The Bounty Hunters are Two

It’s an anniversary that matters only to me, but today marks two years since I released Bounty Hunters of the Atomic Wastelands.

I’ve not done much with BHAW in this past year as I’ve been occupied with Cyberblues City, however I can share an interesting statistic: the number of downloads of the game in its second year match almost exactly those for the first year. Roughly speaking as BHAW is approaching the 1000 download mark and I can see there about 500 last year and 500 this year; one or two each day, every day over two years.

If BHAW weren’t entirely free, I’d be feeling rather smug.

This consistency does surprise me. I would have expected the game’s downloads would have run out of steam by now, especially as I’m not really out there actively promoting it.

There are two things I can point as having boosted interest in the BHAW. The first, earlier this year, was the Mad Max movie. I posted about that before. I found it quite amusing that the spike in download matched the film release so closely.

The other was getting my games listed on E. Chris Garrison’s The Compendium of Free Role Playing Games (http://sillyhatbooks.com/about/games/). This site has been going since 1994 and has clearly quite a following. So much so that it has quickly supplanted RPGNet as the main source of referrals for BHAW.

I suspect it doesn’t hurt that BHAW as awarded the “Cool Game” icon on The Compendium of Free Role Playing Games, which puts the Bounty Hunters on the same category as Ars Magica, GURPS Lite and the current (basic) edition of D&D!

A Very Cyber Christmas (adventure)

 

A Very Cyber Christmas is a free, Christmas-themed adventure for Cyberblues City . A new children’s TV show called “Santa’s Little Helpers” conceals a secret government programme designed to get young children to spy on their parents under the guise of helping Santa build up his naughty and nice list.

 

>> Download A Very Cyber Christmas

 

cyborg team

You may also be interested in Going the Distance, another free adventure for Cyberblues City or Night of the Atomic Snowmen, a free Christmas themed adventure for Bounty Hunters of the Atomic Wastelands, always from Polar Blues Press.

Intrepid Histories @ IndieCon

IndieCon this year has been a rather successful one for Intrepid Histories and marks an important milestone in it’s development… but a little background first.

In August I brought the game to IndieMeet in London and, just before I pitched it, I got into a conversation that inspired me to throw out half the rules and replaced them with a system based on Kishōtenketsu.

This is a 4 scene structure that creates unexpected plots, without requiring conflict, which seemed like a good fit for a game with a lot of exploration. We still had plenty of conflict, but that was fine and the resulting story was certainly interesting.

The only problem was that I already had 4 more scenarios written in the old system… and they needed updating and testing again.

So roll on IndieCon and 4 hopeful sign up sheets for slots 1, 2, 3 and 4. Uptake for playtests at IndieMeet had been rather slow, apparently because the historical nature of the games made people think they needed to know their history or that they would be rather dry (neither of which are the case). Luckily that didn’t seem to stop people at IndieCon and I soon had 4 full games…

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Cyberblues City

 

“Cyberblues is a bit like Cyberpunk,
only more mellow.”

 

Cyberblues City is a near-future, action-adventure roleplaying game. Fast-playing and often funny, it offers a lighter take on the cyberpunk genre, both in terms of system and tone. Cyberblues City uses a much modified version of the Fudge roleplaying system designed to make it easy on GMs. And best of all, it is absolutely free.

>> Download Cyberblues City

Cyberblues City cover

What’s in a name?

I’m very lucky. Somehow I’ve managed to write, publish* and sell three half decent game systems – Golden Heroes**, Squadron UK and The Comics Code (et al).

That should be enough for anyone and I really should settle down to refining what I’ve already got and producing supplemental material for it.

But, no, I’ve got a yearning to write something else. A game halfway between by full-trad stuff (SqUK) and my lightweight “Code” games. Something truly multi-genre.

I’ve written and published enough sets of rules now to know that you need three things ASAP:

1) A reason for writing it.***
2) A name
3) A superb front cover. As soon as you start promoting the game, you need something for people to lock onto. It doesn’t matter how good your game is inside the book, the first impression people get is the Cover. It has to tell readers about your game in a single glance and convince them to read the blurb. I’ve been blessed with the two artists who have done my covers (Dave Eadie and Shane Mitchell).

I’ve got several reasons for putting myself through the games design process one more time. And I don’t need to promote the game yet, so I don’t need a cover. (I’m not sure what the final game will look like exactly, yet, so I can’t give an artist a steer towards the feel of the game.)

But I’m about to go around play-testing it and conventions want a NAME to put on their web-sites. Also casual players will be more likely to sign up for a game of “Unbounded” as opposed to “Simon Burley’s new RPG”.

So, yes, I came up with the name “Unbounded” just as a placeholder on websites etc. only to be contacted by a fellow designer who has been working on a game with a similar title. Not being wedded to the title, I’m now going to change it but coming up a new one is proving hard. I came up with a new one but a quick web search has shown it’s already been used. This is the first time in over thirty years of writing RPGs that I’ve found it this hard.

To be honest, I never liked the title “Golden Heroes” anyway!

Postscripts:

* I self published Golden Heroes in 1982 – possibly the first self-published RPG in the UK? It was later published professionally by Games Workshop
** GH was co-authored by Pete Haines, a design genius who came up with many of the original ideas. In fact, he also came up with the Squadron UK tag for one of his Superpowered teams for GH – which I later appropriated for my second game.
*** Reasons for writing games:
Golden Heroes: because the first two Superhero RPGs (Superhero 2044 and 1st Ed. Villains and Vigilantes) didn’t simulate the comics.
Squadron UK: anger when Games Workshop sent me a “cease and desist” letter when I tried to resurrect GH.
The Comics Code: So I didn’t have to carry loads of kit to Conventions in Scotland and Dorset. I can now take everything I need in a single piece of hand luggage, meaning I can fly up to Scotland. Also to fit in the shorter game slots favoured by many conventions.

Cyberblues City – A Glimpse of the Cover

For no particular reason other than perhaps it’s Friday I decided to show off the cover for Cyberblues City.

“Show off” might be a strong term. A better way perhaps to put it would be to say that I am satisfied this cover is just about the best I can do. Some days that’s enough.

Especially on a Friday.

Cyberblues City should be out soon!

cover-small