They ARE The Law!

In my previous post Primal Law, I announced that I would be hosting an article written by Steve Gilbert on the epic ‘Cursed Earth/Judge Dredd’ campaign that he, his wife Hilary and Tarot Hunt had been working on since the sad closure of “The Games Cupboard”.

However, those of you who were regular visitors to this site will know that, like Athos, Porthos and Aramis,  these three are inseparable and come as a kind of package deal, so rather than a single article on this subject from Steve, you get one from each of them. And pictures too!

So without further ado, I will hand you over to my very special guests…

You Can Play a Super Dredd Game…. And We Did it Oooouuuuuuur Way!


“The Jeremy Effect”

Hi guys. Wow, feels strange to be writing on a blog again. 2017 saw me make a decision to `put my gumption where my mouth is` and concentrate a lot more, almost exclusively in fact, on getting things done and playing endless number and variety of games with the finished results of these endeavours. Before this, I was spending too much time sitting on my ass talking about games instead of enjoying them, and so I decided to take a back seat from computer altogether and actually do something worthy of personal creativity. But then your kind invitation to do an article or two simply sparked a desire to write…. and I thought it might be quite nice to share what we are all up to in sunny Ireland (ha, that`s a joke… hasn’t stopped raining here in the last six weeks, seriously lol). So thanks Jez for the cool opportunity to share a bit of the Gilbert & Extended Family Hobby – our way.

Long ago, actually long before the current wave of interest in 2000 AD`s Cursed Earth became so prevalent amongst fantasy hobbyists, I discussed (with a fellow blogger), an interest in the subject as a `do-able` role play and semi skirmish table top endeavour. I remember at the time saying how much I would like to give it a go, but felt my knowledge of the subject at the time was far too sketchy on the whole… at least, to do the subject proper justice. Since that chat, the whole table top Judge Dredd phenomena has really taken off within many fantasy hobbyist circles, and with many companies at least `dabbling their toes` in the Mega City waters, there has certainly not been a dearth of interest of available products, to get the avid would be enthusiast started on this venture.

My only concern about it really comes in two parts. The first is the way the hobby has become so commercialised. It is geared towards people with too much spare cash, buying an endless wealth of material and encouraging (what is affectionately known as) complete-ism, which gamers seem to embrace almost with a sense of pride. This of course makes the companies selling their wares smile like sharks, while rubbing their hands together with almost unbridled money lust and glee.

The second is that… well, while we just buy everything that`s offered, like children dutifully opening our mouths when the proverbial spoon of goodness is proffered, we deny ourselves the dignity and the right to use our own imaginations to arrive at the same point, ourselves, without being told what we need all the time, and lapping it up without even stopping to think about it.

Simply put, you can play a super Dredd game without even having to spend much money. Just takes the three O`s.

1 – Observation, by reading the original material (comics) and making sure you get the look, the tone, and the feel right by being mega-observant <– yes, there`s a pun there hehe…. then you can in fact do it without needing to spend a small fortune.

A good game, to me anyway, isn’t about how shiny and full of eye candy the rules are. If a set of rules is all about COMBAT COMBAT COMBAT **Yawn**  my interest will soon wane. Zombicide is a good example of that. With great TV shows like Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead out there, there really is no excuse not to find inspiration and put more narrative into our table top hobby, not just kill, blood, guts, maim, and slaughter. There`s much more to any good story, surely? Same with any other wargame or rpg. And so I always tend to avoid rule systems which concentrate, top heavily, on combat, weapons, and skills that all just seem to enhance yet MORE combat ability. STUDY THE BACKGROUND MATERIAL and that applies to any type of game you play, fantasy, sci-fi or historical. Otherwise you`ll just end up playing a bad mimicry of a computer console game with its endless, inane chalking up of virtual kills.

 2 – Originality is the key to any good game. Don’t follow hobby fashions, but find your own unique pattern to work with, which includes rules, you don’t need big glossy expensive rule books, all exactly the same as everyone else is using **yawns with disinterest** Make your bloody own up, check out free online rules, or use rules written by your friends if you can`t write your own. I have checked all the `official` rules out there I could find and you know what I discovered? With the exception (possibly) of the 172 page D20 system 3rd edition D&D Dredd supplement, every other set of rules out there is a glorified skirmish wargame, like everything else is nowadays. There seems to be no interest in the nitty-gritty of bringing a world to life with proper immersive role play aspects: instead it’s all about weapon stats, types of ammunition, combat skills, and… well, basically everything is geared towards gun fights, knife fights, ZAP, POW, BANG and RAT-A-TAT-TATT..!!!!! God it depresses me, that the narrative hobby of role-playing has been reduced to (as I said earlier) nothing more than a glorified computer game mentality of “lets chalk up the body count and call it a realistic story.” No! Wrong, wrong, wrong, on so many counts, wrong!

Where is the depth in that? Where are the other characteristics which go to make a story come alive? Where are the rules to allow characters to try beat the ticking clock and unlock the safe before the authorities turn up and ruin the show: “Come on, come on Bugzy, you said you could have this open in less than a minute… the Judges will be here any moment…. hey! I think I can hear the sirens.”

Where are the rules to allow casino gambling, 007 futuristic James Bond {aka Bruce Wayne} style: no doubt a beautiful women with smouldering lips, sitting across from our hero, also playing the wheel {we know from the John Wagner stories alone that Judges often go undercover}. Is she cheating, will the hero expose her and humiliate her there and then? Or will he simply allow her to win, follow her to her room and `investigate` further, over a couple of Martini cocktails.. shaken, but not stirred.

