Design diary December

Hi all,

December is not a great time for designing! Between being off sick with food poisoning, marking an insane amount of exam papers and having too many projects on the go – progress has been slow.

We’re about 5k words into our Conflict themed “Choose your own path” book with an aim of about 10 endings and 40k total words. We’re looking to get this released some time next year with a percentage of profits going to “War Child”, who do great work looking after children stuck in conflict in places like Syria. We’re also looking to put an early version up on our Patreon / TES when the first pathway has been drafted.

We’ve released “Bunker 13” to the world as a free print and play on our Patreon and are looking to release our pretty well playtested board game “Village Life” sometime early next year. If there is interest I would also love to see new artwork done for it, but alas the world of print and play games is somewhat no-profit rather than non-profit!

Finally as Christmas is on its way, those of you who follow our @harlegames Instagram will know we’ve been playing an awful lot of Tokaido in the game club these last couple of weeks. The problem is however that it’s a massive box and not very portable. I bought it to take up to my family over the holidays and that sparked a new design idea. Could we have a similar mechanic, but with more portable tiles or cards over a large board? Setting a theme of journeying to Canterbury on a pilgrimage we’ve made a little idea together. Hopefully I’ll post some of it up soon!

Merry Christmas all, see you in the new year (from over the stacks of exam papers!)

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This War: Preview

Here’s a sneak peek at an upcoming choose your own adventure book / lesson about civilians caught up in war. We are looking to adapt it into a book, ebook and secondary school lesson, with the proceeds going towards the War Child charity. If sucessful it will be part of a 3 part series covering Conflict, Migration and Integration.

Getting the Goods, Pg 14 draft

Getting past the security point is relatively easy. You drive the car through the security checkpoint and hand over your papers. The guard waves you through and you continue your journey.

After what seems like an eternity, you arrive at a run down bar in a somewhat less destroyed part of the city. Everywhere around you there are parked cars covered in dirt, some with propaganda posters plastered over them, each trying to cover the other.  A serious looking security bouncer is outside the door, but there is no sign of any customers.

The bouncer looks you up and down, then motions you to go inside through a long corridor covered with more propaganda posters.  At the end of the corridor, through a series of doors, a large room at the back is filled with weapons of all descriptions, dumped on the ground in piles. Furniture is piled up in one corner of what must have once been a dance floor. A stern woman with a red beret hands you a couple of backpacks and motions you to leave, which you do quickly.

At the security checkpoint you are terrified, but are waved through. Suddenly a military jeep appears in front of you. A group of armed men shouting at you to stop the car, do you:

  • Try to go around them and escape (page 15)
  • Grab what’s in the backpack and defend yourself (page 47)
  • Stop and put up your hands (17)

Let us know what you think, this part is from section where the character has been forced to help the rebels.

Bunker 13: Experiments

The fundamental story behind Bunker 13 is players find themselves in an experimental nuclear bunker. Little known to them though – they are the experiment.

Players are given a character and must either defend the bunker from invasion by raiders or mutants or survive the experiment depending on play type.

For example a simple game may consist of one ‘Raider’ player per three or more ‘Bunker Dwellers’. Each night a Bunker Dweller goes missing so it is up to the Bunker to find the raider fast. Lynchings can only take place with a 50% majority so think before you act.

A more complex game might add Crazy Ivan (who wants to be lynched), the Stim Junkie who can help or hinder the bunker at will or the Chef who has to try and keep everyone alive.

Check it out soon on our Patreon store

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Bunker 13 – Coming Soon

This week we have been pushing forward to finish our second Social Deduction game “Bunker 13”. Based on day/night games like werewolf, players must defend their bunker from raiders and mutants to survive the cold nuclear winter.

Narrator cards also help new players get to grips with how to play, avoiding the awkward problem of them forgetting which roles are in the game!

Coming soon to free print and play

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Sandbrook, A Novella Pt.8

A series of letters, journals and memoirs about the incident aboard the SS Sandbrook


The High Inquisitor, Lord Bromley DSS. HIQ.

Sir, I write with response to your recent letter with confirmation. I believe the source of many of the recent troubles to have come from the North and I am reliable informed by a trusted contact that part of the recent chaos stems not directly from the Western War, but rather from a recently influential group with Northern connections. Reports of anti religious activity have also been noted emanating from the region. These anti religious sentiments need to be routed out and destroyed with all due haste before they destabilise the kingdom.

I make haste to Northbrook, Sandbrook and the Northern Kingdoms via Shepherd’s Corner upon which I will make a full report.

In the name of the empire,

Inquisitor Stoic

Inquisitor manual fragments

This manual appears to be some compendium for Inquisitors – obviously never meant to leave the High Halls. A lot of it is burnt as if lit up and thrown in a bin, few pages survive except for information on interrogation and religious captives ~ Incident Researcher 1385

On interrogation techniques

Once the suspect has been placed into custody, interrogation techniques should be used to gather information as swiftly as possible. The reasons for this are twofold.

1. To ensure death does not deprive the empire of timely valuable knowledge leading to arrest.

2. To prevent the possibility of escape or early death by the captive.

The remainder of this page is burnt

Chapter 13: Treatment of alternative religions and religious cults

Religious preachers, prophets and others deemed lost or treasonous should be treated with immediate removal of the tongue. This prevents blasphemy from becoming passed to observers. Ideally this should take place immediately upon capture and transferral.

Interrogation and death should not take place in front of crowds due to possibility of cultic influence leading to rescue or conversion.

All evidence of cultic or blasphemous activity must be reported immediately to the High Inquisitor.

Interrogation technique for suspected cultic members:

  1. Removal of tongue
  2. Removal of all clothing including jewelry
  3. Covering of all cultic symbols, including tattoos, henna, marks and scar tissue
  4. Presentation of pen and paper for confession. Note: If any unusual script, icons or symbols are presented – immediately burn paper and remove hand of traitor. This will associate the drawing of illegal material with pain and discourage repeat actions. If performing confession with Junior Inquisitor present, end immediately and proceed to Soul Cleansing.
  5. Gain confession by use of The Techniques.
  6. Disposal

The remainder of this page is burnt

Check out our ebooks and educational materials on TES or check out the link below. All money goes towards making printing educational materials for our school in West London.

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Sandbrook, A Novella Pt.7

A series of letters, journals and memoirs about the incident aboard the SS Sandbrook


Letters between the Grey Guard and Sandbrook Council dated June 1842

June 17th 1842
To the esteemed Sandbrook Council,

The Council continues to poke its unwanted nose into the recent trade between our houses. We wish to remind you of article OB354A which refrains Councillors from investigating or reporting upon House business without prior approval. Further doing so would be inadvisable to avoid incident.

See to it we do not need to inform you twice lest you forget our recently departed Council member Brindley.

In His name, Our Dear Friend.

Grey Guard

June 18th 1842
Our Dear Friend.

From Councillor Von Hapsburg, Sandbrook Council.

A thousand apologies over the misunderstanding of our recent investigatory work involving the Harbour worker Frederick Samuel and Captain Walter Smithson. Our investigations have been following allegations of bribery and corruption amongst those working in the Harbour. I will see to it personally that this matter is forgotten.

May His light shine upon us all in time.

Undated hastily scrawled letter with redactions.


Faded redacted letter found under a destroyed building after the war, the redactions have faded over time due to water seepage.

Check out our ebooks and educational materials on TES or check out the link below. All money goes towards making printing educational materials for our school in West London.

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