Poll Game: Zombie – Screw you guys… I’m going home

“Fuck off.” He said and you’re not one to argue so long as you’re not directly in trouble. Still, it’s put you off going out and instead you decide to head home. You trudge out of the school gates and weave through the cars that have come to pick kids up – and there seem to be a lot of them. Wending your way home to the housing bloc that you live in you pass along the street, hearing a couple of distant shop alarms, cars whizzing by along the street and sirens – ambulance and police – further away than that. A little busy, but to your ears just another night really. You shove your ear-buds in and listen to Eminem, ignoring the noise and bustle of the street as you turn off, past the rusting and disused playground where a couple of the drug dealers there seem to having a fistfight. You ignore them and buzz your way in to the bloc, clambering up the piss-stinking stairs and over the slumped body of ‘Dave’ from downstairs, passed out drunk in the hallway again on what looks like a bottle of Mad Dog.

You arrive at your door and unlock the security gate and the door behind it, locking them behind you and duck into the family flat. It’s a mess, empty fast food boxes everywhere, piles of clothes waiting to be washed, old newspapers, all the crap your mum and her boyfriend leave all over the place and, stuck to the TV with blu-tac is a note, telling you they’ve gone out to the pub for the night and to make yourself something or order in a pizza, though she seems to have forgotten to leave any money…

What do you do?
Dig around in the fridge and make yourself something.
See if you can find enough cash for a pizza.
See if you can sponge something off your neighbours.
Grab some crisps and chocolate and curl up in front of the TV.
pollcode.com free polls

Poll Game: Zombie – Picking on the fat kid

Feeling a strange sense of unfairness and worry about how the little kid is being beaten raw and bloody you wade in, grabbing the fat kid by the hair and yanking him off the smaller kis, tearing a fistful of hair out of his scalp and causing him to scream like a stuck pig. The little kid – amazingly, gets up as you hold the fat kid by the hair and start beating on him, blood dripping from the back of his head as he launches himself back at the fat kid and, unbelievably, bites him. You stare in horror as the little kid, already badly beaten, takes a chunk out of the fat kid’s forearm and his squeals get even louder. Out of nowhere Mr Higgins, the PE teacher, barges through the crowd and hauls the bloody mouthed kid away, holding his struggling form under one arm and stabbing a finger at you and the fat kid.

“Fuck off Corran you little shit, and you can be sure I’ll be telling the police about you getting in a fight again, and you Jones, get to the nurse’s office.” He looks down at the writhing mass of blood and bruises tucked under his arm. “As for you Barton, you’re coming with me.” He starts hauling the protesting, struggling kid off.

What do you do?
Go behind the CDT block for a smoke to settle your nerves.
Follow Higgins and find out what’s going on with Barton.
Escort Jones to the nurse’s office.
Fuck this for a game of soldiers, head home.
pollcode.com free polls


Tomorrow I’ll be at Dragonmeet in London, selling my stuff so if you’re in The Smoke, drop by and give me some money. I’ll be selling…

  • Hentacle – £8.00
  • Hentacle: Sloppy Seconds, Hentacle: Three’s an Orgy, Hentacle: 4/Play £3.00
  • Final Straw – £8.00
  • Cthentacle – £15.00
  • Cthentacle: The Dunbitch Horror – £5.00
  • 100 Fantasy Adventure Seeds – £12.00
  • 100 Fantasy Kingdoms – £12.00
  • 100 Science Fiction Adventure Seeds – £12.00
  • 100 Planets – £12.00
  • 100 Horror Adventure Seeds – £12.00
  • 100 Dark Places – £12.00
  • 100 Conspiracies – £12.00
  • Faith in the Future (comic) – £5.00
  • Bloodsucker: The Angst – £12.00
  • Bloodsucker: The Juice – £8.00
  • ’45: Psychobilly Retropocalypse – £12.00
  • Invaderz – £8.00
  • @ctiv8 – £8.00

