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Want to Support a Brand New Designer? Check out these PocketQuest titles!

Posted on April 4, 2024 by Monica Valentinelli

Though “heists” may not be’s usual horrific fare, I think you’ll agree that it’s challenging and downright scary to not only create a game for the first time-but offer it for sale as well. Thanks to Kage at, I got my hands on a list of PocketQuest 2024 titles from first-time game designers*. I am thrilled to share these debuting game designers with you.

As a PocketQuest 2024 participant, I’m super impressed with these designers. Their talent and efforts in the community not only build others up, but they ask for advice and share their experiences in a non-competitive way. Even I, an antediluvian by many accounts, have been dragged out of my cave to participate and be encouraged to make a video for my Wonderland-themed game. And that’s saying something.

So buckle up, gamers. Please, I encourage you to check these games out and, if nothing else, share some links to help budding game designers from all around the world.

PocketQuest 2024: New Games from New Game Designers!

Here is a list, in alphabetical order, fresh off the presses of brand-new game designers YOU can signal boost and support! I’ve included excerpts and my hot take for each one.

A Rushed Job – A rushed Job focuses on the theme of control vs chaos in tense situations where every mistake could have horrible consequences – be that life in prison or the death of an innocent bystander. A rushed Job is a game about staying in control while racing against time. Monica’s note: I say this with all the sincerity I can muster… This game literally sounds like me on a deadline.

B.O.A. – B.O.A. is a rules-light TTRPG about a super-secret agency populated and run entirely by SNAKES. Inspired by games like Honey Heist and Raccoon Sky Pirates, B.O.A. folds everything awesome about these misunderstood creatures into a snake-tastic game of covert ops. Monica’s note: A HEIST ABOUT DANGER NOODLES?!?!?!?! If you’re curious, you can read Brandon’s B.O.A. design essay.

Bell, Book and Candle – You’ve been captured by the Flock and brought to the winding, labyrinthine halls of the Sanctorum for cleansing. A Curse has taken hold of you, and the Flock believe it is their duty to free you from its chains. The problem is, you’ve become the Curse. You’ve embraced it, made it a part of you – maybe you even sought it out. To have it stripped from you now would be to lose part of who you are. Monica’s note: Love the concept. Giggled at the incorporation of bell, book, and candle. For ReasonsTM.

Clever Critters – Clever Critters is a minimalist role-playing game in which a Heist Master and few players will join Bandit (the raccoon mastermind on the cover) for a night of burglary. The crew play as critters pulling off heists in human homes.Have you ever dreamed of playing a raccoon using its nibbled fingers to pick a lock? Or perhaps a snake slithering along rafters and gutters? How about a possum playing dead to distract the humans? Of course you do, who wouldn’t? Monica’s note: I dig the suspicion meter, and think it’s a neat way of relaying friction without forcing players to question every tiny interaction.

Haunted Heist – Haunted Heist is a tabletop roleplaying game about a penniless medium (the Game Medium or GM) who contracts crooked ghosts (the Players) from the Criminal Underworld to pull off impossible heists the living couldn’t get away with. These capers are set in Mortecambe Bay, a rundown seaside town with a shadowy past of its own. This ramshackle team of spirits must perpetrate convoluted heists, save the Phantom Pavilion and possibly wrap-up their own Unfinished Business to end their Afterlife Sentence. Monica’s note: Wait, wait, wait… Ghosts? And shenanigans? ZOMG!

Heist-scapade! – Heist-scapade! is a collaborative and improvisational tabletop roleplaying game for 1 or more players. In Heist-scapade!, players take the parts of crew members on a heist and use a d6 dice pool system to determine the outcomes of uncertain tasks. Monica’s note: Hey, if you’re a sci fi fan looking for a flexible system, this seems cute and easy to pick up.

Hellion City Heists – Before you lies a metropolis filled with crime and corruption. The city stretches 100 miles in any direction and sits in a wasteland twice as wide. Art Deco skyscrapers and Bauhaus factories penetrate the horizon like metal teeth trying to devour the sky. It is a city of concrete, steel, smoke, and grease – sweltering in the summer, freezing in the winter, and without remorse in the seasons between. Some say that when the rebel angels fell from heaven, this is where they punched through into hell. I ain’t much of a religious man, but it is as good an origin story as any. Welcome to Hellion City! Monica’s note: I’m super impressed with the amount of worldbuilding jammed into this pocket-sized game!

High Card Heist – High Card Heist is best described as an RPG, RNG heist experience. It uses a unique card system that only needs two typical 52 playing card decks for a game session. Players not only are going up against their own luck, but they get to go up against a Vault of their own creation that they build together with the GM. Monica’s note: Really dig how this fits the Heist theme. Talk about being on point.

