Hollandazed: Thoughts, Ideas, and Miscellany

FIFTY-FIFTY (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Comments 2 Tags game design, playtesting

FIFTY-FIFTY (by Tom Russell)

Most of my games are for two players, and most of those are asymmetric: the Irish Player versus the Viking Player (cf. Kingdom of Dyflin) for example, or Patriot versus Crown (Supply Lines). Because each side has certain advantages and disadvantages - something which doesn't feature in a game with symmetrical player positions - much of the playtesting is preoccupied with ensuring these advantages and disadvantages achieve the proper balance. A conventional and commonplace conception of balance would figure that each side in a given match should have an equal chance of winning assuming players of equal skill. This plays...


FROM THE ARCHIVES: BATTLES ON THE ICE DESIGNER'S NOTES PART 2 OF 2 (by Tom Russell)

FROM THE ARCHIVES: BATTLES ON THE ICE DESIGNER'S NOTES PART 2 OF 2 (by Tom Russell)

Last time I talked about the goals we had in mind for our third game in the Shields & Swords II series, as well as the design of the Peipus scenario. This time, I'm going to talk about the second half of the game: the Battle of Karuse. The times as they were in 1260, ten years prior to the Battle of Karuse. Karuse is much more obscure than Peipus. Peipus is, after all, the victory that made Alexander Nevsky a Saint in the Orthodox Church, and the battle that was immortalized by Eisenstein's rousing 1938 film, and Prokofiev's score...


HINDSIGHT, AND 2020 (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Tags 2020, game publishing

HINDSIGHT, AND 2020 (by Tom Russell)

Every year right at the end I like to write a blog-thing talking up all the games we plan to release the following year. But I'm not doing that this year. That's because when I did it last year, I rattled off over twenty-plus titles that we had scheduled for 2019 and early 2020, and only about half of those actually made it out the door despite our best efforts. Medical issues and familial obligations stretched us thin, and frankly, releasing fewer games made it a thin year financially as well. But we've muddled through and are looking forward to...


FROM THE ARCHIVES: BATTLES ON THE ICE DESIGNER'S NOTES PART 1 OF 2 (by Tom Russell)

FROM THE ARCHIVES: BATTLES ON THE ICE DESIGNER'S NOTES PART 1 OF 2 (by Tom Russell)

The first game in the Shields & Swords II series, The Grunwald Swords, sold fairly well and was well-received. A number of very kind folks have said some very kind things about it, which encouraged other very kind folks to give it a try. It helps that the subject was, if not exactly popular, then it wasn't exactly obscure, either. The particulars of the battle also make for a rather dynamic gaming situation. (Some folks find the game very hard to win as the Teutonic Player, and while the game does lean towards the Allies - as does the history...


THE ROAD TO DYFLIN, AND BEYOND (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Tags game design, Kingdom of Dyflin, Shields & Swords

THE ROAD TO DYFLIN, AND BEYOND (by Tom Russell)

    hroughout the life of my Shields & Swords II series of medieval battle games, we've experimented with the format, searching for the one that would result in the widest audience. Our first release, The Grunwald Swords, had a single medium-sized battle. House of Normandy was a "quad" game made up of four much smaller scenarios, but it didn't seem to get nearly the same traction either commercially or critically, and so with Battles on the Ice I went with two battles about the same size as Grunwald. While it attracted more attention than Normandy - especially thanks to...