Pick-a-Path Musical: Gamers of the Lost-Con

Lost-Con-smlI am pleased to announce Pick-a-Path Musical: Gamers of the Lost-Con! This is the same game which we used as the basis for our delightful performance at the Gen Con game convention earlier this month in Indianapolis. Now you can play the musical as the third free Story Module for your Sojourner Tales game.

This is the story of a Gamer boy, a Larper Girl, their quest for love and meaning at a mega-media-game convention and a duel of dice to the death! It isn't over until the fat dragon (or at least a puppet held by Phil) sings! The game is a free download available here on this website in dazzling variety of ebook, smartphone, tablet and computer-friendly formats. You just need to be logged in with your account (available at no cost) to download the files from our Free Stuff page.

And, of course, you can even recreate the full experience by purchasing the soundtrack for the musical, featuring 16 original songs by our daughter Tasha Hickman. The Sojourner Story Module includes cues as to which song to play at the appropriate place in the game.

We are delighted to provide this new, wacky and delightful adventure to you. Let the games begin!

Sojourner Tales: The Legend of Wild Bill Hickman

Wild_Bill_CoverThis next week, Laura and I will be at our annual family reunion. We join our entire extended family -- my parents as well as my sister's and brother's families -- all onto a houseboat with provisions, board games, cards, books and medical supplies (including sunscreen and aloe lotion) sufficient to support us for a week of wake boarding, swimming and working together. It's an annual pilgrimage which forges the bonds of our family in the back of beyond on the most jaw-droppingly scenic lake I know.

Not surprisingly, perhaps, Laura and I are anxious to show off our game to our family now that it is done. And what better way than to write a Sojourner Story Module just for our family reunion. I wanted to write something that celebrated family and decided to feature one of our famous ancestors.

Well, the problem was that our famous ancestor turned out to be infamous.

William Adams Hickman -- 'Wild Bill' Hickman, as he was called even by contemporaries -- had what might claimed with understatement to be a colorful history. Stories told about him (some claim BY him, some out-and-out lies) included that he was a horse thief, a body guard for Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith as well as Brigham Young, a polygamist with at least nine wives,  a raider who raided and burned down government wagons, an associate of Mountain-man Jim Bridger as well as Orrin Porter Rockwell, a sheriff and county prosecuting attorney, assessor and collector all rolled into one, not to mention a an assassin. There was a book written about his exploits at the time (alleged to be written by him but by and large concocted sensationalism by the guy who actually penned it) entitled: "Brigham's Destroying Angel: Being the Life, Confession, and Startling Disclosures of the Notorious Bill Hickman, The Danite Chief of Utah."

Well, at least I suppose I see where my roots in writing fantasy spring from my family tree!

William Adams Hickman was my Great-great-grandfather. Ask about any Hickman in the Western United States if their related to 'Wild Bill' and they will almost certainly answer in the affirmative.

So the question became: how do I make an entertaining game based on this sometimes-notorious and often mythic life?

Why, you EXAGGERATE IT, that's what!

That's how I cam to write 'The Legend of Wild Bill Hickman: A Sojourner Tales Adventure as told by Himself." It's a 'tall tale' of 'Wild Bill' trying to win a bet with Orrin Porter Rockwell back in the late 1800's right around the area where Lake Powell exists today. As our good friend, Carmen Deedy likes to say, "Oh, honey, it's not JUST true ... it's BETTER THAN true!"

So, if you would like to see an example of the kind of game you might make for your own family -- no matter how bent the branches of your family tree -- download this Sojourner Story Module. If you've got your own D.I.Y. version of Sojourner built, you might even play it. It's presented to you in EPUB format for iPads and Nooks, and Kobos; MOBI and AZW3 formats for Kindles old and new. Perhaps not all of the names and places will have the same depth of meaning they have for my family, but I think you'll enjoy the ride.

After all, what's a family tree if it doesn't produce a few nuts now and then!


You will need to be logged into the website to download the 'Legend of Wild Bill Hickman' ebook files.

If you are not yet registered for the site, you may do so here for free.


Sojourner Tales: We are GO for Game!

sjtlesboxsmallLate last month, we received one of the most important milestones in the production of our Sojourner Tales game ... the Mass Production Sample. This is the approval sample of our game and the last step before your copy of the game is actually made. This represents exactly what the game is going to look like when it arrives. It was all Laura could do not to tear the plastic cover off of the box before we were able to even take a few pictures of it.

The outside of the box was everything we had hoped it would be with deep, rich colors. More than that, this was the first time we actually could feel the weight of the box and game components as it would be in its actual configuration. 

We paused long enough to get a picture of me with the box still sealed but that was as long as either of us could wait. I handed the box proudly over to Laura and let her, at last, rip off the plastic and open the box.

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How can I describe the feeling of seeing the game and all of its pieces spread out before us at last. We have worked so long and hard on this project for all of us ... and now here it is fully realized.

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Well, we have responded to the manufacturer with an enthusiastic...

