About James Glover

I'm the chief alchemist at 1000mg Games. When I'm not writing and designing games, I'm the father of a lovely daughter and professional in the brick–and–mortar workaday world.

Q4 2021 UPDATE

The winter months are upon us again. I’m shuttering the lab for the season and wanted to tidy things up before turning off the lights and padlocking the cellar door. It’s been a busy and productive year. I was fortunate to be able to work on games and enjoy the inspirations on Twitter. It got me through a few challenges IRL and gave me a way to put words on pages. I also took time to organize my catalog of docs and projects, which is a low priority during game development.


Throughout the year, as ideas accumulated, docs and folders were created and sorted for potential candidates, a process that incurred a margin of clutter and redundancy. However, the time of only using the Google Keep app to handle my seed ideas is long behind me. I still use Keep to put down thoughts, but now I put new game concepts in a Google Docs format at the moment there’s something to consider with substance.

I looked into one-page games, and even had a nice idea I was working on for a contest. I saw a “no chart games” clause and started to lose interest. I realized how suffocating one page was. If the product is best served as an Amazon softcover anthology, that would be a ton of work and a long haul with 20 one-page games, optional gameplay and storytelling content, designer’s notes, and book stuff. Make money with an Omnibus?

Prototype System and REACTOR give characters agency and players room to breathe. These aren’t beer and pretzels systems. They are light and fast and give the players lots of different ways to enjoy interactive story worlds. However, I owed it to myself to try…

A one-page game system that offers an extremely light and highly specialized system.


Here’s my one-page game pitch for 2-4 players:

When the alarm sounded, you had a handful of minutes to make your way to a nearby life pod and evacuate the doomed ship. Red warning lights flashed as the crew climbed aboard and the hatch was sealed.

3… 2… 1… Away!

Suddenly, a catastrophic explosion sends a shockwave rippling through the spacecraft! The capsule has sustained critical damage, affecting the onboard AI. Use your skills and work together to stay alive.

I’d need to crunch the rules down to make a one-page game even feasible. Which becomes about theoretical than practical. I don’t need more limits.

In 2019, I wrote Minigame System with three tables to determine event outcomes. The narration was brief, with players focusing more on task completion than storytelling. Inventory was determined by pre-gen. Characters started the game with a signature object, their baggage. Players built scenes with action points that determined a winner. Not everyone would make it out alive; all were themes I’d revisit with REACTOR.

Table A shows the character’s inventory. Objects can offer a role-specific bonus when a character uses their signature ability to advance the story.

Table B lists the types of actions. Characters can fight, block, make, or hide. Fight and block are primary actions. Make and hide are secondary actions that put status effects on the table. Primary actions affect the characters. Secondary actions affect the world.

Table C details the way players describe the story world by answering six different questions. Each interrogative looks at a particular story detail that defines the world.

A timer is used to add tension as the players gain and lose points. Action outcomes are determined, story content is revealed, and the game moves toward a victory condition.

2-4 players can start an impromptu session with Minigame and just one six-sided die, a d6. One player can take on the role of the AI that tries to direct traffic during the game.

The pitch had some sparkle. From a publication standpoint, I could see 10 games with the classic Minigame rules, with another 10 pages of variant rules and tables of content to release a softcover. Unless it wasn’t expected to be a softcover product.

There’s the fact that I really wasn’t feeling the one-page format, and without charts. I just muscled through the bitter taste and tried to enjoy the medium. I thought about the travel size category, which is underrepresented with a rules-light retail rpg effort.

The right answer is that there should be a fun and quality tabletop roleplaying game for $1. I’m just not sure I want it to be a one-page game.


The Keep app is more of a junk drawer place to collect thoughts that I export to Docs on a yearly schedule. At that point, they are archived in a vault that I will more than likely never come back to. The upside is that with the constant stream of content that I enjoy, there’s a good chance it will go straight to a folder. My workload makes it hard to take on new projects unless they sparkle. If I miss a moment, it may not circle back around.

2021 yielded about 9 pages of Keep concepts that caught my eye or made me think. They tend to be raw and lean. Without further development, an idea thread can be lost. The content is mostly loglines, motivations, snippets, and titles to be vetted. If a seed idea sprouts, it creates a series of docs and folders, and then I’m off and running.

I also wrote a design environment to study inspirations for features, mechanisms, and techniques. The main difference between a game candidate and a design environment is that an environment is made to benefit other projects. It’s not intended for sale.


Omega Sector is one such environment. When I go back to the drawing board to start a new project or look at gameplay mechanisms for projects that I’m already working on, I revisit this amazing creation. The game is M III. It’s an unpublished, internal-use-only title that I wrote to help me understand various aspects of development and publication.

My original idea was a game that gave the players a lot of fast combat and character actions in an interactive story world. 2-4 players take on the roles of unique characters who have personal goals in dangerous situations. What’s not to like?

To keep the pressure on the characters, player turns would need to be very short. The variety of outcomes would address replayability, and storytelling would take place at the top and bottom of each scene to facilitate character development.

Where did Omega Sector come from? It’s a variant of Icarus, a bold development that brings the game by using modifiers and multipliers to resolve conditions and determine outcomes. Icarus came about as an iteration of Minigame and a game called The Skylab Crisis that took up 23 pages. Hardly mini. Production shifted to Icarus, which became Omega Sector.

I hadn’t worked on a really big system that gave the players a variety of world interactions yet, and this felt like a solid move in that direction.


2-4 players can become a Medic, Tech, Officer, or Specialist, the survivors of mankind who are hunted by deadly machines and mutants that seek to eradicate all human flesh. Time to revive the other team members, soldier.

M III puts action and combat at the top of the list. Players jump into the game with pre-gen characters and roll dice or draw cards to reveal combat and affect action outcomes. Characters can also upgrade weapons, vehicles, and missions. And a whole lot more.

I wanted gameplay with an arcade feel that kept the player’s adrenaline pumping. There are brief storytelling segments supported by canon lore to frame scenes for goals and rewards. Characters can also upgrade their weapons, vehicles, and missions.

Fight to destroy the enemy! Build and repair ancient gadgets to power your skills and weapons! Complete missions and earn rewards as you try to survive in a deadly post-apocalyptic setting!

Omega Sector includes an interesting action and combat mechanism called a modifier:

Modifiers change the number of dice in a player’s dice pool for that turn. Modifiers are linked to attributes, so characters become stronger or weaker, more focused or easily confused, healthy or sick, quick or slow. Coordinate your attributes with actions or combat to enhance your skills.

That means your pre-gen will perform differently than another pre-gen, right from the start. Depending on outcomes, your character will develop differently as well. It comes with layers of cross-connected stat modifiers to major and minor outcomes for vehicles, weapons, and upgrades. It also includes a conceptual and thematic universe of story content with canon lore and factions, that all fits within a modest production budget.

However, determining outcomes is a bit unwieldy and problematic at the moment, and there are other sections that still need a lot of work. At 28 pages with a cover, given time it could theoretically be fixed and see the light of day as a playable game. But the effort to do so would be great. Working on it yields a case study in feature creep, among other important lessons. It also helps with hard questions like “how much is too much?”