In the Court of the Fairy Queen – In the Court of the Fairy Queen is a recipe and setting for fairy tale adventures. It’s constructed like a puzzle box or a dream. The fickle and unpredictable nature of the fairy realm ensures it can be replayed by the same players and characters. The game uses the original ruleset crafted to evoke fairy stories of swift, strong, or clever heroes. Monica’s note: Thieves who infiltrate a fey queen’s court sounds gutsy. Call me curious!

Infamy – The Blackwell Heist – Infamy: The Blackwell Heist is a role-playing game where players plan and execute classic, heist-movie material missions. You are a member of a band of misfits who had enough of being pushed around and decided to take fate into their own hands. On the outside, you’re a normal human like the rest of us. But deep down? You’re what headlines are made of! A villain to root for. Monica’s note: I immediately thought of The Italian Job when I read the description. Sign of a great presentation!

Loot Goblins – Join a crew of like-minded goblin thieves as you embark on heists across space, time, and reality. Stealing treasure from the humblest fantasy tavern to the most grandiose cyberpunk corporation and everything in between. Embrace the chaos & hilarity as your careful (or maybe not so careful) plans succumb to the inevitable obstacles and you have to get creative. If things get really bad you can always sacrifice some loot to help your crew out. Monica’s note: I don’t want to say too much about this game, because the designer graciously offered me a copy for an upcoming review. I will say the title is appropriate and tells you exactly what to expect: Loot plus Goblins.

Ombra Ekvilibro – Shadow Balance – It is 2189 and the world has been at peace after the Hybrid Wars for some decades now. A new rank and tier world system has been implemented and assigned according to individual potential in their country. But, even with these improvements, Hybrids never managed to get rid of some of their worst human traits. To prevent the mistakes of old, several countries implemented teams called Ombra Ekvilibro (Esperanto for Shadow Balance), where individuals from different ranks and tiers would be sent on heists and recognizance missions that would balance the influence of factions inside cities. Monica’s note: Sheesh! This cover is amazing and I dig the concept on a metaphorical and in-game level. From what I understand, they designed their own art, too? Wow.

One Dollar Heist – A ridiculous game about stealing back the dollar you paid for this game from the author, Jason Strong. Grab a pile of dice and a few people who want to invent the dumbest heist imaginable for a mess of GM-less game. Come get your dollar back from me if you dare! Monica’s note: I bet Jason is a blast at parties. This concept is clever and cracks me up.

Operators Starter Set – Operators is a rules-lite tabletop RPG based on the High Card system which uses standard playing cards instead of dice. The starter set contains core rules and an introductory, fantasy-heist-themed scenario for 1-4 players and 1 game master (the Admin). Monica’s note: This is another title that fits the theme well and is generously Pay-What-You-Want. I’m curious about it! Mark, if you’re reading this, expand your title’s description so we can share in your glorious creativity!

Parks & Misappropriation – Welcome to Parks & Misappropriation, a tabletop roleplaying game where players take on the roles of small forest animals embarking on a daring heist to steal food from the humans’ picnic. In this book, you’ll find everything you need to run an exciting and humorous adventure for your friends in a single session. Monica’s note: I really can’t believe this is Frankly’s first game. Mica Cordrey’s art is on point and the puns are top-notch. This game gets extra points from me, because PocketQuest’s debut theme was about camping. Talk about tying everything together!

Pocket Aces: A Game of Psychic Heists – In Pocket Aces, you play as a team of psychic heisters leveraging your unique abilities to enter the mind of your target in order to steal a valuable secret from them. Created as part of the PocketQuest 2024 game jam, Pocket Aces is a rules-lite TTRPG about a team of thieves stealing secrets from the inside of their targets’ minds. Monica’s note: This is another game that has me curious. Cards? Psychic powers? I want to know more! Thankfully, the preview offers more details and the price, Pay-What-You-Want, is generous.

Rashomon Storytelling: An Improvised Heist – Flex your improv skills with and against your friends in this rules-lite TTRPG. This GM-less, party-game style event works best with 2-4 players and will have your imagination working overtime. Design your eccentric character, steal the story from other players when they slip up, and come up with increasingly more ridiculous reasons why only you could have pulled off the heist of the century. Monica’s note: Party game sounds fun! Sounds like the rules could be a blast to break the ice, too.

Rat Race – Now’s your chance to climb the corporate ladder with “Rat Race”, a capitalist heist table-top role playing game that puts you in the shoes of a power hungry office worker. This game uses a unique and simple rule system that is perfect for beginners and veterans alike! Work as a team to unlock creative puzzles, use the cruelty of a capitalist to exploit the system, and uncover the ever illusive billion dollar ideas in your workplace. This game includes hand painted illustrations including maps, character models, and environments to set the scene. Play “Rat Race” and see if you have what it takes to be the big cheese. Monica’s note: That cover? And hand-painted illustrations. I took a glance at the game’s preview, and while this theme isn’t normally my jam… I can tell SO MUCH LOVE went into illustrating and laying out this game. I dig it.

