless games, I'd recommend checking this out. It feels very polished, and quite different any game setting I've seen.


Thank you so much for taking a look!!

I'm very glad that the "scholarly-feeling" comes across - I know I talk about it in the introduction, but education is really near and dear to me, even if I have mixed feelings about academia. 

I also like the term "balanced tone" - I really wanted to lean into the idea I got from Dream Apart & Dream Askew, something like, you can play a game to find out what it was you're playing about, or that coming to the game can be the conversation you have while you're just hanging out with your friends. That felt very much like my experience talking with other teachers and students. Both of those games set up communities that have more things set against them (/that's something I think is also core to those games, and talking about marginalized communities and the challenges they face), so I was really looking to see if the experience works also with an even more laid-back setting.

I'd love to see a let's play video!

ah, thank you!! I've always wanted to get into ttrpg streaming/etc - if I ever make it happen, I'll be sure to post the video here ;^)


still waiting :(