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One of the most popular boardgame video reviewers, Marco Arnaudo , has a saying, " In every boardgamer there is a wargamer screamin...

5 Free Ways to Attract Gamers to Wargaming: for Publishers, Developers and Designers by Ania B. Ziolkowska 5 Free Ways to Attract Gamers to Wargaming: for Publishers, Developers and Designers by Ania B. Ziolkowska

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

development

One of the most popular boardgame video reviewers, Marco Arnaudo, has a saying, "In every boardgamer there is a wargamer screaming to come out." I happen to agree and I am on a crusade to help bring more gamers to the wargaming hobby.

You may wonder who am I to try to teach publishers about doing their job, so I will briefly introduce myself. My name is Ania B. Ziolkowska and I’ve been a freelance graphic artist in the wargaming industry since 2014. You may say this isn’t very long. It’s not, but I believe that I have a fresh perspective, not only from an industry insider point of view but also as a trained ad specialist. And, what’s probably most important, from a casual gamer-turned-wargamer point of view. So bear with me and I guarantee you that following these five simple and (mostly) free steps, will not only attract new customers to your business but will also increase loyalty to your brand.



1. MAKE THE RULEBOOK AS CLEAR AS POSSIBLE.



If your reaction to this point is "doh, it already is", but before releasing the game only your team (playtesters, designer and developer) read your rulebook, then I bet you I will find at least five things in it that may be improved to serve gamers better.

The common oversight is to give the rulebook to only industry insiders to review. The designer and the developer have good knowledge of their game’s rules, so they may easily miss some unclear paragraphs. Playtesters and proofreaders are a great asset, there’s no doubt about it, but they are usually wargamers themselves. Give your rulebook file to a few casual gamers and ask them to use the commenting tool (which is built into text editor). Have them write down all their questions and doubts while they read along. Also, ask them to mark if and where later in the text they’ve found the answer to their previous concerns. This will give you a good understanding of what needs to be fixed, rearranged and explained in more detail, or simply calls for an annotation in your rulebook.

In general, try to avoid acronyms and abbreviations. There is a lot of military jargon in wargames as is, so don’t make it harder for newbies by adding to this acronyms. If you can’t (or won’t avoid them) then provide a glossary in the front or back of the rulebook. Explaining an acronym or abbreviation just once in the text may not be enough - you can’t assume that a reader will remember all the definitions right away. Or that they will remember where in a sixteen page- rulebook the acronym was already mentioned.

Use many illustrations.This may cause the rulebook to be longer but will help gamers understand the rules better and will also make pages look less intimidating (by breaking blocks of text into more coherent parts).

Insert a lengthy example of a play in the rulebook and make sure that it doesn’t follow the simplest choices the player may take during their turn. Also, ensure that it doesn’t include that one exception to the rule in the whole mechanics.

And finally, post your rulebook online. Assume that at some point gamers who have never heard about your company may consider purchasing your game. Now, their decision may be to check out the artwork, the reviews and other players’ opinions and/or the rulebook itself. Artwork is a powerful tool, it may be eye-catching but most gamers need at least one extra incentive to purchase - either they know and trust your brand, or they are interested in the particular topic your game covers, or they had positive experiences with other games by that designer. Those who are new to wargaming won’t have the benefit of any of these. They may read or watch some reviews or ask around. However, reviews may not exist yet and some gamers want to judge mechanics and complexity for themselves - especially if they’ve never bought a wargame. So post it! Post that rulebook on your website and on Boardgamegeek (because this is the place where the people who you want to attract hang out).


2. WATCH YOUR PLAYTESTERS PLAY.


Playtesters are one of the most valuable assets in the game development process - they are passionate, self-motivated, methodical and they are usually working in exchange for the product and (yes!) appreciation. It’s really impressive that tests can be conducted by people all over the world thanks to the internet, but I would strongly advise you to have a small group of playtesters that you can actually watch while they play. This may be done via webcam, but watch them closely: Are they having fun? How many times do they need to consult the rulebook? How do they use the turn track, holding boxes and tables on the map?

