Wednesday 24 January 2024


Playtesting! I lost

 This week I put the castle build on hold and went back to my main ongoing hobby project, which is making a game out of the random smattering of minis I already have.

For this project I’ve been trying a level of iterative design I haven’t really been able to accomplish before. With RPG stuff, playtest are multi-hour group sessions, but working on a solo war game means that I can knock out a test run by myself on a lunch break. The immediacy of coming up with an idea and then going straight into implementation has been really interesting and gratifying.

I’ve been trying to lean into this aspect of the design, finding the fun of the game through play first. To that end there’s still no real “fluff” for this game, no story to justify the maths. Of course a vague picture starts to form, but there hasn’t been much of the lore leading the mechanical development - again, a world away from RPGs where the lore is the mechanics.

Anyway, this week they announced the release date for the new Splatoon 3 DLC. Splatoon is an online shooter video game, on paper not to my taste at all, but the gameplay and theming are both hugely fun so I’m pretty into it. The new DLC actually looks like it functions a lot like this game I’m working on, a solo mode tackling an onslaught of AI enemies.

Enemies from the upcoming splatoon DLC. It’s like BLAME! with seafood

The reason I’m bringing it up though is that the developers of that game went through a similar iterative process when starting out. The first build of Splatoon had no graphics, or even an inkling of what its style and characters would end up being. Players controlled grey cubes in a featureless grey cube world, with the only aim being finding the fun of the gameplay. When the developers started finding themselves having in-office tournaments on their lunch breaks, they knew they were onto something.

If there’s a game you’re working on that you’re able to regularly test like this I’d really recommend it. That instant feedback on if an idea has legs has led to some surprising directions for this game, and remaining largely uncommitted to any particular setting or lore has made me focus on moment to moment gameplay in a way that really gets results.

With RPGs, maybe this could be something like character creation? It’s not usual for the kinds of games I chat about here but might be worth a try

Also, I want to start shouting out cool hobby stuff from other folks in these Straturday posts, games I like, creators i recommend, etc. Today it’s Gardens of Hecate, run by Ana Polanšćak, who does some of the coolest model painting and conversions out there. The post I want to link to though is her play report of TSPN, which is a solo miniatures game based on Tamagotchi. I’m all about gameplay outside the standard miniatures stuff and this looks way out there, definitely give it a read. And then look at her other work!

Finally, there most likely won’t be a Straturday post next week as I’ll be taking a little time off! But I plan on playing games during that time of course, so expect all the more hobby nonsense once I’m back.

Cheers and happy hobbying x

Saturday 20 January 2024

Straturday III


Ye castle taketh shape
Happy straturday!

Not much of an update as this week has been slow going and I haven’t got much gaming or hobbying in. I do think there’s still some worth in checking in weekly when I can though, just to keep track. And it’s been encouraging me to find time to do stuff for fun when I can, which was the intention :)

Oh, and as of me posting this blog gives voting is still on for the ADVICE category. My nominated post went up against one of Arnold K’s, which was only going to go one way, but I’m now in contention for a shot at the bronze. Voting link in my last post!

Hope you get some time to spend on your hobbies this weekend!

Thursday 18 January 2024

To quest, perchance to zine

 Zine quest / zine month / whatever is almost upon us! Every February small RPG creators gather to fund cool DIY projects and you can get in on the action by supporting your favourite small creators. There’s sure to be a great crop this year, I’ll be sharing my favourites here next month

I’ll also be launching my own project! This is the smallest scale thing I’ve done for zinequest, just one pamphlet, containing three playable tavern games from the world of Graverobbers. Been working on these for a minute and they’re genuinely, actually good. You can insert them into your own games, or just play em for fun. Click here to follow the project and get notified when it launches!

As a side note, the bloggies continue! I was summarily trounced in the GAMEABLE category, knocked out in the first round by the post that went on to win the whole thing which ain’t nothing. I’m also up for an award in the currently running category ADVICE, although I’m up against the likes of Sean’s #dungeon23 so I don’t fancy my chances. Still, you can vote for my post and all the other great contenders right here.

Get involved! I’ll be back this weekend for another straturday ✌️

Saturday 13 January 2024

Straturday Catch-up

The foundations. That doodle in the background is a spoiler for [REDACTED]

 Happy Straturday! i told you this was going to be a thing.

This morning I’m gluing some cardboard together in the hopes that it will eventually be a castle ruin. The only glue I have on hand takes a while to dry, so while that’s happening I thought I’d do a quick round up on my current hobby projects.

The first is a game I’ve been tinkering with since the end of last year, the idea that got me back into hobbying. I have a few models I’ve accumulated over the years but nothing resembling a full army, and none of the many rulebooks needed to play something like warhammer.

