Dusting off a Blast from the Past


My Amazing 90s era typsetting skills at work.

I received an interesting email this morning. It was from a casual internet searcher who was making inquiries into something I wrote 20 years ago. TWENTY YEARS ago. Yes, that’s making me feel old. However, I dutifully followed a link back to a time when I was in my thirties and just getting into miniature skirmish games. Some of my first convention games I ran were using a rules set called The Rules with No Name, or a Fist Full of Dice. The rules were written by Bryan Ansell of the Guernsey Foundry at the time, later Foundry Miniatures (and I believe he worked for Games Workshop as well, back in the past). I stumbled across TRWNN (as aficionados call it) right after the first version was published in MWAN, an influential digest sized zine that was published up until the 2000s. Every MWAN issue had wonderful miniature reviews (in the form of hand drawings of the figures, NOT pictures, which I always though was charming). Ever issue ALSO had at least TWO rule sets in the issue. TRWNN was in issue 96, and for a very long time, was distributed as essentially a creative commons license by Mr. Ansell. Today, an expanded version of TRWNN is available as a sexy hardcover version you can get on the Amazon link above. Alternatively, you can find a pdf copy of MWAN 96 here. I think it’s worth the money, myself. Here’s a very good overview of how TRWNN plays.

Back in the day, I ran a lot of Western games, using straight up TRWNN. Here’s a very old internet artifact of a page I had supporting western gaming back in the Geocities days. Note “Hell Comes to Cow Town“, which is an archetype of the kind of games I ran back in those days (often with Mr. David Markley, who was also getting heavily into miniatures gaming at the time, and a good friend).

And then, the Tinkering Started…

I was starting to find all kinds of period flavor figures back in the day from Ral Partha and Westwind (which was just starting up), Foundry Miniatures (in a huge way), Old Glory Miniatures, Dixon Miniatures, and newcomer Eureka Miniatures and Castaway Arts from Australia and New Zealand, respectively. Those were fun times, but the new stuff I had discovered was … shall we say.. less than historic, in many cases? I particularly enjoyed the miniatures that were roughly, ficitionally in the same time period, but not in any way historical, like Eureka’s Pax Limpopo line, or Foundry’s Zombie Gunfighters, or Dixon’s western vignette series. Dixon was great for creating small groups of figures that were all dressed roughly similar. I got a lot of my early “factions” for the regular game from Dixon. At the same time, I was buying more and more horror and fantasy and gothic style figures, and getting more into the Colonial (vice Western) setting, so I began to tinker with TRWNN, to build my own “module” that used the basic rules set but added horror, comedy and fantasy elements. The result was SCARY MONSTERS OF THE GOLDEN WEST, a 35 page “add on” I wrote around 2000. This is what I got emailed about this morning. It’s still out there, on my ancient Tripod page, which is also still out there, much to my personal embarrassment. You have to understand that blogging didn’t really exist as a going concern for another couple years so my early efforts at a web presence are all over a web of linked free websites from the early age of freebie internet: Geocities, Tripod, 50megs.com and etc. etc. I switched from static web pages to my first attempt at a real web log somewhere in 2002 or 2003. I have been writing blog posts ever since, on different platforms (Zoom, then Blogger, now WordPress, which I’m happy with). So it’s always amusing to find these ancient internet artifacts are still out there for the public to read (and me to wince at). I’ve gotten a lot better with my approach to web presence since back then. Anyway, I read this file this morning while having coffee. It piqued my interest. It’s NOT really ridiculous or that embarrassing. I even chuckled in places, albeit mostly from the insider references. I imagine an outsider would be scratching his head at much of it, but the basic ideas are good, IF you have a copy of the TRWNN. If you are really a dedicated searcher, you might even find an old copy of the original freebie out there, who knows? Which brings us to this post’s thrilling conclusion. Here, after long last, is the rehosted, original version of SCARY MONSTERS OF THE GOLDEN WEST, the “Horror Monsters in a Western Setting” free add on to The Rules with No Name. It’s shared via a creative commons license, have fun. IF YOU DARE…

Scary Monsters 1.3 in the Public Folder on Box.com