M III as a concept came from my interest in writing a d20 setting back in 2010.


After publishing THOOL in December, I worked on it into February and released Public Alpha 2 13 21b, out now on Amazon. Check it out here: https://amzn.to/3t6somc

The fixes were mostly things that I missed before the publish commit deadline. It’s still a Work-In-Progress with a healthy to-do list. No Scribus version or softcover edition yet.


In May, things got busy IRL, and my productivity ebbed. Yet, I was able to begin work on Prototype Gen 2 which will feature in my upcoming $1 Game line. I dabbled in one-page games before but felt they were too restrictive for my needs. The effort to make them meant a ton of titles had to be published as an anthology to get a softcover. No thanks!

A game for a buck has to offer more bang than just cheap. In about an hour, the players get to interact in a storytelling world. Then share how fun it was.

Gen 2 honors the simplicity and quickness of Prototype and strengthens the framework to support multiple cross-genre titles in the $1 Game series, which are about 15 pages each. About half of the first book is written, with other games in the series to follow.

The $1 Game line came from an idea to offer quality effort in a modest format. Who can gripe about a 15-page game for a buck that entertains up to four players for an hour?

All $1 Games are made with the same core rules, which means you can mix and match the characters from different titles in custom games that you get to explore and define.


I’m using Google Docs for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Drafts. THOOL was written on a Chromebook about half the time, the other half using a Windows environment. These days, I’m mostly writing in Docs with Windows. My aging Acer CB3-532 Chromebook is reaching its end-of-life date for OS updates.

I caught it on a sale back in 2018 for $179, and it was a big part of how things got done. I can’t say enough nice things about writing with a Chromebook and using Docs and Drive to get work done. To quickly put words on a page, it’s a great asset.

Google Docs export to pdf for print is still a problematic feature I don’t like talking about.

When the 3rd Draft pdf looks as good as I can get it, all things considered, I push it thru the Kindle Create tool to get the product out there as a Public Alpha exclusively on Amazon. Of course, the very notion of a public alpha is fancy speak for a WIP, which means playing the game will undoubtedly present placeholder content and unfinished layouts. However, the game is technically in a playable state.

I’m trying out 3D fonts with Blender. OpenClipart and FontSpace help out as well. There are also cool metahuman tools I’d like to learn about in Unreal Engine 5.


Perhaps by spring, I’ll have a 1st Draft of the first $1 Game, Industrial Accident, as well as the next THOOL update. Prototype Gen 2 is the current big project I’m working on.

There’s also a really cool ʻOumuamua title I wanted to come back to. It’s inspired by how I felt when I researched the object and saw how close it came to Earth. It was on a one-of-a-kind trajectory that brought it close enough to Earth for something to happen.

It’s the very first object of interstellar origin observed in the Solar System, which means the stakes have got to be high and the odds neigh-impossible. Perfect!

As the last days of December loom, I reflect on my blessings. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work on more games and projects.

Play safe. Write responsibly.™

© copyright 2021 James Glover and 1000mg Games. All rights reserved.

New Year, New Game

It’s always interesting when it comes time to write one of these blog posts, as I get to look back and see what’s changed. The WordPress interface is different. The world is different. My writing style, game design, and publishing skills are different. Fortunately, all charted positive growth after a long production cycle and two release date slips.

Not that I’m complaining. Because I’m not. Being adrift in a seemingly endless sea of creativity and development was a gift that strengthened the game system and product.

My process was painstaking. Extensive rewrites and simple revisions disrupted multiple chapters as I integrated the changes. An analogy I referred to often was a vehicle on a lift rack, suspended above, with many critical components removed to expose the underlying precision mechanisms and supportive frameworks.

Parts were reassembled, only to be taken off again as the design changed and mutated.


My 1st draft was brutal, and there were lots of things to fix. As a development milestone, I think it’s important to have the lights on and water running before popping the cork to celebrate. There are a few things that must be done before a 1st draft can be published. By turning out a high quality 1st draft, with development notes, it was possible to enjoy a deep dive on the 2nd draft and work on content and theme. That’s where hard decisions had to be made as to what kind of experience the game would offer.

The 3rd draft cleaned up the format, added charts and titles, and completed every page. Inside the vastness of the last creative space, time stretched to infinity, and the only way out was beyond the horizon’s edge. And then suddenly, it was done.

In addition to having a maxed out work and personal schedule IRL, I’m short on tick-tocks here, although I’m spending more time playing games, studying games, writing games, and watching All Star Trek on H&I. It all helps to recharge before trying to break my high score again on Super Stayin’ Busy III: Arcade Edition.

My development cycle from concept to product for a game with a new system is about two to three years, give or take. I put a lot of that time toward the multiplayer system and ways to configure the game for different play experiences.

To accomplish that, there are couple of truths I am beholden to:

  • Writing, especially roleplaying game design, requires a consistent measure of time spent writing and uninterrupted deep focus. If either one is missing, productivity will take a significant hit. This means the release date will have to be slipped. Then, slipped again because of some other demand IRL.

  • Subsidies, like funds intended to help reduce or eliminate the costs associated with product development and production, help get the games made. My development is budgeted for two and three years per cycle. with occasional date slips and moderate breaks in productivity.

My big-picture plan is to design and publish a series of action/horror games that keep pressure on the players, who must keep their characters alive. Emulating white-knuckle, heart-thumping action, the game is powered by a fast rpg system that can be modified for many other titles. A system worthy of launching an entire action/horror survival game series. No small task, to be sure.

The House on Orchard Lane is the first entry in the Nightmare Escape series. The Kindle Public Alpha edition supports the development and production of the game.


I’m pleased to announce the release of The House on Orchard Lane: Public Alpha exclusively on Amazon Kindle.

The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd drafts of the game were written largely on an Acer N3060 Chromebook using Google Docs on lunchbreak editing days, and a Widows i5 desktop solution on other days I could throw more time at the manuscript. All in Docs.

I’m also developing a Kindle edition made with Scribus, but it’s not ready to show off yet. When it is, I’ll kick off a proper retail edition marketing campaign. In the meantime, it’s available on Amazon Kindle as a Public Alpha edition.

The cover, chapter titles, chapter body text, and accompanying text and charts are separate pdfs that have been recombined using FreePDFConvert.com.

Get the game here! >>> https://amzn.to/3t6somc <<< Get the game here!

The House on Orchard Lane is powered by REACTOR.


The game centers on flawed characters with pasts that have drawn them toward the house where bad things happen. I went back to my favorite films, songs, video games, you name it, and studied what stood out, what was fun. This is an action/horror game that empowers players to build a world and choose what direction the story takes in a world of consequences.

REACTOR is a system that dishes out the death and discomfort by way of three action modes that offer 2-6 players different ways to interact with the story world. Each turn, players can choose from action modes like Eye for an Eye, Go for the Throat, and Beg for Mercy to determine consequences. The characters must fight and survive, or die.

To play this game, you’ll need a few things: a deck of playing cards, five six-sided dice, a few pens, and 2-6 friends. Print out the character sheets and kill for about an hour.


Down an unpaved country road, an old and seemingly abandoned farmhouse sits back among a grove of blighted fruit trees, guarded by a spiked fence and rusted iron gate that forbids entry.

