For we are young and free Michael Wenman!

Here is the second of our Australian game designer promotions.  We had a couple more people fill out the form after yesterday so we should have a good level of profiles here by the end of November.

Cover of FUBAR rpg
The cover of FUBAR by Michael Wenman

Tell us who you are and what you have designed?

Hi, I’m Michael Wenman.  Principle behind the über-small “Vulpinoid Studios” (usually it’s just me, bit I’ve occasionally hired freelancers over the years). I often enter game contests where I usually make up the numbers, but I’ve been a finalist in Game Chef a couple of times. My most downloaded and played design is a little free game called FUBAR with a few thousand downloads on various online RPG stores, and maybe a hundred of the supplement sets purchased over the years. I’m also reasonably well known as a cartographer, and cartographic instructor (I’ve got a notorious set of map making tutorials floating around).

I have seen bits and pieces about Vulpinoid Studios and never really imagined that it was an Australian thing so I am really happy to find this out.  Vulpinoid Studios has a blog that you can keep up with developments at


What is it that makes you want to design games?

I want to design games because I’m a bit of a perfectionist with regard to gaming. I like game mechanisms that fit the themes of their narratives, and I think there might always be a better solution just around the corner. I’m not afraid to experiment with game ideas or mechanism components, mixing and matching them until I get things right.

This is a bit like me except things manifest for me by me not being able to actually get projects completed because I am so fussy.  Might have to talk to Michael about how he manages to get his material out before pulling them completely apart again!

What are the games that inspire you most?

I love specific games that tell specific types of stories. Not games that force you to tell the same story over and over, nor games that try to do a bit of everything, and end up not doing very well at anything. I get inspired by the games that you see crop up as inspirations in other games, I seek them out and see what parts I might be able to strip out for my own experimentation.

Very cool answer – inspired me to do a post on something a little later this month…

What makes Australian games different from others?

I find the experimental and innovative nature of Australian gaming both great and annoying. Great because I’ve seen innovations at conventions in the 90s that only started to appear in games from the US 10-15 years later… annoying because I saw these innovations, and then watch those latter day American designers pointed to as the great innovators of the hobby. This is becoming less so with a wider connection between design communities through the web. But it still appears every now and then.

I think it’s a shame when Australian designers decide that they need to follow trends in other parts of the world to make their names.

Where can we get your games from?

At the moment, most of my stuff is on RPGNow/DrivethruRPG under the “Vulpinoid Studios” imprint, but I’m hoping to get some stuff to Games on Board soon, because I think it’s important to support local businesses.

And I am most appreciative of the support – the more product I can get on the store the more we can grow and deliver what our customers need.

Are you working on anything at the moment?

I have a white whale called Walkabout. It’s a post apocalyptic Australian science-fantasy game where the spirits of the Aboriginal dreamtime cause havoc in the world because they haven’t been properly honoured in such a long time. The characters, called Wayfarers, wander the broken world along ancient song lines, aiming to restore the balance in the world by restoring honour to spirits who have lost their way (though this often requires fighting other survivors in the post apocalyptic world).

My other ongoing projects are a mutant animal game, a game of anime styled super women fighting aliens and monstes in a desolate space hulk at the end of time and space, and a few board games.

Man – Walkabout sounds absolutely awesome!  Such a prolific game maker who is very active in the communities.  I tell you all, I am loving discovering all these stories!

So, tomorrow we move from Michael on to Wade Dyed…  Stay tuned and keep on rolling!

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