How I write Skirmish games: Perilous Tales designer’s diary

About six to eight months ago Mike Hutchinson (designer of Gaslands) showed me an idea that he had, a solo skirmish wargame called ‘Perilous Tales’. I checked it out, it was good fun, the AI system needed beefing up and it was fairly bare bones, but it was fun. Mostly it was something that Mike wrote for himself and wanted to share with me as a friend. Since then he’s kicked it around, shipped it around publishers a little (you’d think that the author of one of the biggest selling award winning tabletop miniatures game of the last few years would have their next idea snatched up, you’d be wrong) and published a stripped down version of it as a magazine article. It’s been available as a beta

Writing Tabletop AI

Recently I’ve been working on a project with a fairly prominent piece of cardboard AI in it and I was thinking about writing this blog, since it’s an interesting subject. One of the interesting things about tabletop AI is that a lot of the time it sneaks in without you noticing it, to the degree where I wasn’t sure if I should write this blog because I forgot that both of the two games I’ve launched on Kickstarter had AI in them. To my mind there are three general forms of cardboard AI, Full AI, Hollow AI and Game AI, I’ll try to explain each of them and suggest a few things to be aware of when writing them. First though, I’d like to suggest a few general rules that go for all AI systems. Fr

There is Not the Line Between You and the Rest of the Industry that You Think There is

There is one thing that continues to be re-enforced for me over and over as I travel along and grow in experience in the table top industry and that thing can be summed up in a simple phrase: There is not the line between you and the Pros that you think there is. Strictly speaking that might not be true, you might believe that there is no line and that you’re as good as anyone out there, but I think that if that is the case you’re probably in the minority. Generally, creators in the tabletop industry are beset with a sense of imposter syndrome and the belief that somewhere out there there’s a gate keeper to being a ‘proper’ professional designer. I’ve not seen all corners of the industry, bu

Skirmish Games: Developer’s Diary for Martian Racing Federation

Hopefully the subject of this blog should be on free release by now, if it isn’t it soon will be. Some time ago a fairly casual comment was tossed off on a Facebook group in relation to Gaslands that there should be a team of Martian aristos slumming it on earth. If you’re not familiar with the system that will need a little explaining. Gaslands is a post-apocalyptic Mad Max/Death Race 2000 style game played with Hot Wheels scale cars. The background is that it is a dystopian TV show since Earth lost an inter-planetary nuclear war with its Mars colony and has since become its TV studio, of which Gaslands is its highest rated show. Gaslands the tabletop game has ‘sponsors’ as factions. So, th

CE Marking Advice: Technical Documentation

When I first posted my blog on CE marking advice the British Toy and Hobby Association provided a wide range of excellent and, more to the point, free resources. I referred to those resources repeatedly in my blog. It has come my attention that they have since removed those documents and apparently charge for access to them. As such I’ve decided to post my own versions of the technical documentation that you will need to conform to EU safety standards. Disclaimer Firstly, a disclaimer. I am not an expert in these areas. I am an independent games designer with a little bit of experience and a game successfully imported and entered onto the market. However, these directives are intended to be


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