About Casey Clark

SPARTACUS PUBLISHING The Creative Team Gabe Ivan, Designer and Writer Thom Thurman, Art Director Casey Clark, Designer and Editor The conspiracy that would become Spartacus Publishing began in a high school study hall in Columbia, MO. There the three core members engaged in lengthy discourse about gaming, comic books, sci-fi series, and pro wrestling. Somewhere between reviews and recaps of existing works, the trio started proposing ideas of their own. RPG campaigns were planned. Game rules were designed and redesigned. At least half a dozen comic book ideas were pitched. Precious little studying was done, but a good time was had by all. Years later, the trio reunited under the Death's Edge Games banner to produce their first game. Other works followed for DEG, Black Cross, Guildhouse Games, and Spartacus Publishing.

Luchador on RPGNOW

Spartacus will begin listing our Luchador line of books on RPGNOW.


We will list the first three titles over the next few months and Disciples of the North the first of August. Moving forward I plan on releasing the e-book version of the hard copy one-year after the intial release. We might wind up changing this in the future but taking this step was itself pretty significant. Let us know what you think and any changes we should make going forward.

The Legacy of the luchador is alive in Lucha VaVOOM

Though the world of Luchador presents enmascaderos as adventurers, men of mystery, and globe-trotting super agents they are in their hearts Luchadors.Wrestlers, performers, and heroes to inspire the rest of us.  One of the great real-world promotions that still embody this ideal is Lucha VaVOOM.
lucha moves
WARNING: Don’t go anywhere by yourself without learning these moves first! Be prepared for anything!!
Mexican Masked Wrestling + Burlesque + Comedy = Lucha VaVOOMLucha VaVOOM is a non-stop, action-packed scream-a-thon, where Mexican Masked wrestlers flip and fly, performing breathtaking acrobatic feats while battling evil luchadores. Historically speaking, Lucha VaVOOM brings the bizarre world of 60’s Mexican Lucha Cinema to life. Brave, masked wrestling crime fighters save the world from evil brains, vampires, the Bermuda Triangle etc; always with an obligatory stop at the local go-go club.In-between matches, the finest, handpicked burlesque acts from around the world astound; at Lucha VaVOOM, we like a little sexo with our violencia. Raucous aerial acts, Pogo-stick peelers, hula-hoop hotties; we’ve got it all!

But wait there’s more! Our color commentary is handled by comedians Tom Kenny, Dana Gould and Blaine Capatch. Other guest commentators include Fred Armisen, Brian Poussein, Patton Oswalt, Greg Proops, Jeffrey Ross and Bobcat Goldthwait. Even Jack Black sat in, proclaiming “Lucha VaVOOM is the sh*t!

It all began in August 2003 as a one off event. The overwhelming crowd response convinced Rita & Liz to do it again, and as soon as possible.

Ever since, Lucha VaVOOM has played at the Mayan Theater in Los Angeles three times a year — Valentines Day, Mid-summer, and Halloween. From there, Lucha brought it’s circus to Toronto, where they did two nights at the Koolhaus and made every newspaper and TV news program, including Much Music.

In 2005, Lucha VaVOOM was asked to be a part of the first HBO Las Vegas Comedy Festival, where they performed alongside Jon Stewart, Lewis Black and Dave Chapelle. That same year they performed at the famous Sony E3 party at Dodger Stadium, where they took the spotlight away from the Pussycat Dolls.

Lucha VaVOOM has gone on to perform in Chicago, San Francisco and Amsterdam, with more cities on the way.

They’ve also appeared on Jimmy Kimmel, CBS National News, G4’s Attack of the Show, Channel X in Britain and A Current Affair just to name a few. Here’s what the press says about us:

Lucha VaVOOM has a big future.
TIME Magazine

..It’s enough to make even the most jaded Hollywood insider jump up and yell “Smackdown.”
Rolling Stone

Lucha VaVOOM is the most exciting, bonkers show I’ve seen in ages.

A madcap mix of Mexican wrestling, comedy, and vintage burlesque. I love, love, love it.
Vanity Fair

Far-out flamboyance always prevails at Lucha VaVOOM, a spectacle of Mexican freestyle wrestling with an L.A. twist.
Los Angeles Times

With this perfectly balanced evening of sex, comedy & comicbook violence, the populace of earth deserves nothing less than a global tour. Everyone needs a little Lucha VaVOOM in their life.

