Sunday, December 19, 2004

Reading: Atlas of the Celtic World, Short History of Byzantium, and the appendices of Lord of the Rings, simultaneously.
Games: Brit second edition, bits on lots of games, and (for a proposal) a Brit-like version of the Third Age of Middle-earth.
But because it is the end of the term, I haven't played games much, nor have we playtested much at schoo.


Friday, November 26, 2004

I'm stricken once again....

by "the disease". That being the disease of designing games. I read about a new game called 7 Ages a couple days ago, then yesterday started to read the Vinci rules (first sentence and a half), and it hit me. It's a cross between Mesopotamia (that being a cross between Germania and Britannia) and, more or less, Risk, Vinci and History of the World. I want historical groups, following their historical characteristics (Nomads don't like forests, e.g.), but not forced to follow the historical course the way Brit encourages them to. And I want it to be fairly simple, and not take TOO long.

At this point I have a board (modified from the small version of Dark Ages, with eastern areas added), a combat system (also borrowed from DA), point systems... I still have some sequencing to figure out, then I'll be ready to try to play.

Of course, it could be a year before it can be playtested outside the local group. We'll see.

I am calling it Europa (TM), for the time being. It covers Europe, North Africa, and Asia to the borders of India and (modern) China.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

It has been too long since I updated the blog.

In early October I created, in record time, a somewhat Euro-like game aimed at lasting an hour, about the Italiam maritime republics. Within three weeks I had a full set of rules written (not my normal process). I actually only played it once solitaire, also not my normal process. Since then I've been tweaking and sometimes making substantical changes to the rules, through several playtests. I've now posted information about it to the Web page. I finally settled on the title Seas of Gold (tm), though for a while I wanted to use an Italian word. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a good one, and the translation of Seas of Gold isn't very exciting.

An offshoot of this game will be "Seas of Promise" (or whatever I decide to call it) about European discovery/exploitation worldwide.


I've been pursuing correspondence with old buddies like Alan Paull, and have "activated" my playtesting yahoo group for Britannia II.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

I have been working on Brit II with the Eurobrit guys, but not very fast as my classes take most of my time.

Still having "the disease", I've come up with a new Brit-like game, same time period, 20 areas, 9 turns, no dice. I playtested it with other people for the first time last night, looks like it might work out.

And then I worked up another one, Italian city states 1000-1300. The original intent was a simple almost-boardgame that would last an hour, I think I may have it beyond that right now.


Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Origins was very interesting, both for the seminars and the exhibitions, as well as for the opportunity to talk with some people. It appears fairly likely that Britannia and perhaps Dragon Rage will be republished.

A card game I designed during vacation in Europe has come together very quickly, and I intend to ask people to play it at PowWow in Charlottesville later this week.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

While I was in Europe visiting relatives, my nephew and niece aged 15 and 12 played the two games I took along (Princes (TM) and Germania (TM). Katie, not a game player ordinarily, understood the tactical but not so much the strategic aspects of Princes. Nonethless, when I was otherwise occupied she taught her 11 year old cousin to play, and they appeared to be playing correctly when Beatrice "got bored" (meaning she was losing and didn't like it, in this case). Simon's cousin also played Germania, and tried Princes once. It was interesting to see that younger folks can cope with the games.

I also "designed" a couple cards-only games there, one about gangsters, one about bird-watching (my wife is a birdwatcher). We'll see if they amount to anything.

Am now preparing for Origins.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

We continue to play some of my old unpublished games in our weekly sessions; I haven't played anything solo for several weeks, largely owing to the end of term rush.

I've located my game magazine archives (the articles I've been posting to web and yahoo groups were from carbon copies of original submissions). Latest notion is to turn "Bar Room Brawl" into a boardgame, keeping in mind that I once (at Ian Livingstone's suggestion) designed a game called "Troll Tavern" for Games Workshop, but they lost interest (it wasn't one of my best games).

I have not touched Dark Ages (tm) in over half a year. Sigh.

Monday, April 19, 2004

The past week or so I've been "reviving" some old games, playtesting with friends, and also sending some old articles I'd had published 20-some years ago to Usenet and Yahoo Groups (boardgamedesign and wargamecreators). I am still trying to get a better idea of what is going on in the hobby.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

I recently posted "Fog of War" and "Game Playing Styles" on my site, and on two Yahoo groups and I also finished the computer map for Star Frontiers, one of my "small" games designed long ago. I've been editing the scanned versions of some old game rules, as well.

