Sunday, 11 October 2015

Playbook Games

So, it turns out I really like games with playbooks: ever since Apocalypse World came out and encouraged lots of hacks to be produced, I've been fascinated with the idea of compressing all you need for a game into a set of playbooks. There's just something about holding that unique character archetype in your hands, with all its promise of exclusive special abilities and tailored story hooks, that piques my interest and heightens my engagement with the game.

I've written three small games that depend on playbooks for their game structure, all of which are now available on Drivethru as Pay What You Want games; they tackle the design goal in different ways and produce quite different play experiences as a result.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Lally Tullet

This short game is about delivering a monologue that recounts a notable event in a person's life: the monologue for each player may be comic, tragic or just a slice of life.

The Beginning

Start by agreeing some boundaries and limits, paying special attention to the tone of the game: some
players may want something gonzo, bringing in elements of sci-fi, fantasy and horror, then cooking them up with some extreme real world situations, while others might want something more down to Earth and almost meditative in it's approach. I recommend the latter: don't push to make your monologue as exciting and remarkable as you are capable of, aim for something slower and focus on the Orator's feelings about the tale over the events that occur in it. The purpose of this game is to practice your characterisation skills and how you communicate to other players: aim to get under your Orator's skin and spin a tale that enthrals.

Thursday, 1 October 2015


Did you enjoy the tale of Howell's Phasmagraph in the Black Catalogue? Well, now you can play it at home! Sort of.
This is a mini-story game about a seance: it works best with 4 or 5 players, but it can also be a neat 2 player game and all you'll need is an ordinary pack of playing cards (Ouija board is optional.)

Seat all the players comfortably around your dining table or Ouija board, placing a well shuffled pack
of playing cards in the middle and deal 3 cards from the top of the deck to each player. Believe it or not, you are now ready to begin: for simplicity, players are encouraged to take on the roles of characters who look like themselves, so play someone of about your own age, gender, ethnicity, etc. This will make it easier for everyone else around the table to identify and remember the character you are playing. You can form an idea about your character in advance and then introduce yourself as you sit down at the seance, or you can allow your character to form through play, reacting to questions & answers spontaneously rather than according to any plan.