Tuesday, September 15, 2015


If you are a gamer of a certain age, you will fondly remember Tom Kelly's Desperado. The humble pair of comb-bound, type-written booklets arguably launched the "beer-and-pretzels" revolution in American wargaming. It preceded Volley and Bayonet, Brother Against Brother, and a host of other "light" games that displaced the massive rulebooks that by the early '90's were beginning to collapse under their own weight.

Tom Kelly, as the story goes, used to run a wild west shootout for other dealers after hours at Historicon. It became so successful that he was encouraged by his fellow dealers to publish them. The rules were written down one year in the car on the way home from the show, and first published in 1992 in the form most of us remember.

Knuckleduster sold the original two volumes for many years, but Tom eventually stopped having them printed and invited me to re-publish them with up-to-date graphics. What resulted is a testament to this most hallowed of all Wild West games. In 66 pages, we cover the original rules verbatim, with sidebars which contain rule interpretations and house rules, plus scenarios, painting tips, and information about building your own scenery. Charts and a summary of house rules are also included.

Knuckleduster has also created a figure which exemplifies the spirit of Desperado. Named "Groin Shot McGhee," he sports a well-used boilerplate over the part of his anatomy Desperado is famous for including on its wound charts. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!

Desperado is available now at www.knuckleduster.com.

Groin Shot McGhee, 32mm (big 28mm, "heroic") with slotta base
Groin Shot McGhee, 28mm with integral base

Paperback: 66 pages
Publisher: Knuckleduster
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0966704649
ISBN-13: 978-0966704648
Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.2 x 11 inches


  1. Sounds interesting. I'm more of an Aces & Eights RPG guy myself, but a rule s lite skirmish sounds fun as well.

  2. Oh, and your Desperado link actually points to Groin shot McGree in your online store.

  3. Thanks for the heads-up. I just repaired the links (and figured out how to make them easier to follow!).