Wednesday 22 December 2021


This Bastionland Editorial was originally sent as a reward to all Patreon supporters, and is released freely on this site a week after its original publication.

If you want to support my blog, podcasts, and video content then head over to my Patreon.


So without delving too deep into despair, the pandemic situation here in the UK is looking a bit volatile in the lead up to Christmas, so I'm finding it difficult to focus today. Unfortunate how the negative things can grab your attention like a vice, while the positive things can just as quickly slip through.

Lurching back on-topic, for me this definitely applies to reading and playing RPGs, wargames, boardgames, and especially videogames. Not so much that I get hung up on negatives, but I can find it difficult to focus on a game, even if it's one I'm actively interested in. 

Or, rather, I can focus on the game, but I feel like I'm too busy thinking about the next step. If I'm reading some fluff, I just want to get to the rules. If I'm reading rules, I just want to see how this game actually works in play. Once I get it to play, I often feel it's running too slowly. This might sound terrible, but I've joked before that this impatience is the fuel behind Into the Odd and Electric Bastionland

Blighters comes very much from the same place. I still go back and read Blades in the Dark, because it has some of the best GM advice that I've ever read, but the idea of running it from the book melts my brain. Credit to John for including a section in the book that outright says "you can run this game stripped-back to the core mechanic and it'll work just fine" but why do that instead of spending months carving out my own system?

For those that were interested after this week's post, I'll be sharing a PDF at the start of January when I've been able to tidy it up enough for public consumption. If you read Voidheist then the majority is unchanged from there. 

So to the actual point of this Editorial. For a bit of a change, I'm reaching out to ask for some recommendations from you:

What games (of any type) have you enjoyed that get straight to the point, with minimum padding around its core concept?

Here's hoping we can all find something new to enjoy over the end of the year, and perhaps keep us nicely distracted from the negatives. 


Friday 17 December 2021


This Bastionland Editorial was originally sent as a reward to all Patreon supporters, and is released freely on this site a week after its original publication.

If you want to support my blog, podcasts, and video content then head over to my Patreon.


Last weekend was Dragonmeet down in London, the first convention I've been able to attend since the release of Electric Bastionland. 

I'll be looking over my haul in this month's Backstage video, but my biggest takeaway is just how good it felt to be able to speak to people that were either already playing the game, or just picking it up that day. Strange that it's almost two years since its release, but actually showing it to people over a table made it feel completely new again. Of course everybody loves the art, but the best feeling is when somebody gets excited by the promise that "this game has the fewest rules-per-pound of any book you'll buy today". 

I was hosted by the always inspirational Rowan, Rook & Decard, and it felt like a good match. Although the rules of our games are significantly different, I think we have a lot of common ground in terms of our approach to setting design and tone. Lots of Spire fans were keen to pick up Electric Bastionland, and vice versa. 

Most of all, I loved spending some time with people I normally only get to interact with though email and social media. You don't need to read another thinkpiece about how the last few years have impacted our real-world social lives compared to those of the digital realm, but it's something I've sorely missed. I've had plenty of good game-chat on Discord, but nothing beats actually talking to somebody over a table full of food, in a quiet hotel corridor, or a freezing smoking area. 

Admittedly I took an hour midway through the day to go and hide alone in my room, but I feel like that's something a lot of attendees would benefit from. 

Who knows what's in the immediate future for conventions like this, but I'm already looking forward to the next opportunity to show somebody Electric Bastionland for the first time.

Thursday 16 December 2021

Blighters Rough Version

Oh alright, go ahead and have access to Blighters as it stands.

As always, work in progress, expect changes. 


Wednesday 15 December 2021


Wow, these two posts were like 18 months ago.

Since then I've tested the game a handful of times, and spent a lot of time wondering why I hadn't gone much further with it. The overall state of things was:

  • The core system (in essence, a stripped-back Blades in the Dark) is simple enough to use in play and generates some interesting moments without intruding on play.
  • Sometimes there are a few too many Gauges being tracked for my liking, as some of them feel a little inconsequential.
  • The setting is well-linked into the characters and the hooks that they'll be dealing with, but it's a little safe and generic for me at the moment. Archetypes are extremely useful in RPGs, but it all needs seasoning. 
  • The starting characters all get something cool, but some of the skills feel a bit too useful (Software), while others are hard to bring to use in certain scenarios (Science, Authority, and even Weaponry).
  • There isn't a clear hook as to why the characters are doing these dangerous jobs other than "get rich quick".
  • Running heists is fun, but I feel like the shitty-sci-fi setting begs for a wider range of scenarios within the existing job structure.

