Peaky Games

Peaky Games is a non-profit society whose mission is to write, run and publish freeforms - oh, and also to organise freeform writing weekends (known affectionately as Peaky).

Peaky Games was formed in 2008 and has so far published the following games:

Join the Peaky io group for announcements.

See the Peaky Games website, where you can learn more about us, buy our games or sign up for Peaky Weekend at

Peaky is current held at Upper Rectory Farm Cottages.


A short history

In 2001, 20-ish enthusiastic members of the uk-freeforms mailing list met over a weekend (Friday to Sunday) to write a freeform. Or more accurately, three freeforms.

The first time we met, it was a challenge to see if was actually possible to write playable freeforms in a weekend. And we surprised ourselves - the first was ready by Saturday evening. So we played that then - and still played the two on Sunday.

The first was so successful that the weekends are now an annual event.

May 2023, Appleby Magna

  • That Difficult Second Album written by Theo Clarke, Steve Hatherley, Kevin Jacklin, Heidi Kaye, Tym Norris, and Mike Snowden; for 8 players.
  • Across the City written by Adam Hayes, Peter Jones and Julie Winnard. The city watch are trying to catch the criminal gang who pulled a heist to steal a golden idol from the temple. A horde game.
  • Restaurant at the End of the Dinosaurs written by Nickey Barnard, Philippa Dahl, Kirstine Heald, Megan Jones, Ali Mawhinney and Richard Perry. Tourists travel back in time to view the last days of the dinosaurs before the asteroid hits the Earth. A game for 12 players.
  • The Ashlight Labyrinth written by Ben Cole, Natalie Curd, Nick Curd, Michael Jones and Christi Scarborough. An 8-player character-driven last-ditch attempt to save a doomed land from an evil mage.

April 2022, Appleby Magna

  • Smoke and Mirrors written by Natalie Curd, Phil Dall, Heidi Kaye, Alli Mawhinney and Mike Snowden; for 12 players. Visiting crucial points in time.
  • Deimos Down written by Nick Curd, Steve Hatherley, Martin Jones, Michael Jones and Tony Mitton. For 14 players - a crashing spaceship in an Expanse-like future.
  • The Tower of the Moon written by Nickey Barnard, Alex Helm, Alex Jones, Rich Perry and another. Set in Middle Earth, for 12 players.
  • Brest or Bust written by Graham Arnold, Suey, Clare McNall. For 20+ players, the groundwork for this was laid and a short section tested at Peaky 22. Inspired by The Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines and Wacky Races.

October 2021, Appleby Magna

  • The Castleford Ladies Magic Circle Meets Tonight written by Suey, Phil Dall, Steve Hatherley, Kevin Jacklin and Christie S. A not-very-serious horde game based on the ribald songs of Jake Thackery.
  • The Coolham Caper written by Roger Gammons, Helen J, Charlie P, Mike Snowden and Julie Winnard. A light-hearted game of misunderstanding and misappropriation, gangsters and garden produce for nine players.
  • Three games not finished: The Shining Ones, a Fae game for at least 30 players; Casino Royale, a Bond-inspired game about spies, glamour and gambling; and an unnamed game set in Restoration Britain for 25-30 players.
  • Additionally, Culture Crash was playtested.

April 2020, online

Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, Peaky 2020 moved online. It was moderately successful with several games developed and one game written (and played) on the weekend itself.

  • Socks in Space written by Graham W, Tony Mitton, and Heidi Kaye.

April 2019, Appleby Magna

Peaky 2019 was held on the weekend of the 26th/28th April 2019

  • Tea at Longbourne written by Phil Dall, Steve Hatherley, Heidi Kaye, Tony Mitton, AJ Smith; for 12 players. Taking awful liberties with Pride and Prejudice.
  • As Time Goes By written by Graham Arnold, Martin Jones and Sue Lee, Film noir dream therapy, for 4 players.
  • Seeds of Humanity written by Malcolm Campbell, Natalie Curd, Nick Curd, Megan Jones and Alli Mawhinney; Angst aboard a vast colony spaceship; for 12 players.
  • The Circus of Shadows and Wonders written by Nickey Barnard, Clare Gardner, Adam Hayes, Abi Kirby, Charlie Paull and Rich Perry; for 12 players.
  • Imaginary Friends written by Ben Coles, Helen Garvey, Kris Alice Hohls, Tym Norris and Julie Winnard; for 12 players.
  • Berlin Station written by Theo Clarke, Kevin Jacklin, CJ Romer, Mike Snowden, David Townsend; Spies in 1961, for 10 players.

