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
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.
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.
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: https://littlemetaldog.com/2011/06/26/hot-in-the-city-guards-guards-review/ – and cheers to David for writing this piece!