We need rules for climbing, disabling traps, hot wiring a parked vehicle, skills to allow you to hack computers and access vital information. Forge documents and passports. What about persuasion? rallying speeches, sleight of hand, acrobatics,.. speed chases through the city streets are always fun (as Dungeons and Dragons 2nd edition covered really well in their Fritz Leiber Lankhmar supplement). The list of possible options which should be included is almost limitless. But it seems almost as though the hobby has `dummied down` and people expect less nowadays. Me I remember things, how the hobby used to be, and if the rules no longer fit that image, I don’t try and cram myself into a wrong shaped hole; I simply do it myself (DIY) and make my games work the way they really should.

and 3 – be Organic. Don’t feel the need to follow modern trends, which is a sure fire way to ensure your game is just the same as everyone else’s. no no and no! Let your game grow organically, so it feels natural and is not pushed into a generic shape it doesn’t want to go (like for example why the hell are all Warlord games JD minis depicted holding weapons? It’s just silly. Look at a Dredd graphic novel/comic and you will often not even see a weapon drawn or fired for pages and pages of reading. There`s so much more to good storytelling than waving guns and clubs about and going BLAM, BLAM, HACK, SLASH, and miniatures all depicted with weapons drawn like phallic extensions, are simply not always conducive to good role-playing immersion.

Don’t be afraid to tell a story, and most modern rules don’t usually encourage you to do that,…. only allowing for endless bloody skirmish games of cops and robbers. A Dredd game should feel more like Dungeons and Dragons and less like Gun Fights at the OK Corral.

Let me show you an example of what I mean. Mongoose Publishing until recently produced a really nice Judge Dredd starter set. This contained everything (in theory) the fledgling gamer needed to get started in the game: a complete set of rules, and two factions of miniatures.. i.e. a `squad/faction` of Judges and a Gang of Perps for the judges to battle across the table top…. all told, two forces containing 8 miniatures each – plus a set of rules.  So right away we can see this is all pretty much geared up to be another sci-fi skirmish wargame. This retailed for about £75 in most shops, until recently when it was pulled from the shelves, and will no doubt resurface at a higher price when it comes back again (as revamped it will be, for sure).

Now let’s analyse this a little bit. I`m not wanting to knock the game, I`m sure it’s fantastic and great fun and decent value, if this is the route you wish to take with your hobby. In fact I`ve seen it being played and it isn`t a bad system at all. No better and no worse than many others out there (I maintain though, that its immersive atmosphere and suspension from disbelief… not necessarily rules… which makes a good game). But I want to look at alternatives.

I started this article by saying that once upon a time I discussed (with a few friends actually) the tentative desire to explore Dredd, but at the time, I felt my work restraint and my inherent lack of exposure to the genre didn’t qualify me as expert enough in the field to start a game in this vast and immersive world.  So I let it go, thinking to myself: “one day, I may go back to this and really give it a fling.” 

Well, I thought to myself, it can`t be that hard can it? I`m used to studying 400 years of Roman History, over 100 years of history covering the Tudor and Stuart reigns; studied Napoleonic history till my eyes bled, and many other subjects as well, which have taken me a lifetime to reach my standard of knowledge as it stands at the moment… and I keep finding myself learning more each year. Study tends to become addictive after a while, if your brain is wired that way ha ha.

Time passed. I found myself with some of it spare and wanting to get into a new subject. And my mind wandered back to Dredd. Yet when I looked wistfully online, I saw I had missed the boat. It had been done, was well on its journey, and in fact gamers had been enjoying the subject for a good while at this stage. And so with disappointment I almost gave up at that stage, instead intending to dive deeply back into my love of English Civil War, Treasure Island and the whole Pirates of the Caribbean thing. But it was two people spoke words of wisdom to me and made me see that I may just have this ass about face, and be wrong in my thinking.

Jez was one of them. “DO IT” he said. “Hmmmm,” I thought, and then re-thought my… um… thinking some more. Then my lovely partner Hils said to me: “Steve,” she said: “There are thousands of people out there playing Napoleonic Wargames, and have been for decades. Does this mean that a person new to the hobby can`t follow in those footsteps and take up Napoleonic games as well, just because it’s already been done before? Or are you saying that hobbyists must always search for things that no one else has done before them?”

Hit me square between the eyes like a boxing glove of wisdom. Knocked some sense into me, that`s for sure. “You SHALL go to the Ball, Cinders.” I thought to myself with happiness starting to enthuse into my face. And I began to ponder how I wanted to go about it.

So, I thought about the price tag needed to `buy into` the Dredd hobby. £75.00 for the starter set… hmmmm. Okay, lets analyse that a moment. Two lots of 8 miniatures.. 16 in total. Not a lot is it! Not many options for repeated games, and not really enough to immerse in Mega City One and Post Apocalyptic adventures into the vast wilderness…. not with just 16 figures 😦  Course, there was an option, just buy more. NO! I thought. What am I, money bags? That`s money I need to support my family, pay bills, and generally see everyone is looked after. I don’t know about you, but I prefer to take my family out for a nice breakfast at my favourite cafe in town, or an evening meal at the yummy curry house, than spend half a week’s wages on indulging my whims within the hobby every time I get an itch. It`s nice sometimes to think of myself, but not every time the passion takes a hold on me.

Hmmmm, £75:00. That`s a lot, just to make an initial stab as a new project. So I looked into details about the rules book: hmmmmm, not many pages of background detail. 30 or so pages, not enough for me. I wanted detail man, not simplified magazine style blurb.

