A downloadable game

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An espionage roleplaying game set in a modern cold war - forged in the dark


Minutes to Midnight is a game powered by Blades in the Dark about a crew of spies, trying to disrupt the balance of power in a modern cold war. They will have to stand strong in the face of their vicious opposition and handle a fragile web of untrustworthy informants, devious intrigues and deadly lies.

We play to find out if our agents can thrive in the cutthroat world of espionage. While the public may never know about their impact, their actions shape the political landscape and outcome of conflict. Will the players prevent the outbreak of a global disaster and use their influence to create a better future? Will they attempt to send the opposing bloc into a turmoil and establish a lasting hegemony? Or will their actions lead the world down a path of war and nuclear destruction?

  • a system for creating your own alternative history, political landscape, the goals of your factions and the international crises your players will face.
  • new playbooks and mechanics (for example: intel, the doomsday clock, playbooks like the Uniform, the Trenchcoat, the Overall or the Tux) for your players, characters and crew.
  • modified rules for pay-out, downtime and entanglements, which tie into the doomsday clock and crisis system.
  • a toolbox to create your own modern cold war Berlin.
  • full artwork by Stefan Struck and yoz
  • around 140 pages of unique content, 6 playbooks
  • an online character keeper

Sheets and playbooks are available for free (see the demo section below).


This version (1.1) is the official release version of the game. It is the result of almost three years of designing, writing and playtesting the game. Changes might still be made in the future and will be made available in digital form for free. In addition, there might be more crisis and flashpoint examples.

Minutes to Midnight is a passion project born from my life-long love of roleplaying games and spy fiction. Thanks to all the early supporters and playtesters made it possible for this game to exist. Your support throughout 2020 has been a huge motivational boost.


In an alternative present, the cold war between the Soviet Union and the NATO States is still ongoing. For more than seventy years, the world has been entrenched behind ideological borders, stuck in a state of mistrust and fear of mutual annihilation. With each passing decade, new proxy wars, suppressed uprisings and manipulated elections are added to the history books.

The cold war is a conflict largely fought in the realm of espionage, hidden from the public eye. Here, covert action is considered a silver bullet – a third way between disastrous nuclear wars and diplomatic helplessness. And so, spies have become the linchpin in a grand machinery of intrigues and plots, run by agencies that continually try to expand their own power. These intelligence agencies have evolved into massive behemoths: deep states that avoid democratic control and public oversight. Their network of spies and informants spans the globe and their surveillance does not exclude their own citizens. They are puppeteers who manipulate the truth and shape the perception of a lingering foreign threat only they can keep at bay.

Now the world is facing another dire crisis and these organizations are in a rush to exploit it for their own needs. But this time, the status quo will finally change – for better or for worse.

CategoryPhysical game
Rated 5.0 out of 5 stars
(15 total ratings)
AuthorOliver S
GenreRole Playing
TagsAlternate History, coldwar, Forged in the Dark


Buy Now$20.00 USD or more

In order to download this game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $20 USD. You will get access to the following files:

mtm_everything_1.2_2022-04-29.rar 30 MB
minutes_to_midnight_1.1_2022-01-28.pdf 5 MB

Community copies

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

Communist copies

Cannot afford to buy the game but want to play anyway? Get a communist copy sponsored for by the state (and tips received). 

No tip required, comrade.

Download demo

mtm_sheets_1.2_2022-04-29.pdf 0 bytes
Printer_friendly_mtm_sheets_2022-04-29.pdf 1 MB
mtm_playbooks_only_1.2_2022-04-29.pdf 8 MB

Development log


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Any chance of getting at least a print-on-demand version of this? It looks fantastic, but I like to have a printed version.

Would also be interested in POD!


this game did not age well

(1 edit) (+1)

I started writing Minutes to Midnight when I was still involved in International Relations and now my friends are calling me a prophet. Considering the current situation, it is a dubious honour.  On the upside, I think spy thriller are pretty timeless and this gives you a pretty good engine for that kind of story. ;)

(1 edit) (+1)

I'm planning a campaign ticking all the boxes that move the Soviet Union towards a more democratic and positive place. I think I'm looking for some kind of catharsis playing in a fantasy world where Russia didn't end up that bad... I'll let you know how it pans out.

On an other note I will be keeping a campaign log online for my players, do I have the permission of hosting a translation of the playbook there?

As long as the translation is not in Italian, there should be no issue. Feel free to host it!
That sounds like a very exciting campaign, curious how it develops.
By the way, in the comment thread below you can find a first draft for a digital character keeper. The creator and I are currently fixing a few things to officially add it to the game, which should be done at the end of next week. Might make your life a bit easier if you plan on playing online. 

Little update: The online character keeper is now live and available here if you want to use it for your translated character sheets. 


I’m very excited about by game. 



I put this together. Feel free to use it however you'd like.


This is great! Do you have a contact adress? I would like to add it to the game description and credit you.

Sure! how do I DM on this thing?

I couldn't figure it out. Feel free to message me at https://twitter.com/Oli_writes or rpg.m2m@gmail.com 


Are you guys going to do a Kickstarter?

Nothing planned at the moment.


This is the game I've been looking for my entire life!  I was intrigued with Blades in the Dark, but it wasn't quite right.  But this is it!

(1 edit) (+3)

The game looks amazing, both graphics-wise and for the mechanics.

I work with an Italian publishing house. Would you maybe be interested in getting the game translated? If so, you can reach me at c . locatelli 93 (at) gmail.com


How did I not see this sooner?? Buying immediately.


Seems that this one is coming soon... :)