Hollandazed: Thoughts, Ideas, and Miscellany — Table Battles

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...


SLUGFESTS (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Tags game design, Table Battles

SLUGFESTS (by Tom Russell)

One problem that became apparent after the release of Table Battles is that when players made poor decisions or did not properly work toward force preservation, the game would degenerate into an exhausted slugfest, a bunch of piddling little one- or two-stick formations limping along as the morale cubes passed back and forth, neither side achieving a definitive advantage. Over the course of the two expansions, I made the morale splits much more asymmetric and fragile as a way to "protect" the game against bad play. If losing just one formation would lose you the game, you'd be less likely...


BOMBARDED (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Comments 1 Tags game design, game development, Table Battles

BOMBARDED (by Tom Russell)

One of the big shifts in the design philosophy behind the Table Battles expansions when compared to the base game is that I've made the morale cube splits more immediately fragile and asymmetric. The base game has a lot of 2-3 splits, and with bad play that lent itself to a lot of situations where I rout one, you rout one, I rout one, you rout one, passing the same cube back and forth until neither side has enough oomph to secure a decisive victory. The expansions are more likely to use a 1-3 or 1-4 split, or to offset...


NOTES ON TABLE BATTLES: AGE OF ALEXANDER no. 17-23 (by Tom Russell)

NOTES ON TABLE BATTLES: AGE OF ALEXANDER no. 17-23 (by Tom Russell)

17. Chaeronea (2 August 338 BCE) When I translate a given engagement into the peculiar language of Table Battles, a lot of my time is spent on things that a lot of players won't really notice. What die results a card can accept, whether or not it's limited to one die per turn, how cards are divided into wings and how often die results are duplicated within a wing and within an army, how the cards interact with one another: it's there, and it's what makes the thing work, but it doesn't necessarily call a lot of attention to itself....


TWO HITS OR THREE (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Tags gameplay, Table Battles

TWO HITS OR THREE (by Tom Russell)

Weeks and months after I've finished development on a game, we get the proof from our printer and I put it on the table again. It's often the first time I've played it since the end of development. This is important for proofing purposes. You often hear about folks who are too close to a thing, too familiar with it, and they're unable to see it clearly. This little bit of distance helps us to see the thing with fresh eyes and to catch mistakes before we authorize production.  But more than that, the time away from the game allows...