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I've just found myself as the Gaming Track Manager for next year's Arisia, which means I need to assemble a roster of panels, right quick. I have a moderate pile of suggestions so far, but they're of varying quality, and a bit "clumpy" in terms of subjects, so I'd like more ideas for the mix.

My friends have lots of knowledge of the subject, so: here's a request for a little quick brainstorming of suggestions for panels on the subject of Games, broadly defined -- this includes Board/Card Games, Videogames, Tabletop and Live-Action RPG, Game Culture, etc.

Please focus on topics you would like to attend or talk about, not just notions for their own sake. Not all suggestions will be used, but all are welcomed. "Yes, and" comments about other peoples' suggestions are okay, but please don't shoot down other peoples' ideas. Diversity of viewpoints highly encouraged. Feel free to email or direct-message me if you would prefer to make a suggestion privately.

Thanks!

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Finally -- time to spread the word.

Many of you know my friend Eric Reuss (in the SCA he's mainly known in archery circles; he's married to my apprentice Nora). He's a professional game designer, and I've burbled from time to time about his previous game, Fealty, which stands as one of my all-time favorites. Today was the start of the Kickstarter for his second game, Spirit Island.

I've been playtesting Spirit Island for a couple of years now, and it's really neat. While they can't say so in the publicity (lest they piss off a Big Game Company), you can think of Spirit Island as the inverse of Settlers of Cataan. It takes place on a lovely tropical island that has been discovered by explorers, who are now bringing settlement and civilization. They are the Bad Guys: their settlements are driving out the natives of the island, and bringing blight and devastation. The players take on the roles of the native spirits of the island, whose job is to work together to drive out the settlers and restore the island to its proper state.

What sets Spirit Island apart is depth of gameplay -- it is far more involved and strategic than any other co-operative board game I've previously seen. Each player plays a different supernatural spirit, with its own distinct powers and limitations, and builds up their own set of cards that give them additional abilities. This variety tends to prevent the common syndrome that you see in many co-op games, where one player just sort of takes over and directs everyone else; frankly, there's simply too much going on for someone to easily do that. But it is intensely co-operative: at a pretty deep level, you need to co-operate in order to play effectively, and many powers work best when synergizing with others.

The game also scales in difficulty quite nicely. The initial teaching game is a bit challenging to start out: thoroughly winnable, but you will likely find yourselves losing ground to the settlers until you start to get the hang of it. From there, there are scads of ways to gradually increase the difficulty level, to keep the game challenging as your group gains experience. Combine that with a board layout that changes each time, and the many options for powers, and you get a hugely replayable board game.

It's being produced by Greater Than Games, the folks who made Sentinels of the Multiverse, so I expect it to be a pretty big deal. But I recommend backing it now and helping it be a big Kickstarter success: it's an excellent game, and deserves some fame.

Highly recommended to anyone who likes co-op games, or likes games with some strategic "chew" to them. (If you think of this as a co-op Eurogame, you won't be too far off in terms of the flavor.) Doubly recommended if you like both.

So -- here's the Kickstarter. Check it out, and pass it on...
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I don't know anywhere near enough music theory to have any idea what I'm doing, but this is a completely delightful time-waster anyway. (I made it up to a G, with a score of 116.01% but only one full circle, whatever that signifies.) Should be played with sound on -- listening to the game is more than half the fun.

Warning: this is a 2048 variant, with all the addictive horror that implies.

h/t to [livejournal.com profile] metahacker for pointing it out. Now, time to attempt to stop playing and get back to work...
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Got back yesterday from spending almost a week in Ohio at the Origins Game Fair -- I tagged along with [livejournal.com profile] mindways, as I did two years ago.

It was a generally interesting time, although I was more of a fish out of water than usual. Arisia and Pennsic are both huge, but I usually feel like I have a built-in social circle, since I know at least a few hundred people at each. This time, I was coming in cold, and was reminded of the fact that I get rather shy when tossed into a huge crowd like that. Fortunately, gaming encourages interaction, and Darker knows lots of people there, so I met quite a number of folks.