“At long last, you’ve come back.”

Behind gore-streaked walls, you’ll discover a nightmare floorplan of grisly rooms and dead ends, stalked by the Primals, Eternals, and Shadows who only seek to torment and brutalize. In order to escape, you’ll need to fight like hell to survive at the residence of malevolence.

“Carrying deadly weapons that were handed down by the weak and unlucky who came before.”

Take up powerful arms and destroy the enemies who want to carve out your still-beating heart.

“You watched, as the Butcher and the Mastermind danced together in bloodsoaked abandon.”

Once you enter, there’s no turning back. Survive the slaughterhouse. Then, build vile monuments of failure to chronicle the pain and misery you leave in your wake.

“You were there, when the Family defiled and ravaged what remained of their fallen victims.”

Welcome home, we’ve missed you.


My backlog of games, both made and played, runs deep. There are a lot of different projects that could easily take up all of my free time. Games that use existing systems. Games that use systems that have yet to be written.

Not that I have any free time. Because I don’t. A push in one direction takes potential from another direction. Resources are limited, and time is at the top of the list.

I’m focused on the development of The House on Orchard Lane, aka THOOL.

I’d like to launch a THOOL Halloween fundraiser this fall. Then, publish a gameplay survey and a softcover edition made with Scribus. Sigh. Too many games, not enough time.

Whew. It’s going to be a busy year. And that’s okay.

The House on Orchard Lane: Public Alpha game has been released. Go check it out.

Visit me on Twitter for the latest development news, creative musings, and miscellany.

Stay safe out there, folks.

© copyright 2021 James Glover and 1000mg Games. All rights reserved.

Fear City: Manhattan

Soylent Green (1973) — Art of the Title
Credit: MGM

One of my favorite sci-fi films is Soylent Green, which I’ve recently watched again for the umpteenth time. The stellar performances of Charlton Heston and Edward G. Robinson and the chemistry their characters shared underscored the hardships of two close friends, essentially family, who were locked in a tragic dying world scenario.

Over the years, I’ve found it informative from a writing and worldbuilding standpoint, and to satisfy my own curiosity, to examine the aspects of the story and learn more about this dismal dystopian society. My analysis will break down those elements.

The Premise

Released in 1973 and loosely based on Make Room! Make Room!, a sci-fi novel by Harry Harrison published in 1966, Soylent Green looked ahead 50 years to an overpopulated world ruined by a climate catastrophe that created a global shortage of food, water, and housing.

The opening skyline view of the film showed clouds of pollution lingering over the city followed by block lettered titles indicating we’re in a version of New York City in 2022 populated by 40 million people. A loudspeaker droned first stage removal had begun and non-permits would be prohibited from the streets in one hour.

Unless you had a curfew pass.

The Locations

In the real world, New York City of the 1970s experienced a severe economic downturn resulting in a migration of the middle class to the suburbs, a drop in law enforcement, and a spike in crime. Teetering on bankruptcy, abandoned city blocks created areas that were absent of life. From 1965 to 1975, murders, car thefts, and assaults doubled, rapes and burglaries tripled, and robberies increased tenfold. Vandalism was incessant and there was a pervasive sense that the social order was breaking down.

In the first minutes of the movie, exposition in the form of a TV broadcast and discussion between Detective Frank Thorn and his police book Sol Roth reveal we’re in Manhattan. The air is a layer of haze and the temperature remains unbearably hot well after dark, alluding to the real-life air pollution that was present in 1973. Some citizens can be seen wearing face filters for protection during the day.

It felt like Soylent Green was shot on the vanilla backlot of MGM with buildings that were left unaltered for the film. Scenes depicted streets and buildings reminiscent of uptown and urban areas circa 1973, yet they were mostly in good repair and appeared unused. Store windows were unbroken, barring the occasional riot at a food distribution site.

What we saw of this overcrowded NYC was intact and undamaged given the number of people that lived there. As depicted, the wear and tear of daily life, by and large, hadn’t taken much of a toll on the buildings and belongings of the people that called it home. Certainly not to the extreme levels seen in real life. I advocate a “used future” aesthetic and like settings that appear lived in and show normal use, abuse, and neglect. A good example of disregard for this was Brady the filthy grocer who wore a spotless uniform. Interestingly, it was discovered that Soylent Green was the last film to be shot on the famed MGM backlot.

What remained of the private 2-acre Gramercy Park now fit inside an inflatable climate-controlled habitat, and was the only tree sanctuary in all of New York.

Chelsea Towers West was an exclusive apartment complex with a two-year waiting list and a state-of-the-art security system that mysteriously stopped working. My guess is that it was based on the London Terrace apartments in Chelsea, Manhattan.

The Citizens

In the movie, we see Thorn enter apartment buildings with people sleeping on the stairs, watched over by a figure like the Fat Guard, sitting at the top with an assault rifle. Sol informs us of cases he and Thorn are investigating for crimes like rapes and murders.

In reality, by 1975 over a million indigents were on welfare. Instead of jobs and hope, there were drugs and guns. Visitors were advised not to take the subways, venture outside of midtown Manhattan, or walk anywhere after six at night. Compounding the issue were the announced deep cuts in public services workers and salaries. Fires burned out of control, garbage piled up, and crimes went unenforced.

Soylent Green depicted a society of mass unemployment, where if you are employed and are sick for more than two days, you lost your job. So what did 23 million out of work people do to survive? Commit crimes. In open-air markets where the government distributed food and water, citizens tried to make quick cash by selling synthetic footwear, damaged plastic wear, or Soylent crumbs at two Ds a kilo. Back at the police precinct, people waited in lines to collect death benefits, paid in Ds or food coupons.

People in the movie were driven by self-preservation or were corrupted by a system that itself was guilty of wrongdoing at its highest levels. The majority of the citizens would only stick out their necks if they got something in return.

The Groups

The governor’s office played a central role in the film. Santini, up for re-election, was a corrupt politician who employed a fixer named Donovan to do his dirty work so he could maintain distance between himself and the victims. Donovan leveraged police chief Ed Hatcher to close the Simonson case, filing it as felonious assault instead of a murder.

The Soylent Corporation controlled the food supply for half the world. At the start of the film, the governor promoted the newest food product, Soylent Green, a “miracle food of high-energy plankton, gathered from the oceans of the world.” They also made other food products, the less popular Soylent Red and Soylent Yellow, touted as high-energy vegetable concentrates made of genuine soybeans. Soylent also published a certain two-volume oceanographic survey report. In a world where printed books were a rare find, the unnumbered hardbound copies seen in the film contained very technical and highly classified data. Soylent factories and plankton ships were said to be well guarded and suggested that any efforts to gain unauthorized access would be futile.

Sanitation squads retrieved bodies and delivered them to secure waste disposal plants, which were also protected. Trucks loaded with the dead had drivers switch to other empty outbound trucks at a security checkpoint to reduce the likelihood of trespassing. They also used death tokens, a currency that got split between the sanitation squad and the police, then split again among the chief, the police, and the detective.