April 2018, Appleby Magna

Peaky 2018 was held on the weekend of the 20th/22th April 2018

  • Winning the Peace written by Ben Allen, Kevin Jacklin, Heidi Kaye, Michele Minett and Alison Rider Hill; returning from a hospital on the French front lines after WWI, for 10 players.
  • Bad Science written by Michaela Aschen, Michael Allen Bryant, Buster Jangles, Tym Norris, Petter Olsen and Traci Whitehead; for 12 players.
  • Love Letter: The Crusades written by Graham Arnold, Steve Hatherley, Elyssia Keeryn, and Richard Perry for 10 players.
  • Barbie and Ken Tee Off written by Simon Clark, Fiona Lloyd, Alli Mawhinney and Lynn Oddy; a hoard game set at the gala opening of a golf club.
  • The Borden Legacy written by Nickey Barnard, Clare Gardner, Dave, and Philippa Dall.
  • The U-Geneva Convention written by Nick, Natalie, Helen, Helen, and Ben.

April 2017, Appleby Magna

Peaky 2017 was held on the weekend of the 21th/23th April 2017 - another very big year, with 33 writers

  • It's Everybody's War written by Michaela Aschan, Natalie Curd, Kevin Jacklin, Heidi Kaye, Sue Lee and Alison Rider Hill; making a wartime propaganda film in a 1940s Leicestershire village, for 16 players.
  • Luck Be A Lady (working title) written by Theo Clarke, "Buster Jangles", Karim Kronfli, Tym Norris, Mike Snowden and Traci Whitehead; 1950s Las Vegas, for 12 players.
  • Second Watch written by James Bloodworth, Steve Hatherley, Alli Mawhinney, Ric Mawhinney and Laura Wood. Suspense in the far future aboard a space tug, for 10 players.
  • The Root of All Evil written by Graham Arnold, Nick Hollingsworth, Elyssia Keeryn, Lynn Oddy and Petter Olsen, for 12 players.
  • The Apocalypse Agenda written by Emory Cunnington, Anne De Vries, Max De Vries, Martin Jones and Tony Mitton, for 15 players.
  • Mean Street written by Nickey Barnard, Nick Curd, Philippa Dall, Clare Gardner, Megan Jones, Max Powell. Inspired by Dollhouse and set in the future. Come and play in the mean streets of 1920s New York. For 12 players.

April 2016, Appleby Magna

Peaky 2016 was held on the weekend of the 22th/24th April 2016

  • Ex Nihilo written by Theo Clarke, Tony Mitton, Steve Hatherley, Tym Norris, Mike Snowden and Karolina Soltys; for 9 players.
  • Miss Maypole and the Case of the Wretched Admiral written by Graham Arnold, Nickey Barnard, Natalie Curd, Clare Gardner, Abi Kirby, Sue Lee
  • The Scottish Murder written by Simon Clark, Nick Curd, Elyssia Kerryn, Charlie Paull, Janet Young
  • Trenches written by Ben Allen, Alli Mawhinney, Ric Mawhinney, Rich Perry
  • Bombshells at the Crooked Billet Billet written by Graham Charles, Alison Rider Hill, Heather Law, Michele Minnett, Daniel Taylor
  • And more work was done on Romanes Eunt Domus - Romans Go Home! by Philippa Dall, Helen Jones, and Heidi Kaye. I, Claudius in Britain for 38 players.

May 2015, Chicago, Illinois Peaky Midwest - the third international Peaky

  • Goldilocks, Frocks and Two Stinking Barrells written by Marc B., Suey, Anita Szostak, and Jim Silverstein; Guy Ritchie meets fairy tales. 14 players.
  • Spring Thaw written by Alan De Smet, Gail Freedman, Philip Kelley, Jill Krynicki Dutcher, Drew Novick, and Eva Schiffer; A small town in Utah greets the first train after a hard winter. 11 players.
  • The Vindicators: Survived by… written by Dave Cave, Jon Cole, Keith Darron, and Tara Zuber; The mundane children of superheroes cope with the fallout from their parents’ deaths. 10 players.
  • Emotional Baggage written by Quinn D., Steve Vig, and Susan Weiner. High emotion hostage situation on a commercial airline. 7 players.

