Hawgleg News Archive - 2005 < Back to previous page

Jan. 16, 2005 -- Houston, Texas


Here's the cover of the long-awaited first edition of our Core Rule Book.
 The telegraph wires are burnin' with the news and the Outriders are getting the message out to folks far and wide.

Gutshot is here!!!

The Gutshot Core Rule Book is at the printers and (heaven willing) it will be released on Feb. 4, 2005 at OwlCon in Houston, Texas.

After four years of design, play testing, and editing, the long-awaited, highly anticipated, Gutshot Core Rule Book will be released for sale to the lucky attendees at OwlCon XXIV in Houston this year.

OwlCon is Houston's premier gaming convention held the first weekend of February at Rice University. This year the event will be Feb. 4-5, 2005.

“It's been a long, hard, ride to get to this point, but we are finally here,” said co-author and Hawgleg co-founder Mike Murphy. “We've had a ton of setbacks that set us back over a year, but we always knew that we would get it out.”

Author and co-Founder Mike Mitchell agreed, adding, “I'm excited and exhausted. This has been a grueling task that consumed all my time and attention, but it's done. Gutshot is about to leave the corral of private playtests and local games and finally hit the open range to see what the rest of the gaming community thinks of it.”

Humble Beginnings:
Gutshot has seen an amazing growth in its planning, conception, and development. From its beginnings in late 1999 as a six-page set of movement and firing charts written up by Mike Murphy as a challenge to “come up with a set of rules that you like,” to playing the early versions of the game at World Famous Triple J Hobbies and Games in Las Vegas.

“Honestly, when I originally cranked the first set of rules out, I had no clue whatsoever that it would grow and turn into this great game that it has become. It's like watching your child grow,” Murphy said.

The game was originally known as (for lack of a better title), “Murph's Cowboy Rules.” A few simple games in Las Vegas made Murphy think of the possibilities of what he had started.

“I decided to tell Mitchell about this, and get his input,” Murphy said. “Not only was he my best friend, but he's a gamer that likes to see high-quality products out there. I knew that if I sent him a copy and he liked it, then I was on to something good. So, I sent him a copy, and well, as they say, the rest is history.”

A history filled with hard work and effort, Mitchell added.

“We did a LOT of play testing, and the folks at OwlCon were wonderful to support us in this and making sure that not only did we get the needed information on the game, but that it got good exposure and honest feedback,” Mitchell said.

After numerous discussions, Mitchell and Murphy agreed to go in together and create Hawgleg Publishing in order to develop Gutshot for commercial release.

Playtest and Development:
“Despite our drawbacks and delays, we've always had a fantastic support base of playtesters and retailers willing to back us on this endeavor. The play-testers in Las Vegas, here in Houston, in Michigan, and Pennsylvania gave us tremendous feedback. We got a chance to see how it ran without us around, which was very important to see how easy it was for people to follow the rules and play the game.”

“Mike Mitchell has done a tremendous job on playtesting groups here in Houston, and business correspondence. Besides being my best friend, I also knew that I could trust his writing, AND gaming skills. We both knew what we wanted, and how the other person worked. It's not only what has made us good business partners, but best friends for all of these years.” Murphy said.

Mitchell coordinated the Owlcon games and a series of campaign playtests to see how the rules handled under large groups, and back-to-back games in a campaign setting.

“Sometimes it was difficult. At one point in the Midnight Riders campaign, at Midnight Comics and Games, we were pushing close to 20 people around the table in a single game. We realized that even though the game was VERY slow with this many people, that surprisingly enough, it worked!”

Despite the “fun” of playtesting, for both Mitchell and Murphy, it was also a lot of hard work. Information from each game was taken, and the rules were edited, and re-written to allow playability, and to ensure a fast, smooth flow.

Thanking all that helped on this project:
Even with all of the ideas and work that they were putting into the project, they both knew that they couldn't have completed it without the help of some very special and supportive people.

“I want to make one thing perfectly clear – we would not have made our deadline without the help and assistance of Paul Mauer,” Mitchell said. “We were like a wagon stuck in the mud; the river was rising and we could hear war drums in the distance. Paul rode up and took charge of the proofing, going through the entire book in two days (he even pulled an all-nighter). He did an amazing job of finding mistakes and inconsistencies, fixing a lot of things that would have made us look like danged fools.”

“I also want to thank the other people who invested their time and attention to proof the book at the last minute: Nicole Bond, Sarah Lamb, and Bill Anderson. They provided fresh eyes and a clean perspective and we are VERY grateful to them,” Mitchell emphasized.

Getting Gutshot:
Both Mitchell and Murphy are enthusiastic and satisfied with the release of their core rulebook.

“We feel that this is going to be taking miniature gaming to a new level by incorporating a mild Role Play aspect, you actually get a “feel” for the characters and the game. And folks naturally start talking like B-movie cowboys once they start playing this, it's very funny to listen to them.” Murphy said.

Mitchell agreed with Murphy's comments.

“We've had drawbacks and delays, including Tropical Storm Allison which flooded my house, destroyed my car and set us back more than a year,” Mitchell said. “Nevertheless, like the settlers of old, we dug out of that mess and got back to work until, finally, we're satisfied that we have a quality product to release.”

The co-creators said that one of their main goals was not to rush to market with something half-baked.

“We didn't want another rushed, poorly designed, non-supported game system out there on the market. We want people to play this game, again and again. We want to hear about folk's adventures, whether it's robbing banks and stages, fighting rustlers, having a showdown in the streets, or just wearing the tin star and cleaning up the one-horse town, we want to hear from our customer base,“ Murphy said.

Murphy nodded. “We have a lot of support and plans for new products to enhance and expand this game. New Adventures, Specialties, weapons, both online and coming out in print. Each supplement will be essentially a ‘plug and play' expansion. The players can decide whether or not they want to incorporate it into their game or keep it how it is. So needless to say, this game is very player/consumer oriented and driven. We've got a lot of good things coming for it, and we can't wait to get it out there for everyone, but like Ole Doc Murphy says: ‘Get yourself to your local game store, and tell the feller behind the counter that you want to get Gutshot. He'll probably be happy to oblige you.'

The GUTSHOT CORE RULE BOOK is 178 pages and retails for $19.95. It includes Character Sheets, a section at the back of the book with the most-commonly referenced tables, and two Adventures: “Last Man Standing” and “Love & Bullets.” It is a square-bound soft-cover book with a full-color cover and a black & white interior.

In the next few months Hawgleg Publishing will be shopping it to distributors and at the GAMA Trade Show in Las Vegas. We are not accepting any orders until OwlCon closes on Feb. 6, 2005. Dealer inquiries are very welcome, and we offer special support packages to game stores willing to commit to running a five-game campaign in their store. Contact us for details!

For more info contact: Retailer Information




Owlcon Convention Information can be found at: www.owlcon.com

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