I’m often surprised how differently players actually use tracks and holding boxes in contrast to how the designer or developer intended it to work. I see many pictures of games in play with counters piling up on a track, sitting outside playing areas to avoid covering important information, or crowding in small holding boxes. These are easy to avoid mistakes in the design process if you just simply watch how people play and interact with your prototype.

3. SEND YOUR PRODUCT TO THE RIGHT VIDEO REVIEWERS.


You may ask, who the hell is the "right" video reviewer?! That’s a fair question. If your game targets grognards and people already well acquainted with wargaming, then just send your copies to those with high recognition and well-earned respect. In that case, even the old-school wargame magazine review would be a great and very useful promotional tool.

If you however produced a lighter wargame, a solitary piece or a wargame with cards, then your target customer is beyond the scope of grognards. You need to reach younger people, wargame newbies and casual gamers looking to expand their horizons. In that case, video review is the way to go.

Did you know that Google owns YouTube, and a Google search will always select YouTube video over any other content which may be related to your game? If you really want to have a wider impact with your game, try to look for those reviewers who make well-filmed, well-edited, dynamic videos which are a maximum of 10-15 minutes long.

In the era of the internet, social media and smartphones, we all have shorter attention spans and we tend to switch to another video after a couple of seconds or minutes, unless there is something which is dynamic enough to keep us interested. Fortunately there are some reviewers who balance the art of the boardgame review really nicely. To illustrate what I mean check The Discriminating Gamer YouTube channel.

4. SHOW UP AND BE PREPARED.


Go to conventions. You don’t have to show up at each and every one of them, but try to attend at least some that are near you. You don’t need to have a huge booth. You don’t even need to have your own booth - many publishers share their space to lower the costs and that’s perfectly fine.

Show up, lay your games on the tables and set them up ready to play. Your game may be too long to play at the convention, or even to explain all the rules in just a couple of minutes, but show the game itself in action.

Prepare a short description of the game - what it’s about and why this particular subject is so interesting. If this is not a strictly wargaming convention, then don’t go into too much historical detail - be brief and focus on the things which capture imagination, stuff like ‘’In the 15th century knights were mostly nobleman and they despised archers for not fighting honorably by killing enemies from afar. On some occasions, like during the Battle of Creҫy, knights even rode through lines of their own archers. However, at Agincourt, where the English were outnumbered 4-1 by the French army, archers played a huge role in the English victory.” Those kinds of details will stick in the listener’s mind better than numbers and dates.

Also prepare a super-simplified version of the rules - a basic structure, so you are able to give at least an impression of the game’s flow. Don’t improvise, convert rules into script, try to read them out loud and time yourself - this is not a lecture, this is a convention, you have to be reasonably quick.

When you have both scripts ready for your product there is nothing simpler than reaching out to your fans and asking for help. How many people will your company send to the event? Are they sociable people? Are they eager to share the product with a wider audience? It is always better to anticipate a bunch of enthusiastic fans, who may even know your games better than you do, than to show up at the convention and just sit behind the table and not interact with visitors. When you have scripts ready, give them to your volunteers and you are ready to go.

When I say "show up", I don’t mean only conventions. I mean show up on Consim World, BoardGameGeek and at least some other social media. And do it regularly! You cannot just appear once in a while with a copy of your newsletter. First and foremost you need to give value to your audience. Share images of your upcoming games, pictures from the process, designer’s notes, but first and foremost answer gamers’ questions.

When you publish a game this is not over yet If you don’t show up to answer questions about the rules (or instruct a designer to do this) the game quickly becomes a rotten egg and sadly your company image suffers too. This is especially important when you are a small company and you cannot assume that one of those hundreds of players, who already purchased your game, will know the answer. No, you haven’t sold that many copies yet, so make it a priority to help gamers understand those rules. Gamers who are left alone with their questions unanswered may not trust that your next game will be worth buying.


5. RESPECT AND APPRECIATE.


Does it seem to you that I’m being silly now, assuming that you may actually do the opposite? I don’t suspect you will, but do you do enough to make your customers and especially loyal fans feel appreciated? The more you acknowledge your audience, the more connected they will feel and they will also be more likely to purchase your games.

