Hollandazed: Thoughts, Ideas, and Miscellany

FROM THE ARCHIVES: THE BALANCE BINARY (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Tags game balance, game design, game development

FROM THE ARCHIVES: THE BALANCE BINARY (by Tom Russell)

I have a strong preference - as a player, as a designer, and as one-half of a publisher - for dynamic games, by which I mean games where the balance is highly mutable and prone to distortion based on player actions. One of the ways I try to achieve this in my own work is through the use of feedback loops, in which succeeding makes it easier to succeed, and failing makes it easier to fail. The winners keep winning and the losers keep losing. The balance of the game is in flux, capable of being tilted in one direction...


PLAYING WITH MYSELF (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Comments 1 Tags game design, game play, solitaire

PLAYING WITH MYSELF (by Tom Russell)

Like many folks these last few weeks, a lot of my recent gaming has been solitaire. This isn't all that unusual for me: I tend to spend a fair amount of time playtesting things solo to ensure that they are mechanically sound before I inflict them on other human beings. (That's a lesson I quickly learned in my salad days after a particularly disastrous playtest which ended with all my testers regarding me with a disconcerting and piteous mixture of bug-eyed horror and strained, polite smiles.) That's probably my primary reason for playing games solitaire - as part of my...


FROM THE ARCHIVES: MIDNIGHT OIL (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Tags creative, productive

FROM THE ARCHIVES: MIDNIGHT OIL (by Tom Russell)

When I was in my twenties, I used to stay up late - two o'clock, three o'clock, five o'clock in the morning - working on creative projects. I didn't need to go into work until eleven, and the place was about ten minutes away, so I could wake up at ten-thirty or even quarter-to and have time for a shower and a change of clothes before rushing out the door. The solitude, the quiet, the darkness outside gave me a kind of focus and clarity that I didn't get during the daylight. About six years ago, I got a new...


THE GAME PLAYS YOU (Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Comments 1 Tags game design

THE GAME PLAYS YOU (Tom Russell)

It doesn't really bother me when people slag on my games. My games are often somewhat experimental and can be abrasive, so I can't expect everyone to dig them. Honestly, I'm surprised whenever a game does resonate with a larger audience. As long as the people who like the game like it, I don't really care about the folks that don't - and our production model gives me that luxury. That's not to say that I ignore the bad notices; quite the contrary! Negative feedback forces me to question my work - gives me useful doubts. This, in turn, helps...


FROM THE ARCHIVES: OLD FRIENDS (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Tags game design

FROM THE ARCHIVES: OLD FRIENDS (by Tom Russell)

In November of 2017, I wrapped up development on the second game in our Shot & Shell Battle Series, a treatment of the Battle of the Alma River in the Crimean War. The Heights of Alma would be my second bite at that particular apple, it having served as the subject of my first published game, 2012's Blood on the Alma. That development process started by getting my debut game back on the table. I hadn't played it in over four years, and remembered bits of it only dimly. As I started to push the counters around the map, I...