Your Buddy, Chester


I have been designing games since I was 14 (in 1969) when I read E. R. Burroughs' CHESSMEN OF MARS. I made a set of the game he made to use as a plot device and quickly discovered the design was flawed - 99% of all games ended in a draw. Not much fun. So I changed and clarified the rules to make the game competitive and fun and spent a year trying to get my redesign patented and/or published under the title EAGLES AND KINGS. That was my introduction to the world of game design. I've never looked back. I have written extensively on the subject of game theory and design on three folders (BASTOGNE OR BUSTTHE UPPER HAND andSTARSHIP TROOPERS / ON THE BOUNCE!) on the CONSIMWORLDwebsite.

The following is a list of games I have finished, worked on, or have in progress.

A train game based on the logos of US and CANADIAN Railroads. All are licensed. That was quite a feat that took over a year to accomplish - but the game is finally in the box, though the print run was limited to 100 numbered copies. The RR companies are now agreeable to having their logos licensed by a publishing house, but none have yet come forward to pick up this little gem for themselves. EL is an AVATARS-based game, seePANTHEONS below.

- a chess style game based on the game included in the book CHESSMEN OF MARS by E.R. BURROUGHS. I finally had a mold created for professional looking pieces in 2007, and it is now for sale by me. Interestingly, I still have the prototype I made in 1969 and still play it once in awhile.

ON THE BOUNCE! / STARSHIP TROOPERS (Avalon Hill original, not the version based on the movie)
- in 1980 I wrote to Avalon Hill explaining to them a fatal flaw I had found in the game system and offering my services to redesign a 2nd Edition rules to correct it. I spent the next 2 years working with Jim Stahler (who they assigned to work with me) on this. Unfortunately, AH dropped this title from their lineup just as we were going to the playtest stage. The project floated until early 2003 when I headed an effort to revive the redesign. In early 2004 I spent 4 months tracking the individual responsible for licensing STARSHIP TROOPERS, only to discover they were not interested since the redesign had nothing to do with the movie version of the name. By then, the redesign had evolved so far beyond the original game that I created a new universe / storyline under the title ON THE BOUNCE! I am pleased to report OTB! now has a publisher, L2 DESIGN GROUP who has taken over the project which is currently in development under the able care of the awesome Lembit Tohver, and going through the final playtesting phase. Look for a print date of 2011.

- this is an RPG rulebook based on the world of Elric, published byChaosium. I was given an advance writeup of the rulebook because I had written to them about their boardgame ELRIC (which was under redevelopment at the time - I was making suggestions again because I am a fan of the novels). I was asked to be a contributing editor.

DUNGEONS & DRAGONS Character Sheets
- back in the early 80s before desktop publishing took over, I recreated and dramatically expanded the popular D&D Character Sheet which I sold at northern California Conventions. This publishing venture paid for many conventions for me. I was a printer at the time (until about 1991) and so was able to publish this and many other designs to follow.

- in the early 80s I also designed a do-it-yourself kit for BATTLETECH that streamilned the Design Your Own Mech process and created a new class of 100+ ton class Mechs (which supposedly weren't possible). Another self-published effort that sold about 200 copies.

- in 1984 I created a dice and card game based on the role-playing gameRUNEQUEST by Chaosium. Designed to be played by 10 players it was a big hit at California Cons for many years. Greg Stafford (the designer of RQ) gave a copy to his son who promptly wore out three sets. I published about 250 copies which have all been sold for many years. At the time, specialty dice and cards were the two most expensive game components for companies to produce and so I was unable to find a professional publisher. I am currently [2009] in the process of attempting to produce a 25th Anniversary Limited Edition version that will be the same quality asEXPRESS LINE - a Railroad retheme. It eventually dawned on me that this was as much a game SYSTEM as it was a GAME. I have rethemed this game many times, but only one has seen print beyond a prototype - seeEXPRESS LINE above. I have named the game system AVATARS [for myself], so if you see me referring to it that way, now you know what I'm talking about.

