Bonus game – Heaven Sent

[Heaven Sent was released to our Patrons a long time ago, but is now available on our itch store.]

Hi everyone

We’re really excited about getting back into creating games for you. The Patreon doesn’t officially go live until the end of the month, but as it happens we discovered that one of our earlier games, Heaven Sent (designed by Becky), never got put up on itch. This discovery led to me spending some time prettying it up for publication, and we thought it was only right and proper that we should share the new version with you.

Heaven Sent is one of my favourite games created for our Patreon. You play an angel (or demon) writing to the agony aunt of a teenage girls magazine about your personal problems. Play it on social media for maximum effect, as any unsuspecting passer by can give their 2 cents.

Check it out!

Cheers

Josh

January game: Elementary

[Elementary was January’s patreon release. It will be available on our itch store soon.]

Hey everyone

I’m delighted to share with you January’s patreon game, Elementary

Elementary is an Agatha Christie-esque game of convoluted relationships, seemingly insoluble mysteries and quirky detectives who solve them. It has a fair bit of Lovecraftesque DNA in it, and like that game, it is GMless: you take turns to introduce clues one at a time, building up a picture of the murder and who might have done it. A big difference, though, from Lovecraftesque is that it’s competitive. You each have a preferred suspect and you try to introduce clues that will implicate them. At the end, like the movie Clue, you each create an alternate ending where the detective accuses your target suspect.

It’s a really smashing game, and I hope you enjoy playing it.

Elementary is card-based. A PDF file for the cards is included. Knowing how difficult it is at the moment to play in person, I have also created a dedicated room in playingcards.io that you can use for online play.

Instructions for setting the game up on playingcards.io:

  • Simply go to playingcards.io, open up a room, click the briefcase on the left and under “room options” (at the bottom of the screen) select “import from file” and use the .pcio file I’ve supplied. 
  • You’ll find this creates a room with the cards already in order and ready to use, together with instructions for how to proceed. 
  • Note: playingcards.io automatically deletes rooms after 30 days without use. I don’t recommend leaving that big a gap in an Elementary game but if you’re playing over multiple sessions, it’s worth saving your room using the “export to file” function, just in case.

As noted in our last update, we are pausing the Patreon after this release. We will keep you posted on plans to re-open, which I hope won’t be long off.

Cheers

Josh

November Game: Wreck This Deck

[Wreck this Deck was our patreon game for November 2020. It’s now available on itch.io.]

If you follow me on twitter then you’ll have seen me frantically posting about this game under the hashtag #WreckThisDeckRPG.  I’ve been developing and playing it simultaneously for about six weeks and it has been a blast.

Wreck This Deck is a solo journalling and deck modification game.  

Catch and trap demons in playing cards, modifying them as you go, building yourself a Demon Deck.  You use the Demon Deck to cast rituals and do tarot-style readings which turn into journal entries but you can swop notes, tips and tricks and do little micro-fictions by using the hashtag #WreckThisDeckRPG on your favourite social media.  This lets you play Wreck This Deck totally solo, dipping in and out of a more social style of gaming when you feel like it.

A huge influence on this game came from Unbound by Grant Howitt and Chris Taylor which gave me the idea of modifying cards (and you’ll have seen me use a variant on this before in What the water gave me – an earlier Patreon game).  Another other source of inspiration for me was Artist Trading Cards or ATCs.  I’ve been lurking on the edge of the mixed media art journalling world for at least a decade.  I adore the idea of customised art cards being swopped by artists.

Wreck This Deck is a lot like that… only with Demons!  So watch your back.

Blessed are the Deck Runners.

We are back with an October Game!

History Dig Live was our October patreon game. If you missed it, you can now get it on itch.

Ahoy there shipmates!  

Oh my, it is so good to be back to sailing the choppy seas with you all.  

As you may know we took a break over the last 5-6 months while the schools in the UK were closed.  All our spare time was went on juggling work and homeschool. We spent a fair amount of time playing and reading games (and fulfilling the Last Fleet Kickstarter) but didn’t have the energy to create anything new.  Things are currently better and it was noticeable that after a couple of weeks of school both Josh and I were scribbling away and playtesting multiple game projects.  We are very excited to bring those projects to you over the news few months.

One of my indulgences over quarantine was the British TV show Time Team. In Time Team a crew of eccentric, expert archeologists has 3 days to excavate a dig site, usually in someone’s back garden or a farmer’s field. The show ran from 1994 to 2014 and was wildly and weirdly popular.  Even British people who have never seen any Time Team episodes will nevertheless be able to remember whole episodes of Time Team, like a collective national memory.  It was a British institution and still commands a lot of affection.

