The past and future of UFO Press

Hey all,

It’s been three years since Legacy 2nd Edition was released to the world, and in celebration it’s today’s Deal of the Day on DriveThruRPG! Starting 10 AM US Central Time, you can head over here to pick it up for 50% off for the next 24 hours, but that’s the smallest of today’s announcements. Read on for the big news!

It’s been the best part of a decade since I put UFO Press’s first game up for sale: the beta of Legacy: Life Among the Ruins 1st edition. It’s been an eventful time – for the world, for this company, and for me personally. I’ve never walked this path alone, always able to count on the aid of co-designers, friends, partners, and industry peers. 

But when it comes down to it, I’ve been the sole owner and manager of UFO Press. Responsibility for production, fulfilment, budgeting, and marketing all fell to me, and while I am extremely proud of the end products it’s been a lot to carry on my own.

And so, I’m very pleased to make today’s big announcement: as of today, UFO Press is merging with my friends at Rowan, Rook and Decard. We’ve worked closely together for years: swapping advice and attending conventions as the UK Indie RPG League, playing each other’s games on The League Presents…, and collaborating on books like Heart: The City Beneath and Voidheart Symphony. But Grant, Chris and Mary at RRD are also wonderful friends of mine, and have been a constant source of support and care over the past few years. This merger almost feels like a formal acknowledgement of this long-standing creative partnership between the four of us!

The UKIRPGL stall at Dragonmeet 2019, here also staffed by our friends Becky Annison and Josh Fox (Black Armada) and Chris Longhurst (Certain Death).

So what does this mean for UFO Press? First, our projects still in production will benefit from RRD’s expertise. Shattered City’s fulfilment plan is well underway thanks to them, and Voidheart Symphony’s final PDF will soon go on sale as we start book printing. UFO Press is going to stick around as an imprint, a way of marking out the kind of community-focused, worldbuilding-flavoured story games you’ve come to expect from us. And me? I’m gonna luxuriate in working full-time as part of a team, making fun games and beautiful books with my new colleagues. 

The future’s bright, and I hope you’re as excited as I am to see what happens next!

Mina McJanda

Legacy comes home to Brazil!

Legacy: Life Among the Ruins 2e wouldn’t exist without its Brazilian co-author, Douglas Santana Mota. As we’ve been looking for non-English translations of the book, we realised that it was only right that a Brazilian version of the book was our top priority! To that end, we’ve partnered with Rocky Peak in Brazil to crowdfund and release a Portuguese version of Legacy.

No photo description available.

Check out their Facebook page for more details as they build up to their crowdfunding campaign!

72 Hours left on Mysthea!

The Mysthea: Legends from the Borderlands kickstarter has just over 72 hours left! We’re almost 200% funded, so each £15 PDF backer is getting:

  • The 240+ page PDF.
  • Print-and-play handouts and location cards.
  • Solo play module.
  • A map of the city.
  • Rules for revolution and espionage.

You can pledge for £35 to get all of the above plus a hardback book and an art postcard, but if you go up to £70 or above you also get:

  • An exclusive deluxe edition bound in faux leather and with a slipcase.
  • A dry-erase map board.
  • An A3 art print of your choosing.

Suffice to say, I’m very happy with what we’ve achieved here. But besides the amount of nicely-produced stuff, I think these are some of the nicest rules we’ve put together. Follow along and I’ll tell you about one thing in particular: our relationship mechanics.

Covenants and Bonds

PC-PC bonds are a natural source of drama, but they weren’t really showcased in Legacy or its expansions. For Mysthea: Legends from the Borderlands we wanted a strong emotional core for the Hero layer to contrast the impersonal House layer, so built on Rhapsody of Blood’s covenants system.

Each player has a Covenant with two other players, defined together: you pick a word from your class, they pick one from theirs, and those make the covenant’s core. So, if you pick Prison from your sheet and your friend picks Cult, maybe you found religion together behind bars?

