Author – Graham Trudeau (@symphoneers)
Some days you want a game that lets you become the hero you’ve always dreamed of being. Braver than the real you. Stronger than the real you. Capable of affecting change in the world and righting wrongs. Some days that’s all just too much.
Recently, I had a week of those days and just needed to hermit for a while. I didn’t want to imagine conflicts or evil doers or life and death struggles. I just wanted to be still. And, as luck would have it, that’s when Cozy Cabin Sim by Graham Trudeau came into my life. Cozy Cabin Sim is a solo TTRPG in which players can imagine the happenings in a peaceful, remote cabin in the woods.
Trudeau wrote the game to be used in a variety of ways. Firstly, it can be played as a journaling game as players roll dice to determine everything from the weather to the minor occurrences in the cabin. More interestingly, however, there is a large portion of the game dedicated to using it as a meditation aid.
The game itself is straightforward. Players roll to determine the weather at the cabin as well as the day’s notable events both inside and outside the cabin. The weather descriptions are decadently detailed and evocative…mostly. The author’s sense of humor shines through here (and throughout the game) as he lovingly describes seven of the eight days of weather with dense, poetic prose. And then on the eight day we get “Oh cool, snow.”
I love it.
Speaking of poetry, the Outside Events list is written entirely in haiku. Why? Because that’s what the author felt like doing and the world is richer for it. I guess they might be senryu since some of them are funny. Truth be told, I spent considerable time trying to figure out of the other lists were also some form of poetry. I’d argue that they are poetry, just not structured poetry. And they’re good poems, too! But this isn’t a poetry review, dammit! Moving on.
The game ends with three pages covering how to use the lists to guide a daily meditation and some best practices regardless of what you’re meditating on. It’s all wonderfully practical advice that distills a lot of modern thought on meditation, i.e. its purpose, how to handle distractions, the benefits of meditating, etc. Regardless of how you’re playing this game/using this book, Trudeau has included everything you need to have a meaningful, positive experience.
Cozy Cabin Sim is a wonderland of disparate tones, ideas, and methods of play that somehow all fit together to make a cohesive experience. Nothing feels out of place or extraneous, and even when the author is giving advice or making a joke, the game still feels perfectly cozy, simple, and safe.
I’d like to leave you with my favorite bit of writing in this product because I feel it sums up everything so perfectly:
Tree in the forest
Falls, crashing through its kinsmen
You defo hear it.
DISCLAIMER: I do not know anyone involved with this game, nor did I receive anything for free in exchange for this review. I plan on reviewing more solo RPGs for the next few months in an effort to bring more attention to the amazing Solo But Not Alone #2 bundle on itch.io. I hope you’ll stick around and consider supporting an amazing charity that’s doing a lot of good work to help prevent suicides.