Aug 122014


To celebrate Gen Con this week, I’m putting all three of my Dangerous Games novels on sale for only $2.99! That’s $2 off each. If you grab all three installments in the trilogy, that comes to $8.97, for a total savings of $6.

They’re on sale right now through the Buy Direct and DriveThruFiction buttons on my site. It’ll take a while longer for the sale to filter down to the other sites, like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks, but it should reach them soonish.

The Dangerous Games books are each set at Gen Con (the largest tabletop gaming convention in the world) and tell the story of Liam Parker, an aspiring game designer who stumbles into a murder investigation on his first night at the show. How to Play is a murder mystery centered around that killing. The sequel, How to Cheat, is a crime novel that centers around the fallout from the previous year’s murder. The finale, How to Win, blasts all the doors off for a full-on action story. I call it Die Hard meets Gen Con.

The books are littered with scores of tabletop industry personalities, both as characters and victims. I’ve been involved in the industry for thirty years now—this will be my 33rd Gen Con in a row—and I wanted to peel back the curtain to show you just what it’s like to be involved in such a vibrant and fun community based on entertaining your friends around a table. Well, with a bit more drama than the show has ever had in real life, of course!

Allen Varney, who is also the first murder victim in How to Play called it “a blood-soaked love letter to Gen Con.” That’s as good as anyone’s ever put it.

Take advantage of this deal and join me at Gen Con, at least in the pages of my books. If you can make it there in real life too, be sure to say hi. At Gen Con, we’re all gamers—and not murder victims!

Dangerous Games: How to Play

Dangerous Games: How to Play

Series: Dangerous Games, Book 1
Genre: Thriller
Publication Year: 2013
ISBN: 9781301239702
Murder comes to Gen Con, the largest tabletop gaming convention in the world, and this time it's no game. After stumbling over the body of a famous game designer, it's up to Liam Parker to figure out who killed the man and—more importantly—why.
Download Sample Chapter


Welcome to the Big Show!

Once a year, the greatest tabletop gamers in the world descend upon Indianapolis for Gen Con — the Best Four Days in Gaming — to play games, see friends, and have fun. They play things like Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: The Gathering, Warhammer 40,000, Settlers of Catan, Munchkin, and everything else they can get their hands on. Mostly the competition is friendly.

Sometimes it is not.

When a world-famous game designer turns up murdered at the convention, Liam Parker — the young game designer who stumbles across the body — makes it his quest to figure out who killed the man, and why. In the end, Liam must figure out the rules of this most dangerous game fast — or risk losing his life.

Aug 112014
Scott Elliott of Gen Con gave me a hoody with this year's sweet design on it.

Scott Elliott of Gen Con gave me a hoody with this year’s sweet design on it.

Gen Con is coming up this week! This is my favorite time of year, and I hope you can come share it with me.

I’m once again part of the committee selecting the Industry Insider Guests of Honor, and this will mark my 33rd consecutive Gen Con and 12th in a row as a guest of honor. I’ll also take part in the Gen Con Writers Symposium.

If you love games, books, or both, do not miss this show. My schedule:

Wednesday, August 13

Thursday, August 14

Friday, August 15

Saturday, August 16

In my free time, I’ll be wandering about, playing games with my family, and catching up with friends. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to see you at the show. If you spot me, go ahead and say hi. We’re all gamers at Gen Con!

Aug 112014

DG-HTP-3DThanks to everyone who downloaded Dangerous Games: How to Play for free early last week and entered the drawing to win three free passes to Gen Con. It took me three tries to find a winner who could make it to the show and put the passes to use. Fortunately, the earlier winners (Wayne Humfleet and Scott Fields) were happy to pass them on to someone who would get to enjoy them. They went to Dino Liapis of Skokie, Illinois! 

Stay tuned for more Gen Con news!

Jul 312014

DG-HTP-3DMy favorite time of year—Gen Con, the greatest tabletop games gathering in the world—is just around the corner, and better yet, it’s my birthday on Monday. To celebrate, I’m going to give away ebook copies of Dangerous Games: How to Play. Not only that, one lucky reader is going to get three free passes to Gen Con.

How to Play is the first in my trilogy of Dangerous Games thrillers, which follow the life of rookie game designer Liam Parker through three consecutive years at the show. As designer Allen Varney—the first fictional murder victim in the book and the man behind—says about Dangerous Games:

In How to Play, Matt Forbeck writes a blood-soaked love letter to Gen Con and the roleplaying hobby. If you enjoy seeing famous game designers brutally slaughtered (and who doesn’t?), Dangerous Games is your victory condition.

To enter the contest, all you have to do is grab a free copy of Dangerous Games: How to Play right here. It should set you right up, but if you wind up needing a coupon code, use: dangercon. You’ll get the book in ePub, Kindle, and PDF formats.

That automatically enters you into the contest for the three Gen Con passes via your email address, and I’ll randomly select the winner from that list of addresses. The contest (and the free ebook giveaway) ends at midnight CDT on August 4—or whenever I wake up the next morning. Anyone is eligible to grab the ebooks for free, but I can only mail the three passes to a US postal address. Otherwise, I couldn’t be sure they’d get to the winners in time.

So join the fun, and spread the word. I hope you enjoy the book, and I hope I get to see you at Gen Con!

Jul 142014

corerpg4Among his many other talents, my pal Lester Smith is a crackerjack game designer. If you’re a longtime tabletop gamer, you probably played some of his creations, including Dark Conspiracy and Dragon Dice. He’s been working on a new tabletop roleplaying game for a while now, and I had the honor of playing it at the Nexus Game Fair a few weeks back with my son Marty and nephew Henry.

