Hollandazed: Thoughts, Ideas, and Miscellany

PRACTICAL PROBLEMS: MANEUVER MODEL (by Amabel Holland)

PRACTICAL PROBLEMS: MANEUVER MODEL (by Amabel Holland)

I had a problem: I needed a compelling maneuver model that ticked off a lot of boxes but remained dirt simple. The game in question is my very first block game, Siege of Mantua, which takes as its subject the various Austrian attempts to relieve said siege, and how they were thoroughly trounced by this snot-nosed kid named Bonaparte. Specifically, I wanted the game's movement mechanics to account for (1) the efficacy of flanking attacks and the difficulty of coordinating converging columns, (2) the speed of smaller forces and the cumbersomeness of larger ones, (3) the advantages of interior lines,...


MORE DINOSAURS PLEASE (by Amabel Holland)

Mary Russell

Comments 2 Tags Dinosaur Table Battles, game design

MORE DINOSAURS PLEASE (by Amabel Holland)

Before Dinosaur Table Battles was published – before I had even finished development – I knew there would be an expansion. It's not because I knew the game would sell well enough to merit an expansion, though I had a good feeling about it of course. And it's not because I felt like I had a lot more to say, or that I had some content I had reserved for that purpose. No, I knew there would be an expansion because Mary told me there would be one. So it shall be written, so it shall be done. Just not...


RANDOMIZED UNIT POOLS (by Amabel Holland)

Mary Russell

Comments 2 Tags game design

RANDOMIZED UNIT POOLS (by Amabel Holland)

In a few of my battle games, you'll receive a certain number of units at set-up of varying quality, drawn from a randomized pool. The first game I did this in is Battles on the Ice. When I want to sound like I know what I'm doing, I'll tell people that the reason for this is that I wanted to model the unreliability of feudal levies, which was true. If I want to irritate the kind of grog who spends a lot of time on forums rattling on and on about accuracy, I'll tell them that the reason is because...


ON THE SUCCESS OF REIGN OF WITCHES (by Amabel Holland)

Mary Russell

Comments 13 Tags game design, game publishing

ON THE SUCCESS OF REIGN OF WITCHES (by Amabel Holland)

We never know when something's gonna be a hit.  We make the best games we can, we try our best to help them find their audience, but whether they find that audience is out of our hands. I generally try to manage my own expectations, as I'd rather be surprised when something takes off than dejected when it doesn't. Going into last year's end-of-year Hollandays Sale, I suspected that we'd be giving away a large number of copies of Reign of Witches, the free promotional card game that got tossed in with every order of two or more games. And...


THEME & MECHANISMS (by Amabel Holland)

Mary Russell

Comments 1 Tags game design

THEME & MECHANISMS (by Amabel Holland)

There's a Henry James quote I'm fond of. What is character but the determination of incident? And what is incident but the illumination of character? "Incident" here is a fancy word for plot, and so what he's saying is that plot should come out of characterization, and that characterization should be revealed as a result of the plot. They're not separate things, but the same thing, hopelessly intertwined, impossible to separate or to consider in isolation. And one reason I'm fond of it is, if you change "character" and "incident" to "theme" and "mechanisms", we're suddenly talking about game design....