Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Most of the forums and listservs I check have gone very quiet beginning early December. It's remarkable how much the season and end of year affect people.

At Rick Steeves' last Friday I played "Pitch Car", an audacious French game that is "caroms on a wooden racetrack", more or less. You flick a wooden disk around a race track (the track cna be set up many ways) in competition with others. Everyone walks around the table trying to get the angle to get ahead when he shoots. There are railings on the curves (Rick doesn't use the railings for the straights) to help keep your "racecar" on the track and going around the curves. (And if you don't get the reference to "caroms", most people under 40 seem to have never heard of it.)

The set is quite expensive, as the wooden track is very substantial and well-made. I won all three races I was in, so naturally I liked it!

I watched a game of Citadels, a clever card game. It probably has a slightly stronger connection to reality than most "Euro" games, but the result is the same--you admire the cleverness of the mechanics rather than the cleverness of the depiction of reality (which is what you get in historical games).

Another game of Seas of Gold was played as well. The near-simultaneous rules worked well, the economic tweaks worked well, the game is nearly finished (but I've said that before).

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

While Brit 2 is being sold in Finland and Germany, I'm told by FantasyFlight that there is a problem with the plastic trays produced for the game, and it will not be issued from FFG until this is rectified, at the end of January 2006.

I am having a good time with the "one hour wargame", which is working out pretty well as a new "system" related to Seas of Gold (TM) but still rather different from it.

My first taks next Tuesday (start of Christmas break) is to play Caledonia(TM) and try to sort it out.

Monday, December 12, 2005

I hear of one person who has bought Britannia Second Edition in . . . Finland! It is also supposed to be in stock at German retailers.

Having had time to think about it, I suppose that the reason the game is first available in Finland and Germany is that it was shipped from East Asia, past India into the Red Sea, then the Med and perhaps Black Sea, to be trucked through eastern Europe (hence France and UK should have it in a few days).

Berlin to Hong Kong as the crow flies is 5,512 miles. (Helsinki is 4934, but again that's straight, not by sea then land.) Hong Kong to Minneapolis is 7,508 miles, but there are fewer corners to turn. So how long will the extra miles take? Dunno. Then it has to go from
Minneapolis to distributors to retailers in this country, another long trip.

At least many people will be able to have it for Christmas, if they wish.

I've played the "one hour wargame" (Eurowargame) three times and am pretty pleased so far. You don't have to be warlike to do well, but it probably helps.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The listservs and design boards seem to go dead at this time of year.

I have finally played the "one hour wargame", four players, worked pretty well but needs the Event Cards (which I didn't use). In some ways the game resembles a very-much-modernized version of Diplomacy, in other ways not (obviously, if it's intended to last just an hour). The diplomatic system may be too rigid, that is, once a war starts, it may tend to lock in. Scoring systme works well, but I've revised the Progress/Culture/Well-being to require supplies.

Anyway, I'm ready for another go with the revisions, but with work things hanging over my head, I don't know when that will be.

This must be the first game I've solo played in a couple months. Hellenia(TM) will be the next game to be soloed, I think. It's always an exciting time, the first play of a new game...

I have been taking some notes about "one hour" with the idea that I'd use them to illustrate the development of a game in a design book. Of course, the "one hour" idea goes back to Germania(TM) and through Seas of Gold(TM), and there are resmblances between SoG and this new one.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

After reading Warriors of the Steppe, I was inspired to complete the Central Asia map.

I seem to be sending a fair number of things to Boardgamedesign, boardgamegeek, and BGDF, connected with the possible game design book. But this kind of thing can always soak up time without much result; I need to write some proposals.

One Caledonia PBEM test has finished. Not much testing otherwise.

