Hawgleg News Archive - 2007 < Back to previous page

Saddle up & 'write' the trail to adventure!
Year-long adventure writing contest offers more than $500 in prizes
Jan. 31, 2007 -- Houston, Texas

Them boys at Hawgleg Publishing are hitchin’ up their britches, saddling their ponies, and setting off down the trail with a gang of some of the biggest names in Wild West miniatures gaming to sponsor a year-long contest to find and publish at least 12 Wild West adventures in 2007. And to sweeten the deal, there’s more than $500 in prizes!

The Showdowns & Shootout Adventure Writing Contest will run from Feb. 2007 through Dec. 2007.  It is open to all contestants worldwide, with the only stipulation being that entries be in English.  Contestants will submit ideas for adventures and, at least once per month, the Gutshot Posse will flesh the idea into a short, 2-8 page adventure that will be released on the Hawgleg website as a PDF for free download. 

Of course, the published PDF will sport the author’s byline and be eligible to win either the Judge’s Prize, which will be awarded in Dec. 2007, or the Jury’s Prize, which will be awarded in Jan. 2008. There will also be smaller prizes awarded to everyone who has their adventure published, and even two random drawings – to be held in Jan. 2008 – for everyone who participates in the year-long event.  See below for more details about prize specifics.

“Honest to gosh, this is one of the easiest danged contests we’ve seen and I think anyone has a decent shot at winning it,” said Gutshot co-creator Mike Mitchell. “All you need to do is submit a good title and short plot description, along with any details you think will make for a good game. We’ll take care of everything else, including editing and rewriting material, if we need to.”

Mitchell stressed that this is a contest about ideas more than writing ability.

“If you’re a great writer, then sure, it will probably give you a leg up in this contest. But if you send us a fantastic title and a short paragraph that catches our attention and imagination, then you’ve got a great chance of winning, too,” said Hawgleg’s newest partner, Paul Mauer.

Contest at a glance
Start: Feb. 1, 2007
End: Dec. 2007 (final date to be announced)
Open to everyone worldwide
  1. You submit a title and short description for a Wild West skirmish game (you may send it by e-mail or post it in our forum).
  2. You may enter more than once (and we may select you more than once).
  3. At least once per month, the Hawgleg Posse will select one entry and prepare it for publication (we’ll provide artwork, maps, editing, and flesh out the story if needed).
    1. These adventure will be published as a PDF and posted for FREE download at the Hawgleg Website (we do not charge for them, nor do we require registration for people to download them).
    2. Your byline will appear on the published adventure, and in the contest directory.
    3. You will also receive a “La Vaquera” miniature (if we publish more than one of your adventures, we may contact you and offer you an alternate mini).
  4. Sometime in December 2007, the Hawgleg Posse will select their favorite adventure of the year: this adventure will be awarded the Judge’s Prize (grand prize).
  5. After that, the general public will be invited to vote on the remaining adventures. The winner will be awarded the Jury's Prize (second prize).
  6. A name slip with every valid story submission will be tossed into a hat and a random winner will be drawn. This person will win the Writer’s Drawing (third prize).
  7. The name of everyone who voted on the Jury's Prize will be tossed into a hat and a winner will be selected as the random winner of the Voter’s Drawing (limit one entry per person).
  8. Limit one major prize per person (if you win the Judge’s Prize, you are not eligible to win any of the lesser prizes, and so on).
  9. Please read the full rules posted at the Hawgleg Website, and pay particular attention to the Submission Guidelines

 For complete rules, submission forms, and more information, visit the Contest Main Page.

Everything’s bigger in Texas, including the prizes
“Our goal is to make this THE biggest Wild West gaming event of the year,” Mitchell said. “And that wouldn’t be possible without the help of the great saddle pals who have joined us to make this possible. These guys are the greatest and I'm just stunned with the outpouring of support they have given us.”

Mitchell added that when they began to contact the sponsors to ask if they would be interested in making a small donation to the contest, they responded with overwhelming generosity.

