A downloadable solo game

Buy Now$7.00 USD or more

There's a postbox in the woods near your house. It's old, very old—maybe a hundred years or more. The paint is flaking, there's rust in places. But you think post is still collected there, because they close postboxes that aren't used. Don't they?

And it is still used. People keep putting their letters in there: lovers, spies, friends, humans. They still post their postcards and birthday cards and driving licences and passports. The odd person might wonder why something doesn’t get there on time, but unless everybody realises, nobody guesses: this postbox is abandoned.

ghostbox is a solo epistolary game about letters left mouldering in an abandoned postbox for weeks, months, years. You'll write one side of a conversation where the replies never come. You'll track what happens to the postbox over the years. And when the game ends, the postbox and its contents are lost forever.

Cover photo by Groveland Designs on Unsplash, modified by Marx Shepherd.

Body typeface: Sylexiad Sans Medium, designed by Rob Hillier.

Copyright © 2022 by Marx Shepherd and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


Buy Now$7.00 USD or more

In order to download this solo game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $7 USD. You will get access to the following files:

ghostbox 4 MB


Support this solo game at or above a special price point to receive something exclusive.

a battered postcard from a forgotten friend

Do you want to receive a postcard written by somebody maybe fifty years ago that's been through the postal system a handful of times and has probably sat in a desk drawer for most of its life? I know I do. The ultimate ghost post.

(I'm all out of postcards that have already been written, but you'll get something special if you order one now)

Pick this reward, fill in your address, and I'll send you one to cherish forever, or to send on to someone else.

Postcards will be sent directly through the post, without an envelope. Damage is possible and perhaps even desirable. These are vintage items and may be in poor condition already. Of course I'm not using a real ghostbox, so if it doesn't arrive, please let me know.

Expected fulfillment date: November 2022

Download demo

ghostbox - osmosis rules 439 kB
ghostbox - playingcards.io setup 797 kB

Development log


Log in with itch.io to leave a comment.

I'm loving playing this game! It has been an excellent creative exercise for a book I am writing. My only question is: what do you do if your top row is still the same number of cards, yet you have played other cards so the game isn't over? Re-use the same prompt? 

Other than that small question, I've been loving this game! 5 stars from me!

That's so good to hear, thank you! Sorry for the late response. The answer is in the revised edition, which is currently in layout and illustration: "ignore that prompt and use the next, the previous, or one of your choosing." They're vaguely in the order of least destructive to most destructive.

Awesome thank you! I ended up repeating the prompt but in a similar/building way from the first time it was used. :)


Taken literally, this game asks you to create four one-sided narratives, letters dropped into an abandoned postbox that never receive a reply. The writers are shouting into a void, though in each case it is a very specific and personal void -- the object of unrequited love, for example.

It's a clever way to capture the very nature of a solo journaling game: after all, if you play with yourself, you can never leave the boundaries of your own imagination. You are the characters articulated by the game's rules: a writer with no audience.

But there's a way you can see this experience as distilling the antisocial side of "social" media. Every day people send million of posts, tweets, and photos into the ghostbox cloud. Even this review is going God-knows-where in the hopes that someone might read it.

Caveat: I have read but not fully played the game.

Yeah! I spoke to Thomas Manuel about exactly this idea - sending a message into the void in the hope that someone reads and appreciates it. In a week where de-prioritisation of unpaid users is happening on Twitter, this feels very relevant. Unexpectedly so.

This is a unique game that uses letters and solitaire to create an interesting experience.

just listening now, thank you so much!

I took a look at Ghostbox and made a short video!

Thank you Philippa! Love the video, especially seeing the handwritten letters. I hope you had fun with ghostbox.


Five Star Review

In case you didn't know, Itchio doesn't show the written reviews that I get from people. So I'm going to share them here, with names removed. Loved getting this one.

I've played this twice already. Both times it's been for worldbuilding, although the first time it was also focused on catharsis for a character pulled from a different game. I truly appreciated both aspects.
I found it confusing on the first play through that clubs were red in the playbook, but that's the sort of thing that editing will catch. I can't wait to see the final project!

I read in the rules that Jokers are optional (and prolong the game) but I couldn't find rules for how to actually use them. It's entirely possible that I'm just not seeing it but could you clarify it for me?

They're in the Osmosis rules text. Basically a Joker can stand in for any card but has no rank until a card in a lower suit relies on it. You can replace a Joker with the card it stands for, but when you do that you have to move it down into the first row where that rank is still needed, or remove it from play when it's in the bottom row.

I don't have the stats to prove this, but it will probably extend play by at least one round and possibly two or more.

A really intruiguing starting point/theme with some fantastic prompts ranging from melancholic to outright funny. I hope to see plenty of expansions and prompts to come because I really enjoyed playing this and feel like there's still plenty of potential to explore!


thanks Albi! that's such a kind review. i'm so glad you enjoyed it. may your mail always arrive!

Love this idea and I wish I had more time to join and work on the jam based on this game! 

thank you! that means a lot to me and the team.