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The Lone Wolf fantasy gamebooks raised a generation of gamers.  After 30 years on his shelf, Gary Chalk has a surprise for us.
The Lone Wolf fantasy gamebooks raised a generation of gamers.  After 30 years on his shelf, Gary Chalk has a surprise for us.
The Lone Wolf fantasy gamebooks raised a generation of gamers. After 30 years on his shelf, Gary Chalk has a surprise for us.
404 backers pledged $36,000 to help bring this project to life.

48 hours left! Also, backer questions answered in an interview with Gary Chalk


Hello!  We're at the point where the project is getting masses of attention, and wow did that make for good funding these last two days.  We're ALMOST at our funding goal and just might get there soon!

Which is good, because we have two days left in the campaign.  Some of you are reading these words now because you've received your "48-hour reminder email."  Maybe, if we're lucky, you're reading these because you saw us in the "Popular" category as we entered our final rush of new backers.  Either way, welcome!

Now, I've tried my best to explain why I love this board game.  I've also run messenger between you backers and Gary in trying to get your questions answered.  Recently I managed to catch him in a video chat (when I should have been sleeping: different continents, remember) and we did an interview!

So here you go:

Witness as my terrible interview questions are unleashed on a hapless artist!

Thrill as design decisions are justified in a more concise and effective way than I've ever managed on the project page!

Marvel as Gary suffers a complete mental blank when pressed on why Lone Wolf is so awesome!

Interview with Gary Chalk

Richard S. Hetley: Hello, Gary. Do you have moment?

Gary Chalk: I do!  You're up late!

RSH: Good, because I'm already interviewing you.

GC: You're already interviewing me?

RSH: I'd like to speak with you for content to put in a Kickstarter update, talking about the game project, answering backer questions, and so on.  I have ten or so questions here in a script, so how many will you be able to tolerate?

GC: I can do all of them if I turn off the radio.  [Pause]  You'll have to excuse my snuffly replies, I've really been awfully ill, but nevermind, I'm here.

RSH: Sorry to hear you're not well.  For the questions, when did you first decide to leave the real world and live in fantasy worlds?

GC: I'm a little lost there, somebody actually asked that?

RSH: No, I asked that.

GC: I've never lived in a fantasy world!  You mean, like, drawing fantasy?  How did I start?  I always wanted to illustrate things.  It started off with historical things.  I've realised that when I was an adolescent and then at art school there wasn't really a fantasy genre.  There were science fiction stories, there was the Lord of the Rings which was just kind of starting to get popular, but none of that really kicked off until Dungeons & Dragons appeared in England.  And I gradually drifted into it that way.  Does that make any sense?

RSH: Certainly.  So, Lone Wolf.  What's up with that?

GC: [Pause]  What's up with it?!  Right.  We're speaking different languages here.  Two countries divided by a common language.  Well, it's probably the first one of all the gamebooks to be distinguished by a background world where all the adventures take place.  Um, what else?  You've got me on the hop here.  Uh, pass, will that do?

RSH: Pretending to be serious now, what would you say transitioned the best to your tabletop game and what will not be able to fit?

GC: Obviously the rich and colourful world translates very well with the playing pieces and maps.  The conflict between good and evil.  The skills used by the Kai Lords have translated well, though they had to be modified a little to correspond to the fact that it's a board game and not a gamebook.  Obviously the thing that cannot translate is the mechanism of not knowing what's ahead of you, which you experience in an adventure book, because everything is laid out for you to see on a board.

RSH: How many playing pieces and how many players do you think could fit reasonably in a game at one time?

GC: How big is the table?

No seriously.  I often play games with modified figures using percentile-based rules, and basically if you have ten players a side and enough maps, you can have up to a hundred playing pieces each with no trouble.  That's why I have a percentile system: it's incremental. Games like Warhammer, I believe, where with ten people you might have to roll thirty dice to figure out who's been hit, I call insane as a mechanism.

You realise that what many people these days are calling wargames are actually what would have been called skirmish games ten years ago.  That's the point of the current system, to have Lone Wolf be expandable.

[Aside, referencing Kickstarter]  It's nice to see all your hair hasn't fallen out yet.

RSH: In a very leading question, do you foresee a role for template effects or marker pieces on the game board?

GC: Yes.  Marker pieces for the little objects certainly, that people can transport around and can be used as pawns in a scenario, for example to capture the magic sword.  Also it would be quite nice to expand magic so you'd have magic which affects areas and is left on the board, such as a wall of fire which once cast is left on board for the entirety of the game or 1d10 turns.  A ring of protection that is actually a template.  Or even a large card piece that stands up in a little clip, a real wall of fire, would be really nice.  One of the spells in the gamebooks is a giant hand that moves down a tunnel crushing things.  It would be nice to have a giant hand wandering around the wargaming table.  Hence the expression, give him a big hand!

