Games Design - What are you currently working on?

Posted by: Newt Newport On: Jan 16th 2010 edited

So folks I feel the time has inevitably come to ask the gathering of Designers here, "What are you currently working on?"

Me first.

Monkey: this is the game that will probably interest you lot the most. Its my slim & focused 70 page take on the Chinese Classic Journey to the West, better known as MONKEY! over here (thanks to the Japanese TV series that aired in the 80s). Players play errant immortals chucked out of Heaven and the adventures revolve around them trying to earn enough virtue to re-enter Paradise despite their weakness and failings. A simple card mechanic models the action, which is fast furious and comedic while ultimately enlightening. Literally 2 pages away from completion, then a bit of polish, editing, layout and out Feb/March (at the very latest).

The Savage North: Last year I released a game called OpenQuest. I took the bull by the horns and produced a totally Open Content game from the Mongoose RuneQuest OGL SRD, which reflects how I like to play D100 (BRP, RQ ) these days, i.e in a very streamlined storytelling manner. The Savage North is a collection of four scenarios set in a Conan like setting. Very trad dungeon bashing/wilderness trekking from the glory days of White Dwarf in the early 80s. A fun little project which I've got to work with my mate John Ossoway (author of Cthulhu Rising) who wrote the adventures (for a RQ3 Conan campaign originally), did the copious number of maps and all the art. I've been responsible for writing a setting, converting it to OpenQuest and generally gluing together what was initially just a quick fun write up for John's home group.

Wordplay: The Big Five This is Graham Spearing's D6 dice pool narrative game. Think HeroQuest and Burning Wheel in the front, with a few indie games and WEG's Star Wars D6 in the back, all in a car crash. Put back together by a games designer with an eye for simplicity and common sense. When Graham initially started the game he put a call out for people to write mini-settings called Themes for inclusion in the book. Four authors, my self included, answered the call. Graham published a plain text version , which included his Epic Fantasy theme, last year. His plan was to do a fully illustrated version with the remaining four themes. Unfortunately he hasn't got time to do this due to other commitments, so I'm picking up publishing this. As well as Graham's theme it will have; The Cold Crusade by Mark Galeotti (De Vinci code meets Heroes), Flashpoint by me (think Traveller redone as a story telling game), Infinite War (gonzo time travelling game, part satire of current war on terror, influenced by Jerry Cornelius and Fritz Leiber's The Big Time), Keep Portland Weird by Charles Green (Charles calls it Urban Fantasy, but I think its very much World of Darkness done right with a lovely bit of surreal social commentary running in the back ground). "But Newt I notice only three authors there in your list" you cry. That's right, Dom Mooney was originally going to be submitting 'Singularities', an epic Hard Sci-fi theme in the tradition of Iain Banks, Alistair Reynolds and a host of other modern writers, but is now developing it as a standalone Wordplay game. Apart from quickly writing Flashpoint, which is the replacement for Singularities, this is very much a quick layout job. I've already got alot of free/lo cost art from my regular stable of artists :) Release then April.

Dark Corners of the Empire: This is my own fantasy heartbreaker, written using Wordplay. Take the adventure and setting from OpenQuest and mash it up with the Wordplay system and see what comes out the other end.
Its really intended for people who want to try Wordplay out, but are put off by its 'hey make everything up yourself' approach or just want to play it in a familiar fantasy setting. Release?? This one is coming together very quickly, so could be March or Feb.

Hearts in Glorantha & Gloranthan Adventures: HiG was my starting point as a small press publisher almost two years ago. Its done me proud, providing me with a basic cash flow to pay for art for other projects. As a commited Gloranthaphile I'm still chugging away putting togehter the twice yearly HiG (issue 4 is being worked on now) and Gloranthan Adventures is an irregular spin off publication brought about by the realisation that I still have alot of my own material (which is mainly adventures) that is too big to fit in HiG.

This is the tip of the ice burg, since I'm a hyperactive sort whose creativity has been well and truly been liberated by self-publishing via lulu, but this is stuff I definitely know is going to get released in the next six months.

There's a bit more info on my website including some covers and other bits of preview material

Posted by: Matt On: Jan 23rd 2010

Gosh you're busy!

I have been fairly unproductive since the change in family circumstances and a new job. Trying to work my way back up to posting here more regularly is enough of a challenge at the moment!

I did start a heavy redrafting of Enlightenment and Entropy (my game that's like Mieville meets Morecock), but only in a very haphazard way. Focusing on the idea of recapturing that joy of discovery you got in some 90s sim gaming, but without the prep and GM force. Not sure it'll succeed.

