Articles by Lewis Pulsipher

68 results - showing 21 - 30
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Member Blogs L lewpuls Updated January 28, 2015 3684   0
In the very oldest traditional board and card games, dice are rarely used.  (Backgammon and Parcheesi are the most notable exceptions.)  Most of those boardgames have perfect information and the only uncertainty comes from the intentions of the other player, except where dice are used.  There are always just two players.  Think of checkers, go, chess, tic-tac-toe, Nine Men's Morris, mancala, and so forth.  Dice were used primarily for dice games.  Cards were not really invented for game purposes ion the West until post-Medieval times, and cards provide so much uncertainty on their own by hiding information...
Member Blogs L lewpuls Updated September 24, 2016 3914   0
In many “natural” games, such as sports, and in many traditional board and card games, every participant begins with an equal position and prospects to every other. This is symmetry. We can look at game design as devising interesting ways to break up symmetry, to introduce asymmetry. Some of these are achieved through player choice, some through randomness, some through uncertainty, and some through choice or caveat of the designer. Asymmetric assets The most obvious way to break up symmetry is to be asymmetric from the start. Give each player different assets, or a...
Member Blogs L lewpuls Updated January 28, 2015 3231   0
Two military/political aspects of the ancient world hold a fascination for me, because I've not found or seen a really satisfactory way to represent them in games.  These are the problems of "the bump" and of tribute. The Bump The first of these is what I call "the bump" or the push.  This is the way that horse barbarians migrating out of Central Asia pushed other barbarians before them.  Sometimes the pushing continued until ultimately some of them crossed over the borders of the civilized world.  For example, the Huns pushed the Goths into the Roman Empire in...
Member Blogs L lewpuls Updated January 28, 2015 2516   0
This is a discussion of how some games include a cycle of converting resources through some means of production such as factories or agricultural facilities into assets that are usable to help succeed in the game.  These assets are often physical things but can be capabilities or even victory points themselves. In a recent blog post I talked about to kinds of economies in wargames that have economies, “maintenance” economies and “accumulation” economies.  This led to a more general discussion about economic production in games, and I was pointed to a BoardGameGeek post about “means of production” (http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/822865/the-means-of-production-and-how-games-innovate...
Member Blogs L lewpuls Updated January 28, 2015 3524   0
This post was precipitated by a question from a reader regarding how often or how persistent he should be in trying to get an email response from a publisher, after initial contact. What it has become is an attempt to describe, up to the point of my limited knowledge, what tabletop hobby game publishers are like and how they work.  I don’t know all the publishers, of course, and in particular I’ve never had any contact with German publishers.  Yet I think I can tell new game designers some things that might help them understand how the industry...
Member Blogs L lewpuls Updated January 28, 2015 3259   0
“War” games are fundamentally different from “battle” games, although most people would call both wargames.  In the former there’s an economy and the war is essentially about controlling a better economy that ultimately gives you the preponderance of force.  The focus tends to be strategic rather than tactical with maneuver contributing to gaining or keeping control of economic locations. In a battle game you have an order of appearance that rarely changes, and no economy.  Then the focus tends to become tactical, finding better ways to butcher the enemy before they butcher you.  There may be objectives that...
Member Blogs L lewpuls Updated September 20, 2016 3334   0
At the NC State Tabletop Game Club I attend five people were playing my prototype “The Rise and Fall of Assyria”.  Someone came by and asked if the game was like Britannia.  I answered no, because this game is much more fluid, is designed for 3 to 5 players, has less randomness in the combat though still using dice, has simpler scoring, and involves the rise and decline of empires rather than ones that can in some cases play through the entire game (as with the Welsh and Picts in Britannia).
Member Blogs L lewpuls Updated January 28, 2015 2800   0
Atlas of World Military History: the art of war from ancient times to the present day.  By Richard Brooks and others.  Hardcover, 256 pages, large (“coffee-table”) format .  Originally published by HarperCollins in England in 2000, this edition by Barnes & Noble in the same year. Although this book is out-of-print I was able to get a pristine “used” copy very inexpensively through a used bookseller on Amazon.  This is a typical contemporary large-format “Atlas” insofar as there are maps on almost every page but also a very extensive commentary and narrative.  (Old-style atlases were just maps.) ...
Member Blogs L lewpuls Updated January 28, 2015 2600   0
As you may know, the Fantasy Flight version of Britannia has sold out its second printing and all rights have reverted to me. The plan for the new editions of Britannia - don't forget that plans don't always work out - is that there are several versions.  The standard version that has been available in the past will be changed more than I anticipated when I started out two months ago, primarily to make it work better as a way of teaching/understanding British history - to make it closer to reality, if you will.  In the process the...
Member Blogs L lewpuls Updated January 28, 2015 3217   0
At GenCon I attended several seminars about game publishing and game distribution.  I’m not intending to self publish games, though I will self-publish some books, but I am interested in distribution in connection with selecting a publisher for the new edition of Britannia.  A designer negotiating contracts needs to know how games are sold.  So I’m not an expert about this compared with an experienced publisher.  But I think I can tell you enough to make this interesting.  I knew most of this before I went to GenCon but still we can call it “what I learned about...
68 results - showing 21 - 30
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