Hollandazed: Thoughts, Ideas, and Miscellany — This Guilty Land

THREE SUBCONSCIOUS INFLUENCES ON THIS GUILTY LAND (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Comments 1 Tags game design, This Guilty Land

THREE SUBCONSCIOUS INFLUENCES ON THIS GUILTY LAND (by Tom Russell)

I wanted to take a moment to talk about three games that impacted the development of This Guilty Land in a subconscious way. That is, when I was designing the game, I don't think I ever thought of these games specifically, at least not for these reasons, and I wasn't aware of borrowing from them directly, but in retrospect I can look at elements of the design, and look at those other games, and say, "Oh, so that's where I got that from." The first game is Washington's War, designed by Mark Herman. I know what you're thinking; they're both...


DISTANCE IN THIS GUILTY LAND (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Comments 1 Tags game design, This Guilty Land

DISTANCE IN THIS GUILTY LAND (by Tom Russell)

In This Guilty Land, each player represents an abstract idea: Justice (which seeks the abolition of slavery) and Oppression (which seeks its retention and spread). One thing I've heard from many folks online is that they would be very uncomfortable playing Oppression, or asking another player to take on that role - they can't imagine themselves playing the game at all.  The first thing I want to say is, that's a perfectly valid response. The game's not for everyone, nor is it intended to be, and if you don't want to play the game, that's okay. Not every cultural product...


THESE GUILTY TWEAKS (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Tags game design, game development, This Guilty Land

THESE GUILTY TWEAKS (by Tom Russell)

I had the pleasure over Memorial Day weekend of attending Heavy Con in Denver, where I dedicated quite a bit of time to running playtests of This Guilty Land for twelve persons who had never played the game before. I was more than a little nervous going in. While the dozens of playtests before Heavy Con had all seemed to confirm that I knew what I was doing, it's always a little nerve-wracking pushing something in front of brand new people, particularly when that something is as aggressively odd as my open-hand political CDG.  In particular, the way that cards...


HANDBUILDING (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Comments 1 Tags CDG, game design, This Guilty Land

HANDBUILDING (by Tom Russell)

A week from now, I'll be in Denver at Heavy Con, where I plan to get as many people as possible to play This Guilty Land. In fact, my hope is that I won't be playing the game myself at all, but will just be on hand to teach it and to observe each match. I've played the game more than anyone else and I already know how it works (even if that doesn't necessarily mean that I know how to play it well). Especially given the game's more unusual features and its potential brittleness, it's important for me to...


MANDATORY EVENTS (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Comments 2 Tags This Guilty Land, wargame design

MANDATORY EVENTS (by Tom Russell)

A new turn begins: you draw up to your hand limit and survey your new cards. A three-ops card, yes, this is just what I needed. A card that might diminish your losses in battle, okay, I can work with that. That powerful special event you were hoping to see on the previous turn, well, better late than never. And then, there's that Mandatory Event card you absolutely did not want to see on this turn, or on any turn. It's the card that will undo your modest, hard-fought gains, the card that will destroy you, that will cheerfully assist...