Friday, 20 July 2018

Here's Negan!

If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead and, in particular, tabletop gaming, then some pretty exciting news broke this month. Mantic Games have announced the imminent arrival of Here’s Negan, a board game (designed by Yours Truly) based on the popular TWD prequel comics.

Unlike The WalkingDead: All Out War, which is a wargame with board game elements, Here’s Negan is a full-on board game experience, with players creating a walker-infested factory using illustrated game tiles.

The game picks up right where the comic book leaves off, with Negan becoming the leader of his fledgling group of Saviors, and leading them into the factory to clear it out, ready to transform it into the Sanctuary. In this game, Negan is not controlled by the players, but instead makes his way through the factory layout towards the objective, while you and your fellow players must clear a path for him, and achieve the mission goals at the same time. It makes for some tense, frenetic situations, and failure at even the smallest level means you’re dangerously close to getting a jab from Lucille…

The tricky balancing act for this game was to create that sense of both a cooperative and a competitive experience simultaneously. You want to win, but you also don’t want the other characters to die, because not only will it make it that much harder to achieve the objectives, but Negan will be most displeased! In order to measure your success, you must achieve Reputation points by impressing Negan. But be warned – he’s a fickle son of a gun, and he thinks you’re sucking up he might just bawl you out on the factory floor, and attract a truck-ton of trouble in the form of ravenous walkers!

Dwight, when he was still pretty(ish).
There are five playable characters in the game: Dwight, Sherry, Tara, John and Laura, each with their own specialties and weaknesses. Again, you really need to work as a team, but at the same time you don’t want to let the others steal your glory.

As you scour the factory, you can pick up new and improved equipment and weapons, as well as triggering random events that might be detrimental or beneficial. All the while, as in All Out War, the Threat Tracker ticks along inexorably, ramping up the tension and bringing more walkers into play. If it reaches its max level before you achieve the scenario goals, it’s game over!

The Walking Dead: Here’s Negan is available from Mantic Games and all good stockists from November 2018, and you can pre-order it now!

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Cloud Cuckoo Land

When Holmes and Watson are visited by the young Miss Harding, they cannot guess that they are about to embark on one of their darkest and most mysterious cases. Miss Harding's late uncle has left his entire estate to one of four cousins, but only the cousin who solves an elaborate puzzle can claim the prize – a puzzle contained within the very fabric of the bizarre Atreus Manor. The house has already claimed the life of one of the cousins, and drove another to madness, and Miss Harding will happily give up her claim if Holmes can get to the bottom of the secret. But is she really ready for the revelations about her family that the world's greatest detective will unearth?

Cover art by Dave Elsey

Really pleased to have an original Sherlock Holmes story published in the wonderful Gaslight Gothic anthology, edited by JR Campbell and Charles Prepolec. It contains stories by some of the finest horror and Holmes writers around, including Mark Morris, Steve Volk, James Lovegrove and Angela Slatter, so I’m delighted to be in such fine company.

My story, The Cuckoo’s Hour, is partly inspired by the recent trend for 'Escape Room' puzzles, though it’s really born of my obsession with Gothic fiction, especially Poe, and livened up with a healthy dose of classic Horror inspiration from the likes of Hammer and Amicus, that I've loved since my teens. Indeed, some of the same themes were used in my recent Holmes novel, The Red Tower (no surprise really, as I wrote them concurrently), although The Cuckoo’s Hour is rather more ‘sensational’ as the Victorians would have it.

But don’t take my word for it: the first review is up already at Sci-Fi and Fantasy Reviewer:
The opening story by Mark A. Latham, The Cuckoo’s Hour, is not only a strong opening story and one of the best in the anthology, but also one of the best Sherlock Holmes stories I’ve ever come across. Latham seems to have an innate understanding of the Holmes canon and characters, as well as how to write gothic fiction, to the extent that there are times when the story feels less like a pastiche and more like a piece of fiction Conan Doyle might have written in his later, more spiritual years. It’s effective as both a detective story and a piece of quiet horror, and features an ending that is genuinely unnerving, both in terms of its implications and the subtle way that Latham introduces such a twist. 

