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A bibliography is a list of the books you've written; a discography is a list of the music you've recorded; and a ludography is a list of the games you've designed.

Professional Designs

Recent Work

In recent years, I've worked on a number of free-to-play games. From most recent to longer ago:

For Backflip Studios, I worked as consulting designer for a free-to-play combat-oriented mobile RPG based on Hasbro IP. By "consulting designer," I mean that I was attached to the publishing wing of the studio, and was brought in to try to rescue a game developed by an outside developer that was in trouble. Backflip changed corporate strategy, and I believe is no longer working on publishing games from external developers.

For Boss Fight Entertainment, I was lead designer on a "battler-and-builder" based on Greek mythology (Boss Fight was founded by ex-Ensemble Studios guys, and was looking to marry modern FTP mobile gaming to the kind of thing that had made Age of Mythology a success for them). They currently have a page for Anvil: War of Heroes on their site, but there's no download link, so I assume it's in geobeta. (I left after spending a bit over a year on the game.)

For Loot Drop, I was lead designer on a battler-and-builder based on licensed science fiction IP. I believe the game is now dead, as the putative publisher's website hasn't been updated in forever, and the founders of Loot Drop -- John and Brenda Romero -- have since moved to Ireland, now run Romero Games, and are currently working on Empire of Sin, with a publishing deal with Paradox. (I did a little bit of consulting with them on economy tuning for that game, but my contribution was very minor.)

Before that, I worked for three years for Playdom, a FTP Facebook game developer and a Disney subsidiary, where I was lead designer on a sort of "build your own Disney theme park" game. I thought I was in heaven and that this was a surefire success, but we made a bad technology bet early in development; we were developing in Unity, because Unity promised they were going to support export to Flash 3D. Just as we were about to go to geobeta, Unity said, oops, only kidding, we're not going to support that. I won't tell you how many people years and how much money that flushed down the tubes. Moral: If the tech isn't working today, don't rely on promises from third parties when planning your project.

Charmcraft Hollow

A social "builder" set in a fantasy world whose magic you must rescue. I came in late in the project (Laralyn McWilliams, Tom Hall, and James Lantz were all attached as designers at various times). My main contribution was the game's crafting system. Currently live on Facebook. (2014, Loot Drop, Inc.)

Trash Tycoon

A social game in which you clean up a suburban town overrun with trash, "upcycling" the trash you collect into saleable products; a "sim/tycoon lite" game with a green theme. It ran on Facebook in 2011-2012, but has since been "sunset." Promotional relationships with Terracycle and Carbonfund.org. (2011, Guerillaps, Inc.)

Burnham Got Game

A 4-6 player boardgame inspired by Daniel Burnham's "Plan of Chicago," a 1909 document that shaped the city's development over the course of the 20th century and is widely acknowledged as a landmark of urban planning. The game was commissioned by the Macarthur Foundation and developed under the auspices of Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center.


Three- to six-player boardgame in which you play as one of the huge multinationals that dominate the world in the mid-21st century, competing for markets and manipulating governments like puppets. (2009, Z-Man Games)


Vampire-themed social network RPG, with contributing design from Steve Meretzky. Formerly live on both Facebook and MySpace, the game has since be sunset. (2008, Playdom)

Paranoia (The Edition No Longer Known as XP)

New edition of the 80s classic tabletop RPG. The Computer is Your Friend. All your rights are belong to us. New system design by Allen Varney, (2004, Mongoose Publishing)

Alien Rush

Retro-arcade style space shooter for BREW. You control a space station at screen center, firing in four cardinal directions; alien ships attack from all four directions. As the game progresses, new types of alien craft show up, as do some friendly 'power-up' ships that benefit you if you avoid destroying them before they reach you. (2003, Unplugged, Inc.)


