ITS--short for Immersive Tabletop Sim--is a type of role-playing board game pioneered by Bantam Planet. ITS games emphasize player choice and creative problem solving in a self-contained system--requiring no Game Master to function.
We coined the term "Immersive Tabletop Simulator" in reference to the video game genre --- immersive sim. Some of our favorite immersive sims are Thief: The Dark Project, System Shock 2, Deus Ex, and Dishonored. Growing up, we remember playing the same levels over and over just to test out different approaches. Having that level of creative freedom in tackling the various problem felt like a breath of fresh air, especially after playing other linear and highly scripted games.
When playing our first ITS, Bantam West, you will be presented with a myriad of choices and minimal guidance. While there will be some players who try to min/max the game and its systems to ensure that they win, we find the experience to be the most fulfilling when you choose to live the life that you want to live. Do you want to be a wealthy merchant and avoid a fight at all costs? Do you want to be a ruthless gunslinger with empty pockets and an insatiable thirst for blood? Do you want to slip into the shadows and capitalize on the wealth of others?
As you make choices and shape your character's lifestyle and goals, the world and the other players will react in their own unique ways. Throughout the course of a game, a legendary tale will be told and you will find yourself recounting those stories with your friends for weeks after the game has been packed up and put away.
What makes an ITS?
While the ITS genre shares some aspects with games of other genres, the combination of the three primary characteristics shown below are what make our ITS games unique...
No Game Master
It combines aspects of TTRPGs, stealth games, fighting games, and exploration games in a self-contained system—meaning there is no Game Master.
The opportunities for scoring points always greatly outnumber the winning conditions, emphasizing player agency and narrative forming rather than mechanical exploitation.
All game interactions are from the character’s point of view, allowing the players to immerse themselves in the game world.