Now as we know, basically all of my game design comes down to:

  • Stealing bits from other games
  • Deleting large sections of rules
  • Find and Replace
  • Abandoning the document for a long period of time
  • Add more stuff that might make the table laugh
So I've been doing a lot of that to see if we can revive this game with a new lick of paint.

> Callsign BLIGHTY
> Massive Budget Failure
> Commencing Nano-Liquidation
> All crew released for contract work
> No job too big, small, or deadly
> Survival projection: poor
> Still, you’ve got to laugh

Hardcore fans might have heard me talk about the idea of Blighters before. A Red Dwarf inspired microgame that I didn't quite manage to get to grips with. Well we're already a bunch of space losers in a world of Androids and Genetically Engineered Organisms, so why not lean into this inspiration a little? Every game I write ends up having a touch of dark comedy, so it seems like these two projects could naturally become one. 

Now, get me my axe.
  • Print and Prep Gauges are condensed into Cost
  • Assisting rules are simplified to a nice easy bonus
  • I basically had the "Devil's Bargain" equivalent in two different places, so now it's present in its simpler form
  • Event Gauges in the sample jobs now just use the Heat gauge instead of creating two new Gauges to track

How about those Skills?

Well, I briefly moved back to having them phrased more as Actions or Approaches, similar to how Blades in the Dark does. It was a useful exercise, but really just affirmed to me that I think more concrete skills are a better fit here, so Software rather than Hack, and Hardware rather than Fix. It helped me look at the spread of Skills, though, and they've been broadened/tightened as needed to make sure that every skill can be used in every session if the player is smart about it, without allowing them to just always use their highest rated skill for every task. 

Data replaces Science and takes bits from Software's portfolio to cover all sorts of information harvesting and analysis.
Deception replaces Secrecy, because it's a little more active. It's a small change, but it allows the skill to cover things like creating a false identity or making counterfeit items.
Force and Movement share the remains of Weaponry and Athletics. Weaponry was a strange one. It did get used, but it was weirdly focused on a task that most of the time the players were actively trying to avoid. Now it's a little broader to allow for a range of high-impact actions. Similarly, Movement takes the rest of Athletics, but also gains a little bit of sneaking to replace the "punching people" that was lost to Force.
Influence replaces Authority, and while I liked the flavour of that Skill I found players would struggle to get to grips with it in play. For social actions it's more direct than Deception and more forceful than Empathy, and can even be thought of as a soft measure of their place in the social hierarchy. 

What Next?

I should have more of this to share in the New Year, but this is likely the final non-editorial post of 2021, so as always, thanks for reading the blog, click here if you've really enjoyed it, and here's to an even better 2022.

Friday 10 December 2021

Countdown Pt2

This Bastionland Editorial was originally sent as a reward to all Patreon supporters, and is released freely on this site a week after its original publication.

If you want to support my blog, podcasts, and video content then head over to my Patreon.


Okay, let's finish what we started.

#5: A Primordial System (and its Fighter) 

The other big post about this system that I don't fully understand yet. Testing this out at the table is right at the top of my wishlist at the moment, and I'm really excited to see it if holds together. 

Also, this is the most popular content post of 2021! Congrats, Fighter. 

In particular I still really like this approach toward the fighter. I wanted to give them a suite of knowledge that let them feel a little like how the wizard does with magic, or the ranger does with nature. An area that they get to act like a real expert in, rather than just giving them a list of special attacks and bonuses. 

#4: d100 Oddities for New Characters 

From way back in 2016, this thing is still getting lots of attention five years after it was published. So many of these made it into Electric Bastionland, most of them getting polished up a bit beforehand. 

Always feel a sense of achievement with these d100 tables, and this is arguably one of the foundations of what would eventually become Electric Bastionland, so I've got a bit of a soft spot for this one. 

#3: Decisive Combat 

I know this one helped a lot of people to understand how Into the Odd's combat worked, and the reasons behind its design. I still stand by everything in here, and I feel like my impatience with long combats has spread to most other areas of the game. Am I actually getting more impatient, or am I just increasingly aware that things don't need to be so drawn out? I guess some people love a session that's just one combat, or one social encounter, but I most enjoy those sessions that feel like you packed a lot of different stuff into your two hours or so. 