April 2015, Appleby Magna

Peaky 2015 was held on the weekend of the 24th/26th April 2015

  • The Saga of the Lost written by Nick Curd, Alex Jones, Alli Mawhinney, Tony Mitton, Mike Snowden and Traci Whitehead. A Viking tale of 12 characters.
  • Burning Orchid written by Ben Allen, Nickey Barnard, Martin Jones, Heidi Kaye and Alison Rider Hill. Steaming passion in the jungle at the wrap party for a 1932 Hollywood movie, for 10 players.
  • Love Letters written by Natalie Curd, Roger Gammans, Elyssia Keeryn and Rich Perry. Romance in WW2 Britain for 10 players.
  • Mars Attracts written by Graham Arnold, Kath Banks, Graham Charles, Steve Hatherley, and Mo Holkar.
  • The Annual Assizes at Anchori'is written by Su Jolly, Heather Law, Michele Minnett, Tym Norris and Daniel Taylor.
  • Yes, I see Wonderful Things written by Phillipa Dall, Jerry Elsmore, Sue Lee, Anthony Winter, Jane Winter. An evening reception, where the main topic of conversation is where Tutankhamun’s exhibition will rest for the 50th anniversary of the opening of the tomb. (unfinished)

July 2014, Madison, Wisconsin Peaky Midwest - the second international Peaky

  • Better Living Through Robotics written by Elizabeth Fein, Eva Schiffer, Jaime Frey, Kathleen De Smet and Keith A Darron. A 1950s retrofuture take on a post-apocalyptic world with subservient robots for 10 players.
  • H.P. Wodehouse (working title) written by Aaron Pavao, Alan De Smet, Dave Cave, Paul Hinic and Seth Mulhall. The world of PG Wodehouse meets HP Lovecraft; a comic romp at a golf tournament for 14 players.
  • Critical Path (working title) written by Amanda Brown, Brandon Brylawski, Doug Freedman, James Silverstein and Jill Krynicki Dutcher for 9 players.
  • Two Hours To Curtain (working title) written by Anita Szostak, Gail Freedman, Quinn D, Sarah Porter and Steve Vig for 10 players.

April 2014, Appleby Magna

Peaky 2014 was held on the weekend of the 25th/27th April 2014

  • Romanes Eunt Domus - Romans Go Home! written by Philippa Dall, Helen Jones, Heidi Kaye, Heather Law and Daniel Taylor. I, Claudius in Britain for 38 players (unfinished).
  • The Truth - And Nothing But the Truth written by Jerry Elsmore and Steve Hatherley. A business game/icebreaker for 15 to 30 players.
  • 4 written by Graham Charles, Nick Curd, Natalie Curd, Tony Mitton. For 8 players.
  • Preserving the Village written by Graham Arnold, Andrea Civiera, Mo Holkar, Sue Lee, Michele Minett and Alison Rider-Hill. A character-driven freeform for 32 players.
  • The Dying of the Light written by Nickey Barnard, Richard Evans, Rachael Hodson, Alli Mawhinney, Tym Norris and Mike Snowden. A cyberpunk game for 24 players (unfinished).
  • Waking Up Patients who have just emerged from cryogenic freezing. Written by Jenny Dunn, Andy Hawkins, Elyssia McCormick, Rich Perry and CJ Romer. For 10 players.

April 2013, Appleby Magna

Peaky 2013 was held on the weekend of the 26th/28th April 2013

  • Brothers in Arms written by Nickey Barnard, Phillippa Dall, Tony Mitton, Alison Ryder Hill, Natalie Spindler. A game inspired by M*A*S*H.
  • What Happened in Blackpool written by Mo Holkar, Heidi Kaye, Alli Mawhinney, Cat Tobin and Traci Whitehead. A character-driven freeform for 12 players.
  • Dramatic Tensions (Working title): Sue Lee, Graham Arnold, Martin Jones, Rich Perry, Elina Ghouliu
  • Dr Nefarious And The Paradise Project: Daniel Taylor, Nick Curd, Su Jolly, Clare McNall, Mike Snowden. Bond Style Henchmen horde game
  • Old Nick’s Game: Charlie and Alan Paul, Roger Gammans, Nick Hollingsworth
  • Venice: Steve Hatherley, Tym Norris, Kate Dicey

May 2012, Peaky Midwest - Peaky goes International!!

This was the first event outside the UK, held in Madison Wisconsin. 3 groups formulated in Mags house, and 3 games were created. It was agreed that this was definitely Peaky Midwest #1 and we look forwards to many more.