When someone posts a good review on any of your products thank them by leaving a comment or simply hitting the like button. When someone tags you in a post or a comment which recommends your product, at least leave a like. If someone posts a picture of your game in play on Facebook and tags you in it, share that picture on your page (I mean share by hitting the share button, not saving the photo and posting it as your own). Those small gestures mean a lot to many gamers and builds a loyal group of fans and ambassadors of your brand.

When you are at a convention and anyone (and I mean literally anyone) stops at your booth to take a look at your game, assume that this person may end up buying it. Don’t dismiss a person based on their appearance, age, gender or other popular stereotypes about what wargamers look like. Always engage with people, even those who show only the slightest interest.

If a fan helps you at the convention, give them some games in exchange for their time. Thank them by name on your social platforms. And never, ever forget to include playtesters and proofreaders names in the credits!

You may wonder how your relationship with your fans, volunteers and playtesters may help you attract more casual gamers. The answer is, we don’t live in a bubble. The better you treat those customers you already have, the wider the net you cast in the sea.

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These are just few examples of how to attract new customers to your brand and most of them involve only your time and effort. The best thing is, by concisely following these steps you will provide not only better games for all of us - no matter grognard, play-it-all or a newbie – but will also strengthen your own brand, gain a loyal audience, customers, fans and ambassadors - something which no money can buy.

Wargame Design Studio       A new wargame studio has been set up by the folks behind the recent Panzer Battles games.   We wi...

Wargame Design Studio Wargame Design Studio

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

development

 
 
 
A new wargame studio has been set up by the folks behind the recent Panzer Battles games.
 
We wish them good luck and hope they continue to make new wargames to keep us entertained long into the future. I also hope we get to see some unique designs and features in some of their future games.
 




Transcript of Joel Billings  of 2by3 Games Interrogation      Good morning Mr. Billings, I hope you had a pleasant night. Now ...

Interrogation of Joel Billings Interrogation of Joel Billings

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

development

Transcript of Joel Billings of 2by3 Games Interrogation
 
 




Good morning Mr. Billings, I hope you had a pleasant night. Now to continue with our 'interview'. If it will help matters we can do a little role playing. I will go get my dentistry tools and ask you if it is "safe".

First some quick fire 'about you' questions.

Name? 

Joel Billings

Hair colour?

Brown
 
Eye colour?

Brown

Age?

58

Height?

6’3”

Single or in a relationship?

Married 27 years

Little Joels or..erm..Joelettes?

2 daugters, Melany 26, Jenna 23, 1 son, Alex 18 (about to leave for college, at which point all 3 will have gone to the dark side - Southern California - while my wife and I are in the San Francisco Bay Area).

Favourite food?

Mexican

Favourite film?

Das Boot

Favourite colour? 

Really? (mumbling between interrogators)

Favourite book?

Task Force Lone Bandit (my father wrote it, so I’m biased)

Favourite music genre and bands?

Jackson Browne, Neil Young, Elvis Costello (rock of the 70s, as my music life peaked when I was in college)

Favourite holiday destination?

Western Europe

Lucky Number?

43 (actually my wife’s, but it’s been my roller hockey jersey number for the past 20 years)

BF109 or Hurricane?

BF109

Sherman or Panzer IV?

Sherman

West front or East front?

It depends on the scale and/or battle, but I like them both.

Tactical or Operational?

Operational

Rommel or Patton?

I’m too much of an American to not pick Patton. My father took me to the movie Patton when it came out when I was 12. My uncle served in the 1st Division in Sicily and he had a mixed opinion of Patton. My dad was just happy that Patton didn’t go into politics.

Hmmm..interesting....Now we have a good idea from the ACME Lie Detector when your telling the truth we shall get on the real questions. Remember ACME Lie detector currently has a money back guarantee, that's how good it is!

 


What started your career with computer gaming in general, and specifically wargames?

