GANAKAGOK is a fantasy set in a dark ice-world, a mountain of ice looming up from a plain of snow, upon which live the Nitu people, a tribe of hunters and fishers who revere the Stars that perpetually shine down upon a world where the Sun has never risen.

Until now.

In Ganakagok, the characters are men and women of the Nitu who know that the Dawn is coming, and who begin to take action in anticipation of the rising of the Sun, to herald the Dawn or to oppose it. As the game progresses, the Dawn comes inexorably closer and closer. At the end of the game, the actions of the player-characters will have determined the fate of the world, the people, and the individual characters.

The game uses a tarot-like deck of cards created by me and designed by my friend Dave Petroski to inspire the in-game situation and constrain the consequences of character action. The impact of their use in play is to create a story that feels mythic to the players, giving the actions of their characters a kind of dream-logic and inevitability that is literally awesome. 

Jeff Wills from Odin's AviaryMan, did I luck out starting with this. It's a game set in an ancient Eskimo world, and we played it outside as the weather chilled and the sky darkened. Great stuff. Each person played a single, self-generated character, the game master gave us some elements to start off with and the rest was dictated by our choices and the drawing of cards specific to the game, each of which had an Eskimo word and various associations for it printed on it. We took turns telling our character's parts of the story, but each character could contribute within the system to another's tale. Blew my mind.

Dave Younce from As If You Care...I played Ganakagok, which was like taking Inuits, Crouching Tiger-type movies, and a sad romance and mixing them into a beautiful story of tradition vs. love on the endless ice. So fun. Don C. ran this for me, Jeff Collyer, Patty K., and Joshua Seigler. The imagery from that game (which ended when my tradition-bound character was eaten by an enormous ancestral orca) will stick with me for a long time.

Fred Hicks from See Page XXGanakagok does several things which, together, produce an amazing game-play experience that preserved my empathy for my character. At the heart of all of those things is a common thread: everyone gets a chance to participate ievery scene, but only in a way that happens through the "lens" of their characters. Even when my character is not physically present in a scene, he can affect that scene through his possessions, others' memories of him, and so on. This is gold. By making sure that I don't ever step out of "my guy" to affect the larger story of the world, I remain identified with him without ever losing sight of the big picture. This is a strange and magical kind of unity that Bill has crafted, here: a game where character and story interact and exist as peers, but where one cannot be affected at all without the use of the other. My authorship of the story does not occur without the involvement of my own character. And that is where my heart starts to beat with newfound warmth for the stories arising from play. Ganakagok makes character and story into an inextricable pair, like a key and its lock, and it has already started to affect my designs—my 2007 Game Chef entry Schizonauts was among the first. Much of that game follows Ganakagok's example, from its turn structure (which guarantees everyone participates in every scene), to the ways that absent characters can still be a part of scenes as they play out.

You can contact me here: 

Ganakagok is available in PDF at Indie Press Revolution

Preview the rulebook here

Here's a pdf of the Ganakagok character sheet.

Here's a pdf of the Ganakagok oracle deck, to print out on cardstock and cut apart to make your own Ganakagok deck. And here is Nick Wedig's version of the cards. If you don't have a Ganakagok deck, though, you can still play the game with a normal deck of playing cards. 

Other play aids: a blank Ganakagok Map and a Nitu map, and a record sheet for the GM to jot down character information for quick reference.

You can use the Story-Games Names Project pages at Abulafia for Inuit or Finnish names to use in the game.

In How To Run Ganakagok, you can hear actual play excerpts from the games I ran at Gencon 2009.

Actual Play (Audio) provides links to actual play recordings of Ganakagok games taped by my brother Mel White.

Ganakagok is on Facebook.

A brief essay I wrote about designing the game  is on the Flames Rising webzine.

Show your Ganaka-love! Join Nearby Gamers and add Ganakagok to your tags! 

The Story-Games Codex used to have a Ganakagok wiki page.

The Ganakagok cover art is by artist Jeremy Mohler

Consensus Games: Ganakagok is my design blog entry about Ganakagok, when I thought it was ready the first time.

The original game design was created for the Iron Game Chef competition held in 2004 on the Forge.

If you have a Ganakagok deck, you can play the structured freeform version of the game with up to 12 players!

Here is a thread on the Story-Games discussion forum where we talk about Ganakagok.