Creature Feature: Brigitte Winter

Creature Feature: Brigitte Winter

Meet Brigitte Winter, Scryptid co-founder and creator of the new games Psychic Trash Detectives and Dear Marley.

Brigitte (she/her) is a writer, photographer, and game designer based in Maryland. She is also the Executive Director of Young Playwrights’ Theater, a DC-based company that inspires young people to realize the power of their voices through storytelling. The capacity of storytelling to connect, inspire, and incite is central to Brigitte’s art and her activism. She consumes and creates stories and games that are queer, feminist, intimate, and deliciously weird. You can connect with her on Instagram @bwinterose and play her games on

What cryptid do you most relate to?

In early April 1971, a half-wolf, half-human creature scandalized dozens of residents of Mobile, Alabama by traipsing through town with her bare breasts exposed to the world. The Wolf Woman of Mobile, described by witnesses as “hairy and pretty,” first spoke to my heart as one of the only cryptids specifically identified as female. While projecting gender onto cryptids is an absurd exercise, it does tickle me to know that a Wolf Woman may have carved out a place for herself alongside all the Mothmen and Lizard Men of the world. First spotted on April 1st, and very possibly an April Fool’s joke, she and I also share a birthday. Plus, she terrified an entire city by simply going for a run with her tits out. A feminist icon, really.

What will people love about playing Dear Marley?

In Dear Marley, players get to tell the story of a group of high school friends by responding to prompts and describing imagined yearbook photos. Each character is randomly assigned a class superlative that helps define their core traits as well as a relationship to Marley, a non-player character that is described as the glue holding your friend group together. The story can take place in our world or an imagined one. It can be nostalgic or whimsical or hilarious. But at its heart, it’s a game about the profound impact of formative young adult relationships. I think players will enjoy collaboratively building and populating their high school setting as well as the unique ekphrastic fun of telling a story by imagining and describing yearbook photos. I think they’ll especially love the immersive experience of playing their class song and writing a yearbook message to Marley at the end of the game. And once the game ends, adult players get to not be in high school anymore, the greatest reward of all. 

What will people love about playing Psychic Trash Detectives, the first release from Scryptid Games?

After the dumpster fire of the past several years, there’s something about embodying a trash animal that feels pretty relatable, but I also think players will enjoy the kind worldview of the game. Psychic Trash Detectives is a game about the power that comes from acceptance of one’s weird self and the other weirdos around you, so I explored ways to bake that experience of radical self-acceptance into the gameplay. For example, when the players first create and introduce their characters, they are invited to share their character's grossest trait. The other players then share why that gross trait is actually their characters’ favorite thing about their friend. This leads to some hilarious storytelling, but also really drives home that core theme of radical acceptance and celebration--of both self and others. 

The game is also about the experience of being a psychic detective, so I wanted the psychic visions in the game to feel magical. The mystery at the heart of the game, as well as the setting of the story, is up to the players, and it's a collaborative game with no single facilitator guiding the story. Throughout the game, the players generate abstract clues by playing collaborative mini-games: activities like writing erasure poetry on trash, divining story details from a collaborative playlist, and sketching with their eyes closed or by using their non-dominant hand. They are instructed to “say yes” to the ideas inspired by these clues and to the contributions of the other players, and to integrate them into their own storytelling. By giving over to this kind of improvised magic, the players have psychically solved their mystery in every play test I've run.

What’s your earliest TTRPG memory?

I actually didn't start playing TTRPGs until my 30s, when I discovered the amazing indie designers building sandboxes for the kinds of stories I wanted to tell, stories that could imagine resolving conflicts without combat, that were interested in relationships and communities, and that deliberately centered queer people, people of color, and women. 

As a writer and performer, I love games that inspire interesting stories and flawed characters, where the players can make character-driven choices that are sometimes not in their best interests. And as a theater artist, I'm in love with the idea of TTRPGs as a kind of theater, where the players are the playwrights, performers, and audience creating a kind of ephemeral magic together that only exists for an evening, and then coming together the next night to do it all over again. Theater is a collaborative art, and so is game design. A play isn't fully a play without a company of artists activating it and making it their own, and a game document isn't a game until players do the same. 

It’s through that lens that I’ve been able to construct the story of my own journey to gaming, a journey rooted in theater, speculative fiction, and the kind of early collaborative storytelling conjured through my Ninja Turtles action figures, the daily dramas in my dollhouse, or the imaginary Babysitters Club I founded on the elementary school playground.

Which new games by indie creators have caught your eye this year?

So many! During Zine Quest alone, I’ve had my eye on Drama Llamas, a game about fame-hungry reality TV contestants who are also llamas; Strictly Between Us, a game about exploring the intricacies of a changing relationship through blues dance; Viva La Queer Bar, a slice of life story game about a queer bar and its team; Penetrating the Veil, an irreverent solo journaling game about an intimate paranormal encounter; If I Were a Lich, Man, a trilogy of funny Jewish role-playing games about creative resistance against authoritarianism; and Oops, All Draculas, a game delightfully described as a “What We Do in the Shadows” simulator.  

I was also really excited to support Silent Falls, the expansion to Alice is Missing, which is a silent story game told entirely through text messages. I played the original game with a group of close friends a few years ago, and it remains the most emotionally powerful gaming experience I’ve ever had. 

You can check out Brigitte’s Dear Marley, along with four other excellent games by the rest of the Scryptid team by purchasing the Scryptid Games Creature Feature Bundle on

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