An multiplayer SMS game of Medieval conquest. You play a baron in a world with up to 200 other players, attacking them and trying to become emperor. It's designed so that you can play by sending two or three SMS messages a day, with a game typically lasting a month or so. That's so you get a persistent, long-term game experience--but don't have to pay an arm and a leg to play (premium SMS messages typically cost 20 cents or more each). (2003, Unplugged, Inc.--only available in Spain, alas)

Void Raider

With Kevin Maroney. A wireless game of space privateers. Two interstellar powers--the Free Stars League and the Terran Empire--battle soundlessly across the void. You have letters of marque and reprisal from your government, authorizing you to seize enemy merchant shipping and sell it at a profit. You must manage your ship and crew to get it into top condition, them embark on missions-- raiding enemy commerce, escorting friendly convoys, and hunting for enemy combat ships. As you win battles, you rise in rank, giving you access to bigger and better ships, and as you seize merchant ships, you gain money you can use to outfit your ship with better equipment, and purchase new ships. Playable in 5 minute installments several times a day. (2001, Unplugged Games)


A wireless fashion game. You are a fashion designer, and must decide what style and color of dress to manufacture for next season, and invest in inventory. Fashions progress is a semi-predictable but semi-random way, and your job is to guess at the trend. The game lasts eight "seasons" (turns); if you've smart at guessing the trend, you make a lot of money and thereby win. Or else, you may wind up losing your shirt. No longer available. (2001, Unplugged Games)

Barbarian Kings, 2nd Ed.

A revised version of the multiplayer boardgame of fantasy world conquest I originally published through SPI back in 1980; published by Jolly Roger Games. (2001, Jolly Roger Games).

Word Trader

With Kevin Maroney. A simple wireless game in which you receive a "hand" of five words, each belonging to a different category (there are eight categories in the game) and trade words with other players over the wireless network, attemping to collect five words all belonging to the same category. Then you "claim" that category, and it is removed from play. The game ends when four categories are claimed. Claiming one category is a minor win; claiming four is a big one. (2000, Unplugged Games; no longer available)

BoyarFantasy War

Command the forces of an entire nation in the fantastic world of Adav in this online-only game of world conquest. Playble in "blitz" (turn update every few minutes) and "epic" (turn update once per day) modes. Heroes, monsters, magic, diplomacy, and the clash of arms. Unfortunately, the game is no longer live, but I maintain the Librum of Lore here; it's essentially the support website for the game. Developed by Crossover Technologies, Inc. for The Station@Sony.Com. Contributing design by John Astell and Aaron Allston. (1999, Sony Online Entertainment; no longer available). Design notes and Librum are available on this site.

Violence coverViolence: The Roleplaying Game of Egregious and Repulsive Bloodshed

Angrily and violently satirical roleplaying game that seeks to rub players' noses in the moral implications of their actions by (ostensibly) providing them with a game that lets them play depraved, psychotic monsters who rape and murder and steal in the modern world. You will either find it disturbingly funny or merely disturbing. Now free, under a Creative Commons license (click title above). (1999, Hogshead Publishers Ltd.)


170+ extinct species squonk, roar, and cavort in this real-time strategy game spanning 360 million years of evolutionary history. Scads of 3D animation and a Civilization-like "builder" game in which you try to get your creatures to thrive and evolve while attacking those of up to 5 other players (computer AIs or live players over a network) with your predators. Your ultimate goal is the evolution of intelligence, which doesn't have to mean humans. Developed by Crossover Technologies, Inc., published by Discovery Channel Multimedia, and distributed by Interplay. Contributing design from Al Roireau. (1997, Discovery Channel Multimedia). Design notes are available on this site. Game on Moby Games.

Reinventing America

A public policy simulation in which you, along with thousands of other players, set the agenda for the U.S. government into the next century. What programs are justified? What should be abolished? What should be expanded? What national needs are not being met? You decide. No longer running. Published by Crossover Technologies, Inc.; sponsored by the John & Mary R. Markle Foundation; appearing on Time Inc.'s Pathfinder web site. (1995, Crossover Technologies)
MadMaze image


MadMaze was the first online game to attract more than a million players-- on the old commercial Prodigy service. It ran until Prodigy finally killed its proprietary service in October of 1999. The link above is to an HTML version of the game, put together by fans of the original game with assistance from the Prod (so yeah, you can still play it, though this version requires IE). With Eric Goldberg. (Prodigy, 1989)
Willow box

The Willow Game

Based on George Lucas's film of the same name. Multiplayer card-based quest adventure boardgame. (Tor Books, 1988) Game on Boardgamegeek