Then I looked at the free 20 page Warlord Games PDF JD rules primer. Hmmmmm, it was all combat, combat, combat. *sighsss* okay, this was obviously all going to be a combat oriented table top wargame, to the exclusion of all else. Any immersion and essential world narrative was going to have to come from our own interpretations, supplemented by the meagre atmospheric blurb included in the package. Not enough. How the hell would this help me? I needed to learn all about this amazing world of the Cursed Earth. But oh my GOD, there was 40 years of it to learn *gulp*.

Then it struck me and I started to laugh heartily. If I could learn real life history for 45 years of my life, I could learn the information contained in a comic book.

“Hmmm, £75:00.” my mind returned to that price tag.

And I began to work that out. I then turned to and scoured the site, gleaning all the options I had available to me. At the end of two hours in front of the screen, the smile of satisfaction that played over my lips was a picture of joy. Okay I would allow myself £75.00 to plough into this hobby, and NO more.

This was fast becoming a project obsession. Immersive gaming on a shoe string.

It was also fast becoming clear (the general consensus of opinion) that the newbie `jump in` point for getting into Judge Dredd was Case Files 5. Each case file graphic novel anthology contains about 400 pages and covers about 1 year of the comic books (unlike any other comic books, 2000AD Judge Dredd… which has been going for 40 years… runs in `true time.` i.e. a year in that world is also a year in the real world, “neat.” I thought to myself. So a young Judge Dredd written about 40 years ago, started at about thirty, is now a seventy year old man, “wow that`s neat,” I thought). The price tag of a Case File on Amazon is (if you shop wisely) about £7.00. “Okay I thought, I`ll buy Judge Dredd Case Files 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. That gives me the first 5 frickin years of the magazine… WOW,” all in all, around 2000 pages to read, enjoy, absorb and immerse deeply into the world and learn exactly how to do this subject right.

So I clicked – PURCHASE!

That was £35.00 spent. Yeeeey, not a bad start.

From here I can buy them one at a time from now on, for about £7.00 each. So wont break the piggy bank slowly collecting the lot. I t-h-i-n-k there`s about 26 of them to collect to bring me up to current speed and 2016. After Case File 12 they stop being black and white and go full colour, Oooh nice. Though I actually like the starkness of the early black and white programs. Like the Walking Dead graphic novels, it’s really atmospheric at times.

Next, I really wanted that Ape gang. But not at £30 (with postage) for 8 bloody figures. So I turned to another source. A big set of plastic apes, chimps, gorillas, and various simians, sold at the local Wild Life Park in Cork, but also sold online at Amazon for 11 euro. That`s about £8.00 English money. This would give me a pile of fur covered critters to inhabit my Mega City concrete jungles, and the wild lands beyond. Fun, fun, fun to convert these to a truly unique gang… with plenty of figures spare to place elsewhere in the game too. “Real neat.” I thought. £41.00 spent.

With the remainder of my self allotted budget, I blew on purchasing Terminator Genisys – The War Against The Machines. This boxed set, which normally sells for a hot £70.00 is currently on sale at a special price of £35.00 at Warlord Games. I paid £25.00 for mine as I already had a £10.00 voucher to use up. A synch I thought. WHAT amazing potential for crossover games. You get a veritable horde of various terminators, an even bigger load of freedom fighters/rebels (which all painted up for me nicely as MC1 Gangers, Psykers, Block Def Security Guards, City Tech Judges, with some figures still spare for useful optional variations, as new ideas come to me along the way. There`s a huge double-sided terrain `cigar style` map, and some nifty card terrain bits (the counters are nice, and I will find a use for these for sure, and there is a 128 rules book.. which I won`t be using, though contains some excellent ideas I will use, like the FATE dice idea… has an almost invaluable section on homemade terrain making, and offers some comprehensive tutorials at the back of the book. Whole thing looks really nice too).

This takes me up to £66.00 of my planned budget. Meh, I really don’t need to spend the other £9 quid, so I consider my experiment a complete success.

However I am going into the city next week, and will pop into all three pound shops that I know of, and will scour the shelves for cheap plastic children`s toys I can convert to space-y MC1 vehicles and speeders. Failing that (though I`m bound to get lucky) “Deals” in Killarney or our own Bantry toy shop is bound to have things on the shelves that will grab my attention. I’m already thinking a 28mm-ish toy dustbin lorry I’ve seen, which I believe would convert nicely into a cool MC1 Mopad vehicle.

If I didn’t already have all the spare figures I needed to convert to Mega City One, I would simply not have bought my Terminator set, and would instead have spent £30.00 on eBay and purchased a 250 figure group lot of random Wizkids HeroClix miniatures and lopped them off their bases. These are always appearing on eBay and represent a great investment to any gamer wishing to DIY their hobby on the cheap. Very handy, as practically any and every Clix fig has a use in this genre, and as I have been growing my collection of these for a while now, I currently have a good thousand or so to play about with.

So there we have it. I envisage a Cursed Earth with plenty of scope for crossovers… with Dark Horse Aliens and Hellboy, DC Gotham, Marvel Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D, weird WWII Hydra, and possibly even a bit of X Men: all tastefully done, accurately faithful (in tone and style) to the 2000AD comic genre, and yet allowing us enough scope to play about with creative originality. Should be a fun couple of years experimenting with this fun subject. After that, maybe up, up, and awayyyyyy.

God I love my hobby.


Hillers Afterword on the Subject.

The interesting thing about our future intentions with Cursed Earth is, we are going to do things `bum about face` a little bit. The normal expectation would be for someone to set up a 2000AD Judge Dredd game and then carefully work in all the crossover elements they want to add, at a later date. However, we are doing it completely the other way round, because we`re strange like that he he.