#2: Encouraging Scheming 

This one really surprised me. To be honest, it's not a post that I think about all that often, and I remember at the time I wasn't entirely happy with how it came out. Still, I think it holds up as advice that can be applied to a wide range of games, not just my own. 

#1: Into the Odd Remastered 

Finally, to the surprise of nobody, this announcement post topped out the year. Not much to say about this one, so I'll pivot to giving a massive thankyou to anybody that shared this post around and helped generate so much excitement around this game. 

Tuesday 7 December 2021

Objective Differentiation

I like each player's character to feel different to the others. It doesn't need to be full-on mechanical niche protection, but you should feel like you've got your own thing going on. 

In Electric Bastionland or Into the Odd this is likely to be through your equipment, arcana/oddities, or just strange abilities.

In this Primordial Thing I'm messing with there are still special abilities and gear, but also more of a focus on having specific knowledge and hooks to the world around you.

But an area I've been wanting to explore for a while is that of character differentiation through Objectives.

I touched on it with the Agendas in Collaborative Bastionland, and more so with my dip into Matrix Games/Open Strategy Games.

There are lots of tabletop games that focus in on differentiating players through objectives rather than focusing on abilities. One Night Ultimate Werewolf has variable powers and player knowledge, but some characters like the Tanner exist purely to disrupt the game through their unusual agenda. In this case, they're the only player that wants to get eliminated, but otherwise behave exactly as a regular villager. 

Naturally, things that work in a board game don't always work in an RPG, but I'm always interested in seeing if the fun-essence can be extracted. The obvious hurdle is that the examples I've given have all been competitive, rather than cooperative, but we can get over that. 

Let me try and put it into something a bit more useable. 


Each character has three Objectives, the first of which is always a common objective shared by the group. The remaining two are personal to each character. 

Each character's personal objectives should be unique. They might clash with other characters' objectives, but should not be in outright opposition. 

At the end of each session, the group as a whole decide whether or not they achieved their objective. Each player then self-assesses their own success at achieving each of their own objectives. 

The goal of the game is to achieve at least two of your three Objectives. 

What, No Reward?

Yeah, I mean you wanted to play a game, right? I'm telling you that you win the game by achieving the majority of your objectives. We might all win, all lose, or more likely have a bit of a mix. When you win at Carcassonne you don't ask me if you get an extra meeple next time we play.

So strawman arguments aside, I think the self-assessment of objectives only works if they aren't tied to your future success. It's meant to just be a frank, impartial look at how well you achieved your character's goals this game, and if you lose ten weeks running then I'm not going to kick you out of the game or anything. 

The Tricky Part

It's easy for me to pontificate about this system without actually providing any examples of what these Objectives might look like, and that's because their design is really the difficult part of this system. 

You want them broad enough to be relevant across a wide range of scenarios, but specific enough to give character and drive. Difficult enough to be challenging, but not impossible. Providing some conflict between characters without grinding the group's progress down to constant philosophical debate. 

As much as I'd love them to just be a big random table, I feel like they call for a more bespoke design process for each character. 

So I'm going to write an entire post about that next week. Consider yourself teased. 

Anything to get them through the door.

Friday 3 December 2021

Countdown Pt1

This Bastionland Editorial was originally sent as a reward to all Patreon supporters, and is released freely on this site a week after its original publication.

If you want to support my blog, podcasts, and video content then head over to my Patreon.


Is it too early to be talking about end-of-year posts? This has been my second year of working full-time on Bastionland Press, and I'm pleased to look back on a successful Kickstarter campaign and a nearly-finished miniatures game that I'll be handing off to another publisher at the start of next year. Not to mention a whole lot of video content, a podcast series, and of course blogposts. 

The latter is always good fodder for some reflection. In particular, I thought it would be interesting to look back at the ten post popular blogposts over the last year. To clarify, this includes posts from previous years, but I'm always interested to see which posts people are actually reading. 

#10: 100 Interesting Magic Items: The First Half

Guess I was tempting fate with that name. There was never a second half, but I did replace the idea with something else (see #4 when we get to it). This has the honour of being the oldest post in this countdown, now past its 12th birthday. Suppose you could look back at this list as the starting point for what would become Arcana and Oddities. I feel like most of them hold up well enough, but I'm definitely happier with my later item design. Here are a few highlights that I'd still like to use:

Crystal Ship: This miniature ship is beautifully crafted and valuable, but if it is ever taken on board a ship that ship will sink before its voyage is completed.

