Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Back to the Hermitage

One can understand the pent-up feelings that may result from decades of repression and people who’ve had members of their family killed by that regime, for them to be taking their feelings out on that regime.”

Donald Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense, April 12, 2003

I think it’s time for me to retreat once again to the Hermitage on the Edge of Oblivion.

It’s not for lack of material for Hobby Games Recce. Goodness knows I have pages of notes, bits of ideas, and a few paragraphs for numerous blog posts about various aspects of the adventure gaming hobby.

I am no doubt feeling the effects of the pandemic, of three months trying to stay safe and healthy, with my wife working from home and my son finishing the last semester of “school” at an amazingly minimal level. My parental duties require feeding the 10 year-old at irregular yet frequent intervals and entertaining him in lieu of other activities now eliminated by the pandemic. My overwhelming sense of spousal guilt has me working more on the seemingly infinite household and yard projects. I’ve not had much time or focus for myself or my gaming/writing endeavors; that level of non-fulfillment and dissatisfaction has drained much of my inspiration and energy.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Missing Out on A World in A Box

I’ll admit I’ve never really immersed myself in pre-made fantasy world settings, particularly those that emerged in the late 1980s and 1990s and grew exponentially from core boxed set concepts to entire continents of supplements and “splatbooks.” A few exceptions exist, but they come from my earliest days exploring the adventure gaming hobby and those years after college when I had money to pursue other games with engaging settings tied to specific, non-fantasy game systems. I think my perspective results from a confluence of circumstances: the content and marketing of these worlds with my inability to immerse myself in roleplaying games at the time they were released.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Playing to “Win” the Covid-19 Game

I don’t usually indulge in politics or other sensitive, real-life subjects here at Hobby Games Recce. If I do, it’s in some way related to games. So I’d like to propose that the current pandemic situation has some parallels to gaming; specifically how we play games, strategies we use to succeed, and what happens when we win or lose. So bear with me if you will or simply come back next time for a less-politically tinged feature. And if you’re the kind of person who takes offense at my sentiments on these subjects, well, sic transit mundus.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

WEG Memoirs: “Mos Eisley Shoot-Out”

Recently the online classic game store Wayne’s Books posted the “Mos Eisley Shoot-Out” pamphlet under its home page’s “New Arrivals” banner. I always enjoy seeing West End Games material on the site. Nothing tells me more about how the gaming public views a title as the price listed at Wayne’s Books. It’s always nice to know people still appreciate the work we did long ago. Collector’s prices reflect a game book’s physical condition as well as the product quality and the demand among aficionados (and I’m sure a number of other considerations of which I’m unaware). I was somewhat surprised, then, that the 11x17-inch, double-sided, full-color folded brochure mini-game West End published and gave away for free in 1997 was listed at $25.99.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Game Activity during the Pandemic

For two months the covid-19 pandemic has altered how we live our lives, including our gaming habits. Most world governments imposed limitations on their population (followed more stringently in some places than others). In less than two months more Americans have died than in all the years of fighting in Vietnam. Depending on how soon scientists can develop more effective testing and tracking, vaccines, and treatments/cures, we may never really return to a semblance of “normal” we experienced before. In the face of this deadly pandemic most everyone’s trying to adapt to the new situation: businesses, conventions, individual gamers. No doubt we’ll continue adjusting as conditions change for better or worse. We just have to sit back and see how our efforts affect the pandemic...and until then, we can distract ourselves and find some respite from this grim reality through our modified adventure gaming hobby activities.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Cooperative Wargames...for Beginners?

I was talking with someone about historically themed wargames a while back and was asked if there were any cooperative wargames in which players worked together to defeat a common adversary. We were also talking about how to introduce the concept of historical wargaming to kids in fourth through eighth grades, their parents, and interested adults. We both knew the core cooperative board games like Forbidden Island and and Pandemic (oddly relevant in today’s situation). Although I know several very good wargames for solitaire play (and adaptable for group cooperative play), I admitted I couldn’t think of any that were both cooperative and suitable for a beginner audience. So I started looking for suitable solo or coop wargames and, barring that, seeking ones I might modify to fit my parameters of something cooperative for a newcomer audience.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Alone in the Infinite Cathedral

I really did mean to set aside work on programmed solitaire roleplaying game adventures after finishing The Asturia Incident. Even during that project I briefly detoured to revise my old Trapped in the Museum solo scenario for the OpenD6 system on the occasion of its twentieth anniversary. After those forays into solo adventure gamebook writing I’d wanted to return to my long-neglected Infinite Cathedral project: a medieval roleplaying game setting bound to no particular game engine. And yet I now find myself tackling the challenge of creating a system-neutral programmed solitaire scenario. At least it’s serving as an introduction to the Infinite Cathedral and will hopefully fuel my enthusiasm for the main project ahead.