A Luchador’s Guide to Action and Adventure

At first glance, even at second glance, the world of Luchador: Way of the Mask looks a lot like our world. People go about the drudgery of their day-to-day lives, politicians lie to cover up their indiscretions, and there’s never anything good on TV. However, there are differences. Unscrupulous businessmen stoop to actual strong-arm tactics (rather than courtroom strong-arm tactics) to take over family owned shops. Mad scientists conduct bizarre experiments in remote laboratories. Masked armies rise from the criminal underworld to carry out convoluted schemes to overthrow world governments. Supernatural forces lurk in the shadows awaiting the unwary to fall under their spell. Throughout it all, the hopes of the common man hang on those masked masters of the mat, the luchadors.

The core concept of the game is that luchadors are the heroes of the modern world. Where others chase the empty promise of greed or struggle to survive the endless grind, the luchador fights on as a champion of honor and glory. Only those with no fear can afford to stand fast against the forces of evil. Only they are worthy of being called heroes.

The tone of Luchador: Way of the Mask is light-hearted but not comedic. It is not an easy thing to maintain. The vibe of the game is somewhere between 70’s action films and 80’s television series. It’s a world where government agents must turn to an unaffiliated martial arts master to infiltrate a madman’s island stronghold during a fighting tournament to uncover his plans, and nobody thinks it odd. Look to Bond films, A-team episodes, Kung-Fu, and the like for inspiration. Obviously, the classic El Santo movies are the best place to start. The luchadors are the ones that stand between the strangeness and the safety of normal life.

Don the Mask and Dive into Danger!
Luchador: Way of the Mask


The Hunt Begins…

Currently Spartacus Publishing is pursuing the development of a card game entitled Near Space. This game is set in a hard sci-fi universe focusing on exploration and combat. The vast majority of cards will focus on spacescapes, planetscapes, and other cosmic phenomenon.

We have been strongly influenced by the styles of John Berkey, Bob Eggleton, and Vincent DiFate. Thus we are looking for pieces that are evocative of these creators. Strong high contrast images with an inherent drama are preferred. Make sure that no matter where you draw your inspiration from that it is your work you are submitting. Using images from the NASA/JPL Galleries is fine but please make a note of accreditation if you do so.

We are looking for 60-80 individual pieces. Finished pieces should be full-color and formatted for a final print of 66 x 88 millimeters portrait layout. Final pieces should be delivered as a minimum 300dpi TIF.

Though the cards will likely be printed with a black border bright and eye-catching art is preferred. Our focus is on newly discovered colony worlds, gas giants, starbases, asteroid fields, and minefields. We will also need a variety of cards depicting various events and encounters that will be detailed as we progress with select artists.

Interested artists should submit rough drafts for approval. Be prepared to take a minimum of art direction before the piece is accepted. You will retain ownership and copyright of the physical piece. We are purchasing the rights for two printings; once in this initial release and again in a possible future compilation. We can offer $30 for each piece we use and will include a copy of the finished product. (You will be allowed to purchase additional copies of the game at wholesale price, 50% of SRP.)  Your payment will be made within 10 days of final draft approval with finished work delivered no more than 20 days after receipt. Payment can be made via Paypal or physical check. If your art is used on the packaging, or any subsequent merchandise, we will negotiate additional fees. Incidental use of the work in marketing or advertising will not be compensated.

If you are looking around for additional inspiration I would recommend the works of Frank Kelly Freas, Marcin Jakubowski, or Stephen Hickman.  Including ships and other technological elements is encouraged and we will be providing a description of the two main races, Terrans and Alpha Centaurians, and other races upon request.

Contact information:
Casey Clark
3906 Grace Ellen Drive
Columbia, MO 65202-1739

Lil’ dice, Big dice, and a New Color…

Lil’ Dice
As I noted earlier Near Space is a game that was designed to use every dice you may have in a game of strategic and tactical conflict. However, we have encountered an issue with d1, d2, and d3s. The bonuses and penalties based on color are +/- 1-2. Events and Sector Advantages may bump this an additional +/- 2-3. This means that the risk-reward ratio of these small dice are incredibly skewed. You are nearly guaranteed a certain result in a fight and even if you lose a a ship a couple of points in the Graveyard is minimal.

