Saturday 26 August 2017

My game designing story so far - part five

For a while I'd been considering giving Halberd an overhaul. I'd gone back time and again with new ideas to update it, but each time I was left cold. I'd been reading a tonne of Dunsany so I thought about how I could integrate some of his magic into the game. Once I actually began writing the thing I realised that it was turning into a completely new game. I was updating the USR mechanics and overhauling pretty much every aspect of the game, so rather than make this a rehash of Halberd I decided it needed to be a game in its own right. Enter Tequendria.

To my mind Tequendria is the first game of Dunsanian fantasy, which I was absolutely shocked by. It was probably my favourite game to create too - designing those archetypes was a hoot.

By now I think I'd found my stride after all these years. I'd grown in confidence and was losing some of that 'oh everyone's going to hate it' neuroticism I'd previously harboured.

My next project was again one I'd picked up from notes. I love cyberpunk and I'd created USR Cyberpunk to see how refined a game like that could be made. But I took a look at In Darkest Warrens and decided to challenge myself to make an ultra lite cyberpunk game. This became Wired Neon Cities. Fully playable realised cyberpunk world in a handful of pages.

It had been over a year since Quill was released and I'd been going back and forth between a Lovecraftian project - Quill's first campaign. It's actually the first thing I ever wanted to do with the game because the genre fits so perfectly, but I'd never been happy with the mechanics and story. One time I thought I had it down and started writing a scenario with mi-go, but it didn't work out. Then everything seemed to click into place. Quill: Shadow and Ink was a challenge, but I'm proud of the story that came out of it and I believe it's set the standard for future Quill scenarios.


As you can probably tell by now, if you've read the entire series, I spend a lot of my free time creating. I go to sleep thinking about mechanics and sometimes dream about the games in my head. I have a stack of notes and partial projects which I dip into but ultimately if I'm not inspired then a project will fall off the radar. If I get to the end of a book and end up disliking it for whatever reason it's thrown into game purgatory.

I feel like my gaming journey is only just beginning. I see the amazing creations that are coming out of the small press at the moment and feel inspired. I'm fortunate to be part of a community that encourages each other and helps each other along the way. There's currently a bunch of them playtesting a new game that's kind of a spiritual sequel to Quill.

So thank you to everyone who has helped and supported me on my way so far. I have a tonne to learn and maybe in the next 10 years I'll consider myself to be more than a passable creator. Let's hope.

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