Hollandazed: Thoughts, Ideas, and Miscellany

CIRCLES OF SALT (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Tags game design

CIRCLES OF SALT (by Tom Russell)

I came into the hobby through eurogames, attracted by their machine-like elegance and their general aversion to Random Elements. In fact, the eurogames that I disliked tended to be the ones that used dice or swingy card decks. When I started designing games, I kept these random elements to a minimum, eschewing them when I could and taking great pains to mitigate them when they were necessary. Sometimes eurogamers that move into wargames express shock at the frequent use of dice to resolve combat, but that wasn't the case for me. Rolling dice on a CRT didn't seem like a...


FROM THE ARCHIVES: e.g. (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Comments 3 Tags rules writing

FROM THE ARCHIVES: e.g. (by Tom Russell)

Years and years ago, when I still suffered from the delusion that I was a eurogame designer, one of my games was picked up by a small firm who never quite got around to publishing it. While that experience wasn't entirely a pleasant one, they did have several playtest groups at their disposal, and the feedback from those playtesters was generally useful and constructive, and made for a game that would have appealed to a broader audience than my original design if it had ever made it to market. Every time there was feedback, the publisher amended the ruleset, often...


DISRUPTION AND COMBAT AVOIDANCE (by John Theissen)

Mary Russell

Tags Disruption, John Theissen, Retreat Before Combat, rules

DISRUPTION AND COMBAT AVOIDANCE (by John Theissen)

Designer John Theissen has designed several operational-level games for us: More Aggressive Attitudes, Objective Shreveport!, Hood's Last Gamble, Campaign of Nations, and Antony and Cleopatra. In this guest article, he touches on two features of his designs. There are a few rule concepts that find their way into most of the games I’ve designed, and I’d like to talk about two of them here. The purpose of these rules is to provide models reflecting some historical effects while keeping the rules fairly simple. The goal here is to combine the gaming concepts of playability and realism, hopefully in an effective...


FROM THE ARCHIVES: ON PUBLISHING THE SCHELDT CAMPAIGN (by Tom Russell)

FROM THE ARCHIVES: ON PUBLISHING THE SCHELDT CAMPAIGN (by Tom Russell)

In 2012, Brian Train's game Summer Lightning came on my radar. If you haven't played it, it's a game focused on the German invasion of Poland, and as you might expect, it's a tough game for the Poles to win. This, along with the unusual combat system, fascinated me, and I put it on a list of games I was interested in playing. I mentioned that I had heard that the game took an extraordinary amount of time to set-up. Brian stepped in to let me know that this was not true. Shortly thereafter, we arranged a trade by which...


YEAR THREE PART TWO OF TWO (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Comments 4 Tags third year, third year overview

YEAR THREE PART TWO OF TWO (by Tom Russell)

Continuing and concluding our look at what we've been up to over the course of our third year in business. Hex no. 37, The Soo Line   So, this one turned out to be a "love it or hate it" sort of game, which didn't really surprise me. There's a reason, for example, why almost all stock-holding rail games have at least as many railroads in play as players: otherwise, one or more players are going to be doing a whole lot of nothing during the operating rounds. This game started with the question, what happens if there aren't enough...