May 8, 2021 western

Six Shooters

All of the below should be treated however you treat revolvers.

  1. Huge, pitted iron revolver. Pulling the trigger tires the finger. Roars when it fires - louder than a gun should be. Has marks on the grip that you did not make.
  2. Made of many different guns - a true jury-rig weapon. Sharp, snappy barks. Gets hot - like a frying pan left on the stove for too long. You could not identify the constituent elements if you tried.
  3. Sawn-off revolving rifle. Barely held together with twine, and has a modified chamber to down-size the calibre. Sounds like a cannon.
  4. Small, black-lacquer with the lightest pull. Hand-made, hand-carved, hand-weighted - and not for you. Pulls to the left ever so slightly. Hard, packed shots which hurt the ears more than most.
  5. Full of dirt. You can take it to pieces, wash it and put it back together again - but it will still be filthy. Muted report.
  6. Everything buttery smooth - almost to fault. You can barely feel the mechanical action. The sound leaves no questions however. Like an eager dog on the hunt, nostrils full of prey.
May 6, 2021

New Zine Release - Black Knights

A zine with my words and the incredible art of David Hoskins can be bought here now.

A UK release is forthcoming.

May 6, 2021 western

A Home

Beyond the sun-bleached fence, cacti pulp steams. Spent rifle shells - six of them - sit in the recently disturbed dust. A lean-to stable has a thirsty mule and two ponies. The ponies spit and hiss. They are dusty, and still saddled up.

A mud-brick building with half-open wooden shutter-windows in every wall. The internals lie in shadow impenetrable whilst you are outside. Two men with rifles are within, watching you. They move slowly and quietly, stepping over gagged hostages and corpses alike. Each has a revolver stuck in their belt.

In the exposed rafters - like a wooden ribcage, hanging down low - is hidden a small jewellery box. It has a lock which does not work. Inside the box is a map, detailing where $1000 of stolen gold has been buried.

Of the family of eight, two are dead. Five have been tied up. One is unaccounted for. They hide in a water bucket with their fathers pistol. They are trying to muster what reserves eight years on this hard earth have given them.

May 5, 2021

A Tomb

A mound of earth, grown over with grass. With a shovel, you could reveal the stones beneath the earth. With a pick, you could remove the stones, to find baked clay, forming another dome. Beneath this secondary dome, a trench, 2’ by 7’, filled with sand.

Within the sand is a skeleton, a bronze shortsword, 20 stone arrowheads, a bronze triple-dish cuirass, and the plumed helm of the true king of the land.

Disturbing the grave awakens the elves. They will begin hunting men beneath the moonlight once more.

May 3, 2021

Mechanisms as Abstraction

Mechanisms abstract the thing they describe or simulate.
This can be done to speed up play, or to make something complex more easily grasped.

  • The number of factors that go into a fight are too many to simulate or describe - so we abstract.
  • Buying many individual items takes time which isn’t always going to be fun - so we abstract.

Abstraction requires the loss of detail.

The things you don’t abstract are the meat of the game.
This is why games* aren’t about what their mechanisms are about - or, if you insist, don’t have to be. Leaving the gap for something to be approached in more detail and nuance gives that thing more primacy.

*In truth, this is talking about game books - the game, the thing that happens up to the table, is an entirely different thing which encapsulates and supersedes the book.

April 22, 2021

Postcards from Cable Street Released

For the rare ones who come here without also using Twitter -

The antifascist charity zine I’ve been a part of organising and submitted to is finally out. You can grab it here:


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