Hollandazed: Thoughts, Ideas, and Miscellany

FROM THE ARCHIVES: ON THE JOYS, FRUSTRATIONS, AND POSSIBILITIES OF FREE SET-UP (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Comments 1 Tags free setup, Plan 1919

FROM THE ARCHIVES: ON THE JOYS, FRUSTRATIONS, AND POSSIBILITIES OF FREE SET-UP (by Tom Russell)

The other day, the inestimable Robert Peter Bottos - he of BottosCon fame - commented on a Facebook post we had made about our upcoming release Plan 1919. Our post was as follows: Many of our wargames give the player a lot of leeway in setting up their forces, and Plan 1919 is no exception. The Germans set up on one side of the line, and the Allies on the other, and a solid set-up is really crucial. Each side has well over a hundred units (155 for the Germans and 226 for the allies, to be precise) of different...


PRICEPOINTS (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Comments 4 Tags pricepoints

PRICEPOINTS (by Tom Russell)

A year or more back, a designer of some repute sent us a game submission that we fell utterly and immediately in love with. It was so clever, so tight, so utterly charming and light on its feet. Now, we had no idea if the thing would sell or if it would flop. Just because we're excited and effusive about a game doesn't mean that anyone else will be. But the great thing about our print-on-demand model of course is that it so thoroughly mitigates financial risk that we could publish the thing anyway, and likely turn at least a...


FROM THE ARCHIVES: FORESTS AND TREES (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Tags game design

FROM THE ARCHIVES: FORESTS AND TREES (by Tom Russell)

ears ago, when I had delusions of being a euro-game designer, I designed a game about monks in the dark ages copying the masterworks of antiquity. There was something like nine different actions a player could take, which were all somewhat related to one another. The crux of the game is that each player started with an identical set of action tiles, which they added to as they bought and placed new tiles, increasing the actions that were available to them (and, eventually, to other players). And so the rules for the game began by explaining the components and the...


PACING (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Comments 2 Tags game design, pacing, Shields & Swords Ancients

PACING (by Tom Russell)

Many of my games are short. Probably the quickest is Northern Pacific, published in 2012 by Winsome and reprinted in 2018 by Rio Grande, a single round of which takes maybe five minutes. Most of my other games top out at about an hour or so, and a key part of the development process is making the thing faster, simpler, and more streamlined. Partially this is a function of the kinds of games I'm interested in making. A lot of my games are comically fragile - one mistake and you're done for. If the game keeps going for another couple...


FROM THE ARCHIVES: "COUNTERFACTUAL: BLOOD IN THE FOG" (by Tom Russell)

FROM THE ARCHIVES: "COUNTERFACTUAL: BLOOD IN THE FOG" (by Tom Russell)

People who don't know us well don't realize how utterly I depend on Mary, and how utterly hopeless I would be without her. It's not just that she keeps me centered, or focused, or that she brings out the best in me, though she does indeed do all of those things. It's not just that she keeps me safe from harm as I wander, Magoo-like, oblivious to the world around me and lacking anything resembling common sense. Though she does that too. Really, there are a thousand-thousand ways she makes my world go 'round, but the thing I'm talking about...