Friday, December 02, 2005

I am working toward the elusive "one hour wargame", and Euro/wargame crosses in general. My games tend to be longer than an hour, however (they are usually multiplayer), so I've made a list of techniques to reduce the length of a game. There is not much exposition here, but I thought you might be interested, and might think of additional methods:

Limit to two players

"Time" limit
Actual Time
Turns/hands (is a natural for some historical games)
Expenditure of something (such as a deck of cards)
Play to a certain number of points

Simultaneous action. (reduce the time it takes to do something)
Simultaneous plays (or nearly so)
Real-time (anyone acts anytime)
(The "norm" is turns)

Reduce the number of pieces the player must manipulate/keep track of/plan for
In some race games, each player has only one piece
In most card games players have few "pieces" (the cards)
Traditional games often have few pieces (12 each in checkers, max 5 in Tic-Tac-Toe)

Multiple victory conditions--if you can win more than one way, the victory may come more quickly

Avoid the need to write anything down or calculate anything

Avoid the need for any record-keeping outside of the pieces/board/cards themselves

Resolve any conflict quickly (no interminable dice rolling, for example)(no calculations required)

Limit the time spent managing resources (economy--way to acquire new pieces)--which may mean, have no economy

Information: either make much of the information available so that players won't have to wonder/ponder what's going on, or make almost no information available so the player cannot profitably use information to make an analysis
In many card games, little information is available
The same can be said for many role-playing games

How to reduce "analysis paralysis? Even games with fairly simple rules (chess) can profitably be analyzed for long periods. I'm not sure what you can do about this, nor am I certain that you need to--"analysis paralysis" is practically a personality trait that tends to show up regardless of the game, unless it is dominated by chance.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

I've posted "one page What's important when designing a game" several places, have to put it on my Web site.

Sweep of History Gmaes Magazine issue 1 is available at:

I put a feedback survey address in there, and have had virtually no responses, which I suppose might mean few people are reading the magazine. At this point, *shrug*.

I'm reading "Warriors of the Steppe", for Barbaria(TM), the Central Asia game, maybe others such as Europa(TM).

Thursday, November 24, 2005

I've spent Thanksgiving evening putting together the first issue of Sweep of History Games Magazine. The software has behaved itself (as well as can be expected), and I've got 14,000 words in 38 pages! Thanks to Torben and David it is much larger than I'd hoped. I still have to create the feedback survey and reference that, then (I hope) be done with it.

I've taped together the very long and narrow Hellenia (TM) map. But I don't know when I'll be able to play.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

FFG's Britannia Web site is up, but it is still not orderable. I wrote to the person who is supposed to be in charge of the site a couple weeks ago, but have not had a reply.

Lst Friday I went to Rick Steeves' monthly game night, and managed to have Seas of Gold(TM) (2 players) and Enchanted Labyrinth(TM) (3 players) tried. The "simultaneous" (mostly) method worked well in SoG, but Rick, who is the most experienced player after myself, preferred five rounds of five cards to the shorter four rounds of six. More PT required; I think I'll try reducing the island trade values by one and increase the initial value of trading to the North.

EL worked fine. The problem with that game is marketing, as the idea sounds too much like other things, even though it is in fact unusual.

Otherwise, the Hellenia (TM), Barbaria (TM), and even a Middle Eastern version of Brit have been taking what little time I have.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

I'm not a denizen of Consimworld (I think my games are representations rather than simulations, though some people disagree). It has been recommended to me as a place to publicize Brit 2 and so forth. I've nosed around a few times, and a few weeks ago, noticing that magazines have areas in the forum, I wrote to John Kranz about "Sweep of History" magazine. Haven't got a reply, however, not even a "you're not a real magazine". I had thought about coughing up $18 for the privilege of posting at CSW, but that put me off a bit, and so did the (non) reaction to a "news" item I submitted--one I thought might not be regarded as suficiently worthy, but OTOH I'd think it might warrant the courtesy of a response.

Somehow I'm not impressed so far.

I publicized the Brit survey on Boardgamegeek and immediately got about one third of the total respondents (now at 39) coming in, I assume from that notice. So I posted my "Fundamental Structures of Games" there, and got some useful comments.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The seven (or eight) structural subsystems of any game (video or non-video):

A game can be thought of as a system (as in "systems analysis", for the computationally inclined). What I'm trying to achieve is a list of the fundamental sub-systems that are necessarily a part of any game. This list may help novice designers, because if they think about all seven of these systems as they rough out their game, this will help them conceptualize and arrive at a playable idea.

