The Quiet Year

Build community after the collapse.

The Quiet Year is a map game. You define the struggles of a community living after the collapse of civilization, and attempt to build something good within their quiet year. Every decision and every action is set against a backdrop of dwindling time and rising concern.

The game is played using a deck of cards – each of the 52 cards corresponds to a week during the quiet year. Each card triggers certain events – bringing bad news, good omens, project delays and sudden changes in luck. At the end of the quiet year, the Frost Shepherds will come, ending the game.

The Quiet Year occupies an interesting space – part roleplaying game, part cartographic poetry.

In a Nutshell

Designed and written by Avery Alder.
Design insights from Jackson Tegu.
Illustrations by Ariel Norris.
First released 2013. This iteration 2019.

2-4 players, 3-4 hours, ages 12 up
drawing, imagination, apocalypse


While also located at the back of the PDF, you can look up all the card text using The Oracle.

Inside the Bag

A small burlap bag, next to its unpacked contents: a booklet, cards, dice, and tokens.

In print, this beautiful game comes in a small burlap bag. You’ll receive a forty-page booklet, a deck of oversized game cards (3.25″ x 5″, just like the booklet), a turn summary card, six small dice, and twenty Contempt Tokens (shaped like weathered skulls).

Buy Now

A burlap bag tied up at the top.

This game comes in a small burlap bag, containing everything you need to play. You’ll also receive a copy of the PDF.

A mockup of a tablet displaying the PDF cover of The Quiet Year.

The PDF is also available as a standalone product. It comes with everything you need to print and play.

The Deep Forest

The Deep Forest is a map game of post-colonial weird fantasy. It’s a re-imagining of The Quiet Year, one that centres upon monstrosity and decolonization. It’s available for free: The Deep Forest.

Charted Areas

Cartographer and illustrator Tony Dowler collaborated with me to create a little resource/supplement for The Quiet Year, especially useful in short convention games. It’s called Charted Areas.


“This game where you describe a small community made a small community out of us.”

-Gita Jackson, Kotaku

Awarded “Most Innovative Game of 2013”. Reviewed by Gita Jackson on Kotaku, Leigh Alexander and the crew of Shut Up & Sit Down, and Adam Dixon on Kill Screen.