A few words with Sean Druelinger

A few words with Sean Druelinger

Sean Druelinger is the developer of the latest Lock ‘n Load Publishing release Point Blank: V for Victory. We wanted to know a bit more about Sean and also asked him some questions about Point Blank.


How long have you been playing wargames?

I have been playing wargames since I was 12 years old. So 40+ years or so. My mother found an ad for a gaming club called the Aberdeen Wargamer Club and encouraged me to go

What is the first game you remember playing?

While attending the Aberdeen wargaming club I use to attend every other week to play Dungeons and Dragons. Every week between they played wargames. One week I went and D&D was not being played. I was then introduced to Squad Leader as my very first foray into wargaming. It was ‘love at first sight’.

Who is your favourite designer and why?

There are many great designers who design many games I love. If I had to pick I would say Don Greenwood (Breakout Normandy and Advanced Squad Leader). I love Squad Leader in general but I especially love area movement games and Breakout Normandy is one of my favorites.

What is your position at LnLP?

I primarily am a designer for them, but have manned a booth at a con or two.

How did you get started as a designer?

I have been wanting to design games ever since I started playing them. It was around 2011 or so when I started writing scenarios and articles for Line of Fire Magazine. Eventually I got the opportunity to design an East Front module for Nations at War which became Stalin’s Triumph. After LnLP changed hands David Heath asked me to become more involved with the Nations at War series. From there I received other game system opportunities such as designing expansions for Tank on Tank and designing the LnL Tactical Solo System.

Point Blank

Where did you get the idea for Point Blank? What was the origin of the game?

I love card games such as Up Front. There are many WW2 card games out there but most of them are quasi-abstract and not as detailed as Up Front. I felt that I could design a tactical squad level game incorporating the spirit of Up Front.

I did the initial design in 2017. I brought the prototype out to Origins to introduce it to David Heath. At first Dave hated the game! I was devastated.

However later that day he and I had a group from an Ohio wargame group to give it a try. The reaction from them was great. They enjoyed it and because of that Dave gave me the green light to design it further

How many copies of Up Front! do you own?

Unfortunately I only own my original game from the 80s.

The game seems to try to merge lighter games like Up Front! and Warfighter with more detailed games systems like Lock ‘n Load Tactical.

I feel that games like Warfighter and Fields of Fire are very different from Point Blank. Up Front is probably the closest in design but any similarities to it are more of a tribute than a copy.

How different is the finished game from your original concept?

The original concepts have remained the same. There have been tweaks and additions delivered in the game that we’re out in for balance. One example is the fatigue rule. I wasn’t trying to model the exertion of military combat but trying to prevent a player from building a killer stack and moving it all over the game map. It actually worked out great by managing that dilemma but also reflecting the rigors of combat and incorporating some really fun gameplay.

Is this the first title that you have developed from start to finish?

I designed LnL Tactical Solo and Stalin’s Triumph from start to finish but LnL Tactical Solo was based on a design from Academy Games and Nations at War rules were in place at the start of Stalins Triumph. Point Blank is an original design and will be my first published title developed from start to finish.

What did you learn in this process that you think will make you a better designer?

Playtest as much and as often as you can. Attempt to break your game as much as possible by doing whatever would be unexpected to see how the game endures. I also learned that you should listen to players who playtest and are experienced gamers. Some of those folks have fantastic feedback. I picked up so many suggestions that all helped contribute to the gameplay.

How important was it to have vehicles in the game?

Vehicles were very important. I feel strongly that armored fighting vehicles are a staple in any small arms combat system. It wasn’t even a question.

How is this game different from other similar games?

I think the differences are the use of terrain. Terrain is dynamic in the game and is almost as important as the action card themselves. The movement system is also innovative as well as the spend/discard ability used in the game.

What expansions are planned?

The game can be easily expanded. My leanings would be towards an east front game but there is nothing definite. However there is also room for expansions that may not encompass a full stand alone boxed game, for example Early War forces

What was your best game-experience playing Point Blank?

I think my best experience was watching two players playing the game while I was coaching. I saw a lot of enjoyment from them and that alone was one of my favorite experiences

Zac Belado
Author: Zac Belado

Zac is a wargamer from Edmonton, Alberta Canada. When not trying to figure out a new set of rules or cut the corners on counters he is busy building websites.