Police were assigned to riot control at the food and water distribution sites, then had to process next of kin death benefit claims back at the precinct. Detectives were tasked to investigate a backlog of cases and report on the status of suspects. Chief Ed Hatcher, described Thorn as a damn good cop but was influenced by an authority ‘high and hot’ and told Thorn he was bought when they paid him a salary. We never found out if he made good on his promise to tell the Exchange about Thorn’s proof. Personally, I think the Hatcher character had a promising untold story arc of discovery and purpose that could heal or hurt the citizens of New Your City. Hatcher had a re-elect Santini poster on his office wall, took a cut of the profits, bent the rules when leaned on, and insisted his top cop sign a falsified report, likely for self-gain. It’s enticing to think about what he might do when given a larger slice of the story.

The Supreme Exchange consisted of the elderly educated who helped with priority police cases and received the classified Soylent oceanographic survey report from Sol. In a world without books, they had become what was left of civilization’s knowledge. Sol spoke of prior qualifications as a teacher and full professor and addressed the Exchange Leader as ‘Your Honor’. While not mentioned, it’s reasonable to assume the Exchange members had notable qualifications similar to those once held by Sol.

The Council of Nations was an authority that the Exchange could notify, as long as there was adequate proof. The Council was mentioned near the end of the film. However, if Soylent was a global food supplier, chances are they had infiltrated that group as well.

Then there were the Suicide Parlors. Located throughout the city, these clean and well air-conditioned death centers offered a stark contrast to the dirty, hot, and crowded world outside. Within, friendly attendants provided a peaceful exit from a hellish life.

Lastly, there were remnants of organized religion and those who still believed in God. There was Paul, the blind priest who was reduced to providing beds for the homeless and hearing confessions. There was also Sol who said ‘Vaya con Dios’ to Thorn, and the Exchange Leader who asked Sol, “What God, Mr. Roth? Where will we find Him?”

The Others

There were other characters in the movie that were relegated to the minor roles or were silent on the periphery. They helped to shed a bit more light on the world of the story.

Gilbert was a street thug tasked by Donovan to get rid of Simonson. In an encampment of parked cars, we saw Donovan give him a weapon, a message, and a job. In the back seat was a woman and an infant, presumably Gilbert’s family. Undoubtedly she heard Gilbert speak his employer’s name, but was that all she heard? Did she collect Gilbert’s death benefit when he didn’t return home? Did Gilbert make arrangements with her to collect his payment from Donovan in case he didn’t make it back?

At the end of the film, inside the church Thorn explained the food situation to Hatcher. Nearby, a few people listened and seemed shocked by Thorn’s testimony. Assuming they heard enough of the details, were they motivated enough to get involved or follow up? Could the public masses who stood in line to air their sins to Father Paul or any member of the clergy be rallied to take action? It was odd that a church or religion of tomorrow wouldn’t be able to motivate its congregation and faithful with the promise of salvation, along with whatever organized support they were allowed to provide.

Thorn visited the apartment of bodyguard Tab Fielding and got a statement from Martha Phillips. Before she heard pounding on the door, Martha turned down the music to stop a baby from crying. Did the neighbors hear the Thorn’s banging on the door or any of the conversation? What about the fight between Fielding and Thorn that took place when Thorn came back later? Fat Guard who sat at the top of the stairs with an assault rifle told Thorn on arrival, “We run a clean building.” Did anyone report the disturbance? Who was the ‘we’? Could the building management confirm how Fielding paid his rent? Which stores did Fielding buy his fancy furnishings and expensive food? Did he haul bags of food upstairs, over the homeless who might have seen or heard something?

When Gilbert entered Chelsea Towers West, he waited for a security guard to pass by before moving forward. Was the guard paid to look the other way? Near the end of the film, Thorn advised Shirl to keep the scanners turned on and travel with a bodyguard. Did it confirm Fielding worked with building management to facilitate an assassination?

Shirl said Chelsea Towers West had been her home for a long time. What about Kathy and the other girls? What happened to the other unwanted furniture? What if maturity or mistreatment by Charles finally put them at odds with their own complacency?

Shirl also entertained guests. “There was a Mr. Lempeter… a man called Thompkins… and somebody called Santini.” Was Thompkins connected to Thompkins Park in Lower Manhattan? Thompkins Park, later called Thompkins Square Park, had a reputation as a place of protest in the 1960s, and a destination for drugs and violence in the 1980s. If so, perhaps it suggested that a local crime boss was involved in an assassination.

Loose Ends

Mention was made of travel to other cities. Thorn insisted they were just like Manhattan: overcrowded and rife with crime. Early in the film, it was revealed that another case Thorn was investigating, the Matthewson murder, was closed because the suspect had fled to Philadelphia which was outside the reach of his jurisdiction. This path leans into the police and Council groups mentioned earlier in order to introduce a police precinct in another city. Perhaps Sol networked through the Council to make contact with another book like himself, who worked with a detective similar to Thorn. We don’t see a lot of working cars, however, it’s suggested that Governor Santini visited the last tree in a 1972 Brubaker Box kit car.

Credit: MGM

Farms in the country were spoken of as possible safe havens but quickly dismissed, as “good land’s got to be guarded,” meaning they were off-limits to all but the elite. Presumably, the beef that Shirl ordered through Brady the grocer came from a farm, which made sense as she’d suggested the farms to Thorn as a possible destination.

Let’s not overlook the comforting ushers at the Suicide Parlors. If Thorn could split death tokens with Wagner from the sanitation squad, there were other opportunities. Usher #1, played by Dick Van Patten, used his override key at least once. Was it the first time?

Going Home

One of my qualms with the film, as much as I love it, was its disregard for how NYC really was in the early 1970s: viciously brutal, abhorrently filthy, and doomed by neglect and overpopulation. Put simply, the movie leaned into sci-fi tropes and indicated how it rubbed MGM the wrong way as a feature that focused on environmentalism instead of stepping on religious toes by pointing to the obvious fact that birth control was far easier to manage than “breeding people for cattle.” The studio settled on a final script that focused on cannibal crackers and not state-enforced contraception.

In 1970 the population of New York City was 7.9 million, give or take. The film indicated that in 2022 it had skyrocketed to 40 million. I’ll sidestep the logic of that idea, and the disparity of the population density we saw onscreen, in favor of another dire issue. In a city with soaring crime and people living on crumbs, where were the gangs? We see no market syndicates, no gang members roaming the neighborhoods like locusts, or hear mention of an underground resistance or simmering rebellion. It was unlikely that when compared to the real 1970s, unemployed people starving for food would be content to wait in lines or be threatened by riot cops shouting “the scoops are on their way!”

Also, Charles told Thorn the security system that consisted of scanners and alarms had gone out of order a week earlier, for the first time in two years. Regarding parts, Charles said, “our men fabricate replacements,” implying there was some kind of supply chain that could be exploited, possibly from within. It remained unclear if the sabotage was due to Fielding or the staff at Chelsea Towers West.

Fear City: Manhattan

As I put creative miles between my ideas and those from Soylent Green, I’m reminded of a narrative trick that was used. By having the story take place 50 years in the future of the film’s release, it occupied a sweet spot at the limit of suspension of disbelief. Any further out, say 75-100 years away, and the characters wouldn’t have a connection to the then-current 1970s world. It would’ve been someone else’s problem.

