Thursday, March 06, 2008

Keep it simple

While at PrezCon I saw many games, even many "Euro" games, with hundreds of bits, lots of different kinds of bits, and wondered why anyone wanted to try to make sense of all the cardboard chits and cards and money and... My friend Rick played an eight hour Axis & Allies game, with vast numbers and types of pieces. (I played A&A a lot solo at one time, the computer version, where I didn't have to mess so much with vast numbers of pieces.)

I realized then that I never have been much interested in games with hundreds of pieces. My early favorites were Milton Bradley games like Broadside, then I discovered Avalon Hill games but preferred such as Stalingrad (100 pieces) and Arfika Korps (likely not many more). Then I went on to Diplomacy (34 pieces), and finally D&D (a dozen pieces). Britannia and the other games I had published in the early 80s and earlier had fewer than 200 pieces, often less than 100. And even those games don't have more than an average of 55 or so pieces on the board at one time (Britannia).

Of course, I like "grand strategic" games, not tactical games (D&D is the aberration there), and at that level a lot of different categories of pieces doesn't make much sense. Maybe a game with hundreds of pieces but few categories would be all right, but I'd then say, what can we do with hundreds of pieces that we cannot similarly do with dozens? The A&A game reminded me of my stillborn WW II strategic game intended to provide the strategy of A&A without the length and number of pieces. So I may go back to that.

I have already played the "broad market" Brit (which is really a gateway Brit, not broad market, that needs to be a game with cards). And miraculously, I've already written a full set of rules. Followed by a full set for Frankia. Maybe I'm finally "off the snide".

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