Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

Blog Watch: Asymmetry, Causes of War, Corridors, and X10

Can you spot the Illuminati cards that had to be removed from later editions…?

Game Design (I’ve Been Diced) An Interview with Brian Train — “I like to put a lot asymmetry into the game’s structure when I’m designing a game like this. I like the notion that two players might be sharing the same map and moving their counters on the same map, but in effect they’re playing two different games. I like asymmetry of methods, asymmetry of functions and especially the asymmetry of objectives.”

War (Defining Ideas) War: The Gambling Man’s Game — “He identifies seven main factors of a state’s relative strength, the combination of which determines the chances of war: military strength and the ability to apply that strength efficiently in the chosen zone of war; predictions of how outside nations would behave; perceptions of the state’s and its enemies’ internal unity or discord; memories of the sufferings caused by the previous wars; perceptions of prosperity and of ability to economically sustain the kind of war envisaged; nationalism and ideology; and the personality and mental qualities of the opposing sides’ leaders.”

History (War on the Rocks) Failure to Learn: Reflections on a Career in the Post-Vietnam Army — “Compounding the challenges posed by the shortage of security forces and competent civilians was the fact that two other COIN prerequisites were obviously not being met: the adversary had sanctuary outside Afghanistan and there were questions about the Karzai government’s legitimacy. My point in the article… is that we have never actually done in Afghanistan what FM 3-24: Counterinsurgency requires. Why should we expect that we will achieve our ends there if we do not do what we say must be done to be successful?”

AD&D (Sweep of History Games) Inexperienced Players in Brit 1 — “In my first game as an 8-year-old, on Halloween ’79, my 40-year-old DM gave me three levels, an ordinary two-handed sword, and a modified/randomized/toned-down Helm of Brilliance. Then he promoted me straight to the front lines where my uncle and I kicked down doors and watched zombies, skeletons, and all those mean horrible things bear down on us, urged on by some shadowy bearded guy in the back…. In short, the game was exciting. I had an impact. I was hooked.”

Adventure (Hill Cantons) Pointcrawling Ruins Revisited — “Each Point Size represents an area of the ruins roughly 100 yards by 100 yard squares. It is the top-level representation of space in the ruins. Each point, in theory, corresponds to a nestled maps of standard four square/inch graph paper with 10-foot to a square. In reality many Type 1-3 points will lack them altogether or have geomorph stand-ins unless there is a significant adventure site in the point. Some special sites with a high adventure site density will have two nestled maps.”

Tunnels & Trolls (Huge Ruined Pile) Designing for Tunnels & Trolls vs. D&D — “There’s no reason I can’t do this sort of thing with D&D – I get pretty weird with it anyway – but T&T really pushes it, from the editorial tone to the examples given in the rules and published adventures.  It’s easier for me to unleash my inner chucklehead.”

Apocalypse Later (Victor Davis Hanson) The Last Generation of the West and the Thin Strand of Civilization — “An indebted and crippled U.S. has so far survived the second decade of the 21st century largely due to some ingenious engineers and audacious workers who revolutionized the gas and oil industry, at a time when wind and solar merely amused us, when our enemies considered us ripe for perpetual petro-blackmail, and when our wherewithal to pay for more imported energy was increasingly questionable.”

Parenting (Huffington Post) I Never Thought My Son Would Play With Guns — “What happened to my gentle little boy who would cradle his dolls if they happened to fall on the ground? Where is the boy who would never consider the possibility of intentionally hurting another? And where did this one, who pretends to shoot others, come from? ”

Parenting (Dynasty Zero) Heroes & Other Worlds — “I had originally planned to run him through the programmed adventure included in the book but he liked the name Death Test better.  More dangerous sounding.”

D&D (The Dragon’s Flagon) Keying the corridors — “In the Moldvay Basic rules, there’s a sample dungeon expedition, a narration of a hypothetical play session.  It begins with the party descending through a trap door and down a stair to reach a landing, from which stairs descend east and west.  The DM tells the character looking down the east stairs that there’s a rank, musty odor coming from below.  Based on that information, the party decides to take the west stairs instead.  What was the source of that odor?  It’s never revealed in this sample session, but it enabled the party to make a non-random decision about which way to go, based on their own notions of risk and reward.”

Expert D&D (Delta’s D&D Hotspot) D&D Module X10: Red Arrow, Black Shield — “Module X10 spans at least 3 scales of action: man-to-man roleplaying (regular D&D), tactical wargaming with miniatures (using Battlesystem by Doug Niles), and strategic campaign conquest (using War Machine by Frank Mentzer)…. One of the delightful and loving things about the adventure is the multitude of connections it makes to other adventures before and after — it might hold a record for adventure with the most references or links to other adventures.”

3 responses to “Blog Watch: Asymmetry, Causes of War, Corridors, and X10

  1. Pingback: Guerrilla Checkers: A Great Game –

  2. Pingback: WARGAME WEDNESDAY: Brian Train’s Colonial Twilight –

  3. Pingback: WARGAME WEDNESDAY: Brian Train’s Colonial Twilight - Top

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