I have recently bought The Quiet Year. I really enjoy the concept, bit I find it hard to bootstrap a session.

At the beginning, players are faced with an almost blank white page, and they have to collectively build a world. After a few turns, this world contains some elements one can interact with, but at the beginning, steering the story in an interesting direction is quite hard.

Most of my friends are not into role playing games, but enjoy games such as Mafia.

How can I make the beginning of the game easier? Should I go for less freedom (maybe start with a non empty map) or run some "improvisation training" to help them overcome the writer's block? Has anyone solved this problem?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I've never heard of this game before, but it seems rather interesting. Thanks for bringing it to the spotlight. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – OpaCitiZen
    Aug 20, 2013 at 8:47

1 Answer 1


My one experience playing The Quiet Year in beta, our settlement was an old school. That simple fact bootstrapped a lot of map drawing since we all had our idea of what a school looks like and started adding details like the wrecked school bus, the classrooms, and the auto shop.

Start with something familiar and boring – since this is post-apocalypse, the whole point is the boring and familiar seen in a new light. So pick something boring like an office building, a set of row houses, a Wal-Mart, a power station, a ski chalet, a shanty town on Exit 64 of Highway 400, a school…

Give the other players a few polite moments to jump in, but before they start feeling the writer's block, jump in and take the initiative. It's not stealing the spotlight, it's doing the group a necessary service – and if anyone objects, hey, they've got a better idea and that's good.

  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 for " if anyone objects that's good". An excellent point, although easy to overlook. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dakeyras
    Aug 20, 2013 at 19:12

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