I started playing wargames with Tactics II at the age of 7 in 1965. My father got the game from his brother (both WWII vets), and my father taught it to me. After that Gettysburg, and many other Avalon Hill boardgames followed. I loved it as my father got me interested in military history by the time I was in 2nd grade. I spent the next 14 years playing as many wargames (and some statistical sports games) as I could afford, while I eventually got a degree in Economics from Claremont McKenna College in the Los Angeles area. In 1979 when I graduated from college and saw my first personal computer (a TRS-80 at Radio Shack), I thought the time was right for wargames to be made on computers. I had a small amount of computer experience in college, and had programmed a very simple wargame for a BASIC computer class. I didn’t have the skills to do the programming myself, but I was lucky enough to be spending my summer after graduating working in Silicon Valley. Through the local wargame stores I found two programmers that were also wargamers and interested in working with me. At that point, I founded Strategic Simulations, Inc (SSI). Had I not been in Silicon Valley, I don’t think any of this would have been possible. For that I have to thank my favorite college professor who had gotten me an internship at Amdahl that led to the summer job, and my uncle for letting me live in his house in Palo Alto that summer and for giving me encouragement to put off business school and start SSI instead.



What have been the major hurdles you’ve come across during your game development career?

Early at SSI since most of our games were in BASIC, we struggled with making the games run fast enough. Later on, the issues became that the games grew to be so complicated and time-intensive that testing them in a reasonable time-frame became very difficult. My major struggles weren’t so much in development of wargames though, as they were managing SSI as it grew and produced non-wargames. I enjoyed all kinds of strategy games, including statistical sports games, although wargames were my real passion. Many of the development people at SSI were big role-players (not me), so that allowed us to branch out into role-playing games generally and the SSI D&D license was the culmination of that effort. By 1990, wargames were no more than 25% of SSIs sales, so a lot of my time was spent on the business and not as much of my time went into game development. Two years after selling SSI to Mindscape in 1994, I decided to end my short lived executive career at Mindscape and go back to being a wargame developer at SSI. In 2000 the opportunity came up to partner with Gary Grigsby and Keith Brors and create 2by3 Games with the idea to focus entirely on developing Gary’s wargames. I had been developing Gary’s games since 1982 and his were always my favorite wargame designs, so it was a natural partnership. The challenge we’ve faced at 2by3 is how to continue making these ever increasingly complex games given their limited market. It wouldn’t happen without the group of volunteers that came from our fan community and have done all kinds of work needed to produce these projects (database, scenario, testing, programming and more).


Which game are you most proud off that you’ve been involved in?

That’s hard to say. Over the years, starting with War in Russia in the early 80s and ending with War in the East in 2010, Gary’s eastern front series of games have been very special to me. I was a huge fan of SPI’s War in the East monster board wargame when it first came out in the early 70s). Another game I am very proud of is the original Panzer General. As arguably the best selling personal computer hexagon based wargame of all time, it was a very special project created by an all-star group of employees at SSI in 1994. I think the many games in the Panzer General series, and the PG inspired Panzer Corps series put out more recently by Matrix, have introduced a lot of people to PC wargaming. I’m proud of War in the Pacific, given just how difficult it was to develop. Once released, I never wanted to see it again, but I was very proud of its release and subsequent improvement by the community with the release of WitPAE.

So War in the Pacific was the hardest to see to completion? Why was that?

Every ship, every plane, pilot, squad fighting in the entire Pacific. A game that played in daily turns executing ever airstrike for 4 years. It was massive. The only way it could be tested quickly was using the AI to play the AI, and even that took days. Having human players test it was very difficult. We had done massive games before, but this was the biggest by far.



What have been your low points and what have been the high points?

Getting to develop 10-15 games a year in the 80s was a lot of fun, although it was also hard work. Getting SSIs first game completed in 6 months, and then getting SSI to turn profitable within a year were big early high points. Later on, getting the Dungeons & Dragons license in 1987 and releasing many successful D&D products over the next few years were high points. Not being able to take advantage of those D&D products on the early consoles, and problems with completing the 2nd generation D&D engine, and the layoff that came because of it were low points. The sale of SSI was both a high and a low, and the early success of SSI within Mindscape, thanks in part to Panzer General and Steel Panthers was another high. Forming 2by3 Games in 2000 and getting to work with Gary on a day to day basis again as I did in the 80s was another high point, as were the release of WitP (more of a relief) and War in the East.

What advice would you give to someone who was contemplating designing\developing wargames?

