Tableau Games

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!

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Tableau Logo

Tableau is a storytelling game system that emphasizes collaborative storytelling and character development. The game’s mechanics are designed to be flexible, allowing players to create stories in just a few hours from a wide variety of genres and styles without the need for advanced preparation or a designated game master.

Tableau consists of a set of rules cards and a variety of story cards that establish themes, moods, settings, and character traits. Players use these cards to collaboratively create a story, with each scene focusing on a single question and building toward a satisfying cinematic narrative.

The system is designed to be approachable for players of all skill levels and encourages creativity and player agency. Tableau is ideal for players who enjoy immersive role-playing and narrative-focused gameplay.

Whether you are a seasoned RPG veteran or a newcomer to tabletop gaming, Tableau is a great choice for anyone looking to tell their own stories in a collaborative and engaging way.

Tableau Core Rules

Ignite your storytelling journey with the Tableau Core ꩜ Rules, available in multiple formats. Pared down to the essential rules for storytelling, they are a guide to fuel your adventures. Download and let Tableau spark your creative passions today!

Tableau Core ꩜ Rules Cover Card

Tableau Core ꩜ Rules

8-page PDF in ‘Print-N-Fold’ Tableau Booklet 📖 format, available from

Read More… Get Now! (“Name your Price”)

Tableau Playsets 🎞️

Tableau Playsets offer a curated set of rules and story elements, each within a specific framework of genre, themes, and tropes, for a unique storytelling experience. Instead of sifting through numerous rules and story elements, Playsets provide a cohesive collections for a focused narrative. Each Playset includes everything you need to play except for your own index cards, markers and sheets of paper, and optionally one six-sided dice. They may be mixed & matched with each other and with future Tableau Games.

Twilight Road Playset Cover Card

Twilight Road 🛣

You are fellow travelers on the Twilight Road. Together your journey will take you through choices & transitions, quests & trials. What will you discover on your way? Will you find your destination or return home? Either way, you will arrive changed. These are the stories of the Twilight Road. Every game session is different, every road, every journey is unique.

Read More… Buy Now! ($29.95)

Gate Watch Playset Cover Card

Gate Watch 🚪

You and your companions are members of the Gate Watch – charged to monitor 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.

Read More… Buy Now! ($24.95)

Tableau Improv Playset Cover Card

Improv 🎪

Ignite your “Yes, and…” spirit of improvisation to weave unique tales together, one scene at a time. Collaborate to create unforgettable narratives across genres, fostering unexpected bonds between characters. Hone your narrative skills with rules designed for spontaneous & unscripted storytelling. Perfect for roleplaying, improv, script workshopping and creative writing.

Read More… Buy Now! ($15.95)

Tableau Storysets 📖

Tableau Booklet Storysets 📖 ​supplement Tableau stories with additional rules and story Elements, but you’ll need the Tableau Core Rules 📜 from a Playset 🎞️ or from the Tableau Core Booklets 📖 to play. Storysets 📖​ also are easy to incorporate into most ‘belonging outside belonging’ style storygames, and are adaptable for use with many other styles of tabletop role-playing games.​​

Courtly Shadows Storyset Cover

Courtly Shadows 👑

In Courtly Shadows 👑 where honor meets deception, whispered secrets, and hidden agendas. A two-page Booklet Storyset 📖 supplement for Tableau Games to accentuate tales of noble duels and concealed motives. Allegiances shift, secrets unravel, and the dawn may herald victory or despair. How will you shape the fate of your realm?

Read More… Buy on! ($1.95)

Touched by the Veil 🪦 Storyset Cover

Touched by the Veil 🪦

Touched by the Veil 🪦, where the unsolved intertwines with the unseen, setting hearts racing and souls searching. A two-page Booklet Storyset 📖 supplement for Tableau Games enhances tales of the irresistible dance between the known and the unknown. Every choice is laden with suspense, passion becomes a binding chain, and shadows harbor mysteries unsolved. How will you weave through this elaborate labyrinth of intrigue and emotion?

Read More… Buy on! ($1.95)

Trials of Tenacity 🍽 Storyset Cover

Trials of Tenacity 🍽

Endure a world reshaped by calamity in Trials of Tenacity 🍽 a three-page Booklet Storyset 📖 supplement for Tableau Games, where resilience battles against time’s ravages, hope dances on the knife’s edge, and tales of survival intertwine with legends reborn. What stories will you weave from the remnants of a world once lost?

Read More… Buy on! ($2.95)

Reviewer Quotes

“Tableau is a versatile, flexible framework for collaborative storygames grounded deep in the fundamentals of story and character. Mix and match cards to shift what themes, rules, archetypes, and ideas are on the table, helping your group tell a compelling and satisfying story.”Aaron A. Reed, author of the Archives of the Sky story game.

Overview of Play

There is only rule required for Tableau Games: Tableau Core ꩜ which is described on three poker-sized cards:

Rule Card: Tableau Core ꩜ 1

Rule Card: Tableau Core ꩜ 2

Rule Card: Tableau Core ꩜ 3

After review of these Core ꩜ rules, the players will either choose a pre-defined Playset 🎞 of cards that works well together or combine specific Rules 📜 cards to define the mechanics of collaborative storytelling, Story 📖 cards to describe the elements of the narrative, and optional Character Traits 👤 to create unique and complex characters.

Types of Stories

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

The Twilight Road 🛣️ Playset 🎞 is particularly focused journey of self-discovery & personal growth. Explore themes of identity, purpose, and belonging as you search for answers. What will you discover on your way? Will you find your destination, or return home?

The Gate Watch 🚪 Playset 🎞takes you to the edge of the world. You are charged to keep an eye on the border between realms. Who built The Gate? What is on the other side? Why are you watching?

While playtesting the Twilight Road 🛣 Playset 🎞, the cards collaboratively selected by storytellers resulted in a wide variety of settings & genres:

  • a historical fantasy, where a river journey across the Viking lands of ancient Russian followed the trail of Uncle Ingvar, lost while he was searching for the Silk Road and a lost city and treasure;
  • a 90s paranormal fantasy, in which a spring-break car trip led free-spirited students across America, each trying to find a lost icon on Route 66, looking for answers to a secret in their family history.

In play-testing 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 mansion 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.

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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).

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

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

Creative Contributors: Shannon Appelcline, Aaron Reed