Retro Gaming Card-Based Simulation

Last night we finally got round to playing a game I was given for my birthday. Boss Monster has “The Dungeon Building Card Game” as its strapline, and takes its graphic style from 8-bit computer gaming. I’d heard good things about it, but we hadn’t really had time to explore it. As our hosts for the weekend are seriously into their tabletop games it seemed only fitting to bring it along with us.

We had a bit of a false start setting up – alcohol and overly complicated instructions will do that for you – but found a YouTube play tutorial that made it all a lot easier.

It’s a clever game, with some nice flourishes. Each Hero has flavour text, many of the illustrations give shouts out to famous book covers or film scenes (my favourite is a nod to the classic AD&D DM’s Guide cover), and gameplay is a lot more tactical than you might anticipate at first. This is particularly important when working out whether you want to attract marauding heroes to your Dungeon.

We played two games, with the second being much more assured and competitive, and replay value seems high. Now I’ve got the hang of the setup and play it’ll be a good go-to game to pull out with company and let the geekery flow.

Winning Ways

I know I can write. I know I can write well. I know I can move and thrill and amuse people, often within the same piece. There’s still nothing quite like having it confirmed in a competition.


I entered one this month, largely from having a couple of friends flag it on Facebook. It started by being challenged by Lord Danger, who had already had a crack at it, and by Ladies M and G, who keep an eye out for this sort of thing.

It was a simple enough thing, to write a short story based on a picture. In this instance it was a road traffic sign with a picture of a fairy on it. How could I turn that down?

I scribbled a quick piece over coffee, did a quick couple of edits as I typed it up, and submitted it, and thought no more about it.

This weekend we’re visiting friends, and I glanced at my phone as we arrived to see a torrent of notifications. The first was from Lady G, ecstatic on my behalf but with no explanation as to why. The second was from the competition owner, telling me I’d won first prize.

It hasn’t really quite sunk in yet, but there’s a quiet little glow of confidence that’s quite different from what I get when I sell my non-fiction articles. I knew it was a good story, it felt like bottled lightning as I committed it to paper, and it made me smile to complete it.

So that’s all worked out well.

You can find the results and the winning stories at so go have a look, enjoy, and picture the daft little grin on my face this morning.