Rogue’s Gallery – Rogue’s Gallery is a TTRPG that is centered around parties of skilled individuals who plan and execute heists and other generally roguish activities. Players may choose from 6 archetypes that span many of the common tropes of spy and heist fiction! This TTRPG is designed with simplicity in mind that makes it easy enough for your parents to learn, only requiring a single d6 to play. Perfect for either a traditional tabletop setting or even play on the go! Any place with enough space to roll a dice can become the stage of a new heist! Monica’s note: I snorted at “for your parents to learn,” but I grok. And, I do love me some archetypes.

Rooftops – ROOFTOPS is a rules-light RPG about a group of friends making it from the depths of the city to The Rooftops. This is not a game about escaping your old life, it’s about the joy of fresh air and moments of freedom. Reaching The Rooftops isn’t the end- it’s about finding and doing the little things that make the terrible world tolerable for at least a moment. It’s about community and found family and about learning and growing and trying again. Monica’s note: A cozy game set in dystopian/cyberpunk world? Seems like it’s exactly the sort of game many people need right now.

Seek – A Game of Childhood Betrayal and Revenge – In “Seek,” your group of friends must navigate through the trials and tribulations of childhood adventures using a simple yet engaging D20 system. Challenges abound, from sneaking past adults to decoding secret messages, each encounter tests your wit and resourcefulness. With easy-to-learn mechanics focused on cooperative storytelling and problem-solving, “Seek” is perfect for players of all ages looking to relive the magic of their childhood adventures or introduce young gamers to the world of RPGs. Monica’s note: Look, I scream in GenX. I’m thrilled a game teaches kids to be resourceful, innovative, and creative, I say, shaking my fountain pen at the kids who go exploring with a half-charged cellphone and no backup battery.

Skyjackers! – Skyjackers! is a highly replayable, one hour long, semi-competitive role playing game for 2-3 players about daring high altitude heists and backstabbing. Originally created for Pocket Quest 2024, this game was designed for GM-less, one shot, sessions that are very quick to set up, and although it can also be played SOLO, you’ll only get the full experience if you bring a couple of ‘friends’ for the ride. Pushed out of your job by the encroaching robotic workforce and drowning in DEBT, you take to the skies in a desperate bid to make it right by might. Become a Skyjacker, assemble your Crew and pull off the most daring heist in recorded history! Monica’s Note: This is another game designer-and-artist offering an incredibly professional presentation. The theme is timely, but also cutthroat…like space pirates!

The Bartleby – Welcome to the only solo heist RPG where you play not as gem-stealing thief but as the stolen gem itself! You aren’t just any ordinary jewel, though – you have the Shimmer; an ancient magic belonging to all precious things that are made with craftsmanship and care. You’ve spent most of your life being passed around from vaults to treasure chests to castles and more – and you have hated every second of it. But it is perhaps The Bartleby that you hate the most. Monica’s note: Okay, this is a really slick role reversal for a solo RPG. You play the gem? And you have the Shimmer? Can I get that in real life?

The House Always Wins – Uniquely fun and easy to play, The House Always Wins is a collaborative storytelling game in which players act as the playing cards in a casino who plan and execute a daring heist. This game can be played with or without a game master depending on how comfortable players are creating obstacles for themselves throughout the story. Either way, gameplay is highly improvisational, and players are encouraged to lean into both the silliness of the premise and the dramatic stakes of the genre. Monica’s note: I really, really want to play the Queen of Hearts for ReasonsTM. This premise is so cute, and I love the surrealist aspect.

The Milk Tooth Society – Play as cute little mice going on their first heist in the big human house to steal a kid’s milk tooth. Build and furnish their nest, create the coat of arms of their secret society, explore the intimidating house, steal food and knick-knacks, run away from sleepy cats and barking chihuahuas, encounter mythical creatures, brave your fears and finally come back with the Holy Grail of the heist: a freshly fallen milk tooth! Monica’s note: I’ve had the pleasure of hearing about the development of Mina’s game and its artistry during our Discord game jams. It’s so pretty, well designed, and cozy. If you dig cozy games, this is another one to check out.

Please help me congratulate all of these first-time fabulous game designers! THEY DID THE THING! Huzzah!

* If I missed you and you’re a PocketQuest 2024 game designer who’s publishing a game for the first time through this program, get a hold of me on Discord or comment on this post so I can add your title.

This post contains affiliate links and takes you directly to each title’s page.

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