Hollandazed: Thoughts, Ideas, and Miscellany

THE PROBLEM OF STATELESSNESS IN SOLITAIRE GAMES (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

THE PROBLEM OF STATELESSNESS IN SOLITAIRE GAMES (by Tom Russell)

I used to be very wary of solitaire wargames. Not, mind you, of playing two-player wargames solitaire, but of honest-to-gosh solitaire designs. Partially, my reticence was somewhat aspirational: I might be playing both sides in this WW2 game, but the possibility existed that someday, someone who would dig the game would be sitting on the other side of the table. Whereas if I plunked down some of my hard-earned cash for a solo-only title, that possibility - however rarified and improbable - no longer existed. And, when you're on the sort of budget where you can only buy maybe five...


TIME DISTORTION IN WARGAMES (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

TIME DISTORTION IN WARGAMES (by Tom Russell)

The scale of my Shields & Swords II titles has always been somewhat fungible. Hexes don't represent a specific, consistent distance from one title to another. The units do not represent a set number of men (especially as, for some battles, nailing this down with any certainty is next to impossible, given the exaggerations common in the source material). And each turn does not represent a given, defined period of time. There are some folks for whom this kind of thing is a supreme abrogation of a wargame designer's solemn duty to ensure the unity of, and historical accuracy within,...


ADVENTURES IN VIDEO GAMES (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

ADVENTURES IN VIDEO GAMES (by Tom Russell)

Before I made board games, I made video games. And long before I lived, breathed, and ate board games (and there's less fiber in that diet than you'd expect), I lived, breathed, and ate video games. When I was a kid, I was obsessed with video games. I was also obsessed with books, and with the Bible, and I'm not sure if all of those obsessions were necessarily healthy. Whenever I wasn't reading a fantasy novel, or reflecting on how I was a sinning sinner who had committed unforgiveable transgressions (I was maybe six or seven), I was playing video...


BATTLES OF GRUNWALD (by Ania Ziolkowska)

Mary Russell

BATTLES OF GRUNWALD (by Ania Ziolkowska)

(Note from Hollandspiele: The Grunwald Swords was our second game, and the first in the Shields & Swords II series. The map artist, Ania B. Ziolkowska, is from Poland, where the battle has a great deal of significance. In this piece, Ania talks about the battle, its ramifications, and its use by both Poland and Germany as a propaganda tool. All photos and screenshot by Ania Ziolkowska.) On 15 July 1410 Polish-Lithuanian forces fought against the Teutonic Order in the Battle of Grunwald (also known as the First Battle of Tannenberg). It happens that tomorrow marks the 607th anniversary of...


DISASTER AT SEA (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

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DISASTER AT SEA (by Tom Russell)

I've done a number of games that hew pretty closely to established concepts and mechanisms (done my share of hex-and-counter games with ZOC and step-losses, though oddly I've avoided going odds-based in all but one instance) and a number of games that try to do something new and unusual. The latter tend to sell better than the former, which is always rewarding, and those more than the "normal" games have probably won me what modest following I have as a designer. The danger with doing something new and unusual is of course that sometimes it doesn't work. That's not so...