[Aside, referencing health]  If my lungs drop out on the keyboard I apologise in advance.

RSH: It's alright.  Thinking about expansions further, do you foresee the 'power level' of the armies, as it were, getting to the level that Darklord Zagarna could be on the battlefield?

GC: Uh . . . I don't see why it's not technically possible, but these Darklords are so powerful that it's a bit like playing a game of World War II with atom bombs on the table, isn't it?  I don't think it would result in a better game.  You could balance it with more powerful Kai Lords and artifacts; we haven't yet planned to do it, but it is possible, I suppose.

RSH: Let's get down to the real incisive questions.

GC: What did I have for breakfast and what is my favourite colour?

RSH: Backers want to know: why did you make a wargame or skirmish game and then call it a board game?

GC: This may be very difficult to grasp.  But it is played on a board.

By the way, there is a serious answer to that all.  It's not really a skirmish game: you can expand it to play from a skirmish to a large war.  The idea is that you don't have to spend one year painting the miniatures and another making scenery, and you don't need a room the size of an aircraft carrier.  I should know, I just rebased six of my wargame figures and it took me half a year.  It's so you can go 'Hey, we've got an hour, why don't we just get out Lone Wolf and play it?'

RSH: [Aside] So I understand, could you explain the bit about rebasing figures?

GC: Let me dip into my box of vikings!  [Pause to retrieve miniatures]  For some sets of rules, figures are based multiply.  So I was using rules that had vikings in groups of three and I took them all out and based them individually.  I was chopping them out, putting them on another base, adding plaster with clumps of grass and rocks, and I did that because I wanted to use a set of rules like Lone Wolf.  I'm currently writing my little viking rules system for my own use.

RSH: Okay, so, next question.  Aren't you just a mouldy old man playing at the backwoods tabletop games of your long-lost youth?

GC: Yes!  Now see here, you young whippersnappers!  You don't know nothing at all!

Seriously, yes and no.  I've bought some game rules recently, which cost a lot, and they were [expletive deleted].  But what about Dungeons & Dragons then, do people still play that?  Well there you are.

Yeah, I am a mouldy old man.  Yes I am, yeah.

RSH: Do you have any other sarcasm or witty remarks you would care to share with our readers?

GC: [Pause]  What would I like to say?  Not really witty or funny, but I mean I do this kind of stuff because I love it.  If we get our funding, I would like to continue expanding this game ad infinitum in any kind of way that the players would like it to go.  I can't really do anything else, I'm too far up the rolled leg of the time trousers.  I just like it.

I don't know what to say about the 'mouldy old man,' except to say step out the back sonny and I'll show you a good littering!  Once I've got rid of this nasty cough!

RSH: Thank you, Gary. You take care of yourself.

. . . That wasn't actually the end of the chat.  We stayed some time talking about the Kickstarter's progress.  Which is pretty good!

Now I have two questions for you readers.  Gary's time with Warhammer is in the past: here is an interview by a better interviewer which includes Gary's old work for Warhammer Fantasy.  But was Gary thinking about Warhammer with the "thirty dice" thing or would that have to be a different game?

Also, I did much of the transcription myself.  "A good littering"?  Did I hear him correctly?

Another project you may enjoy

One today.  How many of you backed our first project, Arcana Agency?  Here's an opportunity to go back to that sort of era, but with less in the way of "ancient spirits" and more in the way of "ancient relics."

Artifacts, Inc.  In preparation by a very successful Kickstarter creator, this sends you back to 1929 in search of lost treasure around the world.  Cards, dice, resource and worker management, and a lot of art that just makes it feel like you're on an adventure already.

Now, if you're anything like us, you're watching the page in nervous anticipation.  We hope to have even more exciting stuff to say about Lone Wolf soon!

Dan Buman and Graeme Rigg like this update.


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    1. Megara Entertainment LLC 3-time creator on December 4, 2014

      [Richard S. Hetley] Thanks, Balgin. I also have an answer to my second question which I shall put into a project update shortly.

    2. Balgin Stondraeg
      on December 3, 2014

      Regarding the dice he probably meant Warhammer. He might have meant Saga (which can use a lot of dice) but Warhammer is generally known for it's "buckets of dice" mentality.

    3. Megara Entertainment LLC 3-time creator on December 3, 2014

      [Richard S. Hetley] Please no. We need him intact so that he can produce new content.

    4. Missing avatar

      AstralWanderer on December 3, 2014

      Tsk, tsk - you forgot to ask him who his favourite Darklord was and why. :)

      However it does look like the Cener Druids have done him over pretty well - any chance of his lungs being offered as an addon?