Death Drum: Anyone that bangs this drum thirteen times or more will die.

Map of the Head: The holder of this map may look over it when trying to remember something they witnessed while carrying the map. Within a minute of looking at it they will remember, even to the smallest detail.


#9: Rules Heavy - Worlds and Classes 

This is the highest ranking post from this year that actually contains game content, rather than some form of announcement. Why did I even bother writing all those articles eh? Apparently I peaked around 2018. 

Coming off the back of a series of Ask the Stars based posts, this is the migration of that idea into that whole Primordial thing that's still floating around in my head and various unfinished documents. Here's hoping 2022 is the year I actually put all that mess to use. 

#8: Into the Odd Announcement 

Ah, clickbait at its finest. No real content or information, just a boring, legally-sound announcement. As so many people guessed, here I was bound by secrecy about Into the Odd Remastered, and wanted to give people a fair chance to pick up the original version, while making it clear that the game wasn't going away. Hopefully nobody felt too cheated by that whole announcement.

Although the midnight announcement sort of fell into place, it's one of my lasting memories of this year. It was an awesome feeling watching the chat as I aired the ITOR Trailer without any introduction. Don't think I could do that for every project, mainly because I'm so bad at keeping secrets, but who knows.

#7: The ICI Doctrine: Information, Choice, Impact 

I recently had a friend ask me for some advice. They were running D&D for the first time, with 5e being their first ever game and having a few months as a player under their belt. I gave them some pretty rambling advice, but later realised I should have just linked them to this post. If there's one post that I still keep in my head when I'm running a game, this is it. 

#6: Three Step Dungeons 

This one surprised me, but I guess people like these sort of processes for their prep. The blank page is terrifying, and anything that aids in getting the skeleton of a game session drawn out is a useful tool. 

Next week I'll look at the top 5!

Tuesday 30 November 2021

Further Hacking

 Okay, let's do the rest of this challenge.


Lucky: You have an edge in matters of pure chance.


Pocket: Whenever you touch another person you can try to lift something from one of their pockets or other storage.  

Stab: Your attacks against unaware or distracted opponents cause significantly more harm than normal.

Misdirect: You have an edge when trying to lure somebody into just the right position.

Daggers: You always have some more daggers hidden away.

Reflexes: You always have an edge in the split second after something surprises you. 


Sensitive: Your senses aren't limited by the human range. They span a wider area and can hone in on things invisible to most .


Focus: If you have at least a minute to focus and prepare then you never miss your target. 

Primal: You speak a little of the language of beasts and trees. 

Light Step: You leave no trail on nature and it makes journeys easier for you in return.

Wisp: You have a companion wisp that floats and glows to your command.  

Elemental: With a little exertion you can imbue an attack with elemental energy. 


Stable: You can never be moved against your will and are immune to all poisons and toxins.


Bonds: You can find a bond with any other dwarfs you meet. 

Shieldbearer: You have an edge when using a shield to control the battlefield.

Carousing: You have mastered feasting, drinking, storytelling, and silly games. 

Oath: When you swear an oath you get an edge on all actions helping it come to pass, but never have an edge on actions unrelated to it. An Oath can only be abandoned through a lengthy and shameful ritual.

Tunneller: While underground you always know your position relative to the surface and other underground locations that you have visited. 


Creeper: You can see in the dark and communicate a little with most monstrous beings. 


Gorger: You can eat pretty much anything and regurgitate it later, and your teeth are effective weapons in their own right.

Shady: You're effectively invisible while cowering in the shadows, perfectly still. 

Sneaky: If you're on the move you can always decide to get knocked down rather than taking actual harm from an attack. This doesn't work if you're already knocked down.

Pest: When you act purely to impede somebody else then they can't get an Edge until they deal with you.

Pitiful: You are so truly wretched that most sapient beings will feel at least some sympathy for you.


Friday 26 November 2021


This Bastionland Editorial was originally sent as a reward to all Patreon supporters, and is released freely on this site a week after its original publication.

If you want to support my blog, podcasts, and video content then head over to my Patreon.


So this week's blogpost sure was a load of nonsense. As it's apparently backwards-week, I'll put the actual gaming material in the editorial instead.

As the blogpost alludes, I've been feeling the call of the primordial again. As a change from the one-page classes that I've previously worked on, I wanted to try a more easily digestible set of player options, first taking inspiration from the wonderfully designed classes of Old School Hack (first brought to my attention by Reynaldo here).

