Saturday, 29 December 2018

The Twelve Months of Blogmas

So, for once, it looks as if I'll actually successfully complete a New Year's Resolution. Yes, I have indeed managed to produce a blog post for every month of the impossibly long year of 2018.

Bearing that it mind, it seemed sensible to do a round up of what I've worked on over the last twelve months. I can't tell you about all of it, but I can drop subtle hints for some of the stuff that I'm not at liberty to mention properly. I used to do an annual summary a few years ago when I worked for Modiphius just to remind myself of the break-neck pace of production on Achtung! Cthulhu, but I haven't done it in a while, so it will be interesting to see if this year was indeed as busy as it felt.

So, Call of Cthulhu and other Chaosium stuff first (in no particular order):

Scritch Scratch (Free RPG Day; published)
Masks of Nyarlathotep (published)
Call of Cthulhu Starter Set (published)
Terror Australis (published)

Children of Fear (in the production queue)
Secrets of Berlin (in the production queue)
Shadows Over Stillwater (in the production queue)
A Cold Fire Within (in the production queue)
Flotsam and Jetsum (the next organised play campaign; in the production queue)

Cthulhu By Gaslight for 7th Ed (we're still beavering away on this one)
Sekkrit Projekt 1 (no, I'm not telling you anything more than that; in development)
Sekkrit Projekt 2 (and I'm not telling you anything else about this one, either; in development)
Sekkrit Projekt 3 (short scenarios taking only 1-2 hours; in development and testing)

Women in Tabletop Gaming Month interviews (on the Chaosium blog)
After Dark convention scenario (which does now have a player-awarded subtitle, but I'm not saying it here as it sort of gives the game away)


Aldis: City of the Blue Rose (Green Ronin; published)
Shadowtide: A Blue Rose novel (game stat editing; Green Ronin; available electronically)
Other Blue Rose editing (nope, nothing to see here... yet!)
Holding On: the Troubled Life of Billy Kerr (playtesting, rules proofing; Hub Games; published)


UK Games Expo
Free RPG Day
Necronomicon Discord Charity Fundraiser
Steampunks in Space

(Funny - I could have sworn we were at more than that...)

Things definitely began picking up pace towards the end of the year after I finally managed to finish Children of Fear, although most of this year has been editing, proofing and development work. I am getting to write some new material for Cthulhu by Gaslight, so it's nice to have that change of pace again from persnickety error spotting (which I am pretty good at, by all accounts - probably something to do with reading DNA sequences manually from X-ray films and automated sequencer printouts in a previous life).

There were also a few podcast appearances (The Good Friends of Jackson Elias, Geeks of Cascadia and the Miskatonic University Podcast), as well as a short series of videos Mike and I did for Masks of Nyarlathotep over on Chaosium's YouTube channel. There were a couple of other podcasts who asked if I was available (usually!), but then I never heard anything more. Ah, well.

I also had to turn down involvement in several projects this year. It's not something I like doing - as a freelancer, there's always the fear of famine rather than feast when it comes to work, meaning it's a real struggle to resist over-commitment - but there really are only so many hours in the day, especially as I also delivered four historical embroidery talks and one all-day embroidery workshop, all of which take an inordinate amount of preparation for either an hour's talk or six hours of stitching (writing up requirements lists, producing worked examples and preparing take-home instructions).

So, yes, turns out it *was* something of a busy year after all. And next year is shaping up to be more of the same, starting with a launch party for the Call of Cthulhu Starter Set next weekend, followed closely by our first full convention of the new year in a couple of week's time (OrcaCon), where I'll be running two games and appearing on five panels!

It's also been a very rewarding year in terms of feedback from players and Keepers and the ongoing development of strong working relationships. I've met some wonderful people, run some very entertaining games, played in some very entertaining games, and visited some wonderful places in order to do so. I see no reason why 2019 won't bring more of the same, and I sincerely hope it does.

And with that, dear reader, I wish you a safe and prosperous New Year. Be good or, as my late Great Aunt used to say, if you can't be good, be careful. (To which I add: or just don't get caught!)

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Almost All Done Bar the Shouting

Well, here we are in December, so that means it's time to write November's blog post. But first, I need to remind myself what I wrote in October's ramblings...

Right: sorted. The thing with writing my blog post just after the previous month has finished means I have to remember what I did and didn't say, and what accidentally may have slipped in as a preview. I was pretty well behaved about that last time around, so that's all good.

November, as pretty much every other month this year has been, was another busy one: editing, proofing and art direction for more Call of Cthulhu goodies (including the upcoming Pulp campaign A Cold Fire Within by Christopher Smith Adair), helping out with style guidelines, writing reviews, attending conventions, and - of course - learning more hieroglyphics.

The main convention for November (Dragonmeet just snuck into December again this year) is Steampunks in Space: a marvelous gathering at the National Space Centre in Leicester. Full of all sorts of steampunk shenanigans, it's one of the few non-games cons I get to go to now. (Although saying it's a non-gaming con isn't strictly true, as I do run Cogs, Cakes and Swordsticks there during the weekend.)

As always, we had many highly entertaining demo games, from regulars coming back for another installment in their ongoing adventures, to complete novices just wanting to learn what it's all about. Even more wonderful this year was the three generation family who came along to chat to us about how much fun they'd had with the game when they tried it a couple of years ago, and the gentleman who'd played in a demo game at Ludorati in Nottingham over a year ago who'd tracked us down to get hold of a copy of the book!

Speaking of games cafes, Newcastle now has it's very own one: Meeple Perk. Not that I've had chance to actually play any games there yet, but it's in a very convenient location, meaning that I get to pop in on my way home from hieroglyphics on a Wednesday night for a fortifying cup of coffee. The proprietors - Drew and Rhi - are long-time gamers and lovely people, and the cafe is very cosy and welcoming. Watch this space for more about them next month. (Probably...)

And that's probably all I can really say about work for November - there are some very interesting things bubbling along just below the surface, but apart from turning my hand to some exploratory research for the updated edition of Cthulhu by Gaslight, there really isn't anything else I can tell you for... reasons. (Some because they haven't been announced yet, others because they're really only vaguely formed ideas and hopes at this stage.)

Until next time...