Tag Archives: david brashaw

Episode 66 – Codes and Keys

In this, the final episode before Essen (because they take a bit of time to organise and I have a lot of writing to catch up on!), I talk to returning guests Leonard Boyd and David Brashaw from Backspindle Games. It’s been some time since they last appeared (episode 20, in fact) with their previous game, the Discworld based Guards! Guards! Now they’re back, a little older and wiser, and armed with two brand new titles: the abstract strategy of Codinca and the glorious dice-rolling mayhem of Luchador! Mexican Wrestling Dice! The guys will be heading to Spiel, so be sure to swing by their booth and check out their fine work. I’m also joined by the splendid Mike Elliot, the mind behind such big names as Thunderstone, Quarriors and (a personal favourite) the Harry Potter TCG. Seriously, it’s really very good. His new game is called Sangoku, an interesting card game based in the Hells and Heavens of Japanese Mythology, and it’s on Kickstarter now!

Links! You want ’em, we got ’em!

Direct Download for this episode – http://littlemetaldog.podbean.com/mf/web/n79ck7/LMD_Episode66.mp3

Codinca on Kickstarter – http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/backspindle/codinca?ref=search

Backspindle Games site (with pre-orders for Luchador!) – http://backspindlegames.com/

Mike Elliot on Twitter – https://twitter.com/Elliott_Games

Sangoku on Kickstarter – http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gamesalute/sangoku-by-mike-elliott


Leave a comment

Filed under Podcast

Episode 59 – Live from UK Games Expo 2013!

A short and sweet look at this year’s UK Games Expo which look place over the weekend of May 24th – 26th at the Hilton Metropole in Birmingham! This year saw the country’s biggest gaming convention move to a larger location which brought both challenges and splendidness in equal measures. There were games old and new, seminars aplenty, traders and buyers… all manner of things coming together to make this seventh year of UKGE the biggest and best so far. This episode brings together a few interviews I managed to grab with various attendees – have a listen and experience all the fun of the show for yourself!

On this episode you’ll hear…

Mark Rivera discussing his brand new game – Luchador! Mexican Wrestling Dice!

Tim Cockett talking about the craziness of the ever-popular Bring & Buy Room!

The Ragnar Brothers reveal the secrets behind their upcoming release, The Promised Land! Check it out on Kickstarter now!

David Brashaw of Backspindle Games talks Clacks, their new Discworld game!

Sam from Tweet RPG discusses their latest adventure, Rough Riffs! Play it now on Twitter – @Tw33t_RPG

Stak Bots designer Tom talks about the evolution of this new, quick playing card game!

Games journo Chris O’Regan gives his thoughts on the Expo’s new locations and gives to protips for newbies!

NSKN Legendary Games‘ Andrei Novak celebrates selling out everything they brought – including cracking 4x game Exodus!

Lawrence O’Brien talks about the phoenix-like resurrection of the Wotan Games label!

Download the show now on iTunes or grab it for yourself by clicking on this here link: http://littlemetaldog.podbean.com/mf/web/9dfu2s/LMD_Episode59.mp3

Thanks for listening!

1 Comment

Filed under Podcast

Episode 47 – Essen 2012, Day Two!

So, here’s the second of four episodes from The Little Metal Dog Show covering Spiel 2012! This one is massive, clocking in at over 100 minutes of interviews direct from the show floor. Check out the list below for everyone involved in this episode as well as links to their many and various projects and companies. As always, thanks for listening and supporting the show!

