The Steampunk User’s Manual: An Exclusive Astonishing Game From Storium’s Will Hindmarch


The Steam­punk User’s Man­u­al by myself and Desi­ri­na Boskovich is the just-released fol­low-up to The Steam­punk Bible. As a spe­cial perk for read­ers, as not­ed in the Sto­ry­telling chap­ter of the user’s man­ual, we’re proud to present a char­ac­ter-dri­ven card game for your enjoy­ment, cour­tesy of Will Hind­march.

Hind­march is a free­lance writer and design­er whose cred­its include the ENnie Award-win­ning Eter­nal Lies for Pel­grane Press and design work on the online sto­ry­telling game, Sto­ri­um. In the gam­ing indus­try, he has worked for White Wolf Game Stu­dio, serv­ing as the devel­oper of the flag­ship World of Dark­ness Sto­ry­telling Game, Vam­pire: The Requiem, and he has writ­ten or designed works for Wiz­ards of the Coast, Fan­tasy Flight Games, and Atlas Games. He also co-pro­duces the live-lit sto­ry­telling show, Sto­ry Club South Side. Hind­march serves as the Assis­tant Direc­tor of Shared Worlds, a teen SF/F writ­ing camp.

(Image by Jere­my Zer­foss, from The Steam­punk User’s Man­u­al)


A game of steam­punk con­trap­tions designed and exhib­it­ed, for 2 – 4 play­ers.

Ver­sion 1.9.12 — 2014 by Will Hind­march

The year is 1899. The World’s Design & Inven­tion Fair draws near. Across the globe, inven­tors and artists lead design hous­es in the craft­ing of new tech­nolo­gies to exhib­it at the fair. Soon, you shall debut your con­trap­tion, hop­ing it oper­ates cor­rect­ly on the fair’s dais, and see which inven­tion elic­its the most mar­velous recep­tion from peers and pub­lic alike. A grant from Queen Vic­to­ria and the ado­ra­tion of the audi­ence await the inven­tion deemed most aston­ish­ing!


Each play­er con­trols one of four inven­tors in charge of a fab­ri­ca­tion work­shop some­where on the Earth at the end of the nine­teenth cen­tu­ry. By draw­ing, trad­ing, and play­ing num­bered cards, each play­er shall con­struct a pro­to­type steam­punk con­trap­tion for exhi­bi­tion at the World’s Design & Inven­tion Fair in Lon­don.

This is a cut­throat affair. The dif­fer­ent work­shops squab­ble and scheme in pur­suit of the final prize: a com­mis­sion from Queen Vic­to­ria to pro­duce a final, ful­ly func­tion­al ver­sion of the win­ning pro­to­type.

Depend­ing on the contraption’s qual­i­ty of con­struc­tion — and a bit of luck — the device may have a good show­ing at the fair … or it may mal­func­tion on stage. It may earn acclaim … or it may fail spark the audience’s imag­i­na­tion.

The more the audi­ence mar­vels — and the more peo­ple that are aston­ished! — the more Acclaim play­ers earn. The inven­tor with the most Acclaim wins.


You need a few game com­po­nents to play Aston­ish­ing!:

  • A deck of reg­u­lar play­ing cards (includ­ing Jok­ers)
  • Three reg­u­lar, six-sided dice
  • A dif­fer­ent Inven­tor sheet for each play­er

NOTE: Play sheets also avail­able via the attached PDF: SUM-play-sheets-9 – 23-14

Each Inven­tor sheet rep­re­sents the vision, guid­ance, and work­shop of a dif­fer­ent Inven­tor. A dif­fer­ent play­ing-card suit — Clubs, Dia­monds, Hearts, Spades — rep­re­sents each Inventor’s unique purview:


Lady Calibrette Merchant (Clubs)

Born to a fam­i­ly of weapon-smiths and mil­i­tary offi­cers of some repute in the British Raj, Lady Cal­i­brette has proven her­self the true heir to the genius of her father, a Knight Com­man­der of the Indi­an Empire (KCIE), and the spir­it of lead­er­ship pos­sessed by her moth­er, a head­mistress from Bom­bay. After sur­viv­ing the Bom­bay plague out­break of 1896, Lady Mer­chant took over unof­fi­cial man­age­ment of her family’s muni­tions fac­to­ry, where some of her designs are now enter­ing pro­duc­tion.


