Monday, September 17, 2007

What do your games look like anyway?

If you are one of those folks that played Avalon Hill bookcase games or the avalanch of titles from SPI in the 1970' you are familiar with war games (they aren't really war-like... no one dies), if not, or even if you are just returning to the hobby, you might want to see what the board games I'm talking about look like. Here are a couple of pictures.

Welcome Aboard or Slapping a Title on Your Blog

I lead an eclectic life. A good one, but an eclectic one. I retired from the Navy in 1997 to pursue the writing life. A life that has treated me very well. Without presenting a boring resume, suffice to say that I've written over 40 books and God knows how many articles. The overwhelming proportion of that writing has been about games, although I've published a couple of short stories and a novel (A Craving for Blood). So, I'm a writer (no one ever shows up at your door with a certificate pronouncing it so, but if you support your family doing it, I guess you are).

On the flip side of the coin, I'm a game designer. In 2002, frustrated with the niggling problems I found in every game I played, I designed Lock 'n Load: Forgotten Heroes, a tactical game system that espouses fun and flavor over tedium and statistics. The game was a hit and won a game of the year award in 2004, and it's succesor, Lock 'n Load: Band of Heroes, did the same in 2006. So, I'm also a game designer. Again, no one showed up at my door with a certificate, but...well, you know what I'm saying.

Finally in September of 2006, as that coin continued to flip, I became a game publisher, opening the doors to Lock 'n Load Publishing. Life's good at the publishing company, we have seven games on the shelves, and at least three more due out by the end of the year. But the coin continues to flip. You'd think that writing, board game design and publishing (not to mention three daughters, a wife, soccer, dogs, cats, and what not) would be enough enough to fill my life. You'd think wrong. I'm also leading the development team for Lock 'n Load: Heroes of Stalingrad, a computer game based on the Lock 'n Load system.

The point isn't to pat me on the back and tell me what a productive guy I am, but rather present to you, my eleven readers, the problem in naming this type of blog. I'm a writer, game critic, game designer, and publisher. What covers are that? After seven minutes of intense meditation I found my answer.


Nothing covers all that, so I won't try to. This blog will focus on the design and production of games (both board and computer). Not just my touchy feely thoughts about it, but rather nut and bolt tips on creating and publishing your own designs. Will the other facets of my personality/work slip through? Sure, but they won't dominate. I want people who want a leg up to come here to get it.

Final word. I'm not an expert (not by a long shot) in all, or even most, areas of game design (whether board or computer), but I do know people who are. Hence I'll bring them in to add their comments and "how-to" articles. I hope you all like it.