News: Unlock your storytelling with the ‘Print-N-Fold’ _Tableau Core ꩜ Rules Booklet! The essential rules available in PDF at ‘Name Your Own Price’! More details here!

Gate Watch 2019: if you are looking for the older version of Gate Watch, from Kickstarter 2019 with 18 cards, there are details about that game in our archive.

Tableau: Gate Watch 🚪 Playset 🎞 - Cover Card

You and your companions are members of the Gate Watch – charged to keep an eye on the border between realms. Who built The Gate? What is on the other side? Why are you watching? What are you guarding against? These are the questions you will answer as you explore the Enigma that is The Gate. Every game session is different, every world, every gate unique.

Venture into the mysterious as you stand at the edge between worlds, unraveling mysteries and facing the unknown. Delve into themes of exploration, trust, and loyalty as you guard the threshold. Experience a gripping adventure filled with enigmas, challenges, and characters from many cultures and enigmatic beings as you navigate the precarious balance that is the Gate Watch.

Gate Watch is a diceless, GMless storytelling game played using 54 poker-sized cards with rules & inspirational images. Box includes everything you need to play except for your own index cards, markers & two sheets of paper. Gate Watch cards may be mixed & matched with other Tableau Games playsets.

Tableau Games offer cinematic storytelling in 2-3 hours, with no prep or GM required. Composable rules on poker-sized cards available from multiple playsets offer versatile gameplay for 2-5 players, ages 14 and up. Explore the opportunities for collaborative storytelling and thrilling cinematic adventures possible with Gate Watch 🚪 and the Tableau Games system.

Kinds of Gate Watch 🚪 Stories:

Tableau: Gate Watch 🚪 Playset 🎞 - Inspiration Card

Tableau inspires players to be creative, supporting a nearly infinite variety of potential stories.

While playtesting the Gate Watch 🚪 Playset 🎞, games have included:

  • a classics fantasy, with the gate lying between the real-world and the Greek heaven & hell, and Watchers possibly hired by Charon;
  • a 1950’s noir mystery, featuring the gate between a Hollywood producer’s mansio n and the hardscrabble blue-collar world of post-war Los Angeles;
  • a sci-fi adventure, where a collapsing underground mutant civilization had a hidden exit to a post-apocalyptic landscape;
  • a wacky parallel universe, home of mechano-electro elves, who had discovered a gate to our reality at a California game convention, full of people who didn’t understand them.

A game mixing storytelling cards from both Twilight Road 🛣 & Gate Watch 🚪 Playsets 🎞 was:

  • a dark historical fantasy, where a water well located in a German farming village at the end of WWII was the only escape from invading Russians, but led the villagers into a perilous journey through the lands of the fae, with no way home.

We’ve found the mechanics of Tableau work well for experienced gamers as well as those who are completely new to collaborative story games. From improv actors to experienced role players, a wide range of people have found the instructions and mechanisms easy to understand and fun to play. The resulting stories were imaginative, the settings and genres intriguing, the play dynamic, and most importantly, all had a satisfying ending in just a couple of hours of play. Tableau is a fun evening’s entertainment.

Overview of Play

Following the instructions from the Playset setup, the Players first choose The Gate for this session, optionally selecting or drawing one from the 18 inspirational images. Reading through the Playset and Narrative Rules cards, they together create a Map and describe Locations, establish Truths & Enigmas, and ask Leading Questions of fellow Watchers. Story cards help players set key goals for the opening Beat, then the players take turns as The Director to set Scenes that drive the story forward. Drama Rule cards increase tension or resolve complications until a clue reveals the answer to one of the Gate’s Enigma in the last Beat.

Reviewer Quotes

Gate Watch is an intriguing, distilled world-crafting, story-telling, and role-playing experience in the guise of a simple game. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the principles it is based on are used in basic literary, plot-writing or directing courses. Involve everybody around the table and collaboratively set the background through a pool of questions. Create exciting scenes involving both the background and the participating characters with nothing but narration. Dice? Nah, too random. Cards? Yes, but only a handful. Rules? Less than a single page. Duration? As long as you wish. Fun? Loads! The game can explore any setting and genre you want it to, with everybody simultaneously starring and directing. Veteran gamer? Hardcore role-player? Total newbie? It doesn’t matter. All you need is a vivid imagination.” — Antonios S, RPGnet Reviewer & Columnist (about the 1st edition of Gate Watch).

Available from…

Gate Watch Playset Cover Card

Twilight Road 🛣

Tableau: Gate Watch 🚪 playset is available print-on-demand from Drive Thru Cards Logo in three different versions: Cards w/Tuckbox! version contains 52 poker-sized Playset & core cards; Just the Cards! version banded in a plastic wrap without a tuckbox; or a Print-N-Play! PDF version suitable for printing on US Letter-sized card stock and cutting out manually using the cut-lines for use with poker-sized card sleeves.

Cards w/Tuckbox Just the Cards Print-N-Play

Inspirational Quotes for Gate Watch 🚪

_“The world is all gates, all opportunities, strings of tension waiting to be struck.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The enemy is within the gates; it is with our own luxury, our own folly, our own criminality that we have to contend.” ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

“Our dreams are a second life. I have never been able to penetrate without a shudder those ivory or horned gates which separate us from the invisible world.” ~Gerard De Nerval

“Near the gates and within two cities there will be scourges the like of which was never seen: famine within plague, people put out by steel, crying to the great immortal God for relief.” ~ Nostradomus

“Peter Venkman: ‘She says she’s the Gatekeeper. Does that make sense to you?’ Egon Spengler: ‘Some. I’m with the Keymaster now.’ Peter Venkman: ‘Oh, we have to get these two together.’” ~ Ghostbusters by Dan Aykroyd & Harold Ramis

“Yog-Sothoth knows the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the key and guardian of the gate. Past, present, future, all are one in Yog-Sothoth.” ~ H. P. Lovecraft

“We did not choose to be the guardians of the gate, but there is no one else.” ~ Lyndon B. Johnson


Written & Designed by: Christopher Allen

©2022-23 by Dyvers Hands Productions, LLC. — All Rights Reserved

(no license is granted for redistribution or derivation without permission)

Based on a 2019 First Edition of the game and adapted in this version for use with the Tableau Games system.

Images © original creators & are Permissively Licensed. More info & image credits at

Tableau Games™, Dyvers Hands™, and Gate Watch™ are trademarks of Dyvers Hands Productions LLC.

Creative Contributors: Shannon Appelcline, Aaron Reed

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