History of My Game Design

crazier eightsThis is James Gray, the owner of Recoculous, and the game designer for the Crazier Eights games. I have made board games and RPGs as soon as I could. I have been told that I started making them when I was four, but I have no idea what I made at that point.

I suspect I was seven when I made a roll and move board game a little like Candy Land, except the winner was whoever got to the dragon’s treasure first. I know that the dragon’s treasure was drawn carefully and colored in.


dndMy sister, Dawn, taught me how to play the RPG, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition, when I was a kid, around 1990, and I also played some old fashioned Dungeons & Dragons with a friend at that point, where being an elf was a class.

I also played the video game, Dragon Warrior (Dragon Quest), on the Nintendo at that point, which was obviously greatly influenced by Dungeons & Dragons. It didn’t take long before I made multiple RPG games around that point also greatly influenced by Dragon Warrior (and eventually Final Fantasy). I also made a type of choose your path game greatly influenced by Dungeons & Dragons.

My sister, Dawn, and her friends also taught me Magic: the Gathering in 1995, and I have played that game with friends and in events ever sense.


I made the Dragon Warrior website, Dragon-Warrior.com, in 2001. I helped promote fan versions of Dragon Warrior that were being programmed, I made web comics, and I released some print & play games on the website.

Within three years of making the website, I made a Dragon Warrior Tabletop RPG (that was mentioned here), I made Warhammer Monopoly (with combat, and mentioned here), and I made a Dragon Warrior combat-oriented card game.

Warhammer Monopoly was slightly influenced by Warhammer Fantasy, and you could use the regular Monopoly game to play.

I let someone take over the Dragon-Warrior website, and the website has since disappeared, and the person who took it over didn’t respond to my recent email.

Nightmare Crazy Eights

being john malkivichAround 2004 I started making different games that would eventually evolve into Crazier Eights.

The idea of these games was to explore the limitless possibilities of card abilities with simple rules and an interesting win condition — the first player with zero cards in hand wins.

(More information)


I created the website, Recoculous.com, in September 2008. I started making my own Magic: the Gathering sets around that time, and I have made around twenty sets total in the years since then.

I have made multiple over-powered Magic sets over the years. They were inspired with certain questions in mind: What if the power creep really kept continuing forever? Would would it be like in 100 years? Or 400 years? Would the game still function with a much higher power level?

Divine Judgment10 Omnipresence10

Haban Prismatic Myr Path to Nowhere

I made the art for Prismatic Myr using a fantastic art piece by Goro Fujita, found here.

The art for Path to Nowhere is by Inomata Mutsum, and it is for Dragon Quest (the Japanese version of the Dragon Warrior video game mentioned above). His art is also fantastic and I used to own their Dragon Quest art book.

A PDF backup of a blog post about Magic 2014 can be found here.


Magician is a combat-oriented deck building game. I started Magician in 2011, and I am still working on it now.

old magician cards

The artist of Erhnam Djinn is Ken Meyer Jr.

Crazier Eights

In 2014 I greatly improved upon the Nightmare Crazy Eights games and Crazier Eights (first edition) was the first game I published as a physical game you could buy at the store. Five games in the series have now been released, and the plan is to release Crazier Eights: Olympus & Crazier Eights: Pantheon on June 10, 2020.

crazier eights

Fantasy Cards

There’s a lot more that could be discussed here, but I will end it here. Even so, I will mention that I have also had a Fantasy Cards website for years that also shows some of the other games I’ve worked on. Go here to take a look.

buy crazier eights3

2 thoughts on “History of My Game Design

  1. Very nice progression, but I think you forgot to mention Nightmare Magic, which MTG generated it’s own version of in the form of Planechase.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s