The below are pretty direct adaptations of the Original 3, aiming to strip away anything overtly mechanical to suit our Primordial needs.

New characters get the listed abilities plus a single talent. After a significant quest all characters gain an additional talent.


Steely: You have the edge when fighting untrained combatants.


Scars: You’ve seen enough action to have an edge when trying to talk somebody out of, or into, violence.

Specialist: You’re particularly attuned to a single, specific weapon.

Lancer: Your charging attacks have devastating effects.

Brawn: You’re used to carrying heavy gear and throwing your weight into things.

Exploit: After engaging in combat with an opponent you’re able to notice a particular weakness or opportunity.


Veil: You can see the mark of magical effects and can leave your own, visible to those you choose.


Chronicle: With a few minutes of work you can find or recall a single important fact about any given subject.

Lullaby: Your voice can soothe the hostile and put the unwary to sleep.

Puppeteer: You can animate a few small objects, say enough that you could grasp and hold.

Portalism: You can speak to doors. They generally cooperate and reply.

Curse: You can lash out with a harmful effect or damaging bolt, but you always suffer something in return.


Blessed: When you wear a representation of your faith you are offered some protection against its enemies.


Merciful: With a short ritual you can ease somebody’s pain and provide temporary invigoration.

Inquisitor: You can sense nearby enemies of your faith.

Wrath: You can imbue a weapon with divine wrath, but suffer a physical wound in the process.

Banishment: Your holy symbol repels enemies of your faith, and can destroy them when weakened.

Preacher: You’re very good at impassioned speeches and turning people to your point of view.

Friday 19 November 2021


This Bastionland Editorial was originally sent as a reward to all Patreon supporters, and is released freely on this site a week after its original publication.

If you want to support my blog, podcasts, and video content then head over to my Patreon.


This is how far out of the loop I am with big triple-A video games. Yesterday I took a day off after feeling a bit of brain-burn. I fancied some open-world exploration and picked up what I thought was a hot new game from a couple of years ago. 

The game was Assassin's Creed: Black Flag, which is actually like eight years old. 

Still, it's new to me, and this is a remaster at least. I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting my younger years with a full day of just playing a new videogame. Brain healed. 

Overall I enjoyed the game and I look forward to playing it some more. 

BUT who cares about the positives, right? We all want to gripe about how big company makes bad games. So here we go.

Actually, I'm not doing that, but there were a few things that left a bad taste in my mouth, and got me thinking about how those tastes have influenced my approach to running and designing RPGs.

We'll indulge in a little hyperbole, because this is an editorial after all.

Stupid Sideplot Framing Bollocks

So I forgot that this series has a thing where the main portion of the game (roaming around some historical era being an assassin, and in this game a pirate) is framed around a ancestral-memory-regression VR thing set in the near future. Occasionally the game pulls you out of your world of high adventure to put you in a corporate office to endure boring conversations with regular people. Like when you were playing Link to the Past and your aunt and uncle would come around unannounced and your mum makes you come and talk to them about what you're doing at school this week. 

I overuse the phrase "Make the Main Thing the Main Thing" but... just do it for everybody's sake. 

Not Like That!

Mission Failed: You strayed too far from the target.

Desynchronised: Your ancestor did not kill civilians.

This area is unlocked by progressing further in the main story.

You cannot push this door open while the guards are on alert.

It's like the game can't resist reminding you that you're playing a piece of software. I guess here the framing device means you're using a piece of software to pretend you're using another bit of software about being an assassin. This isn't innately bad, but here it's the same feeling of hitting an invisible wall. I see why it's there, but really they could have handled this in much better ways.

If part of your game relies on this sort of clumsy fix then consider fixing the core issue rather than applying a messy bandage on top. 

Yes Your Home is Lovely

Sometimes the game makes you walk really slowly through a very pretty area. The run button is locked, and if you stray too far from an NPC they stop and call for you to come back. I can't help but feel like I'm being expected to ooh and aah. Maybe I will, but maybe just let me explore this world myself, yeah?

Players care more about a world that they discover on their own terms. 

Give Me the Thing or Don't

On the first cutscene of the game I noticed you could hold a button to skip it. Cool, thanks for the heads up but I'll watch this one.

