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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 test for feedback ever since. With the current lockdown new normal that we’re all living in a solo tabletop game by a popular designer has started picking up its own head of steam with the community. Mike and I ended up having a conversation, I’ve had a couple of successful Kickstarters so I’ve put together illustrators, graphic designers, manufacturers and fulfilment. We put two and two together and we decided to put together our own full version of ‘Perilous Tales’, Kickstarter it and publish it ourselves.

Actually, we decided to find out if that was possible, because at the time of the conversation, we had no idea. Turns out, it totally is, so we’re doing it. You can do that sort of thing when you stride the industry like a colossus as it turns out.

At the moment we’re knocking the game into shape. The skeleton is solid and the concept is right, you know as soon as you see it that it should exist and you’d like to take a look at it. That’s sort of what I want to write about here, because I would never have come up with it myself in a million years, because its not how I come up with skirmish games. In explaining why that is I need to explain how I decide if a game is a skirmish game or not.

I’ve written before about what a skirmish game is and is not, in the terms that I mean them and what their purpose is on the tabletop. Terms and definitions c