Monday, March 29, 2004

One of the lads herabouts is a fan of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, which I had never heard of. It is a novel, more or less, and also a series of Playstation games. Oddly enough, I recently discovered a game I designed in 1980, and set aside after playing it about four times, that depicts the chaos in China following the fall of a dynasty (part of the cyclical nature of Chinese history). I have revived it, so to speak, figuring out as much as I could from the handwritten notes that were very far from an actual set of rules, then changing according to my current ideas. The verdict is still out: I have only played it twice, and modified it a lot each time.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

We continue to playtest Germania with local players, with some changes. I also played Mesopotamia solo for the third time, adding some historical features.

The Website has been down for a few days while it is moved to a different site. (The DNS switch is a considerable part of the delay).

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Playtesting of Germania (tm) by local players continues. I've played Mesopotamia (tm) a third time, solo, adding more historical features. I have lots of ideas stimulated by my time at PrezCon, but no time to do more than make notes.

I will be teaching an "Introduction to Gaming" class at Central Carolina Community College in the fall. This is the first class in a "Game Programming and Design" certificate.

I have been abandoned by my web hoster, so to speak; site will be back up Monday or Tuesday with a different hoster.

Sunday, February 29, 2004

I spent Friday evening and Saturday through the afternoon at Prezcon in Charlottesville, VA this weekend. It seemed a very well-run gathering of a few hundred people, the majority of them certainly over 30 if not over 40. I think I'll have a report on

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Game design is a disease... I usually have a strong urge to play whatever the latest idea happens to be. So after having trouble with the maps of the World Wars game, I've found myself playing a cross between Germania (TM) and Britannia, tentatively called (sigh) Mesopotamia (TM). After two games it is still quite malleable, but appears to work pretty well. I was worriied that when one player in a five player game built up a huge lead, but that one (shockingly) fell to second just at the end. In the game each player controls just one nation at a time, but will control several over the course of the game, if the player chooses. He must give up his current position if he wants to adopt the position of an invading nation. The game uses Germania's combat, and some of its movement, and much of its "economy", but some movement is from Brit, and the more definite "historical" invasions of a Brit-style game. And points are counted and accumulated each turn, as in Brit rather than in Germania. Also, the game runs a set number of turns (which may be too many now, though each turn is a century). With that title you can figure that the game covers near-eastern history, 2600 BC to 500BC, Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Armenia, and Egypt.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

While working on Germania and on boards for other games, I've continued to have new ideas. Reading a lot about Axis and Allies (I have the first edition, and played the computer version a lot some years ago) has led to an idea for a Two World Wars (tm) game, using some methods from Germania (tm), for example combat, some from Diplomacy perhaps, to try to achieve a two-hour game with many fewer units than A&A, and with a WW I multi-player version. I have a map now (thanks to Arc GIS wielded by my wife), but haven't played.

I've also (just today) started to flesh out "Germania meets Britannia" in the ancient near east. We'll see. LEP

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Sue and I finished a five-player Germania(tm) playtest, minor changes. If I'm lucky I'll be playtesting with other folks Monday and Tuesday.

I finished the CorelDraw files for the smaller version of the Dark Ages(tm) game. I've not had any luck in finding a way for a browser or Acrobat to print the map full size; CorelDraw can do it, but how many people have CorelDraw?

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Peter Riedlberger (Germany) sent me the URL for an interesting essay on the faults of Risk-like games:
Peter is a big fan of Britannia, so how could he be wrong?

I have pointed to the same site as Pulsipher.Net, for the time being.

I found a source for History of the World army pieces (SVGames, online), so that I can use them for playtesting Germania(tm) at conventions.

I intend to be at PrezCon in Charlottesville on the last weekend of February. I will not be playing in any tournaments, of course (I never have, at conventions). I expect to have Germania(tm) prototypes, and perhaps something else.

Friday, January 09, 2004

This week precedes the start of classes, and my in-laws are still here, so I've not been able to work on games other than the computer version of the Dark Ages (tm) board.

Saturday, January 03, 2004

Coreldraw (which I'm using to trace/draw maps) threw me a curve: I have a shoreline that goes around much of Europe, and it won't print, though all the other lines do. So I decided to break it into smaller lines, but I get the error message that it's too large to break (over 64K). I guess I'll have to copy it and then erase parts of it, to come up with a set up lines that might individually be small enough to print.

I've played the third test of "Fighting Suns" (tm); I'm using a Risk-like setup instead of starting each player from one "home planet", and this seems to work much better.