Category Archives: Peaky

Three new games!

We’re delighted to present for sale three new games from Peaky Games: Best of the Wurst, The Day the Music Died, and Small Town Folks.

If Peaky Games sounds familiar, it’s because we’ve talked about it previously on our blog. Peaky is a writing weekend in Derbyshire for writing and the playing interactive (or “freeform”) games much like ours.

Peaky Games have taken some of their games, polished and updated them, and published them. If you’ve played a few of our games, we think that you may enjoy these games.

(This is from Murder on the Dance Floor – we don’t have any photos for these new games yet!)

The games are:

Best of the Wurst: In Castle Quimper Hotel in 1942 Occupied France Colonel Kronenburg has organised a sausage tasting competition – the best German wurst against sausages from across Europe! Is there any doubt who will win? Best of the Wurst is for 9 guests plus a host, aged 12+.

The Day the Music Died: Set at Radio Rebecca, the grooviest radio station in the English Channel in 1965. The Day the Music Died is for 10 guests plus a host, aged 12+

Small Town Folks: Macy, Nebraska, in 1962 is a small town like any other. But when the hurricane approaches, twelve people are trapped by a storm. Tensions rise, secrets spill, and long-buried rivalries erupt… Small Town Folks is for 12 guests plus a host, aged 15+.

The games written at Peaky are very similar in structure to our murder mysteries – everyone gets their own character sheet with goals and objectives, and information about other people, and they take between two and three hours to play through.

(Those similarities are not a coincidence, as we’re members of Peaky Games and have helped co-write some of the games.)

There are a few differences though.

First, they aren’t murder mysteries. Although sometimes there’s a death involved in the backstory, the game is rarely about investigating the death. Instead, the death is the background to some of the plots.

Second, the Peaky Games freeforms don’t usually have abilities, secrets or clues. The games generally don’t need them – secrets will come out naturally during the course of play, and clues are woven through the character backgrounds.

Third, these games are written for more experienced hosts. They expect you to use your common sense to resolve issues and questions. As a result, we wouldn’t recommend these if you haven’t run one of our games first.

Fourth, the games often include geeky ideas and concepts. Although the games we’ve selected here are mostly normal games, Best of the Wurst does contain a vampire!

But if you’ve played or hosted one of our games before, you won’t find anything too unfamiliar in them!

As with our other games, we offer a 30-day no-quibble money back guarantee on these games.

Click here to learn more about Peaky Games.

Reporting from Peaky 2014

Back in April Mo and I attended the Peaky 2014 freeform writing weekend. (I wrote about that last year.) This year Mo and I both pushed boundaries – his group took his idea from last year (“What Happened in Blackpool/Picking up the pieces”) and expanded upon it to create a version (currently unnamed) that works for up to 40 players! (They tested it with 18 – I wasn’t part of the testing group but it sounded like the players were having a lot of fun.)

Upper Rectory Farm Cottages

Upper Rectory Farm Cottages in Leicestershire – where the Peaky Writing Weekends are held.

I, meanwhile, co-wrote The Truth, a team-building business politics game for 15 to 30 players. We were under quite a bit of pressure for a couple of reasons. First, there were only two of us in the team. A normal Peaky writing group has at least four or five members, sometimes more. So having only two people meant that all the writing was done by just the two of us – and we didn’t do enough proofreading. However, it also meant that there were fewer arguments and once we had agreed what we were doing we could just focus.

Second, Jerry, my co-writer, had promised that he would run a game for an annual trade union conference just four weeks later. So the game had to be playable by non-gamers from the very beginning. That’s unusual for Peaky – the games are normally written by gamers for gamers.

Luckily, once Jerry had outlined the kinds of things he wanted to include in his games (we had a sheet of paper listing design goals), I realised that I could use much of what I had learned from previous Peaky writing weekends, and we were able to write and play a workable game over the weekend.

So what’s The Truth about? Well, it’s a politics and negotiation game. The players are all employees and managers of Megalith plc, a financial services company. (What the company actually does is irrelevant.) Everyone starts the game assigned to one of five offices, each of which has office goals(for example to host the annual Christmas party, or to be the best at something). Individual employees also have goals (such as recruiting union members or moving office). Sometimes those goals coincide – but more often they don’t… The characters are purely roles – there are no personalities in the usual sense.

