Hollandazed: Thoughts, Ideas, and Miscellany — game design

FROM THE ARCHIVES: CARDS ON THE TABLE (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Tags game design

FROM THE ARCHIVES: CARDS ON THE TABLE (by Tom Russell)

One of the key features of any game with cards - be it Cribbage or Bridge or Race for the Galaxy or Washington's War - is that you can't ever be sure exactly what's in the other guy's hand. In a wargames context, this provides for a quick and painless sense of fog of war; as Mark Herman noted in his article "My Philosophy Behind Card Driven Game Design", CDGs let "the player know the strength and location of enemy forces" but keeps you in the dark regarding "what his opponent can do with those forces and where he intends...


FROM THE ARCHIVES: AN INFAMOUS TRAFFIC: DEVELOPMENT (by Cole Wehrle)

FROM THE ARCHIVES: AN INFAMOUS TRAFFIC: DEVELOPMENT (by Cole Wehrle)

When I was growing up, history was a list of wars. This was partly the fault of games. From an early age I played any game I could find and hunted for more. At yard sales I would rifle through stacks of Milton Bradley to dig up a tattered copy of Third Reich or Wooden Ships & Iron Men. These games shaped my understanding of history. At the school library I tended to ignore the books that didn’t concern armed conflict. History was a list of battles and all the rest was window dressing. Of course, this was also partly...


FROM THE ARCHIVES: ONWARDS AND UPWARDS (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Tags game design, game development

FROM THE ARCHIVES: ONWARDS AND UPWARDS (by Tom Russell)

No matter how much feedback you get from playtesters, it's always going to be a small fraction of the feedback you'll get from players once a game has been released. And that is as it should be; if games had more testers than purchasers, there's no way it'd be paying our bills! It's common post-release to hear things you didn't hear in testing, and for players to raise questions that you never thought of asking. And sometimes, yes, something gets missed; this is the stuff errata is made of. There are some folks, particularly within the wargames niche, that regard...


DONE (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Comments 1 Tags game design, game development

DONE (by Tom Russell)

Over the last few years, a few folks have asked me how I knew when I was done with a game. For me, it actually isn't super-complicated, because I generally don't start actively working on a game until I have a very clear idea of what the end product is going to be, and then I just get to it and I just keep at it until the game resembles that idea. I go into it with my parameters already defined: what the game is going to feel like, what tensions are going to be present, what ideas are going...


FROM THE ARCHIVES: CARTS AND HORSES (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Tags game design, rule writing, wargame design

FROM THE ARCHIVES: CARTS AND HORSES (by Tom Russell)

My father had started working for Blue Cross around the time I was born, in an entry-level position. It didn't take long for him to advance up the ranks into management. I don't remember a whole lot of conversations with my father before he died, but I remember him telling me that he was always the first one in and the last one out, and that if you put in the time and the energy, if you work hard and seize opportunities, you can make something of yourself.  I got my first job when I still a teenager - I...