Play a lot of games. Get involved with beta testing wargames. You may find you can talk to various game designers/developers and help out with various tasks aside from just testing. There is a difference between a programmer/designer and someone like me that hasn’t programmed since 1982. It’s hard for non-programmers to get to be designers, but it’s more possible for them to be a developer. However, I found that my basic knowledge of BASIC back when most of our games were programed in basic did help me deal with programmers, so I’d encourage developers to get some experience if they can with programming, if only at a very basic level.

How do you feel about the change from brick and mortar commerce to the new internet download version?

I’m very happy to see it go this way. It works for wargames, especially when we have a great distribution partner in Matrix. Most wargames are niche products and had an increasingly difficult time finding shelf space. Unsold gamers were returned, forcing prices down as inventory stacked up. Removing the middle man (retailer and often a distributor) means more for the designer and publisher. For downloaded products, the cost of the download is less than the cost of the box and docs, so that’s another advantage.

Do developers and programmers get a larger percentage of profits with the new model and the absence of overhead?

Yes, generally royalty percentages are higher than they were back in the 80s and 90s, and the percentage of the retail price actually received by the publisher is higher than it was in the brick and mortar days. That’s not to say you get rich making serious wargames, but the amount received per game sold is higher than it used to be.



Can you give us a brief run down on how SSI came into being and what are your feelings when you look back to that time?

I got the idea of making computer wargames in 1979 while working at a summer job in Silicon Valley between graduating from college and going to business school. When I was able to find two programmers also interested in making computer wargames, we started SSI. I did not plan on becoming a publisher, but once Avalon Hill said they weren’t interested in what we were doing, I had to figure out how to publish and distribute our first wargame when we finished it 6 months later. It was a great time, when personal computers were just getting into stores, and computer users were hungry for software. For me, it was great fun because once we started publishing our games, people started submitting games for publication. I got to work on a new game every month, and I got to work with some great designer/programmers. When I look back, I wonder just how everything came together, and how much we were able to do without any experience. Of course, when you’re young, you’ve got time and energy. It helped to have my sister running the production part of the company, and having my uncle available to provide business advice. In many ways it was a family business. At the same time, the people that joined our R&D department were all wargamers, so we had that in common. As the company grew, there was always a game going on of some kind, at lunch, or afterwork. Board games, miniature games, role-playing, you name it. When I met my wife in 1986, she described the company as a treehouse for gamers.

Was it a terrible blow to let go of SSI, or was it a relief at the time?

It was a bit of both. I knew that selling SSI to a bigger company would inevitably change the company forever. If it wasn’t for the increasing cost of development and the risks associated with that for a small company, I would have been happy to stay independent. However, with the gaming consoles coming in, the rising cost of development, and the increasingly hit driven business, the risks were too great. Once we decided it was time to become part of a bigger company, it then became a matter of finding a company that valued us. It took over a year, and two possible deals going south (EA and Spectrum Holobyte), before Mindscape came along. Since they had recently been bought by a big British conglomerate, it seemed as if there was a good chance for us to do well there. In fact we did very well for the first two years within Mindscape (partially because we were no longer shackled by the EA affiliated label distribution deal that was costing us a lot and partially due to some timely hit products). Unfortunately, Mindscape had its own problems, and I found I really didn’t enjoy the corporate management game and preferred working directly on the games.



 
You must understand that this mode of questioning is a means to an end. This isn't just an outlet for my salacious appetites. Some people believe that the heyday for computer wargames was years ago. My feeling is that we are in the golden age right now. What are your thoughts on the matter?

Thanks to Matrix and internet distribution, I’d agree that times are pretty good for computer wargames. Unlike boardgames, computer games are constantly changing due to changing technological capabilities. So it’s hard to compare a game from the 80s to one of today. There seem to be plenty of good games for people to spend time on.

Wargaming (both board and computer) is a hobby where the players are, to put it gently, aging. Do you see it this way, or do you feel there is actually new blood filling the hobby's veins?