Your covenant has a Strength rating, from 0 to 3. You can do a few tricks with it: sub it in for a stat when the bond is relevant, for example, or prophesy what’ll happen if a character or community acts in line with its core (with your covenant mate providing caveats)

But the biggest thing is Aid. When you help your Covenant, you give them a dice to roll with theirs as per advantage (roll 3d6, keep highest 2), sharing the consequences if their roll fails. Nice and simple, right? But then you look to see where your dice fell in the set.

Did I say we’ve almost unlocked custom dice?

If it’s highest, you made the difference! You say how, and boost the strength of the covenant. If it’s the lowest, you messed up. They say how, exactly, and you Test the Covenant. This is the final relationship move for today.

This one’s simple, triggered whenever one of you strains the relationship. The hurt party rolls +covenant strength; on a miss the covenant is weakened,  but on a 7+ they remember some past moment that reminds them how important you are to them. On a 10+, it improves!

So, the effect of this: if you want to keep your relationships strong, you’ll throw yourself into supporting your friend’s actions. It might go well, but even if it goes bad it’s likely to show the group why you mean so much to each other. And strong bonds can shape the future.

Oh, and – the only way to unlock the highest tiers of Qoam magic is to have multiple characters Aiding someone as they Wield their crystal focus. In this setting magical potency comes from deep friendship and common goals, not research or intelligence, and I think that’s neat.

So – that’s one reason to be excited about Mysthea: Legends from the Borderlands. Check out the Kickstarter page here, or pick up the current rules package.

Mysthea: Legends From the Borderlands is now live!

Montara was shattered by war. Once the jewel of the Borderlands, it now bears the scars of occupation. Will you lead it into a bright new future, or only enrich yourselves?

Mockup of the book of Mysthea: Legends From the Borderlands
We’re aiming to produce a beautiful hardcover book – 200+ pages at 8.5″x11″

Mysthea: Legends From the Borderlands is a game of politics, adventure and discovery in a geomantic fantasy world.

A jagged, obsidian creature bound up in golden chains heralds the arrival of the Kitrean Empire.
Fight the forces of the Kitrean Empire, and repair the scars of their occupation.

You’ll play a faction working in this city to repair its wounds and pursue your patron’s agenda. But you’ll also play a hero living in this city, getting entangled in its intrigue, culture and violence.

The holiest site of the Ancient Guild of Lusma.
What forces will your House call upon to change the world?

If you’re intruigued by the Mysthea Universe, it’s your chance to experience this world in detail and make your own mark on it.

If you’re a roleplaying game fan, it’s a system custom-designed to tell a decade-spanning story of divided loyalties and post-war rebuilding in a beautiful fantasy world, building on what we’ve learned from Legacy: Life Among the Ruins.

The Deluxe edition of the book.
And, of course, there’s a Deluxe Edition if you’re feeling fancy!

Check out the Kickstarter now!

Looking for writers – Post-apocalyptic essays!

For the next few books of Legacy, we’re planning to include essays to help groups bring different aspects of post-apocalyptic society to life. There are two books:

The Engine of Life is about how society can rebuild and move out of the post-apocalyptic state into a new status quo, and wants essays on Hope, Love and Tradition.

End Game is more cynical, about how the monsters of the wasteland and backbiting struggles of the survivors could cause another, final apocalypse. For this, we want essays on Exploitation, Strategy and Tragedy.

I’m looking for ~2000 words, paying £0.05/word. If that sounds interesting, get in touch at or ask questions here! If you’d like to send us a writing sample, it’d be best to see something critically engaging with a work of media or genre, talking about its strengths and flaws, and (optionally but best) how it could be used to inspire roleplaying.

New version of Legacy 2nd Edition out

Version 1.2 of Legacy 2nd edition is now up on the UFO Press patreon!
This release has a ton of new stuff over the previous one. Besides the gorgeous art running through the whole document, we have:

  • Simplified basic moves for Families.
  • Fleshed out Gear of all kinds.
  • Added a 7th Family – The Order of Sworn Hunters, who manage, shepherd and hunt down the colossal beasts of the wasteland.
  • Added advice and examples of play for most of the core moves, with more yet to come.
  • Adjusted game setup to better reflect just how much family landmarks and character roles can do the heavy lifting in making and interesting situation.
  • And more!

    Patrons can get immediate access by following this link or you can wait 5 days for it to be opened to the public.

