167: Do not use this as the basis of your historical essays.


The Galaxy’s Greatest Warrior, Defo.


I have watched from 1-3 episodes of Come Dine With Me, every day since February. It’s been the systolic heartbeat of the day, a default choice to background noise during lunch breaks. A few months into it, I watched it, tilted my head, and realised I knew how to turn it into a role-playing game. After writing it up, playtesting, and tweaks, here it is, for free, for your amusement.

I describe it on its itch.io page like…

What will the flirty butcher who hates anything orange make of the salami-heavy starter served up by the Fitness-freak Architect? What mysterious object will the Theatrical Personal Trainer find hidden in the flat of the Pretentious Nanny? And, most importantly, will Jane be happy with her sad little life?

It’s for 3-5 players, takes 2-3 hours and doesn’t need a games master. I’ve tried to make it accessible for new folk in lots of ways (which is one reason why it’s longer than the one-page I was aiming for – I wanted to explain stuff) and in these times of isolation, a virtual dinner party competition is a fine way to spend an evening. It’s often very funny. Playtesters have regularly said their faces hurt afterwards from laughing, which is more than I could have hoped.

Here’s a video of a demonstration game with Al Ewing, C and Ella Watts to show how it works.

And here’s the link to download again.


I had no idea Marvel were going to do an animated trailer for Marneus Calgar. A fun surprise. When I first watched it, I smiled because of the simple joy of its existence, and also because the legend HUMANITY’S GREATEST WARRIOR. I imagine comment threads igniting into arguments. And lo, there was only war, etc.


December Solicits!


In the world of DIE, the players are now real players. Countries are their pieces, and the board threatens to run red with blood. Who is the Queen, and who are pawns? Who's playing to win? Who's forgotten what they're playing for? And what will they do when they're reminded of the real stakes? The critically acclaimed dark fantasy smash hit goes epic in its third volume.
Collects DIE #11-15

Over at Image, the third trade of DIE, in time for Christmas. This is one of my favourite covers by Stephanie, which really captures what we’re doing. This is the largest scale of DIE’s arcs, and it’s going to be great to see it out.

Oh – and the Ludocrats collection is still available to pre-order. A fine Xmas gift, etc.

A quick mention for Home Sick Pilots, which is Dan Watters and Caspar Wjingaard getting back together. This one is going to be everything. They describe it as “Power Rangers meet the Shining” which has to intrigue, right?

Also out in December are Marneus Calgar 3, Eternals 2 and Once & Future 14. James Stokoe doing another amazing cover for the former, Jamie guesting for a cover on the second and ending off the year of Once & Future with a story which takes place on New Year’s Eve.

Speak to retailer if you want any of the above.


Ludocrats comps arrived last night. It is done and it exists. Out next week, on my birthday, and my birthday gift to you. Of a sort.

The thing which made me smile and think most was Jim tweeting that his mum thought it was much funnier on the second read. Maybe it is, actually. It’s a weirdly dense little thing, Ludocrats. I have not dared show my Mum Ludocrats. I would not disillusion her in her continuing belief that she has not raised a monster.


I’m wanting to tie off a few scripts this week. I got Marneus 5 over yesterday, with a mail reading "There sure is a lot of murder in this one, but I guess it's not called friendhammer." We’ll see what folks make of it. There certainly is a lot of murder. I’m glad I’ve got a draft of the whole thing done before any of it is released, as it means it removes the chance I’ll second guess anything. I’ve had a lot of fun with this. Perhaps even too much fun. This is mainly evidence that no-one should ever give me a Power Fist, as the body count would be an abomination.

This afternoon I’m helping a friend by being in the demo game video for a forthcoming kickstarter, but around that, I’m doing a handful of interviews, chatting about the design pages for Eternals and polishing up Once & Future 16. This basically frees my New Work plate. I may hit an Eternals issue next, or perhaps actually give a week to working on the DIE RPG, which is nagging away at me. I should write a little about how the campaign is going at some point, I suspect. Up to episode 27, and we’re very much heading towards the conclusion. The last session ended with C’s character saying “Let’s go to hell” which seems pretty climactic.

I’ve also said yes to another 5-8 page thing, which may or may not happen, but it’s an interesting challenged I’ve been looking to do for a while.

Finished China: A History by John Keay, which is a one-volume history of China. My history of China has been actively bad, in terms of knowing stuff, but not being able to put it in any order, just a download of factlets and knowledge of some periods, without enough knowledge of how they actually got there, or when that period actually is. Reading this has been mainly about wanting to give myself that high level overview, so I can then contextualise anything else I learn. Context. Clearly, bouncing through thousands of years of history means it’s only a top level view, but that’s still useful. Also, fun – Keay is very sharp at times. It did what I needed and more. I wanted to basically know the major dynasties, and I can do a crappy one paragraph history of China now, from memory, which is something.

Okay. I’ve said that, which means I have to prove it, I guess? I’m sorry.

Five Emperors, then three dynasties with kings (the one I can’t remember, the Shang and then the Zhou, the latter having the Spring and Autumn and the Warring States bits),  then the Qin with first emperor, Han taking over for yonks with a middle bit where a Confucian guy takes over, three kingdoms doing the three kingdoms thing, then it gets reunited for a bit before it all breaks apart for yonks, and then the Sui who get it back together and build canals before the Tang jump in for yonks (with a break in the middle for a rebellion), then the 5 northern dynasties and the 10 southern kingdoms, united by the Song, who hold together for yonks, then the Mongols pile in, form the Yuan dynasty, which lasts for a bit before the Ming take over for yonks, and then the Qing, for yonks, and then we pile into the 20th century with the republicans and the communists.

Mistakes which I’ve tweaked are somehow remembering Qin and Qing as “Xin” and “Xing” which is just wrong, and writing Summer rather than Spring and Kingdoms rather than States in the Zhou period. And the one who reunited after the 3 kingdom I originally wrote “about three seconds” which isn’t true, but when zooming through hundreds of years everyone 30 pages, it feels like it. There are likely more mistakes. Do not use this as the basis of your historical essays. Do not cite me. I just read a book, once. Also, do Americans know the word “yonks”? More so, does anyone since Whizzer & Chips in the 1980s use the word “yonks?” I’d ask a historian, but I’m tired.

Speak soon.

Kieron Gillen