Hollandazed: Thoughts, Ideas, and Miscellany

SET-UPS

Mary Russell

Comments 3

SET-UPS

I try to avoid complicated and persnickety set-up procedures in my games. The last thing I want is a list of sixty or seventy units – this goes into hex 1011 and that one goes into hex 1012 – sprawled over the course of a couple pages. I’m much more likely to go “all your units set up on this side of this line, and all their units set up on that side” (cf. most of the Shields & Swords II games) or “this division sets up within two hexes of this hex” (cf. the Shot & Shell Battle Series)....


SCENARIO GAMES (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Tags game design

SCENARIO GAMES (by Tom Russell)

Designing a new game can be hard, but designing a new scenario for an existing system is relatively easy. Oh, it’s still work, still a matter of research, thoughtfulness, time, effort, and playtesting, but on the whole you already solved the big problems the first time around, and what you’re left with are smaller ones and the peaceful, steady hum of craft and process. And even this gets easier to do over time. We just published the fifth Table Battles expansion, The Grand Alliance, which adds six scenarios, bringing the total number in the series up to forty-five, and I...


THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Tags game design

THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT (by Tom Russell)

Most of my games play in an hour or less. A small handful of games top out at two. And off the top of my pretty little head I can think of exactly two of my designs that take about three hours – Charlemagne, Master of Europe and Supply Lines of the American Revolution: The Northern Theater, 1775-1777, and heck, that last one, getting through the title alone takes about ten minutes. The games that eventually followed each of those releases – last year’s Aurelian, Restorer of the World and 2018’s Supply Lines of the American Revolution: The Southern Strategy...


SMALL BUT VITAL MOMENTS (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Comments 2 Tags For-Ex, game design

SMALL BUT VITAL MOMENTS (by Tom Russell)

More copies of Irish Gauge have sold than any of my other games. That’s an awful lot of choo-choos sprawled across an awful lot of verdant hexagons. With all those copies came a lot of videos, photos, reviews, customer comments, BGG ratings, rules questions, and variants – of course there are lots of variants, rassum-frassum – or, to put it another way, a lot of attention. This isn’t something I’m necessarily used to. I make weird and sometimes very experimental games, often on obscure topics. These are niche games for a niche audience, produced and sold in an appropriately niche...


RASPBERRIES (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Comments 5 Tags game design, Nicaea

RASPBERRIES (by Tom Russell)

A few weeks back I posted an excerpt from the Nicaea rulebook, as well as some of the flavor text on the cards. Cards like these: (Incidentally, Dr. Liz Davidson was kind enough to point out that “the church told them to cut it out” is a much better punchline than “knock it off”, so I’ll be using that one.) As anticipated, the reactions were mixed. Plenty of folks seemed to click with the game’s irreverent, snarky tone, while others were much less enthused. They found the anachronisms and the casual, conversational vibe grating, and speculated that it wouldn’t feel...