Archive for March, 2007

The Herdsman

March 31, 2007

Michael Carrick, a Herdsman from the deep moorland, in town to sell his sheep, and tell tales of the deep moor.

Princes of Florence

March 28, 2007

Princes of Florence is a game published by Rio Grande games. Princes is a city building game, with auctions to determine which actions you can take in the game. The number of turns and actions are fixed from the start, you only have a limited amount of time to gain your objectives.

As with all Rio Grande / Alea games, the game components are excellent. The rules are generally well explained, but quite complex, expect to play a few times before gaining full understanding.

There is a simple strategy that is almost certain to win the game, if you are allowed to complete it. Bidding for ‘Jokers’ early in the game will give you a massive advantage, if you can buy them cheaply enough. For this reason, I think it is a strategy that should be avoided unless all players know of it, otherwise the game will be over before it has really even started.

In my opinion, Princes feels like an first draft game of Puerto Rico. It has many similar elements to Puerto Rico that are more fully developed in the later game. Puerto Rico doesn’t suffer from the obvious strategy issue, which is a bonus.

If you’ve never played Puerto Rico, then I’d advise it over Princes of Florence, but if you want to try out something new, and have played Puerto Rico too much recently, then Princes is certainly worth the effort to learn.


Amazon Associate

March 26, 2007

I have signed up to the Amazon Associate program. I’m not planning on covering the site with links and images, but just providing relevant text links to books, games and software when it makes sense to do so. So if I’m talking about DnD, then you might see a link like that one back there, which happens to link to the Player’s Handbook. Currently, this is only a trial, and I’m going to see how it works out.

The Nobleman

March 22, 2007

Viscount Delaney, a Nobleman with a problem to solve.

Internet Explorer

March 19, 2007

I develop mostly using the Firefox browser, and so all of the toadflax games website is optimised to work with Firefox. Internet Explorer has some quirks in the way it handles code, so that what works in Firefox may not work properly in IE.

I spent some time working on ironing out these differences over the weekend, it now means that the Countdown Numbers game and tic-tac-doh should all work properly on IE 7, and that the DnD character pages should all display correctly on both IE and Firefox.

The Watch Veteran

March 18, 2007

Lieutenant Skerell, a grizzled Watch Veteran is ready to take a stand and fight the criminal behaviour of your character party.


March 6, 2007

I have created an implementation of the Looney Labs Icehouse game Tic-Tac-Doh.

It is a derivative of the simple game Tic-Tac-Toe, with a bit more strategy.

My implementation currently requires players to both be at the same computer, I am looking into making it fully network enabled, to allow people to play from different machines. Until then, I thought that you might like to play what I have produced thus far.

Classic Games

March 6, 2007

I think that it’s important to learn how to play a wide selection of ancient and classic board games, to provide an understanding of of the core concepts of game play. Chess, Go, Backgammon, Checkers, Poker, Cribbage and Bridge are all examples of such games.

The older and enduring games have survived for so long because they are good games, well expressed, easy to learn and hard to master.

You can generally pick up the rules for a classic game very quickly, but it takes months or even years to fully master it. You can find opponents for these games quickly and easily, on websites such as Yahoo Games, or at local gaming clubs.

Learning these games helps you to become a better game designer. You can appreciate the beauty of clarity and simplicity, most of these games have few different pieces, following simple rules, or they use common gaming components (a deck of cards, simple counters). This simplicity of form allows for complexity of play, which is where you want to focus your efforts as a designer.

Once you understand many classic games, you can see which of your rules will work, and which won’t. Importantly, you can learn when to follow these rules of game design, and when breaking them will provide a better gaming experience.

One concern with these classic games is that computers will be able to play them better than humans, as is already the case with Chess. I think it is a worthy effort to try to create games that have the enduring appeal of Chess, but are not as tractable to solution by a computer.

I have been lax in learning some of these classic games, and have decided to rectify matters. I’ve begun to play Cribbage, and am also going to begin playing Backgammon.