Sojourner Tales, we are GO for GAME! We currently expect to start shipping in mid-August.

We have approved the final stage and now your game is, at last, being built for you. Now we have to make sure we have adventures for you to play. I'm working even now on our Shroud of the Avatar adventures as well as a Space/Horror game and a Convention Game. I'll also admit to building a game specifically for our family reunion coming up next month.

We cannot wait to get these to you as soon as they arrive here! If you don't have yours preordered...

You can order your pre-launch Sojourner Tales copy here!

Prototype is Awesome!

Proto2Yesterday, a box arrived on my doorstep which caused tremendous excitement here at the Hickman household. It contained the production prototypes for our Sojourner Tales storytelling board game.

This is the next step in the process: approving the prototype for production. It is as close to actually making the game as possible without actually flipping the switch and making the entire production run.

Inside the box were, first of all, two boxes. One was the mock-up prototype which uses low resolution graphics to simulate the presentation of the components. The colors of this presentation are faded -- rather like a quick printout on a color printer -- but it allows us to check and make sure that they are assembling the product correctly. The second box is entirely in plain white -- no printing whatsoever -- but it uses the actual components, papers and finishes of the final product. This is to make sure that the sizes, weights and types of paper and components are correct.

Prototype ReviewAfter these two boxes are found the proof sheets. These are high quality printed sheets which represent the actual quality of the final printing and are checked for color consistency and errors. In our case, pages from the rule book, the included story book, all the cards and the 'MacGuffin' punch outs were inside the box. In addition, we found one of the special dice for the game as well as the player tokens.

We had to laugh when we saw the player tokens; the specifications I gave for them were HUGE. They look like bowling pins on the board. I'll need to get back with the manufacturer and decrease the size of that component before we approve the prototype. In addition, there were none of the plastic story disks included so I'll need to ask about approval on those as well.

The point is that as soon as I get these last minute issues corrected, the game will be on its way! I have the title song from the Lego Movie running through my head now ... everything is awesome!

Sojourner Rules!

SJ_Product_Rules_v1-1Things have been quiet on this website for a while, but that doesn't mean that we haven't been busy! Quite the contrary; we have been working harder than ever to get all of the production files, graphics, and component specifications set up for the production of our exclusive first run of Sojourner Tales.

A big part of this has been reworking the basic rules for the game. We've taken into account your input, suggestions, and corrections. Not everything has ended up in this rule set. Some of our more advanced rules and the solo rules are still being developed. However, we wanted to share with you as soon as possible the rules as they will be included in the box.

These rules are available for immediate download for registered members of our website. You must be logged in to download these rules. You may become a member by signing up with us through the login box to the right.

Thank you for being part of this journey! Without you, this incredible game would not be happening.

Sojourner Adventure Dice

One of the stretch goals for our Sojourner Tales funding on Kickstarter was to include special, custom dice in the game. Of course, for our creators who are writing their unique Sojourner Story Modules, it is essential that they know just what these dice will be and what capabilities they open up for their adventures.

Sojourner Adventure Dice

So, may I present the Sojourner Tales Adventure Dice -- the custom faces which will appear on the six dice included in the game that will ship to you this year. These faces feature the numbers 1-6 (which are all that are used in the basic game) but also feature additional symbols which may be used in ways customizable to each adventure

There are two triangles, three corner arrowheads, three corner stars, two circles and one hexagon. The meaning of these symbols are completely definable by the Creator of the individual SSMs. For example, you might define the arrowheads as 'Melee Attack Success', the circles as 'Defense Success', the triangles as 'Ranged Attack Success' and the hexagon as 'Critical Hit/Defense' and the corner stars as 'Discovery'. You could roll these dice individually for these results or designate a number of dice for an 'attacking player' to roll at once and a 'defending player' to roll a number of dice for their own defense. The attacking player might total the number of 'arrowheads' and then subtract the number of 'circles' rolled by the defending player to determine an amount of damage done. This is just one example of how these dice symbols might be defined.

Furthermore, as a Creator, you might also designate success on a roll of either diamonds or circles (4 in 6 odds) or any arrowhead (3 in 6 odds) or any triangle (2 in six odds).  A horror story module might define hexagons as 'fear' symbols and, for example, and a 'Twisted Tales" entry in could be written, 'The current player must roll a number of dice equal to the chapter marker number. If any 'fear' is rolled (hexagon) then that player's turn ends at once."

These dice open up tremendous capabilities for advanced game scenarios. How will you use them?

Sojourner Custom Modeling

BatmobilerLast month, as I was caught up in the holiday spirit, I decided to try writing that Christmas Sojourner story module that I had had on my mind. Between my overwhelming work schedule and the crush of the holidays, I wondered if it would be possible to find enough time to write this little gift.

As it turned out, I was able to do this in a single day.