Direct Download: http://littlemetaldog.podbean.com/mf/web/ffv2f6/LMD_Episode47.mp3

Tony Boydell from Surprised Stare Games, designer of Snowdoniahttp://www.surprisedstaregames.co.uk

Gil dOrey runs MESAboardgames: http://www.mesaboardgames.pt/en

Flatlined Games’ Eric Hanuise: http://www.flatlinedgames.com/

Alban Viard, creator of Card City and Town Centerhttp://www.ludibay.net/

The Guys from The Roskilde Festival talk about The Roskilde Festival Gamehttp://roskilde-festival.dk/

Follow Backspindle Games (makers of Guards! Guards! and Codinca): https://twitter.com/GuardsGuards

Pierre-Yves from Helvetia discusses Shafausa and Helvetia Cuphttp://www.helvetia-games.ch/en/

Stragoo Games presented Mafia City: http://www.stragoo.cz/

The wonderful Piotr from Locworks had a massive amount of games available: http://www.locworks.pl/

Il Vecchio from Hall Games was a cracking Euro: http://www.hallgames.de/ilvecchio.php5?lang=EN

Klemenz Franz from Lookout Games talked about Agricola, Le Havre and so much more: http://lookout-spiele.de

Sunrise Tornado’s Ta-Te Wu had a whole bunch of new games: http://sunrisetornado.com/ as well as a Kickstarter for his new title: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tatewu/glory-of-the-three-kingdoms-guandu-core-set

Legendary designer Mike Fitzgerald talked about Hooyah! The Navy SEALS Card Game: http://www.usgamesinc.com/product.php?productid=1166

Right – now to get on with putting together the third part of the Essen coverage…

1 Comment

Filed under Podcast

Oh, for the love of Roleplaying… A guest post by David Brashaw

Time for another guest post, this time from one of the designers of Guards! Guards! David Brashaw is a long-time RPG fan. Here’s his story.


As a young ten year old in the mid-seventies I was delighted when someone bought me Escape from Colditz boardgame. My first memories of it were to playing the German High Command, or being the prisoner who escaped in the Staff Car. What a hero, I thought; little did I know where this gaming fun would take me…

About 1989 I purchased Milton Bradley’s HeroQuest boardgame, and not long after all the add-on packs and the design kit. Following that I had to have Advanced Heroquest and all the additional quests that were available from White Dwarf magazine and the web. I even became an honorary member/contributor to the Red Dragon’s Guild, an online group who created items, equipment and quests especially for the game. Unbelievably I discovered today that one of my quests is still posted! Have a look over at  http://members.fortunecity.com/ozgurhan/ahqquest.htm

The trigger for it all.

A year or so later I got together with my now design partner, Leonard Boyd and took roleplaying to another level, once a week, every week, every Monday night with twelve to fourteen of us battling, heroing, laughing, occasionally whinging but always ready for more. Boy did that brighten dull Mondays after our day jobs!

Some of the games we played were Middle Earth, Call of Cthulhu, RuneQuest, Shadowrun, Earthdawn, Dungeons & Dragons and Rifts – there were many years of this one, power goes to gamer’s heads, ha! In between times we had games of Magic, specially written Halloween and Christmas quests, (the latter having the Duracell Bunny as the arch-villain fighting off the seven dwarfs with liquorice whips and candy sticks…) and of course Advanced HeroQuest, now taken beyond the dark seedy corridors to a new creative table-top level of exploration and world quests. I even created the Giant’s Causeway from egg boxes.

What happened in all these games, apart from the occasional beverage and snack you may ask?

On one occasion in a warehouse full of mechanoids and laser fire a Dwarf in its underpants with a plasma cannon was seen running for cover; a helpful Cyborg tried to drag a stricken colleague through a minefield, sadly not by the route they entered; Harry the Dwarf (I have a pic of figure painted by my wife) hid up another tree, only to avoid curses of  ‘disgust or attraction’ between elves and Dwarfs and the resulting Dwelves or bloodbath.

A motley crew of heroes including Harry the Dwarf.

We passed many hundreds of notes to GMs, such as creating secret force fields, (always funny with power armour warriors flying around; we planted explosives without telling all of the party, (oops) got magic and teleportation spells completely wrong (darn solid wall), generally screwed up quite a bit and ended the lives of a few of our characters. Oh, and this meant you had to paint your own new character miniature before you could join in again!

