Games

A pair of old six-sided diceIn the fall of 1984, during a layoff from General Electric, I sold a “capsule review” to Steve Jackson’s Space Gamer magazine. A month later they accepted my “Mind Duel” board game. Within a year, I was working full-time as a designer and editor for GDW, then TSR, with a bit of freelance for FASA, West End, Flying Buffalo, and others. Nowadays (after an interlude spent in educational publishing) I’m publishing myself—and other people—via Popcorn Press.
Photo by sean_hicken

In the Works

Lester : February 20, 2009 6:00 pm : Game Design

As you may have noticed, I’ve been in a game-design frenzy of late. My poetry writing and submission has taken a back seat to fleshing out the “Giveaways” category on this Web site, and I’ve been having so much fun with that, it seems I can’t stop. It also means I’ve been posting here less often, mulling over game mechanics instead. (And reading Breaking Dawn on my PDA; I hate to admit it, but the Twilight series has me addicted.)

Sometime in the next few days, however, you can expect Shaper Dice to be posted. It’s a two-player combat game between shape-shifting magicians. The basic mechanics are working very well. I just have to polish the various attacks and defenses, and check them all for balance. If you want to get prepared, go buy the following dice (all d6s): 2 black, 2 white, 2 red, 2 yellow, 2 blue, 2 orange, 2 green, and 2 purple. Each color represents a different animal form, and players share from that pool of dice, which also means you’re often half one creature and half another.
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Invasion of the Saucer People! Game

Lester : February 15, 2009 4:53 pm : Free Games, Game Design

invasionA pulp-era poker-deck game of cooperation against alien attack, for 2-4 players.

In space, everything’s in black and white.

It’s the year 2000, and mankind has spread from Earth, with thriving colonies on Mercury, Venus, and Mars. The Terran Service Rockets (TSR) carry passengers and cargo among these planets. Those same ships are commissioned as the space arm of the Guardian Defenders of Worlds (GDW) in case of external threat. So far, the only dangers have been from rogue asteroids. Today, however, long-range sensors detect a fleet of alien ships approaching, capturing or destroying everything in their path. Can you and your fellow captains defend the inner planets from the Invasion of the Saucer People!

Equipment Needed: One poker deck

What the Suits Mean

  • Spades represent attacks on or defense of Earth.
  • Hearts represent attacks on or defense of Venus.
  • Clubs represent attacks on or defense of Mars.
  • Diamonds represent attacks on or defense of Mercury.

Preparing to Play
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Demon Bound! Game

Lester : February 14, 2009 6:00 pm : Free Games, Game Design

demonbound

A poker-deck game of demon summoning for fun and profit.
For 2-4 players.

It’s anno domini 666, and you have just learned the secret of Solomon’s Seal, which binds demons to your service. This knowledge can make you unbelievably wealthy. Unfortunately, you’re not the only one possessing it. To achieve your dreams of ungodly riches, you’ll have to outpace or destroy your competitors.

Game Components

  • One deck of poker cards.
  • Five coins or other markers per player

Beginning the Game

  • Hand each player one marker. This represents a stain on that player’s soul for trafficking with demons.
  • Deal six cards to each player.
  • Set the remainder of the deck in the center of the table as a draw pile.
  • Turn up one card from the draw pile to begin a discard pile next to it.
  • Each player sacrifices a victim (plays a numbered heart card) or discards a random card. High sacrifice goes first. Continue clockwise from there.

Card Layout: Sacrifices and summoned demons are played in front of you on the table. Bound demons are moved to your right. Treasures are played to your left. Marks on your soul are kept in front, near your sacrifice space, where everyone can see.
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