Star Wars coverStar Wars: The Roleplaying Game

Roleplaying in the universe of Star Wars. Won the Origins Award and the Gamer's Choice Award for its year of publication. When West End went out of business, they lost the Star Wars license, which Wizards of the Coast picked up; the current Star Wars RPG is unrelated. (West End Games, 1987)

Adventure cover

Your Own Private Idaho

Adventure for The Price of Freedom. With Steve Gilbert. (West End Games, 1987)
2nd Edition cover

Paranoia (2nd edition)

Revised (and much funnier) version of the deranged roleplaying game. With Dan Gelber, Eric Goldberg, Ken Rolston, and Paul Murphy. Eric and I finally got the rights back from the now-defunct publishers. (West End Games, 1987)

Price of Freedom cover

The Price of Freedom

Roleplaying game set in an America that has been occupied by the Soviet Union. You play freedom fighters resisting the Communist invaders. Released just as the Cold War was ending. Sold real well, you betcha. (West End Games, 1986)
Acute Paranoia cover

Acute Paranoia

96-page supplement to Paranoia, with lots of additional rules and many short adventures. With lots of folks. (West End Games, 1986)

Pax Britannica

Multiplayer boardgame of the Colonial Era: 1880 to the Great War. Origins Award winner. (Victory Games, 1985). Errata and play-by-mail rules are available on this site. Game on Boardgamegeek

Dark Emperor

Two player boardgame of warfare and quest in a fantasy universe. One player is a Dark Lord invading the world from another dimension; the other must rally the kingdoms of the world to fight the invaders. (Avalon Hill, 1985) Game on Boardgamegeek

Star Trek III

Three small solitaire Trek games in a single box--The Sherwood Syndrome, Free Enterprise, and the Kobayashi Maru. With Doug Kaufman. (West End Games, 1985) Game on Boardgamegeek

Star Trek: The Adventure Game

Paragraph-system boardgame based on Original Trek. (West End Games, 1985) Game on Boardgamegeek


Fast and frenetic roleplaying game in which you play animated characters in a Warner Brothers-like cartoon universe. You can find it at your local hobby game store, or order from SJ Games's online store. (Steve Jackson Games, 1984)


Trust the Computer! The Computer is Your Friend! Roleplaying game set in an underground city complex controlled by a deranged computer. Stay Alert! Trust No One! Traitors are everywhere! Origins Award winner. With Dan Gelber and Eric Goldberg. (West End Games, 1984)

Web & Starship

Three-player strategic space game pitting Earth against two alien races in a three-cornered war. Origins Award winner. (West End Games, 1984) Game on Boardgamegeek

Bug-Eyed Monsters

Boardgame pitting the inhabitants of a small New Hampshire town against slobbering, bug-eyed monsters from outer space who want their women. (West End Games, 1983) Game on Boardgamegeek


Space traders; multiplayer boardgame of trade, exploration, and free markets. (Metagaming, 1981) Game on Boardgamegeek

The Return of the Stainless Steel Rat

Paragraph-system boardgame based on Harry Harrison's character. (SPI, 1981) Game on Boardgamegeek

Barbarian Kings

Multiplayer boardgame of strategic conquest in a fantasy world. (SPI, 1980) Game on Boardgamegeek


Solitaire dungeon-crawling games; you build the dungeon by picking chits out of a cup. (SPI, 1979) Game on Boardgamegeek

Vector 3

Tactical space combat game using Newtonian mechanics in 3D. I released it under a CC license a while ago, so you can now get a (revised) version of the game here for free. (SPI, 1979)

The Creature That Ate Sheboygan

Monster eats cities; news at eleven. Origins Award winner. (SPI, 1979) Game on Boardgamegeek

Swords & Sorcery

Big quest-and-conquest fantasy boardgame with loads of scenarios. (SPI, 1978) Game on Boardgamegeek


Part of the North Africa Quad. The First and Second Battles of Alamein during World War II. (SPI, 1976) Game on Boardgamegeek

Professional Development

The Willow Sourcebook

Sourcebook for fantasy roleplaying in the universe of the Lucasfilm movie. by Allen Varney. (Tor Books, 1988)

