Open Adventure 1.1 has shipped. There are a lot more changes under the hood than are readily apparent. In fact there have been no changes in gameplay at all, and only minor changes to the UI (reversible with the -o oldstyle switch). We (Jason Ninneman, Per Vorpaev, Aaron Traas, Peje Nilsson and I) could have… Continue reading Open Adventure 1.1, and some thoughts on software preservation
Yes, to a certain segment of the population I suppose I define myself as a relic of ancient times when I insist that one can write good and absorbing computer games that don’t have a GUI – that throw down old-school in a terminal emulator. Today I’m shipping a new release of the game greed… Continue reading An apologia for terminal games
I just got back from the 2014 World Boardgaming Championships in Lancaster, PA. This event is the “brain” half of the split vacation my wife Cathy and I generally take every year, the “brawn” half being summer weapons camp. WBC is a solid week of tournament tracks in strategy and war games of all kinds,… Continue reading WBC 2014 after-action report
The last couple of weeks have been my vacation, and full of incident.This explains the absence of blogging. First, World Boardgaming Championships. I did respectably, making quarter- and semi-finals in a couple of events, but failed in my goal to make the Power Grid finals again this year and place higher than fifth. I did… Continue reading Summer vacation 2013
I’m a big fan of the game genre called “4X” – “explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate.”. I’ve been playing these ever since the ur-progenitor of the genre in the 1980s, Empire, and I actually still maintain an open-source C version of that game. Civilization is my favorite computer game ever, and by what I hear… Continue reading Eclipse: raising the bar for the 4X game
Friedmann Friese’s Power Grid is one of the acknowledged classics of the modern Eurogame genre. It embroils 2 to 6 players in a simulation of running power companies, competing to light up the most cities. Strategy involves a mix of positional play, resource management, and (most entertainingly) competition for new plants in an auction every… Continue reading Power Grid: The Robots – a review
From the gaming front, I report one nice surprise and a couple of disappointments. My interest in that old standby Puerto Rico was rekindled by the World Boardgaming Championships tournament a few weeks ago, in which I made quarter-finals only to wash out in a game with a mere 4-point spread. Friday night at our… Continue reading Vanished Planet, Innovation, and the luck-swamping problem
I’m just back from another session with the Friday night gaming crew, occupied this time with a new game called Alien Frontiers. Summary: It’s Yahtzee — in — spaaace!.
Two important qualities in a good boardgame are an interesting theme and good mechanics. Theme is the narrative of the game – what it’s supposed to be about. Mechanics is the game considered as a pure logic puzzle – what goes in there, what comes out here. A subtle but common failure in game design… Continue reading Z-Man games is on a roll: two boardgame reviews
Twilight Imperium is advertised as “an epic boardgame of galactic conquest, politics, and trade”. The advertising doesn’t lie – the games in progress I’ve occasionally tripped over at SF conventions were sprawling affairs with huge fleets of starship models swirling about on a tile map representing the explored galaxy of a far future. Designed for… Continue reading A first game of Twilight Imperium
I’ve done a lot of writing for the game Battle For Wesnoth. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned, and now teach others, is this: genre cliches are your friend. Too much originality can badly disrupt the gameplay experience. This is so at variance with our expectations about ‘good’ art that I think it… Continue reading The Uses of Cliche
One of the experiences that made me swear off proprietary software was doing some designing of a fantasy-world map with a proprietary program I have long forgotten; this would have been in the late 1980s or early 1990s. Of course the program became obsolescent and nothing else could read the map….I recently stumbled across a… Continue reading Krythar: a world that almost was
I taught my wife Cathy how to play Conflict of Heroes this evening, and learned something of which all men (or at least all men who are wargamers) should beware.
I’m what people in the strategy-gaming hobby call a grognard. The word is literally French for “grumbler”, historically used for Napoleonist diehards who never reconciled themselves to the fall of L’Empereur even after 1815, and nowadays refers to guys who cut their teeth on the classic, old-school hex-grid wargames of the 1970s. As a grognard,… Continue reading The Golden Age of Wargaming is Now
Some months ago I wrote about the death of the hex-wargame hobby and the subsequent evolution of the Eurogame. In that posting, I expressed the hope that the popularity of Commands and Colors: Ancients and Memoir ’44 might herald a revival of the hex wargame.
Several of my regular commenters have expressed interest in Battle For Wesnoth and my role in it. I’ll give a narrative summary of my role in the project, expanding on a comment I uttered a while back.
I enjoy strategy games. I’ve been playing them since the heyday of the elaborate hundreds-of-tiny-counters hex-map historical-simulation wargames in the 1970s and early 1980s. But those games don’t get played much any more, largely because they took so long to set up and learn; after 1985 or so younger gamers moved to computer simulations instead,… Continue reading The Eurogame Phenomenon