I want a framework that will help a novice designer think about games. There are other ways to analyze the fundamentals of games, e.g. in terms of states and changing state, but I don't believe that point of view helps new designers much.

This scheme is related to games that are models of something (often, of some reality); I have not tried to include sports, such as football or basketball, in which people participate bodily. The systems should apply to a tabletop sports game, but perhaps not to the sport itself.

If one of these systems is completely missing, you might have a toy or puzzle, but not a game. For example, in Katamari Dimachy (sp?) there are no victory conditions, and you have a toy. Sometimes the system is assumed, but still a decision has been made about the category. For example, in Tic-Tac-Toe there is no acquisition of resources, but it still has an economy of "none"--it could have a way to gain resources, and there may be variations where you do.

I've tried to list these subsystems in an apparently-logical order, but every one is just as necessary as every other one.

Objective/victory conditions. In other words, what causes one player to win, (and what causes the game to end)? Role-playing games have no end, but do have objectives: usually to acquire experience points and (magic) items. The game ending can be arbitrary ("play five rounds", yet there will still be a way to determine the winner at that point.

“Data storage”. (Information Management?) Something has to record the current state of the game. This is often a board/map. In Tic-Tac-Toe, it's the nine-box layout. In card games, the layout of the cards on the table, and the cards themselves, store data. Pieces can store data, in particular the traditional cardboard pieces of wargames that contain movement, attack, and defense values. A detailed map stores LOTS of data.

Sequencing. In what order do things happen? "Simultaneously" can be the answer, but taking turns is the norm in non-video games. Even in video games that appear to be simultaneous, there is usually a hidden non-simultaneous sequence (as that is the nature of most computing).

Movement/Placement. Players generally manipulate something, most often pieces on a board or cards in their hand or on the table. Chess and checkers have movement rules, the Asiatic game Go has placement rules. Movement/placement one at a time is the norm. Even paper-rock-scissors has movement (as well as sequencing) rules.

Information availability. What information about the game available to all players? In traditional boardgames all information is available, but in card games information is largely hidden. Five-card draw poker has a lower level of information availability than Texas Hold 'Em, because in the latter you see some of the cards "held" by the other players.

Conflict resolution/interaction of player-controlled entities. What happens when an action of a player leads to a conflict? This can be as simple as in Tic-Tac-Toe (conflict is not allowed, you can't place your mark where the other player already has one), or it can be simple as in chess (when a conflict occurs, the moving player always wins). In checkers you jump a man in a conflict. In Go you surround stones to capture them.

You can argue that Tic-Tac-Toe has no conflict rules, that movement rules govern where markers can be placed; but in this view a choice has still been made, that there will be no conflict. It is possible to have a game without conflict, such as a race game or many card games. There's no conflict in Solitaire, either.

"Economy" (Resources). How are new pieces/capabilities acquired? Some games have no way to acquire these, but that is still a decision made about the game. Even games that don't appear to have an Economy have some elements, for example, in chess you can promote ("queen") a pawn, and in checkers you can make a king. Many modern games, especially many computer games, are economic/resource management games.

Originally that was the extent of my list. I may want to include an eighth:
Player Interaction rules. What governs how the players interact with one another. For example, in a multi-player game, are negotiations allowed? Physical intimidation? (The answer to that is almost always "No", but it is a decision, and I have seen games that involved physical intimidation...) Some people might include this in Conflict resolution/interaction.

This is an "ongoing" work. Any comments?

Lew Pulsipher

Friday, November 04, 2005

Owing to the results thus far of my poll about Brit subjects, I've started a Roman-Empire game, and I've resurrected my notes about "Diadochi" and turned it more toward Brit.

