Monday 20 August 2018

I wrote a Wargame and you should buy it

So, I've blogged about The Dolorous Stroke on here a bit. Well, it's done now. You can buy it here, it costs five bucks for roughly 100 pages.
I'm planning to get it into print, but that could take a while.
I'm gonna talk about it some.

So the initial thought process went something like this:
  • Inquisitor is really cool but too detailed even for me. See this blogpost for more of my fangirling.
  • The LOTR skirmish game is pretty good and should never have been made a large-scale game.
  • Arthuriana is under-represented.
  • This Dark Age Of Sigmar/AoS28 stuff is really cool!
  • Fuck it lets make it a game.
So I built a game based on my particular tastes. Which is to say:
  • Alternating activation.
  • Simple resolution.
  • Changing dice sizes rather than +/- X modifiers.
  • Injuries rather than loss of HP.
  • Playing cards always make tracking stuff easy.
  • Tempo and timing wins games, not removing models.
  • Hard to kill models, tabling your opponent ineffective. 
  • Weapon choice matters.
  • Freeform character creation, no list-building points-cost bullshit.
So my philosophy was to make the game as an engine for interesting encounters and atmosphere, creating a slightly darker chivalrous feel to things. Story and setting and characters are more important than tactics. If your warband aren't converted, you are Doing It Wrong.
Which is why you've got things like special rules for jousting, noblewomen as social/command powerhouses, magic as limited but devastating, a stat for Virtue.
Some of my early thoughts can be found in this post, where the commenter Alandros suggested the game's eventual title. Stuff's been modified since then, but it's a good insight into my early design thoughts.
I've been playing it a bunch with local gamers. They seem to like it. I have plans to run a big themed campaign with, like, a Quest and Tournaments and Dark Secrets.

And then graphic design wise I tried to keep things fairly tight. Consistent use of sidebars for setting stuff, little heraldic shields as page ornaments to break up the text, and big full-page illustrations every so often. It'll do.


  1. Your posts on the development have been really interesting, so I picked up a copy. Hopefully I'll be able to get my brother and/or his wife interested sometime this fall once their schedule settles down again.

  2. Bought it last night and gave it a run with the kids tonight. Great fun! Some thoughts here:

  3. This is great! Any pointers on when will the print version be available?

  4. A lot of this sounds very exciting and innovative. Ill get the rules and will give it a try!

  5. Just downloaded it. Looks very intriguing, and I like you paid attention to the design a bit more than a lot of folks self-publishing rules these days.

  6. I have, and I enjoy it. Well done. Was a bit put off at first at needing a deck of cards for each character. As it happens though one seems to accumulate decks of cards with age, so it is all working out nicely. Extra bonus points for the setting. Chivalric Romance but with a difference :P)

  7. Bought it and can only join the praise: well layouted, arthurian setting with a twist and an innovative mechanic. Gonna try it out asap!

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  10. I'd love to buy a copy of this if it came out in a printed version. Sorry, but I'm a bit of a luddite with gaming materials! :)

  11. Curious to see your models if you ever upload them!

  12. Just purchased this, printed the PDF, and put the whole thing in a large binder with page to say i am a fan.

  13. Hi, could this game be played solo with some tweaks?