Posted by: Iain McAllister On: Jan 23rd 2010

He has more projects than me on the go!

I am still working on Reel Adventures
, it is very close to being done and will be out this year, hopefully by Games Expo. A couple of tweaks, some art to source and then layout is all that needs done.

Other than that I am mostly organising my wedding!

Actually I do have some other things on the back burner:

Action Movie: A B-Movie spin-off that is ready to go, just needs some art fiddling and laid out. Games Expo for that one.

Combined Arms: A card game from a mate of mine, that is ready to go. Needs art and layout. Maybe for Dragonmeet all going well.

Flash: starting to teach myself flash programming, in the hope of doing a game or two with it. Also fun!

Mobsters: I am revisiting the theme of my first RPG and will be looking over the year to make a new game based of the work I did with 'Mob Justice'.

Other than that I am looking to work my way through my large back catalogue of games I have not played, and doing some blogging. Will post here when there is more to read on it. Just half of a WFRP 3rd edition review at the moment, the other half will be up after Conception.



Posted by: James Mullen On: Feb 3rd 2010

**Carpe Diem:**A game explicitly not about Time Travel, but the consequences of it. When the PC's personal hisory starts changing around them, they fight back by holding onto the facts they feel define them, but there is also the temptation to prune out the things they don't like about their lives and steal the things they have seen in an alternative version of their history. With cool time-bending powers.

WWID?: Not so much working on as written, but needs playtesting, this is an extremely short and amusing game intended for a group of friends and a GM with a very thick skin. Short to the point that I could post the entirety of the rules here in a post not much longer than this one.

A Chain Forged in Fire: Heroic fantasy, but the party is not under the direct control of the players; for example, there are always four heroes in the party, regardless of how many people are playing, and whereas players bid to take the glory for a specific hero's action, they have little to no control over what that action is. Sort of 'The Weakest Link' only with gold, XP and hit points.

Desperate Measures and The Brand: Rough early stages, the former concerns the investigation of a crime involving superheroes, but the investigators are ordinary human beings and the setting is a very Noir 1940s. The latter is an espionage/globalisation game inspired by the TV series Burn Notice, but with the characters continually having to juggle their loyalty to their employers with the relationships that matter most to them.

Posted by: steve On: Feb 6th 2010

My time is being taken up with editing characters for Who Shot the Sheriff for Freeform Games. At the moment I'm editing down the characters so that they fit in the character booklets without the font being too teeny.

With a bit of luck we'll get it out before the end of May. (I was almost tempted to write "Easter", but Easter seems very close at the moment.)

After that there's two or three games (all for FFG) that will be competing for my attention.

Like everyone else I suspect, I have a loooong list of projects on the to-be-done-one-day-when-I-have-the-time list.

And now I've written that, back to Who Shot the Sheriff...


Posted by: Tim Gray On: Feb 7th 2010 edited

I'm focused on Albion, "Celtic-themed fantasy roleplaying in a once and future Britain". I've been working on it for something like 15 years, on and off - yes, it's one of *those* projects. So now I'm using the skills I've developed on other projects to get a really good final version out there. Would be a lot easier if the day job didn't use up my time and energy. ;)

As good a place as any to find out more, including a look at some artwork, is this thread at the Tavern.

Posted by: Andrew Kenrick On: Feb 8th 2010

It's good to see quite so much going on! Glad to see the UK scene continues to thrive in 2010.

@Newt - hurry up and release Monkey! I've been waiting to get a looksee for ages now.

@James - they all sound interesting, but Carpe Diem particularly grabs my attention. When can we expect to see them? How can we help? And why not post WWID? up :-)

@Tim - what did you decide to do for Albion in the end, size-wise? And loving the Scott Purdy art - one of my favouritest artists to work with. Looking for an excuse to do so again!

Posted by: James Mullen On: Feb 8th 2010

My two goals this year are 1) get a website up so I can give away a few games and some of the scenarios I've done for DoN and OtE at conventions and 2) get a book published, with Carpe Diem being a strong contender for the latter. I can e-mail you a copy of my first draft for the latter, if you like; its missing a lot of context right now, but the core mechanics are in place.

Posted by: Tim Gray On: Feb 10th 2010

Andy, after getting the feedback from folks at Furnace and on the Tavern afterwards (thanks all) I decided to make Albion a 256-page corebook. That will include a bit about everything, inc the otherworlds stuff, so that people can get a complete big picture of the game. Some of that material has been pulled aside to form a supplement - partly for space reasons and partly so the GM can surprise the players with it.

