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The Tuesday Interview – Tom Russell of Hollandspiele

Hollandspiele has joined the ranks of wargame publishers.  Tom stops by for a chat ~

Brant Guillory, 25 April 2017

So… another game company, eh?  Why break off and start your own publishing house instead of just bringing your games to an existing publisher?

Well, as far as my own designs go, I’ve done that. Of the twenty-five games I’ve had published, only six have come out through Hollandspiele. So, that’s nineteen times someone else has put up their money and said, okay, let’s have a go at this. And that’s satisfying and gratifying, but it has three real disadvantages.

Of the twenty-five games I’ve had published, only six have come out through Hollandspiele.

First, as far as monetary compensation goes, the designer really gets the short-end of the stick a lot of the time. This isn’t true all the time– I’ve had publishers that gave very generous royalties, and publishers that were a lot stingier. Now, I’m talking about wargames specifically here, because in the euro market, the designer gets better pay. I have a couple of euro-style games coming out in the next year or so from a certain publisher that I’m contractually unable to mention by name at this time, and my advance for that was more than the royalties on all my previous (non-Hollandspiele) games combined. So, with wargames, it’s a much smaller piece of the pie, though again, it varies. I was talking with a designer who is working with us on a game, and also has worked with GMT, and was surprised to hear that, in terms of royalty-per-copy, Hollandspiele pays better than GMT. Now, GMT has the volume, so they’re getting more money from GMT than they are from us, because they’re selling an order of magnitude more copies than we are. But still, I thought that was interesting, because while the royalties we give are more than what I got for most of my wargame designs, I didn’t think that our royalty rate was necessarily all that generous. I just thought it was equitable.

Unboxing B-17 Flying Fortress Leader

It’s a box that could break your toe if you drop it wrong, but what’s inside? ~

Michael Eckenfels, 22 April 2017

Mosby’s Raiders. Thunderbolt/Apache Leader. Patton’s Best. Cruel Necessity. These are but a few of my favorite solitaire games of all time, games I would be happy to return to the table any time, and each of which have prominent locations on one of my bookshelves. (Thunderbolt/Apache Leader happens to include both the DVG and GMT version, by the way.) Topping my list, though, is B-17: Queen of the Skies, a game by Avalon Hill from ancient times that I would easily play again and again without hesitation.

I was very interested when, quite a while ago, Dan at DVG made mention of a new tile they were working on – B-17 Flying Fortress Leader. My mind – and no doubt yours as well – instantly jumped to Queen of the Skies. Was it a remake? Was it a sequel? Was it an improvement? Most importantly, would it be good? I figured my time with this particular game would be a long time coming, so while I kept up with the thread in the GrogHeads forums to see where it was, I was very surprised when a copy landed on my doorstep today. Thanks to Dan and his team for sending this over for GrogHeads to get its paws on it and manhandle it appropriately.

This is the box – and holy crap is it hefty. I think I saw a post on Facebook in the Solitaire Wargames page that said it was 5.5 pounds; it feels more like 10, actually! Which means, mounted boards, tons of counters and cards, and just overall lotsa stuff packed into a large box.

The Zombie Apocalypse, Part 13: Love and the Undead

The Zombie Apocalypse Series returns! ~

Jonathan Glazer, 21 April 2017

The dead have risen with a taste for our yummy flesh. Beyond feeding ourselves gathering other supplies and killing zombies, what is our next priority? Well, if you believe most TV shows and movies about this topic, you would probably say finding a hot hookup ranks at the top of the list. Romance seems to be a big thing among apocalyptic survivors in the minds of screenwriters. Will the dystopian future be a great time for grabbing a little something-something? I hate to be the burster of bubbles, but losing our technology and societal support infrastructure will probably have the opposite effect. The reasons for this are many. Chief among them would be our focus on just plain trying to stay alive. Leisure time will be a real luxury as most of the day will be spent doing the things required to feed us, quench our thirst, find us shelter and protect us from fetid snapping undead jaws (not to mention our fellow survivors who will have long cast the Boy Scout’s oath aside). Listen to any mother/wife in our present world and you will hear that the daily grind of food preparation, child care, laundry and other assorted chores leave them with a nightly desire for action hovering around the zero level. And that is without the stress of being attacked by rotten ghouls jonesing for our innards. Add in the collapse of civilization and most survivors, male, female or other will have little leftover energy for boom boom.

Gaming Nostalgia – Star Trek III.5

#TBT at GrogHeads!

nostalgia-startrek35

There have been a LOT of Star Trek games over the years; how many do you reckon were actually authorized?  Here’s an old one.


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Origins War College 2017 Schedule

What’s on tap for this summer’s lectures at Origins? ~

GrogHeads Staff, 29 April 2017

The Origins War College has been folded into the overall lecture/seminar program at the convention.  But they’re still sort-of separated out into 2 distinct program tracks, each in their own rooms.

There’s plenty of interesting talks, and many of them staffed/hosted by the NSDM crew.

The Tuesday Interview – Didier Rouy, Part Deux

Part 2 of 2, as Cyrano starts asking more Napoleonic questions ~

Jim Owczarski, 18 April 2017

When we last visited with Dr. Didier Rouy, he was discussing his Flight of the Eagle operational-level Napoleonic Kriegsspiel.  In this second half of the interview, he discusses crazy things wargamers can attempt in the RPG-like Kriegsspiel space; how bear hats and humming can scare grown men; how a tactical, Napoleonic wargame could have been influenced by Magic: The Gathering (shudder); and what might be next on his design table.

continuing the discussion from last week

c. You acknowledge the link between the Kriegsspiel-type games like Flight and role-playing games, something about which I tend to obsess.  One of the immense strengths of RPGs is the freedom to create it allows to both the game runner and the player.  What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen a Flight player try or argue he should be able to do in a game?

Oh Boy, that can be a long response ☺

Revisiting “Secret of the Silver Blades”

Back to a classic Forgotten Realms setting ~

Avery Abernethy, 17 April 2017

Secret of the Silver Blades is the SSI Gold Box follow up to Pool of Radiance and Curse of the Azure Bonds. I recently replayed this on a modern computer and my thoughts are on playing this game in 2017, not 1990 when it was released.

I recently replayed this on a modern computer and my thoughts are on playing this game in 2017, not 1990 when it was released.

I enjoyed replaying Pool of Radiance and Curse of the Azure Bonds. Both had an interesting overall plot line that engaged me and kept me going through the long series of battles and leveling up my characters. Regretfully, Secret of the Silver Blades has such a poor plot that I could never really engage with it.

In Silver Blades your party (either imported from Azure Bonds or newly rolled-up) teleports naked to village. The village made a sacrifice to a teleporter and your group is hopefully the answer to the prayers of the village. The small town gives your group some pretty nifty equipment. They also heal, identify your magic goodies, and provide basic equipment for free every time you come back to town.

Gaming Nostalgia – Metagaming

#TBT at GrogHeads!

nostalgia-metagaming2

Small boxes with some big fun inside.


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