We had a ball. It’s called the CORE RPG, and it uses a stripped-down system that puts the emphasis on entertainment rather than number crunching. If you like crunch, though, you’ll enjoy the innovative d6xd6 system, in which you roll two six-sided dice and multiply them to get your result.

Lester’s running a Kickstarter to get the CORE RPG into print. He set a number of stretch goals for it, and he’s already thundered through the first one for a fantasy four-pack of settings, which includes my Shotguns & Sorcery setting, plus ones from Doug Niles, Tim Brown, and Bruce Heard.

Because the mechanics are simple, the settings are short too, and Lester has lined up a slew of other authors and settings. Many more than he’s listed on his site so far. He’s already knocked down the first couple stretch goals, and he has lots more to come. The PDF of the rules including all the stretch goals will only set you back $9, and the print version’s only $21.

It’s a great deal from a fantastic designer, so be sure to check it out. It only runs until August 3, so go over and back it before the clock stops ticking.

Jul 122014

American_Cancer_Society_Relay_For_Life-2My pal Mike Stackpole helps run Fiction for a Cure, a Relay for Life event that takes place in Second Life. (To give that a linkbait headline: BESTSELLING AUTHORS FIGHT CANCER IN ONLINE VIRTUAL WORLD.) This year, he asked a number of other authors to donate books and other items for the cause. This includes other all-star authors Diana Gabaldon, Tracy & Laura Hickman, R. A. Salvatore, Claudia Christian, Kevin J. Anderson, Stephen R. Donaldson, Alan Dean Foster, John Kovalic, and Patrick Rothfuss. And I’m pitching in too!

Fiction for a Cure started on July 11 and runs through the 18th, and it takes place on the American Cancer Society island in Second Life. Events include classes and readings, and the whole thing culminates in a live auction of books and other cool fictiony bits on the final day. Items for the auction include signed books, games, graphic novels, and rare collectibles. Plus, you can even be Tuckerized (which means you can have yourself or a friend written into a future story by one of the authors).

Fiction for a Cure also includes five raffle packages featuring gift cards donated by the best content creators in Second Life. Every ticket, which costs L250, includes L250 credit to Clutter for Builders.

I’ve donated a couple of things to the cause. For the silent auction, you can pick up an autographed hardcover copy of my Dangerous Games omnibus. This collects all three of my Dangerous Games books under a single cover, and it’s so far only been available to the fine folks who backed the Kickstarter drive that funded that series. [Actually, this is up in the live auction!]

For the live auction on July 18, I’ve put up a Tuckerization that can get your name into my upcoming novel Loot Drop, which should be published by Tor sometimes in 2015. [This isn't up yet, but it may be in either the silent or the live auction, depending on where Mike needs it.]

Mike explains it pretty well on his site too. It’s a great event for a worthy cause, so be sure to visit and check out all the goodies up for bids.

Jun 192014

A few years back, my pals at Reactor 88 Studios asked me to lend them a hand with their latest project, a horror-comedy film based upon InSpectres, a brilliant indie roleplaying game by my friend Jared Sorensen. I came in and wrote a new draft of Jeff Dohm’s original screenplay and served as one of the film’s producers, and I even played a lone zombie covered in melting makeup on a blistering Chicago summer’s day. Director Darren Orange did most of the heavy lifting with making the film actually happen, and I got to have a ball working with the actors and the rest of the crew.

The film debuted last fall and had a short run in a big theater in Chicago. Now Reactor 88 wants to release the film for people to enjoy at home, and they’ve launched a Kickstarter to make that happen. Head on over and check it out, and chip in if you like screwy fun. Like this:


Jun 122014

nexus-game-fairI just made a number of changes to my Appearances page, and I wanted to highlight them for you. First, I’ll be at the Nexus Game Fair in Milwaukee next weekend, June 19–22. This is a new show but with a lot of familiar faces, including Harold Johnson, Jolly Blackburn, Mike Carr, Chris Clark, Zeb Cook, Jeff Easley, Ernie Gygax, Dave Kenzer, James Lowder, Frank Mentzer, Merle Rasmussen, Jim Ward, Skip Williams, Rob Wieland, Matt McElroy, Monica Valentinelli, Lester Smith, Stefan Pokorny, and Ken Hite. For that show, you can find me here:

Friday, June 20

Saturday, June 21

I’ve also posted my full schedule (so far) for Gen Con, which is coming up in Indianapolis, August 14–17. This is my favorite time of year. I’m once again part of the committee selecting the Industry Insider Guests of Honor, and this will mark my 33rd consecutive Gen Con and 12th in a row as a guest of honor. I’ll also take part in the Gen Con Writers Symposium.

If you love games, books, or both, do not miss this show.

Cap35FlierI also need to announce that I won’t be able to make it to the Launch Pad Astronomy Workshop or to Geek.Kon this year. Fortunately, the fine people at Launch Pad were happy to defer my admission until next year, and I hope to return to Geek.Kon next year as well. It’s a fantastic show run by wonderful people with real passion for putting on a great time for everyone who attends.

On a much better note, I’ve been named a guest of honor at Capricon 35, a wonderful convention down in Wheeling, IL, next February 12–15. Steve Jackson of Steve Jackson Games is slated to join me there, and it promises to be amazing fun.

I hope to see you on the road. Until then, keep having fun on your own!

Jun 122014

dianajones3Last night, the Diana Jones Award committee, of which I’m a part, announced its shortlist for its 2014 award, which honors the most excellent things in tabletop gaming from 2013. This year’s list includes:

Congrats to everyone involved in each of these wonderful games and companies!

For fuller descriptions of each of these fantastic things and why they each belong on the list, check out the Diana Jones Award site. We’ll give out the award at our annual party on August 13, the evening before Gen Con. If you’re an industry professional, ping me at [email protected] to get on the entry list.