  • IRL written by Alan De Smet, Gail Freedman, Aaron Pavao, Sarah Pavao, Jim Silverstein, Cyberpunk Preapocalyptic for 8-9
  • A Turn on the Radiance Rose written by Steve Vig, Eva Schiffer, Kristen Pierson, Sue Lee, Doug Freedman 1920s seance in a train car, for 10 players.
  • Larpers Anonymous written by Drew Novick, Margaret Simkins, Dave Cave, Mike Reed for 10 players. Slot zero at a LARP convention

April 2012, Appleby Magna

  • Hope Springs Eternal written by Nickey Barnard, Sue Jolly, Helen Jones, Tym Norris and Traci Whitehead for 9 players. The 1952 Christmas Party at Hope Brothers department store.
  • The Order written by Kath Banks, Roger Gammans, Heidi Kaye, Sue Lee, Alison Rider-Hill and Mark Steadman. A 1930s Pulp game for 12 players.
  • Small Town Folks written by Tracy Bose, Rob Harris, Mo Holkar, Tony Mitton, Mike Snowden and Cat Tobin for 12 players.
  • Sword Day Mike Cule, Nick Curd, Adrienne Gammons, John Kammer and Charlie Paul for 10 players.
  • Trick or Treat written by Graham Arnold, Philippa Dall, Steve Hatherley and Clare Gardner. A Halloween party for 23 players aged 8 and up.

May 2011, Appleby Magna

  • Once Upon a Lily Pad written by Adrienne Gammons, John Kammer, Heidi Kaye, and Traci Whitehead. Fairy tale fun in the land of the Frog King. For 11 players.
  • Pirate Island written by Philippa Dall, Jerry Elsmore, Steve Hatherley, Tony Mitton. You're invited to a children's pirate birthday party. For 22 players. Bring your own cake and jelly.
  • Come Hel or Hiawatha written by Nickey Barnard, Tym Norris, Mike Snowden and Janet Young. Native Americans and Vikings. For 12 players.
  • The Accused written by Graham Arnold, Tracy Bose, Mo Holkar, Sue Lee and Cat Tobin. For 10 players.
  • The Deliverance written by Clare Gardner, Martin Jones, Richard Perry and Ali Mawhinny. For 9 players.
  • One Night in Devon written by Roger Gammans, Su Jolly, Mike Grace and Mark Steedman. For 9 players.

May 2010, Appleby Magna

  • The Day the Music Died written by Jim Ashby, Kath Banks, Jerry Elsmore, Heidi Kaye and Janet Young. Set aboard the pirate Radio Rebecca ship, after the 1965 FAB Music Awards. For 10 players.
  • Health Farm Blues written by Martin Ellis, Helen Jones, Mike Snowden and Carol Tierney. For 11/12 players.
  • The Highgate Club written by Philippa Dall, Steve Hatherley, Alan Paull, Adrian Smith, Mark Steedman and Cat Tobin. For 12 players.
  • Miss Maypole and The Christmas Pudding Affair written by Graham Arnold, Nickey Barnard, Dream Cloutman-Green, Jon Cloutman-Green, Clare Gardner and Sue Lee. For 14 players. Originally called Miss Maypole and the Missing Baby Plot
  • The Night Train written by Roger Gammans, Su Jolly, Tony Mitton, Tym Norris and Charlie Paull. For 13 players.
  • Zeus' Zoo written by Tracy Bose, Andy Brown, Mike Grace, Alex Helm and Mo Holkar.

The largest attendance at Peaky to date (33 people) and we had to split the games into two different streams. Steve has posted some thoughts here.

March 2009, Appleby Magna

  • The Marshenge Project written by Jenny Anderson, Kath Banks, Philippa Dall, Martin Ellis, Rachel England, Roger Gammans, Hanbury Hampden Turner, Steve Hatherley, Su Jolly, Heidi Kaye, Tony Mitton and Janet Young. A government conference at a Norfolk country house during World War Two for 22 players.
  • Veterans Day written by Clare Gardner, Mike Grace, Alex Helm, Martin Jones, Adrian Smith and Mike Snowden. A futuristic superheroes game.
  • Victoria Junction All Change Please!! written by Nickey Barnard, Jerry Elsmore, Alex Jones, Sue Lee, Tym Norris and Mark Steedman. A "horde" game set in a Victorian railway station and hotel

April 2008, Appleby Magna

  • Squaring the Circle written by Graham Arnold, Jon Freeman, Steve Hatherley, Tym Norris, Alex Helm, Karen Banfield and Su Jolly. Dark goings on in Dartmoor for 17 players.
  • For Your Spies Only written by Helen Jones, Nickey Barnard, Mike Grace, Mark Booth, and …
  • Hotel Apollo Sigma written by Philippa Dall, Heidi Kaye, Michele Minnett, Roger Gammans and Mark Steedman.