The trip itself was uneventful -- Delta continued to fail to impress me, as it generally has over the past 10-15 years, but at least nobody lost my luggage this time. We shared a room with Darker's friend Trey, a game designer from Texas; that worked out reasonably well, although rather reminded me of living in a dorm room.

Rooming with a couple of pros was interesting. Since my roommates were both game designers, most of the people I met were as well. Towards the end of the con, I discovered that one of the people I'd been playing with several times was the author of the popular recent game Walk the Plank; in passing, we casually wound up chatting with the author of Pirate Dice. It was a curious experience, being the token "end user" in the crowd.

Didn't hit any significant restaurants, but was reminded that, as city-center markets go, Columbus' North Market is right up there among the best. It has lots of interesting and high-quality food stands, especially:
  • Jeni's Ice Cream -- at least as good as anything in Boston, with a vibrant sense of experimentation. Their Bangkok Peanut was a particular favorite, described as "Pad Thai ice cream", which is bizarre but kind of accurate. (I don't often come across spicy ice cream, but it totally works.)

  • Firdous Express -- a fairly normal middle-eastern food joint, but their Low-Carb Salad wound up my standard lunch for the trip. (Greek salad with shwarma on top, dressed with tzatziki. Yum!)

  • Holy Smoke BBQ -- possibly the best pork ribs I've ever had: cooked to the point where not only was the meat super-tender, even the bones wound up soft and gnawable.

  • Taste of Belgium -- because very little beats a well-executed, fresh-made Belgian waffle: crisp, hot, gently covered with caramelized sugar.
Most of you probably don't get to Columbus very often, but if you do find yourself in town, it's well worth wandering there and getting some food.

The purpose of the trip, though, was to play board games, and I seriously got my fill. This is going to run a little long, so I'll put the details of what I played behind cut tags. Thanks to Darker for his listing of what he played, and his pointers to the relevant BGG entries (he was taking notes and I wasn't). Comments and questions welcomed, especially while the games are fresh in my mind...


Spirit Island: the point of the trip )

Argent: the Consortium )

Paradox )

Cataclysm )

Commedia )

Alchemists )

Smash Up )

Subdivision )

Castles of Mad King Ludwig )

Cavum )

The Duke and For the Crown )

Fairy Tale: A New Story )

Hanabi )

Noir )

Monopoly Deal )

Fealty; Innovation: Figures in the Sand )

There are probably one or two others that I'm forgetting, but that's most of it. Questions and comments welcome...
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Surely, I can't be the only game geek who looked at this XKCD comic, and immediately started wondering how that game would work. It's weirdly tempting to try and figure out hybrid rules that actually function...
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One of the frustrations about being a Games specialist in the SCA is that I keep having to explain the difference between "a period game" and "a modern game that is set in period". Fealty may be a great game with a period setting (and admittedly, I've taught it in-camp at Pennsic), but that's not the same as being actually SCA-appropriate.

However, I think I've just found the closest I've ever come to the perfect blend of "totally modern game" and "seriously true to period", in Audatia, a new game currently running through IndieGogo. (Basically the same model as Kickstarter.) Audatia is a modern two-player turn-based card game -- but the game play is entirely based on Florio's 14th century manual of swordfighting techniques. The game was basically created (by a teacher of historical swordfighting) as a teaching tool to learn the moves and terminology: the two players have decks of cards representing all of the described moves (including an apparently-documented "kick in the nuts" card), and use moves from their hands to parry and thrust.

The campaign's long since blown past its main goals (apparently in part due to somebody giving a 25k donation to the project!), but I decided to pick up a set -- it sounds like the game is interesting and different, educational, and quite possibly fun to play. I can't really say it's appropriate to play at an event, but it's one heck of a lot better than most of what I usually see at the War. SCA folks who are into either gaming or swordplay may want to check it out...
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Okay, here's a very offbeat question looking for opinions. I'm committing the dangerous (but probably to-be-common) act of crossing the streams between SCA and Querki here.

