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Case Studies

The Duelists, a 7th Sea Card Game

Over at DriveThruRPG, I have a print-and-play game for sale. It’s The Duelists. It’s a 7th Sea card game for two players — each player takes the role of a swashbuckler as they square off in a bout of sport and showmanship. There are two sets, each containing two duelists. Duelist from different sets can be paired against one another. It’s a pretty cool game. It’s fun. It also hasn’t sold that well.

Continue reading “The Duelists, a 7th Sea Card Game” »

Shadowrun, Sixth Edition: finally, a cyberpunk game.

A few days ago, Catalyst Game Labs announced Shadowrun’s sixth edition. Looking over the press release for it, the new version seemed to be the same old thing, just newer. Until I read a tweet from Steven “Bull” Ratkovich, which was directed at the “assholes in the back row” who were complaining about diversity, inclusion, and politics in a cyberpunk roleplaying game.

My reaction on twitter:

Wait a sec. Did someone say that game designers should leave the politics out of their cyberpunk roleplaying game?

Really?

REALLY?

Continue reading “Shadowrun, Sixth Edition: finally, a cyberpunk game.” »

InDesign and GREP

This writing will be updated with GREP expressions for use in InDesign that I find useful.

Continue reading “InDesign and GREP” »

The Patreon

I have thoughts about the design space in games and must write!

I have worked in the roleplaying and board games industry for over a decade as a graphic designer and layout artist. During the past few years, I have written for online publications where some of my reviews of game products delved into a serious look at the presentation of the object. Reviews, critiques, examinations of how graphic design evolved in a work — these are some of the things I enjoy writing about!

Although I would love to write about layout and graphic design in these spaces, I often find myself unable to justify devoting time for doing so. Patreon provides an incentive to create. You can directly prompt me to do what I love and, at the same time, develop my skill at writing.

I have two goals for this Patreon.

1. Write at least two articles each month about physical design in games.
2. Become a better writer.

When I create articles for the blog, I continually improve my writing; by improving my writing ability, I create more articles for you to read.

There’s a third, secret goal.

3. Write and develop actual game things.

…but I’ve written more about that in the first patron-only post.

I want you to join my journey to become a better writer.

By becoming a patron, you continue to improve my writing while learning about layout and graphic design in RPGs and boardgames. Joining up lets you suggest topics for future writings and adds you to a discussion forum where patrons can tell me what they would like to see come of my work.

It’s simple to become a patron: just click that link or the button below. Your generosity can start at as little as $1 per post (and you can even limit that to as few posts per month as you wish), although higher-level backers get access to one of the rarest things in the world: I’ll high-five you when we meet in person.

Become a Patron!

Some of my patrons

At the $3 tier, I’ll list a link to your work here.

BA Stewart hasn’t provided me with a link to a thing. He’s the smartest person I know, and I know a great many intelligent people.

Jason Pitre has a handful of cool roleplaying games. I collaborated with him on the ENnie Award-winning Posthuman Pathways. You probably should check out Sig, which looks super awesome in print!

The Games

vsM Engine

In 2019, I launched a Kickstarter campaign with four small roleplaying games based on the vsM Engine, developed from Phil Reed’s vs. Monsters. The micro-roleplaying games are ready for a few hours of gaming and are easily expandable to an extended campaign. Each one offers a quick setup to get you into a fast-moving game with very little to no prep time. All you need are 2-5 players, a few decks of standard playing cards, pencils and paper, and an afternoon.


vs. EMPIRE

It is a time of civil war in vs. EMPIRE. Become a new force of hope in the galaxy as your rebellion strikes back against a tyrannical empire. Outnumbered by the menace of the Galactic Empire, rebels fight for a return of freedom to oppressed people everywhere. You are a hero. You are the Rebellion! 

Yes, you can play a space wizard with a laser sword.

Buy vs. EMPIRE at DriveThruRPG.


vs. MARS

Strange things are afoot in your sleepy little town: odd lights in the sky, something unnatural is moving the woods, and the phones have gone out. In vs. MARS, you and your friends are in a small town during an alien invasion. With a half-dozen different invaders to choose from and several stock locations to take refuge in, you might find that other survivors might be the more pressing threat…

It’s no longer an invasion: now it’s war. Up the stakes in vs. MARS with the included vs. ALIEN OVERLORDS expansion. Fight in the cities against the aliens, lead the insurgency on occupied Earth, or take the fight back to the red planet!

Buy vs. MARS at DriveThruRPG.


vs. MIRRORSHADES

You’re a Citizen of the MegaCity in this cyberpunk game. It’s 20 minutes into the future and the world is a dangerous place. Slap some chrome on, hack the Network, and fight the Man. vs. MIRRORSHADES contains a wealth of locations and opposition forces, plus rules for hacking a global network from your living room in a tight little package.

vs. MIRRORSHADES comes with vs. MAGICSHADES. Add fantasy races and magic to the MegaCity with this expansion. Elf and Ork, Dwarf and Troll! Spell casters and spirit summoners!

Buy vs. MIRRORSHADES at DriveThruRPG.


vs. PIRATES

Set in the Caribbean of our childhood memories, villainous pirates sail the seas. Captain a crew of pirates or defend the good people of Port Victoria from them. Fly your own colors or declare allegiance to one of the Great Powers. vs. PIRATES contains rules for naval combat, a simple generator for towns and targets in the islands, and great feats of derring-do.

I wanted to run a mashup of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer and Pirates of the Caribbean for the home group but we went with something else. The vs. DAVY JONES expansion that comes with vs. PIRATES creates that game – the Age of Piracy where all the legends are true. Cursed ships and treasure! Unearthly monsters and villains!

Buy vs. PIRATES at DriveThruRPG.


The Duelists

The Duelists is a fast-playing card game for two players. Set in the world of 7th Sea, two Duelists face off for a contest of showmanship, sport, and swashbuckling. Any two Duelists from any set can be matched up against each other.


“Lady” Josephine ­d’Ruelles vs. Tàhmas O’Denagh

The Duelists: Set 1 features “Lady” ­Josephine ­d’Ruelles, a thief savvy opportunist from the streets of Montaigne, sparring with Tàhmas O’Denagh, a modern embodiment of a historical Avalonian Knight from Inismore.

Josephine is a trickster who likes to use her opponent’s tactics against them. Tàhmas is an aggressive duelist using his Knightly glamours to outlast his opponent.

Buy The Duelists: Set 1 at DriveThruRPG.


Ainsley NicBeth vs. Giovanni Lucignolo

The Duelists: Set 2 features Ainsley NicBeth, the strongest warrior in all the Highland Marches, sparring with Giovanni Lucignolo, a Vodacce lover of wine, women, and men.

Ainsley is an unstoppable force that seems to get stronger the angrier she gets. Giovanni is a fast-moving duelist that denies his opponent’s attacks.

Buy The Duelists: Set 2 at DriveThruRPG.


Captain Efka Roberts vs. Azuceña Esquivel

If either Set 1 or Set 2 attains Copper best-seller status — which only requires 50 copies to be sold — I’ll finish up Set 3.

The Duelists: Set 3 features Captain Efka Roberts, a brash pirate from the Republic of Pirates, sparring with Azuceña Esquivel, a Castillian spy and assassin.

Captain Roberts has several aggressive attacks with his pistols that are removed from play, once used — although watch out for his backup plans which can add them back into play. Azuceña keeps her options open when dueling, searching for the perfect moment to strike — with patience, she can set up a combination attack using an último ability as a devastating finishing move.