Yes we are working hard to pull this all together. Chopping up miniatures, rebasing, converting, customising and in some cases scratch building things we need when we really have no other alternative. An example of this would be Judge Death. We really wanted this character for our world, but we simply don’t have a suitable model to convert, and can’t find a Heroclix one at a price we are happy to pay, and so we decided in the end it would be simpler all round if we just made our own from scratch.

Terrain has to be made, and is being created almost daily. It’s frightening when I look at just how much we have made this year alone, and already I think it fair to say we could do a sizable and varied table top cityscape (which would easily fit onto a table tennis table if we put it all out) without too much problem at all. Best of all, it didn’t really cost us anything to make, just time and materials.

We are all of us pouring over the original Dredd comics, in anthology form, which makes collecting them so much easier, is aesthetically pleasing, and is rewarding to see the collection grow on the book shelf. Interestingly, the more we read and learn, the more we spot blinding errors in some of the (shall we say) latest rules manuals that have hit the shelves this last few years. I guess it’s not easy to stay true to 40 years worth of knowledge base, but *shrugs* is it that hard.. we`re managing it ok, so why not the professional game companies out there?  Anyway, before I step into a mine field there and upset anyone by knocking their favourite rules (not that I specifically single out any of them), I will quickly move on. Where was I.

 Oh yes. Bum about face.

So we are learning all we need to bring this game to life and make it an epic we would feel pleased and proud to run as game hosts, and happy to adventure in as player characters – both on the table top as skirmish run wargames, and as rpg games for the club to immerse in.

BUT why bum about face?

Well, when we have finished and feel ready to unveil our new `baby` and our grand magnum opus, we are not actually doing the sensible thing which most other normal and sane people would do, which would be to set our game firmly within the Cursed Earth. No, when we are ready for the next stage of game development, we are then going to move the entire campaign over to Gotham, and move all the other elements we want to add into that world. So instead of crossovers entering Cursed Earth and Judge Dredd`s Mega City One, we will move all our crossover realities and story-line-arcs into the DC world of Batman. This will include Marvel realities, Dark Horse, and of course, heavily feature as much of the Idea and Design Works Publishing (and others) as we feel necessary to complete our world.

Simply put, the world of The Bat, Robin, Catwoman, The Question, Black Mask, The Riddler, The Joker, HarleyQuinn, Poison Ivy, Croc, Mr Freeze, The Mad Hatter, Harvey Two Face, Scarecrow, Bane, and all the rest, is too rich a fictitious world of potential not to explore in all its neon gothic glory.

So there we have it. It should, hopefully, all be one hell of a ride.

Hils xxx

Tarot’s Thoughts

I really couldn’t let the guys write about this without bringing my own tuppence worth to the table. Reading up, I see that I agree with all that has been said so far: but I do feel something intrinsically important has been left out.. maybe even missed entirely.

Yes, I completely agree that Gotham  city of the great Bat himself  is a rich resource to tap into and add to any neo-Gothic or post modern supers setting; and I would be the first to place my proverbial cup under that tap and start to pour liberally from it.

In truth I would be deeply divided in my loyalty and my love of both genres: Judge Dredd`s Cursed Earth (Mega City One and its vast explored environs), or the alternative reality Gotham City and the neon infused futuristic vision of the USA and beyond. Certainly it would (from a gamer`s perspective) be a crying shame to play one setting, at the prime exclusion of the other. But need we just rely on crossover `programs` or `episodes` to achieve this harmonious marriage of playability between the twain?

I`m not so sure.

For me, I think the answer can perhaps be balanced on the scales and achieved with a little bit of lateral thinking games master-ship.

 Everyone knows the 1986 movie “Highlander” starring Christopher Lambert, Sean Connery and Clancy Brown, right? Remember how the movie kept switching (seamlessly) between old pre-Jacobite Scotland, kilts, targes, dirks and all including lots of Och aye the noo.. and the film kept flitting back and forward to and from old Scotland to the modern day setting of Yew York? The film literally worked on two levels and told separate but deeply interlinked stories.. set in different times, and best of all.. the movie worked because of it.

So, please stay with my thoughts a little longer. I will get to the point I promise.. he he he.

Now imagine for a moment that Batman`s Gotham is (a) either a futuristic version of New York.. i.e. is what the city will one day evolve into: or (b) assume that Gotham is an alternative reality version of a futuristic New York (after all, we are used to alternative realities in this kind of thing aren’t we. Just look at the five Terminator movies. Look at film one for a prime example, where Kyle Reese tells Sarah Connor about humanity`s approaching dark destiny and of the terrible guerrilla war against the machines. Sarah Connor turns to Kyle and says: “can it be stopped. Is this our written future?” and Kyle replies: “I don’t know. From your perspective possibly.. one possible future anyway.”

Hmmmm. I`m thinking, wouldn’t it be fun to use portal gates to explore possible alternative realities. We already know that Gotham is/was New York.. simply placed in a different setting. And so New York is also Gotham too.. in a sense? Soooo, it stands to reason that the two places can`t exist in the same space – not in the same reality, so why not have them both exist, but merely as two faces of the same coin?  When we think of portals we usually think of travel from one point in space to another. Well what I`m suggesting is two places divided by a reality curve, like two sides of an elastic band. One side is Gotham City and the surrounding lands existing in an utterly alternative (but similar) reality to real life; and another reality is Mega City One, and the terrible apocalypse swept wilderness of The Cursed Earth.

Other realities might include the Terminator Wars, the Cthulhu mythos, or any others you wish to explore (why not Fantasy Flight Games “Shadows of Brimstone” or “Tannhauser” even). Already I am thinking of using Mayan temples and pyramids to induce my gates to `awaken` (perhaps because of the dabbling of Hydra) and create opening s to these various realities. See where I`m going with this?

