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“Is this game like Britannia?”

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).

But later I thought that compared with the other games that were being played in the room – we had over 50 people that day – the game is much like Britannia. Because they are both games that require “strategic thinking” (strategic in contrast with tactical, though also in the sense of having to make difficult choices about the best play) that are also games of maneuver and location. And they are both wargames. In contrast most of the games that are played at this game club do not involve maneuver and location nor are they wargames.

Review: Atlas of World Military History

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. http://www.amazon.com/Atlas-Military-History-Richard-Brooks/dp/076072025...

Six words about game sequels

According to tweetdeck, one of the trending:worldwide topics on twitter not so long ago was 6 word stories. In the past few months I've asked people to say 6 words about game design, programming, wargames, stories in games, casual games, zombie games, chance/randomness in games, and innovation and plagiarism in games.

This time the challenge is this: say six words about game sequels.

Abstractions and plans for new edition(s) of Britannia

As you probably know, the Fantasy Flight version of Britannia has sold out its second printing and all rights have reverted to me.

September 2012 Miscellany

Thoughts about some game-related topics that are not long enough for separate blog posts.

Since I got back from WBC and GenCon, I've posted several articles at my "home" blog. Not all are posted on other blogs (e.g., ones heavily video-game-related aren't posted on BGDF and F:AT). Here's a list with links:

Observations about changes in game distribution (and publishing)

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 game distribution and publishing at GenCon”.

How to be taken seriously by publishers (more cautionary advice)

After “Seven Years and a Million Dollars” I want to talk about how you, as an aspiring hobby tabletop game publisher, can help yourself to be taken seriously by game publishers. While you’re important to your self, your family, and your friends, to a game publisher you’re no different than hundreds of other people who think they have games worth publishing, most of whom are wrong.

Comparing this year’s game conventions

This is not a “convention report,” because I don’t care about many of the events at conventions such as the Origins Awards, and I didn’t bother to attend the really big D&D Next event at GenCon, and I don’t much care about the latest new games. I’m interested in certain aspects of things and that’s what I’m going to talk about.

Generalization about four conventions: GenCon is a story convention - not just story in games. WBC and PrezCon are wargame cons. Origins is a non-story, mostly non-wargame, game con.

"Seven years and a million dollars"

Here's the kind of really sad story you can hear sometimes from novice designers. At one of the game design/game publishing seminars at GenCon, right at the end, someone raised his hand and said he and a group of friends had been working on a game for seven years, and it was a great game, and they had spent over seven years and a million dollars developing it including paying Marvel comic artists to do the art; and how could he get to talk to Fantasy Flight Games about it? The three panelists were taken aback – if I wrote in contemporary style I would say they were "stunned" – and said nothing for a moment.

Choosing a title for a game design book

My author copies of my book, “Game Design: How to Create Video and Tabletop Games, Start to Finish", arrived today - it was printed a little early. I don't know when it will reach pre-order folks. http://bit.ly/MSRs8e .

So it's a good time for the following:

As with game titles, book titles are determined by the publisher, not by the author. All things marketing are the province of the publisher and the title is part of marketing. So the author or designer can suggest titles but he or she does not have the final say.

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by Dr. Radut