One of my long-term projects is running the Medieval and Renaissance Games Homepage. I've run this page for many years now (since the late 90s, when I got seriously into period games), and I consider it an important public resource -- it's my agglomeration of all useful-looking links I know of on the topic. But frankly, it's gotten pretty long in the tooth -- it's still written in hand-maintained HTML, and is kind of a pain in the ass at this point. (With the result that it has been *years* since I last updated it.)

There is, of course, an obvious solution: this is a *great* candidate for a Querki Space. After all, Querki is all about "semi-structured" data, and this site is about as "semi-structured" as you can get -- a mix of miscellaneous webpages with what amounts to a database of links and reconstructions of many sorts. And with Querki's planned collaboration features, I'll be able to open this solo project up to other members of the period games community, so we can build the one true wiki on the subject. So I think it's clear that I'm going to move the Period Games Homepage to Querki, likely within the next month or two.

That said, it does force me to think about what the schema should look like, which introduces an interesting question: how should I describe the family tree of period games? Calling it a "family tree" is clearly correct -- you can see the hierarchy visibly in the existing Rules page -- and I'm finding myself whimsically thinking about following the Linnaean taxonomy, grouping things more or less like this:
  • Phylum: the broad kind of game -- eg, Active, Board, Card, Dice

  • Family (or maybe Genus): what we think of as a single game today, but usually were a collection of linked variants -- eg, Chess, Tables, Tafl

  • Species: a single precise variant in a Family -- eg, Shatranj, Courier Chess, Dice Chess, Chess of the Mad Queen

  • Morph: a specific reconstruction of a Species -- eg, the various Hnefatafl reconstructions
Admittedly, this is probably more clever than useful. But I am struck at the way the memetic evolution of games, and the resulting family tree, *feels* like a biological evolutionary tree. (And purely on the Querki side, now I'm beginning to ponder whether there is anything that should be reified into Querki's type system to support such trees, since there are a lot of use cases for them.)

Anyway, looking for any thoughts and opinions about what the schema should look like here. I have a rapidly growing collection of links that I need to record somewhere, so I may as well start this project of converting the Homepage to Querki sometime soon...
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Not quite new, but new to me. Over on the SCA Games Group on Facebook, Charles Knutson happened to mention this 2010 re-examination of the game of Tablut -- and by extension, of Hnefetafl. Any period games aficionados on FB should probably join the group (which is currently the most active forum I know on the topic), but since I know some of my friends are Facebook-allergic, here's a pointer.

Background: Hnefatafl is often called "Viking Chess" -- it was *the* popular strategy game in northern Europe during the first half of SCA period, before Chess moved in and occupied that memetic space. There are a number of versions of it, but they are all believed to involve a force of a King and N men (the "Swedes" or "Defenders") who are being besieged by Nx2 opponents (the "Muscovites" or "Attackers"). The Attackers are trying to capture the King; the Defenders, to get the King from the center of the board to the edge or corner. (I tend to refer to this whole family as "Tafl games", although this is simply a shorthand.)

Despite being popular for centuries, across most of northern Europe, there exist no really good descriptions of the rules. The best one we have was written by Linnaeus in the early 18th century, when he was visiting Lapland, the one place where Tablut, a version of the game, was still being played. He wrote down the rules in Latin, and we've largely been working from his notes ever since.

This article is based on a simple but important premise: that the standard translation of Linnaeus, which everyone has been using for the past century, kind of sucks. It left out key passages, mistranslated a few details, and generally wound up being a bit misleading about some of the critical details. That's important, because everyone who has played Tafl has noticed that it's pretty poorly balanced. For decades, folks have argued about how to tweak the rules to be less broken.

