Category Archives: Interviews
Science Fiction writer Henry Vogel pays us a visit in this week’s interview ~
Brant Guillory, 14 February 2017
The new book is titled The Undercover Captain and is the second book in the ‘Captain Nancy Martin’ series. It’s a standalone space opera adventure, as was book 1, The Counterfeit Captain. In the new story, which picks up three years after the main events in book 1, the Terran Federation Navy reactivates Nancy and attaches her to an undercover investigation into the disappearances of large groups of teenagers and young adults all along the Federation’s rim. Joining a female special agent, she goes beyond the Federation’s borders searching for slavers. Instead, she finds evil beyond her darkest nightmares and is presented with a very literal deadline for solving the mystery.
With the recent launch of CGSC’s “Brown Bag” wargaming lunch program, we reached out to the guys at Ft Leavenworth to ask about how hobby wargaming is making its way (back) into the professional ranks ~
Brant Guillory, 07 February 2017
So there was mention of a “brown bag” lunch series of wargames for Army officers to come learn about this crazy hobby of ours, and – we’re assuming – learn how it can all tie into the profession of arms for their future benefit. Can you tell us a little bit about how the series got started, and what the expectations were for the initial ramp-up of the program?
The idea for the Brown Bag Gaming Program came from our desire to provide a wider array of games that we can fit into our Training with Simulations elective course. The more we thought about it, the more objectives we realized it might fill.
The core tenet of Brown Bag Gaming is that the development of simulations professionals requires the exploration and discussion of a wide variety of modeling and simulation approaches. The best means of accomplishing this is to experience the models and simulations in action. Less formally, that means playing games and thinking about them critically.
Longtime industry veteran Ty Bomba gives us the low-down on his upcoming projects ~
Brant Guillory, 31 January 2017
You’ve certainly been around wargaming for a while. At last check, your designer page on BGG goes about 4575454646386 pages deep. Of all the games you’ve worked on as a designer or developer, which one sticks out as one that just immediately ‘clicked’ as a smooth design, and what’s one that took some serious wrestling to get it into shape to get published?
To answer the last part of that question first, I tend to have trouble with naval designs unless the assignment allows me to use an evolution of the old-AH War at Sea system. I don’t know why that is. As to design projects that “immediately clicked,” that happened the first time for me with Dynamo: Dunkirk 1940, which I did for World Wide Wargames back in the early 1980s. Since then it’s happened a lot – so often I couldn’t enumerate all of them. As a matter of fact, it’s happening right now, as I’m working on volume three of my “Putin’s Wars Series” – Putin’s Silk Road War: The Coming Sino-Russian Conflict for Central Asia – for One Small Step Games. My feeling is, if you have a creative occupation and that kind of thing isn’t happening for you a lot, you need to ask yourself if you’re in the right career field.
From across the Atlantic, Julien & Denis join us for a chat ~
Jim Owczarski, 26 January 2017
It will surprise no one hereabouts that I’ve an interest in the struggle between Prussia and France in the Fall of 1806. I’ve already written two articles about my planned trip to the Jena-Auerstadt battlefields this year and have been gleefully running a kriegsspiel of the campaign since October 2016 over in the Grogheads forum.
So, I would have been hard put to be more pleased when the Kickstarter campaign for Shakos’ Napoleon 1806 crawled across my news feed. Reading the rules on-line and reading up on the backgrounds of the team behind all this, I backed quickly. I wanted, though, to find out more about the this new company, the game’s designers, and what inspired them to take up what is, let’s be honest, not the most conspicuous of Napoleon’s campaigns.
The man behind Victory Point Games, and much more, joins us for this week’s chat ~
Michael Eckenfels, 24 January 2017
What was the first wargame you taught to someone else?
I started with a subscription to S&T, and so taught NAPOLEON AT WATERLOO to my gaming buddies. One of their dad’s had a treasure trove of Avalon Hill games in the garage, and we played those all summer! That was… 1973, I think.
What was the first wargame you ever designed (even if it didn’t see the light of day)?
Really, I’m more of a developer than a designer. I did some very satisfying work on Cosmic Encounter (designing a lot of expansion material) “back in the day,” and have done so much development work on some games I have ended up their “co-designer,” but I’m a rare bird in our industry to is happy developing games for others.
Hubert Cater of Fury Software joins us this week, to chat about Strategic Command, and his other projects ~
Author, 16 January 2017
So, if you’re not working on your own games, what are you likely to be found playing on a night off?
Oddly enough I haven’t played PC (or otherwise) games for probably 10 years now, well at least as a regular escape or attempt at relaxation. Possibly a bit unexpected for a game developer, but after staring at code all day I’ve found that if I can turn off my brain completely in the evenings I’m that much better off for it.
These days my typical escape is to try and get out and play ice hockey 1 to 2 times a week (I am Canadian so it is my duty to fulfil that stereotype), or to go mountain biking during the warmer months. Luckily I live near a conservation area and watershed that has some nice trails and I can ride out from my house and be on the trails in less than 5 minutes which is great for a quick ride.
Lately though, and now that my kids are a bit older, often the evenings are just blur spent racing from activity to activity while I still try and sneak in a few of my own.
Bob Smith pays GrogHeads a visit~
Lloyd Sabin (and Boggit!), 3 January 2017
You clearly have a long, proud history in historical PC gaming, which younger readers may not know about. Games like ‘Arnhem,’ ‘Desert Rats,’ and ‘Operation Vulcan’ are remembered very fondly. What is your favorite game of yours from that era and why?
Of the wargames, probably Desert Rats, because I like big sweeping games. Of all the games I did in my first stint as an independent developer, my favorite is probably Armada 2525, because I had so much fun playing it with my friends (who usually used to beat me).
What were some of the difficulties you faced in the 1980s when producing those early games?
The machines were very limited, you had to think about every byte of RAM. I remember being up at 3am trying to find 3 bytes of memory to finish Desert Rats, with a bike coming at 7 to take the master tape to the duplicators. The development environments were very limited too. I used to write everything out on paper, because the editors were so bad, and once your program got too big to fit into RAM with the assembler, it could take as much as an hour to make a new version.