How I Write Skirmish War Games: Narrative As Goal Not Excuse, Part 2 Narrative Rules

Narrative scenarios are all well and good but they are fundamentally an addition to an existing rules set and the best way to achieve a narrative is by baking it directly in. This is generally achieved by writing rules that are narrative, synergistic and emergent. Narrative Rules Part of the issue with writing "just another skirmish game" (JASG) and reinventing its various rules are that most of its rules consist of writing a skirmish game rather than simulating an event. If I write just another skirmish game there will be line of sight and a charge ability that will differ from simply walking into combat, not because they simulate the story I'm telling but because that's what goes into skir

How I Write Skirmish War Games: Narrative As Goal Not Excuse, Part 1 Scenarios

There is a sentence that turns up in various war games, it amounts to something like this: “if rules are unclear/confusing/badly written stop arguing over them and remember that you are not having fun/have lost sight of the story.” Because of course if rules are unclear it must be your fault for not choosing to have fun and being a cut throat tournament gamer. This is not an acceptable sentiment, narrative and fun are the goals of good rules, never an excuse for bad ones. Narrative is used as an excuse as opposed to “competitive” or “tournament” rules because this claim cannot be flown in a game that has any ambitions to be a tournament game (or at least it shouldn’t be). I’ve been to plenty

Friendly Shipping: Customs Charges Vs Sales Tax for Independent Games Designers

Many Kickstarter projects advertise International Friendly shipping, there are two methods to achieve this claim. Firstly, you can use a fulfillment shipping company based in the country in question. This method is safe, however smaller Kickstarter projects may find the logistics required to be expensive or impossible. This is because manufacturers may be unwilling to split a single pallet for delivery to various countries and projects with less than 1,000 backers or that generate small box games will not create a second pallet naturally. Those that will ship to various countries will charge for the privilege. For example if you have only 10 copies going to Australia the price of using an Au

Kickstarting the Easy Way: Social Media and Self-Promotion

Probably the question I see most asked by new designers starting on the route to self-publishing is how to begin gathering a social media following, mailing list etc. I'm no expert in this area but I did manage to get enough of a following to back my first project so I'll offer what I've picked up so far. If you're looking for an expert in this area I recommend following Stuff By Bez or Stonemaier Games, both of whom are helpful souls and are much better at this than I am. First of all, I think its important to accept your place within the community and industry. If you're reading this blog I'm going to assume you're a first time creator, in which case you shouldn't expect a following of tho

How I Write Skirmish War Games: Chance and Punishment

Dice and probability are an inevitability in any war game, however a distressing number of games include it simply because "war games include probability". There are three good reasons to include probability: 1) To provide constant interesting tactical choices. Without random events skirmish games would be little more than sloppy games of chess, predictable but without the strictures that make such predictability interesting. Chance allows a skirmish game to have a player formulate a plan, see it go wrong and build a new plan on the fly, which is fun. It is vital though that such probability allows enough predictability to formulate plans. 2) To keep hope alive. Outnumbered or outclassed tro

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