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 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 block game I've created on the English Civil War, came second in Columbia Games' wargame survey conducted in 2013. Now that the first game - Victory in Europe - has been published, I'm hoping that Cromwell will be next after the current project The Last Spike! In anticipation of this, I'm currently playtesting the game. 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; 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 cavalry pursuit, turncoats, the short-lived Yorkshire Treaty of Neutrality, and an event card for the Hothams' plot to turn Hull over to the Royalists. Photos and graphics of a playtest version of the game can be found in my Gallery