- the Pokemon craze of the mid 90s caused me to retool my PANTHEONSgame, which is very adaptable vis. subject matter as the game system is built around icons and player interaction. I was never able to break the licensing wall so I 'standardized' PANTHEONS and named the gameSYSTEM AVATARS. This has resulted in numerous other iterations:
EXPRESS LINE - published in 2008 in a Limited Edition run of 100 numbered copies using Licensed Railroad logos
MAGIC COLLECTOR - using expansion symbols from MTG, it was successfully offered to WOTC via the legal submission process, but was neither accepted nor rejected, and the prototype lingers in a vault somewhere in Washington - perhaps for The HASBRO to someday discover
MAJOR GENERAL - uses NATO military symbols
ROSETTA STONE - based on various alphabets and heiroglyphic writing systems, a letter / glyph from 32 different writing systems become the icons
GENERAL MANAGER - Fantasy Football version that was ALMOSTpurchased by SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, but the deal fell through when headquarters in New York decided they couldn't figure out how to distribute it

- in 1980 I entered an apprentice program to learn to be a printer. I looked for a board wargame project that I could graphically redesign without having to do any actual reDESIGN work. I just wanted to republish something that I could redo the artwork on. I found Don Lowry'sOPERATION GREIF which he had published under his GUIDON GAMESlabel. OG was a variant OOB / OOA / rules set for AVALON HILL's gameBATTLE OF THE BULGE '65. I completely redesigned the artwork and layout (with Don's permission) and produced a 2nd Edition. This was so popular that I got a number of requests to adapt it for AH's BB '81, which I did, and which is referred to as the 3rd Edition. 3rd Edition OG contains OOB/OOA/rules for both BB '65 and BB'81.

- for a brief 4 months in the early 80s, I went to Baltimore and set up an in house print shop for The Armory - then the largest game distributor on the east coast. The relationship didn't work out well and I approached Avalon Hill for a job. Mr. Dott kindly offered me a job for his upcoming magazineHEROES (that didn't last long). AH was preparing to support their entry into the world of RPGs as they had just acquired RUNEQUEST from The Chaosium. But it would be another 6 months before they would need my services and without a job right away my family was determined to return home to California. An interesting might have been.

- I first designed this little gem as the Silver Anniversary Issue of theAHIKS newsletter THE KOMMANDUER (of which I was the Editor for 7 years). It is a small introductory level wargame with an innovative air system that is designed with the pbm player in mind. I overpublished the issue on my own and sold about 150 copies over the years on the side. I later offered it to Doc Cummins at DECISION GAMES for publication inSTARTEGY & TACTICS magazine. It was my first commercial game sale. It was extensively redeveloped and appeared in S&T #178. The originalAHIKS version is now available as a free printable download on theGROGNARDS website.

- this was my first full sized wargame design - based on the Battle of the Bulge (I returned to this subject after my OPERATION GREIF experience of many years previous). I set out to design The World's Finest Bulge Game. While I love classic board wargame designs such as THE RUSSIAN CAMPAIGN, I do not enjoy the overly complex designs found in this hobby. I don't mind them - there is plenty of room for everybody's tastes. But my basic design philosophy is this: if you spend more time in the rulebook than you do on the gameboard then you've probably wasted your money. I also approach wargame design from the John Hill School of Design Philosophy - does the simulation FEEL right historically for the campaign it represents? And I want all my wargames to WORK as GAMES - not just simulations. If a wargame doesn't work as a GAME then it is just a graphic novel based on history. BOB (as it is affectionately known) was eratta free for the first 6 years of its life until one fellow found one line. *sigh* BOBaddresses a number of pet peeves I have had about wargames in general and Bulge games in particular. There is a rather large folder onCONSIMWORLD. I first self-published BOB in a dtp format and took it toORIGINS '94 under my TERRAN GAMES banner. It was purchased for publication there by Ray LaBarbera who wanted to start his own company. I also lent him the name TERRAN GAMES, which he changed to TERRAN GAMES, INC. He recently folded TGI and I have retaken my old company banner. BOB was my second commercial game sale. Both versions - BOB 1994 and the TG,Inc boxed edition - have their own pages here on BGG.

- I also play MAGIC: THE GATHERING. I may be the last private individual that I know of that was allowed to legally submit an expansion set for MTG. At the time I submitted it, MTG had just done a heavy multi-colored set and wasn't interested in another for awhile. I resubmitted years later, but my timing was off again - now they don't really want to look at outside submissions. I could never get much actual feedback out ofWIZARDS OF THE COAST, and that probably hurt more than anything. It was an interesting adventure though, which I expanded on in a recent podcast interview on YO! MTG TAPS #26- available here-
-it wasn't a total loss though. I wrote an extensive story line to go with the expansion, and since they decided not to use it, I have decided to go ahead with the storyline and expand it into a novel [or three]. Don't hold your breath on this one, it'll be a few years before I get back to it.

- this is an interesting little party game involving gross things on tiles you pick out of a bag (while verybody in the group hollers 'pick yer nose!'). The idea is eventually to package it in a plastic bowl shaped like a nose. Don't know if this will ever get published.

