Meet Our Columnists: Lewis Pulsipher

This interview is part of a series introducing our EN World Columnists. In this latest installment, I get to interview the esteemed Lewis Pulsipher!

Collage of Lews works from Coreldraw1600x1400 px added Doomstar for printing 0317.jpg

Michael Tresca (MT): Tell us a little about who you are and what you do.
Lewis Pulsipher (LP):
My column is “Worlds of Design,” which dates back to April 2017 with some 175 released. Christopher Helton, the original editor, described it as “Somewhere in the intersection of world building advice and role-playing game design theory.” My Wikipedia entry (“Lewis Pulsipher”) is likely out of date, but is a good starter about me. I am a retired computer teacher, computer programmer, computer support person, computer networking teacher, and game development teacher. My favorite game these days is “the game of designing games.” I have designed many board games, about a dozen of them published (depends on how you count) as early as 1979. But in the past my favorite game was first edition Dungeons & Dragons (I started playing with the three booklets plus Grayhawk), and during a 20 year hiatus from the game hobby to learn computing and make a living the only game I played was AD&D. I wrote a great many articles about D&D/RPGs for game magazines in the late 70s and early 80s, I think I was contributing editor to Dragon and White Dwarf, then they required to buy full rights which I would not sell, ending my contributions; then the hiatus occurred. My most well-known game design, one that has seen various editions in five languages, and many games designed by other people using the game system, is Britannia, an epic game of a thousand years of British history for four players. (Currently out of print after 2021 issue.) I have not tried to design a full RPG, because I could modify AD&D to my satisfaction. I wrote a book about game design: Game Design: How to Create Video and Tablketop Games, Start to Finish (2012, in print) I would have called it “Learning Game Design,” but as with games, a book author cannot always pick his own title.

MT: What's next for your column?
LP:
I have many dozens of columns partially written. Though I can still occasionally get an idea and have a draft more or less finished the same day, I tend to add onto columns as I go along until I’m finished, which can literally take years. And I try not to get stuck into a rut. So I really do not know exactly what’s next for my column!

MT: What games are you planning to play this year?
LP:
During the pandemic I fell into the habit of playing only one game, the (old) computer game Empire Deluxe Enhanced Edition which I have modified quite a bit. I may play some of my game design prototypes, but I am more or less “retired” from that. RPG isn’t likely to be available.

MT: If your work is published anywhere else, where can we find you?
LP:
I have (historical) game design articles fairly regularly in Against the Odds Magazine and War Diary magazine. I have the twice a week Patron-supported “Game Design” video channel on YouTube and I post far too many tweets on X/twitter (@lewpuls), sometimes about game design. My not-for-free game design video courses are at Udemy. Sometimes there are discount coupons on my website.

MT: What is your relevant social media and where can fans follow you?
LP:
My "handle" is almost always lewpuls. I don't use Facebook or Instagram for distributing game information, though there are some pages for a few of my games on Facebook.
MT: Anything else you'd like to add?
LP:
Some interviews with me online:
  • I was interviewed 21 Sep 20 for Dirk the Dice's podcast (UK), Grognard Files: Part 1 (1:29); Part 2 (1:35).
  • I was interviewed 2 May 20 for Grogtalk, a podcast and YouTube channel. The 1.5 hour interview was released on YouTube and as a podcast, Episode 56. There a couple more recent times I’ve been on the show, but those were for specific talks.
  • The University of Edinburgh History and Games Lab Podcast Length 48:34 August 2020.
  • The Journey Show (Galactic Journey) - The gimmick is to pretend it is 55 years ago, so in 1965. Length 61 minutes; August 2020, I confess the gimmick felt disingenuous somehow; maybe because I had actually lived through it, other participants had not.
 
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Michael Tresca

Michael Tresca





Wofano Wotanto

Adventurer
We ever getting another printing of Dragon Rage? I managed to completely miss the last one owing to IRL problems, and I certainly enjoyed the original. Easily one of my personal Top Ten Microgames from back in the 80s - a category the Dwarfstar range is heavily represented in.
 

lewpuls

Hero
We ever getting another printing of Dragon Rage? I managed to completely miss the last one owing to IRL problems, and I certainly enjoyed the original. Easily one of my personal Top Ten Microgames from back in the 80s - a category the Dwarfstar range is heavily represented in.
A French company is interested in reissuing the game, but interest is very far from actuality in this industry.

The original publisher of the second edition is no longer interested in publishing board games, wants to concentrate on RPGs.
 

Wofano Wotanto

Adventurer
A French company is interested in reissuing the game, but interest is very far from actuality in this industry.
Well, fingers crossed, one can only hope. I'm still annoyed with myself for missing the second edition. Too much personal stuff going on and by the times I saw it a few years later it was sold out but good.

Thanks for the many hours of enjoyment I got from first edition, regardless. Really do think that Dwarfstar range had some of the very best small-format games of the era, which is saying something considering what Metagaming and Task Force Games and Steve Jackson Games were putting out.
 

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