I can see two campaigns here. Both rolled into one, but each with a distinct and unique flow, tone, and feel. Cursed Earth would be grim, gritty, stark, and based in a mind boggling advanced futuristic setting. And Gotham would be all neo-Gothic, film noir, neon lighting, full of comic book supers and larger than life heroes. Both games would be `bridged` allowing access back and forth between them both, and yet each world would have its own unique themed development of back-story and in-game campaign tales.

Stepping back a moment, and talking  about Cursed Earth being stark and grim. I actually think the new Mongoose/Warlord Games Judge Dredd rules miss the mark by a very wide mile. They are a shiny, poppy, stylised lightweight skirmish table top miniatures set of rules, held together by some fairly `thin` in themed blurb to keep the readers happy: but ultimately designed to keep the customers interested in buying lots of expensive figures. That`s all cool, and good marketing. But if you really really want to immerse in culture of The Cursed Earth, you should be looking to The Judge Dredd D20 System Role Playing Game: by Wizard of the Coast/Mongoose Publishing (under licence from Rebellion A/S). This book has guts, is packed with information, it is a complete role-playing guide in its own right and also serves as a good wargame/skirmish table top game.. all at the same time.  I have heard others say that games nowadays are `dummied down` a lot for  modern public, and this book is living proof of that. Now out of print and longer readily available on the shelves, it IS available from various sources, including Amazon, eBay, and even online as a free PDF, if you know where to look. This book is all you will ever need to enjoy a lifetime gaming in a Judge Dredd world, and best of all, if you like using miniatures… actively encourages you to use any miniatures you own in your collection.. or dispense with miniatures altogether if you just want to play this setting as a pure paper and pencil rpg.

I seriously can`t praise this 256 page book enough. We had written our own rules for playing in the Cursed Earth, and were happily intending to do just that, until discovering this amazing gem of a book (a big bonus to those of you who like the 2nd and 3rd edition of the Dungeons and Dragons D20 system). Its deep, immersive, allows full character customisation,  and best of all, lets you run characters, perps and monsters just like you would in a roleplaying game… with lots of options and possibilities.  The book has it all. You seriously would never need to hold another book in your hands. Its masterpiece of (British written) work from 15 years ago, which is when it first hit the hobby store shelves.

I think this whole theme has amazing potential for us would be world builders. To explore endless games for our miniatures and/or rpg campaigns.

Happy gaming.

Thanks for reading,


I hope you all enjoyed the insights provided by my guests – let’s hope this isn’t the last time they’ll grace my humble blog with their efforts.

Next time we should be seeing some more progress on my Doctor Who project, unless I get distracted by something else, like grafting the heads of plastic ‘toob’ animals onto Heroclix bodies to make Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew

Actually, that’s not such a bad idea, after all…



32 thoughts on “They ARE The Law!

  1. It’s good to hear from our Irish friends Jez!

    Steve, Hills and Tarot – the passion is still there and the ideas keep flowing as always. T I agree with you especially about the rpg version of JD which is the one I own and will (eventually) be using for my games. First I need to build a load of terrain to represent the teeming MC-1 and that will have to wait until the end of the year when my studies have concluded (or at least aren’t so frantic). I must admit guys I miss the blog, take care x


    • Thanks for the interest Andy, and glad you enjoyed it. I`d actually completely forgotten you have a big interest in Dredd.. lovely to hear from you again.


  2. Ooh Hiiiiiiii Andy, how lovely to see you and hear from you. And how cool.. you have the D20 rpg JD too. Its a marvellous bit of gaming kit isn’t it, and allows for total customisation of your game in whatever direction or focus you choose to take your game. I think that’s the main reason I rave about it so much, its total versatility, which lets you concentrate on which ever part of that world you enjoy to develop. The extensive background material is a big bonus too: well researched and crammed full of really useful world detail. I mean, any game system which has detailed rules for boinging, you know just HAS to be thorough and complete hehe.

    I like how it doesn’t just concentrate on the main characters either, but assumes you may just want to play an average jo blogs type judge, perp, mutant, ape, or citizen.


  3. Hey Andy (Gobbo) its really great to hear for you bud. Thanks for popping by and leaving a comment. I WILL get back to checking out your own place and leaving comments there soon, its not just you lol, I`ve just been taking a long hiatus from all blogging and computers full stop and concentrating of gaming a bit more. Hey are you still working hard on that cool Bushido?

    Tar hun, How come my Judge Dredd D20 rules are only 172 or so pages and yours is 256?


  4. hmmmm, I`m betting you have the free on line PDF, which is fine, but it does mean your copy is missing a heck of a lot of the cool background material is all: some detailed maps, including a campaign and a full written adventure. I got mine quite cheaply, second hand on Amazon in hardback (used – like new) and it sure does contain some juicy extras I have to say. However, the free PDF is so cool, and what`s more hey, its FREE.


  5. Ah yes, you are absolutely correct, that would be it then. I must take a sneak peek at your copy and photocopy any relevant pages I might need for campaign play.


  6. A great idea by Jez to host the ‘Three Emerald Musketeers’ on his site, and another wonderful ramble through the workings of their mind – Terminator Wars and Shadows Over Brimstone all rolled into one – marvelous idea!! I love a bit of crossover as well they know!!

    I too also own the Judge Dredd D20 System Role Playing Game by “Wizard of the Coast/Mongoose Publishing”, and a couple of their expansion booklets too (as memory serves) but apart from reading the fluff (Steve is presumably missing?) I’ve done little with it. But I did especially enjoy the rationale behind a mini-spending spree – reminds me of a story of four gamers from days gone by…

    “Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew” is another of my all-time fave series and I’m rather disappointed official “Heroclix” minis aren’t available, Jez. Perhaps “Forgotten Heroes” Phase Two?