No playtesting going on locally lately, unfortunately. I've been tied up with domstic things, too. I am not finding time to play any of the new games.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Reading the Oxford Illustrated History of the Vikings, I find myself diverted to the Brit-like version of Viking history. At the same time the Ken Harl lectures on the Vikings have caused me to sketch out another game, about the Rus (Vikings in Russia), not at all Brit-like, more a cross between Germania and Seas of Gold. When I'll get to making a map is another question. I won't have any time this weekend for anything other than the Caledonia PBEM test.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

I've been working on the Franks map some more, while listening to Ken Harl's Viking tapes. Otherwise, I'm doing little bits on lots of different games, unfortunately don't seem to be interested in writing rules.

I've assigned initiative values to the Event Cards in Seas of Gold, so that they can be played "simultaneously", just as the Action Cards.

I looked into "Ed2Go" today to consider doing an online "How to Design Games" course. They are happy to tell you that it will require 120 single-spaced pages, and 10 hours a week, but NOT how much you'll be paid (depending muchly on how many people are in the course, I'm sure).

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Recnetly I've written some of the rules for "Law & Chaos" (tm), and printed bigger maps for "Franks & Vikes". Thanks to a suggestion from Rick Heli that I try a diplomatic game, I've come up with something (for now titled "Furst Bismarck") that shows the diplomatic conflict in the years before World War I, and dug up a map for it. The game ends when war begins, with points determining the winner. Much of it is based on "control of neutrals" rules from old Diplomacy variants I've designed, melded with some kind of Action Card system as in "Seas of Gold" (tm) and so forth.

I've been reading a lot on Consimworld and Boardgamegeek, looking at ways to find playtesters and to publicize Sweep of History Games Magazine and the second edition of Brit.

But I still feel as though I'm not PLAYING anything.

Friday, October 14, 2005

I've been trying to get in touch with designers of Brit-like and "Sweep of history" games in connection with the magazine, a task that Rick Heli has been very helpful in. Haven't had much luck getting playtesters at the college to play these days, though we did get in one game of "Law & Chaos" (or whatever I'm going to call it). I'm not sure how the game will work out in the end, but it certainly is different.

I do feel as though I haven't played anything lately, certainly not solo (but for one game of Law & Chaos). Next week is fall break, maybe something will happen then.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

I've been spending the little free time I have on "Sweep of History" magazine, hearing from Andreas Stedding (Hispania) and Randy Moorehead (Rus). It is always difficult to persuade people to contribute, we'll see what happens.

Otherwise I have only worked on the elecontronic version of the "Franks & Fury" board. Also received today the Teaching Company's tapes on The Vikings by Ken Harl, which shoudl be interesting (and, as I have four Viking games going, should be useful as well).

Monday, October 10, 2005

I have revised Caledonia slightly and am now looking for PBEM playtesters.

Britannia is listed on FFG's Web site for December release, $39.95.

As I'm a Robert Jordan fan, games will take a back seeat to the new Wheel of Time book for a while...

Sunday, October 09, 2005

I'm going to experiment with using this blog for what blogs originally were--Web diaries (web log).

The past few days I've finished the electronic version of the Welsh game map (following a grease-pencil version I worked out), and started on the electronic version for the Frankia block game. Revised Caledonia slightly in light of "Before Scotland" book. Revised several other games slightly.

And yesterday I came up, out of nowhere, with an interesting if abstract game (originally to use glass beads, which are so attractive as pieces) that also uses cards, which I'll call Law & Chaos (or Order & Chaos) for now. I think it must be the first time I started a game and played it the same day. I believe it will accommodate up to four players, only tried it with two.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

I'm not much of a blogger, as I haven't updated this one in months.

I try to come up with a new game about every month. In August it was a Scottish version of Britannia, Caledonia (TM), which I've played five times solo. It feels a lot like Brit, though smaller. I don't seem to have many prospects of getting it playtested FTF hereabouts, so I may try to get a game or two going by e-mail.

In September it was... a Welsh version of Brit. I'm much less advanced on this, don't have an electronic version of the board. I am reading John Davies' History of Wales to get more information. My present dilemma is whether to include "west Wales" (Cornwall and Devon) or not. I do seem to have a good set of sides, if I include west Wales.