This extraordinary feat was made possible because I modeled an existing template. Rather than try engineering a completely new matrix, I took the existing matrix for our first Sojourner tales module, replaced the descriptions, location titles, introduction text, and the choice descriptions with text for the new story, and then exported that into the e-book and Kindle formats. Creating, testing, and especially wiring (i.e. creating the internal hyperlinks that allow the player to interface events in the game properly with the e-book) is an arduous, painstaking task which can take a week or more to design and build. However, as any custom car-maker will tell you, it is far, far easier to put a custom body and interior on an already existing chassis, frame and drive-train than to build a vehicle from the ground up. You can purchase your very own replica Batmobile but it will come on the frame of a Ford Lincoln fitted with a superb but off-the-shelf engine and drive-train.

With that in mind, one of the things I'm working on early this year will be an EPUB template for a basic, generic Sojourner story module which you could easily edit into your own game. As more of us gain experience in creating Sojourner story module's, I could even see a market for selling or exchanging such templates to other creators for the game. A variety of such templates would richly add to the variety of the game while making creation of Sojourner story module's ever so much quicker.

Laura and I will be opening all of the creators storefronts within the next two weeks. We are so looking forward to seeing your adventures and playing them. We hope that making this template concept available to you will speed up the creation process and bring all of us fun games to play sooner than ever!

UPDATE: All Licensed Creators are now able to create their storefronts. Look for the tab under 'My Account' that lets you set up your own store!

Holiday Gift: To All a Good Knight!

Sojourn As a special gift to our backers from our Kickstarter Project and here on our website, I have put together a little holiday Sojourner Tales Module just for the holidays. It's a retrofit of our original module and I enjoyed writing the entries especially in a simplified format for family fun. It's now available for your download right here and can be played with your D.I.Y. version of the game.

You'll simply need to log in to this website and the download page for this gift should appear in the menu tabs above or you can download the files directly from this post.

I've been working on this all day for you, my good friends. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all ... and 'To All a Good Knight!


If you are registered for this website, please log in so that you can download this adventure from this same post! A copy of the Sojourner Tales Game is required to play this adventure. You can purchase a D.I.Y. copy for immediate download right here on our website.


White Weekend Exclusives

I have to admit that I find the idea of 'Black Friday' so negative that I've decided to offer up my own unique 'White Weekend' unique items for your holiday gift list.

Sojourner Tales Premiere Edition

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Our Kickstarter campaign for our Sojourner Tales Storytelling Board game funded to something like 214%! If you purchase a copy of the first edition game for $45 (+S&H) ... to be delivered next spring ... then the immediate download of our D.I.Y. version of the game is included at no additional cost. And you can also buy the D.I.Y. download version of the game for $25.

However, if you are looking for something special right away for the holidays, Laura and I have prepared a Premiere Special Edition of the Sojourner Tales Board Game you can order this week end. This edition was revised by me personally today (includes the new game board and location cards) as well as a uniquely marked cover for the box. Each of these is created by the same The Game Crafter company that created our prototypes. As these are print on demand (POD) games they are necessarily much more expensive than our production games coming in the spring and some of the components will not be of as fine a quality -- however it is a beautiful presentation of the game and the board and cards in particular are of excellent quality. A unique gift in time for the Holidays. $74.99 (plus S&H)

For our Kickstarter Backers and D.I.Y. enthusiasts, we haven't left you out! Just for the holidays, we have produced a special D.I.Y. Expansion just with you in mind. This is NOT the full game but it includes a unique version of the box, the professionally produced game board and a full set of Twisted, Tales and Destiny cards with rounded corners and a professional finish. All you need to add is your own chapter disks, rule book, dice, markers and character displays ... oh, and that necessary Sojourner Story Module. $39.99 (plus S&H)


St. Nicholas & the Dragon

Nicholas_newsad Come join us for our holiday story of St. Nicholas before he was a saint, of King Wenceslas who was actually a Duke and of a dragon who is trying to avoid his knight-slaying duties. Available for all ebook formats as well as traditional book form.


Unique Treasure!

Signed, MIB Diablo Computer Game

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Discovered in the Hickman Vaults! This is a first-edition, signed copy of Diablo one. It is still factory sealed. This was originally given to me by one of the developers at Blizzard as a gift. There is some wear on the corners of the box but it is in otherwise perfect condition. While signed copies of Diablo two or three are fairly common, a signed copy of Diablo one is a rare find. I will also provide a signed letter of authenticity for this item.

The Sojourner D.I.Y. is Now Available!

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Laura and I are proud to announce that the Sojourner Tales complete board game is now available for immediate download in its D.I.Y. format. Each of our Kickstarter Backers at the Sojourner D.I.Y. level and above should now have access the complete files for the 'Do-it-yourself' version of the game. Qualifying members on this website should see the access to the download on the lower menu bar above.

If you didn't get in on the Kickstarter Campaign you can STILL acquire the digital download today. You can pledge for the download only for $25 dollars.


As part of our download system, you need to be registered and logged in to our website before you purchase the D.I.Y. version of the game. This registration is absolutely free of charge and with no obligation. Simply click on the 'Signup now' link in the 'Membership Login' on the right to create your account, then return to this post. Your purchase options will appear here after you have logged in.