So this article is quite welcome. It is by no means the last word on the subject, but it seems like a principled and careful reconstruction. John Ashton, the author, presents the rules largely as translated from Linnaeus; further down, he goes into a lot of detail about what he's interpolated into those rules and why. While I'm not certain whether he's correct, his logic sounds good, and (not having tried it yet, mind), the reconstruction sounds better-balanced than average.

I recommend reading the full article, but in short, he presents two critical tweaks to the usual rules. First, the always-contentious rule for capturing the King winds up sort of in-between -- it requires four captors when he is on his "throne", three when he's next to it, and two otherwise. This makes the King less immortal than in versions that always require four captors. Second, in addition to the usual rule that nobody can enter the King's citadel once it is exited, they also cannot re-enter the *attackers'* starting spaces. This makes it notably trickier for the King to get to the edge of the board. Moreover, it suggests that nobody can pass *through* any of those spaces, which makes movement *quite* a lot more constrained than in most interpretations. These changes somewhat balance each other, and seem to require a more thoughtful and strategic approach.

Very neat stuff. Anybody reading this from Pennsic (seriously, why are you reading LiveJournal at Pennsic?) might want to find a board and an opponent and try it out. I'll have to run a Low Company meeting sometime, so we can try these rules...
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I've burbled at some of you about Fealty, the board game that [livejournal.com profile] mindways has been developing. (Which I've been helping to playtest, so I've wound up rather ridiculously enthused about it.) There was a limited "beta" run of the game printed for Origins (which a few of us got copies of); now, the full production run is in process, and they're starting to take pre-orders.

The pre-orders are being handled through Kickstarter, and I encourage folks to pick it up through that: the publisher is using the Kickstarter project to gauge demand and raise capital. The game is going to press one way or another, but if enough orders are generated through Kickstarter he'll have enough funds to double the print run. (If you bought the limited edition, you get a copy of the full run automatically.)

The game is, IMO, pretty excellent: the best *quick* strategy game I know. It takes only about ten minutes to play a two-player game once you know what you're doing, but there is a lot of depth and replayability in those ten minutes. It plays well with 2, 3 or 4 players; even with 4 players, it's surprisingly quick and deep. The best complement I can pay is that I've been playtesting it for much of the past year, and continue to seek it out as one of my go-to games on a regular basis.

I'm planning on bringing my copy to Pennsic; feel free to grab me when I'm at-home in Lochleven if you'd like to try it out. (Okay, it's not period, but at least it's period-themed. And it's a heck of a lot closer to Chess than MtG is. I'll also be available to teach Primero and Seven-Sided Backgammon, to assuage my Laureltude.)

So spread the word, and get your pre-orders in: it would be great to see the Kickstarter campaign succeed, so that the game gets the print run it deserves...
jducoeur: (Default)
I've burbled at some of you about Fealty, the board game that [livejournal.com profile] mindways has been developing. (Which I've been helping to playtest, so I've wound up rather ridiculously enthused about it.) There was a limited "beta" run of the game printed for Origins (which a few of us got copies of); now, the full production run is in process, and they're starting to take pre-orders.

The pre-orders are being handled through Kickstarter, and I encourage folks to pick it up through that: the publisher is using the Kickstarter project to gauge demand and raise capital. The game is going to press one way or another, but if enough orders are generated through Kickstarter he'll have enough funds to double the print run. (If you bought the limited edition, you get a copy of the full run automatically.)

The game is, IMO, pretty excellent: the best *quick* strategy game I know. It takes only about ten minutes to play a two-player game once you know what you're doing, but there is a lot of depth and replayability in those ten minutes. It plays well with 2, 3 or 4 players; even with 4 players, it's surprisingly quick and deep. The best complement I can pay is that I've been playtesting it for much of the past year, and continue to seek it out as one of my go-to games on a regular basis.

I'm planning on bringing my copy to Pennsic; feel free to grab me when I'm at-home in Lochleven if you'd like to try it out. (Okay, it's not period, but at least it's period-themed. And it's a heck of a lot closer to Chess than MtG is. I'll also be available to teach Primero and Seven-Sided Backgammon, to assuage my Laureltude.)