This month it is a "block game" version of the Viking attacks on Frankia. But without dice, using the Germania battle card system instead. As with most other games of this type, it is for two players only, not my habit nowadays. Making a map is the next step.

Britannia Second Edition has "gone to the printers". As the printers are in China, AFAIK, it will be at least two months before the games get to the US.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

I was at Origins in Columbus last week. Germania is with an interested publisher (we played a game at the convention). The next step, by his reckoning, is written negotiations. It is still the case that any comments about the clarity of the rules are welcome. The publisher also may want to change some of the names (Granada to Lusitania, for example), and in a game like this that is always a matter of taste, whether you use Roman, Dark Age, or later Middle Ages names. I have revised the rules for clarity (not in substance) since I sent them to several of you.

I talked at length with another publisher about Seas of Gold, which is not quite ready for "blind" playtesting. Nothing going with Gangsters: the small company I'd talked to last year wasn't at the con (not unusual), and I haven't got a peep out of Steve Jackson games. This business is always very slow. Publishers plan issues well ahead--FFG is already booked up through 2006, for example.

The main Fantasy Flight guys were not at Origins. I understand they're about to deal in earnest with Brit 2, which makes the publication date sometime in the late fall. They also have Dragon Rage, a game originally published in 1982, but have not had time to look at it (and I don't know when they will--they're very busy, and hiring new people).

Here are some figures that may interest you about the business side of boardgaming. Print runs are, usually, much less than in days of old. The print run of Britannia in UK was 10,000 in 1986, and I suspect (don't know) twice that in the US, maybe more. Dragon Rage's original print run in 1982 was 10,000. If Brit 2 sees 5,000 this year, that will be exceptionally high for a wargame. Wacht Am Rein, a successful "big" hex wargame, had a print run of 1,500 (and will be reprinted). I've read (don't know) that Columbia does 2,000 of each of their popular "block games". Strategy & Tactics magazine's circulation (with the game) is about 3,200; Against the Odds magazine is 2,500. S&T also does some 7,000 without the game through Barnes and Noble.

In other words, there's not much market for any individual wargame. I suspect that's because there are so many games that the market is diluted, but also because younger people have found other things to do than play board wargames.

Euro-style games can have quite small print runs to start with (but larger than wargames), and are perhaps more likely to be reprinted. One that wins the German Game of the Year award can go to half a MILLION in reprint, however.

Even among collectible card games, there's great dilution. One game collector has more than five hundred CCG in his collection. One of the main halls was devoted to CCG, with the national Yu-Gi-Oh tournament handing out significant prizes (expenses-paid trip to world championship in Tokyo and a DVD-equipped laptop for first and second place; the trip for third and fourth place).

The "cult of the new" was very obvious at Origins. Manufacturers of collectible card and related games (there's one that uses a poker chip format!, as well as all the miniatures versions) employ people to teach convention attendees how to play the latest games in hopes of hooking them "on the spot". The boardgame tournaments are much smaller than at WBC (where the focus is on playing great games), even though the overall attendance is 15 times higher.

BTW, Origins attendance was 11,000 unique individuals after two days, so they expected to go over their record of 15,000. WBC attendance is about a thousand. GenCon claims 50,000, but that's person-days, not unique individuals, so it would appear to be the same size as Origins.

It's been said that Euro games are very pacific because Germans don't like wargames. I'm told, however, that computer wargames sell very well in Germany. So the consumers don't mind wargames. It's the owners of the shops (family game shops) who feel they shouldn't have conflict games on the shelves.
This should have been posted a couple weeks ago...

I used to correspond with Roberto di Meglio (owner of Nexus, co-designer of War of the Rings). But in January he went silent on me, even though we were working on a business proposition. I got so concerned that I finally asked someone who worked with Nexus how Roberto was doing, and was told he's fine. But I still cannot get a word out of him. Very puzzling.

Brit 2 (again), Seas of Gold (tm), and Enchanted Labyrinth: The Card Game (tm) have most occupied my gaming time lately. Along with Stars of Gold (tm), which leaped into being recently. It is somewhat like Seas of Gold(tm), not surprisingly, and similar in that after I played it three times I have a full set of playable rules, most unusual for me, but about the same thing that happened with Seas.

