History in Games, Games in History 4: Personal History

They’re back! In this episode of History in Games, Games in History, actual Dr Malcolm Craig and absolutely-not-a-Dr, Jon Hodgson discuss personal history and memory. For about 5 minutes before heading into the weeds really hard as usual.

Both Malcolm and Jon with be at UK Games Expo this coming weekend! Swing by Hall One, Booth 1-122. Malcolm will be there on Saturday, Jon is there all three days.

Maskwitches Redux campaign launches May 7th!

Tomorrow, Tuesday May 7th, sees the launch of the campaign to raise funds to print the new edition of Maskwitches of Forgotten Doggerland!

You’ll be able to pledge for:

• The hardcover or softcover rulebook, expanded to 168 pages.

• The dramatic and atmospheric  Pine Pitch Black edition 

• The Making of Maskwitches behind the scenes book

• To the Ice Caves – the first Journey Book for Maskwitches

• The Meat Spoiler Redux edition

• The beautiful and useful Maskwitches Dice Tray by out friends at All Rolled Up

You’ll also be able to pledge for all the books in PDF too, with the physical books coming with free PDFs.

Most of the PDFs will be delivered as soon as the funds arrive with us as they are completed and ready to go!

Sign up at www.maskwitches.com

The Burn: Making the Wee Folk

For The Silver Road setting book The Burn, I knew we would need something different. 

The locations in the book are real – albeit seen through the eyes of memory and a kind of folkish magical realism. 

The wee folk who you play seemed really the crux of the whole thing. And of course coming out of finishing up the Maskwitches Redux, models and sets were on my mind. But in this case the sets were life size – the real places along the Polmont Burn, just moments from my door, and coincidentally where the author Malcolm played as a child. 

It seemed like a good idea to build some figures and I have wanted to do this for a while. The pre-made figures I used for Maskwitches have their advantages, but also many limitations. 

I already had some armature wire on hand – it’s thick, but very flexible metal wire that bends easily but stays where you put it. It’s easy to cut, despite being several millimetres thick. I enjoy working with it. 

Continue reading “The Burn: Making the Wee Folk”

The Making of Maskwitches Continues!

Jon’s dedicated Maskwitches Redux blog is the place to find all the latest new and articles about the progress of the upcoming new edition of Maskwitches of Forgotten Doggerland.

Check out some of the latest posts:

Making Tools:
Lots of images, lots of text about the making of tools for the new edition, and some of the contextual issues arising.

Work continues:
This post has a selection of the latest photographs and images made for the new books. Check out the covers for To The Ice Caves and The Meat Spoiler Redux

A Journey out of niches:

A long form piece considering why we make things, and what matters.

Conpulsion in Edinburgh: Talks and more!

This coming weekend (March 30-31st) it’s Conpulsion in Edinburgh, Scotland, and we will be there with our stall, as well as taking part in a bunch of talks. We have a long history with Conpulsion, even before Handiwork Games was a thing, so it’s always a delight to be in attendance and to be able to contribute to the show!

Innovation in Games Design
Saturday 13:15—13:45:
With: Tanya Floaker and Jon Hodgson

A panel looking at how you can innovate in games design to create better and more playable games, with insights from two experienced designers and publishers.
Jon Hodgson is a games designer, artist and writer, as well as the owner of Handiwork Games.
Tanya Floaker is a games designer active in the indie gaming scene and has successfully crowdfunded several innovative RPG projects.

See https://handiwork.games and https://floaker.itch

History and Gaming
Saturday 12:15—12:45
With: Aleksandra Brokman and Malcolm Craig

A panel about projects exploring gaming history and applying multimedia approaches from two celebrated ENnie-nominated games designers with strong links to Conpulsion.
Malcolm Craig, acclaimed author of a|stateCold City and Hot War who is now a senior lecturer in history at Liverpool John Moores University. Malcolm is working with Handiwork Games as an integral part of his research work into the history of nuclear war in roleplaying games.
Aleksandra Brokman, acclaimed author of Wise Women and host of the Lamias actual play stream, has a series of Vampire the Masquerade essays on YouTube deep diving into the evolution of clans over the editions of the game.

