Sunday, January 28, 2018


This is my first blog post since the Kickstarter concluded in December.

The campaign was a rousing success, with enough funds raised to pay for the development of some stunning new figures, accessories, and print materials, as well as launch Knuckleduster into 2018 with the ability to create cutting-edge wild west game gear.

As a result, we've been very busy at Knuckleduster headquarters. The manuscript is undergoing editing, the photos are taken, and a few last-minute illustrations are being rounded up for the rule book. The guys are planning, casting, and packing product--making lists, spinning tin, and inspecting every spur and hat brim.

Here are some of the essential things you need to know about this game system if this is the first time you've encountered it:

Gunfighter's Ball is a tabletop miniature wargame; each player controls between one and three characters represented by 28mm miniatures and wild west battles are conducted on a table full of model terrain, all of which is produced by Knuckleduster Miniatures in the Gunfighter's Ball product line.

If you're an old hand at wargaming, you'll be relieved to know that these rules incorporate time-honored rule mechanisms that should be very intuitive for you, and they're also easy for newcomers to learn. For instance:

  • The turn sequence is controlled by poker cards; when your card comes up, it's your turn to go.
  • You can perform two actions when your card comes up. The actions are very clearly defined.
  • Movement is performed with dice to introduce an element of uncertainty.
  • Fire is performed using percentile dice and a simple chart. There are options for opportunity fire/reactions that help get around the problem of attacks on static/helpless non-phasing characters that you often get in "I-Go-U-Go" systems.
  • If a hit is scored, wounds are rolled-for using percentile dice and a chart, or "The Black Deck" is used as an alternative to charts.
  • Health it tracked with poker chips. You begin the game with nine "lives" (health points). Each wound you take costs you between 1 and 6 chips (0 and "All Remaining" are also options for extreme results). The last three chips are red and represent the mortally-wounded level, in which you start taking massive penalties on the charts when you try to move or fight.
  • There are rules for special abilities, animal combat, mounted movement, explosives, and other things you might expect. We've tried to give you the most complete options we can for an old west game. 
  • The scenario section includes an extensive discussion of HOW to write scenarios as well as providing examples of scenarios to get you started.
Download the simplified "Greenhorn" version via the link at the right and see what you think.

The Gunfighter's Ball miniature line was already extensive before the kickstarter, with over 50 gunfighting characters, and over 30 bystander packs. With the kickstarter, we've added over a dozen new characters, as well as numerous terrain items. The highlight of the project is the addition of more MDF building kits. This part of the product line will grow a lot during 2018. We've even got a photo-realistic game mat that's about to go off to the printer.

The experience of playing the game is enhanced by high quality game materials worthy of the quality of the figures and terrain. There will be several ancillary card decks that can be used to spice up the game (but are not necessary for play). Each character in our product line will have a large-format "tarot" sized card made from a glossy material that can be easily wiped off after notes are made with a dry-erase or transparency marker. The Black Deck can be used to deal out more specific wound results, and a special ability deck called the Pistoleer Deck can be used to add depth to your characters. Finally, the Death Dealer Deck gives the Judge an elegant and evocative way to deal up characters' turns.

The next phase of Gunfighters Ball is the fulfillment of the kickstarter backer kits. During this time, we (and our European stockist, Caliver Books) are still open for business, and the established part of the product line is available for purchase. Be sure to visit Knuckleduster's shopping cart and browse our selection of figures. We've even got mounted versions of the dismounted characters and things like longhorn cattle.

Not to worry--you can still pre-order items that were in the Kickstarter and receive them when the backer kits go out. Our kickstarter pre-order system is being administrated by Go HERE to check out the pre-ordering information. You'll be able to buy everything except the exclusive figure (The Drifter). All the stretch goal items are in the Backerkit shopping cart for pre-order.

If you are retailer in the US or Canada, contact me at and we'll start talking turkey. I have two programs set up; one for brick-and-mortar retailers and one for established internet retailers that meet certain criteria.
If you are a retailer in the EU, you will be able to apply to our distributor in the UK, Caliver Books (

We await your call with baited breath.

Please comment below or join us on facebook for more photos and news.


Wednesday, December 13, 2017


The trend in tabletop gaming is the use of finely-detailed printed mats instead of felt or flocked cloth. They're neater, they lay nice and flat, and if designed properly, the detail on the surface fools the eye into seeing texture. This characteristics of game mats has driven their popularity. And then there is the durability; no more problem with flock rubbing off your groundcloth!

The neoprene-backed printed cloth mats are the most popular of all. This is usually referred-to as "mousepad" material, since it is essentially the material used to make the old-fashioned mousepads we know so well. Using typical gamer ingenuity, somebody discovered several years ago how well this material looks when printed, and how nicely it flattens out on the table and voila, paradigm shift.