An original rpg setting I’m developing is Fear City: Manhattan. It will closely reflect a New York City that had been consumed by rampant crime and social neglect. Instead of occurring decades in the future, it will take place at the height of decay in the mid-70s.

Stay tuned for more details on this one.




I’m happy to announce my Indiegogo fundraiser for The House on Orchard Lane has successfully launched and is funding now.

Get the game here >> http://bit.ly/THEHOUSEONORCHARDLANE <<

The project is just beginning its crowd-sourced development phase where backers can suggest ideas that might possibly appear in the game.

In addition, the project will try to secure funding for talented commissioned artwork.

It’s an exciting time as the project has been in development since July 2018. And also because the fundraiser format is a testbed foundation for future game development.

I’ll be making tweaks and changes along the way to adjust for scale and theme, but it will be based on my Indiegogo variant layout. Thank you, Indiegogo!

A press release would be customary at some point, however, I don’t want the content and feature descriptions to interfere with the fundraiser. Plus, it’s a work-in-progress.

Marketing is focused on a solid, yet spam-sensitive promotion during the fundraiser and after depending on if InDemand requirements are met. The game will land at Amazon for the Kindle so there will continue to be product promotions.

And yes. The switch from Kickstarter to Indiegogo.

I’ll have to get into that at a later time. For now, I have a fundraiser to attend.

© copyright 2019 James Glover and 1000mg Games. All rights reserved.



On 18 October 2013, I created the first files for The House on Orchard Lane. It was just a seed of an idea at that point. A title, in fact. I had planned to roll over work from another horror game called Evidence Locker, which was about murder weapons in police custody.

As I studied themes and influences, I translated the game titles into Chinese. This marked the beginning of my combat genre product category that produced two strong contenders: Evidence Locker and AI: Awake.


Somewhere around this time, the Nightmare Escape brand was dreamed up. It became clear to me that the story had to include a house as a character. Players would use their characters to attack and destroy the home of evil and those who seek its dark comforts.


Fast forward to July 2018. I returned to my “Halloween game” product. It would play like a slasher flick. Friday the 13th movies were a major influence, along with Halloween and Hellraiser, and others. Oh my.

I saw potential in visceral tabletop horror rpgs and remembered thinking, “wouldn’t it be nice to play a game that sandboxed a slaughterhouse?”


Soon, I’ll be launching a Kickstarter to raise funds for The House on Orchard Lane, the “Halloween game” that I finally got back to. It’s the project I’m working on.

I released an early look picture of the above title art on Twitter. Now I’m announcing it here for my followers:

The countdown to launch clock for The House on Orchard Lane Kickstarter has started.

Closing out old news, our G+ community has been shuttered. Welcome to everyone who made the jump to this site or Twitter. It also looks like Google URL shortener will cease soon. If any links break let me know. I’ll be using Bitly from here on out.

Stay tuned for more details and a roasted, full-bodied update.

© copyright 2019 James Glover and 1000mg Games. All rights reserved.


Q4 2017 Update

Wow. It’s been a minute since my last confession, er post. So long in fact that WP has made some significant changes to the layout for basic service folks such as myself. One of the things that I’ve done over the past few months was think about making a financial commitment and moving up to a Personal or Premium plan. Maybe after my next game.

Which brings me to…

The Next Game

My next game sits squarely at the top of my list. While the demands of Real Life™ keep me occupied, on most days I manage to push forward in some way on that subject. The short answer is, I’m working on a new title now, but it won’t be finished before the end of the year. The product looks really solid. I’m just not ready to do the teaser thing yet.

I can confirm that it will be several times larger than Acts of Liberty.

Where Did The Year Go?

After production on AoL wrapped in February, I had planned to take a month off to rest, and then load up my schedule with new game candidates. Looking back, my plans were overly ambitious.

In March I worked on two different Prototype series titles: one was planned for a fall release, a “Halloween game.” The second would be released early next year.

April made room for a stand-alone game I fell in love with that was to be completed by summer. Somehow.

In May I scheduled myself to write the Kickstarter for a new series title that utilized a one page system, inspired by Craig Cartmell’s Dead Simple rules. This was abandoned.

In June I worked on Prototype Gen 2, and two new titles that would employ those rules.

July was my down time. I organized files and prioritized my catalog.

August was when I made the move to Scribus from Apache Open Office Writer. To practice, I worked on layouts for no less than three new games.

Fonts, titles, intros. Wash, rinse, repeat.

In September I worked on yet another game in Scribus.

October saw me picking up where I left off on my Halloween title that I started in back in May. I wasn’t going to make that Kickstarter launch date.

By November, I had selected my new game system and had solid templates in Scribus.

What’s Ahead?

I’ve been in production on the same title for about a month, which is a really good sign. Like I said, I feel good about it. Also an artist has caught my eye. She’s outstanding. I’ll contact her after I hit the first playtest milestone. But first I need to write more pages.

I may very well be on a two year development cycle per game. Which is fine by me.

Stay safe and enjoy the holidays. I’ll see you next year.

Copyright © 2017 James Glover and 1000mg Games. All rights reserved.

The Acts of Liberty Companion



I’ve always envisioned Acts of Liberty as a stand-alone game set in an alternate history. From the beginning, it was intended as a proof-of-concept for the Prototype System, a rules-light tabletop storytelling framework that was developed concurrently to power and showcase the first in a series of games. This companion to Acts of Liberty serves as a chronicle to the many features, design choices, and insights that I made along the way.

Near Zero Production Cost

The two year development of Acts of Liberty was in part due to the design of the Prototype System. From the outset, a hallmark of development was to achieve a very low production cost and yield the best playability, which I felt was accomplished. Besides my time spent on the project, which was a cost that would be recompensed in aggregate through sales of the games that used the system, I stayed within my budgetary limits to strike an artistic balance that would both complement the product, and fit within the scope of the medium. I knew that the sales of the game itself would never recoup an investment in art assets; this was a hard reality that I had to accept early on. Therefore, my philosophy behind the Prototype System has been to offer great games that cost next to nothing to make.

Space Limitations

During development of Prototype, I arrived at the question, “when does one make the decision to roll additional game features into the next iteration of the system?”

At first, a generic answer seemed to be unknowable, as it relied on specific variables that would be different with each situation. The analogue in software design was feature creep, but what additional features could I include, and more importantly, what would it affect?

Let me back up a bit. Once I decided on the general sequence of gameplay, I plotted the layout of the game. I knew that page one would be the cover and page two would be the credits, table of contents, and game and system introductions. I also knew that starting on page three, the rules would spread out for five pages to address every aspect of gameplay from the beginning to the end. Then, an additional four more pages would be needed for the necessary game charts. That brought the page count to 11. About four months before the game was published, the first playtest uncovered a major sub-system rewrite along with numerous clarifications. Overall, however, the product was sound.

And — most importantly — Acts of Liberty was fun.