As I go back into another revision d1s are being removed from the game. They are not dice; there is no random chance attached to them. Right now d3s are safe as I consider them a fairly traditional die. The d2 is on the chopping block with the axe being swung. We will continue to playtest this and may bring the Kickstarter backers on board during the campaign for a quick poll.

Big Dice
We were also discussing the fate of the Dreadnought. We have allowed d20s since players love the idea of fielding the Death Star but the modifiers (except for green ships) were mooted by the ship size. During a demo/play-test session at the International Table-Top Game Day a new participant tried the game for the first time. A devoted Magic player, he was just expermenting with different games. As soon as he wrapped his head around Near Space as a wargame he had a handle on playing. He quickly questioned why anyone would ever build anything larger than a Gunship. The powers of the Battleship and Destroyer and the ships interaction with the gamestate made him realize their utility. He just as quickly pointed that this logic does not hold for a Dreadnought and it should never be built. Its inability to move in response to an opponent, maintenance, and risk of a bad roll vs a smaller ship makes it a bad investment. I agreed with him and pointed out that people love fielding the Death Star even if it is not smart…

A New Color
Though I had some issues with Protospiel Milwaukee we did get one piece of great feedback about Pink dice. Up to now Pink has not been a recognized color in Near Space. It is hard to judge between Red and Pink, it is  ahue not a color, etc. The trouble is some dice are Pink. They are not Red/Mauve/Purple/etc; they are Pink. Like obscenity, I can’t define it but I know it when I see it.
To that end I introduce a new color for Near Space…
Survivor: Pink: Veterans of war and untold tribulations often band together where their indomitable will sees them to victory against impossible odds. Whenever the ship attacks or defends and rolls a one, it may roll again and add the resulting numbers together. Should this subsequent roll also be a one it is not rolled again.

UnPub Preview…

In preparation for Protospiel I filled out UnPub’s Game Preview questionaire. It does offer some insight to where I am headed with Near Space.

What was your inspiration for Near Space?
The question “Can a gamer have too many dice?”. Thus we pulled together a game that uses every dice you may have in a game of startegic and tactical conflict.

What is your favorite part of Near Space?
The rush of engaging the enemy with the balance of the game on the line. Also, the give and take of responding to your opponent’s build and tactics.

To your knowledge, What do other people find most interesting about Near Space?
The simplicity and ease of play while providing a high level of depth and replay.

What has been the most challenging part of designing Near Space? 
Finding the balance between cards, dice both with passive and dynamic variables.

What advice would you give to players attempting Near Space for the first time?
Progress slowly establishing a good base of resources and then build into an offensive force. Never devote yourself to one tactic. Respond to the board and your opponent.

What has surprised you most in play-tests of Near Space?
Most play-testers after getting their feet wet want to immediately return to the game with an idea on how to break the game, or string together an unbeatable position.

People who like___________ will like Near Space. Why? 
Risk, Similarity of play but with a shifting play surface and far more variables in offense and defense.

What do you hope to accomplish at Protospiel-Milwaukee (and Mid-West Unpub)? 
Earnest feedback from other creators and devoted hobbyists outside of the local level.

Headed to Protospiel-Milwaukee with Near Space

Though I have toyed and tinkered with Near Space for a great number of years I have rarely let it loose without supervision. This coming weekend that changes a little bit. We are taking the game to Protospiel-Milwaukee (http://www.protospiel-milwaukee.org/) and see how well it handles the stress test. I have no real expectations mainly because I have never been involved in something like this. Hopefully the take away from this will be a better game.

Speaking of improving the game. Recently, I have started working with Alex Clayton as our Head Playtester. Someone that is willing to argue with me and smart enough to find my mistakes. I have invited him to start posting here and I look forward to his observations. I have established a Playtest Group on Facebook with Alex as the Admin. This will be our primary means of communication with Kickstarter backers who want to be involved in the playtest. (Unless someone else has better idea…?)


FIrst post

Just a quick note to myself really. I think I have this up and running? I will be detailing the ongoing process here at Spartacus Publishing in our game design, play-testing, writing, art direction, etc. I am inviting our various collaborators and allies to post here as well. It is my hope that with time I can get this to grow into something of interest for you and me.


To kick things off, here is the draft of the card back for our new game Near Space. There will be lots more of this in the coming months as we prepare to attend Proto Spiel in Milwaukee. http://www.protospiel-milwaukee.org/