- this is a set of rules that incorporates box powers and dual stockpiles (one for resources and one for non-resources) for BATTLETECH the ccg published by WOTC. It is a pipe dream that will probably never see the light of publication. BT perished a long time ago and FASA folded. BT is now a heroclix game and the BT universe was last owned owned by WIZKIDS. It is unknown if BT will ever be resurrected as a ccg.

- this is a game I put together in 1999. Haven't sold more than 50 copies because I would prefer to just sell the rights to it. Basically it is the classic card game WAR played with polyhedral dice (one of those 'how come nobody ever thought of this before' things). It was pitched for me by a game promoter to various publishers, but nothing ever came of it.

- this is my area based wargame on the Battle of Kursk. MMP has first dibs once it is finished. Still being worked on sporadically - I'm currently [2009] trying to finish OTB! You can find an infrequently visited folder onCONSIMWORLD.

- this is my ultimate creation and personal Holy Grail of game design. It is a classic board game that (I hope) will one day be packaged with Chess, Checkers and Backgammon sets as The Fourth Classic Game. I came up with this beauty in 2003. Designing a classic game is probably the most difficult thing in the world to do. It is minimalization to the Nth degree. A classic game has few pieces, a simple board, basic rules, quick playtime and that ephemeral quality that demands replay. I have been searching for this puppy since I first got started in 1969. I have been moving very slowly with it, but someday I hope to retire on this baby. I've held back on releasing it, because I couldn't figure out a way to put it into production and keep a handle on the control of its distribution[it's been a long eight years]. I've finally figured out how to do it - I'm currently on the hunt for an app designer. This will be my first-ever foray into electronic games [well... I'm not sure how 'electronic' it's going to be - it'll basically be translating a board game into an electronic version], but I have to find an app designer with mad AI skills.

- I created this game for my sweetheart. kiss After RA and CLEOPATRA: SOCIETY OF THE ARCHITECHTS, she decided she quite enjoyed games with an Egyptian theme, and challenged me to come up with something new. After a quick perusal of the field, I noticed that almost all Egyptian themed games lacked one aspect that permeated and defined Egyptian life and society - their religion. Egypt has an amazing pantheon with some 120+ gods in it. I decided that was enough to form a game around and off I went. The game features a 72 card deck - each card representing one of the Egyptian deities. Each player is a Temple Priest - it's your job to ensure the proper entombment of the Pharaohs. Player that entombs the most Pharaohs wins. Extremely colorful game. Took it to a game design contest and found that one of the mechanics was bit too convoluted [and didn't have the level of player interaction that the reviewers felt it should]. Took it home, tweaked it a bit, and - lo! and behold! - not only does the game now play better, it plays fasterGODS ALONG THE NILE is now in production - sold copies at the last Convention we attended. Even my daughter who doesn't like to play games enjoys this one!

I've always wanted to create a game that uses only dice for the components. Scouting around for a collectible dice game that had gone out of print, I came across CHAOS PROGENITUS [later republished asDEMON DICE]. These dice had just the sort of icons that I was looking for. Didn't take long and a new game was born! Each player draws from their own pool of 45 dice, rolls and selects 30 [or less], then secretly arranges all the dice into four combat lines [hence the name]. Each opposing line is resolved [with a special pool of 10 dice available to throw in surprises] with the loser surrendering one die. After three rounds of play, the player with the most captured dice wins. Sold copies of this in the last few Conventions we attended.

This game started out as a challenge on the BOARD GAME DESIGNERS FORUM. The original design needed some tweaking [especially to make it a multiplayer game instead of just two players]. Part of the design parameters was to us chips as an integral part of the game. I love playing with poker chips, but haven't been able to find a decent game [other than gambling] which utilizes poker chips. Finally came up with a system that worked great. A little pushing in the design here and there solved a scoring problem [originally the winner often beat the loser by more than 300-400 points] and now the game has elevated to one of our top sellers! Players represent inheritors forced to play a game for crazy Aunt Hattie's fortune. For 2-5 players, this game comes in an aluminum case with 200 chips, 11 poly dice and a deck of specialty cards, and is a great party game.

A fun, matching card game [think RUMMY meets OLD MAID] that uses hieroglyphs for symbols. Each symbols appears on 3 different cards in the 52 card deck. Simple enough for short people [kids], fun enough for adults. Selling lots of these. Available through my FACEBOOK under Chester Hendrix.
This title is one of my 'system games' and there a half dozen versions of it. You can see a couple cards from my WWII TANKS version in my gallery, which I hope to get into production soon.