Whenever I run a game at Peaky I always have pen and paper to hand as I find I am taking copious notes – there are always things we missed during the frantic writing. The Truth was no different, and Jerry took my notes and his away to fix them prior to running it for “real”.

From the feedback I’ve seen, The Truth was really well received at the conference. Jerry did quite a bit of work beforehand, and the game was more polished than when we ran it. Where there was criticism, it was aimed mainly at the opening instructions rather than the game itself. (We were probably guilty of that at Peaky as well – but we were playing with experienced gamers who we thought knew how this kind of game worked. But more instructions would have helped.)

I would have liked to seen The Truth being played at the conference to evaluate the market for business-related games. It’s not something that Peaky Games nor Freeform Games have any experience of. Not yet, anyway.

Steve Hatherley

Book now for Peaky 2014

Back in April Mo and I attended Peaky 2013, the freeform writing weekend. We both had a blast, and you can read all about it here.

Hard at work at Peaky

Hard at work at Peaky

Without going over too much old ground, Peaky is a weekend for writing and running freeforms (a bit like our murder mystery games, but they often don’t have a murder) in a friendly environment which encourages experimentation and lots of fun. It’s a great way to try writing a freeform if you’ve never done it before.

Anyway, we’re doing it all next year. Mo and I have already signed up – and now you can too!

The Peaky Games committee have just announced that sign ups have started for Peaky 2014 are open for everyone. (If you’re a member of Peaky Games sign ups opened a month earlier.)

Peaky 2014 will be held on 25-27 April 2014 at Upper Rectory Farm Cottages, which is not far from Tamworth and the top of the M42.

Cost for the weekend is £120 per person if you are prepared to share a twin/double, £80 pp if you are prepared to share with three others in the Quad (if available), and £200 pp if you want a room all to yourself (again, if available).

The price includes accommodation for three nights (Friday to Sunday – although many people leave on Sunday evening) and all meals apart from Sunday evening (which is usually a takeaway). Bring your own alcohol and something to write with (a laptop is best).

All you have to do to book is send £50 to Peaky Games (if you want to pay by Paypal you have to pay slightly more to cover Paypal’s processing fee). The details are on their website. (I’d also strongly recommend signing up for the mailing list.)

Bookings for Peaky close on 31 January 2014.

Peaky Writing Weekends

Players scheming in a corner in Venice

Players scheming in a corner in Venice

Last month Mo and I attended the annual Peaky freeform writing weekend along with 27 other like-minded writers and players of freeform roleplaying games. We formed into six groups and over the course of Friday evening and Saturday each group wrote a freeform. On Sunday we played five of them. It’s a fabulously intense, creative weekend and it’s one of the highlights of my year.

(A quick aside – a “freeform” is a type of live role-playing game. There are different flavours of freeforms and many are very like our murder mystery games, although they don’t necessarily contain a murder and they tend to be more fantastic than our games.)

The Peaky writing weekends started in 2001. The first few were held in Edale, in the Peak District, and that’s how the weekend got its name. In 2004 we moved to Upper Rectory Farm Cottages in Appleby Magna and since 2006 that’s been our permanent home.

Upper Rectory Farm Cottages

If was building a venue just for Peaky, I’d probably end up with Upper Rectory Farm Cottages. It’s perfect – eight or so interconnected but fully self-contained holiday cottages, plus a large refectory. This gives each group space to write, plus a large space for communal meals and playtesting.

This year I co-wrote Venice, a 15 player game of families, politics and power set in 16th Century Venice. Mo co-wrote What Happened in Blackpool, a very experimental game for 12 players set the night before a wedding. Other games were based on M*A*S*H, the villains of James Bond and Old Harry’s Game (a Radio 4 comedy set in hell).

We’ve published a couple of the Peaky games – Pirate Island and Monster Mash/Trick or Treat.

Peaky also publishes some of their games – you can find them here. A word of warning, though – they are less refined in terms of instructions compared to our games (they assume you know how to host a freeform) and they aren’t as flexible with player numbers. Oh, and I wouldn’t run any of them for a very conservative group. But they are cheaper, and if you’ve played one of our games you should find everything pretty familiar. I should note that I’ve had a hand in all of them at some level, whether as co-author or proofreader.

Steve Hatherley