Now. I was also aware of the minimum page count for a hardcopy in order to bring the game into the physical world. Depending on where you shop, that threshold is 18 pages. The crown jewel of that being an ISBN. Marching headlong toward that lofty achievement was completely outside the development plan, as it hadn’t been budgeted for and would surely push back the publication date even further. But it was very attractive. To achieve that goal, the game would need seven more pages that were filled with necessary game content that justified their inclusion. Also, if you’ve ever looked closely at the last page of an rpg book, not counting the appendix, index or charts, it’s mostly full. No one in their right mind uses less than half of the last page.

Oh, sure. There were a number of tricks that I could employ to inflate the page count. I could widen the gutter and increase the font size for the titles and body which would disrupt a finely-tuned balance. I could upgrade the block quote graphics. All of these solutions, which might work for someone else felt disingenuous to me, and didn’t offer more than a slight page gain; a half column at best. A more substantial fix would be to add art elements to break up the text. That particular option was one that I had given a lot of serious thought to. However, the pages were already full of text, so where would the art go? Further, whatever art I did include would have to fit within a minimalist aesthetic. Yet, even art assets would only get me so far. The only responsible way to increase the page count was to simply add more game.

Which was interesting because, shortly after the first playtest, I had come back to my lingering question about the inclusion of additional game system features, above and beyond what was required to play the game. That’s the point when I was ready to learn the next lesson of game design:

“The mechanic must reflect the narrative.”

Inspired by the simplicity of this mantra, I would go back through the entire game to ensure that each part was in fact necessary and complimented both the setting and the narrative. I worked hard to polish every section to increase its clarity and effectiveness, a side-effect was a reduction of the space it required. In the end, it turned out that 11 pages was exactly what was needed; every page was full top to bottom with game.

During my time of exploration into the expansion of the book with more game features, I designed mechanisms and resources that would add content and increase replayability:

  • 4 new world blueprint charts with characters, terrains, incursions, and judgments.
  • 4 new world blueprint charts with names, locations, organizations, and conclusions.
  • Additional rules to integrate the new world blueprint charts.
  • Character sheets to track narratives, story elements, and tokens.

For a few reasons, my gut told me the expanded content should be left out. Acts of Liberty worked just fine without the bonus materials. The expanded content would eventually be made available as an add-on product sold separately, included in an anthology of other games I had yet to write, or become part of the next version of Prototype.

Either way, I had found the answer I’d been searching for.

Page One

An early plan was to commission a cover illustration or use photographic elements to capture the imagination. As I’ve said, Prototype was never conceived as an art-heavy line. It’s minimalistic by design to keep costs down, and an overly produced piece of art for the cover and simple graphics in the interior seemed at odds with each other.

I still needed a cover. Then, right around that time, The Purge: Election Year hit theatres, and the movie poster gave me an idea.

Acts of Liberty was written with Apache Open Office. The title text, page and chart headers used the Cloister Black font by Dieter Steffmann; the cover text was rendered using a simple shadow. The red stripes represented the four different acts, and the stars and background were flipped to give it an off-kilter feel; something familiar was askew. A variation of this theme appears at the top of each page. The Prototype System logo used the Leander font by Tension Type in red. The body text used the Libre Baskerville font by Pablo Impallari, and lastly, the chart body used the Franklin Gothic font by Morris Fuller Benton.

Page Two

The game opens with the credits, table of contents, a thematic introduction, and a general introduction to gameplay and the Prototype System. Due to the aforementioned space limits, many of the sources and inspirations didn’t make it into the book. After several rewrites and an expanded table of contents, I had to trim the credits down to the minimum. I’ve reviewed my notes and have listed those references below:

  • The film The Patriot by Roland Emmerich
  • The film The Star Chamber by Peter Hyams
  • Shay’s Rebellion
  • The Great Compromise of 1787
  • The US Constitution: An Ideal Squandered by Terry Garlock
  • The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 And It’s Effects by Dan Bryan
  • Is America A ‘Nation on The Take?’ by Wendell Potter and Nick Penniman
  • How Trump Has Proved The Founders Right by HW Brands
  • America’s Critical Period
  • The Pennsylvania Mutiny of 1783
  • The Annapolis Convention of 1786
  • The Philadelphia Convention of 1787
  • Myths of The American Revolution by John Furling
  • Revisiting The Fabric of American Empire by Alex Cacloppo
  • The Anti-Federalist Papers
  • Constitution Day
  • The Ninth Pillar, Massachusetts Centinel, 25 June 1788
  • Loyalists of the American Revolutionary War
  • The Culper Ring
  • The Sons of Liberty
  • The US Constitution: Tool of Centralization and Debt, 1788-Today by Gary North
  • The Federalist Papers
  • The Supreme Executive Council of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

I spent a great deal of time on the thematic introduction, which appears as two paragraphs of flavor text, each separated by a dramatic question. This was the first step into the game world, and it was also a hint at how the game content would be introduced.

I searched diligently for a plausible historical jump-off, and found one in a fictional organization called the Council that was opposed to the ratification of the Constitution. Inspired by the Supreme Executive Council of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, it also gave me the perfect hook for a sequel.

Did I say sequel? Yes I did. Even though Acts of Liberty had been designed as a one-off, every good writer leaves loopholes for a possible sequel to avoid painting themselves into a corner. The blueprints were laid out if I ever needed to go back down that road.

I never wanted to get a letter that read, “Apes exist, sequel required.”

In the game and system introduction, the players learn that Prototype is inspired by the classic kishōtenketsu narrative structure, and that conflict resolution isn’t the focus. The players are empowered to create stories using exposition and contrast to build the interest. The introduction also provides an overview of the gameplay and setting without requiring the players to digest the entire document to decide if it’s their kind of game or not.

I’d intended to include the game and system version numbers on page two, just below the credits. But, due to the always-looming space limitations, it had to be cut. As published, the release version of the game is 485, and the Prototype System version is Gen 1.

Page Three

The section for game setup provides the players with flavor text that applies to their immediate situation, and includes a quote by Rufus King of the Massachusetts Delegate, who voiced concerns about how, in the wrong hands, the journals of the Second Continental Congress could be used to resist or undo the ratification of the Constitution. It’s another great historical link with dramatic implications.

While not specifically stated, it’s a good idea if each player has a copy of the game, which will result in a more smooth and fluid gameplay experience.

The game setup section briefly explores the use of cards, tokens and the optional jokers. Originally, Prototype had a hard lock on the drawing of cards, and didn’t allow discards. Each card was accounted for in a four player game. The downside was the stockpile of cards that each player would accumulate. It was during a late design rewrite that I abandoned that mechanism and adopted a discard feature in order to free up more cards to facilitate the active and passive character roles.

The card suits introduce story element archetypes as descriptors that are specific to the act in which the card is drawn. An idea I had early on was to allow the players to play as historical figures, such as George or Martha Washington. However, it introduced multiple instances of the same character, which in the context of the game was illogical. The fix was a switch to archetypes, which made thematic sense, and created headroom for the players to construct elements that were their own. It was a good choice, as it meshed with the world building gameplay and underscored the game mantra, “more storytelling possibilities.”

