Hollandazed: Thoughts, Ideas, and Miscellany

BUILDING THE HOUSE OF NORMANDY (by Tom Russell)

BUILDING THE HOUSE OF NORMANDY (by Tom Russell)

The second game in the Shields & Swords II series is House of Normandy, a “quad” containing four battles of the twelfth century. The first question a prospective purchaser would have is, why does this exist? Even among middle ages aficionados, there’s not a huge demand for games on this specific period. None of the battles are famous, nor really the commanders who took part; this is after William conquered, but before Richard became lion-hearted, a bit of history that bridges the gaps between two more interesting eras and as a result is often skimmed past. So, what gives? USS...


A TOUCH OF COMBAT CLASS: THE ABC’S OF S&S II (by Tom Russell)

A TOUCH OF COMBAT CLASS: THE ABC’S OF S&S II (by Tom Russell)

Coat of arms of the duchy of Normandy Units in the Shields & Swords II series have two components: their unit type and their combat class. There are technically eight unit types – veterans, infantry, infantry with range (crossbowmen), levies, levies with range (longbows), heavy horse, light horse, and light horse with range (mounted archers) – though two of them, the crossbows and the mounted archers, have yet to make an appearance in either The Grunwald Swords or House of Normandy. The unit classes determine what cool stuff the units can do: whether they can go into shield wall, whether...


HOW BOARD GAMES SAVED MY LIFE (by Tom Russell)

HOW BOARD GAMES SAVED MY LIFE (by Tom Russell)

Note: I recently partook in a "how did you get into board games?" thread over at BGG, and Mary and I decided that a post might be of sufficient interest to warrant republication on the Hollandspiele blog. And so, here we are. When I was a kid, I loved to play chess and Othello/Reversi, despite the fact that I was terrible at both, and I remember playing Risk at my grandfather's house. And we had Monopoly, Uno, etc. So, fairly typical childhood exposure to board games. How I got into modern games... it's kind of a long, but hopefully mildly...


BUILDING A VP ENGINE FOR AGRICOLA, MASTER OF BRITAIN (by Tom Russell)

BUILDING A VP ENGINE FOR AGRICOLA, MASTER OF BRITAIN (by Tom Russell)

At the end of each of Agricola, Master of Britain’s game turns, you’re required to have met or exceeded a certain Victory Point threshold in order to stay in the game and, eventually, to win the game at the end of Turn 8. The thing to keep in mind is that you don’t earn VP for what you did on that particular turn, but on what you did over the course of all the previous turns. That is, each thing that scores you VP will score you that VP on every subsequent turn so long as the condition applies. Therefore,...


CARTOGRAPHY: AN INFAMOUS TRAFFIC (by Cole Wehrle)

CARTOGRAPHY: AN INFAMOUS TRAFFIC (by Cole Wehrle)

I owe a lot to board game maps. When I was a kid, I had many more wargaming maps than I had games thanks to the vagaries of yard sales. I also had a drawer in my desk stuffed full of old roadmaps. There was nothing systematic about either collection. I just liked looking at maps. I guess I couldn’t help but become interested in a hobby that was so preoccupied with geography. When I was first exploring roleplaying games I produced maps by the dozens. Gradually my gaming maps moved digital, and I often used these projects to learn...