Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Estimates & Intentions

I enjoy reading scholarly works about the adventure gaming hobby; they help me take a step back and look at things from different perspectives. My most recent reading in this vein includes Jon Peterson’s The Elusive Shift: How Role-Playing Games Forged Their Identity (2020) and John M. Lillard’s Playing War: Wargaming and U.S. Navy Preparations for World War II (2016). They might seem to cover very different subjects, but, upon reflection, I’ve found some of their core gaming themes quite sound and relatable to my own experiences. Both demonstrate games as interplay between participants assessing the immediate situation and making decisions to change that situation in their favor. I sometimes feel like a simpleton in the shadow of these scholarly analyses of the adventure gaming hobby. Some of their revelations seem so obvious once articulated despite the depth of subsequent discussion and investigation they can inspire. Often I find myself reaching conclusions and then responding to myself with, “Well, duh.” I’d like to think I redeem my naivete in my subsequent reflections on the subjects at hand.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Father-Son Naval Warfare

Among my (admittedly) many gaming diversions from the covid-19 pandemic I’m dabbling in naval warfare again: American Civil War ironclads and World War II South Pacific. Granted I’d previously explored the Battle of the River Plate using both Fletcher Pratt’s rules and Bob Cordery’s Gridded Naval Wargames along with flats from Topside Minis (which I’ve featured here before). I’d also tried Mike Crane’s The Virginia vs. the Monitor – or, Look Out Minnesota! with some home-crafted models (and the Minnesota fold-up piece provided in the rules). Both periods appeal to me, as did Cordery’s rules for their intuitive mechanics that easily accommodate some minor adjustments. I treated myself to some naval miniatures which, now they’re painted, are ready for some wargame tabletop action with my son.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Developing Skirmish Kids

Aside from the occasional roleplaying game material – inevitably requiring a great deal of time and effort to develop and publish – the rest of my publishing endeavors these past few years have focused on miniature wargames suitable for introducing newcomers to gaming and draw kids into the adventure gaming hobby. Having recently completed a rare freelancing assignment for a roleplaying game adventure collection, I’m reviewing several project ideas vying for my attention, each of which engages my enthusiasm to varying degrees. I’ve decided to advance one of my projects to the next step. Once again I’ve indulged my interest in games for youngsters and spent some time developing Skirmish Kids. It started out as a quick game to include with some miniatures for my son, then something a bit more involved with an intent to publish. After some playtesting on our own and a good deal of writing and self-editing, I have a draft ready for anyone interested to read, playtest, and offer comments.

[Edit 5-25-21: Thanks to reader Russell Phillips, interested playtesters can now download the Skirmish Kids file in both Mobi and Epub formats as well as PDF.]