See https://handiwork.games/cold-city-hot-war and https://ksandra.itch.io and https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLKkMR3i11sDcJ6EHE56j6y8pcb-WAGZ5v&si=YeUxFRlUafkpqRk6

History in Games/Games in History: Live!
Saturday 14:15—15:00
With: Jon Hodgson and Malcolm Craig

Come and be part of a live recording of the History in Games/Games in History podcast. Not only listen to Jon and Malcolm like you can on the internet, but see them live and ask them questions too.
Dr Malcolm Craig is a senior lecturer in history at Liverpool John Moores University.
Jon Hodgson is a games designer, artist and writer, as well as the owner of Handiwork Games.
Together they fight crime talk about history in games and games in history!

See https://handiwork.games/history-in-games-games-in-history-podcast

20 years of a|state: Ask Me Anything
Sunday 13:15—14:00:
With: Malcolm Craig and Paul Bourne

Malcolm Craig and Paul Bourne, the creators of a|state, launched the first edition upon the world at Conpulsion 2004. Now available in a beautiful, full-colour Second Edition, Conpulsion 2024 gives you the chance to ask them anything about the game and their reflections of a|state’s 20 years.

See: https://handiwork.games/games/astate

Get your tickets for Conpulsion in Edinburgh here:

Cold City Play Test Two

Cold City/Hot war creator Malcolm Craig is playtesting the upcoming new edition. Here’s his report of the second session with his new play test group:

Play Session 1

Content Warning: Self harm

If you’ve read the first blog post about playesting the revised version of Cold City, you’ll know how things are starting. If you’ve not read it, then follow the link!

For this session Harvey was sadly absent because of unforeseen circumstances. However, Connor and Amy decided to press on regardless (incorporating the absence of Harvey’s character Edward Richthofen into the story. Nice work).

We got through six significant scenes before the act’s conclusion. We open with a chase by Amy’s character Dr Julia Whitely into the U-Bahn and the capture of a mysterious man (who had a stolen document that gave them some insights into who they might be looking for – a mysterious, though-to-be-dead-in-1945 Nazi scientist called Karl Geissler). Then we had a flashback scene to how the chase started and Connor’s character Kyril Kantarin being left in an apartment with a dead body.

Continue reading “Cold City Play Test Two”

Cold City Hot War Report Five is out now!

In the fifth free Cold City Hot War Report, designer Malcolm discusses the fruits of the first playtests of the new edition, and the history of the so-called “Malayan Emergency”.

These regular free reports bring you behind-the-scenes info, extra historical inspiration, and ideas on things to read to learn more about the Cold War period: the setting for both Cold City and Hot War. 

These reports are also available for free download at DrivethruRPG.com, where they will be added to your DrivethruRPG cloud library at no charge, for easy access from all your devices.

Cold City Play Test One

Cold City/Hot war creator Malcolm Craig is playtesting the upcoming new edition. Here’s his report of the first session with his new playtest group:

1: Situation and Character Creation

Cold City – an RPG of trust, hidden agendas, and monster hunting in early Cold War Berlin – is changing a little. That’s why we’re (re)playtesting a game that came out a long, long time ago. Well, there’s that and the fact that some mechanical elements have changed significantly.

The first thing you do in any Cold City game is decide on the situation. This involves nailing down the tone, who the antagonists are, what the characters are doing, scenes everyone would like to see, and so on. I’ve been very lucky to be accompanied in this playtest by three of my students: Amy, Connor, and Harvey. They all enthusiastically volunteered to playtest the game.

Continue reading “Cold City Play Test One”

Cold City Hot War Report Four is out now!

In this fourth free PDF, Cold City/ Hot War author Malcolm discusses the “Bren Gun Effect” and the Strath Report.

About Cold City and Hot War

Originally published in their first editions in 2007 and 2008, we’re honoured and delighted to announce our plan to publish new editions of both Cold City and Hot War in 2024. 

These won’t just be new editions of these cult UK indie games: designer Malcolm Craig, now a senior lecturer in history at Liverpool John Moores University, will be working with Handiwork Games as an integral part of his research work into the history of nuclear war in roleplaying games. 

Continue reading “Cold City Hot War Report Four is out now!”