Then I remembered what I do for a living and decided to make my own tabletop wargame, the only criteria being that it exclusively use stuff I already have or could make from trash. It’s a solo game based on the chassis of Breckhelygan and some other long-discarded design ideas. I’m working out the mechanics, and it’s pretty fun already! Plays something like a mix of Bloodborne, Bayonetta and Vampire Survivors. Once it’s more concrete I’ll do a play report or something here.

There’s also a particular box of plastic knights I’ve had my eye on, and the need to justify the purchase plus all the Old World content I’ve been vicariously consuming have coagulated into another game idea about silly little knights on a quest. I’m excited about this one, no idea how it’ll play but once I’m able to afford these new toys I’ll test it. This is what the castle is for btw

Of course, these game projects are really just excuses for me to sit, craft, kitbash, design and play stuff for fun. So far it’s been working!

Anyone else got any fun projects on the go? Let me know in the comments or over on bluesky. Happy hobbying!

Wednesday 10 January 2024


Issue 3 of MNKRM is out now! Investigate and infiltrate a secret meeting at the hottest satellite rave in the junk belt. Read and subscribe free here.

Also, voting is now open for the GAMEABLE category of the 2023 bloggies! I’m nominated alongside some fantastic writers, I recommend reading them all and voting for your favourite here. You can find more info and stay up to date on the rounds of voting over the next few days on Zedeck’s socials - I’m also up for an award in the next category which I believe starts voting next week.

Finally, the great Jennell Jaquays, creator of the megadungeon, has sadly passed away. She leaves behind a great legacy of work as a true pioneer. Thoughts are with her loved ones.

Saturday 6 January 2024


 Announcing a new blog series for 2024!

Straturdays is a weekly post about my strategy gaming hobbying. I’ve never really played any tabletop war games and the like, but I’ve accumulated a handful of miniatures over the years and towards the end of last year started dabbling in crafting terrain and designing my own game.

To be clear this isn’t a serious devlog and I’m not doing any big essay writing. This is all hobby for me, stuff I want to do more of in my spare time. These blog posts are partly a journal, partly holding myself accountable to playing more games for fun, and mostly just sharing stuff I think is cool.

So there’ll be battle reports, things I’ve crafted and kitbashed, plus updates on this game I’m working on if anything interesting happens. I also want to try a bunch of new games! There’s this huge rush of great looking strategy games coming out, I want to play The Silver Bayonet, Night Thirst, The Doomed, Gravetrigger, Bangarang in the Gutterlands, SLUDGE, Trench Crusades… definitely more I’m forgetting right now. These are all smaller-scale skirmish type games which suits me just fine (although I am eyeing up all this Old World stuff GW is putting out today…).

A lot of these games are easily accessible too, which is good for the exactly zero budget I have to put towards all this. I also want to include a few video games, but given said budget it’ll probably be me dusting off old ones I already have rather than anything new.

The only other thing to add is that I’d love to hear about other people’s hobbying! If you’re doing anything similar then share it with me in the comments or over on bluesky. #straturdays ? I don’t think I have the pull to start a hashtag but we’ll see.

Happy hobbying, and I’ll see you back here next week!

Support your local graverobber! Games and more available for download here.

Tuesday 2 January 2024

BLOGGIES finalists!

The finalists for this past year’s BLOGGIES awards, hosted by the inimitable Zedeck Siew, have just been announced! A bumper crop of last year’s best writing by people who write for/about/around games, all free to read on god’s green internet.

And as it turns out I’ve been nominated in two categories! I was basically offline during the final week of December, so I was only vaguely aware it was all even happening. I certainly didn’t think anyone would put my blog up for an award. So thank you!

Voting for your favourite finalists happens throughout this month, in various categories. You should read all the nominated posts anyway, because there’s some good stuff in there!

Monday 1 January 2024


 Happy new year I’m glad you’re here world is a fuck let’s gooooooo

Last year was difficult, all my own projects (Graverobbers, Breckhelygan, Deadline, Journeylands, etc) are still on hold. It’s a shame, but we move

This year I have some cool projects coming out that I’ve worked on for other folks, not least of which is the Mothership 1E core box! Get hype. I’ll announce other things when I’m able.

(I’d like to work on more stuff too! Maybe you’ve got something you’re doing for zinequest and you’d like me to write or edit on it? Or some other cool project later in the year? Get in touch! graverobbersguide at gmail dot com )

As for this blog, it’ll continue to be a space for my hobby, which in case you’re unaware is games. I want to work on more stuff! I want to play more stuff! And you know what? I’m gonna fuckin do it

That’s it I think? The current social media is so give me a follow over there. Excited to see what’s to come in 2024!

Speak soon. Let’s roll 😤