A downloadable game

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Hope is Not a Plan

A solo journaling game in which you will document your attempts to deliver a very complicated engineering project on time and under budget.  You hope for success, but you will most likely fail, damage your reputation, and lose your job. So it goes.

A Game of Conflicting Responsibilities

Your company has entrusted you with millions of dollars of other people's money. They expect you to please the client and turn a profit at the same time. On paper, it looks pretty straightforward. However, your client, your team, your company leadership, and your friends and family also have needs which complicate the execution of the project. You might even occasionally want to take care of yourself. Good luck!

Content Warning

Your character in this journaling game will never be at risk of physical harm. However, Hope is not a Plan includes themes of stress, professional disappointment, failure to meet obligations to friends and family, getting blamed for things you have no control over, and job loss.


What is a "solo journaling game"?

This is a role-playing game, but you play by yourself, not with a group at a table. The game will present you with various situations and you write about how you think the story unfolds. Your character is a project manager for a complex engineering project - but it doesn't have to be you. The game has some explanations about the various types of engineering and how they fit together in big projects. Feel free to make up the parts you don't know. 

How do you play?

You use a deck of cards, a 6-sided die, and a tumbling block tower (the game Jenga™ is an example) as your tools for the game. You'll also need some markers to track milestones (coins, poker chips, something like that) and a way to keep your notes. (If you don't have a tumbling block tower game available, don't worry, there are alternates suggested.)

The tower of blocks represents your mental capacity to handle stress and keep all the tasks in your project straight. The 6-sided die tells you how many cards to draw for a turn. The cards point to the writing prompts in the book, which describe events that come up during your project. Many of the prompts say to "pull from the tower" which means pull a block from the lower part of your tower and balance it on top. Some die rolls will let you achieve milestones in your project. If the tower falls before you deliver the project, you lose.

"If the tower falls, you lose" is the key game mechanic for the Wretched & Alone games. I've added a New Game+ mode, where each time you start again, you can remove troublesome cards from the deck, so with experience it gets easier to win, just like real project management.

Where did this come from?

This game leverages the Wretched & Alone SRD with much gratitude. It was created for the #WretchedJam, hosted by @pangalactic and @sealedlibrary in 2020. Portions of the content are based on the Make a Wretched Game template by Litza Bronwyn, and are used with permission.

Can I buy this in print?

Yes! Limited supplies are available in many different time zones.

How does it play out?

  • Gaze upon the spiraling downfall of a dungeon enchanting team working to develop an elaborate trap for their client, an unforgiving dark lord, in this actual play on the Critical Hits blog. (Well worth your time to read!)


Buy Now$9.00 USD or more

In order to download this game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $9 USD. You will get access to the following files:

Hope Is Not a Plan.zip 4 MB

Exclusive content

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Community Copies

If you're in need and can't afford a copy of the game, help yourself to a community copy of the digital zine. Every sale contributes more copies to the pool:

  • PDF sales add 1 copy
  • Tips in $3 increments over the asking price add 1 copy per $3

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