Beware the Horsemen! Mark Lawrence Brings on the Apocalypse With New Game

When I found out that Mark Lawrence, a popular grimdark/dark fantasy author (The Broken Empire series, The Red Queen’s War series) was designing a new game, I had to check it out. It looks like irreverent dark comedy gold, to be honest. Horsemen of the Apocalypse is a card-based game where players try to evade the horsemen as long as possible by throwing others under their hooves. The cards themselves have color art on them by Cathy Wilkins (Numera, No Thank You Evil!), and stretch goals include contributions to cards from additional authors like Brent Weeks, Robin Hobb, Peter V. Brett, Anthony Ryan, Michael J. Sullivan, James Lovegrove, Myke Cole, and more.

I asked Mark why he decided to create a game. He was kind enough to tell me all about it. Please welcome him to GeekMom!

Image: Ragnarok Publications
Image: Ragnarok Publications

Hi, I’m Mark Lawrence, a late-starting novelist, long time research scientist, and father of four. My main occupation is actually looking after my youngest child who is 11. She’s very severely disabled and takes an enormous amount of looking after. My first book was Prince of Thorns, published in 2011.

I came up with the idea for the Horsemen of the Apocalypse card game the same way I come up with ideas for my books. I just sit and get on with stuff that needs doing, and while I do it ideas bubble up. I have a restless imagination–it’s always throwing ideas at me, occasionally some of them stick.

Image: Ragnarok Publications
Image: Ragnarok Publications

The appeal of the game to me is two-fold. Firstly it’s not about the players attacking each other. Those games are good but there are lots of them. The Horsemen are the threat and the trick is to outlast the other players. Secondly there’s the fun in saving yourself by sacrificing innocents. It’s fun to be a coward. How often do you get to throw a nun under the hooves of War’s Horse, and just to buy yourself a little longer before he gets to you. Great stuff!

Image: Ragnarok Publications
Image: Ragnarok Publications

Once the guys at Ragnarok got behind the concept and Cathy Wilkins started producing the artwork for the cards I got pretty excited about the whole thing. It’s great fun to follow something like this from the seed of an idea through to a fun game with great art and a deck of cards in your hand!

Image: Ragnarok Publications
Image: Ragnarok Publications

Melanie R. Meadors is the author of fantasy and science fiction stories where heroes don’t always carry swords and knights in shining armor often lose to nerds who study their weaknesses. She’s been known to befriend wandering garden gnomes, do battle with metal-eating squirrels, and has been called a superhero on more than one occasion. Her work has been published in Circle Magazine, The Wheel, and Prick of the Spindle, and she was a finalist in the 2014 Jim Baen Memorial Science Fiction Contest. Melanie is also a freelance author publicist and publicity/marketing coordinator for both Ragnarok Publications and Mechanical Muse. She blogs regularly for GeekMom and The Once and Future Podcast. Her short story “A Whole-Hearted Halfling” is in the anthology Champions of Aetaltis, available April 12, 2016.