Hollandazed: Thoughts, Ideas, and Miscellany

DESIGNER'S REMARKS ON UKRAINIAN CRISIS (by Brian Train)

DESIGNER'S REMARKS ON UKRAINIAN CRISIS (by Brian Train)

Over the weekend of March 14-16, 2014, the people of the Crimea held a referendum to decide whether they should stay in Ukraine. This came after months of escalating tension, brinkmanship and low-level violence between the Ukrainian and Russian ethnicities inside Ukraine, and between their “parent” countries. This looked like either a solution to the crisis, or an escalation. So, I did what anyone with an interest in current events and a few hours on his hands would do: I took some time over that weekend to create a game on the crisis, rather uncreatively titled Ukrainian Crisis (hey, I...


SEQUENCES OF PLAY (by Tom Russell)

Mary Russell

Tags board games, game design, gameplay, sequence of play, Tom Russell, wargame

SEQUENCES OF PLAY (by Tom Russell)

When Mary and I evaluate a game, one of the first things we look at is the Sequence of Play. Perhaps the most important part of understanding a game is understanding what a player does on their turn. It doesn't mean that we're looking for anything really ornate, or fancy, or different for the sake of being different - we have published, and will continue to publish, games that stick to "Player 1 Move, Player 1 Combat, Player 2 Move, Player 2 Combat" - but it does mean that we're trying to get a sense of how that turn is...


COVER STORY: UKRAINIAN CRISIS & THE LITTLE WAR (by Tom Russell)

COVER STORY: UKRAINIAN CRISIS & THE LITTLE WAR (by Tom Russell)

One of the reasons why I started designing box covers for my games was to have more control over the process. There had been a couple of instances in the past where the publisher had saddled my game with an ugly cover or a terrible name or both. One particularly egregious example never made it to market - I guess thankfully in retrospect. I'm not going to pretend like that's the worst thing that ever happened to somebody, or that even the worst thing that ever happened to a designer, but it was still an experience I wanted to avoid....


THE OPT-POP DIARIES PART 4 (by Tom Russell)

THE OPT-POP DIARIES PART 4 (by Tom Russell)

One aspect of Optimates et Populares I've been dancing around and deferring for later discussion in this series of articles is the Dictator, and there's a reason for that: the Dictator was the part of the game that gave me the most trouble. It was the one thing that I just couldn't seem to get to work, the one outstanding design challenge that I was still trying to solve. You would think, from the usage of past tense and the fact that I'm dedicating an article to it that I had found my solution. But, in fact, my "solution" was...


SO NOW I'M A COLLECTOR APPARENTLY (by Tom Russell)

SO NOW I'M A COLLECTOR APPARENTLY (by Tom Russell)

Years ago, I was reading James Dunnigan's Complete Wargames Handbook, and I came across a passage that I thought was so ridiculous, I had to read it out loud to share it with Mary: "Reading" games rather than playing them is quite common. Always has been. Many gamers "collect" games. They buy them, but never play them. This does not mean that they are not used. Quite often, the hobbyist will spend several hours with the game. The usual procedure is to lay out the map, examine the pieces, read the rules and scenarios and perhaps place the pieces on...