I have been thinking about writing a book about game design. I realized that some of the articles I have written, or that I'm writing now, are excellent material for such a book, and when I checked word counts I found that a reasonably-sized book isn't all that time-consuming (80-90K words is a shortish novel). Now who would publish such a thing is another matter. I would aim for it to be the same size as Game Inventors Guidebook (I may have the title twisted) by Brian Tinsman. I'm working on an outline.

I'll be at Origins and WBC, but none of the other big conventions. More local game meetings are better places for playtesters.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Last June, while on Jersey Island off the coast of France, I set myself the task of designing a card game, just to say I could do it. (I don't play card games, generally.) Gangsters: Taking Care of Business (TM) was one result, and a bird-watching game that I haven't yet developed.

Since the I've come up with a couple more ideas, but nothing beyond that.

Recently I decided to try designing "Britannia: The Card Game" (tm), and found that it worked so well (and came together so quickly) that I went on to design several more based on my boardgames Germania, Enchanted Labyrinth, and Seas of Gold (all tm). It's amazing how quickly the game comes together when you already have much of it designed via the boardgame. Of course, there are more limitations with a card game (and I try to design games that only use cards, nothing else); but limitations can actually help make a design better, not worse, as you concentrate on what's important.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

The end of a not-very-good semester has kept me very busy, but I have had time to play "MegaBrit" twice, and am about to play a new game, "Viking Gold" (tm), which is a Viking version of Seas of Gold, more or less. I seem to be a phase of fascination with the Vikings, and have started designing a Brit-like Viking game, as well, 793-1093 or thereabouts, covering Britain, Ireland, and northern France and Germany (as does Viking Gold).

I did get to have Germania, Gangsters, and Seas of Gold (all (tm)) at Game Day in late April at NCState. I think Seas of Gold is about 95% done, the others 99%.

I have not heard a word from FFG since sending them the Brit 2 rules more than a month ago. They're hiring four new people and are evidently very busy with expansion.

I intend to go to Origins and World Boardgaming Championships this summer.

Monday, April 18, 2005

My Web site and pulsipher.net email have been down since Saturday, when the server failed; I was told it would be restored in 4-6 hours. My host (Lunarpages) voice support says the server is back up but for some MySQL problems, but that they won't talk with people who used the server I'm on because all they can do is write trouble tickets. I finally got logged in sufficiently to see that my site seems to be lost (not restored). Quite frustrating.

Last weekend I played a game of Megabrit from beginning to end. It seems to work fairly well, when playing as independent nations. I'm not sure how well it will work with four (or five) sides, as there are so many nations on the board at once, and many are not very large or robust but can score a lot of points.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

I've recevied the signed contract from FFG and will be sending the game Monday or Tuesday.

I have been playing with Mega-Brit lately, and may play teh game soon. Another game brought out of fallow-land is The Two World Wars (tm).

On EN World people have been talking about their favorite articles from Dragons long ago, and four of mine have been cited. I may have to post some on my site.

I posted Why has the Gaming Hobby Changed? on my Web site in January. This article has generated a strong response. I received several e-mails from people I don't know telling me how accurate it seemed to be. And some bloggers vituperatively trashed it, though they did not have the courtesy to let me know they were doing so--I have just stumbled onto some of this. Where I come from, if you want to arrive at the truth, you discuss something with the source of your disagreement; shooting your mouth off where the target won't even know about it is a form of cowardice.

They must not have read "Are Video Games Turning Us into a Nation of Losers". Then they'd really hit the ceiling!

Saturday, April 02, 2005

I have the signed contract from FFG for Brit II, and will be sending the rules off any day now.

I've been spending more time on "Mega-Brit" than I should, and may even play a game fairly soon. Anotehr game to be pulled out of the "fallow" pile recently is The Two World Wars. I've also found a way to put a flagstone background on the Enchanted Labyrinth map, very neat. Thank you CorelDraw.