Later on I'm getting impatient and want to get to the mission. This cutscene can't be skipped. It didn't seem to be any more crucial than the others, but maybe I'm missing something. I wouldn't mind if I hadn't been teased with the thing already.

If you're going to include a feature in your game, accept that sometimes the players will use it ways you didn't initially plan for. Instead of hobbling them in its use, maybe rethink the tool itself. 

I know this is a pre-BotW sandbox, and should be viewed accordingly, but sometimes it's hard to go back. 

Tuesday 16 November 2021

To Baztium

Don't look at me like that. I'm not the first to consider this.

The books of our history are vague, but in places too specific. Most tellingly, I swear they are not old enough to talk knowingly of a time so distant from this modern age. Bastion is a beacon of modernity in every way. It radiates raw now-ness into the world, keeping the past at bay, but it's still out there. 

Outside of our city is a crude world, but with each horizon passed things grow more primal. As our expedition passes into the months and years, we start to feel as if we're crossing centuries or millennia. Trains and canals cannot reach our destination, and the march is hard. 

Such a journey requires travel beyond just the march. We must forget our home... I struggle to picture it even now. A distant silhouette. The towering castle-city. Star-lit and noble. We fight the urge to turn back. 

Now our future is clear. A pilgrimage to the great lost city, a paradise to all that can reach it. A sanctuary from this primordial land of cold stone and traitorous trees. From this misery of vengeful spirits and torn guts. 

Ring out the bells, we begin our journey. TO BAZTIUM. 

Friday 12 November 2021


This Bastionland Editorial was originally sent as a reward to all Patreon supporters, and is released freely on this site a week after its original publication.

If you want to support my blog, podcasts, and video content then head over to my Patreon.


After 26 years of distant gazing, tomorrow I'm heading over to Warhammer World in Nottingham to play some Kill Team with Patrick and perhaps a few others. 

I'm looking forward to trying out this new simplified (but by no means simple) version of 40k's skirmish rules, having thrown together a team from the oddballs I have on my shelf, which just about qualifies as legal. 


The Bloodied Birth - Brood Coven Kill Team

My vision manifests into reality. A strong humanity through abandonment of our ancestral shackles.

In generations to come, Fawkes 5 will be revered as the mantle of the Genesplosion, where we pulled ourselves from the slime and the smoke to stand tall.

Without fear, without shame, without the wilful blindness of false faith. By blade and claw and saw we cut down any opposition.

The Bloodied Birth cannot be stopped.

- Catalo Viel, Primonatalus of the Bloodied Birth

Though as much as I'm looking forward to the game, I'm weirdly excited by the prospect of the Exhibition Centre. There are huge dioramas, which will be neat to look at, but mostly I'm craving a peek at some of the surviving miniatures that graced my revered copies of White Dwarf in the 90s. 

Not just some out of print miniatures, but the actual individual miniatures that were on those pages. 

Now I feel like you're either going to relate to that way too much, or give me a look of confusion and pity. Both are equally valid. 

Those miniatures made up the images that got me excited about fantasy and tabletop games, two things that have stuck with me nearly three decades later. I'll spare you the "in the days before the internet..." speech, but you know what I mean. 

Last week I visited the British Library in London and saw the sole surviving manuscript of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight alongside one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, but I'd throw them both in the shredder for the chance to gawp at some of Mike McVey's dioramas in immortal lead. 


Wednesday 10 November 2021

5 Minimal Scenarios

Project 10 currently has a mini-campaign of 5 Scenarios, intended to ease players in with small forces gradually growing to full size over the length of a campaign.

I'm currently trucking away designing Horrors and Scenes for The Doomed, so I could do with a change of scenery for today. 

Let's dive back into One Hour Wargames and see which of its 30 Scenarios are especially ripe for the picking here as standalone alternatives to the include campaign. They're already pretty minimal, fitting on one page of text and one for the map, but we can go further.

For me, a good scenario moves significantly away from a pitched battle. As much as I touted the mantra "there are no pitched battles" in the design of this game, in reality I think they have a place as a simple throwdown, or opportunity to test out some more wacky army compositions or board layouts. 

So a proper scenario doesn't need to compete with the pitched battle, it's something else. Balance isn't an end goal, but I want both sides to face interesting decisions coming from challenging objectives and some chaotic elements thrown in by the scenario itself. It's tricky, but a great scenario also paces itself well to avoid both early anti-climax finishes and long drawn-out epilogues after the battle has already reached its peak. It's not a huge concern with a game this fast, but it's worth keeping in mind. 