“I really felt like I was going to these guys, hat-in-hand, asking for a handout,” Mitchell explained. “To be honest, I figured a few of them would make a small donation of an item or two.  Then they floored me by donating more than I could have imagined, and even more, time after time, they kept asking, ‘Are you sure that’s enough? Let me add something else.’”

One of the sponsors even contacted Hawgleg right out of the blue.  Mike of Arnica, Montana, got wind of the contest and – out of the blue – contacted Mitchell with an offer to donate some resin Western buildings.

“I know I keep saying that I was stunned by everyone’s generosity, but that’s really how I feel,” Mitchell said. “I am amazed, and very grateful to each and everyone of these great guys, and I am proud to ride this trail with them.”

Combined, the total value of the prizes have a retail value of more than $500.

Contest sponsors include (in alphabetical order):
Arnica, Montana Real Estate
Scale Creep Miniatures
Whitewash City / Hotz Game Mats
  Click on the sponsor's logo to visit their Website.

"I'd like to take my hat off and personally thank the folks that are sponsoring the prizes. Their enthusiasm for this genre is easily spoken of, and it shows how much they believe in the genre professionally and personally," said Gutshot co-creator Mike Murphy.

The smallest prizes are actually the first ones that will be mailed: everyone who has an adventure published this year will receive a limited edition, 25mm “La Vaquera” miniature.  This miniature was commissioned by Jason Moses as part of his “Chick Challenge IV” painting contest, and it features a lusty, tequila drinkin’ cowgirl. 

“Hawgleg is very fortunate to have purchased the remaining stock on this rare mini,” Mitchell said. “And everyone who has an adventure published will get one. After that, the prizes get a bit more dramatic.”

Judge’s Prize: This is the grand prize (valued at about $260):
  • Whitewash City 6 x 4 foot felt game mat (approx. $40 value)
  • $60 Gift Certificate to Scale Creep Miniatures
  • 25mm painted stagecoach with team from Knuckleduster ($80 value)
  • Arnica, Montana resin Main Street Starter (5 buildings: $40 value)
  • Whitewash City Starter CD ($15 value)
  • One item from the Gutshot General Store (approx. $20 value)
  • Gutshot miniature: ($5 value)
Jury's Choice Prize (valued at about $105):
  • $40 Gift Certificate to Scale Creep Miniatures
  • Arnica, Montana Hotel w/staircase resin building ($25 value)
  • Whitewash City Starter CD ($15 value)
  • One item from the Gutshot General Store (approx. $20 value)
  • Gutshot miniature: ($5 value)
Writers’ Drawing Prize (valued at about $45):
  • Whitewash City Starter CD ($15 value)
  • DVD Western Movie pack ($10 value
  • One item from the Gutshot General Store (approx. $20 value)
Voters’ Drawing Prize (valued at about $40):
  • Whitewash City Starter CD ($15 value)
  • One item from the Gutshot General Store (approx. $20 value)
  • Gutshot miniature: ($5 value)
Monthly Prizes (valued at least $60):
  One limited edition “La Vaquera” miniature per published adventure (minimum 12 will be awarded, $5 value each)

"Wow… with prizes like this, it makes me wish that I could enter this thing! Then again, I suppose the boys would take me out back and hang me if I did,” Murphy said with a grin.


What we’re looking for & how to play
As noted above, the judges are not looking for long, complex adventures. They’re seeking good ideas that will be appreciated by gamers and that can be played in 2-6 hours by 2-8 gamers.

“The popularity of Wild West wargaming has taken off over the last few years and Gutshot has played a major part in this revival. I can remember gaming Wild West gunfights many years ago and would have killed to have had the game rules, the miniatures, the game mats and the card stock models that are available these days.”
-- Eric Hotz, Whitewash City
“We’re not looking for a cast of thousands or exotic terrain,” said Gutshot co-creator Mike Murphy.  “We’re looking for the kind of adventure that the average Wild West gamer could run at his local store on a Saturday afternoon with his buddies, and everyone has a great time.”

