Category Archives: Interviews
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.
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 ☺
Part 1 of 2, as Cyrano starts asking more Napoleonic questions ~
Jim Owczarski, 11 April 2017
There aren’t too terribly many people who can claim to have designed games about warfare while at the same time being able to consult on a wound from a musket ball. Dr. Didier Rouy holds his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Paris – Diderot and his M.D. from the same institution, earning the former in 1992 and the latter in 1991. In 1989, though, he published the first of what would eventually be over a dozen different Napoleonic wargames. His Vive L’Empereur system has since produced eight volumes. Even dearer to my own heart, he is the creator of the three-volume Vol de L’Aigle, an operational Napoleonic Kriegsspiel, as well as Le Combat de L’Aigle, a tactical system that can be used to work out battles in the operational game.
Dr. Rouy took time recently to answer questions about how he got started, how the whole medicine thing figured into his wargaming, and what is his deal with oblong unit counters. His answers were so thoughtful — and so long — that this particular interview comes in two parts!
Cyrano pulls up his Napoleonic britches for a chat about Borodino ~
Jim Owczarski, 4 April 2017
Vento Nuovo made no small statement when it blew into wargaming back in 2012 with Blocks in the East. A big, colorful map; hundreds of wooden blocks and other pieces; and an area-movement system that felt just friendly enough while at the same time satisfying wanna-be von Brauchitsch’s everywhere; marked it as a strong new-comer. Now seven games on, the Blocks in… system covers the whole of the ETO, it’s released Gortex game maps big enough to sleep under, and it even found time to release a game about the greatest battle of all time, Waterloo 200. (Author’s Note: Favorably reviewed here)
For his second run into the 19th Century, designer Emanuele Santandrea has chosen to have a go at Borodino, the climactic struggle between Napoleon and the Emperor of Russia that in many ways ended the First Empire. The game, Bloody Monday, Napoleon at the Gates of Moscow, has already hit its funding goal, so it was particularly nice of him to answer a few questions about his design philosophy, why Borodino, and the difference between Goretex and Magnatex.
The KickStarter, by the by, is here: Bloody Monday, Napoleon at the Gates of Moscow
Vento Nuovo has had quite a few recent successes on KickStarter and has become well known, certainly in wargame circles. Who, though, is on the team behind Bloody Monday?
Well, the list is so long I’m sure I will forget somebody. I can name Luca Preda, Jim O’Neill, Flip Labarque, Paul Comben, and Kevin Duke. But that’s just a part.
The team behind Sanctus Reach stops by for a chat ~
Boggit, 28 March 2017
Gordon, Kimberley, Mark, and Alex thank you for agreeing to talk to Grogheads about Sanctus Reach.
Tell us something about yourselves. Slitherine mentioned to me is that you are all from Elgin in Scotland, and all have previous video game industry experience – but this is your first big project together.
That’s the gist of it. We came to Elgin from all over the country for work where we met and became friends. We’ve all worked on all sorts of different projects over the years and collectively have 20 years of experience, but this is by far the biggest and most challenging project any of us have undertaken.
Marshall Barrington gives us an extended low-down on Command Post Games ~
Jim Owczarski, 7 March 2017
I first caught wind of Command Post Games via its Kickstarter for Pub Battles: Brandywine. Here was a war game played on a period map, made of canvas no less, with blocks that looked an awful lot like kriegsspiel pieces, and that trumpeted that it had fewer than five pages of rules. That, a beautiful brass measuring compass, and, oh yes, their kriegsspiel dice, made me a pretty quick fan.
Given all this, I decided to ask CPG’s Marshall Barrington about the company’s past, its future plans, and what it has against the the Little Corporal.
So, following form, could you introduce yourselves? Who is Command Post Games and what do each of you do?
- Yvonne (aka god): She is the primary owner/investor. She inspired us setup and run our first Kickstarter! She helps with web sites and PR.
- Aaron Wood: Graphic Design. He does amazing work. He is a true artist. Excellent at picking out colors, shapes, and overall themes.
- Marshall: Game Design, Development, Shipping, marketing, and anything else that just needs to get done!
- Elijah Dicks: History Department at Arapahoe Community College. He has been key in getting the new mega game format going.
- Michael Sparrow: Coordinating and running events and meetup group promotion. He’s also helping us with new mega games.
Friend-of-Grog Glenn Drover comes back for another visit ~
Michael Eckenfels, 28 February 2017
What’s the craziest move you ever tried to pull off in a wargame?
GD: I’m an aggressive attacker, but never crazy. 😉
What wargame made you want to be a designer?
GD: It is probably the fault of a whole group of games that I loved in the mid-late 70’s. From Milton Bradley: Carrier Strike, Skirmish, and Battle Cry; as well as Avalon Hill’s Tactics II and Third Reich. I played these endlessly with my dad and solo.
The guys from the latest Matrix Game 4x hit stop in to chat about their new release. ~
Brant Guillory, 21 February 2017
So it’s not like the world is lacking for 4X games. What made you think “the world needs this game?” and how did you get that vision from inception to the full release of Sovereignty?
Nikolai Soderstrom (Designer): To be honest, I don’t really consider this a 4x game. We certainly didn’t go into it thinking we needed to create a 4x game. I mostly consider Sovereignty an accessible turn-based strategy game. Manage your kingdom. Go to war. Fight battles on the tactical map.
Our inspiration is deeply rooted in the grand campaign worlds of Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, Birthright, in Middle Earth, and in historical settings to craft a rich political and cultural landscape in which to set a strategy game. In Sovereignty, you can play any one of 34 different realms, and each one is unique. We wanted the rich cultures established in the lore to resonate in the gameplay itself. Each realm has its own playstyle, its own ambitions, fears and rivalries, its own unique units, spell repertoire, agents, economy, diplomatic position, and heroes.