The 'Hood is Open for Business

My first properly published book is now available through Lulu: The 'Hood is an Apocalypse World supplement about ordinary people living on the fringes of law and society, looking for ways to make a buck no matter what it takes. It's suitable for games in the style of The Wire, The Shield, Breaking Bad and many others.

A big shout out to Tommy Rayburn, who's given his own free time to design the layout and made my words look good; also to Rhona Robson, Ben Cole, Helen Garvey and Nick Townsend for being willing guinea pigs.


  • edited April 2014
    Gratz dude. Hope it does well.
  • Congrats!
  • awesome.
  • Ordered yesterday!

  • This will also be available as printer friendly and tablet friendly versions, as soon as they've cleared through Drivethru.
  • In the meantime, you can download all the playbooks for free here and please take the time to visit my recently started blog for more stuff about my design process and a new free game. :)
  • Will it be put up on Amazon as well? Since that one is integrated with Lulu or at least that is what I have read.
  • Will it be put up on Amazon as well? Since that one is integrated with Lulu or at least that is what I have read.
    I thought Amazon's portal was createspace. If lulu crosslinks to Amazon too that's super-cool.

  • Lulu claimed to do it when I registered, but I guess they wanted to talk me into publishing using them and it might come with extra costs or something.
  • I haven't looked into this yet and it might have to wait until after Easter now, but if its possible, I'll do it.
  • The pdfs are ready: the package includes a landscape format pdf for home printing and a tablet friendly version of the actual book.
  • That's just the right PDF price to get me to try out this game. Snagged!
  • My copy of the book arrived! Looks good.

  • I'm really pleased to have the chance to share this with a wider audience and I want to thank everyone for their enthusiasm; I'd really love to know about any games that get played as a result, especially if accompanied by feedback!
  • Hooray, PDF! Thanks, James.
  • Reading through this now. Lots of cool ideas here! It's extra interesting to me since I have my own street criminals game in playtest right now (Blades in the Dark) and we've both hit on similar elements to game-ify (debt, heat, loot, etc.).

    I'm looking forward to getting The Hood to the table for play. Do you have a preferred place for discussions about play and rules stuff, James? Here on SG?
  • it went through a very long and emergent design process before it got to its current state: my original thoughts were almost board game-like, somewhat in the style of Agricola, so I was looking for resources that could be earned and spent. As well as the ideas for debt, heat and loot, that early take on the setting had 'family' as yet another resource, but that never quite made it into The 'Hood.

    I'm happy to discuss things here or on G+, under either the Groundhoggoth or Apocalypse World communities, whichever you feel is most apt for the question/subject you want to discuss.
  • Starting from such a boardgamey place is super interesting. Was it always based on the Apocalypse World engine? Or did that creep in over time? I'd be interested in that process.
  • Just purchased the PDF. Looking forward to a read-through.
  • Starting from such a boardgamey place is super interesting. Was it always based on the Apocalypse World engine? Or did that creep in over time? I'd be interested in that process.
    I'll compose a longer piece for my blog as soon as I have the time; I'll reconstruct as much of the development process as I can from memory and scattered notes, then link back to it here when it's up.

  • Here's the first part of a blog post about how I developed The 'Hood from a rough idea to a finished book:

    Pond Life: The Primordial Soup of The 'Hood.
  • Thank you!
    That is interesting to see hwo you developed the game. A "german style" board game about the 'Hood might have been interesting in another way. But I am glad it turned more into an RP direction again.
  • edited April 2014
    I had a question about dough.

    Since you can spend 1 dough to get a 10+ on a roll, it seems like heists might be in danger of being reduced to a simple cost vs. reward analysis. What I mean is, if a job is worth 8 dough, but we'll probably face less than 8 rolls, we should definitely do it, spending dough to ace all the rolls and still coming out ahead. Rinse, repeat.

    Have you seen this happen in play?
  • edited April 2014
    First, there's no guarantee that you'll only have to spend 1 dough when you pay cash, the MC can charge whatever they feel is a fair amount for what you're asking: for example, asking around for more information about your target might only be 1 dough a pop, but acquiring explosives or the services of a professional safe cracker might cost you 2 or 3 dough.

    Second, as MC you should probably be wary of giving away too much dough from one job: as a rough guideline, a heist should be worth about 1dough per roll required, +1 per PC taking part in it. The crew can decide to pay cash for each roll required, by pooling their resources, but in that case they are looking at a payout of 1dough each, which is barely breaking even. Paying cash means cutting third parties in on the score and the more people expecting a pay-off from the heist, the less there will be for the PCs: they stand to gain more if they are willing to take some risks.

    Also, unfortunately, I have to admit to a typo in this section of the game: a sentence from a previous version of the rules has somehow survived editing and made it into the book, so to clarify: you do not mark experience when you pay cash. As it says in all playbooks, you only mark experience when you take heat, restore your livelihood or have debt of more than +3 with another PC.
  • Ah, okay. I missed the bit about charging more for pay cash. Thanks!
  • The next installment of my blog on designing The 'Hood is up now.
  • The Director's Cut of The 'Hood is now available on DrivethruRPG; it includes:

    - A short introduction to the Apocalypse World system.
    - Rules for basic moves, peripheral moves, experience, debt and heat.
    - 27 playbooks, from The Barkeep to The Voice.
    - A dissection of all the basic & peripheral moves for the MC.
    - Guidance on creating the neighbourhood and MCing the game.
    - The Score: a playset for one-shots.
    - An appendix on the origins of the game.
  • 27 playbooks holy carp! You've been busy :)
  • It's a long story... so strap in!

    I originally set myself the goal of writing 12 playbooks and that was quite easy; so easy, in fact, that along the way, 2 more got added (The Pimp and The Shark, if anyone's keeping score.)

    Then Tommy Rayburn got involved and started asking questions, making suggestions and volunteering his services on the layout for a potential book: as a result, there were four more ready to include by the time we got to publishing the first edition (The Hacker, The Neighbour, The Quack and The Rebel.)

    Tommy suggested we should create a more complete edition, so that it could be self-contained rather than an add-on to Apocalypse World: we started working on that not long after publishing the original edition. This mostly involved editing the blog posts I'd written about the game, plus adding extra material about the rules and the moves: with the game out there commercially, other people started to take an interest, such as Matt Schillinger, which added to my own thinking about the game.

    The upshot is that in the process of creating the Director's Cut, 9 more playbooks got created... well, 10 actually, only now its 15. There are six more playbooks that we absolutely didn't put in the Director's Cut, because... well, let's just say 'laser sharks' and leave it there. ;-)
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