There will be deals available as usual, three £12.00 books or more for £10.00 each and so on. I’m also open to haggling and offers from anyone, and product swaps with other companies. Make me an offer! 🙂

These are the last copies of Hentacle that will be printed in this way, the same for Final Straw. These are also the last copies of this version of 100 Science Fiction Adventure Seeds that will be sold as the snazzy new partnership version with Cubicle 7 will be out soon. If you like I’ll also be doing the ‘gamer rock star thing’ (as it was once meanly and derisively called) and signing books if anyone wants me to and I’m happy to discuss upcoming projects and ideas with people as well as any prospective work anyone might have going! Same goes if you’ve got any ideas for projects or books you’d like to see me do.

Stock will also be available for direct mail order from me after Dragonmeet.

Preview from the next TobyArt

A click should take you to the big version.
You can purchase the earlier set HERE.

Poll Game: Zombie. The Fight

You elbow your way through the crowd of smaller kids and see that a big fat kid with a shaven head has a little kid from year seven pinned under him, straddling his chest and is repeatedly punching him in the face. The little kid’s nose is busted and there’s blood all over his face, his hair’s matted with it and there’s blood on the tarmac as well but he’s just not quitting and despite being well overpowered is still fighting, scrabbling and scratching with his nails and trying to lift his head and bite the fat kid that’s beating the shit out of him. It’s a bit sick, you like a fight as much as anyone but this is pointless and it’s just weird that the little kid isn’t crying or pleading for mercy yet. It’s only a matter of time until a teacher comes to break this up, but maybe you should step in…

What do you do?
Pull the fat kid off the little kid and give him a kicking.
Break the two of them up.
Go and find a teacher.
Leave ’em to it and head home.
pollcode.com free polls

Poll Game: Zombie. The Beginning

The bell rings, thankfully, for the end of another school day and, even better, it’s the weekend. The moment the bell rings, almost before the striker hits for the second time you’re up out of your seat, throwing your hood up and slinging your bag, ignoring the protests of the teacher and shouted reminders about homework. You don’t care, you’ve had enough and it’s time to get the hell out.

It’s been a quiet day, the flu has been ravaging the school lately and a lot of kids haven’t been in, a lot of the ones who have been have been ill – many of them sent home rather than spread it to others. Others getting sick through the day. Fortunately for you, you don’t seem to have caught it.

You run your hand along the lockers down the hallway, clang-clang-clang and step out into the dimming light of the evening. There’ll be nobody home – not that your parents are working right now – but you’re expected to go back. You could go out with your mates and get something to eat, get up to a little fun. As you stand there pondering, your mate Gareth smacks you on the back of the head as he darts past you, laughing and as you draw your head up again, frowning, you spot a couple of kids from the lower year in a scrum, with kids shouting ‘Fight! Fight! Fight!’ around them.

What do you do?
Chase after Gareth and smack him back.
Head home and make yourself something to eat.
Text your mates and meet up at the chippy.
Go and watch the fight.
Something else… comment and say why.
pollcode.com free polls

Poll Game: Zombie. Who you’ll be…


Worthless Little Scrote

Name: Wayne Corran

Profession: Uneducatable Hoodie

Blood Type: A-

Education: Secondary School

Background: You’ve never really seen much point in school, it’s just a place to meet up with your mates before plotting some havoc and fun for the evening. The only class you ever liked was art, but the teachers didn’t appreciate your grafitti and b-boy style of art so even that got soured. You can’t wait to get out of the place, though you’ve no real idea how you’re going to get on once you’re out of school, maybe dealing weed or something or custom painting cars.

Strength 45 Stamina 43 Agility 56 Perception 89 Appearance 22 Intelligence 57 Willpower 12 Pain Threshold 48 Luck 58

Damage Bonus: -, Exert Strength: 15%, Shock Survival: 65%, Toxin Resistance: 65%, Hear/Sight/Smell/Taste/Touch: 75/80/40/40/40, Actions: 3, Initiative: +2, Parry: +10%, Movement: 2/4/7/12

Hit Points: 31, Blood Points: 38, Energy Points: 58, Mind Points: 35

Skills: Art/Craft (Drawing) 58%, Computer Games 41%, Computer Use 52%, Dodge 34%, Fast Talk 33%, Music (Guitar) 32%, School Subjects (Mathematics) 33%, School Subjects (Science) 36%, Tumble 33%.