    • Thanks Simon. Sorry you had issues posting your comment. I’ll allow the guys to respond to your kind words.
      Captain Carrot was one of the few DC titles I did collect, because it appealed to my sense if humour. I mean “Yankee Poodle”…what’s not to love? Whilst I did have other plans for this year’s Forgotten Heroes, the idea of doing Captain Carrot and co. does appeal… Curse you! Now I’m working out how I could do it…


    • Hey Simon, its fantastic to hear from you. Gee I`ve always wanted to be a Musketeer (ever since loving the stories as a kid), and I finally have my wish and get to be an Emerald one no less, woohoo!! haha.

      Really glad you enjoyed the mad ramble article (Whoosh!!, the stuff that goes round in my head, its a nightmarish world in itself at times); really can`t beat a good bit of mix-it-up up crossover from time to time though, can ya 🙂

      oo I`m so jealous. You got the Judge Dredd D20 System Role Playing Game book. Having now seen the `real deal` I realise just how much I wish I had a proper cool copy of this for myself. It crammed full of useful world information isn’t it. And the rules, well, as a lover of D20 it feels as familiar to me as a dear old friend.

      “Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew” is a tale I can see that I simply MUST learn about from one of you guys, I can see I have missed out on something cool here.


    • Simonnnnnn, how nice to hear from you again. Its been ages. Thanks for the nice words and really glad you enjoyed our usual rambling thought processes. I too want to know more about this..erm… Captain Carrot dude hehe???


      • Captain Carrot 101: A meteorite fragmented in the atmosphere of a world of anthropomorphic animals, granting a handful of them with super-powers. Captain Carrot – a rabbit Superman, Fastback – a speedster turtle, Rubber Duck – a duck with stretching powers, Pig Iron – a porcine Colossus, Alley-Kat-Abra – a magic-wielding feline and Yankee Poodle – who wielded the power of ‘stars and stripes’. Think Looney Tunes with super-powers. The title ran for 20 issues between 1982 to 1983. It was a bit silly, full of animal based puns, but also fun and kind of cool. There’s an article on Wikipedia which goes in much more detail, but that’s the concept in a nutshell.


        • Oh my Goodness this sounds utterly fantastic, and more than a lttle bit like the old computer console series of games called: “Kingdom Hearts” ..

          I think the whole idea of a fragmented meteorite and such a wide collection of altered, weird and wonderful creations sounds simply marvellous. Where, where, where can I find all these programs in one volume? and please tell me someone makes the miniatures, or point me to the place to start making my own (once I learn the proper stories themselves of course?

          You lean a lot here don’t you hehe 🙂


    • I am a fount of weird and wonderful knowledge, most of which remains on my head – it’s quite crowded on there and a little bit odd. 😉
      And the site header is just for this post – the normal boring barn is on nearly every other post. I should really find a better image…


  7. I`ve been thinking about this for weeks now and I finally think I want to make a comment about something Stevie said in the above article. Now, I usually.. almost always in fact, agree pretty much with everything the guys (Hil and Stevie) say regarding wargames, role playing games and all hobby related stuff. They are, after all, pretty much responsible for having weaned me into, and gently breaking me into gaming in the first place so long ago now: they gently shaped me into who I am today as a gamer and I have found throughout that their opinions are so very often spot on.

    However the more I thought about it, the more I found I couldn’t sit comfortably with one thing said in the column above.

    Lets see:

    {{{A Dredd game should feel more like Dungeons and Dragons and less like Gun Fights at the OK Corral.}}}

    Hmmm really not so. I disagree. A game of Dredd CAN feel like a game of Dungeons and Dragons, if you chose to play it that way, with lots of narrative and back story, even rules to allow lots of non combat-y things to take place and happen. But this excludes another aspect of gaming you have not taken into account at all.. another genre of gaming has been dismissed out of hand.

    Skirmish Wargames. Table top `fight` games, yes sure, with narrative included in them, but fight games never the less.

    Just because a fight game tends to be geared towards combat, doesn’t necessarily make it less of a good game. Don`t need to look far for examples here: Super Dungeon Explore, Bushido, the D&D Skirmish Miniatures Game, The Star Wars Skirmish Miniatures Game. Or what about HeroClix, or HorrorClix for that matter?

    Yes I agree, played as they are right out of the box “bet my Superman can thrash your Iron Man dude” can be a little sterile and shallow, but not necessarily. I have played plenty of Clix games for example, with a ton of narrative factored in for flavouring, and these games have all been great to play.

    I can see where you are coming from. You are talking about a campaign with rich backdrop and immersive campaign included. But Stevie, surely what you talk about here is pure role playing and is catered for in games like the Judge Dredd D20 rpg rules system, or D&D D20 Modern even? Some people don’t want this, and just prefer to set up nicely painted miniatures on a beautifully composed terrain setting, and play a fairly simple one off adventure (or even a simplified series of linked games to form a simplistic little miniatures mini table top campaign), and this is an equally valid style of play, surely? Totally and utterly separate from true rpg, but valid never the less.

    Me I prefer proper role play potential in my games and know how to achieve this even in a set of rules only really designed and geared up to cater for table top skirmish combat encounter, but I CAN see why other people might like the simpler approach. Time restraint, or just plain and simply.. preference on how they like to enjoy their hobby. I personally would not judge one style higher than another.

    Bushido (a game I don’t play personally) would be a fine example of what I am saying I think. It must be amazing to paint those utterly beautiful miniatures, and then field them on a cool looking table top in a battle (a little akin to chess really) in a match of skill and wits against an opponent, deploying an equally lovely miniatures skirmish army. No need for deep role play here, a basic story line as a background in your head is all that is required for imagination to take over and do the rest.