Abimbola Kayin (Diamonds)

This inven­tor and entre­pre­neur made his for­tune facil­i­tat­ing tele­phon­ic oper­a­tions in the vicin­i­ty of Lagos Island and help­ing to design rail­way sta­tions and mech­a­nized farm imple­ments for the gov­ern­ment. Since solid­i­fy­ing his rep­u­ta­tion as an inven­tor, Mr. Kayin has turned his atten­tion toward beau­ti­ful designs with prac­ti­cal appli­ca­tions to “push mun­dane life beyond Mun­dan­i­ty.” He often pro­motes a some­times unpop­u­lar move­ment towards minia­tur­iza­tion and “incor­po­re­al tech­nolo­gies” that would “take Song and Sto­ry beyond the Page.”


Marisol Chang (Hearts)

Marisol Chang first made a name for her­self among the poets and literati of Lima before expand­ing her art into per­for­mance and instal­la­tion works in Mex­i­co City, Chica­go, and Paris. Now she is known world-wide as a sto­ry­teller, singer, and design­er of what Harp­ers Bazaar called “impos­si­ble art.” Her vision brings provoca­tive, mul­ti­cul­tur­al tales to life via music and tech­nol­o­gy in pub­lic plazas and city squares. “All art speaks in a voice inher­it­ed,” Chang said, “and thus the old forms flow into the new.”


Albert “Albie” Smithering (Spades)

Albie” Smither­ing is the adven­tur­ous youngest son of the Smither­ings of Welling­ton, New Zealand — known explor­ers and pio­neers. Albie him­self has some­thing of a noto­ri­ous past, hav­ing been arrest­ed for tres­pass­ing and grave-rob­bing in his youth. He lat­er devel­oped a rep­u­ta­tion as a rac­ing afi­ciona­do, hav­ing won races by sail and cycle as far away as Lake Michi­gan and France. His self-described “fond­ness for veloc­i­ty” has led him to pur­sue efforts to fund and design the next gen­er­a­tion of vehic­u­lar inven­tions.

Con­tin­ue read­ing

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Guest Post: From the Editors of Planes B, a new Steampunk Anthology series

A year ago, two writ­ers (Josué Ramos from Spain, and Negro Inmun­sapá from Mex­i­co) had the idea to cre­ate the first Steam­punk anthol­o­gy in Span­ish, writ­ten by peo­ple from Spain and Amer­i­ca. This con­cept then lead them to more ideas.  One of them was the cre­ation of a col­lec­tion of books made to pro­mote these new writ­ers, an idea nev­er seen before. Thus Planes B was born. It was offi­cial­ly intro­duced at the recent EuroSteam­Con on Sep­tem­ber 28.

We are glad to say that the vol­ume #1 is done!

Josué Ramos, aka Schn­abel and Simón Bel­li­do, from Spain; and Negro Inmun­sapá and Miss von Mar­malade from Mex­i­co are the chiefs of the project. They are all part of the artists’ group known as Mer­ce­nar­ios de Dios, which pub­lish­es the retro­fu­tur­is­tic mag­a­zine El Inves­ti­gador once a month.

Each vol­ume of the col­lec­tion of Planes B will include one short sto­ry from a famous writer as a guest. The rest of the sto­ries will be writ­ten by new and unknown authors.

We are very proud to announce that the guest of vol­ume #1 is Jeff Van­der­Meer. His tale, “Fix­ing Hanover,” has been trans­lat­ed by Jason Bur­rows as “Arreg­lan­do a Hanover”, and orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished in Extra­or­di­nary Engines, an anthol­o­gy edit­ed in 2008 for Nick Gev­ers.

