So…following the previous week’s gaming extravaganza with Bakers this week was bound to be a bit of a let down. However, I did not suspect that the entire week would pass without playing a single game. Comments of your condolences and support will be greatly appreciated. Please address the flowers and cash donations care of Life in Games…thank you. That being said, while I did not actually play any games it does not mean that I did not spend a substantial amount of time on activities involving them. Whether it was writing about them, studying Masters of the Gridiron, or working on my own designs, I had plenty of time devoted in one way or another to gaming goodness! Here we go!
As many of your are aware I posted my review of the football themed card game, Masters of the Gridiron, on Sunday. After previously playing a number of games of it, I decided to break it down a little further and examine the various cards that I had access to. It was by doing this that I began to realize the amount of depth that the game possesses if played in its most advanced form. You actually have the ability to focus your team heavily in the direction of defense or offense and even which aspects of those in which you wish to specialize. If Masters of the Gridiron were to ever get huge like Magic the Gathering, or even see some sort of organized play along similar lines, I can easily see a high level of meta-gaming taking place. If you are able to predict that more people are focusing on passing, you choose to show up with a team that specializes in shutting that down. Being able to predict the most common strategies of your likely opposition and show up strongly prepared to defeat it is just another way in which Masters of the Gridiron succeeds in simulating NFL football. How many times in football does the team that anticipates the current offensive and defensive trends in the league, and manages to institute effective counter strategies, go on to dominate. My fellow football fans will remember things like the West Coast, Run and Shoot, and the Wildcat offenses as well as the 46, Zone Blitz, and the Tampa 2 defenses. Each of the strategies were at one time an innovation that led to enormous success for the teams that first developed them until they became common practice and the next successful strategy was developed to defeat the status quo. I envision a Masters of the Gridiron tournament scene that would evolve similar to this and it is a tribute to what a fine game it is!
I also spent a fair amount of time working on my latest project, tentatively titled Legacy Wars. Sadly, I have put my beloved, The Realm, on hold for the time being as I still have not worked out a scoring mechanism that makes me happy. I have done a fair amount of playtesting with friends, but this coming Saturday will be the first time it travels out of my inner circle to encounter real criticism. I will finally be attending my first meeting of a local playtesting and game design group to which I was invited by Travis R. Chance, the designer of Infamy. Other members of the group have expressed interest in seeing more new games hit the table, so I think there is a fair chance that it will see play. As such, I am trying to refine the language and rules as best I can, but rulebook writing is incredibly difficult. Oh, I could explain how to play in about less than 10 minutes, but expressing that in print, clearly and accurately without room for misinterpretation is much harder. Are there professional rulebook writers that I can dictate to? Hmmm…that would be nice but I fear it is not the case. Oh well, I am truly excited to attend, both for playing of new games and hopefully having mine played as well. Wish me luck!
Although it was a slow week for gaming itself it was a week filled with game based activities. I thoroughly enjoyed both playing and analyzing Masters of the Gridiron. While the work I put in on Legacy Wars is not the fun or exciting part of the game design dream, it is the crucial step of refinement needed to move towards a finished product. Stay tuned for next week for more updates and hopefully more gaming. Otherwise, you may have to organize a benefit concert or something!
As always, I would love to hear about your week, whether it was fairly tame or put mine to shame! Thanks for reading!