    That’s what I think anyway **as Pooh Bear would say** though I don’t expect I`m right.




  8. **** ~Hands you the sector of power~*****

    VERY well said. Reasoned, wise and nicely balanced. And yes, I believe you are absolutely correct in all you`ve just said. Maybe the pupil has now become the Master.

    Rise Jedi 🙂


  9. When I read such well written reasoning, it makes me see how intolerant I sometimes come across. I am so passionate about the things I write about, I often totally fail to stop and see that my way isn’t always the ONLY way. This is one of those instances dearest Tarot. Thank you for that. Even at my old (and decrepit lol) age we never stop learning new things and even new ways.

    Yes, you are of course completely right. damn you girl, hahaha.

    hug you***


    • Turn your back for five minutes and they start squabbling…

      When I first saw these comments, I initially didn’t think I had anything to add, but I’ve reconsidered. The type of Judge Dredd game Steve describes in his article is the type of game HE wants to play. However, whilst I understand completely what he’s getting at, I think the issue here is…what exactly IS this type of game? Is it a wargame? No, but it does use miniatures. Is it a role-playing game? No, but it does give the ‘characters’ a greater range of options than a standard wargame. So, ideally, this type of game is a hybrid of the two, which, for want of a better term, we’ll call “narrative adventure miniature gaming”.

      Now, this isn’t a new idea – I would confidently state that HeroQuest, if you take into account ALL its supplements (some of which weren’t available in this country) would be a good, if basic example of this type of game. Individual characters with differing abilities, gaining abilities and equipment and adventuring in different and far-flung locations (yes, there was a ‘glacier’ expansion, with ice magic and yetis).

      However, unless you are using specific rules designed for this ‘type’ of game, you’ll either be using a set of RPG rules for the wargame-y parts or a set of wargames rules for the role-play-y parts, neither of which is REALLY designed for this aspect. The other problem you’ll face is that if you want to play the entire narrative campaign, you’re going to be building a LOT of ‘sets’. If you take the example of your undercover Judge, you’ll need a casino, the mean streets of ‘Nu-Gotham’ and the apartment of the young lady in question – just for a brief encounter.

      I think you need to decide whether you’re role-playing, but using figures and scenery to enhance specific scenes or encounters or going for “narrative adventure miniature gaming”, in which case you need to use a dedicated rule system. Which you already have in “Chibi World”, as proven in the AARs you published for this. Of course, it might need a few tweaks to make it more sci-fi orientated, but as you wrote these rules, I can’t imagine that would be an issue.


  10. These two are, for me, THE two comments of the year. Both Tarot for originally bringing it up, and Jez for fine tuning it even further. This is just a reminder of yet another reason why I love this amazing frickin` hobby so much and why I have made it a lifelong passion (and to an extent a career as well). You just never stop learning new things, and sometimes finding different ways of looking at old subjects can be so exciting.

    Incidentally, I completely agree about HeroScape. Did you play the original or Advanced? I think I actually preferred the original best? I scoured the adverts for year trying to pick off some of the harder to get expansions, and boy was that an elusive task, but enjoyable as a long term project. I`m only sad that I didn`t keep all this stuff, but lost it by the by, through time and multiple house moves (like so many hobby things we collected when we were younger and the future stretches away into eternity like a vast lush grassland of opportunity and hope).

    {{The other problem you’ll face is that if you want to play the entire narrative campaign, you’re going to be building a LOT of ‘sets’}}

    Thankfully this it isn’t a major problem. I really can`t emphasise enough, just how much terrain we have made, and even more stuff we have customised (butchered) from other things. To this we can probably double this tally, just on various suitable terrain we have purchased over the years. I think it fair to say that at this stage we could put on quite a lavish show, on par (in miniature of course) with the big movie sets the likes of King Kong, Titanic, Dawn of the Dead, or even Suicide Squad…. but maybe that`s just in my head and it really all just looks crap to anyone else on the outside looking in hahaha. But yeah, Hillers really wasn’t exaggerating when she said we could easily fill a table tennis top full of cool terrain. In actually fact I think we would be able nearly to fill this sort of table twice over, and could most likely lay our hands to this amount twice again (via the club`s pooled resources) if we needed to.

    You are astutely correct again Jez, what I want this project to be is neither exactly a role playing game with miniatures added in, neither is it quite a table top wargame with role playing elements factored in. Yes it’s a combination of the two in the sense that it DOES have both these elements included; but in truth I see the whole thing in terms of a big movie set. I am the director, producer, the choreographer and (to an extent) the storyboard writer. I have three other episode script writers (game hosts, or DM`s if you prefer) who sometimes write episodes (game sessions) and together we share the creative process of making our `adventure show` come alive for our players.

    When I`m indulging in my passion for solo play, or small home sessions, then I am also behind the camera AND actor within my own screen-play.

    “7TV” and “7TV2e “both n-e-a-r-l-y got it right in that approach. Bob Murch`s “Rugged Adventures” got closer still to the mark: and “Pulp Alley” so nearly hits the nail on the head… but is too undefined to suit our purposes here exactly. No I really do mean it when I say (especially as I get older) that I see my games and campaigns as screen-plays played and acted out on the table. Once upon a time I used to play rpgs without figures at all, just with pen and paper, but as I`ve gotten older, the miniatures bug has got me in its grip well and truly, and I enjoy the visual feast too much to give that aspect of the hobby up any more.