I stumbled across some blog comments on Why has the Gaming Hobby Changed? , which is posted on my web site. This article has generated a strong response. I received several e-mails telling me how accurate it seemed to be. On the other hand, the bloggers vituperatively trashed it, though they did not have the courtesy to let me know they were doing so. Where I come from, if you want to arrive at the truth, you discuss something with the source of your disagreement; shooting your mouth off where the target won't even know about it is a form of cowardice. I have learned that the contents of blogs varies greatly in quality, so I'm not purusing the matter. The article will be revised, and then I'll submit it to a magazine.

I don't think the bloggers read Are Video Games Turning Us Into a Nation of Losers. They'd really hit the ceiling . . .


Thursday, March 24, 2005

FFG has announced via press release (which I haven't seen) and at GAMA that they're publishing Britannia Second Edition. I'm *still* tweaking rules, but I should think any day now I'll get word to send it in.

I have just sent out Germania for blind playtesting. Enchanted Labyrinth will be next.

I was gearing up to do a "Sweep of History" e-zine, but the original volunteer editor-publisher has reappeared. Now that my graduate class has finished, I may have time to write some things for it.

My next submission task is to find a publisher for reprinting Dragon Rage.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Not going to PrezCon was a good decision, because we playtested a 3-player version of Brit II, and because I got a streaming cold.

I should get the signed contracts back for Brit II next week.

On the way home from the NC Computer Instructor's Association meeting in Lenoir (where I gave a talk about teaching game design and programming), I had more ideas for the European colonization version of Seas of Gold (tm).

I am almost "out from under" the burden of the graduate class I teach: I still need to grade the finals and research papers. Then I'll have a bit more time for games.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

I am so busy, and need to work directly on Brit II, that I've decided not to go to PrezCon next weekend (which also saves quite a bit of money). I could not have made it until late Friday because of classes, and as the tournament will be old Brit, it would be of limited use to me.

I need to use people closer to home (Triangle, Chapel Hill) for playtesting on a more regular basis.

I've found that my Web traffic went up greatly in January, evidently owing to a link to my article about changes in gaming; it's gone back down some in February.

One of my old (but revised) articles has appeared in The Games Journal for Feb.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

We are working on the contract for Brit Second edition now. And I am still working on the revisions to the game, though I am at the point that my main worry is play balance.

I have not actually played many games this yar, nor devised new ones. Between Brit, school, and less than 100% health, I sometimes feel that I'm not getting very far.

My Web stats show over 500 hits per day, average, on my Web site now, and I find that hard to believe unless many of the hits are "bots" of one sort or another.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Having been somewhat under the weather for the past week, I haven't been making great progress. I did get a new historical atlas that is helping with History of Central Asia. Also today, for some reason, I dug out "Currents of Space", an old chess-like game that was one of my "favorite four" 25 years ago (Britannia, Crashing Suns, and Enchanted Labyrinth were the others). I should say it is chess-like but bears absolutely no resemblance to chess in its mechanics. I sent a copy off to my nephew, who is an excellent playtester, and I'll getit to the playtest listserv in a while.

Britannia II is where I need to spend time, but haven't been getting there.


Sunday, January 30, 2005

Although I was suffering from a stomach virus--I seem to be sick when I attend winter gamefests--I went to NC Game Day VI at NC State's Central Campus this Saturday. The turnout was low, I was told, undoubtedly in part because of threatening weather (mention ice on the roads and southerners freeze up), in part because there was no announcement in the Raleigh paper. I'd suppose there were about 50 people, mostly playing RPGs, some Euro boardgames, one Heroclix game, no wargames. I did get a lead to triangle_strat_gaming on Yahoo Groups, and gave a few people my card; if not for an early ending (when the organizers packed up, I decided I'd better head home) I might have gotten in a game of Gangsters or Germania.

Latest projects (aside from two player training versions of Brit): Brit-like History of Central Asia (tm), which could have a lot of different titles, and some notes about a Diplomacy variant version of Lord of the Rings.

Lew Pulsipher