UFO Press June Update

The last month was pretty great for UFO Press:

Legacy 2e

I launched the playtest for the second edition of Legacy! We’ve got some feedback already and it’s shaping up very nicely. If you’d like to grab the files and take a look, head here.


I launched the UFO Press patreon, dedicated to funding monthly microgames with a side order of early access to game drafts. I’ve just posted the game for June – Ghost Writer. It’s a two-player game about a digitally resurrected author and the publishing house forcing them to complete their final work.


We went to the UK Games Expo! It was my first time at any event of that size – apparently, it’s in the top 3 biggest board games conventions in the world, bigger than Origins. It was an absolute blast manning the stall, although pretty tiring. Huge thanks to my stall neighbours from Crooked Dice game design studio – they were great company, and their minis look very cool.

As well as selling a healthy chunk of games to customers, a number of UFO Press products are on their way to Leisure Games in London and Stratagemma in Florence. If you’re in their area and want to check out our games in person, go take a look!

Finally, I had loads of interesting conversations with publishers, distributors, designers and other industry figures. Watch this space for developments to come…

Upcoming Projects

  • Work’s ongoing for Legacy 2e: we’re targeting a kickstarter in late Summer/early Autumn, though we’ll see what’s right for the game. We want to get this right.
  • Ghost Ship is on the backburner at the moment – playtesting showed the game was kinda split between the memories-and-AI side and the freebooting-Firefly side, so I’m trying to see if I can reconcile them or focus on the right one.
  • We’re hard at work finishing our designs for The Butler on the Threshold, the Lovecraftian variant of What Ho, World and Wizards Aren’t Gentlemen. We’re considering a small crowdfunding campaign just for the print run – will talk to backers about it.

UFO Press on Patreon!

I’ve launched a Patreon! Every month I’ll post new RPG content to the Patreon free for all backers. These could be playbooks or scenarios for UFO Press games, subsystems you can drop into ongoing games to do something different for a session, or micro RPGs similar to the ones we wrote for the 200 word RPG challenge:

There are a few other benefits:

  • Patrons get access to early drafts of my bigger games before the wider public.
  • I’ll host regular patron-only Q&As and polls.
  • Patrons above a certain level get full-resolution copies of all the art from UFO Press games I have the license to share.

Why a Patreon?

This patreon has a couple of goals.

First, designing these two for the 200 word challenge was a nice break from my bigger games. It’d be nice to be able to make more without feeling like I was wasting time I could be spending on those other games.

Second, the What Ho, World! kickstarter was quite a bit more expensive than expected. A regular source of funds like this will ensure I can keep UFO Press ticking over.

If you’re interested in being a part of this, go check out the Patreon page!


UFO Press: April Update

As I have a few projects on the go at the moment I thought I’d step back and write up where I am with each of them. Enjoy!

Revising the Apocalypse

At the moment I’m elbows-deep in Legacy: Life Among the Ruins, tinkering and tweaking to make a draft for its revised edition. I’m aiming to make it a bit more coherent and better-communicated so that the intended playstyle is both clearer and easier to achieve. Part of that is providing better procedures for moving between the different phases of the game (what I’m working on right now), and part of it is editing the old playbooks so that they hook more directly into the game’s core concept of building a new life in the wasteland and creating the history of a people over generations.

Haunted Space

I recently sent out the current alpha draft of Ghost Ship to some other designers and that gave me a lot of feedback to work on! In particular, it’s clear the ‘you are a post-death brain scan struggling to retain humanity` and ‘you are the crew of a cool starship’ aspects weren’t gelling very well. I’m overhauling the spaceflight and ship rules to put a bit more focus on the effects they have on the characters and their living connections, rather than nuts-and-bolts simulationism.

Other business

Finally, there are a few minor projects to complete (my 200-word RPG contest entries), finishing up Kickstarter fulfilment for What Ho, World and Wizards Aren’t Gentlemen, and maybe putting together a Patreon to keep everything ticking over; shipping for What Ho, World/Wizards Aren’t Gentlemen kicked my ass more than I was expecting, and it’d be nice to have a budget to put into microgames/minor projects/early access drafts.