Hollandazed: Thoughts, Ideas, and Miscellany — The Grass Crown

HORSIES (by Tom Russell)

HORSIES (by Tom Russell)

Last year I wrote at some length about the elephants in The Grass Crown, and teased a future blog-thing about how this led me to rethink how the game modeled horsies. This is that blog-thing. I will freely admit that I didn’t quite know what to do with the horses in With It Or On It. They were just kind of awkwardly there, mobile but not in a way that really posed any kind of threat to a line of hoplites with their big ol’ shields and pointy, pointy spears. Now, this was arguably accurate, in that cavalry – particularly...


INCIDENTS AND ACCIDENTS

INCIDENTS AND ACCIDENTS

I’ve often mentioned that I don’t really start working on a game – on the cobbling together of rules and components – until I have a clear and coherent image in my head of what that game looks like and what I want it to do and to express. Then, I keep working on it until it resembles that picture in my brain; that’s how I know it’s done. This doesn’t mean that that picture can’t change and shift during the process. Nor does it mean that I stay committed to an idea or mechanic when it’s clearly not working....


ELEPHANTRY MY DEAR WATSON (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Tags game design, Shields & Swords Ancients, The Grass Crown

ELEPHANTRY MY DEAR WATSON (by Tom Russell)

Early on during the design of With It Or On It, the first game in our Shields & Swords Ancients line, I decided that this series, unlike its medieval predecessor, would not have a single be-all end-all rulebook. This makes sense of course because the new series would be covering a much longer period of time, and feature more diverse fighting styles and technologies. I wish I could say that in my infinite wargame designer wisdom that I looked at the scope of the thing and that this approach was immediately self-evident. But, no, I only really decided on this...


FIRST LOOK AT THE GRASS CROWN (by Tom Russell)

FIRST LOOK AT THE GRASS CROWN (by Tom Russell)

The core idea of With It Or On It, the first game in our Shields & Swords Ancients line, was to create a simplified model that could capture the essential nature of hoplite warfare - the advantages, the disadvantages, and most importantly, the feel. Each individual counter is only as strong and as resilient as the counters adjacent to it, leading one gamer to dub the game's model "the hoplite buddy system". Winning a battle is a matter of putting pressure on the line, pushing at it, until you force it to weaken, to crack, and to collapse. I knew...