So spread the word, and get your pre-orders in: it would be great to see the Kickstarter campaign succeed, so that the game gets the print run it deserves...
jducoeur: (Default)
Game geeking is a fairly ordinary pastime among my friends. But game geeking about solitaire -- now *that* is geeky to a ridiculous degree. But some folks might be interested, so here goes. (Warning: the following assumes you know how Spider Solitaire works.)

I found myself recently wanting to play something straightforward on my work laptop, which was largely devoid of games. The Windows image used by our IT department is remarkably stripped-down -- far as I could figure, they took even Spider Solitaire off of it. And I *like* Spider: I've been a fan of the game since long before it was trendy.

So I went and looked up my old favorite, which I've been playing on and off for umpteen years now: Spider Wizard. Not a sophisticated game by any means -- I don't think it's changed noticeably since the XP version, and it's a bit overpriced by current standards. But it is, as the name suggests, essentially a configurable engine for Spider-like games, which provides room for rather more fun than average. And it has one of my all-time favorite horrible time-wasters: Grounds for Divorce.

It's a well-named solitaire variant, and the single most addictive version I've ever found. It's almost exactly like Spider, except for two rules tweaks and a program consideration:

1. Open stacks stay open when you deal. (Not unique, but not universal -- many Spider variants deal to the open pile, or don't allow you to deal if there is an open pile.)
2. All cards, including the buried ones, are visible.
3. Games only count for your stats if you actually move a card.

The thing is, Spider is largely a game of luck: there are a *lot* of face-down cards, so you're guessing a lot. I don't know if anyone's really studied it, but my guess is that, with the statistically best play, the game is probably only winnable half the time, because of how easy it is to get screwed by a down card. Not so with Grounds for Divorce -- since you can see all the played cards, you can actually strategize pretty deeply. Moreover, you can (and should) make an informed decision about whether to even accept a given tableau: my rule of thumb is to fully figure out whether I can do something interesting with the initial deal, and simply decline the game (with no penalty) if I can't. The result is that I win GfD about 3/4 of the time, and I suspect I could do better, making it a much more interesting (if still somewhat mindless and relaxing) challenge. It strikes a very good balance: hard enough that I do have to pay attention to what I'm doing, but eminently winnable.

So consider this a slightly guarded recommendation. Like I said, Spider Wizard is a bit primitive and over-priced by current standards. But I do find Grounds for Divorce worth the money in terms of how much I play it, the entire rest of the thing entirely aside...
jducoeur: (Default)
Game geeking is a fairly ordinary pastime among my friends. But game geeking about solitaire -- now *that* is geeky to a ridiculous degree. But some folks might be interested, so here goes. (Warning: the following assumes you know how Spider Solitaire works.)

I found myself recently wanting to play something straightforward on my work laptop, which was largely devoid of games. The Windows image used by our IT department is remarkably stripped-down -- far as I could figure, they took even Spider Solitaire off of it. And I *like* Spider: I've been a fan of the game since long before it was trendy.

So I went and looked up my old favorite, which I've been playing on and off for umpteen years now: Spider Wizard. Not a sophisticated game by any means -- I don't think it's changed noticeably since the XP version, and it's a bit overpriced by current standards. But it is, as the name suggests, essentially a configurable engine for Spider-like games, which provides room for rather more fun than average. And it has one of my all-time favorite horrible time-wasters: Grounds for Divorce.

It's a well-named solitaire variant, and the single most addictive version I've ever found. It's almost exactly like Spider, except for two rules tweaks and a program consideration:

1. Open stacks stay open when you deal. (Not unique, but not universal -- many Spider variants deal to the open pile, or don't allow you to deal if there is an open pile.)
2. All cards, including the buried ones, are visible.
3. Games only count for your stats if you actually move a card.

