William Stanley Is The Leak!

In the long, dark night of the soul, what do you do? In that tedious winter of the heart after your New Hampshire high school graduation, but before you tackle the 1,400 miles between you and the motorcycle mechanic school in Florida where you will soon be enrolled? How do you cope when depression and anxiety crowd up next to the fireplace while the New England winter freezes your construction job to a halt?

If you’re William Stanley, you open up YouTube. You start watching Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop. And you get an idea. He’d loved playing games for years – why not make one?

One that looks like this, maybe?

One that looks like this, maybe?

“I started gaming probably when I was nine,” Mr. Stanley, who is twenty-one years old, said. “Just like every kid starts out gaming, playing games like Uno. And I started playing poker at the age of ten, and then got into board games around the age of twelve, thirteen, playing Monopoly with my family. Never finished a single game.” Stanley family tempers would rise too high when it became clear who was headed for Trump Tower and who was going broke.

He wanted to play D&D in middle school, but was shut out by his school’s elite D&D clique, who were “very against bringing new people into their group. Especially people who had never played before. They didn’t want to teach. So it took me a long time to finally start playing roleplaying games, as much as I watched and as much as I wanted to, really bad.”

He had to wait until high school for Captain Malcolm Reynolds to set down in the parking lot and wave him aboard. “When I got into high school, there was another group of people that were playing the [Margaret Weiss Productions] Firefly roleplaying game. And I was a big fan of Firefly. And they asked if I wanted to play, they said it’s really easy to get started. They helped me create my character and everything, and we played. And I fell in love with roleplaying games, the first session that we had.”

Tabletop RPGs are like fighting for the Browncoats that way. It’s really easy to get started. It is hard to stop.

Fast forward past the end of high school, to the winter of 2014-15. By then, Mr. Stanley was an experienced gamer spending a New England winter with nothing to do and no money to do it with, his construction job on winter suspension. So he passed the time watching Wheaton’s Tabletop on YouTube and bathing himself regularly.

Because going outside was like this. That's Mr. Stanley going out for burritos in New Hampshire.

Because going outside was like this. That’s Mr. Stanley going out for a milkshake in New Hampshire.

“I was in the shower, and I just said, ‘I have an idea for a game, I’m going to sit down and write it.’ Because anxiety and stuff like that during the winter time is a pain. And when you have nothing to do all day but watch TV, it just gets worse. And so you need to do something, and so I said, ‘I’m going to give it a shot at making a board game’.”

And so The Leak was conceived in the shower.

Mr. Stanley brought his game-in-progress to Orlando when he came here last summer to get educated at The Motorcycle Mechanics Institute. He demonstrated the prototype to this correspondent on Febuary 10th, 2016, at Gods & Monsters in the Artegon Marketplace.

Which looked like this. William Stanley, board game designer, on the left.

Which looked like this. William Stanley, board game designer, on the left. At Gods & Monsters.

The Leak requires at least five players. One player is The General, who seeks to kill The Noble King. The other players are The Noble King and his supporters. But one of the King’s supporters is The Leak, a secret ally of The General.

In the first half of the game, the King’s team tries to gather resources by defeating quests. They also need to find out who The Leak is as fast as possible, before The Leak can do too much damage from the inside. But The Noble King has to be careful – if his team burns up too many resources in this mole hunt, they’ll be ill-prepared for the second half of the game. That is when the gloves come off, and The General and The Noble King go to war.

Sid Meier said that a game is a series of interesting choices, and The Leak passes that test. At every turn, the player is forced to make a decision that will have lasting consequences on their future strategy and chances for success. It’s an impressive product to see come out of one man’s shower.

Mr. Stanley wants to take his game into production, and has plans for a Kickstarter campaign in the near future. To find out more about this Orlando game designer and The Leak, and to help support his efforts, contact him at his Facebook page, Stanley Tabletop Games.

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Brian Downes
Author: Brian Downes View all posts by
Brian Downes is a writer who lives in Orlando, Florida. His novel, The Berlin Fraternity, about a man who hunts vampires for the Third Reich, is available on the Kindle and through Amazon.com. He enjoys pen and paper roleplaying games and geek culture. He clearly remembers waiting for The Empire Strikes Back to hit theaters, and vindicate his opinion that of course Vader was not Luke's father. You can't trust Vader's word!

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