A Game of Some Renown

I haven’t mentioned it here before, but my clever sweetie created a REALLY fun card game called Renown. The first incarnation of the game was actually played at our wedding reception in Minnesota nearly four years ago. Over time the game has evolved and become a component of the role playing system/world that Corvus has been developing for the last 20+ years.

The deck itself is called The Book of Yetl. In the history of Corvus’ world (called Taompei), it is a storytelling/fortunetelling deck that is also used to play a variety of games. Within the storyworld of Taompei there are various theories about where The Book of Yetl came from, but ultimately, no one is really sure of the deck’s origin, which lends a nice air of mystery and leaves it wide open for a broad range of interpretations and uses.

Renown, the first of many games that will be developed for The Book of Yetl, explores an interesting time in Bleynac (one of Taompei’s main tribes) history where the traditional matriarchal line was disrupted by the male heir of one of the tribe’s queens. When the queen passed on without leaving a female heir, her son seized the opportunity and grabbed power. For three generations the Bleynac had a male ruling class. The gameplay itself is intended to express the sense of intrigue, political scheming, and cutthroat espionage that exemplified this tumultuous period.

A couple months ago we had some beta decks printed up and recruited a group of smart and clever folks to help with testing the game. These wonderful people (who are located all over the world!!) have given us excellent feedback and really helped us refine the game to a sharp point. The results are amazing.

I am currently working on revising the rules/manual since, by his own admission, Corvus sucks at writing them. Once I have a decent version done, I’ll be sure to post them here along with instructions about how you can turn a regular deck of playing cards into a Renown deck or how you can print your own beta deck from home.

In addition to beta testing with remote players running their own sessions, we have been doing some local testing with anyone willing to join in on the fun. Last night we met up with a sizeable group (there were 9 of us all together) at The Bubble House near UPenn for an evening of revelry and Renown. It was SO MUCH FUN! And that’s not just the sake talking (mmmmmm sake).

The players were amazing, fully jumping into the spirit of the game, forging alliances, pursuing their own agendas, and thwarting their competitors. I thought I’d just share a few of the pictures that Corvus managed to snap of the event. Because there were so many of us, we ended up forming teams to play. They were:

The Cocksure Catfish

The Ultimate Victors

Shiatsu Fury


Nuclear Christmas

The Dirty Despots

Team Mongoose

The Underdogs!

Counting Political Favor: Gee, I wonder who is going to win?

Hording Heroic Favor

Gameplay Underway!



We have another session scheduled for the 6th of July at our house. We’ll be cooking up a big batch of super yummy summer veggie enchiladas made entirely from scratch (yes, we make our own green and red sauce with only the freshest ingredients). I’m sure there will be homemade guacamole and some sort of tequila drinks as well. We’ll definitely be getting in a few more sessions here in Philadelphia before we head off for that other coast in September. And we’ll definitely schedule something for Minnesota while we are there, and, of course, Portland.

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