My draft for this week’s column was over a thousand words on what was wrong with the Appendix N book I’d chosen to review. Late Saturday night, I threw it all out when I realized that was the last thing anyone needed. I started over and attempted to focus entirely on what made the book awesome with only one paragraph mentioning the problems for completeness. Man, was that ever the right move. Gaming discussion has been overtaken by one controversy too many and I think it’s time to put the focus back on what brought us all here in the first place.
Here’s this week’s installment:
RETROSPECTIVE: At the Earth’s Core, by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Meanwhile, I’ve gotten some feedback from the designer of Domains at War:
Jeffro at Castalia House has shared an incredibly positive review of Domains at War:
“This game does for mass combat what Steve Jackson did for tactical combat with Melee and Wizard…. I am positively dazzled by the possibilities of this system…. it brings to life and solves many of the problems surrounding the domain level play that is an integral part to the earliest role playing games…. a very big deal, an achievement on par with the development of playable megadungeons…. We finally have to necessary tools to bring the classic D&D domain game to life.”
I could retire tomorrow as a game designer after a review like that. Thank you, Jeffro & Castalia House. That just made a year of work worth it.
Yeah, I dropped over four thousand words trying to explain what Alexander Macris’s game is such a big deal, but it makes my day that it could make his day. And it’s no coincidence that I would take to his work. He’s strongly influenced by classic microgame design– enough so that comparing his work to Melee and Wizard is about the nicest thing you could do for the guy. In a comment on the review, he admits to being hugely inspired by Steve Jackson’s earliest works:
I have owned Melee and Wizard since the 1980s in their original Metagame pocket boxes. I couldn’t agree more on how great those games are. I love them so much that I sometimes wish I’d built ACKS on The Fantasy Trip chassis. Having D@W compared to them is really a very kind compliment indeed.
Bringing the circle to a close, Steve Jackson his own self has just plugged your humble scribe. Here’s what that positively brilliant designer said over on the Ogre Kickstarter feed:
I can’t recall if I’ve already pointed to Jeffro Johnson’s interview of Winchell Chung. Whether I did or not, I have now, and if you haven’t seen it you might find it interesting.
Okay, not exactly an endorsement for the dust jacket of my magnum opus (like this one, say), but hey… it’s Steve Jackson, y’all!!! Meanwhile, over at Castalia House, I am slowly reminding more and more people just how awesome the tabletop games that they used to play can be. Even if they don’t start throwing the dice again anytime soon, it’s good to know that there’s ordinary folks that will make reading about great games a part of their routine.
Life is good. Let the good times roll and keep on gamin’!