independent games & design by Nathan D. Paoletta

ndp microgames


Issue #3: The Death of the Gilded Age 

It's the last great party, thrown by the last great host of the age. With sex, fame, wealth and reputation all in play, what will your hosts fate be when the last guest leaves?

The Death of the Gilded Age is an art nouveau fiction game for 2 or more players. 

The players attend the last great party of the age, thrown by a mysterious and complicated Host. During play, you use playing cards to guide the course of the party, ending up with the discovery of what happens to your Host and what memories of the Age he leaves behind. 

This game is casual and meant to be played while enjoying food, drinks and each others company.

This game is produced as a 12"x18" full-color playmat/poster, as well as a print-and-play 3-page PDF. It only requires a deck of standard cards and the playmat to play. 

This game was made possible by the backers of my Patreon campaign. My patrons get an inside look at my process, early access to the work as it gets finished, and my eternal gratitude for their support. Check it out here.


Issue #2: Vesna Thaw

Nuclear winter has come and gone. The vestiges of Russian civilization survive in underground bunkers, built a decade ago in preparation for the possibility of atomic war. You are a pilot, one of the few brave (or foolish) enough to take to the surface encased in the safety of your robot, a machine scrapped together from the remnants of the industrial Soviet state. What will you be able to rebuild?

Vesna Thaw is a light-hearted table-top story game of post-Soviet post-Apocalyptic robot action. 3-6 players take on the roles of Pilots, and use their creativity, cunning and giant scrapheap Robots to try and rebuild out of the ashes of nuclear desolation.

The game is GM-less and semi-competitive, with a strong scene structure. Each player takes on the role of a Pilot, drawing (literally) their unique Robot that they have scrapped out of old parts. Through a series of Color, Action and Conflict scenes, each Pilot does their best to surmount the odds (and Hazards thrown at them by other players). The game is designed for the characters to generally succeed over time, and the end comes (after 1-2 sessions of play) when a Pilot finally goes out in a Blaze of Glory.

Vesna Thaw is available as a 8.5"x11" 16 page full color magazine, and as a 16-page PDF. It was released in June 2012. It features three full-color maps of post-apocalyptic Russia, drawn by Tony Dowler, and a Rogue's Gallery of 14 unique Robots, commissioned by backers of this games Kickstarter campaign and illustrated by Amma Aning Odum

More Information

This game was originally written for a design contest called Reversed Engineer, where each participant was asked to create a game based on a randomly-assigned character sheet. I was assigned this character sheet, and was especially inspired by the idea of drawing your robot. Every game still starts with the players collectively drawing the set of robots that they will be playing with!

The original rules of the game are available to read here. It has been extensively revised and updated for publication. This publication was made possible the contributions of 89 backers to its Kickstarter campaign, which raised 401% of the target goal. Many thanks to all of the backers!


Issue #1: Witness The Murder of Your Father and Be Ashamed, Young Prince

The King has been murdered. The only witnesses, his sons, gather to determine who committed the foul deed - and, more importantly, decide upon the heir to the throne. There is not much time. If a successor is not named by sundown, the agreements that the King had struck with Crow, the demon-god of trickery, will be broken and the kingdom will perish in a tide of blood and fire. Can you save your fathers kingdom?

Witness the Murder of Your Father and Be Ashamed, Young Prince is a short-form fiction game for 3-6 players.

Players take on the roles of princes trying to determine the truth of what happened to their father. In the space of an hour, the players come up with the story of what happened to the King as well as determine the fate of the kingdom.

Be Ashamed Young Prince is available as a 8.5"x11" 8 page full color magazine, and as a 9-page PDF. It was released in 2011. 


The Bear Is Loose Within The Circus, a cold war spy hack by Michael Wight. Webpage | Download the PDF

More Information

This game was originally written for a design challenge conducted in October of 2008, by Jonathan Walton. The original contest entry can be read here. The published game has been simplified and rewritten, and includes designer notes based on the feedback from the contest.

The game does require a set of components to play: two different-colored sets of glass beads, poker chips or any other objects not able to be differentiated by touch, and one coin, die, or other object that is able to be told apart by touch, as well as an opaque bag.

This publication was made possible the contributions of 69 backers to its Kickstarter campaign, which raised 450% of the target goal. Many thanks to all of the backers!


Amy Garcia (7/22/11) "If you are completely unaware to the things I LOVE in roleplaying games, well Tangibility is my deal. Having physical objects that represent ideas or rules causes the game to be on a completely different level. Tangibility forces the characters to behave differently simply from the physical and visual feedback of having a token.

Because this token is considered currency in games, players will begin to act as if they have real money. Do I invest in this? Do I hold off and use it at a different juncture? It’s completely brilliant."

About The Games

Each microgame is a short game experiment published in a full-color format. Scroll down for more information on each game.

  • Issue #1: Witness the Murder of Your Father and Be Ashamed, Young Prince

  • Issue #2: Vesna Thaw

  • Issue #3: The Death of the Gilded Age

Purchase Now

Each microgame is available in full-color print and as a PDF. Issues #1 and #2 are 8.5"x11" magazine format; Issue #3 is a 12"x18" double-sided poster. Issue #1 was released in 2011, Issue #2 in 2012 and Issue #3 in 2014.

All three games are included in the PDF library - three games for three dollars! There is also a pay-what-you-want version of The Death of the Gilded Age.

Direct From ndpdesign

Due to EU VAT remittance laws, I cannot fulfill PDF ONLY orders directly to EU residents. If you live in the EU, you must purchase the PDF through one of the outlets below. I apologize for the inconvenience.

Buy In Print

Each microgame is available in full-color print-on-demand via MagCloud. Print orders come with PDFs.

Other Outlets: PDF Library

Other Outlets: The Death of the Gilded Age (Issue #3)