Clones in Space

Paranoia adventure. by Eric Wujcik. (West End Games, 1986)

Imperium Romanum II

Strategic multi-player game of Roman warfare. by Albert A. Nofi. (West End Games, 1985)

Air Cav

Tactical modern game. by Tony Merridy. (West End Games, 1985)

Killer Angels

Lee's invasion of the north. by D.S. Palter and Holly Rubinstein. (West End Games, 1984)


The allied invasion. by Dick Rustin. (SPI, 1981)


Roleplaying game of WWII commando raids. by Eric Goldberg. (SPI, 1979)


Starship combat. by John Butterfield. (SPI, 1979)

Titan Strike

Combat on Saturn's moon. by Phil Kosnett. (SPI, 1979)

Armada, 2nd Edition

Strategic game of the attempted Spanish invasion of Britain. by Brent Nosworthy. 2nd edition development with Eric Goldberg. (SPI, 1979)

Air War

Tactical modern fighter combat. by Dave Isby. (SPI, 1978)

BattleFleet: Mars

Strategic game of the Martian Revolution and tactical ship-to-ship combat during the same war. by Redmond Simonsen and Brad Hessel. (SPI, 1977)

Drive on Stalingrad

Operational game of the German attack across the Ukraine. by Brad Hessel. (SPI, 1977)

The Plot to Assassinate Hitler

Very odd simulation of the Generals' Plot. by Jim Dunnigan. (SPI, 1976)


Grand strategic game of the discovery and settlement of the Americas. by Rich Berg. (SPI, 1976; Avalon Hill, 1983). Design notes and Errata are available on this site.

Amateur Designs

"Amateur's" root lies in the Latin amare, to love; an "amateur" does what he does for love, not money. There are game styles (and subjects) that have no commercial market; this has not deterred me from designing them. I like to think my 'amateur' games are of professional quality, nonetheless.

Dot Boom

A multiplayer, somewhat humorous game of the dot com era. You each represent competing venture capital firms, investing in dot coms, and hoping to cash out before the inevitable crash comes. Rules are here, and cards are here.


A software implementation of the classic Peg Solitaire game, implemented using Blitz Basic. 400k zip file, unpack everything in it to the same directory. the ".bb" file is the source code. It's freeware and open source, do whatever you want with it.


A massively-multiplayer trading card game that was played at the Re:Play conference sponsored by Eyebeam Atelier, an "interactive arts" non-profit organization. with Frank Lantz. (Eyebeam Atelier, 1999)

Bestial Acts

A Roleplaying Game/A Drama/Based on the Dramatic Theories and Aesthetic of Bertolt Brecht. (Alarums & Excursions, 1993)

Nuclear Winter

The realistic After-the-Holocaust game. (Space Gamer magazine, 1985)

Lord of the Dice

Silly little roleplaying game; with Eric Goldberg. (Different Worlds magazine, 1979)

Diplomacy Variants

I designed and published several in the late 70s, including Fiat Lux Diplomacy, Lest Darkness Fall, Excommunication!, and Partition of the Ottoman Empire. One of these days I'll get around to scanning in the maps and putting up the rules for these.

Destruction of SPI Center

A goofy little boardgame set in the office of Simulations Publications, Inc. (Costikyan Publishing Empire, 1977 or thereabouts). Playtesters vs. the SPI staff. With attacks via shaken soda cans and flaming sugar cubes--but watch out for the Sherman tank in the storeroom.

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Copyright © 1995-2016 by Greg Costikyan. Toon illustration copyright © 1991 by Kyle Miller. Gracilosaurus image copyright © 1998 by Discovery Channel Multimedia. Elf hero image copyright © 1999 by Sony Online Entertainment. Pax Britannica illustration by Jim Talbot; copyright © 1985 by Victory Games, Inc. Creature That Ate Sheboygan illustration copyright © 1979 by Charles Vess. Alien Rush image copyright © 2003 by Unplugged, Inc. Paranoia (not XP) image copyright © 2004 by Mongoose Publishing (and painted by Jim Holloway). Bloodlines: Nightfall image copyright © 2008 by You Plus, Inc. Trash Tycoon image copyright © 2011 by Guerillapps.

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