Here's a closeup (about 200% magnification--these tufts of yucca will print up about 1/4" wide) of the kind of results you can get with a printed game mat. The artist we're working with made this render so we could evaluate textures, and we were immediately blown-away.

Here's a mockup of the final mat in 3'x4' size. The artist is now working on applying that detail to the entire surface in a similar pattern to the one pictured. Each end has vegetation, and the sides are more clear in case you want to put several mats side-by-side to make a big town.

I'm really excited about this. If you've ever seen our game demo board at a show, you've seen the improvement that a nicely detailed surface can make over a plain tan groundcloth. This game mat gives you the advantages of a textured board with the convenience of rolling it up and putting in a tube for transport. And the material rolls out flat with enough weight to stay put.

If the campaign hits 28k, everybody who is eligible for stretch goals will receive on of these. If they are unlocked, they will also be available in the add-ons in case you want additional mats, or if you pledged below the level that receives stretch goals.

And don't forget, we have an interim stretch goal at 23.5k, which is a mounted version of Honest John the Sheriff!

Any questions can be directed to us through Kickstarter, or via email at

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Pistoleer Cards

If you have perused the Greenhorn Download, you will have a good idea how the basics of Gunfighter's Ball work. To make the game more interesting, we incorporate special abilities using Pistoleer Cards.

This was something Desperado never had, and it was entirely up to players to role-play any quirks they had, or entirely up to Game Masters to design them into characters. This deck provides an easy and systematic way to spice up characters to take the game beyond a simple "move and shoot" to something with more depth.

There are 52 cards, comprising 52 skills, quirks, advantages, disadvantages, and special abilities. Each card has a detailed description of the characteristic with effects on play described in enough detail that a rulebook is not necessary.

Examples include:

River Rat . . . handy with a throwing knife.
Lunger . . . sickly, starting the game with fewer wound chips.
Nervy . . . cowardly and ap to run when the shots start flying.
Ambidextrous . . . no penalty for using non-dominant hand.
Sidekick . . . gives hero an advantage when nearby.
Rube . . . ill-equipped for combat.

The entire list:

Greased Lightning
Deliberate Shooter
Guerilla Horseman
City Slicker
Fleet Of Foot
Trick Rider
Clumsy Shooter
Thumb Buster
River Rat
Old Wound Acting Up
Spooks Horses
Old Nag
Hired Gun
Eagle Eye
Glutton For Punishment
Lucky Son Of A Gun
Raging Drunk
Code Against Killing


The number in the red circle is a relative weight so that a point system can be use to build characters. For instance, if a game allows for characters to come out at a net level of 1, then this ability would need to be balanced out by a disadvantage with a weight of -1.

We cut some of them and start another deck which will be called the "Dirty Tricks" deck. This will essentially be a weapons and special equipment deck with some special skills such as "menacing glare."

The mockups above are something I put together to illustrate how they might look. I incorporated images from a real antique card deck in order to give it a little period flavor. I'm still on the fence about some of the graphic design, but the content is finished.

Visit the Kickstarter and see how it's going!


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Rattlesnake Jack Unlocked! Next Up...

Rattlesnake Jack has been unlocked!
That didn't take long at all--thanks to everyone who participated.

Now we can move on to this critter--The Chaco Kid.
He's ambidextrous, quick as greased lightning, and awake: awake and very puzzled . . .

Considering the track record of this campaign, I'm sure we'll get there in no time.
Can't wait to show you what's next!


Sunday, November 19, 2017


Here's my second size comparison. You can see, Black Scorpion is just a tad larger. The male characters might be larger--I don't have any for comparison. Also note that the thickness of the Dead Man's Hand's integral base makes it artificially taller, when in fact it's just about the same as Gunfighter's Ball. I always planned to make my figures compatible with DMH--they are excellent figures and I will enjoy painting and using them in my collection alongside my sculpts.

The second photo is a style comparison between Black Scorpion and Gunfighter's Ball. The Dame With No Name (Gunfighter's Ball) is a bit of an Amazon, so she matches Black Scorpion very well.

I hope those photos help in the decision-making process. My competitors make a lot of very nice figures. We live in a truly magical time for gamers--all this stuff is available. My philosophy is to make my figures blend so customers can take advantage of it all.


Just had a question from a backer regarding the size of Gunfighter's Ball figures compared to Artizan. Here's a quick snapshot I took. I had some Artizan figures in my collection that I pried off their washers and re-mounted on our slotta bases. I do not have a Dead Man's Hand figure handy, but I created my figures with the measurements of DMH so I could match scale. If you have a photo of a matchup of the two, please send it my way.


 Gunfighter's Ball Kickstarter Launched!

We launched the Kickstarter Friday night as promised. We're closing in on our funding goal very quickly. Check it out HERE.
The exclusive figure for the campaign is The Drifter--when the campaign is over, he's gone forever.