Tabletops are becoming an increasingly popular way to spend time with friends. They get everyone around a table, all working towards a common goal. However, usually, in situations like these, one friend is cursed. They are branded the ‘Forever DM.’ They’re the friend that always hosts, and while they are amazing at it, they never get a chance to play. If this sounds like you or a friend you know, maybe consider playing a tabletop that doesn’t involve having a Games Master.
Here are eight ideas for games that you can play so that everyone plays.
Across the Endless Sea
Across the Endless Sea is a GMless game about a crew that travels across a fantastical ocean. Inspired by surreal sea voyages in fantasy fiction, players will experience a quirky adventure into the great blue.
It involves 3-5 players, roughly taking 3-4 hours to complete. It operates around success/partial success/failure mechanics, similar to Apocalypse World, and uses a combination of player decisions and random encounters to ensure each playthrough is unique.
More information about the game can be found here. Additionally, a playthrough of the game can be found here as well.
The King is Dead
In The King is Dead, players take the role of a warrior under one of the royal houses. After the announcement of the fallen king, who had no heir to inherit the throne, a civil war was inevitable. Each player fights for their house to take the throne, but how far will they go? Fights, romance, and betrayal are all tactics to use to get to the top.
This game involves 3-5 players and takes roughly 1-3 hours to complete. Apart from the handbook that explains the game, the only other thing players will need is a deck of cards. The game is also rated 15+.
For more information on The King is Dead, you can click here.
They Came to Play Ball
Imagine Space Jam but as a tabletop roleplaying game. That’s They Came to Play Ball. In this GMless game, players take the role of basketball stars that have been touched by the Void Beyond. Play for one of the five teams and compete against other cosmic basketball players. Fight, fall in love, and win The Tournament of Bells.
This game is best played with 3-5 players, with no exact playtime. However, considering the niche yet detailed nature of the game, it’s best to put aside a few hours. As well as the playbook, all else that is needed is some tokens to keep track of players. It should also be noted this game does also contain some adult themes.
For more information on They Came To Play Ball, the official game page can be found here. In addition, you can watch people playing this game here.
The Quiet Year
The Quiet Year is a game about building a community after the apocalypse. In a map-building game, players define the struggles and successes of the community. Every decision, action, and choice made by the players will shape the community – and all against their dwindling time. But, will the community be prepared for the Forest Shepherds?
This game is made for 2-4 players, taking roughly 3-4 hours to complete. As well as what comes with the game, players will also need a deck of cards to draw from. The game is also for ages 12+.
You can find more information on The Quiet Year here, as well as other games tied to the story of this one.
Beak, Feather, and Bone
Beak, Feather, and Bone is a collaborative worldbuilding RPG. Each player takes a different community role, and all come together to build the city. First, drawing from a deck of cards determines what the building is, as well as its reputation, appearance, and interior. Then, together with other players, build a narrative for the town.
The creator recommends a table of roughly three to six players. However, with how many roles the game has, it can host ten people. For more information on Beak, Feather, and Bone, click here.
Escape The City
Escape the City is exactly as it says. The point of the game is that players have to try and escape the city. As the city you knew as once being free fills with zealots, you head to one of four bridges – hoping you can somehow make your escape.
Someone will have to keep track of things such as HP, initiative, etc., but this game can be played without a GM. Using cards to detail locations and find secrets, players can come together to escape the city – or play completely solo. The game recommends a party of 1-4 players and follows similar rules to D&D’s 5E.
For more information on the game, click here.
A Weekend in the Country
In this murder-mystery GM-less game, players must solve a murder before the killer strikes again. Players have a list of suspects and must piece together the story of what happened. This is another game that can be played with a few friends or entirely solo.
To play this game, players need to use a deck of cards. The cards represent different characters, and different places in the house and put together the story.
For more information on A Weekend in the Country, click here.
I’m sorry, did you say street magic
I’m sorry, did you say street magic is another GM-less game that involves players coming together to build a city. The role of the players is to take control each turn and add something to the city, which will eventually have it expand into something bursting with life.
The game is built for two to six players, running for three more or hours. This game also operates through the use of cards, which add something to the city upon each turn. It uses a combination of players collaboratively making a space together or making something independently of everything else.
For more information on I’m sorry, did you say street magic, click here.
There are many other ways to play games without a GM. Some of these are solo experiences, while others involve many more players. If anything, this proves the world of GM-less games is a vast, large one.
Will you be trying out any GM-less games with your party? Or are there any that haven’t been mentioned that you recommend? Let us know in the comments!