An expatriate Yorkshireman, I have lived in Spain, Scotland and Hungary but now reside in Birmingham, England. Since 2012, I've been a member of a local group that meets just outside the borders of the city: Halesowen Boardgamers
. I am one of the small team of Halesowen Boardgamers who have been volunteering since 2013 to umpire the board game tournaments at the UK Games Expo
. I also regularly attend Birmingham Wargames and Boardgames Club
(aka Dragoon's Den), which meets in Moseley, one of the areas of Birmingham immortalised in the Lord of the Rings (Moseley Bog was the inspiration for the Old Forest) and home to the band Ocean Colour Scene - hence their debut album Moseley Shoals.
I played the usual board game suspects as a child, before graduating in my teens to early GW games such as Talisman and Warrior Knights, English Civil War miniatures gaming, and RPGs including AD&D, Warhammer and MERP. As a 16-year-old recruit, I joined the English Civil War Society and fought as a pikeman in Colonel John Fox's Regiment of Foot, Fairfax Battalia. After a gaming hiatus of over a decade, while living in Budapest in the early '00s, I discovered Catan, Carcassonne and hence the whole world of Euro board games. Soon after, I also reacquainted myself with wargaming in the form of modern board wargames. These days I continue to play both Euro and wargames almost every week, and have now clocked up 2,000 face-to-face game plays since 2003.
Like many gamers, I also design games. Cromwell
, a strategic block game on the English Civil War, came second in Columbia Games' wargame survey conducted in 2013. Cromwell has already been extensively playtested and is, I believe, ready to be published. The rules and components are based on similar Columbia titles such as Julius Caesar, Crusader Rex, Richard III and Texas Glory. However, Cromwell differs from its predecessors in the following: the concept of Regional Blocks and Regional Leaders (for the North, the Midlands, Wales, the East and the South) and associated rules on movement and recruitment that help to recreate the often local nature of the war; Major Events (Irish Cessation, Solemn League and Covenant, New Model Army) that are triggered at specific times and which introduce new blocks; a deck of cards for each player with new cards introduced to the deck each year; and a victory point system based on control of key cities and the status of the King. Additional Civil War flavour is provided by rules for artillery, cavalry pursuit, control of seas, reinforcement of besieged ports, and card events for troop desertion, clubmen, turncoats, and the betrayal of cities. Photos and graphics of a playtest version of the game can be found in my Gallery
. Kingdom of Kiralysag
is a 3 to 5-player eurogame that I am currently working on. Originally set in medieval Hungary, I have transposed the theme to that of a fantasy kingdom. Players represent various peoples invited to repopulate the main settlements of the kingdom after a series of devastating invasions and plagues. The game takes place over the reigns of three different kings. The players compete to establish a presence in the kingdom's settlements, build up the kingdom's infrastructure, and win the favour of the current king through taking part in wars, engaging in trade, and contributing to import religious and cultural events. The latest version of the game board can by found in my Gallery