At the same Sue, Tony, Janet, Mike & Jerry started work on "How to Write and Run a Weekend Freeform" - a work in progress.

June 2007, Appleby Magna

  • Starboard Home written by Steve Hatherley, Heidi Kaye, Tony Mitton and Donald Oddy. An experimental game set on the SS Star of Bengal in 1926, just leaving India. For 11 players.
  • Best of the Wurst written by Nickey Barnard, Martin Jones, Mike Snowden and Julie Winnard. Inspired by Allo Allo - for 9 players.
  • Diamond Geezers written by Graham Arnold, Clare Gardner, Sue Lee and Tym Norris. British gangsters - a sort of cross between The Italian Job and Reservoir Dogs.

February 2006, Appleby Magna

  • Under Pressure written by Graham, Mike and others. Strange goings-on deep under the ocean.
  • Daze of Empire written by Helen, Tony and others. The British civil service rules the world!
  • Romance and Respectability written by Sue, Nickey, Steve, Donald, Phillippa and Julie. The side of Railways and Responsibility that we didn't get to write in 2004.

January 2005, Granary Court, Ashbourne, Derbyshire

  • The Village written by Tony, Graham and others. Horror.
  • An Ecumenical Matter written by Nickey Barnard, Matt Bull, Philippa Dall, Mike Grace and Steve Hatherley. Irish priests and nuns - what could go wrong?
  • Hearts and Minds written by ??? Newspaper barons in a midlands town.

At the same Sue, Janet(?) and Mike did some rework on Carry on at Camp David, to prepare it for re-running

January 2004, Appleby Magna

  • The Beautiful Game written by Michael, Donald, Tym, Jonathan and Mike G. A soccer game.
  • Railways and Respectability written by Jerry, Tony, Mike, Steve and Nickey. Victorian railway building.
  • All's Well that Ends written by Heidi, Jane, Tony, AJ and Russell. Elizabethan intrigue in Deptford.

November 2002, Edale

  • The Ticking Dog written by Sue, Mik, Chris, Nickey, Phillippal, Mark, Steve and Hanbury. Time-travel game set in Lancashire.
  • Murder on the Transylvanian Express written by Tony, Donald, Jerry (and others). Does what it says on the tin.
  • SS Telford written by Mike, Dream, Mike and others. Genetic engineering aboard a luxury yacht.

November 2001, Edale

  • The Rosie Lee written by Phillipa, Sue, Tym, AJ, Brian, Hanbury and Mike. Mysterious goings on aboard a tea clipper becalmed in the Indian Ocean.
  • Carry on at Camp David written by Liz, Janet, Russell, Steve, Donald and Mike Snowden. 1960s paranoia, diplomacy and presidential nonsense at Camp David.
  • The Whitest Link written by Graham, Nickey, Chris, Dennis, Jerry, Nathan and Gareth. Set in Hell, the freeform of sins and broken comandments - and soul trading.

(Mike: My memory is the farmhouses were the buildings to the east side of Ollerbrook Cottages - while the names are familiar, they seem to have reconfigured to smaller lets)

Weekend timetable

Peaky is a quite intensive weekend of writing and playing - here's the timetable for the weekend:

Friday (arrival, AGM and starting to write)

  • 1600 – arrival.
  • 1800 – Peaky Games AGM
  • 1900 – Supper
  • 1955 - Check that everyone has a room!
  • 2000 – Form groups and start writing

Saturday (writing)

  • 0730 to 0900 – breakfast
  • 1230 to 1330 – lunch
  • 1900 to 2000 – supper

Sunday (running the games)

  • 0730 to 0900 – breakfast
  • 0930 to 1130 – first game
  • 1130 to 1230 – lunch
  • 1230 to 1430 – second game
  • 1500 to 1700 - third game
  • 1730 – Peaky finishes

Monday (checkout)

  • 1000 – everyone leaves Peaky

Things to bring

  • usb stick
  • laptop
  • printer (with ink!)
  • light clothes/sandals (it can get warm)
  • beer/wine/cola
  • chocolate/crips or whatever it takes to get you through the day.
  • adaptor/extension lead
  • an inspiring prop

You don't need to bring towels when Peaky is being held at Appleby Magna.

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