Yes, I think a lot of our customers are aging baby boomers that started with hex based board wargames in their youth, and then got computers after college and moved their gaming to computers. Back in 1980 I found the average age of our customers was 23, and I was 22 at the time. Over the years, the average age of our customers kept going up. There was a wave of new gamers that came in during the 90s via games like Panzer General and Steel Panthers. Those games sold 5 to 10 times what any other wargame had sold. They were easy enough and good looking enough to attract some new gamers. Some of these people went on to play more complex wargames. Of course wargamers are outnumbered by other computer gamers, but some percentage of computer games manage to find computer wargames and get interested. I don’t have any hard data on our customers these days, but I’d bet for games like Gary Grigsby’s War in the East, the average age is probably near 50. I’d bet that the average age of Panzer Corps players is much lower. Hopefully games like Panzer Corps will continue to create new wargamers, although I do wonder how different wargames will be 10-20 years from now when the old guard that played wargames before computers came along are mostly gone.

What do you feel needs to be done to bring younger wargamers into the fold?

More games like Panzer General and Steel Panthers. Good looking, intuitive, easy to play games that are more accessible to non-wargamers. Is it fair to compare an author and a programmer? Both are in some way creating something new. A programmer/designer is like an author in a way, as game design is a creative process. Of course understanding high level programming is a barrier to entry for many would-be designers. At SSI back in the 80s we used to say that designs were a dime a dozen. The key was finding a designer that had the ability to program his design. Keith Brors was a great help in those days creating tools that Gary and other others used to make many of our early wargames. Without those tools, it would have been much harder for some of the designers to program their games. But fundamentally, it took a designer that could program to make a game happen.

Does a programmer suffer things like 'programmers block' etc?

I’m not really one to answer that as my only experience at programming was programming Pursuit of the Graf Spee back in 1981. I know that Gary often hits problems that require him to take a long walk on the beach to work out in his head. After taking that time, his mind manages to come up with solutions to the problem he’s trying to deal with.

Please hold still and stop squirming, and let the sodium pentothal do its work. You were involved with some wargame releases whose longevity boggles the mind.

Some in our hobby keep an extra old DOS computer just to play some of your games. The original SSI wargames are spoken about in hushed tones like the boardgame giant SPI, in our hobby.

There are four games from twenty plus years ago that everyone seems to want to have an updated version of. They are 'Age of Rifles', 'Battles of Napoleon', 'Great Naval Battles' and 'Steel Panthers'; you were involved with all of them in some way or another. Are you surprised at this fact, or when you saw the completed editions, did you know they were winners?

Games that have the flexibility to cover many different battles of a period are always more interesting (and popular) than those covering just one battle. AoR, BoN and SP, all fit that category. Of course SP was much more commercially successful than the others, but we knew all three were fundamentally good products that covered their subjects well and allowed players to simulate a wide variety of battles. It’s no surprise that people would like to see these games return in an updated form (I’d like to see them as well). GNB was special because it was a much better looking game than other wargames of its time and had a real time element. All 4 of these gamers were made by experienced designers that had a lot of experience making computer wargames and knew a lot about the subjects they were working on.

 

If you stop fighting, I will loosen the ropes a bit. This is hurting me as much as it is hurting you, you know. So, now to the elephant in the room. We have had '2 by 3 Games' ' Gary Grigsby's War in the East', now ' Gary Grigsby's War in the West', and ' Gary Grigsby's War in the Pacific: Admirals Edition'. There have been some mutterings on Matrix's forum about the schedule of upcoming games. If memory serves me, 'Gary Grigsby's War in the East II' and a compilation that will be 'Gary Grigsby's War in Europe' have been talked about. In the midst of these postings was a nugget called ' Steel Tigers', so just sit back, and I will get you some water and you can tell us all about '2 by 3 Games' upcoming schedule. Which future release are you most excited about working on, if any?



At the moment, we’re working on both War in the East 2 and Steel Tigers, and I’m equally excited by both. War in the East 2 is a continuation of the progress we’ve made with the WitE and WitW system, using the map we created of all of Europe that was used in WitW. Exactly how far we will take this system is unknown. We’d like to be able to ultimately reach a point where we can have games with Soviet, Axis and Allied units all fighting in Europe. Getting a game that allows this starting in 1943 would be easier than starting in 1941, and much easier than starting in 1940 or 1939. At the moment we’re relying on Gary for the AI programming while Pavel is doing 90% of the rest of the programming. I really like the changes we’ve made so far, and think this game will go a long way to providing an even more accurate simulation of the Eastern Front. As for Steel Tigers, we’re working closely with Matrix’s internal development team. It’s really a joint effort as the goal is to be every bit as state of the art with ST as SP was when it was released.

