Released in 2019, Letters from the Trench is an epistolary roleplaying game inspired by the 200 Word RPG Challenge, a wonderful exercise in economy and elegance. The object of the game, if indeed it can be called that, is to write letters to other people from the battlefront you are stationed. Dice rolls determine things that have happened to you over the past few days – it is up to you to actually compose a letter and send it to a flesh-and-blood loved one, urging them to write you back. If you receive no reply (by letter) within ten days, you will die. If you do, you must continue rolling and writing – correspondence with home is the only thing keeping you alive.

Wanting to try my hand at a small epistolary game, I designed and wrote Letters from the Trench as a sort of undesirable challenge for both the player and the recipient of their letters – keeping up a correspondence can be hard, like maintaining a friendship. In this case, it would be the soldier’s literal lifeline. Inevitably, even when played by the most persistent of players, the correspondence will end, and the soldier will die.

Letters from the Trench can be downloaded for free here.