Review of Holiday Respite, a TTRPG for reflecting on the adventure’s you’ve already had

I got to try out Holiday Respite as part of the Bear Hugs 2023 charity stream and had a GREAT time playing it with the creator herself!  Check out my review here to see how its look-back storytelling helps with reflection and makes for a great holiday game for all ages.

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Holiday Respite is great for all ages 

Holiday Respite works well for either young kids or grown ups and can be played as part of a mixed ages group at holiday parties, get-togethers with friends, or at home while passing the time for holiday celebrations.  

The game involves rolling for prompts from various tables that set up a framework for you telling a story about how those concepts or things are all linked… and they are all Christmas themed with no combat implied or directed.  The story descriptions will come from the players, so it should naturally trend towards their comfort level and interests.

Holiday Respite is set AFTER the adventure is had

Holiday Respite takes place in a tavern, coffee shop, or cozy location where you and your adventuring party are telling stories of your previous adventures over a warm beverage.  In our case… we had hot cocoa (with no marshmallows… it’s a long story, but it was a sequel to another event in the stream where the marshmallows were possibly sentient!) and continued the game until our drinks were done and the tale was finished.  

Telling the story retroactively led to some very interesting routes as we figured out how the threads tied together into something pretty coherent by the end – it ended up being semi-organized chaos, which was really fun, and I think would be fantastic for looping kids into!

Your character in Holiday Respite

In Holiday Respite, you can play as an existing character that you’ve created (i.e. this could be your D&D adventuring party having a short holiday special), a new holiday-themed character, or even yourself telling tall tales!  There’s a lot of flexibility which means that this can be a great game as a standalone or can slot well into an existing campaign or game series (kind of like what we did during the multi-game streaming event).

Mechanics: Rules lite + holiday prompts in Holiday Respite

The mechanics in Holiday Respite are easy to pick up, purposeful, and effective for creating awesome stories without being a barrier for players who have difficulty with math or stat tracking.  

You roll 6d6 and line them up, then use those numbers to grab prompts from six different tables that outline the type of story you’ll need to share.

Some examples of the prompts were that you might need to weave a tale about how you needed to help an energetic gingerbread man and, by wild success, somehow ended up on the news and are now kind of embarrassed by it!  There’s pretty good bones to the story as is, and then players will fill in the details and tie that story to rolls that other players have made too.  

For players who are really into the RP and exploration side of things OR who are new to TTRPGs and might want to practice RP, this is great!  It gives an outline, so players are assisted with their story creation, and they get to ad lib whatever they want into the gaps – it facilitates a lot of creativity without putting the pressure to start from scratch on the player.

Overall thoughts on Holiday Respite

Holiday Respite was such a wonderful TTRPG to play, especially getting to do it as part of the charity stream with the creator, Laura.  Our adventures got a little zany as we were trying to uncover a sentient sweets conspiracy at the local Snowbucks Cafe, and the prompt tables were wonderful for setting up our stories and getting us bouncing ideas around and asking each other all kinds of great RP questions.  It was a good 40 minutes of fun gaming, and I would be happy to also play this with kiddo. 

Find a copy of Holiday Respite

You can find Holiday Respite here on itchio, and you can find the game’s creator on the Mama Newt twitter account.

I hope you get the chance to check out and enjoy Holiday Respite too!  Let me know below if you try it and what your thoughts are!If you liked this post, make sure to subscribe to the TTRPGkids monthly newsletter to stay up to date on the latest reviews, tips and tricks, game and podcast list updates, and more! Thank you for playing tabletop RPGs with your kids and sharing this awesome hobby with the next generation!

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