The thing is, Spider is largely a game of luck: there are a *lot* of face-down cards, so you're guessing a lot. I don't know if anyone's really studied it, but my guess is that, with the statistically best play, the game is probably only winnable half the time, because of how easy it is to get screwed by a down card. Not so with Grounds for Divorce -- since you can see all the played cards, you can actually strategize pretty deeply. Moreover, you can (and should) make an informed decision about whether to even accept a given tableau: my rule of thumb is to fully figure out whether I can do something interesting with the initial deal, and simply decline the game (with no penalty) if I can't. The result is that I win GfD about 3/4 of the time, and I suspect I could do better, making it a much more interesting (if still somewhat mindless and relaxing) challenge. It strikes a very good balance: hard enough that I do have to pay attention to what I'm doing, but eminently winnable.

So consider this a slightly guarded recommendation. Like I said, Spider Wizard is a bit primitive and over-priced by current standards. But I do find Grounds for Divorce worth the money in terms of how much I play it, the entire rest of the thing entirely aside...
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Very interesting review on Ars today about the new XBox Live game Limbo. From the descriptions of the game's dreamlike nature and strange internal logic, I have a suspicion that it will appeal to the people who really got into Sleep No More. It's not quite enough to make me buy an XBox, but if you have one, it may be worth checking out...
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Very interesting review on Ars today about the new XBox Live game Limbo. From the descriptions of the game's dreamlike nature and strange internal logic, I have a suspicion that it will appeal to the people who really got into Sleep No More. It's not quite enough to make me buy an XBox, but if you have one, it may be worth checking out...
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This week, I came across the blog Yet Another Language Geek -- a random programming blog (too rarely updated), but a rather good one, focused on the intersection of functional programming techniques and .NET. As Microsoft ever-so-slowly begins to shift their stack towards more functional programming (which they are definitely doing, if you pay attention), this is turning into a rather useful resource. There isn't much here that's novel, but he does a good job of explaining concepts that every functional programmer knows, in terms that make sense to the typical C# developer.

Anyway, I was amused today, reading his article on Function Memoization, and discovering that it is written in terms of RoboRally -- he's using memoization to compute the cell types on the board, since they get reused so much. Very good article, with code examples that demonstrate how easy memoization is to implement in modern C#, and discussion of why it's useful. A particularly fine illustration of why I consider closures so important for any serious programming language...
jducoeur: (Default)
This week, I came across the blog Yet Another Language Geek -- a random programming blog (too rarely updated), but a rather good one, focused on the intersection of functional programming techniques and .NET. As Microsoft ever-so-slowly begins to shift their stack towards more functional programming (which they are definitely doing, if you pay attention), this is turning into a rather useful resource. There isn't much here that's novel, but he does a good job of explaining concepts that every functional programmer knows, in terms that make sense to the typical C# developer.

Anyway, I was amused today, reading his article on Function Memoization, and discovering that it is written in terms of RoboRally -- he's using memoization to compute the cell types on the board, since they get reused so much. Very good article, with code examples that demonstrate how easy memoization is to implement in modern C#, and discussion of why it's useful. A particularly fine illustration of why I consider closures so important for any serious programming language...
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Interesting review here from Ars Technica about the upcoming computer game Heavy Rain. The upshot is that they are both intrigued by the game and nervous about its prospects, because it is a real, hardcore roleplaying experience. You aren't playing a marine with a big gun or a barbarian with a sword -- you're playing a realistic person trying to survive and help others survive a genuinely dangerous situation.

Throughout the description, I find echoes of old discussions of what makes a good LARP. This game is something that is rarely if ever seen in computer games, but which is a characteristic often seen in well-regarded LARPs: an RPG that is trying to put you deeply in the shoes of a realistic character, and provoke real angst and pain through it. You have to make real choices, which have profound in-game consequences for yourself *and* those around you.

