Key code : 1034 – A Zombie Cinema hack

Over Easter I ran a game design challenge on the Swedish RPG forum There were unusually few participants, mostly due to most of the Swedish indie game design community having their yearly meetup at GothCon at the same time.

But a few participants submitted games, and I wrote a short game myself just to keep busy while I waited for the others’ games to be posted.

Actually, it wasn’t much of a game, but rather a little hack for one of my all time favourite RPGs – Zombie Cinema. But given the time invested the result was most satisfying. Relying on a pre existing game and just tweaking the small bits you want different saves huge amounts of time compared with writing a whole game from scratch. Even if it’s just a small indie game.

Key code : 1034

Come join us in the collective The Bumblebees for our New Year’s party. We’ll fix food and champagne, bring anything else that you want during the evening. The party starts at seven, but the sauna is open from five for those who are interested. As usual the key code is 1034.

The hack is just a new board for Zombie Cinema. Print and play!

Download the Key code : 1034 board.

To play this hack you’ll need a copy of Zombie Cinema.


Birthday house con and play testing

This year my birthday coincided with a four day weekend, which I took advantage of and arranged a house con for the sphere of gamers around Nordnordost. Over four days we did loads of gaming, had some very nice meals and even managed a small birthday party combined with a book swap.

The Academy
My game about students at a boarding school has gone through numerous iterations. And without me first realising it I got stuck in a vicious circle of slowly changing preferences and always being a little behind on the updating the game. Which lead to it being close, but never quite finished. The game has been five years in the making, and now it feels like its about to be ready. Nothing is holding it back, the interior artwork is done, the rules finally work and the cover art has been ordered.

We played a three year session about a Martian military academy, hidden under the ice on Io – Sparta. A place where students prepared for the war against Earth, achieved the peak of physical perfection and mental resilience through a strict training regimen. A place where curling was the highest form of ritualized competition.

The rules fit the narrative and influenced the story in meaningful ways, the students developed in interesting ways and the evil plots and schemes of the liberal Earthlings finally drew the students into the war they had been preparing for.

Until Dawn
A few weeks ago I posted a hack for While the World Ends about estranged teenagers. It’s a fine hack, but the playtesters thought it should be a game of its own, rather than just a hack. One of them will have to change name, but right now there are two different versions of Until Dawn, one hack and one game. We managed to squeeze two separate playtests into the con, and I now have loads of notes and feedback to digest for the next version of the system.

During the con fellow Nordnordoster Elin’s essay on introducing sex in games dropped on the Gaming as Women blog. It’s a good read and it lead to some interesting discussions during the con. I’d put it on my recommended reading list for anyone who wants to bring any difficult matter or adult subjects into their games, but don’t know how. The advice given is applicable to a much wider range of topics than just sex.

Witch from Pompey Crew Design
I would also like to make a shout out to Pompey Crew Design who were kind enough to send us a preview of Witch – The Road to Lindisfarne so we could try it at the con. It’s a hack of Montsegur 1244, just like my game The Daughters of Verona, but it takes the storytelling in a completely different direction.

A better end of the world this Epimas

And now Christmas Eve is here, and Epiclaus has delivered the gaming gifts. I hope you’ll have a good time playing your new games with friends and family.

Epidiah and Emily are celebrating Epimas, and we’re invited. It’s all about gaming and giving games on the day before Christmas, which for them means Dec 24. Over here Santa come with presents a day earlier, on Christmas Eve, still a good day to give and get games.

Presently there are ten different PDF games listed on the site that you can buy for just $2.22 each. When you buy a gift for a friend, you get a free copy for yourself as well. If you order in time, the game will be sent out on Dec 24.

For the occasion I have created a special Revised edition of my game While the World Ends. It’s still the same game, but I have worked some of the rules tweaks that I have mentioned here on the blog into the text, so that everything will be in one place. The game has also been reformatted into US-Letter for easier printing. If you already have the game, there’s no real need to upgrade, but maybe it’s time to share it with a friend as an Epimas present?

The Crowdsource Witch Quest Tarot – Draft

About a year ago I played Witch Quest, a neat game where you play young witches in the style of Kiki’s Delivery Service.

The game was popular, so now I have a session scheduled for next week. When playing the game the players can use a special tarot for divination and various other things. This is no ordinary tarot however, but a special 29 card Witch Quest Tarot. There are ASCII-graphic cards available for download, but I wanted something prettier. However I didn’t want to draw 29 cards all my myself, enter crowdsourceing. Drawing just one or two cards is feasible to almost anyone, so I posted a shout out for help on Google Plus.

There are still some stragglers so I have done a few place holder cards, and maybe some of the participants may wish to submit revisions of their cards. My game is on Saturday next week so I can’t wait much longer in assembling my deck.

So here is the Crowdsource Witch Quest Tarot Draft.

