Catapult is the holy grail: a two player card game which is skillful and fun, and which requires only a single standard deck of cards.
The aim is to build villages, and soldiers and catapults to destroy your opponent's villages. It's a bit like gin rummy, but with a lot more strategy and variety.
Blind Bends is a really simple pen and paper game, but which is as tricky and skillful as you want it to be. And it's quick - you can finish a race in five minutes if you don't hang about.
Draw the track on a sheet of plain paper. The track should consist of the two track edges all the way round, a start and finish line, and (optional) some obstacles on the track (crashed cars, oil spills - use your imagination). Then drive your car by shutting your eyes and moving a pen round the rack track. Your opponent has their eyes open and is watching out for when you crash into the side (or into an on-track obstacle). After a crash, it is your opponent's turn. On your next turn, you resume where you last crashed. That's it!
Grid Racing is another game that is this is wonderfully simple, yet tricky to get right. First draw a race track on a sheet of graph paper - ideally use graph paper with small gaps between lines, 2mm gaps are ideal. Draw the edges of the track all the way round, a start and finish line, and optional obstacles to avoid.
You then drive your car by varying the velocity on each axis by a maximum of one in either direction. For example, you start with a velocity of zero on both axis - in other words (0, 0). So the next turn you could go up to 1 in either direction - in other words, you could go (-1, -1), or (-1, 0), or (1, 1)... As another example, let's say you go 6 squares right and 3 sqaures up in one turn. Then the next turn you could go 5, 6, or 7 squares right, and 2, 3, or 4 squares up. You can choose which axis to move along first on each turn.
If you go over the track line, then you have crashed and you're out. There are no second chances - the player who crashes loses. Otherwise, the winner is the first to make it all the way round the track, back to the finish line. The game feels risky - you need to move as fast as possible, but it can be surprisingly hard to slow down from a fast speed, in order to take the next corner.
Texas Warfare is in development. The inspiration came from asking: what if poker could be a wargame? What if a wargame could be played like poker? The two ideas seem to fit together well: raising chips would be analogous to committing reinforcements, folding a hand would be analogous to withdrawing, calling your opponent would be analogous to forcing a combat. Cards ('pocket cards') would represent troop quality, while numbers of chips would represent troop quantity. The hope would be to use the most exciting elements of poker to draw out the most exciting elements of wargaming - in particular, the fact that a game of poker usually turns on one or two big hands, while a battle typically turns on a critical location or area of the battlefield.
Version 0.1 is complete and being playtested - but I don't feel I've got the balance right yet between luck and judgement, or between routine combats and those critical elements I mention above.
I originally created this game during the height of Lord of the Rings mania, around the time of the Peter Jackson films. It had a fantastic mechanic for moving the Fellowship onwards towards Mordor - the rules demanded a mix of bluff, boldness, and caution. The trouble with the game was that this mechanic was swamped by a flabby wider game, which attempted to wargame all the battles of Middle Earth. (My perennial design vice is a tendency to over-complicate.) So, what I want to do is to tease the Fellowship mechanic out of the wider game, producing a unique LoTR themed game that can be played in a couple of hours.
The Boat Game
I created this game while still at school, and would love to dust it down and publish it online. Imagine a number of islands on a board which is otherwise ocean; the purpose of the game is to control these islands. Each player controls individual boats which can be combined into fleets, and which are much stronger when they are combined. The tension is between making a few really strong fleets, or widely dispersing your boats to take more islands. Plus there are all sorts of different naval boats - and hence strategies - from big battleships, to aircraft carriers, submarines, and paras. Good fun.