I'm fascinated by the description. I have less than no time to pick up a new game (and don't currently own a PS3 to play it on to begin with), but I have to say, this is one of the most intriguing-sounding games I've heard about in years. Ars may be right that there simply isn't enough market for this sort of thing, but it sounds to me like a game that a number of my LARP-but-not-computer-gamer friends might actually get into...
jducoeur: (Default)
Interesting review here from Ars Technica about the upcoming computer game Heavy Rain. The upshot is that they are both intrigued by the game and nervous about its prospects, because it is a real, hardcore roleplaying experience. You aren't playing a marine with a big gun or a barbarian with a sword -- you're playing a realistic person trying to survive and help others survive a genuinely dangerous situation.

Throughout the description, I find echoes of old discussions of what makes a good LARP. This game is something that is rarely if ever seen in computer games, but which is a characteristic often seen in well-regarded LARPs: an RPG that is trying to put you deeply in the shoes of a realistic character, and provoke real angst and pain through it. You have to make real choices, which have profound in-game consequences for yourself *and* those around you.

I'm fascinated by the description. I have less than no time to pick up a new game (and don't currently own a PS3 to play it on to begin with), but I have to say, this is one of the most intriguing-sounding games I've heard about in years. Ars may be right that there simply isn't enough market for this sort of thing, but it sounds to me like a game that a number of my LARP-but-not-computer-gamer friends might actually get into...
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Okay, time for a little Laurel-geeking. My thanks to [livejournal.com profile] mikekn for pointing out that not only has Sonja Musser Golladay's long-awaited dissertation on "Los libros de acedrex dados e tablas" been published, but it's available for download from the University of Arizona! It's pretty big even by dissertation standards (over 1400 pages), but well worth getting your hands on -- this is without a doubt the most important book published on period games since Willughby's "Volume of Playes".

Golladay goes into loving detail about every aspect of the book and topic, and the result is that it's potentially interesting to many different readers. For example, [livejournal.com profile] baron_steffan might want to take a look at the ten pages discussing Hermeticism as an underlying precept of parts of the book; [livejournal.com profile] quantumkitty might enjoy poring through the full transcription of the text. Anyone who enjoys chess and wants to hone their period-chess skills is likely to appreciate the 100+ chess problems from the book, and anyone who enjoy fun and weird period games will *love* the stuff in here -- the majority of these games are still unknown to most of the SCA.

I'll admit a modest personal stake here: she spends several pages on my reconstruction of the Astrological Tables, and broadly finds it to not suck. (Which is a relief: it's always a bit disconcerting to have a knowledgeable scholar pore over my stuff.) But really: with this publication, all of the books that I had in my "long-awaited" pile have finally been published. (This, Willughby, and Smith's compilation of the Domenico corpus.) Clearly, I need to set my sights on something new to wait for now...
jducoeur: (Default)
Okay, time for a little Laurel-geeking. My thanks to [livejournal.com profile] mikekn for pointing out that not only has Sonja Musser Golladay's long-awaited dissertation on "Los libros de acedrex dados e tablas" been published, but it's available for download from the University of Arizona! It's pretty big even by dissertation standards (over 1400 pages), but well worth getting your hands on -- this is without a doubt the most important book published on period games since Willughby's "Volume of Playes".

Golladay goes into loving detail about every aspect of the book and topic, and the result is that it's potentially interesting to many different readers. For example, [livejournal.com profile] baron_steffan might want to take a look at the ten pages discussing Hermeticism as an underlying precept of parts of the book; [livejournal.com profile] quantumkitty might enjoy poring through the full transcription of the text. Anyone who enjoys chess and wants to hone their period-chess skills is likely to appreciate the 100+ chess problems from the book, and anyone who enjoy fun and weird period games will *love* the stuff in here -- the majority of these games are still unknown to most of the SCA.

I'll admit a modest personal stake here: she spends several pages on my reconstruction of the Astrological Tables, and broadly finds it to not suck. (Which is a relief: it's always a bit disconcerting to have a knowledgeable scholar pore over my stuff.) But really: with this publication, all of the books that I had in my "long-awaited" pile have finally been published. (This, Willughby, and Smith's compilation of the Domenico corpus.) Clearly, I need to set my sights on something new to wait for now...

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