Hollandazed: Thoughts, Ideas, and Miscellany — game design

PLAYER COUNTS (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Tags game design, game publishing

PLAYER COUNTS (by Tom Russell)

Late last year we released my weird train game The Soo Line. There are lots of things that are weird about it, but one of the weirdest and most notable is that the game only has three railroads for players to buy shares in. Only the majority shareholder makes decisions for each railroad, which means that when playing with four or five players, some players are playing what is purely an investment game. This is weird and this is counterintuitive and goes against what is probably sound and settled game design law, but one of the joys of course of...


FROM THE ARCHIVES: BARRIERS (by Tom Russell)

FROM THE ARCHIVES: BARRIERS (by Tom Russell)

I was pleasantly surprised that a number of folks were able to get Table Battles on the table within a few hours or minutes of receiving it, and that it seems to be hitting those tables frequently and enthusiastically. It's not that I think the game shouldn't be hitting tables regularly; I think it’s one of my strongest pieces of design, particularly on a mechanical level. So of course I think people should play it. I think people should play all of my games: that's what they're there for. But even something that's proven to be as popular as, for...


HOW TO DESIGN A GAME (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Comments 2 Tags game design

HOW TO DESIGN A GAME (by Tom Russell)

Beginnings are always difficult, as the fellow said in Trouble in Paradise, and boy do I know it. I've spent two-plus hours banging my head against the wall, writing and then discarding one intro paragraph after another in seemingly fruitless attempts to get to the part where I talk about what I want to talk about, which is kinda apt and maybe even ironic, because what I want to talk about is starting a thing - an area where, the occasional stubborn blog-thing aside, I usually don't have many problems. I recognize of course that this isn't the case for...


A FIRST LOOK AT ENSI (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Comments 7 Tags Ensi, game design, solitaire, solo

A FIRST LOOK AT ENSI (by Tom Russell)

Ensi is my solitaire civilization-building game set in the fertile crescent during the Bronze Age. It was originally envisioned as a legacy style game of sorts, only without all the stickers and torn up cards and writing on the board. So, more like a campaign game, where certain things carry over from session to session, with each subsequent session adding new challenges and wrinkles. Each time you would build a new civilization, rising from the ashes of what had come before.  It sounded like a neat idea at the time - summer of twenty-seventeen if I recall correctly, though it...


LIMITS (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Tags game design

LIMITS (by Tom Russell)

I got my start doing magazine games. Working in that format, I generally had a half-sheet of five-eighths inch counters - eighty-eighty of 'em, in five blocks of sixteen and one block of eight - and one eleven by seventeen mapsheet. That allowed for about twelve reasonably sized hexes in a column and twenty or so in a row. Because having a separate display sheet would increase the production cost of the game, any tracks, including the turn track, needed to fit on that mapsheet. I could however have some charts to go on the back of the rulebook. It...