Hollandazed: Thoughts, Ideas, and Miscellany

DESIGNING EYELET (by Amabel Holland)

Mary Russell

Tags Eyelet, game design, game publishing

DESIGNING EYELET (by Amabel Holland)

Eyelet is a roll-and-move game where you thread shoelaces through holes in a board. Each turn you roll two dice, and for each die, you must thread a lace through an empty hole that number of spaces distant. Neither player "owns" any of the laces on the board. If on your turn you're unable to complete both required moves, you lose. The object of the game, then, is to lay traps for your opponent, though in so doing you're also laying traps for yourself. Zugzwang! When I first announced the game late last year, a few folks assumed it was...


ALL THOSE SHINY WHATZITS (by Amabel Holland)

Mary Russell

Tags game design

ALL THOSE SHINY WHATZITS (by Amabel Holland)

In my game Nicaea, various bishops and theological issues are represented by cards. But in game terms there's little practical difference between say Saint Nicholas of Myra and Saint Pope Alexander of Alexandria. It treats all the personages as mostly fungible, just as it treats the theological issues being debated as fungible. And this led a couple of folks to opine that the game was essentially themeless. "The names on the cards don't matter! There's no special effects for this person or that one, they're all the same!" The argument the game is making is that basically everyone was going...


ACCIDENTAL DESIGN (by Amabel Holland)

Mary Russell

Tags game design, Siege of Mantua

ACCIDENTAL DESIGN (by Amabel Holland)

The battle system for my block game Siege of Mantua wasn't quite where I wanted it. Don't get me wrong. The basic construction was very sound. The thing worked, and worked well. But it sometimes felt just a little loose – in the way that a shirt can be just a little too big. The short version is that on your go, you spend Commands to advance and attack with your troops. Said troops are randomly pulled from a pool of counters to reflect the uncertain morale situation in a given battle; that pool shifts over time, morale degrading when...


DINNER PLATES (by Amabel Holland)

Mary Russell

Comments 2 Tags game publishing, Horse & Musket, writing

DINNER PLATES (by Amabel Holland)

Publishing historical board games involves a lot of writing, or more accurately, a lot of rewriting. With few exceptions - I can count 'em on two hands with fingers left over - everything we publish (rules, background material, et cetera) gets a style pass. Now, this isn't a reflection on the quality of the writing done by the original designers. It's not about that. It's about how we as a publisher organize and present information to the reader, and about what we value in that presentation, what we want to emphasize. A good example of this is the historical background...


GIANT MONSTERS AND SHOELACES (by Amabel Holland)

Mary Russell

Comments 6 Tags game design, game publishing

GIANT MONSTERS AND SHOELACES (by Amabel Holland)

Setting aside the choo-choo games, the titles of mine that attract the most attention from a broader audience are the angry, ambitious, end-of-year releases – games that engage seriously with history, that have something to say, that function something like political art. This isn't always the last game we release – for example, This Guilty Land and The Vote were both the penultimate releases of that year, with the final slot reserved for a choo-choo game. But it's often the title that brings a wider, less groggy audience into our end-of-year sale. Mary and I have taken to calling these...