Steel Tigers is the one I’m really excited about. Will old Steel Panther players recognise it as a new Steel Panthers game, or will it look very different?

Steel Tigers will be a top down hex game with the same scale as the original Steel Panthers. However, the look and feel and interface will be up to today’s standards and should be very impressive. The original Steel Panthers looked as good as most AAA products circa 1995. We’d like Steel Tigers to be just as impressive relative to today’s games. It’s not 3D, but it uses 3D models to provide a great graphical look. The ability to play individual scenarios, linked campaigns and semi-random campaigns will be familiar to those that played SP. Of course Gary has added some new elements (like the ability to split infantry units), but fundamentally we want this to play as smoothly as SP did, but with the benefit of 20 years of improvements in graphics and interface.

Will you be aiming for historical accuracy and realism with detailed ballistic model and armour modelling, if not how will these things be modelled?

With Gary involved, we’re always aiming for historical accuracy and realism. When you realize that the combat in War in the East is being resolved in a shot by shot method that began with Steel Panthers (or even before), you know that Gary has a lot of experience making combat systems. His primary responsibility with ST is the under the hood code, so I have complete confidence that the game will be realistic.

No one expects these days for Steel Tigers to be released with all the Nations etc Steel Panthers was released with. Can you tell us what Nations will be in the first release?

I’m glad you asked. The effort it takes to create artwork for all the weapons is much greater these days than it used to be in 1995. For that reason alone, we realized early on that we needed to break SP into pieces. The first product will focus on the Eastern Front. We will have the Soviet Union, Germany, and most if not all of the Axis Allies that fought on the Eastern Front. If I recall correctly, we’re also including Poland. We fully expect to release expansions covering Western Europe and the Pacific, but for now, we’re focused on the Eastern Front.

Last question on Steel Tigers. What years will it cover?

It will cover battles from 1939-1945.

You’ve been very co-operative. Which upsets Mike as he still hasn’t got to use the nose tickler! In fifteen minutes the ACME Kidnap rope will automatically release you from the ACME kidnap chair, well that’s what it says on the box. Oh no not again...Mike, Run…sirens..Jay this way..no that way..no th(sounds of someone or something running into a wall,,more shouting fades into distance..sounds of victim getting themselves free)...TAPE ENDS

HELP WANTED     One thing I'd do if I won the lottery is set up a new game development company specialising in boardgame conver...

Do you have the computer skills these designers are looking for? Do you have the computer skills these designers are looking for?

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development

HELP WANTED

 
 

One thing I'd do if I won the lottery is set up a new game development company specialising in boardgame conversions. I currently know of three superb board wargame designers wanting to convert their games to digital format and at present having no luck finding the people to help see through their plan to the end. I'm sure this is just the tip of the iceberg. From my point of view there are countless games both board and mini's I'd love to see converted to the PC with fully working AI etc. One major advantage is that finally those 2 or more player games will be able to be played by those less fortunate than wargamers who have a circle of friends to play face to face. Yes we have VASSAL but I want to have all the rules being done by the CPU esp. for those monster games out there. Also make sure the game can be played online as well so we cater for everybody. I honestly don't think this will impact greatly on the boardgame sales as I believe those who enjoy the social face to face aspect will buy both. You'll be increasing sales all-round as finally you'll be selling to all those who never bought the boardgame due to lack of people to play against.

This page will have a list of current game designers and the name of their game that they want to see converted and are actively looking for coders etc. to get it done. So if you can code or have relevant skills that will help and are committed to getting the game converted then please contact  the designer of the game you'd love to work on. I'd see this as an excellent opportunity for students currently at University and studying game design, coding, graphics etc. or someone who is self-taught and really wants to get into game development. However only get in touch if you are going to be fully committed and don't expect payment until said game is released. If I had the skills I'd certainly get  involved.

The list is in no particular order.

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