Posted by: Newt Newport On: Apr 5th 2010 edited

Small update on my part.

The Savage North is done and now out :)

The Savage North webpage

As is Wordplay The Big Five, which is now available to pre-order (printed book + FREE Pdf)

Wordplay page + 12 page preview pdf

Alas Monkey is still with the editor, but I aim to have him back home soon :)

Posted by: Andrew Kenrick On: Apr 5th 2010

Looking good Newt - you're really quite prolific these days! A question about the Big Five though - if it's only (only!) got 4 settings in it, where's the fifth?

Also, will you have these at Con-Quest next weekend?

Posted by: Newt Newport On: Apr 6th 2010

Ha ha, I wondered when people would start pulling me up about the lack of fifth setting ;)

Basically I ran out of development time :( The big five now is the Core System + four settings. I had to make two quite crucial development decisions.

The proposed 5th setting, Flashpoint was dropped due to time constraints (it may reaapear as a standalone or supplement later in the year) .

The work I had done for Dark Corners of the Empire (the standalone Wordplay Fantasy game) was merged into the book as well since I realised that if I was releaseing WPB5, which I hadn't planed to do when I started on Dark Corners, Dark Corners wasn't really going to get much of a second look. So Epic Fantasy, which is about 50% in Dark Corners anyway, was dropped in Favour of the Empire of Gatan setting + Fantasy Bestiary which where already developed and made WPB5 a more complete book as a result.

I'll probably do a post about the making of Wordplay The Big Five, since its been quite a fascinating journey.

Yes both books will stand proud on the D101 stall at Con-quest :D

Posted by: Matt On: Apr 6th 2010

Yes, post about big five, I'd be interested to see what you've come up against.

Having spent most of Conpulsion saying, "No, I'm not working on anything", the five hour train journey back provided a good stint of time to work on Enlightenment&Entropy, so I just dove in and rewrote a whole lot of my notes. I've been tweaking it in idle moments and may have something coherent for playtest some time soon-ish.

Posted by: Andrew Kenrick On: Apr 6th 2010

That sounds cool Matt - look forward to seeing it.

Posted by: Malcolm Craig On: Apr 6th 2010

After a very quiet spell, it seems that things have kicked off again for me. At that moment I'm...

...noodling with Shipwreck, the game of telling shipwreck stories.

...scribbling initial thoughts for Cold City: Red Sun, a short supplement that gives information for games of Cold City set in Tokyo, rather than Berlin.

...twiddling with the basics of Between Continents, the third part of the Cold City/Hot War trilogy.


Posted by: Lynne H On: Apr 28th 2010

Certainly some interesting projects in the works, there.

Over here at Chez Hardy (whilst attempting to avoid marking stuff), I'm predominantly working on Cogs, Cakes and Swordsticks at the moment, a steampunk pulp adventure game set in a reality where Babbage succeeded in getting his analytical engines to work.

Once I've got that sorted, it will be back to Fallen. I started that about 18 months ago now and for a variety of reasons the project stalled. Basically, you play a star who has fallen from the heavens as a result of your obsession with earthly matters that is trying to return home. The core writing on that is pretty much done, but it needs play-testing.

Then there's Small Things, which I started to write on the train on the way home from last year's Conpulsion. Its based on a short story I wrote about the creatures that live in and protect houses and is pretty whimsical (and may well be heading towards being a children's game). A lot of the bcakground is written, but I need to come up with as simple as system as possible. I'd love to use Snap, but it needs some thinking about.

Posted by: Joe Prince On: May 1st 2010

Well I've been avoiding this topic for a while because it's a bit scary when I contemplate all the stuff I've got on the go...

Hell 4 Leather
The newest of my myriad projects and also ironically likely the first to see publication!
It's a satanic tale of hell's angels and revenge from beyond the grave. Sort of The Crow meets Ghost Rider. With art and layout from Mr Gregor Hutton this is certain to be my best looking offering to date.

Pro-Wrasslin' Battle Royale
This is my first non-roleplaying game to see publication. It's a pacey little card game featuring nine kick-ass wrestlers. Gameplay wise it draws inspiration from Kill Dr Lucky and early Raw Deal. PWBR has been knocking around for an epic time (7 years?!) in one form or another and it'll be great to finally get this out for June.