Print the PDF, cut out the cards and either paste them onto cardboard or some old playing cards. Or put them into stiff card sleeves like those that Magic players use to protect their cards during play (ask at your friendly local game store). It produces stunning results.

The Daughters of Verona

The Daughters of Verona

The Daughters of Verona

The judges in this year’s Game Chef are still … well … judging, I presume. But I have developed my entry, The Daughters of Verona further. It’s a really neat little game of Shakespearean comedy, and I would love to hear your thoughts on it.

The Cadet Game is dead, long live The Academy!

I met with Anders for deliberations yesterday at GothCon, and I will now present the winners in the Name the game, and get your own name into the game – competition.

We got a whole bunch of awesome names and deciding on finalists and winner was very hard, thank you everyone who submitted entries, I wish I had more games in the making.

The five finalists

  • Matthijs – Fantastic Boarding School!
  • Maciej Sabat – The Burschenschaft
  • w176 – The rules growing up
  • Wordman – Warding School
  • Jim Pinto – The Academy

And from those five we selected the winner:

The Academy, as suggested by Jim Pinto. Congratulations!

(The Academy was submitted by both Jim Pinto and w176, but Jim posted a day earlier. Still, two people independently arriving at the same name must mean something.)

I will get back to the finalists with PDF games when it is ready. Jim, you’ll hear from me in a while.

Name the game, and get your own name into the game – competition

Anders from Nordnordost likes The Cadet Game, however he does not like the actual name ‘The Cadet Game’. Therefore I have made him judge and jury in the Name the game, and get your own name into the game-competition in order to find a name more to his liking. The competition has been running over on Story Games for a few days, but there is still plenty of time to get in on the action.


The contestants are invited to suggest better names for the game, formerly known as ‘The Cadet Game’. Submit your entry, or entries, a maximum of three entries per contestant, either as replies to this blog post, or in the StoryGames thread if you’re a member on those boards.

Start your response(s) with the phrase “I think the game formerly known as The Cadet Game should be called:” Then follow with your suggestion.

I get the rights to the winning name for use in the game.

Deadline for submissions is midnight on March 31 2011 Swedish time. The winner(s) will be announced here on my blog April 30 2011, at the latest.

The rules of the contest are subject to change without warning. The judge and jury’s decisions can not be contested.

The best five (5) entries, as decided by judge and jury Anders. Win a PDF of the final game, emailed to them once it is done.

From of these five entries Anders and I will select the winner who will get to see his or her name used in the game as the name of an example player, PC or NPC of his or her choice, together with some minor control of the personality/role of that person in the game (I’ll discuss it with the winner, I’m sure we’ll work out something cool.) – Previous post about The Cadet Game.

The Cadet Game – Arrival

My dear Eberhardt,

I hope this letter finds you in good health. It is with great joy that I write to tell you that your dear brother has distinguished himself at the Front. He has also betrothed a girl from a good family. I hope you find as much happiness in this as your Father and I do.

Work hard with your studies at the Academy so that you may taste success in your life too. I have complete faith in you. Your Father sends his regards.

Your loving mother

This weekend I did a playtest of my new game The Cadet Game. It’s a low prep and GM less RPG that lets the players tell exciting stories about youths at fantastic boarding schools.

The Cadet Game - prototype of the game board from actual play.

The Cadet Game - prototype of the game board from actual play.

I have been working on this game for a while, and did a round of playtests a few years ago. But I put it aside as I ran the Game Design workshop/challenge on in 2009 and wrote While the World Ends. Now I have picked up everything where I left and tweaked the rules to make it easier, faster and to incorporate ideas I have gotten in the last few years.

The playtest showed me that I’m on the right track, this is still a very fun game. In the three hours of play we did we built Grimwards, a Prussian 19th century academy for officer sorcerers destined for the Kaiser’s army, and we followed five boys during their first two years at the school.

We saw Eberhardt bullying the other cadets, Maximilian revealed his affinity for healing magic when a friend was in dire need and Sigmund’s battle of wills with the one eyed teacher of magical history Herr Braun touched our hearts. Eberhardt, Sigmund and Voldermars were involved in a constant struggle for the top position in the pecking order in the Himmelsfeuer dormitory. And we learned of Franz-Josef’s internal strife when he was confronted with his memories of that fatal and fiery first display of magical talent.

There is still some work left to do with the game before I can head into proofreading, editing and layout and all the other tasks that result in an actual product in player hands. But the general mechanics are in place and much of the first draft of the game text is written. And while I tweak the game balance and polish the details the brilliant Daniele Poma draws the awesome art that will be used in the game.

Illustration by Daniele Poma for The Cadet Game

Illustration by Daniele Poma for The Cadet Game

I’ll post updates here on the blog as my work progresses. The next major event will be playtests in the Indie Gaming Lounge at GothCon XXXV.

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