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On the night of the full moon, the rusałka dance by the edge of their enchanted pool. On these nights, people from the village come to ask their aid. The rusałka possess many strange magical talents, but the gifts they grant rarely turn out the way the petitioners hoped. 

Rusałka is a storytelling game for  3-6 players about tragic fairy tales, self discovery, and wishes gone wrong. Each player will roleplay as one of the rusałka, the spirits of women that drowned in a mystic pond. As you play, you discover who your rusałka was in life. You will also take turns portraying the desperate mortals who request the help of the rusałka, though asking may dangerous and unpredictable. Playing the game should take 2-4 hours.

"Nick Wedig’s game Rusałka is super great and I love it [...] This is a very focused monkey’s paw of a game - you will play people who really need things, and you will also play the cruel supernatural monsters who will give them precisely what they ask for."
—Jason Morningstar, Bully Pulpit Games

"Nick Wedig’s melancholy card-based storytelling game is one of my favorites for pickup play at conventions. [...] It’s an elegantly designed horror game"
—Tasha Robinson, Dicebreaker

You can hear how Rusałka is played on the Bored Ghost podcast:

Salt Air part 1 and part 2

Moonlit Marooner's Stack part 1 and part 2

Rusałka is also available in Japanese thanks to Twitter user @feltk

And it's available in Traditional Chinese thanks to Itch user yusuke0405.

Téléchargez la version française du jeu "RoussalkaFR.zip".  Thanks to DeReel for the French version.

CategoryPhysical game
Rated 5.0 out of 5 stars
(19 total ratings)
GenreCard Game, Role Playing
TagsFairy Tale, rusalka, story-game, Tabletop


Get this game and 118 more for $5.00 USD
View bundle
Download NowName your own price

Click download now to get access to the following files:

Rusałka.pdf 25 MB
Single player, 2 player.pdf 901 kB
rusalka horizontal cards.pdf 8 MB
rusalka vertical cards.pdf 3 MB
Rusalka cards as individual files.zip 2 MB
RoussalkaFR.zip 3 MB

Development log


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(1 edit) (+1)

I’ll tell about the house rules we use here. We keep our Rusalka deck all along and adapt the number of petitioners to duration and intensity we want. Also, we tend to accept Refusals on top of other offers, so that the player gets to narrate their memory. It’s true what Mr Walid says, that the memory is like a pause in the story. But we like it that way. In some occasions, we forgot to play the passing of time (but it was there, with various generations of mortals). This is more storytelling tonal variations but the game delivers in any case.


Played it at ArConate in Italy in 5 players and it was appreciated very much.
One thing we noticed: more than 50% of the times, the Rusalka player gave the offering and then someone else had to remind him of the flashback, because someone else (usually the petitioner) wanted to comment and interact with what the Rusalka just said. We suggest to invert the prompts on the cards: first the flashback, then the gift. This way we have first an insight into the mortal life of the Rusalka, and then we switch back to the present, where the choice of a particular gift (or refusal) might be motivated by the backstory.

Also, I think that page 29 in the pdf ("Petitioner") is out of order.

Thanks and ciao.

That's a pretty reasonable shift to operations, to make the game play smoother. I'll have to try that next time I play.

(1 edit)

Hey! Another enthusiastic player here. I played Rusałka at ArCONate with Mr Valis and I totally agree with him.

Like the other ones at the table, I really enjoyed your game.

I'd like to translate it into Italian. What do you think about it?

Cheers from Italy.

(1 edit)

I'd be very much in support of you translating the game into Italian. (I made the game Creative Commons licensed specifically to allow people to make their own versions, including translations.)

If you want to publish it somewhere online, that would be great. Or the Italian files could be included on the itch page for the game, as the French files are. Or both. Whatever works for you.

If you need any of the files I used in creation, you can email me at nickwedig@yahoo.com and I'll give you access to whatever I have.

Amazing, Nick. Thank you.

I'll send you an email. You'll recognise me as Cristian Sisto.


This game was probably my favorite all year and easily the best thing at GenCon. Incredible. You deserve to play it.

Thank you for saying so.

I think your game Under the Autumn Strangely is my favorite new game that I played this year.

when did you play it?!

We played it with my home group a couple weeks ago. I couldn't wait for the physical book to arrive, so we just used the PDF. It was a big hit with my group.

Hello, I want to translate the game in french but don’t know how to get the same layout and illustrations. Should I do without or would you rather send me modifiable files ?

If you send me an email at nickwedig@yahoo.com, I'll send you the files for the game so you can modify them with the translated text.

Now I see that you did email me, but it got caught in my spam filter. Replying there.

But the same is true for anyone else who wants to translate the game.

Thank you, you rock!

(1 edit) (+1)

Hi, I'm from Taiwan and I really love this game!
So I translate it to Traditional Chinese and upload PDF in Here !

Thank you for creating this! :)

Hey wow, this is really great. Thank you!

(1 edit) (+1)

I dearly love this game, it got me into ttrpgs, now I play them nearly every day and even make them. Thank you for your work.


That's amazing. It makes me happy to hear that my game inspired you.

(2 edits) (+1)

After Mesopotamians, Baba Yaga and Urban Legend, we played this game today at the club and it was a blast. As usual.

We adapted the game because we wanted to play fast but take the time for each story. Instead of passing our hand of cards, we kept it, relying on our familiarity with it. Also, we did only one petitioner per act. We dropped to half an hour per petitioner, with prologue, apparition, pact and a full tale.

The themes are a genius move. It fosters thematic unity in a unique and inescapable way.

I was surprised to see people using some tropes that I saw used in Baba Yaga like, plugging into that pool of stories is so clever.

There were also a hunt for a mythical beast, suicidal brides, drowned firstborn, literal understanding of pacts, and delusioned men forever in the underwater city with their dead lover. If anything, I’d update the game with a few safety warnings

Playing spooky apparitions and bartering witches let us lean on a more humorous, if dark, side.

I feared the decks would be hard to handle but in fact, it’s more structured and informs the narration more fully than, say, Urban legend.

I am really glad you enjoyed this game! 

I think it is the best game I've ever made.

It's absolutely phenomenal.