Monday, November 22, 2010


OK, gamey folks . . . you want to chip in and help out . . .  check this out . . . and let's hope the link works.


Wood or Cardboard

We have come to an interesting point in game components:  they pieces we move around can be either wood blocks or cardboard units. (There are some other possibilities, but they are rather rare.)

Wood blocks provide a 3-D sense of physicality. However, they are usually bland, even when colored.  Some games do allow you to paste information onto them, a process i find tedious and, in game design terms, medieval.

Cardboard has none of the physicality, but - and especially with the graphics of the day - they do often present some rather marvelous pictures/icons.  They also allow the units to have a fairly large number of ratings.

Which do you prefer, and why?


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Football as Life

I like football; I don't love it, but I enjoy watching it. It is colorful, operatic, even balletic.Whatit also is is the most self-satisfied sport one can stumble across. Never mind the volcanically over-heated commentary that accompanies the most trivial event in the game, it's the philosophy that  playing football is, if not the best, the only way to learn about Life.

That's the type of comment that makes you want to underscore deeper insight into what happens to all these brains after getting whacked so many times.  Yes, football - like almost every team game - teaches you that working together is very helpful. And that hard work usually leads to success (but not always; guys on teams with 1-11 records work hard too, and where did all that whomping get them?)

What it also trains you is to follow direction and leadership explicitly, usually without question. And, of course, that violence is the road to salvation. The former is almost anti-American (then again, these days what exactly IS American is not quite clear), while the latter is so American that it almost defines us as a people.

In some parts of our country, the weekly game is the only thing that lifts a dreary life to a higher level.  That's A Good Thing. But what it is not is a life-deepening philosophy.


Saturday, November 20, 2010


I accidently made this a comment rather than a Post, so I repeat it as the latter:

A matter that I pay much attention to in game design is what players often call Luck. Many - if not most - players treat Luck as A BadThing. Given that most of my games are historical "simulations", I view Luck as what it truly rewpresents; Chaos; the fact that you cannot predict everything that will happen, and, in any event or undertaking, things happen that are out of your control that often have major effect on what you are doing.

In addition, viewing dierolls as Luck is somewhat misinformed, as d=the range of numbers in any diceroll usually rewpfresent the range of possible outcomes in any confrontation (with a variety of "targets").

But there is actual "luck" in some mechanics, such as games that use cards randomly dealt out. The cards you do get are, in that sense, a matter of luck (although, in my mind as designer, it not only represents the randomness of Life, but also makes every game different . . . in that you do not deal with the same factors each time you play.)

Balancing all of this ideas is what makes game design a challenge . . .and fun.

However, it is often difficult to gauge how much "Chaos" and Randomness players like . . .and will accept.

Some gamers dislike ANY element of luck; if you want to get psychological, you might consider them Control Freaks. To look at it positively, these eople view gaming as a pleasant way of avoiding the inefficiency of Reality. 

I am interested to read/hear what some of you think about all of this . . .especially if you have examples of games/game mechanics that you feel go too far . .. 



Friday, November 19, 2010

TV Spokespeople

I was lugging my day away the other day, letting the TV dull my synapses, when I started paying attention to the spokespeople ads use to pitch their product. Now the geico gekko is fun, and most of us love Max the Pig, but some spokies are so annoying you wonder why they were chosen. Take the jerk pitching, I think it is. Nationwide Insurance.  I wouldn't buy water in the desert from that public putz. Is it me, or do you think its purposeful?

The insurance ads certainly run the gamut of intelligence . . . from those great animals Travelers uses all the way over the intelligent equator to the folks who sell cheapo car insurance.

And whatever happened to that guy who sold that sham-wow stuff?

Who are your favorites (and otherwise)?

Or do you think this is simply a non-issue and you want to talk about what a slug Joe Miller is . . .



Well, started my own blog . . . in it I hope to do two things:

1.  Talk about games . . . maybe my games, but certainly others.

2.  Discuss - politely, civilly, but opinonatedly, issues of the day.  I find Life fascinating, and discussing it is  part of The Fun.

I;m new to this, so I'll/well learn as we go along . . . my typing is often haphazard, but i do feel that language is one of the great arts. Use it as such . . .