It led to an explosion of interest in archeology and history which has never really gone away. It was also the perfect crisis TV.  Reassuring, gentle, wholesome and full of interesting and diverting facts. It was the first thing that came to mind when I wanted to write my post-quarantine game.  

History Dig Live! is a GM-less RPG for 3-5 players. Play a team of archeologists uncovering artefacts and speculating about what they might mean.  Then switch roles and play the historical figures whose lives the archeologists are literally piecing back together.

Last Fleet is also open for pre-orders on Backerkit here if you missed the campaign and want to grab something.

Thanks for your patience.

April game: The Great British Snake Off

Hey everyone

[Updated – the game has been taken down and moved to our itch.io store for sale here]

As predicted, since our last update the schools have closed and our kids are at home 24/7. We are managing pretty well all things considered, but our usual daytime slots to work on game design are now gone, and we’re pretty tired in the evenings. We’re gradually adjusting to it, but our productivity has taken a dive and it remains to be seen whether it will recover. We’ll play things by ear for now, but we are considering suspending our Patreon until things are back to normal.  If it looks like we aren’t going to be in a position to release a game in May then we’ll aim to switch off payments before the end of the month.

Anyway, the happier news is that I have managed to finish off The Great British Snake Off, which is April’s release. Snake Off is a gently humorous game about competing on the reptile kingdom’s premier TV baking contest. You attempt ambitious baking projects, then sabotage each others’ efforts. We playtested it last month after the lockdown started and I can confirm it’s great fun including when played over t’internets.

Hope you’re all staying safe and healthy.

Best wishes,

Josh

February patreon game – Pressure Cooker

[Pressure Cooker was our February 2020 release to patrons – it will appear in our itch store around May 2020.]

Hi everyone!

It has been a rather full-on January, between the Last Fleet kickstarter and commencing playtesting of the dark fantasy investigation game I’ve been working on.

I’ve been meaning to share this latest game, Pressure Cooker, for a while. It was written and playtested a while ago, lest you wonder how I found time to write it alongside the above!

Pressure Cooker is a game about a group of close friends with strong but flawed relationships who get taken hostage together. We play to find out whether this high-stress situation will make or break their relationships, and who comes out alive. One of the cool things about it is that you create your relationships and their flaws iteratively, with an element of secrecy, so you might suspect your lover of infidelity only to find out in play that she’s going to therapy for an addiction.

I created it this way to replicate the amazing feeling of discovery I’ve had in previous games of this sort – but without needing the guiding hand of a GM to plan out the secrets in pre-generated characters.

Hope you enjoy the game!

Cheers

Josh

New games: Sleigh w/Me and HEXED

[Sleigh w/Me was the patreon game for December 2019. It will soon be made available on our itch store.

HEXED was a freebie for patrons and is already available on itch.]

Hey everyone!

It has been a super-busy month with Last Fleet playtesting, creating the basic design framework for my dark fantasy investigation game, Bite Marks fulfilment, a bunch of design work on smaller projects for both this patreon and itch game jams, and of course Dragonmeet.

Because of this feverish activity I have TWO games to share with you this month.

The first is Sleight w/Me, a light-hearted and quick-paced game about getting stuck on Santa’s sleigh and trying to land it. You can be kids (or elves!) trying to save Christmas, or thieves trying to steal Christmas. I playtested it with my children, who absolutely loved it, and I think it would be a lot of fun for adults too if in the mood for some silliness.

The second is a game I wrote for #DuetJam with J.K. Wish of Stone River Games. It’s a much darker affair, a game of generational horror about cursed families in a small town. Your young characters try to end the curse while their elders interfere and the curse itself grows in power. I’m sharing it with you with permission from my co-designer. The game is really excellent, in my opinion, though it has not yet been playtested.

Hope you enjoy these games, and have a wonderful festive season!

Cheers

Josh

The void also speaks

Hey everyone

Bit of a freebie this week, as I’ve written a game for the Gentle Ghost game jam. It has not been properly playtested, so I’m not charging for it at this point. (If you’re desperate to give me money for it then you can go to the itch page: https://blackarmada.itch.io/the-void-also-speaks)

The void also speaks is a game where you play a bereaved person, and also their dead loved one. You use a ouija board to communicate the loved one, and try to resolve issues that you never addressed in life. Unlike a real seance, you’re encouraged to stealthily manipulate the planchette, enabling each player to take part in playing the deceased – and as a result they’re kind of a gestalt of your contributions, without anyone knowing for sure who was playing them at any given time.

Check it out!

Josh