If you’d like to know more, there’s a webcast with the editors here.

Friday, 11 May 2018

Chosen Men Update: Russia 1812

It's Freebie Friday here at Lost Victorian Towers. And this week, it's Chosen Men in the spotlight.

I've been asked for a Russian army list for Chosen Men probably more than any other game content, but finding the time has been tough.

At last, you can find the download here.

As always, let me know what you think in the comments below, and hopefully it won't be so long before I can produce more gaming content for you!

до скорого

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

There's No Place Like Holmes...

Hurrah, and huzzah (as they only say in the publishing world, so who am I to judge?). Today marks the official launch of my latest Sherlock Holmes pastiche, The Red Tower. Available here from Titan Books.

From the jacket:


It is 1894, and after a macabre séance at a country estate, a young woman has been found dead in a locked room.

When Dr Watson is invited to a weekend party where a séance is planned, he is prepared to be sceptical. James Crain, heir to the estate of Crain Manor, has fallen in with a mysterious group of Spiritualists and is determined to prove the existence of the paranormal. Confronted with a suspicious medium and sightings of the family ghost, Watson remains unconvinced – until James’s sister, Lady Esther, is found dead in a room locked from the inside. Holmes is called to investigate the strange events at Crain Manor, but finds that every guest harbours a secret. Holmes and Watson must uncover the truth, and test the existence of the supernatural…

This was a particularly fun book to write, and one of my best mysteries to date, I think. I've played a little fast and loose with the format, taking elements that one might normally expect to find in an Agatha Christie country house mystery. But the reason for this will hopefully all become clear by the time you reach the finale.

Before we depart, here's the intro quote from the book, just because we all love a good quote, don't we? (And what a run-on sentence that is, from Dickens, master of the form).

Friday, 16 March 2018

Here Be Monsters...

It's been a while since I've posted bonus content for my various games. To be honest, it's been a while since I last had time to write any! Time to redress the balance, with a little trip to the alternate-history Roman Empire of Broken Legions...

Roman legionaries explore a temple of the Black Pharaoh.
Illustration by ªRU-MOR, (c) Osprey Publishing 2016

Last year I wrote three articles for Wargames Illustrated Magazine, essentially a mash-up of Broken Legions and my Osprey sourcebook, Cthulhu Campaigns: Ancient Rome. Although part two of those articles appeared online, part one only had a limited release in the magazine, and part three never saw the light of day at all. And so, I've set to work making the rules available, so all Broken Legions fans can enjoy them. Taken together, this makes a free expansion for your games - pretty neat, huh?

Part One

Part Two

Part Three: Monsters

That's all for now. Until next time: For the glory of Rome!

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

A Magical, Miniature Adventure...

For the last year, my friends at Knight Models in Spain have been working on something big. Initially announced as the Harry Potter Miniatures Game, a whole raft of behind-the-scenes 'stuff' has led to some big changes to the project.

Today, they've announced the Harry Potter Miniatures Adventure Game, and I can finally break my radio silence!

Designed by Gustavo Cuadrado and Sergio Garcia (with a little help from Yours Truly), the new-look Harry Potter game is a tabletop board game, combining strategy and magical battles with teamwork and problem-solving.

At the studio in Spain, with ace figure
painter and community manager
Borja (aka Hagrid Potter).
I visited Knight Models in February (a year to the day since my first visit, incidentally), and I've never seen a team so busy - it took me back to my days on White Dwarf when the monthly Deadline Week was in full swing. It was an honour and a pleasure to be involved in this project. They're gearing up for this Kickstarter in a big way, and have invested in some incredible talent to make the launch as seamless and professional as possible. this is going to be huge for them, and for Harry Potter fans.

So yeah, this is a biggie. Pretty soon I'll be able to spill a few more details, but for now just check out this video and get some goosebumps...