Dragon vs Gun
The final clash betwixt magic and rationality! Another game that's been in development for years, DvG has altered over many iterations. It's 95% done (and has been for some time). Recently I switched around the core mechanics, dropping my beloved D12s for my beloved Tarot cards. I'd like to run another playtest or two before committing to a final version.

Contenders, ready
A second edition is on the cards - literally. I'm intending to do Contenders Golden Age as a RPG on cards to make it more accessible and tactile. I'm a bit concerned it may lose something, but not massively. Especially as I have the gladiatorial version We, The Warriors in the pipeline. Alongside this Pretenders, the wargame campaign rules I put in the journal have been seeing a bit of use recently with two Warhammer Battle campaigns. I'd like to go on to rework the rules and publish Pretenders with-

A generic set of skirmish rules. It's pretty fast, reasonably simple, supports multi-player battles and is pretty tactical.

And just in case that wasn't enough ;)

Glorianna - Elizabethan super-heroes and intended replacement for Swansong.
Gangs at War - Roleplay/card/strategy/war-game cross over.

Posted by: Neil Gow On: May 2nd 2010 edited

Clearly Joe has managed to access that extra percentage of his brain that we never use...!!

On the cards for me?

The Empire! bandwagon rolls on and on. Writing has started on the 1810 Miscellany and research of almost done for Duty & Honour: Rise of the Zulu. I working my arse off at work at the moment to allow me to clear out the summer for some hardcore writing, so hopefully there should be good news come September.

I also have a load of notes sat on my desk for using Umlaut's Contender's system as the skeleton for Deathball, a game of futuristic ultra-violent sport. Its between that or getting my thumb out of my ass over the SF version of Beat to Quarters as to the next project into 2011.


(Fixed it for you - Joe)

Posted by: Brian Ashford On: May 3rd 2010

I'm not sure if I have posted here before or not. If I did it was before the revamp. Anyway, this seems like a good place to start/restart. So, my projects then:

Oxygen is a science fiction RPG built to focus on the ramifications and resposibilities involved in running a spaceship. The setting is intentionally vague and I have just rewritten the system to focus on the negotiation side of the gamme rather than simply being a series of skill checks. Currently progress is on hold until I get a chance to playtest some more.

Meanwhile I am working on an as-yet unnamed game inspired by a conversation at last year about Fighting Fantasy gamebooks and their RPG spin off. This is a simple fantasy game intended to capture the sense of adventure I felt playing the gamebooks as a kid and turning it into a multiplayer RPG (which works - unlike the Advanced Fighting Fantasy RPG).

Posted by: George Cotronis On: May 4th 2010

Dark Days baby. The thing that wouldn't die.
A game of investigation horror where you're a monster looking for other monsters.

If I don't finish this game by the end of the year, it's going to kill me.

Posted by: Davide Losito On: May 14th 2010 edited

Hi, I've been a silent lurker so far.
I am from Italy and I am one of the guys at Coyote Press which is translating to italian some of your games (Covenant and Cold City already sold out completely and now we're working on Contenders and some other Joe's games)

We're also designers oursleves and I am working on some projects I'd lovely share with you, just to have a further comparison and get feedbacks.

So my personal project's list is:
Elar, roleplaying tales in a steam-fantasy world that is already out and sold out as well... sadly I don't have an english version of it, but I will get to this point somehow. I am still keeping some brain cells busy on it, especially now that I am receiving feedbacks from players.
The game is based on the system we named Fragma, which is a contaction from "Fragment" and "Pragma" (which means "act" in ancient greek), a system I will use for other projects as well, adapting to the needs.

Memories of War a story of 4 soldiers that died in a war, and now must deal with Death while she wants to know how things went and who's responsible and guilty. The game is based on a light version of Fragma, and it's actually the pilot-project I used to test some of the system mechanics.
I translated these 10 pages to english, so if anybody of you have time and interest in reading it, just whisper me and you get the PDF.

The Conspiracy of Strings, which is another instance of the Fragma system. The game is highly inspired by the Intergalactig Guide and it's a semi-demential game I developed for 2009 Game Chef. Sadly the contest just got... abandoned...
The game is in english. Script is a bit... raw. Needs proof-reading. A tough one.

Dawn of a New Tomorrow (... is painted blood) A game of tragedy and damnation in which... ok, you know this part. This is about Vampires. It's a system I developed with the intentional idea of turning StoryTelling system into something really usable. It mocks the character sheets and dicepools of the original games, but turns the whole thing into something coherent.
This is under development, but the character creation scene, which is a structured part of the game experience with specific conflicts to generate abilities and skills, received many positive feedbacks from playtesters.

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