For the card values, I opted to go with interrogative pronouns who, what, where, when, why, and how that repeated twice per drawn card. However, there were 13 card values, and I was one pronoun short. To repeat a pronoun again was a cheap fix that I wasn’t fond of. Therefore, I had to go back and look at the less-popular pronouns that quite frankly didn’t offer the flexibility of the five that I was already using. The solution was the pronoun determiner which. While it was a binary either/or question, it was leagues better than a simple yes/no question. As an added bonus, the card value I needed it for was the queen, and I found delight in affixing that particular pronoun to her as a hidden play on words.

When designing a game system on the cheap, it’s ideal to use components that the players already have such as tokens. I used pennies during the design of Prototype, but the players could use anything. The tokens are a resource that can be spent to perform a number of tasks. They can be used by the active players to draw more cards to introduce game details that enhance their story elements. The tokens can also be spent by the active and passive players to unlock evidence and witness tampering, affecting the elements and testimonies that the characters are introducing. I was thoroughly pleased with giving the players another choice to make, even if it wasn’t their turn to push the story forward. Each player would have a chance to stand at the crossroads and decide whether to spend tokens to draw more cards, change the evidence of a testimony, or introduce a witness that offered an outside (and possibly contradictory) testimony.

The inclusion of the jokers presented a unique challenge. Should I make them optional or not include them at all? I spent a bit of time working on that answer. Rather than write them out of the game altogether, which was a last-ditch plan, I worked out how they could be best served in the game. A feature I wanted to implement from day one was a concept called the super element, a powerful story construct that affected all narratives. Like any unique aspect of gameplay, it had a number of conditions that had to be worked out. What card sequence were they drawn? What act did they appear in? Who could define them? In the end, I made them optional, but powerful.

Page 3 ends with the game play section, which provides a brief overview of the sequence of play and serves as the point where the game is launched. It’s also the place where active and passive characters are first mentioned. By this point in the instructions, the players should have a solid idea of what the game was about.

Something that came up during playtesting was that I hadn’t included a method to select who goes first, which I felt was a bit gimmicky. Two things worked against its inclusion: the page was already maxed out, and due to the complexity of the game, I took a chance that the players could probably figure that part out for themselves.

Page Four and Five

The next two pages are gameplay examples that take a close look as a player progresses through acts one through four. It also provides definitions for the categories of descriptors that each card suit introduces. This section gives gameplay examples and details the card suit descriptor categories, which change with each act. Conversely, the card value descriptor categories remain the same. I also provided character testimonies in the form of block quotes that reflect the actual cards that were used in the examples.

Page Six

This section goes into a lot of detail about the evidence and witness tampering sub-system that active and passive players can utilize to change character testimonies. In the wake of the first playtest, I determined that a mechanism involving primacy would be scrapped, and then got to work on what would replace it. Evidence and witness tampering explores the active and passive character modes, with the active characters providing testimonies, and the passive characters attempting to alter them. I explored activities that took place in a real courtroom and what pre-constitutional trials looked like. I also borrowed from my original concept of primacy that centered on the notion of an unreliable narrator. The active characters would now be free to change the elements of their testimony, and the passive characters would be free to try and discredit them. Two interesting features that came out of this section that changed the way the game was played: the destruction of evidence by an active player required a discard mechanism, and the eyewitness/victim mechanism required the drawing of additional cards that, in effect, created a kind of sidekick.

I wanted the tampering of evidence or witnesses to have an offset or a penalty. If you were going to spend tokens to change testimonies or introduce witnesses, you wouldn’t be able to spend tokens to develop your own testimony during that act. I felt it provided different ways to play the game and opened up emergent strategies that the players could explore.

Page Seven

Page seven goes into detail about how the tokens are used, gameplay specifics involving the optional super elements, ending the game, optional rules, and a gameplay overview.

One scenario that came up during the first playtest was if a player ran out of tokens during the construction of a super element. This was resolved by allowing any active player to develop the super element on their turn during the act in which it was drawn.

Another bit of feedback I got was that I hadn’t included a proper “game” ending. There weren’t any victory conditions, and there wasn’t a way to declare a winner. This was by design and went back to the classic kishōtenketsu narrative structure, which was a major inspiration. I determined that, while the characters could construct their own endings, there would be no conflict resolution. There’s no reward to claim or lose. An exception would be if a character chose to destroy evidence. Thanks to the evidence and witness tampering mechanism that removed it, the action would in all likelihood result in it being replaced by something else. In other words, a bad thing is more than likely still going to happen.

Four optional rules are included that served to enhance the storytelling and increase the replayability. The first negates the rollover of unused tokens to eliminate big spending. The second rule forces the construction of super elements instead of a player’s own story elements. The third rule replaces the jokers with a one token draw that combines with any other card. And the last rule replaces absent players with additional witnesses and victims that are connected to specific incursions.

Lastly, the game overview recaps the steps from starting the game to concluding the story.

Pages 8 Thru 11

These are the game charts that the players will use to construct their story elements and narratives. Each chart features modified graphics that are taken from the page headers. The concept of a 1st card, 2nd card, 3rd card was part of the design since the beginning, and was linked to the tokens. It was always planned to give the players the option to take a free first card and then have the players choose to spend tokens to draw cards and add more details. The 1st card deals in the past, the 2nd card pertains to the present or the immediate future, and the 3rd card involves unknowns from the past or the future.

Each chart is attached to an act, so the first act is always specific to the development of characters, the second act is always the development of the terrains, and so on. As the game progresses through the acts, so do the charts advance. Once an act is concluded, there’s no going back. An aspect of kishōtenketsu that was adapted for gameplay was how, in the source framework, major changes to the introduction and detail don’t occur after the second act. In the context of Acts of Liberty, each act introduces its own content that builds on the story elements and details revealed within that act, which in turn build on the events of prior acts. This happens continuously, and is not limited to the second act.

The charts also feature authentic quotes that reflect the historical tone of the era, and the theme of each act.

The End of The Story

This companion to Acts of Liberty marks the official end of development for the game and Prototype System (Gen 1). The story of the Council and its four suspects has been told, and will yield different conclusions with each telling. As I’ve said, it’s entirely possible that I may again return to this setting at some point to publish advanced world charts or a sequel that uses this version of Prototype. Or, perhaps, in Gen 2.

Until then, I leave the world of 1788 on the precipice of justice, and in your capable hands.

Acts of Liberty is out on Amazon.

Copyright © 2017 James Glover and 1000mg Games. All rights reserved.

Acts of Liberty: A Primer


Acts of Liberty was borne out of a conversation about recital of the Pledge of Allegiance in the classroom, which led to research about US citizenship requirements and ultimately, the Constitution. From that point, it was relatively easy to find lots of source material to create a thematic jump off. I chose the kishōtenketsu four act narrative structure as the inspiration for my storytelling framework, and that’s when the title came into view.

The Prototype System takes the beginning-middle-twist-ending formula, moves the familiar conflict resolution element to the periphery, and refocuses on contrast and exposition. In each act, content is introduced that builds on or alters established story developments.

The clock is turned back to the summer of 1788, on the eve of the ratification of the Constitution. 2-4 players take on the roles of characters, everyday citizens who are suspected of crimes against the state. Brought before an authoritarian judicial league known as the Council, their stories unfold.

Acts of Liberty is a tabletop storytelling rpg that includes the rules and game charts. All you need is a deck of playing cards and a handful of tokens.


