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Tag Archives: Industry

The Tuesday Interview – Bob Smith of Oriental Empires

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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).

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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.

No, Really, The Last Call For Reader’s Choice Award Nominations

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GrogHeads Newsdesk, 29 December 2016

Every year we collect your suggestions for the very best in gaming from the year, and after we sift and sort, let you choose the winners.

Every year we get someone complain about “why wasn’t (your favorite game here) on the list?!”  And every year, it’s the same answer – none of y’all nominated it!  So here’s your chance for a pre-emptive strike against that complaining.

Once we get all your suggestions in, and we actually get to the end of the year, we’ll open the voting for the month of January and see what you pick.


Chat about it below, or in our forums, or hit our FaceBook page >>

Wrapping up 2016, GrogHeads Style

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We polled some friends in the business for their thoughts on 2016 ~

The GrogFriends, 21 December 2016

So we launched out an email to a whole bunch of friends out in GrogLand, and asked the following:

  • What was the biggest ‘story’ in gaming this year?
  • What was the most fun you had playing a game this year (even if it wasn’t a new game)?

Here are the responses we got at press time…

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Ken Burnside, Ad Astra Games

  1. For RPGs, seeing John Wick Presents get the rights back to 7th Sea and run a million dollar plus Kickstarter.  For game publishing, seeing FFG “merge” with Asmodee, have their first “failure” in their Star Wars line with Star Wars Armada, and seeing Games Workshop pull the Warhammer RPG and assorted licenses from them.
  2. I had a lot of fun playing Star Trek: Ascendancy with two people who were even bigger Trek fans than I am.

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Tim van der Moer, CEO,  The Lordz Games Studio s.a.r.l.

  1. The announcement of Red Dead Redemption 2. Mr. Marston will be back, best in game character ever. Sergio Leone and Ennio Morricone spaghetti western is an open game world made by Rockstar…very much looking forward to it!
  2. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Civilization VI.

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ed note: 2016 was pretty hard on our sense of mortality across everything, not just gaming.  We even added an “RIP” icon for threads in our forums…

Steve Rawlings, LPS Games

Not sure if only upbeat material is welcome, but if you want to mention a “dark side” (or an “In Remembrance” section) that impacted many, it was the casualties among the game company people that really shook me this year. Bill Gibbs at Omega dropped dead, Ed Wimble from COA suffered a minor heart attack while in Tempe at the CSW Expo show this year, and my own right hand man, Lembit Tohver, had a major heart attack last month. I’m sure you can name others. Aging may be taking us down one by one faster than poor game sales.

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GrogHeads Interviews Terry Sofian of Hive, Queen and Country

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We connected at Origins, and continued the electronic conversation afterwards ~

Corinne Mahaffey, 30 July 2016

I sat down for an email interview with Terry Sofian, the creator of Hive, Queen and Country, a steampunk world where the European powers are, with the help of the mineral aerolith, extending their imperial reach to the rest of the solar system. They recently ran a 3 day game at Origins wherein a hive in Brazil was besieged by American and British forces.

 

What are your games and world about? 

Our games are about telling stories in an altered Victorian era, one in which the already stunning challenges of exploring frontiers on six continents, the seas and the polar ice cap, making scientific discoveries that fashioned the world in which we live today and developing amazing new technologies, are compounded with air and space travel and explorations both in deep space but also on several worlds within our solar system. The stories can be about fighting hordes of angry alien bugs. They could be about building a city on Venus. Perhaps they are about solving murder mysteries on any of a number of worlds.

The Hive, Queen and Country Universe was started as a sandbox in which a bunch of folks could get together to and discuss ideas set in such an altered time line. We designed the Universe to be a place where gamers, writers, artists, model builders and any other creative types could build “sand castles”. The games and world are designed to provide a framework for people to work within.

HQC in action at Origins

HQC in action at Origins

News! Sad to Report the Passing of Author John Gresham

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Check out the latest from The Admiralty Trilogy Group ~

GrogHeads Newsdesk, 05 July 2016

Renowned military affairs author and speaker John Gresham passed away over the weekend.

more after the jump…

News! GAMA Elects New Board Members

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Check out the latest from the Game Manufacturers’ Association ~

GrogHeads Newsdesk, 28 June 2016

GAMA sets up their annual meeting to coincide with Origins, since a ton of industry people are already there.  Since you’ve got them in the building, might as well have an election!

GAMA Names Board Members

Columbus, OH – June 28, 2016 – The Game Manufacturers Association’s Publisher/Manufacturer members elected Stephan Brissaud as the new Vice President during the Annual Membership Meeting at Origins Game Fair.  Marie Poole was also elected to an At-Large Director position. The new positions are effective immediately.gama-logo-500x261

Two previously serving At-Large Directors, Larry Roznai and Mike Webb, retained their seats for a further 2-year term.  Aaron Witten was re-elected GAMA Treasurer.

Brissaud, the COO of IELLO, USA, has 25 years of experience in the hobby industry and was elected to the GAMA board in June 2015 as an At-Large Director. He succeeds long time Vice President Jamie Chambers, who chose to not seek re-election this year.

Origins Coverage – You tell us!

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What do you want to see from the show? ~

GrogHeads Staff, 08 June 2016

This time next week we’ll be setting up the GrogHeads Central Command at Origins, and firing up a couple of drop-in afternoon games for Wednesday, before our full program starts on Thursday.

In addition to our events, we’re going to have all sorts of coverage from the show itself.  You tell us – what do you want us to cover while we’re there?  Give us your votes below.


And watch GrogHeads for coverage starting a week from today!


Chat about it below, or in our forums, or hit our FaceBook page >>

GrogHeads Interviews the Team Behind
The Lamps Are Going Out

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Kirk, Hermann, and Tim all join us to chat about their upcoming epic WWI game ~

Brant Guillory, 4 June 2016

All images from pre-production artwork.

Compass Games has had The Lamps Are Going Out on pre-order for a while now.  The design team behind the game – designer Kirk Uhlman, developer Hermann Luttman, and artist Tim Allen – dropped by for a chat.

GrogHeads:  There’s no shortage of WWI games populating the marketplace over the past 5 years or, perhaps inspired by the centennial of the war.   What is it about The Lamps Are Going Out that separates it from the pack and should put it on a gamer’s “must buy” list?lamps-counter2

Kirk Uhlmann: All of the various WWI games bring a different perspective or emphasis for the players.  Lamps came about because I was looking for a WWI game that was historically accurate, had reasonable playing time, gave one an overall perspective of the war, and was fun.  While I enjoyed many of the games on the market, none of them hit the sweet spot for me for how I wanted to game WWI.  So in a sense, Lamps started because the game I wanted to play didn’t exist.  Even if players enjoy marathon monster games, I think Lamps has a place in any gamers’ collection because it plays in an evening, is educational and accurate about the war, is fun without sacrificing realism and conversely, is realistic without being extremely complicated.  My intent was for all the hard work to be up front in the design, so that the end result was a streamlined, fast-playing, accurate simulation of the war from a grand strategic level.

Hermann Luttman: I had this very same concern when Compass first offered to publish the game, as I saw that they had Balance of Power and Fatal Alliances also in the works. But they were not concerned as they immediately realized the same thing that we all already knew – that Lamps is a totally different type of strategic WWI game. It can be played in one long evening, is easy to learn, the graphics are unique and the game is very accessible to non-wargamers. All the essentials of simulating this level of WWI are there, wrapped in a simple and yet attractive package. This sets Lamps apart from most other WWI games and you could easily jump from playing any of the more traditional large hex-and-counter wargames to a game of Lamps immediately thereafter and still get a totally different experience.