To this end, adventures should have the following characteristics:

  1. Keep it short. The final version should run about 2-8 pages, including maps, NPC sheets, and player handouts.
  2. Keep it simple. Avoid lots of NPCs, unusual figures, hard-to-find buildings or terrain.  When describing your setting, stick to common buildings and locations that are easy to find or make.
  3. Keep it real.  Well, at least cinematically real.  Stick to realistic events and settings, feel free to make up your own towns and people (and make liberal use of the stereotypical characters like square-jawed marshals and feisty deputies), but avoid strange stuff like time travelers, zombies and monsters.
  4. Keep it clean.  If your story were a movie, it would need to be PG-13. Storylines from “Gunsmoke” or “Bonanza” are fine, but stay clear of HBO’s “Deadwood.”
  5.  Keep it honest. You may use movies and books for inspiration, but you may not plagiarize them.  Do not copy the movie or character names.  For instance, a one-eyed marshal named “Rooster Cogburn” is definitely off limits, but a one-eyed marshal named “The Duke” is okay.
  6. Keep it fun for everyone. One man against a whole town makes for a great Spaghetti Western, but it makes for a darned short game in Gutshot.  Try to create adventures that are suitable for 2-8 players with clearly defined teams or groups, or create a situation where it is logical for every many to be against everyone else.

Finally, the judges want to stress that you do not need to be familiar with the Gutshot rules system. You can just describe a character in everyday language as “a tough old man who’s a crack shot with a pistol,” or a “cold-blooded killer who can ride with the reins in his teeth while firing two pistols.” 

“We’ll convert these descriptions into game stats,” Mitchell said. “We’ll also provide illustrations, maps, and work with you during the editing process to ensure that the final version is something that you’ll be happy with.”

Of course, if you are familiar with the Gutshot rules system and choose to write up character stats, please follow the rules as put forth in the book.  In other words, don’t try “stacking” the Sure-Shot Specialty for a +2 bonus.  Follow the rules as best you can.

We’re so excited that we just can’t hide it
“I ain’t gonna lie,” Mitchell said. “We’ve been hammering out the details on this contest for danged near five weeks, and it has been harder than heck to keep quiet about it. I keep wanting to drop hints in the forums or just blab it to anyone who will listen.  I’m not kidding at all when I say that I’m hoping this contest will be the biggest danged Wild West event of the year.”
If your imagination is as entirely consumed by the Old West as mine is, you'll be absolutely rabid with enthusiasm for this contest. I'd like to wish the best of luck to all the contestants, and may all your gunfights be make-believe.
-- Forrest Harris, Knuckleduster

Paul agreed, adding “I think this is very exciting and I think it will get a lot of people excited about Western gaming because it will give them new adventures to play.  Even if they don’t play Gutshot, they can adapt these adventures to other games and have a lot of fun doing it.”

A big part of this excitement is directly related to the participation of the sponsors.

“We started talking about this contest in December,” Mitchell said.  “And we just kept tossing it back and forth between the three of us, trying to figure out a way to make this happen.”

After Paul and Mitchell finally came up with the contest name one night during a long phone call, things began to fall into place. 

“We decided that we just couldn’t do this on our own, so we started calling on our friends out there in the Wild West gaming community.   At first, it felt like we were going to them with hat in hand, like a bunch of saddle tramps asking for handouts,” Mitchell said. “But one after the other, they said it sounded like a great idea and jumped into it wholeheartedly, offering more than we could ever have dared dream for.”

Murphy was also touched by the incredible generosity of the sponsors, and he also expressed words of gratitued to his partner for all the behind-the-scenes work needed to make this happen.

"Mike did a heckuva lot of lining up and horse dealin' to get this swell pack of stuff, and it goes to show folks in the industry alike, that yes it IS possible for designers to work together for the betterment of the hobby. If you look at what we've received, you'll see that this is all TOP NOTCH stuff. We didn't ask for anything in particular, but these guys that tossed their hats in the ring gave it their all," Murphy said of his partner.

Without fail, the contest sponsors helped turn this little idea into something with the potential for greatness, and for that, everyone at Hawgleg is very grateful

For complete rules, submission forms, and more information, visit the Contest Main Page.


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