All Scenarios assume units of base width 10cm, and board sizes around 100x100cm. Terrain is mentioned when needed for the scenario, but it by no means an exhaustive list. Always give your board a nice mix spread of terrain types, mainly based around Open, Bare, Cover, and Rough types.  

Players are designated as Attacker or Defender, and each takes an opposite side of the board. 

Unless noted both armies are composed as follows:

1 Commander
3 Common Units (typically some sort of basic infantry)
2 Uncommon Units (a more specialist unit type like cavalry or artillery)
1 Rare Unit (go wild here, whatever suits the flavour of the army)

Unless noted each player attaches their Commander to a unit of their choice at the start of the battle. 


I wrote about self-assessed objectives back here and I'm keen to try them out in a more traditional one-on-one wargame context, so that's what we're doing here. The objectives are broad and may involve some discussion at the end of the game. Of course I can imagine some players not enjoying this approach, but as always I'd rather make something with specific appeal over general. I never much liked counting up how many units I had within x inches of an objective marker. Better to just cast an eye over the final situation and make the call. Guess this rules out a Project 10 Global Tournament. 

And now, a few very simple Scenarios to use in your Project 10 games. 

Scenario 1 - Bridgehead 
Inspired by OHW Scenario 4

Battlefield: River running across the width of the board, with a single crossing on the defender's half of the board. Variety of terrain on the attacker's side of the river.
Deployment: The defender deploys one unit just on the attacker's side of the bridge. All other units and commanders are held off board. 
Special: At the start of each defender turn they deploy a unit of their choice from their board edge, attaching the Commander if they wish. At the start of each attacker turn they deploy two random units from a random board edge, excluding the defender's edge. These units must deploy on the attacker's side of the river. 
Victory: After 15 Turns the side that controls the bridge most effectively wins. 

Scenario 2 - Double Delaying Action
Inspired by OHW Scenario 9

Battlefield: River running across the width of the board with two crossings on the attacker's half of the board. Mostly beneficial terrain on the defender's side of the river. An exit point on the defender's board edge marked with a road. 
Deployment: The defender deploys their units anywhere on their side of the river. The attacker deploys theirs on their board edge.
Special: Any unit can leave the board via the exit point on the defender's board edge. Defending units cannot cross the river. 
Victory: The game lasts 15 turns, after which the attacker wins if at least two of their units left the board via the road. The defender wins if they prevent this while also withdrawing three of their own units via the road. If neither are achieved the attacker wins. 

Scenario 3 - Surprise Attack
Inspired by OHW Scenario 11

Battlefield: A hill, crossroads, or other significant objective in the centre of the defender's half of the table. Variety of terrain outside this. 
Deployment: The Defender deploys two units in the centre of the board, with their Commander attached to one of them. The attacker deploys all six units on their board edge. 
Special: At the start of their third turn the defender deploys 2 units from their board edge. At the start of their ninth turn they deploy 2 units from the board edge on their right. 
Victory: After 15 Turns the side that controls the objective most effectively wins. 

Scenario 4 - Twin Objectives
Inspired by OHW Scenario 21

Battlefield: A small town or ruin in the centre of the defender's board edge. A lightly wooded hill on one corner of the attacker's board edge. Variety of other terrain outside of this, but no more hills or towns to avoid confusion. 
Deployment: The defender only has 4 units. They deploy 1 unit on the hill and the others on their board edge. The attacker deploys on the half of their board edge not containing the hill. 
Victory: After 15 Turns the defender must control both the hill and the town, or else the attacker wins. 

Scenario 5 - Shambolic Command
Inspired by OHW Scenario 29

Battlefield: A large hill in the centre of the board. Mixed terrain outside this.
Deployment: The defender deploys 4 units on the hill and 2 on one of the corners of their board edge. They do not have a commander. The attacker only has 4 units and deploys from anywhere on their board edge. 
Special: The defender's shambolic command means they can only activate 2 units on each of their turns. They must declare which units are being activated before performing any actions with them. 
Victory: After 15 Turns the side that best controls the hill wins. 

Friday 5 November 2021


This Bastionland Editorial was originally sent as a reward to all Patreon supporters, and is released freely on this site a week after its original publication.

If you want to support my blog, podcasts, and video content then head over to my Patreon.


Units in Project 10 are defined entirely by their two traits, of which there are currently 14 in the game.

