Heel is a game I wrote as an homage to a video game I was once involved with developing. The premise of that game was essentially the premise of Heel: a corrupting force threatens the home of two children and they set off with their dog to stop it.
In that game, the playable characters were going to be the children. During my time on the game design team I saw the original existential horror in the scenario give way to a desire for a crafting system and power ups and exploration and episodic publication. It rapidly drifted away from the small game ABOUT being small in the face of dangerous forces.
I pitched what is now Heel to the team as an idea for just one of the proposed episodes: play the dog for one segment. See the ghosts and evil of the place threaten the children. Only be able to bark and scare them away, for a time...
It met little response at all and I let it drop. Soon after I left the team out of time constraints from my family and day job. Years later, a conversation on Discord brought up memories of this pitch and it struck me how easily it could be made into a simple tabletop game for 1-player.
So that's the story of Heel. I don't play it very much myself because the outcomes are so bleak, but that was my intent and I am satisfied with its ability to generate the tone I was going for.
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