Hollandazed: Thoughts, Ideas, and Miscellany — game publishing

FROM THE ARCHIVES: ON PUBLISHING THE SCHELDT CAMPAIGN (by Tom Russell)

FROM THE ARCHIVES: ON PUBLISHING THE SCHELDT CAMPAIGN (by Tom Russell)

In 2012, Brian Train's game Summer Lightning came on my radar. If you haven't played it, it's a game focused on the German invasion of Poland, and as you might expect, it's a tough game for the Poles to win. This, along with the unusual combat system, fascinated me, and I put it on a list of games I was interested in playing. I mentioned that I had heard that the game took an extraordinary amount of time to set-up. Brian stepped in to let me know that this was not true. Shortly thereafter, we arranged a trade by which...


FROM THE ARCHIVES: A GOOD FIT (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Comments 2 Tags game development, game publishing

FROM THE ARCHIVES: A GOOD FIT (by Tom Russell)

The first bit of advice that every designer gets about trying to get a game published is to approach publishers who will actually be a good fit for your game. You want to look at what other games they've put out on the market and get a feel for their catalogue and their general philosophy. Some companies have a very narrow focus. Winsome is a prime example. About a dozen years ago, Winsome's John Bohrer was interviewed by some guy named Tom Vasel, who asked Mr. Bohrer what he was looking for in a game: Well, first of all, the...


FROM THE ARCHIVES: ON PUBLISHING BERG'S DYNASTY (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Tags Dynasty, game publishing, Richard Berg

FROM THE ARCHIVES: ON PUBLISHING BERG'S DYNASTY (by Tom Russell)

´╗┐Richard Berg passed away Friday, 26 July 2019. We were honored to work with him on his game Dynasty. Shortly before we released Richard Berg's Dynasty, I got a message from a friend who wanted to know if I had played the game, and if it was any good. Well, of course I had played the game, and of course it was good; what kind of question is that? While I know there are some publishers who don't play their games before pushing them out into the world, that's not how Mary and I operate, and I can't imagine any...


FROM THE ARCHIVES: ON THE CURIOUS ORIGINS OF TABLE BATTLES (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Tags game design, game publishing, Table Battles

FROM THE ARCHIVES: ON THE CURIOUS ORIGINS OF TABLE BATTLES (by Tom Russell)

While Table Battles is a direct descendent of my earlier game Christmas at White Mountain, its existence can be better explained in the context of two apparently unrelated games: Richard Berg's multiplayer game Dynasty, and my two-player politics game Optimates et Populares. When we were publishing Richard Berg's Dynasty, we needed to get quite a lot of wood bits. We needed large cubes for armies and little cubes to demarcate control, black cubes for warlords, and wooden discs for home provinces and the Emperor's winter palace. And on top of all that, we also needed some long gray rectangular wood...


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...