    {{Which you already have in “Chibi World”, as proven in the AARs you published for this. Of course, it might need a few tweaks to make it more sci-fi orientated}}

    Interestingly enough you are pretty spot on there too. Once upon a time, in a universe far far away, I wrote a set of rules for a Lord of the Rings game using 40mm pre-painted randomly boxed miniatures (bit like WotC`s D&D skirmish miniatures, which came after). I developed this into a separate and somewhat generic system called Advance Battle Chain (ABC for short). This later became the framework for a game I wrote for Pendraken Miniatures called Dungeon World. Years later, I wrote Chibi World. You are so right Jez, ABC or/and Chibi World is the perfect place to start to write a complete focussed game for sci-fi Gotham, Dredd, Terminator, etc. In fact we have been experimenting with this idea for a few months now and we already have a dozen or so club and home sessions under our belt (been working closely with Tarot and Dave on this one)… and each session I write copious notes and film all the action on my vid-cam so I can go back and titivate the rules (which are coming on steadily). Even as is, the rules work fine, but by the time we finish with them, I think we will have a pretty decent and COMPLETE homebrew genre specific sci-fi game system for our own entertainment and delight.


    • Glad to have been of help. I think both Tarot and I have similar ways of looking at the hobby, but with different underlying reasons. Tarot is (relatively) new to the hobby and therefore has no pre-conceived ideas of what it SHOULD be, whereas I’m always looking for ways to improve it, to make it better and even more satisfying. Just because it’s always been done a certain way, doesn’t mean it HAS to be done that way. Why play a game with rules that are ALMOST right, when you can tweak them to make them better? Or write your own? How many gamers own a multitude of rules that they never play, because they weren’t quite what they were looking for? That’s the advantage of home-brew rules – they slowly evolve into the type of game YOU want to play. and who can put a price on that? 😆


  11. I love it, I love it. THIS is why I love this hobby sooooooo much and play and play and play, and always will. Its when we hit the sweet spot and can talk and discuss for ages and ages, that that feeling of euphoria reaches that all time high.

    Okay I`ll be quiet now, take my pills and sit quietly in the corner annoying no one.


    me.. here,. being quiet.

    *hums a little tune to self*


    • It IS satisfying to be able to have conversations like this with like-minded folk. And your contributions are always worth listening to, so no need to stay quiet (like that’ll last anyway…) 😉


  12. hehehehe, ok you got me there.. me.. quiet?

    Just my final tuppence worth on this thread topic. I completely see the film set, “and ACTION” thinking behind Stevie`s gaming. I see it first hand every game he runs, and I like it. With that premise in hand, it does give you a slightly different take on the.. well, on the whole idea of gaming itself really. I first encountered this idea in a book written back in 1989 long before I was even a twinkle in my makers` eyes. The Book was Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone`s “Dungeoneer” which was their attempt at turning the “Fighting Fantasy” solo game books into a full blown rpg. It all felt distinctly British, had a more British slant and take on the whole subject, and was unique of its time. They followed up with “Blacksand” “Titan” and “Out of the Pit” which rounded out and completed the series nicely: and when complete, gave you a four book role playing game system (though you only really needed the first book). But my point is, this interesting book (which I am amazingly lucky to own a copy of.. plus the other three) took the whole concept of a game, especially the `directors` role, and made it an angle where the GM and the Players thought of their adventures in terms of it all being a movie/film set.

    The idea worked, and even now I see great merit in the idea (and in the books themselves for that matter) and the thought process behind it has since been copied mercilessly over the years.

    Might be worth mentioning too, that Ian Livingstone I think it was, but it may have been another collaboration of both Steve Jackson and himself as well) made a one off Judge Dredd book following the same but slightly modified system as “Dungeoneer” which focussed on the Cursed Earth universe. I wish I could remember what it was called. Anyway it didn’t do well and is long, long out of print.. and I cant even find any mention of it on line anywhere. Thinking about it, it may only have been released at a couple of conventions but never made full print run for the book shops. I guess you`d have had to push me to those events in a pram at the time hehehe. I only know about it because I was told by a guy who has or had a copy.

    Okay that’s me done. I will go dark side of the moon for a while as I am starting a new job and wont be about much for a while. But I`ll try comment when I can (especially at our sister site `the game cupboard`).

    …… “and CUT.”

    T x

    T x


    • Prior to ‘Dungeoneer’, they released a stand-alone book which was just called ‘Fighting Fantasy’ which turned the system into a RPG and had three mini-adventures within the book. This was followed up with a campaign book called ‘The Riddling Reaver’. I know this because I own both. Might have to dig them out, as I remember it was a fun little system.


  13. Oh WOW jez, I`d love to just see those or hold a copy in my hands. These must be so precious in your collection, and very rare (I had never even heard of them until now)..


    • They were also both released as standard size paperbacks, so it was a very portable game system. All you needed was the book, some d6’s, pencil and paper and you could start playing. I think ‘The Riddling Reaver’ introduced a simple magic system, but I’d have to check the book. May have to have a rummage in one of my ‘caches’ and see if I can ferret them out.


  14. I think the Dungeoneer and Blacksand books were ‘large’ paperbacks and ‘Titan’ and ‘Out of the Pit’ were almost A4 sized. FF and ‘The Riddling Reaver’ were ths same size as the original FF gamebooks, so ‘small’ paperback novel sized.


  15. I`m not sure how it originally worked Jez. But I own the four books Dungeoneer, Blacksand, Titan and Out of the Pit all in small paperback novel size, but in addition I also own a big A4 copy of Titan as well. Would be nice to own all four in both sizes, but now I`m just wishful thinking in greed mode hehehe.


  16. Pingback: View from the Crow’s Nest – Year Three! | Carrion Crow's Buffet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.