Ken Martin is at every stage on history’s page

Ken Martin is a person I have a lot of respect and admiration for.  He is a guy who has been communicative and friendly from early in the stages of this blog and always willing to give advice and lend a hand.

Tell us who you are and what you have designed?

My game creating name is Ken Martin, and I have designed a few of my own settings and game systems – not letting system get in the way of setting. I developed a setting for Blade Runner with a simple system, and a Mad Max RPG following the MM4 movie release.

Some of my favourite movie fodder right there…

What is it that makes you want to design games?

I like to create engrossing and diverse games – games rich with history, grand scope, and detail. For me it is not about the mechanics – anyone will replace your clunky system with their own. But the mechanics are simply there to allow players to move their characters’ stories along.

No argument there – and with the plethora of good universal systems I imagine that trend is increasing.

What are the games that inspire you most?

I don’t like D&D. But I have run it a lot and played it often. The most significant influence to my game creation has been the Harn setting, and perhaps Runequest and Glorantha. 

What makes Australian games different from others?

I think it is that Australians know they are competing in a large market and so we try harder on the one hand, but also simpler on the other. The internet is the Australian game designer’s friend. Until internet, it was near impossible for Australians to break out and even produce a game that was picked up internationally. Now we are designing, editing, producing, and marketing from home and getting games done.

I have seen that Australians can quickly produce smaller games for “fun” only. One shots or limited episodes. We have smaller groups in the major cities and towns – so perhaps our games are more the “pick up” style: learn quickly, get started and have fun.

Great answer!  One I had not considered in the past.

Where can we get your games from?

Ask Mark!

Hmmm… cheeky bugger.  Well, Ken has said that he will be happy to sell at Games On Board so hopefully we will get some of his products up there nice and soon.  Something he did not mention here is that he also worked on Chthonian Highways and while I slammed it in my review I was very impressed with the responses of the authors of that review and have noted that the product has been updated since my review.  I think that this editing and story that Ken did for that game was a great thing and he should be proud of the work he did with the project.

Cover of Chthonian Highways
Chthonian Highways cover

Are you working on anything at the moment?

I am working on “Alara – the Mythic Asia RPG” set in a historic and fictional asia continent. The more I write, the more I write. I am at about 500 pages and still going!

I am also working on a board game about Newspapers and News Media – which is on hold until Alara is complete.

I think Alara is Ken’s Holy Grail – I can’t wait to see some of that when he is done with it.

Any final words?

Tell me when to stop with Alara, please!


I have to apologise for the break in these posts over the past few days.  I have been dealing with life (Jim, but not as we know it) and that has involved a lot of work.  Good news is I have received my stock (yesterday) of Fragged Empire by Wade Dyer who was one of the interviewees recently.  Craig Judd is also organising some of his Powerframe game in print copy so that I can also stock in store.  I am still waiting to hear from the CatTube card game but it sounds cool and has generated some local interest.  It is great to find out about these games, and even better that I am in a position to support my local gaming community as well.  Keep rolling!

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