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Monday, September 4, 2023

Ruckus-A great Day in Nottingham


It is always a pleasure to visit WI tower, where there is an enthusiasm for the hobby that is both contagious and inspiring. I was there for a meeting to discuss the progress of Ruckus  with WI Project Manager James Griffiths and Editor Dan Faulcenbridge and we very quickly got to talking about timelines, contents and development plans.

I was surprised and delighted when the Callan boys turned up shortly after the meeting had started and of course we played a game! Andy, a sworn Lancastrian, took Horrible Sir Henry Holland’s Retinue and Ian played with part time Yorkist Sir John de Barre. We played “Lost in the Fog” as I wanted to show off one of the more unusual scenarios but retrospectively was not my wisest decision. The initial random deployment unfortunately produced a situation where the spears of each Retinue were adjacent to each other and opposite their opponents. This combined with reduced archery due to heavy Fog and then a rainstorm that lasted three turns resulted in a some very cagey manoeuvring and it was not until turn ten that the first shots were exchanged.

By this time all the spears had joined up and both Retinues climbed the rocky ridge at the centre of the table where a mass melee occurred which Ian won convincingly, killing both enemy Squires and five Retainers. A luckless Sir Henry Holland, decided discretion was the better part of valour and quit the field of battle


Undoubted hero of the day was Ian’s Squire, Garret Skinpole, who took out both Lancastrian Squires and three Retainers and whose name for some reason caused revulsion in James who decided we should none of us mention his name again which, of course, resulted in him being mentioned in every following sentence. Oh, the wit of wargamers, it was very amusing, but I guess you had to be there to appreciate it’s subtlety

I suspect I should have chosen the introductory scenario “Get Off My Land!” which would have forced the Retinues to deploy as Spears and be more aggressive as they have to take and hold three objectives across the table.

And so, to business…

We established a timeline which may be subject to change.

In December’s issue will probably be a Designers Notes article which has already been written describing the thought processes behind the creation of Ruckus and an introduction to the game.

February 24’s issue, or thereabouts, will feature a selection of stl’s of the Ruckus figures and so will each issue following this one for a few issues. This or a subsequent issue will also carry an article on the game that Mark and I played at WI on our previous visit.

May 24 The Big One! This issue will contain the free game of Ruckus in a much-edited form. The current game has about 18,000 words, this one will weigh in at less than half of that. In order to get it down to that size, we will have to lose most of the scenarios, the Steeds Chapter, and the Campaign rules. The stl’s with this issue will bring the total number up to enough to provide for two Retinues.

There are also plans to produce Ruckus terrain, objectives, counters, and cards. We discussed the possibility of a deck of 52 Individual skill cards as well as Character and Retainer cards all of which will have pictures and profiles on!

  For each stl there will eventually be a metal figure too. Quite an incredible package

  It is quite humbling and flattering that they are investing so heavily in my game! I am actually a little overwhelmed and keep expecting to wake up from a dream.

Left-Project manager James demonstrating his great technical skills to get an overhead shot.

We also discussed the name which was always going to be a decision between Mayhem and Ruckus. A bit of Market Research by searching Board Game Geek and Wargames Vault revealed 333 games with Mayhem in the title and only 12 with Ruckus. Both Dan and James while accepting that Ruckus is not a contemporary word felt that it was better to use a distinctive title and one that is less likely to get confused with other games and so the game will be called…

Never Mind the Billhooks here’s Ruckus! (Ruckus to be in a font four times the size of the rest)

Tag line “The Billhooks Skirmish Game”

I would like the cover art for the title to be in the style of the old 2000 AD comics with Ruckus leaping off the page!


  1. congrats - looking forward to playing in the future

    1. thanks Giles! It's the other end of the scale from what you have been doing with Billhooks!