Beginning with act one, the players take turns constructing their characters. There are four different archetypes: artisan, farmer, merchant, and soldier. Prototype allows multiple instances of an archetype to increase the story complexity. At the beginning of the act, each player draws a 1st card and refers to the world blueprint chart to build a character.

The card suits introduce nearly 50 different kinds of descriptors that reveal facts about the characters. In act one, drawing 2nd and 3rd cards reveals dispositions and knowledge that further define their characters.

The card values introduce seven different kinds of narrative-framing questions that offer over 150 unique story-building elements.

The starting player is an active character providing a testimony from the perspective of a suspect who is accused of a crime against the state. All other players become passive characters who represent witnesses that can interact with the suspect’s testimony.

Suspects can spend tokens to draw additional cards to reveal more story, or they can engage in evidence tampering in order to conceal, fabricate, or destroy parts of their own testimony.

Witnesses can spend tokens to alter a suspect’s testimony through witness tampering in order to bribe or coerce, introduce an eyewitness or victim testimony, or provide hostile or contrary statements.

When each character has concluded their testimony, the act ends.


Gameplay rotates clockwise to the next player who becomes a suspect, continuing as before until each player has had a chance to narrate as both suspect and witness.

In act two, the players take turns constructing their terrains. There are four different archetypes: coastal, mountain, prairie, and swamp. At the beginning of the act, each player draws a 1st card and refers to the world blueprint chart to build a terrain.

By drawing a 2nd or 3rd card, players can reveal conditions and influences that further define their terrains.

Gameplay continues in the same manner as before, with each player shifting between the roles of suspect and witness, contributing and affecting testimonies that build on the events that were established in act one.

When each character has concluded their testimony, the act ends.


As before, gameplay rotates clockwise to the next player who becomes a suspect, and continues until each character has provided statements or altered testimonies as both suspect and witness.

In act three, the players take turns constructing their incursions. There are four different archetypes: family, military, nobility, and tribunal. At the beginning of the act, each player draws a 1st card and refers to the world blueprint chart to build an incursion.

With the drawing a 2nd or 3rd card, players can further define their incursions by revealing  disruptions and perceptions.

Again each player shifts between the roles of suspect and witness, contributing and affecting testimonies that build on the events that were established in acts one and two.

When each character has concluded their testimony, act three ends.


In the final act, gameplay rotates clockwise to the next player who becomes a suspect, and continues until each character has provided statements or affected testimonies as both suspect and witness.

Act four has the characters taking turns to construct their judgements. There are four different archetypes: allegiance, condemn, pardon, and treachery. At the start of the act, each player draws a 1st card and refers to the world blueprint chart to build a judgment.

By drawing a 2nd or 3rd card, players can further define their judgments by revealing impressions and reflections.

Each player shifts between the roles of suspect and witness, weighing the outcome of the changes to acts one and two that were made by the incursions of acts three.

When each character has offered a final testimony, the game concludes.


Acts of Liberty takes place in a sandbox storytelling environment where the characters stand accused of crimes. Over the course of four acts, they can reveal or alter evidence and testimonies that create a complex and interconnected drama.


In addition, the game also includes:

  • Super Elements, global constructs that affect all narratives.
  • 4 optional gameplay expanding rules.


It’s a subtle yet compelling tabletop game. Explore the court of the Council, and witness the dark crucible of justice that threatens the birth of democracy in early America.

Acts of Liberty is available now on Amazon.

Copyright © 2017 James Glover and 1000mg Games. All rights reserved.

Year In Review

As 2016 comes to a close, I’m sipping a cold Black Cherry Original New York Seltzer and reflecting on the events that have filled up this year.

It’s been a wonderful and, at times, difficult journey.

First off, I’d like to express my gratitude and appreciation for my family and friends who helped me cross the finish line with my first game, Acts of Liberty, which has been released.

I work two jobs and have a child, so it’s not always possible, nor is it always desireable, to sit in front of a screen for hours upon hours and chip away at a game product. Not that I’m complaining, because I’m not. I enjoy a very rewarding personal and professional life outside of 1000mg Games; I only mention this as context when I reflect on how long I’ve been working on AoL and Prototype. Which has been a long time.

What that time provided was a (mostly) enjoyable development process that allowed me to research the best layout, narrative framework, subject matter, and production value that would fit my needs and goals. And looking back, I can honestly say that I was successful.

Thank you to my daughter Sofia, for her patience and understanding during the times I desperately had to focus on writing. Her love of games and world building is nearly as strong as mine, yet she was quite happy to hear me announce that the project had been completed. Perhaps even more than I was to say it.

I owe a big thanks to my friends Dan and Gina Stafford, who shared their time and energy to get me back on track. To Dan, for motivating me to climb out of a conceptual gravity well back in the spring, and escape from a development hell of my own making.

And to his wife Gina, for her invaluable contributions during the Phase 1 Playtest over the summer. She helped me to think about what would replace a victory condition in a game without conflict resolution, and to revisit “the mechanic must compliment the narrative.”

I uploaded the finished game at 11:45 pm PST on 12/25, just ahead of my year end deadline. By about that much. I am wiser in that I know how much work I can complete in one year.

On the horizon for 2017 are two more games: at least one more Prototype System game, and the debut of a new game system and Kickstarter. It’ll be a glorious year to play.

I want to offer my sincere thanks to my fans, followers, and friends, whether here, on Twitter, or G+. I truly appreciate your support and attention.

Oh yeah. One more thing. Monica Valentinelli once said that if, while visiting a website, she couldn’t easily find a link to the product she would leave within mere minutes.


Go grab your copy of Acts of Liberty over at Amazon.

Happy holidays, I’ll see you next year.

Copyright © 2016 James Glover and 1000mg Games. All rights reserved.

Acts of Liberty Released


Company: 1000mg Games

Contact: James Glover

The 2016 Release of Acts of Liberty

1000mg Games has announced the release of Acts of Liberty, a new roleplaying game using the Prototype System. Acts of Liberty is a story roleplaying game for 2-4 players that takes place in an alternate history. Over the course of four acts, each player assumes the dual role of both suspect and witness as they take turns revealing evidence and building testimonies in an interactive environment.

Cast as both suspect and witness, the players are caught in the crossfire of a democratic movement and an existential threat that seeks to undermine the promise of freedom during the waning days of a pre-Constitutional America. In the uncertain days before ratification, Loyalists, anti-Federalists, and profiteers are reporting their own neighbors for a few coins. Accused of crimes against the state, the players now stand before the Council, a rogue judicial syndicate.

Using the included world blueprint charts, players collaborate or go it alone to combine archetype story elements such as characters, terrains, incursions, and judgments with dozens of descriptors and over 150 interrogatives. No two story elements are alike. 

Inspired by the classic kishōtenketsu narrative structure, the Prototype System relegates conflict resolution to the periphery, and explores the contrast of unique story elements, narrative-bending twists, and dramatic conclusions. All you need to play is a deck of playing cards and a few tokens.

Acts of Liberty is the first game to utilize the Prototype System, with more planned for release in 2017.

Copyright © 2016 James Glover and 1000mg Games. All rights reserved.