// archives

Archive for May, 2014


Divebombers, Mr. Rico! Zillions of ’em!

If you love games, you owe yourself a read of Playing at the World, a wonderful history of tabletop gaming by Jon Peterson and published in 2011 by Jon’s own imprint, Unreason Press.  It investigates the beginnings of the hobby we know as role-playing games, and in the process uncovers a lot of stuff I […]


The Western Desert lives and breathes

When I was young, I’d read about “playtest sessions” at the major boardgame publishers, like SPI and Avalon Hill. I wished I could participate just once in what seemed like a crazy fantasy. I could just imagine what it was like: a luxurious conference room, with plenty of leather recliners, multiple televisions tuned to the […]


The real message of Starship Week

We got to the end of Starship Week but still had a day left, which I’ll chalk up to the weird time disconnect that happens during faster-than-light travel. Kind of like when you travel through space for six millenia and when you get back you find out they’re still not out of Final Fantasy sequels. […]


Mapping the extremes

I was walking around in a local bookstore a while back. The kind that has a cat, and you pet the cat, and then browse for books, and then you think that there isn’t anything interesting here but you can always go back and pet the cat again. Except on the way back to the […]


The Year of Kampfgruppe Scherer

Everyone remembers years for different reasons. For gamers, there is usually a game attached. I know 1990 was the year I graduated from college, but it was most definitely also The Year of Civilization. I’m not quite sure what happened in 1994, but I sure can tell you it was The Year of X-COM. For me […]


Break down, go ahead and give it to me

I’m not quite sure exactly what it is about wargames that befuddles people. Something about NATO symbology* which translates armored units into rectangles with ovals in them. Or hexagons. I know some people don’t like hexagons. Although Neuroshima Hex has those as well, and it does all right. I think the biggest obstacle to playing […]


Starships as platforms

I was talking with a colleague about spaceship games, and told him I was particularly interested in games where you had to do things aboard a starship. He came up with a nice list for me that I’ve added at the end of this post. All of these involve being aboard a starship in some […]


In search of old New Worlds

Do you remember sitting in school, wishing your history class would be over so that you could run home and play Seven Cities of Gold and create your own history where you were a European explorer searching for riches and renown on an unexplored continent? If so, keep it to yourself, because that’s seriously creepy. […]


Glue-sticking it to the Man

Technology has a way of fixing problems. In gaming, it created distribution models that freed many designers from the restrictive grasp of publishers (direct download), produced handheld devices that gave simple mechanics a chance to shine (iPad), and connected consumers with creators in a way that removed restrictions on capital flow (Kickstarter). But in boardgaming, […]


“Convoy is to scatter”*

At 11.52 a.m. on 20 September, Rolf Hilse, on board U-48, received a coded message from Günther Prien in U-47. He had spotted a large eastbound convoy heading to Britain, and since U-48 had the latest most advanced radio equipment, he asked her to report this news to Dönitz at his command post in Lorient. […]