Polygon's Best Indie Tabletop Games of 2021
Tabletop Gaming's Best Indie Game of 2021 Nominee
Wanderhome is a pastoral fantasy role-playing game about traveling animal-folk, the world they inhabit, and the way the seasons change. It is a game filled with grassy fields, mossy shrines, herds of chubby bumblebees, opossums in sundresses, salamanders with suspenders, starry night skies, and the most beautiful sunsets you can imagine.
You might be a tamarin who dances with small and forgotten gods, a leporine mail carrier who relies on moths to get packages where they belong, a little lizard with a big heart and a mysterious past, or a near-endless number of other thrilling possibilities. No matter what, we’re always travelers—animal-folk who go from village to village and get to see the length and breadth of all the world of Hæth. The seasons will change as we play, and we will change with them.
A game about finding Belonging Outside Belonging
Wanderhome is built on the Belonging Outside Belonging engine by Avery Alder and Benjamin Rosenbaum. That means there’s no dice, no math, no Game Masters, and no complicated rules. It’s all about getting you into game as smoothly as possible, and filling your imagination with richly developed worlds and evocative text.
The game is designed for any length of session, and with any number of folks. Whether you’re sitting down with a couple of friends for a cozy after-dinner hangout or throwing a party for a decade-long campaign, Wanderhome always has space for your experiences and needs.
The World of Hæth
Wanderhome is set in the wholly original fantasy world of Hæth, inspired by the works of Brian Jacques, Tove Jansson, and Hayao Miyazaki. The game hints at and builds a mythological language around forces like the bitter King of the Floating Mountain, the Lily Rebellion, the Slobbering God and the blade that killed her, and the fall of the great dragons of old, but refuses to elaborate or define them—leaving that exercise to the players through the journey itself. Instead, Wanderhome is focused on the lives of ordinary people, and the world that exists for farmers, merchants, and crafts-folk.
Wanderhome is a world filled with animal-folk and their buggy livestock. Unlike many worlds with animal-folk, there is no morality or judgement ascribed to the various animals of Hæth—a snake is just as capable of being a kindly farmer as a rabbit, and you can’t assume much about someone based on what animal they are. You might find a fluffy shepherd with a herd of bumblebees, a shrewish merchant riding a stag beetle the size of a house, a lonely fox riding a grasshopper from place to place, or a praying mantis that hangs out in a gecko’s pocket.
A book full of art and expression.
More than a dozen artists came together to create Wanderhome, from a huge variety of backgrounds. This art brings the pages to life, giving you not only a glimpse into the world of the Hæth, but endless inspiration for your own creations within the world.
“[Wanderhome] positions the drama of the Redwall series alongside Animal Crossing’s endless Sunday afternoons, and displays the competence to juggle both of those vibes in a single game.”
— Polygon Magazine
“I grew up reading books about Redwall. The opening pages were full of lavish descriptions of the communal feasts that mice were scurrying about preparing, and the playful merriment that all the rabbits and other woodland creatures were getting up to. I loved those opening pages. But they always gave way to long chapters about war, pillaging, and slaughter. The meadow was monotonously besieged by evil, violent forces. Wanderhome asks a question I wish more games would ask: what if the meadow gets to stay safe and happy this time? What if those opening pages get to last forever?”
— Avery Alder, designer of Monsterhearts
“Wanderhome looks to be a marvelous game: warm and insightful, kind but not purely forgiving, nostalgic to a time and place I’ve only ever glimpsed. It brims over with whimsy and wonder, yet its core is profound humanity. I can’t wait for this game, and in ways I feel like I’ve been can’t-waiting for it for a long time."
— Vincent and Elliot Baker, Lumpley Games
"[Wanderhome] is a patchwork clockwork machine that paints a universe in strokes both broad and minute, and gives authority to the player to establish their own foothold within. The world of Wanderhome is hard, but not grim; kind, but not saccharine; unreal, but not plastic."
— Grant Howitt, Creator of Spire and Honey Heist
“Who knew a game about being on the road could feel so much like home?"
— Brennan Lee Mulligan, Dimension 20
— Matthew Mercer, Critical Role