Hollandazed: Thoughts, Ideas, and Miscellany — Shields & Swords

FROM THE ARCHIVES: BATTLES ON THE ICE DESIGNER'S NOTES PART 2 OF 2 (by Tom Russell)

FROM THE ARCHIVES: BATTLES ON THE ICE DESIGNER'S NOTES PART 2 OF 2 (by Tom Russell)

Last time I talked about the goals we had in mind for our third game in the Shields & Swords II series, as well as the design of the Peipus scenario. This time, I'm going to talk about the second half of the game: the Battle of Karuse. The times as they were in 1260, ten years prior to the Battle of Karuse. Karuse is much more obscure than Peipus. Peipus is, after all, the victory that made Alexander Nevsky a Saint in the Orthodox Church, and the battle that was immortalized by Eisenstein's rousing 1938 film, and Prokofiev's score...


FROM THE ARCHIVES: BATTLES ON THE ICE DESIGNER'S NOTES PART 1 OF 2 (by Tom Russell)

FROM THE ARCHIVES: BATTLES ON THE ICE DESIGNER'S NOTES PART 1 OF 2 (by Tom Russell)

The first game in the Shields & Swords II series, The Grunwald Swords, sold fairly well and was well-received. A number of very kind folks have said some very kind things about it, which encouraged other very kind folks to give it a try. It helps that the subject was, if not exactly popular, then it wasn't exactly obscure, either. The particulars of the battle also make for a rather dynamic gaming situation. (Some folks find the game very hard to win as the Teutonic Player, and while the game does lean towards the Allies - as does the history...


THE ROAD TO DYFLIN, AND BEYOND (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Tags game design, Kingdom of Dyflin, Shields & Swords

THE ROAD TO DYFLIN, AND BEYOND (by Tom Russell)

    hroughout the life of my Shields & Swords II series of medieval battle games, we've experimented with the format, searching for the one that would result in the widest audience. Our first release, The Grunwald Swords, had a single medium-sized battle. House of Normandy was a "quad" game made up of four much smaller scenarios, but it didn't seem to get nearly the same traction either commercially or critically, and so with Battles on the Ice I went with two battles about the same size as Grunwald. While it attracted more attention than Normandy - especially thanks to...


FROM THE ARCHIVES: UNCERTAIN TROOP QUALITY IN GREAT HEATHEN ARMY (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Tags game design, Shields & Swords

FROM THE ARCHIVES: UNCERTAIN TROOP QUALITY IN GREAT HEATHEN ARMY (by Tom Russell)

Our standard 5/8" countersheet has room for 176 little squares, and when I'm cobbling together my counter manifest for a game, I generally contrive to get as near to that number as I can without going over (unless the game is going to use a half-sheet, in which case the magic number is 88). Such was the case when I was putting together Battles on the Ice, the third game in our Shields & Swords II series. I began with a rough idea of the types of units each side would have, in what proportion, and the total number of...


LAZINESS AS MOTIVATOR (by Tom Russell)

LAZINESS AS MOTIVATOR (by Tom Russell)

The Shot & Shell Battle Series originated because I had designed three previous games that had somewhat similar rulesets but at different scales, with different combat procedures and different ZOC rules and different activation mechanisms (an I-go-U-go for this one, chit pull for that one, activation roll for this guy over here). I couldn't really call those three previous games a "series", because for me as a gamer the appeal of a series is that you only need to learn the rules once, then you're off to the races. Having to learn each game separately, and if you happen to...