Research Project: the Recruitment Game

In the first quarter of 2023 I’m working as a research assistant on this educational game with Dr Melissa Rogerson at the School of Computer and Information Systems at the University of Melbourne. It will be used in the classroom to teach about the recruitment of participants for usability testing, and even in its prototype stage it’s pretty fun!

This one won’t be publicly available, but I’ll be able to share more about it in future.

Coming soon: Amateur Hour Apocalypse

Sample characters and rules from an early version of Amateur Hour Apocalypse

This is an original comedy tabletop roleplaying game about regular folk who decide to learn magic in the modern day – and accidentally unleash impending sorcerous Armageddon! Only they can stop it – assuming they can assemble the necessary ingredients for an ancient ritual they barely understand. And they only have two hours…

This is my first full tabletop RPG, designed for one-shot games which aren’t entirely serious. It’s been delayed a couple of times by various things, but I’m hoping to publish it this year. Watch this space!

Dungeon Time

A sample character from a Dungeon Time workshop; the main sheet has a child's drawing of "Charlie", an anthropomorphised ice-cream cone. It is surrounded by smaller cards depicting Charlie's foes and special powers, including the power "Call their Mum" and a "Poison dart frog room".

Every adventurer has to start somewhere! Dungeon Time is a storytelling game workshop for kids who want to get into fantasy adventure roleplaying. It involves simple, easy-to-learn rules for generating your own dungeon-crawling adventures – without even needing a Dungeon Master!

I first ran a Dungeon Time workshop at ArtPlay for the 2017 Melbourne Writers’ Festival, and have since run it for several libraries including Diamond Valley, Eltham, Mill Park, Nunawading and the State Library of Victoria, as well as a modified version at 100 Story Building as part of their holiday program.

If you – or your kids – have been to a workshop and would like to play some more, I’ve made the character sheet available below, though you can also just make your own using some blank paper. If you’d like me to run Dungeon Time for a library, classroom or any group of kids, get in touch! I have versions suitable for 5-8 year olds and 9-12 year olds. I’m also working on a standalone set of rules.

Download Dungeon Time character sheet  (A5 PDF, one page)

A Mysterious Wanderer in the Fourth Dimension

Can one hero really protect all of infinity? Perhaps – if they live multiple lives! A Mysterious Wanderer in the Fourth Dimension is a mini-RPG with no Game Master, in which a group of friends all play different incarnations of a “mysterious wanderer” who fights for good across time and space, sometimes failing but always reincarnating – until a final battle with a great Evil forces all their incarnations to team up for one last stand!

Download A Mysterious Wanderer in the Fourth Dimension (A5 PDF, two pages)

I think it’s pretty obvious what my influence is here. I have a fascination with breaking Doctor Who down and seeing what similar but very different things you can assemble from its essentials. This game was my first attempt at doing so for others to play. Intended as an entry for ConTessa’s microgame challenge in 2014, it wouldn’t fit in the space provided so I entered my other idea (Super Mega Battle Fight Time Go!) and finished this version later, with some helpful input from Grant Howitt and Patrick O’Duffy.

Even now it’s a bit squashed, and probably not quite finished; I’d love to give it a bit of polish. If you play it, please let me know what you think.

Super Mega Battle Fight Time Go!

Life can be tough when you’re a teenager – and being attacked by monsters all the time doesn’t make it any easier! Super Mega Battle Fight Time Go! is a mini-RPG for a GM and 3 or more players. You play young adults suddenly gifted with the power to turn into masked superheroes, who must fight monsters – and the social challenges of being young adults! It’s inspired by Japanese tokusatsu TV shows like Kamen Rider and Super Sentai (aka Power Rangers).

Download Super Mega Battle Fight Time Go! (PDF, postcard-sized, 2 pages)

I wrote this tiny RPG back in 2014 for the ConTessa “D3 Microgame of Stupefying Wonder” challenge. ConTessa is a women-led online gaming con. The restrictions for the challenge were that you could only need paper, pencils and a 3-sided dice, and that the whole game had to fit on a single postcard (though two sides were fine). The winning entry was “The Guild of Orpheus” from my friend and incredible RPG designer Grant Howitt; you should check out his games, they’re some of my all-time favourites.

Ben McKenzie’s Late Night Games Night: The Board Game

An A6-sized flyer for the comedy event "Ben McKenzie's Late Night Games Night", including a playable board game printed on the back.Ben’s last-minute six-nights-only late night board game show during the 2018 Comedy Festival definitely wasn’t just an excuse to make a flyer with a complete, playable board game on the back… But it was partly that. You can download a PDF copy here for your own enjoyment.

Ben McKenzie’s Late Night Games Night: The Board Game (A6 PDF, 663 Kb)

It’s a simple game that uses party-game style challenges themed around the games I featured in the show. The original final challenge was to see Ben McKenzie’s Late Night Games Night but you’ve missed that now, so here are some alternatives:

  • If a fringe arts or comedy festival is currently on in your city:
    • See any of the shows featured in the Safety House Guide.
    • Collect a flyer from a performer whose show sounds appealing to you.
    • Share your thoughts about a show you loved (with a link) on social media or a festival web site.
  • If there’s not currently a festival on:
    • Book tickets to a live performance featuring performers you’ve never seen before.
    • Agree to play a game you’ve never played before.
    • Go to a public playful or games event, like the ones organised for the Freeplay Independent Games Festival.
    • Contact Ben and tell him about a challenge you created for a blank space.
    • Let the other players pick one of the challenges on the board you haven’t done yet; you must pass that challenge to win.
    • Forget about having a challenge at the end, you just win when you land on FINISH!