Tag Archives: Brant
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.
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.
Another throwback to the classic review days of years gone by under another moniker ~
Brant Guillory, 03 January 2017
Warrior Knights is a board game of diplomacy, commerce, and, of course, warfare, in the Middle Ages. It is published by Fantasy Flight Games and available now. The game covers a hypothetical kingdom in Europe, with real-world territories along the edge of the map, such as Ceylon, Alexandria, and Syracuse.
The knights and barons involved are also hypothetical, but have names evocative of the kingdoms of the Middle Ages: Baron Raoul d’Emerande is Spanish, Baron Mieczyslaw Niebieski is Polish (or perhaps Czech). In all, there are 6 Barons, each with 4 subordinate nobles. Although the names are aligned by nationality, there is no real attempt to have them reflect any real personalities from history.
The original Warrior Knights was designed by Derek Carver and published in the mid-1980s by GDW. The current version is described by Fantasy Flight Games as being reinvented for a new generation while paying homage to the original. It does not appear that Mr. Carver was involved in the design of the current incarnation.
An early game from Against The Odds Magazine that looks at what was going on while we were recovering from the US Civil War / War Between The States / War of Northern Aggression / “The Wahr” ~
Brant Guillory, 5 October 2016
Cactus Throne is an operational/strategic-level game that covers the war in Mexico between the Republican Mexican government forces, and the Imperial forces of France, Britain, Spain, Austria, and their Mexican allies. The war was originally fought between 1862-1867.
Although there were significant political machinations that affected the campaign, especially in Europe, the game focuses on the allocation of forces within Mexico, and control of the important areas of country.
Some of the political events are included as random events. Additionally, there are events that could have happened, but did not, such as the appearance of both Union and Confederate forces from the American Civil War. Cactus Throne does include some elements of seapower, but only to the extent that it affected the land battles. Ship-to-ship combat is not simulated.
Can we finally give Guns ‘n Roses their due ~
Brant, 19 September 2016
Things have been a little too heavy lately, and we need to talk about something completely different… So can we just take a step back and spend a few minutes admiring what totally bad-ass, criminally-under-rated, and never-appreciated songwriters the guys from Guns’n Roses were? Sure, we all know the ‘hits’ – Welcome to the Jungle, November Rain, Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door, You Could Be Mine, and Sweet Child o’ Mine – and the ‘scandal’ songs like Used to Love Her, or It’s So Easy. But once you get beyond the radio tunes (or heck, even with the radio tunes) the quality of songwriting you get from the band so far exceeds their contemporaries that they’re not even in the same galaxy.
Back in the late-80s, the popular talk was comparing GnR to The Rolling Stones, under the premise that supposedly no other band had conquered the rock and roll world on their own terms to the degree that GnR did. That was typical rock journalist hyperbole, of course. But honestly, the depth of songwriting, quality of musicianship, and production was blowing most other acts at the time out of the water – even GnR’s supposed contemporaries. Motley Crue didn’t figure out how to write a song until their 4th album; Poison never quite did. Ratt’s riffs were impeccable, but aside from the one-off lyrical curiosity like Wanted Man, they didn’t keep up. Great White? Slaughter? Bulletboys? XYZ? Rough Cutt? Firehouse? Please. Don’t embarrass yourself suggesting them.
GARPA comes back with a couple of new pre-order offerings for you ~
GrogHeads Staff, 16 September 2016
HOLDFAST: ATLANTIC and HOLDFAST: PACIFIC (Worthington Games)
$33500 of $10k, ends 24 SEP 2016
Worthington takes their popular block-based Holdfast series from big land wars (Korea, Russia) and heads to sea, as WWII comes back to life on your tabletop with this new pair of games. The influence of the classics War at Sea and Victory in the Pacific is obvious, but with the fog of war that block games can give you. Big region-based maps, and low-complexity gameplay get gamers into the action as fast as possible, and let armchair admirals focus on the war and not the rulebook. Steam over to their pledge page and fire your salvo at their Kickstarter campaign.
Possibly the most raw column I’ve ever written ~
Brant, 05 September 2016
Some of these columns are a lot easier to write than others. Some days I feel like I’m forcing it. Some days I honestly feel like I’m mailing it in (see the column about professional sports from last Spring). Some days the column just flows and before I know it, I’m at 2800 words and feel like there’s a lot left to say.
Some days, there’s a lot I want to say, and just not sure how. Many of those turn out to be kind of personal, like the column about the Imposter Syndrome. Today is one of those days, and it’s going to be hard for make this as coherent as it deserves to be, particular since I’m not quite ready to name names and potentially ruin lives. But I also said back when I first started this whole endeavor that I was going to do this without a net (i.e., no editor), so you’re getting an unfiltered look at the insanity that ping-pongs around my head as I write these things.