Monday 30 December 2019

A decade of game design

And so it comes to the end of the decade as swiftly as it began. I'm 10 years older, 10 years wiser and 10 years more handsome. I do flatter myself.

This last decade has been the most profoundly productive of my life, which makes sense because I was just 22 all those years ago, nary a year out of academic life and very early into my game design life. The people I've had the pleasure of meeting, both on and offline, and the projects I've worked on were merely contained to my wildest dreams in my early twenties.

To come out at the end of the decade with a release from Osprey Games is wonderful. To have created one of the most popular solo games on the market with Quill was something I could have never expected. To be in Spanish bookstores with a storytelling card game in Cuentos de Animas would have floored me in my twenties. To be working with some of the people I'm now working with for 2020 is a dream.

Like many, I tend to get imposter syndrome and I have compared myself to successful designers in the past, ones far more talented than me. I think the next decade is a chance to try to consider that I'm not an imposter. I work hard. Over the last 10 years my PR career has thrived to the point that I head a team. I do this demanding job while putting many hours into game design, shunning weekends to write. Not that I'd change this - I do it because I love it.

I hope the 2020s will be laced with opportunity for more game writing and collaboration. I hope that Romance of the Perilous Land is a success and I get to write more books in that world. I hope I get the chance to work with Paizo in Pathfinder 2e or Wizards of the Coast on Dungeons and Dragons. I plan to continue producing new material and Quill is a priority. I hear you.

I want to end this post with a thank you. A thanks to you, fair readers; a thanks to anyone who plays my games; and a thanks to those who have given me opportunities over this past decade. Cheers to you.

Saturday 28 December 2019

Influences and inspirations

As the year draws to a close I wanted to catalogue my current influences and inspirations on my game writing in a post. This is very much a naval-gazing exercise.

Literature and writing

  • Lovecraft
  • M. R. James
  • Arthur Machen
  • Tolkien
  • Dunsany
  • Robert McFarland
  • Robert Chambers
  • Terry Pratchett
  • Leigh Brackett
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • Edgar Allan Poe
  • Alan Moore
  • William Blake
  • Sir Thomas Malory
  • Howard Pyle
  • Mary Shelley
  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • Alex Raymond

  • Aubrey Beardsley
  • William Blake
  • Alphonse Mucha
  • Medieval illumination
  • 17th/18th century chapbook engravings
  • Arthur Rackham
  • Ivan Bilibin
  • Brian Froud
  • Wendy Froud
  • Harry Clarke

Film and Television
  • The Detectorists
  • Mark Gatiss
  • John Carpenter
  • Merlin (BBC)
  • Blackadder
  • Hilda
  • Universal Monster movies

Games designers
  • Simon Washbourne
  • David Black
  • Nate Treme
  • Ken St Andre
  • Ian Livingstone
  • Steve Jackson
  • Dave Arneson
  • Gary Gygax
  • S. John Ross
  • Gavin Norman

The above is very white male dominated, which is something I'm keen to address in 2020, but I do suppose I do have antiquated tastes.

Friday 20 December 2019

Have a very Perilous Christmas

So, Romance of the Perilous Land has been released in the UK. From the looks of it the US will follow on Christmas Eve and parts of Europe in January. Thanks to everyone who has sent me pictures of their perilous deliveries and for the kind words about the game. This is a culmination of more than 3 years of work and I'm humbled by the messages I'm getting. The fact it was featured in Tabletop Gaming Magazine's best games of 2019 is really the icing on the cake.

I'm hopefully going to be running an online Yule one shot with a few people over the Christmas period, so prepare for a report.

Saturday 7 December 2019

Stuff I've been up to and things

I've been doing a terrible job updating here, so let's get back in gear.


My biggest highlight last week was being on the Osprey Games stand at Dragonmeet launching Romance of the Perilous Land (full release is Dec 12). Tiring day, but I met so many great people, including lots from Anchor, G Plus, Twitter etc. Was great to finally meet people in person. I was joined by Graham Rose, who wrote Paleomythic, the other game launching Osprey's RPG line. Super lovely chap and Paleomythic is ace, so check that out.


I've launched a project where I turn Aubrey Beardsley's art into a BX setting. It deals with beauty, corruption, vice and greed in a fantasy Paris - you can find out more here.

Romance of the Perilous Land makes Best Games 2019

I was overjoyed to discover RotPL is in Tabletop Gaming Magazine's special Best Games of 2019 issue. Yay!

Cuentos de Animas

Spanish readers might be interested to see that English Eerie has been converted to print by new publisher El Refugio de Ryhope. It's a gorgeous book, with a set of cards included. Get it here.