About Me

I posted this within the Delta Vector game design forum and I thought it would be nice to share it here on my own blog as well. The forum thread OP asked about what games each member has made. Here's my text in response, slightly better presented here. 

Overview

I have been designing and developing my own games for almost 40 years.

Some computer games, some RPGs, and lots of boardgames. I was heavily influenced by Jim DunniganRed Simonsen, and Greg Costikyan. These are all SPI alumni. And so I tended to be quite complete in my rules development. I have a development process that I outlined for myself, and quality and features guidelines. I keep copious notes. I write simulators and generators to test my ideas. I do lots of research on various aspects of technology and warfare. I do a lot of solo-testing, materials crafting, and even some illustration and design.

I guess I have probably several hundreds if not at least a thousand pages of rules, notes, and other materials that I've written or illustrated supporting the body of work I am describing below. At some point after I EAS from the USMC I decided that I should consolidate my game settings information like Stephen King or Michael Moorcock to allow me to build out my own mythos.

All of my game designs have settings which derive from a common Cosmogony.

Finished Boardgames 

These are elaborate games which require a lot of components. In the case of Barbarian Suns (each version) and Giant Robots of World War II I've build three complete play-test kits in final prototype form. And probably 3 low-quality scrap-build prototypes before those. The final count of pages to print out for Giant Robots of World War II for example requires 138 pages of 8.5x11 paper, about 200 card-sleeves, and about 200 1-inch square tiles.

  • Barbarian Suns - 4X Galaxy scale (12x12 grid Galaxy with fleets representing millions of ships). Tech cards, fleet cards, lots of chits. Hardcore sci-fantasy consim. About 11 years of development (1987-1996), several versions of the rules, maybe a half-dozen builds. Core set of 4 players but a total of about a dozen other players. There's a small featurette here http://matter-energy-space-time.blogspot.com/2012/04/barbarian-suns-277.html 
  • Barbarian Suns 4.0 - a Euro version of Barbarian Suns. Very streamlined; light enough for me to add expansions to them. Several solo-tests and just a single face-to-face which went very well. There was also a Barbarian Suns 3.0 which was a flow-pack card game but I decided it was too much work to continue development and stopped. 
  • Giant Robots of World War II - Weird War II hex-and-counter at the Grand Tactical scale with 1KM hexes and battalion-sized units. Light wargame. Uses cards for unit profiles and 1-inch counters set upon 2-inch hexagons which themselves set upon CGS-style 7-hex tiles. Files are here https://sites.google.com/site/groww2/. Pictures and discussion are on BGG here. 
  • Swashbuckling! - Card-driven tactical duels with data-cards and proxies for the characters. Light game. Played just a few times. 
  • Delta Command Unit - Tactical starship duels using the Tau Drive concept; ships either double or halve velocity. Basically building-sized space motorcycles. Light wargame using hex-and-counter. Hex map needs to be at least 40x80 instead of the standard 40x30. Club game, played just three times but had something like 8 players controlling 2-3 ships each. 
  • Starship Duel - Another club game. Each team of 2-3 players control a ship on a hex grid in a double-blind arrangement. Navigations, Weapons, Commander are the roles for each ship. Each player receives their own admin playmat with state information markers. Semi-RPG, light wargame; all of the fun comes from the interactions between the players and teams. Played twice to satisfaction. 

Finished Miniatures Games 

I was recently introduced to this genre of tabletop gaming. I love the genre and specifically the small-scale variation which I actively pursue. 
  • Soldiers! - Simple but layered tactical game. It's so simple that it even allows Reacts and that my nephews and nieces (5-12 years of age) can play it. I've have the Basic (2 pages) and Advanced Rules (2 pages) posted on line at my blog. This version generically supports WWII or later though with low versimilitude. The Expert rules and the settings specific stuff I still have as WIP but these are geared towards Near Future and Far Future battlesuits and tanks. Any how, see here; https://drive.google.com/open?id=0Bye3wyX639RGTS1lcnByVVJpZFk 
  • MEST Narrative - Matter-Energy-Space-Time. This is a skirmish tabletop miniatures game for 6-12 figures per player. Universal system using margin-of-success dice-pool. I went through something like 11 different dice mechanisms on this design. Developed across several years and played by a few dozen people. Maybe about 50 or 75 total game sessions with me and a couple of others. The full-color book version 1.6 is on my blog and it could really go for a 1.7 clean up with what I've learned since writing the version 2 document.

