Tuesday 31 October 2023

Conceptualising Irregular Wars: Devilry Afoot

’Tis now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards yawn, and hell itself breathes out
Contagion to this world. Now could I drink hot blood
And do such bitter business as the day
Would quake to look on.… 
William Shakespeare, Hamlet Act 3, Scene 2

From The history of witches and wizards: giving a true account of all their tryals in England, Scotland, Swedeland, France, and New England; with their confession and condemnation / Collected from Bishop Hall, Bishop Morton, Sir Matthew Hale, etc, by W.P., (1720). Source: Wellcome Collection.

Recently I have been pondering a new writing project: a 17th century skirmish game of monster hunting - pitching a handful of foolhardy hunters against a small number of 'monsters'. Designed for co-operative and solo play, the hunters will be controlled by the player/s, while NPC 'innocents' and the antagonististic 'monsters' will be controlled by the game.

I see it as an opportunity to take the learning from Palaeo Diet: Eat or Be Eaten, but adapt some of those core concepts to make a grittier and darker game (in more ways than one). I see light sources and darkness being key components, with a randomised activation system and d10-based system using target numbers. 

Players will create their characters from a number of core archetypes: scholars, religious, veterans, gallants etc, customising them with a trait or two and some useful trappings before taking to the darkness. 'Monsters' would be themed around period appropriate fears such as witches, werewolves, ghouls and revenants. 

It is still early in the design process, and not every idea develops into a fully-fledged game, but what is down on paper so far feels pretty sound, so watch this space... 🐺


  1. Sounds great, always looking for next little project. I can see a couple of figures on the lead pile that fit the bill 😀

  2. I like the sound of this (and so does Chuck Norris).

  3. I look forward to watching the development of this project.
    Alan Tradgardland

  4. Mark from Thailand3 November 2023 at 04:09

    Fear and Faith (only better)

  5. Looks very promising!
    The theme reminds me a bit of 'cazadores', which I also recommend to you (it's free on Matachin games).
    Looking forward to see more of your project, the light and dark sources sound great and the inclusion of civilian bystanders is one of my favorite features in a game like this.

  6. I bought some pilgrims from Slave2Gaming to use as Palaeo Diet hunters for a more 'modern' game. So I already have a few bits for this on the painting table :)

    They do a skirmish game called Grim Fantasy that covers some of the ground you are looking at, but I think the Palaeo Diet approach will work well.

    1. Oooh, I'll have to check those out, thanks!

      We've had a good number of playtests so far, but with unpainted minis and oring tables, so nothing shiny to share. They are coming together well though.