The best tabletop role-playing games are sold online, but not on Amazon


Dungeons & Dragons has long been the standard for tabletop role-playing games with your friends. But when another epic campaign comes to an end, one of your friends will inevitably say, “What about something else this time?”

Sure, you could play medieval fantasy forever, but there are many other genres and systems to explore. These days you are not limited to the games you vaguely know already exist, nor are you limited by the choices at your friendly local game store. There is a whole world of tabletop role-playing games within your reach and now you can download them online.

Use this as your guide to get off the beaten path and find a new TTRPG for your next campaign.

Image: Free League Publishing

OneBookshelfs DriveThruRPG has almost every major tabletop game you could want. DriveThru is home to a huge selection of tabletop games ranging from the biggest names in the industry to small press and indie publishers. It’s also very pleasant to browse through, with the ability to sort by game system, publisher, product type, and even genre.

If the publisher is big enough, their game is likely already on DriveThru. Start with one of the publishers you know – maybe Modiphius (Star Trek Adventure, Dune adventure in the empire), Fantasy flying games (Star Wars Edge of the Empire, Legend of the Five Rings 5th edition) or Chaosium (Call of Cthulhu, Pendragon) – and browse the tags under which their games are listed. There are many treasures on the surface, but there are also many more treasures underneath.

If you’re constantly looking to discover new RPGs to play with, register on their website and check out DriveThru’s daily deal emails. Another option could be the bestseller Category. DriveThru has always led me to fascinating discoveries and fantastic games that I would otherwise never have found.

Four games from DriveThruRPG to try out:

Though it’s definitely easier Indie press revolution is very similar to DriveThru in its organization. You can even find a number of games for sale on both sides. What sets IPR apart is exactly what the name suggests: IPR only deals with small publishers and indie tabletop developers.

That doesn’t mean the layout is any less professional. IPR’s listings are a lot cleaner than DriveThru when it comes to browsing, in my opinion. The categories in which you can search are significantly expanded and refined. The genres are more specific and the list of common systems to sort by has newer options compared to what DriveThru has to offer. IPR has an excellent library of unique and unexpected games thanks to its commitment to bringing smaller publishers to the spotlight. If you want to dive into the deeper end of the games out there, IPR is for you.

Four Indie Press Revolution games to try out:

Role20 is almost certainly better known as the standard for playing tabletop games online with a built-in battle map, also known as virtual tabletop. Competitors include platforms like Foundry VTT and Astral TableTop, but many groups that play online swear by Roll20 for their D&D, scout, or Cthulhu myth Games. Roll20 also sells many other games. The choice of basic rulebooks isn’t extensive and most of what you buy is only available on Roll20. However, there are some good smaller games hidden between more popular titles.

What Roll20 has in addition to these games are all of the resources required to run on the Roll20 platform, including cards, tokens and digital character sheets. If you’re an avid Roll20 user looking for a new game, check out the Marketplace and make the transition easier for yourself and your group.

Four Roll20 games to try out:

RPG kitchen offers a new way to try tabletop games before committing to a full purchase. The concept is a straightforward rental service that gives you a feel for a game before bringing it to your group. RPG Kitchen gives you access to the fully published, closed set of rules. No estimation rules and no early access, unfinished editions. You have everything it takes to determine if a game is right for you or not.

Borrowing a game is significantly cheaper than buying it. This rental period is one month and the rental payment will be deducted from the total price if you decide to buy the game at the end. The rented PDF will only be accessible through the RPG Kitchen website. If you like a game but can’t spare you a big purchase, you can always rent it a few times and keep the price down.

RPG Kitchen’s store recently opened and is still in alpha, so choices are pretty limited right now. Still, there are some really nice things on offer.

Four RPG Kitchen games to try out: is the last item on our list and represents the deep end of the hobby. In addition to being a huge hub for indie video games, is the epicenter of a modern renaissance of indie TTRPGs.

Remember, however, that itch is the Wild West. Games of all complexities, a few hundred pages long, stand next to others that fit on an index card. You will find remixes of existing systems and games that have been created from scratch. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to play a game in your favorite genre, there is a game on that will answer your prayers.

Unfortunately, there is currently no system for efficiently browsing games on Itch, but you can find something on the platform that you love if you invest the time scrolling it. So start looking and you will likely find a few new games to fall in love with.

Four games to try out:


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