From time to time a poor GM simply wanted to go home, possibly due to all of their evening’s planning having its Troll ass severely kicked within fifteen minutes; or realising that they should have escaped before the heroes cornered them with no back-up Chaos beasts to protect them; but mostly on a regular basis they had fun at everyone else’s expense, like a sliding door we could not open – apparently alcohol may have impaired our judgement bungee jumping orks coming down from a tree created using a wine bottle and glow in the dark insects; that were slightly disturbing.

Cyborg Orks... Roll Out!

On one particular evening when the atmosphere was really tense my wife screamed really loudly and scared us all. She then explained that our baby daughter she was expecting, had kicked her very hard…

Personally throughout my gaming I always liked playing selfish characters; in one quest I disappeared from a Rifts party for a while, sneaked off and sold our forgotten-about APC, and used the proceeds (of course) to buy myself a nice little Sky King Flying Gunship! In another quest I managed to escape a demon down four flights of stairs (and corners), making my steering and balance rolls on my jet propelled heelys!

It is true there were even poems written about the deaths of our heroes, and a casual public observer once commented to a friend that after a quick glance at our rifts weapons books, we had to be some sort of international terrorists.. I ask you, what’s so unusual about laser weapons, plasma cannons and fusion blocks?

Bottom line, we’ve had years and years of fun, learned a bit about strategy and now two of us in conjunction with Z-Man Games have published a board game called Guards! Guards! A Discworld Boardgame.

Was it worth it? Of course it was and as my father said to me recently “Son, keep doing the things you enjoy for as long as you can!” For my money that most certainly includes playing and designing games.


Fancy checking out the Little Metal Dog Show review for Guards! Guards!? It’s right here: http://littlemetaldog.com/2011/06/26/hot-in-the-city-guards-guards-review/ – and cheers to David for writing this piece!

1 Comment

Filed under Opinion

Hot in the City – Guards! Guards! review

Considering how long Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books have been available and the rich story that they weave, there’s a surprising lack of games based on them. There’s the reasonably decent Thud and… that’s about it really. This year, however, sees a couple of additions to this list that take completely different approaches to the Discworld experience. The Little Metal Dog Show has already covered a very early build of Martin Wallace’s Ankh Morpork. First out of the gate, however? Guards! Guards! from Z-Man Games.

Due for release later this year, the tale of Guards! Guards! is one of a labour of love. We actually covered it in detail on a recent episode of the show but the short story is that the guys behind it had a hell of a time. The game began as a project for the friends of designers Leonard and David but they soon realised that they possibly had something special. Many publishers expressed interest but the rug was pulled out far too often, especially after a particularly disappointing visit to Essen. However, the lads thankfully persevered and the game is now tantalisingly close to release.

The game’s backstory is the usual messed up extravaganza that you’d associate with the Discworld. Rather than specifically focusing only on Guards! Guards!, it’s actually based on elements from all of the books – however, the City Watch are involved in the game. As usual, magic is causing trouble. The eight great spells that make up the Octavo have disappeared from the Unseen University, so the Watch are attempting to recruit folks to get them back. Each player takes on the role of a member of the Watch that has been asked to work with one of Ankh Morpork’s many guilds. Each of the guilds have offered to assist in the spells’ return – first to get the five specified on their guild’s board back to the University is declared the winner! Easy, yes?


Not at all. Because that would be far too simple.

Guards! Guards!, at first appearance, is a reasonably straightforward game to play. You move around the board collecting/pressganging various volunteers (taken from the books) all of whom have various attributes. These can either be charmed into joining your ragtag band – screw that up and you can always resort to good old bribery to get them onto your team. Once you’ve moved to a space on the board that shows one of the spells you need to collect, you declare that you’re about to head on a Spell Run – in other words, you’re going to try and get the spell home. The board is split into four quadrants and you declare which ones you’ll be passing through in order to get back to your start space.

A couple of turns in, soon all manner of chaos will kick off...

This is where stuff gets trickier. You need at least one volunteer in your hand , while your opponents have the option of secretly placing saboteurs in your path that will have to be dealt with before you get the spell back to the museum. Get through them and you’ll be faced with increasingly difficult challenges (based on the volunteers’ stats and a dice roll) from the University Wizards before the spell is ‘officially’ returned. Any volunteers who took part in the run are discarded and you get on with fetching the next one – the only difference occurs with the final spell which requires you to get back to the Unseen University yourself.