Order matters, as the second trait provides no benefit if the unit is Shaken, having taken 4 of their total 7 damage. 

So is every combination viable? Probably not, there are certainly some that offer redundancy in their benefits, but nothing outright impossible.

Still, it sounds like a fun experiment, so let's break out the d14s!


Used this combo to represent hard-hitting missile troops in my Feudal and Industrial lists, but not currently used in my fantasy lists. Pretty straightforward one here. 


Volatile is mostly used in my fantasy lists for Verminkin and Fungal Fanatics to represent their powerful but unpredictable special weapons (poison globes, warp fire, fanatics, squigs) so it's strange seeing it alongside the trait that offers a unit more reliability and can represent anything from sheer weight of numbers to elite training. Perhaps this would work for a very lightly armoured, hard hitting unit, or unstable demons that might blink out of existence. 


I use the inverse of this combination for Rhino Riders and Crushers in my fantasy lists, though it can feel strange not to be able to attach your general to these units. This configuration is particularly annoying to a general, as even when you no longer benefit from the Monster trait you still suffer its negative effects. As monsters that maintain their speed while losing their fighting prowess, perhaps we're looking at something more like a pack of giant rats, or even a dedicated pack of warhounds. 


Nothing like this combo in the current lists, only the Mercenary Cannon Carts (Artillery/Chariot) come close. It might look like an odd combo, but being able to get your artillery piece up onto a hill early on can be decisive. The biggest issue here is that when this unit becomes Shaken they lose their artillery attack, and their Loose trait prevents them from Regrouping. Worse still, as Artillery they are broken if they take any damage in melee, so what do you even do with this unit once they're Shaken? Perhaps they could represent a very fragile unit of light cannons. They sound incredibly precarious, but think they could be useful in the right situation, namely if you need to get a cannon through some rough terrain and onto a hill really fast. Definitely feels like you'd rather have Artillery/Cavalry or Artillery/Chariot nine times out of ten, though. 


Inverse of the traits for Eagles and Harpies, though this combination is also present in the three-trait big bloody demon that I'm calling the Deathbringer for IP reasons. Him and the Spirits (Volatile, Flier) are the only two units to have Flier as a secondary trait, meaning they can lose it in battle. The former representing the fact that the Deathbringer just isn't going to get worse at killing, and the latter being a sort of waning power dragging the spirits down to the ground. You could use this to represent some sort of drop-troops that leap across the board early on only to fight on foot once things get started. Perhaps something those sky-dwarfs would have?

Worth noting that in writing this editorial I've encountered issues that have prompted me to tweak parts of the game here and there, showing that this sort of experiment is often more useful than you might think. 

Tuesday 2 November 2021

Country Familiars

Bastion has its pets, vermin, working animals, and other creatures

But out in Deep Country they'll tell you with glee that the big city doesn't have real Familiars

Of course it does, Bastion has everything, but it's not worth having the argument. Just let them have this one.


  • Each is unique and named, but exists in many distant places at once (don't try and pull any tricks around this, it won't work).
  • They visit each place to help one particular person with a specific desire.
  • They keep their host focused on this one goal, to the detriment of everything else.

So it's a simple, straightforward deal. They use their unnatural powers to help you with a thing, no strings attached, and once it's done they'll get out of your life. Though, in most stories the thing is never really done, and the familiar usually ends up outliving their host. 

And even though they're bound to help you free of charge, they still have hungers and hatreds, which they can be quite vocal about. You can just ignore them, of course, but often it just feels easier to keep them happy. 

If a Familiar feels unwelcome or unappreciated their favourite trick is to hide, often inside a valuable object or somehow behind your ear or inside the black of your eye. They don't stop helping altogether, but things would be so much quicker if you just indulged their needs. 

Their form is rarely straightforward, and it's not as simple as just being a black cat.

Maybe it's sort of a cat, but it's immediately obvious that they aren't. More like if your mind's eye tried to manifest a cat in front of you, but you hadn't seen one since your childhood. 

So if the simple stuff doesn't look right, naturally they tend to adopt more elaborate forms made of multiple animal parts and fancy embellishments. They take real pride in their appearance, and love a good neck-frill, prehensile tail, or iridescent coat. 

Let's do this with Spark Tables. Roll 4d20.












Death Touch





















Time Manipulation









Memory Manipulation



Weather Control









Light Manipulation



Shape Shifting






Shadow Craft







































The Elderly





















The Ugly