In addic­tion, this first book includes five more short sto­ries writ­ten by Simón Bel­li­do, María Eijo, Rafael di Fer­ro, Ricar­do Mon­tesinos and Janacek Jade­hier­ro. It includes illus­tra­tions made by Spain’s Tamarindo Conde; and Mexico’s Kari­na Denisse “Kade­co.” The image on the front of the book was made by Alexan­dra Galeano and the mod­el is Vito, both from Argenti­na.

We hope this will be the begin­ning of some­thing great! And we want you to enjoy read­ing it, of course.

If you want to see more, vis­it our web:

And to buy or get a free down­load copy of the vol­ume #1, vis­it:

Posted in 2.0 exclusive material, Art, Groups, Guest Post, Literature 2 Comments

Why Does Steampunk Still Matter?

It is a good sin­gle ques­tion with myr­i­ad and var­ied answers.  This year, has devot­ed its annu­al Steam­punk week to delv­ing into what sounds like a koan but is in fact a cer­tain­ty: Steam­punk does still mat­ter.

If you haven’t been fol­low­ing already, you can check out the great posts that began last Mon­day and will be con­tin­u­ing all week long:

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World Fantasy Nominee for Special Award Professional

The Steam­punk Bible has been nom­i­nat­ed for a World Fan­ta­sy Award in the Spe­cial Award Pro­fes­sion­al cat­e­go­ry.  Jeff and S. J. are deeply hon­ored and both have writ­ten about it at their respec­tive blogs:  Ecsta­t­ic Days (Jeff) and Bas Bleu Zom­bies (S. J.).

The awards will be held at the end of the World Fan­ta­sy con­ven­tion held in Toron­to Novem­ber 1 – 4.

Posted in Laurels, Steampunk Bible Coverage Comments Off on World Fantasy Nominee for Special Award Professional

In Memoriam: Joshua Pfeiffer interviews Paul Roland, Part II (Giveaway Edition)

Today con­cludes our exclu­sive guest inter­view between Joshua Pfeif­fer and Paul Roland. For those of you just join­ing us, you can catch the first part of the inter­view here. In our sec­ond install­ment, Joshua Pfeif­fer ques­tions Roland – who was one of the first to use Edwar­dian themed lyrics in his music – about his obser­va­tions on Steam­punk.

In Memo­ri­am com­piles Roland’s best hits culled from his thir­ty years in music. We will be giv­ing away signed copies of this dou­ble-CD to ten lucky read­ers.

Rock­ing for over 30 plus years, Roland’s music flirts with var­i­ous gen­res like goth, psych-pop, and folk, with a uni­fy­ing theme of explor­ing sci­ence fic­tion and hor­ror tropes, espe­cial­ly those with a Victorian/Edwardian bent. With­in his songs, lis­ten­ers will find tales inspired by H. G. Wells, Jules Verne, H. P. Love­craft, and Edgar Allan Poe, as well as orig­i­nal his­tor­i­cal and roman­tic char­ac­ters like opi­um addicts and Rip­peresque mur­der­ers.

To cel­e­brate this inter­view, Paul Roland has gra­cious­ly donat­ed ten signed copies of In Memo­ri­am, a dou­ble-CD col­lec­tion of his best work over his long career to send to our lucky read­ers.  If you’d rather not par­tic­i­pate, but would like to sam­ple his wares,  he has made sev­er­al tracks avail­able for free down­load (live links are at the end of this inter­view).

Offi­cial Rules: Only open to par­tic­i­pants in the Unit­ed States.  To enter, leave us your thoughts about Steam­punk music.  You may post as many times as you like in the nat­ur­al course of the dis­cus­sion, but deri­sive, troll­ish behav­ior will be dis­qual­i­fied.   A win­ner will be ran­dom­ly select­ed by Mon­day, April 30th at teatime (4 o’clock).  Please check your e-mail Tues­day or Wednes­day fol­low­ing; win­ners who have not respond­ed to us with­in 24 hours shall be elim­i­nat­ed, and a new win­ner select­ed. Offi­cial announce­ments of the win­ner will go live May 4th.

Well, now that we have all the logis­tics out-of-the-way, let’s return to the inter­view. Con­tin­ue read­ing

Posted in 2.0 exclusive material, Giveaway, Guest Post, Interviews, Music, performance art 3 Comments