As the game progresses, you’ll also be building up your own stats, marked on the guild board that you’re given at the start of the game – these make your life easier as the game progresses, especially when it comes to charming volunteers when they’re drawn from one of the three stacks. Each guild also has a special ability that can be used any time apart from on your turn – if someone wanders nearby, you can trigger your ability in a bid to hinder their progress. Guards! Guards! is very much a game of taking your chances to screw your opposition as often as possible – being utterly horrible is actively encouraged! Items and Scrolls can also be bought so your life is a bit easier or to make things harder for everyone else…

It’s not just your fellow players you need to be careful of, however – there’s plenty going on in the game that you have no control over whatsoever that can ruin your day. There’s a rather famous piece of Luggage running around hell for leather that will knock you out, sending you to the nearest hospital space – and as we all know, medical care will cost you. The Luggage moves every time a volunteer is recruited according to the instruction at the top of the card. Some volunteers also have other logos to pay attention to – a large gothic ‘F’ means you must draw a Fate card which could be something nice, but will generally mean that terrible things are about to happen. There’s also a charming little disease called the Pox that knocks your Charm statistic down until you find a cure – I’ve actually had a couple of games where this has caused stand up rows. You see, any time someone touches a card that has ‘Pox’ on it, they immediately catch it – particularly funny when you slide a card near someone else and they pick it up by mistake. I never thought my wife knew such florid language…

Another symbol to watch out for is the Mark of the Elucidated Brethren of the Ebon Night. Should a certain card be drawn from the Fate deck (“The Call of the Supreme Grand Master”), all players must declare and show any volunteer cards that display the Mark. If three or more cards are shown, a Dragon is placed in the home quadrant of the player who pulled the Fate card. Dragons can also be summoned by a player who happens to have three Brethen in their hand. But why would you summon these beasts? Well, if one is on the board, no player can recruit volunteers, collect Great Spells, get money or buy items from that quadrant – a whole quarter of the board is pretty much useless until that dragon is defeated. Oh, and if all four dragons appear? Everyone loses. And they’re absolute buggers to try and defeat in combat too.

A few prospective volunteers - Brethren and Fate symbols on show!

So that’s about the size of Guards! Guards! – get volunteers, get the Spells and get them home, covering your own back while scuppering the efforts of everyone else. The game starts quite slowly at first, but as players collect more volunteers and useful items the speed really seems to ramp up. There barely feels like a turn passes where someone isn’t going “Not so fast…” and declaring that your plans are about to change. Fans of games where you have a glorious plan stretching out over your next twenty turns will detest Guards! Guards! to its cruel core – it even says in the rulebook that the winning isn’t important… making people lose is fun as well!

The game captures the chaos of the Discworld well – you’d hope so, of course, as anything that comes out bearing Terry Pratchett’s name needs to be cleared as worthy by the man himself. The artwork throughout the whole game is provided by regular Pratchett contributor Steven Player, and his gloriously grotesque style really gives the game a distinctive flourish. Each volunteer card also has a quote lifted directly from one of the books – as mentioned above, this is definitely a labour of love. It’s a game where you need to be watching what everyone else is doing and taking your chances at the optimal time – or just figure that you’ll have as much of a laugh by kicking opponents when they’re down. Where many licensed games fall down on the actual content, the guys from Backspindle have created an entertaining (if challenging) title that well deserves a look. Fans of the series will appreciate the detail that has gone into its creation, while those not into the Discworld will find a solid game that could well spark a new interest.

Guards! Guards! will be published later in 2011 by Z-Man Games. Designed by Backspindle Games (better known as Leonard Boyd and David Brashaw) between two and six players will take around two hours attempting to capture and return the Eight Great Spells to the Unseen University. Please note, this review is based upon the prototype version – I’ll do an update as soon as I manage to get my hands on the finished product!

1 Comment

Filed under Reviews