Saturday, January 22, 2005

Empire Wars Chronicles

I finally had the opportunity to show off EW to Drexoll owner Darcy and he appeared to easily grasp the game. We started late and only played one round but it did have a rousing battle and the major concepts got shown off. I used the Empire Assistant for all my empire management and it worked quite well. Excel has some quirky behaviour but despite a nice-to-have line getting erased on the Damage Assessment Form (my fault) Darcy managed to successfully assign his combat factors against my fleet.
Before EW we played a 4 player game of Camelot Legends. It was a quite enjoyable card game with beautiful art. It got a little complex and hard to follow when there were many characters and events in play. I really liked that the first knight character I put into play was essentially an abductor of women who hung out in the Perilous Forest. Unfortunately he was vanquished before he got to use his special ability! There were also a number of interesting interactions between knight characters and lady characters. I ended up winning, just barely.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Empire Wars Chronicles

We did play again Sunday night in the Mess. Chris Q brought along Chris D, who also had played EW several years ago when it was first made. We played a good game until fatigue from a long day's work (and only a few short hours until Chris D had to get up again). The administration slowed things down and Chris Q doesn't have the same head for math that Chris D has (or my innate knowledge of the game). Chris Q suggested laptops running Excel to take over the administration which turned out to be an excellent idea.

After waking up at the crack of noon today I puttered around the house for a bit before going to Calhouns with a laptop and a mission. I ended up spending about 5.5 hours there, and produced a fully functional Empire Assistant beta. It's not the prettiest thing, but one excel workbook has all the system reports, damage assessment forms, master fleet reports, and intelligence forms an aspiring galactic ruler needs. All the math for the damage assessment forms is done internally by the spreadsheet, and includes predicted damage rates for all the possible die rolls. While it renders Chris D's ability to calculate faster than a calculator obselete the rest of us are going to be very greatful for it.

Happily, this Empire Assistant beta has everything I need to show a real computer programmer the features I want in a more advanced product. So while we aren't quite at networked Palm Pilots, Empire Wars has taken a major step forward today. I'm even able to call this an "honest day's work", and if I could always be this productive while drinking coffee and listening to my iPod I think I could make a go at being a Famous Game Designer *tm*.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Empire Wars Chronicles

7 February at Drexoll I played a two player game of EW with Matt, back from holidays. Not much to note.

14 February at Drexoll I spent most of the night with Pierre, but playing his game which is an innovative global battle between two hemispherical superpowers fighting on land and in space. Supremacy meets Stratego, kinda. We spent some time talking about my game and brainstorming some ideas. Pierre is further along with his game than I am with mine, and is looking at publishing soon.

Darcy suggested that I get a table at Weathertop and I'm thinking about it but I'm at the cusp of being ready for such an event.

Tonight in the mess I spent a couple hours with my friend Chris who is one of the original players from a few years ago. We talked through the game to refresh him and bring him up to date and we'll probably sit down and play tomorrow with a few mutual friends that I haven't seen for awhile. Chris was very encouraging (thanks Chris!) and I hope he can find the time to play and support Empire Wars.