    Here's a link to the plain-text version 1.6 at:
    https://sites.google.com/site/mesttactics/downloads/MEST.plain.version1.6.pdf?attredirects=0&d=1 

Relatively Finished Role-playing Games

The RPGs are fairly complete when it comes to mechanics. I tried a different one for each. I am only actively developing Sarna Len at this time since my adult RPG gaming group has passed about 20 years ago. 
  • FYBS - eff you BOB System. Adversarial games-master. Universal rules with a few settings; Fear! (Celestial Horror) and Riot! (Urban Chaos). Also Apocalyptic Seizure (far-future, Jack Katz style setting). I played this for about 3 years. The Apocalyptic Seizure setting is the most well developed with about 100 pages of technical settings information. Fear! explored my toolbox magic concept while Riot! was about survival. I have other settings but the notes are lost somewhere. This was played with a core group of 4 players. 
  • SH2156 - Superhero 2156 was my expanded setting from Don Saxman's Superhero 2044. This formed the foundation for Barbarian Suns and then for MEST in general. I played this with my high-school buddies for about 10 years. 5 volumes of written material. 100 characters, 2 dozen players. 
  • Sarna Len - High Fantasy. Relatively light-weight 2D6 resolution system with Advantage and Disadvantage dice with an emphasis on combat since it is the RPG version of MEST. Been playing the modern rule set for this one for about 3 years with my nephews and nieces. However, the setting itself was developed nearly 40 years ago and has gone through 4 GMs as curators (myself, my brother, our buddy, back to me) and probably a few hundred total game sessions with maybe 40 total players and 150-200 characters. The original derived from a variation on Bob Bledsaw's Citystate of the Invincible Overlord combined with writings in fantasy settings by REHMoorcock, and even some Le Guin

Works-in-Progress

Most of my free time is spent doing research, play-testing, and writing rules for the MEST miniatures game. 
  • MEST 2.0 - I've been cleaning up and adding the advanced and optional rules to MEST 1.6. I've also got a dozen settings in various stages of ideation or completion; Pulp, Near Future, Zombie Survival, Retropocalypse, Gothic Horror, Dark Fantasy, and HPL Mythos. Each setting is supposed to introduce key new powers, archetype profiles, campaign rules set, missions, etc. All of which are supposed to leverage the MEST 2.0 collection of rules. The relatively volatile 2.x draft is here https://drive.google.com/open?id=0Bye3wyX639RGZTI0TDhkcHhwV0E 
  • Cold Steam Empires - This will be a setting for MEST 2.0, but I'm also building out a campaign system using a graph network to play-test. You can see my WIP notes at http://matter-energy-space-time.blogspot.com/search/label/vsf 
  • Dunjon of Death - This will be a setting for MEST 2.0, but I'm also building a Dungeon Bash with square grid to play-test. I need to post those rules and pics soon. My WIP notes are here at http://matter-energy-space-time.blogspot.com/search/label/Dunjon%20of%20Death

Skunk Works

I've got the roughs for these, but these haven't reached the prototyping phase yet. Again all of them share the same fictional universe but just a different time parallel. Yes, yes. All Lord Kalvin of Otherwhen style. Or Moorcock. Thank you Dr. Everett
  • Monsterbot Garage - Build your giant mecha using one of the profile playmats [ tank, snake, walker, spider, hoverdrone ] and customize the slots on the profile board with technology tiles representing engine, weapon, ammo, cybnernetics, sensors, etc upgrades. Draft your crack team from a deck of cards. Go to the Monsterbot Mashes and fight! Tactical gameplay. 
  • World Domination, Plan B - What I call a co-opposing design. Send out your agents to scour the world for components to build your threat. Send out your heroes to stop the other's threats. Played on a growing world map comprised of hex tiles. Cards and tokens. 
  • Morroccan Scavenger Hunt - Race your Curious Character and your team of Man-servants across the deserts between Tangiers and Marrakesh collecting lost artifacts. Plan traps for others across the entire map using your network of spies. Be the last to survive, or the first to collect the most to win. 
  • The Great War - This is empire-scale 4X with character progression in the world of Sarna Len. It is a hard-core wargame in the vein of World in Flames or Federation and Empire and is meant to be played across weeks with 2-24 players. The map is available at https://sites.google.com/site/sarnalen/downloads. The rules are all prototype and I never got a chance to play much of it since my gaming group has moved on.
  • I've got about many others that are beyond the ideation phase to which I have rules treatments; first takes of the rules. I'll just give some titles;

    ~ Little Kingdoms (Euro-style 4X),
    ~ Giant Robots of World War II (card game),
    ~ Barbarian Prince in my Box (heavy exploration variation of Zombie in my Pocket),
    ~ Crime Fighting Game (co-opposing; each player is a gang and also a crime-fighting unit). 

Tribute Designs

Well, these are not my games. I just reskin them!