Hand to Hand: 40, Melee: 25, Thrown: 23, Archaic: 25, Pistol: 25, Rifle: 25, Heavy: 10

Equipment: Schoolbag, cellphone, pocket knife, aerosol paint cans, chocolate bar, half a bottle of cola, mp3 player and headphones.

Poll game?

So, if I start a community participation poll game, what’d you like beloved audience?

What should I base a regular poll game on?
Zombie Horror (Blood!)
Spy-Fi (Agents of SWING)
Crime Caper (Future project idea)
B-Movie Weirdness (’45)
Other – Leave a comment and I’ll re-poll if something grabs me.
pollcode.com free polls

The Non-Gaming Gamer

The dreaded has happened, I’ve become a gamer who – largely – doesn’t game, which is something I really, really never wanted to happen, especially as a designer. There’s not a lot that can really be done about that at the moment, though I might try a Google Wave game or a Poll game again – on this blog (as I started but never finished with Patient Zero on my personal blog) to keep my hand in, but I really need to game more somehow.

This came to me at Indiecon as I was setting up to run Agents of SWING and I felt this unfamiliar sensation which I eventually nailed down as being panic and nervousness. These are sensations I am normally abundantly familiar with, but not usually in the context of gaming where I’m usually confident and sure of myself. It’s particularly worrying as a designer since it means I’m only keeping up with things at a remove, what I read, not what I experience in play. Indiecon was reassuring on that score, but it was also a bit of a wakeup call that I need to get back on top of things and get some proper gaming in somehow, whatever way I can manage.

I’ll take any ideas from you guys out there on that or ways that you’ve gotten around the issues of isolation, separation and lack of spare moolah.

Keep an eye on the blog for some sort of poll-based game and if you have wave, come find me grimstales@googlewave.com


I can’t give you a full and shiny report on Indiecon because I’ve written up a full-on report for Polymancer magazine and it’d be bad form to say too much about it here in a professional reporting capacity – and the same’s likely to get in the way for Dragonmeet! Still I can talk about what I did and my experiences there as Postmortem.

Last year the weather was pretty rough but this year we were right there as some of the worst weather for many years struck England with flooding and gales and all sorts of warnings and threats of doom. It was pretty rough, but also – in a pervere way – a lot of fun.

We were at the con for the full span and with the cost split between all of us Indiecon represents a fantastic deal, Thursday night to Monday morning in an excellent chalet – that’s actually warm, snug and clean – for what came to around £50 a head for six of us. Unlike a lot of cons the accomodation is excellent and you can actually get a decent night’s sleep.

On the plus side Indiecon is great for running demo games and getting a good buzz for your games. People are game to try just about anything and I was very, very pleased to see two of my games from the previous year being played independently by people, Invaderz and Blood!. We ran another demo game of Blood! that went pretty well, but only ran it once this time, we also ran two playtest sessions of Agents of SWING and the feedback was invaluable, as was the fun I had in the couple of instances that I did get to play. It’s unfortunate that I was – and usually am – stuck minding the stall and so can’t run more demos or get involved in more games, something I’ll have to work on correcting for 2010 because, oh yeah, we’re going again.

On the downside – and this was the problem last year as well – it’s not a very good, yet, from a commercial point of view. Both years I’ve barely broken even on sales and while there was higher attendence this year I think the combination of the economy and the weather drove off what was, essentially, my profit margin in both people’s reticence to buy and the walk-through attendence that could have been there. Hopefully we’ll be lifted out of that a bit by next year.

The organisation was much better this year and I think an event of this nature can only continue to grow and grow and deserves to, a great showcase for UK games development in general and UK indie games in general.