I always mean to take more photos at Roundhouse, but I’m always too engrossed with whatever it is we’re doing. Here are a few moments I did manage to capture.
I drove to Roundhouse Wednesday night, with my good friend Jeph Stahl. We stopped on the way at Dark Horse Brewing Co for a late meal and a beer. The Dark Horse brew pub has a well-worn, comfortable atmosphere and the biggest collection of mug-club mugs in the country. Andrea the waitress thought Jeph might be a werewolf.
The local ice cream parlor is run by our generous host’s family. The flavor of the week when we’re in town is usually lemon: my favorite! James’ brother was working the counter when we arrived, and made me an extra-extra large lemon cone. It was way more than I could finish!
Sure, there’s plenty of nutritious food and drink, but Roundhouse Retreat is also for play testing! Here, Chris Young contemplates his next action in my game, LXIX: YEAR OF FOUR EMPERORS, while James Kyle looks on.
Sometimes, players in LXIX can surge ahead with big scoring leaps while others struggle to catch them, as this final scoring shows: red is 37 points ahead of black! The discussion after this game led to a really great suggestion from Greg Daigle that will help to even out these kinds of point spreads. A couple more play tests and I think this game will be ready to send off to a publisher.
I never pass up a chance to play test the latest game in the Birth of America series. Here, Greg Daigle and designer Beau Beckett face off as the French against the British, represented by James Kyle and me. They got an early flush of Native reinforcements, so James and I enacted a risky third-round double-Truce play to force an early end, and took three flags to make it 4 to 2. Due to my own tactical blunder in not leaving a unit to cover the back door, Greg and Beau were able sweep a massive army in and re-take a critical location, and won another location on the final roll of the die to win the game. Agony! Such a good game! Jeph and Beau had this one in heavy play test rotation all weekend, hammering out some exciting new rules not seen in the first two games.
You never know what kind of wild life will show up at the Roundhouse. This year, we had a juvenile hawk we nicknamed ‘Crazy Hawk’ stalking and attacking his reflection in the house windows every morning, while a momma deer and her tiny fawn browsed in the back yard. Previous years featured an angry gopher and more spiders than I care to consider.
We got the word that absent Roundhouse alumn Dave Chalker’s fun game HEAT had finally funded on Kickstarter and took a quick break from the dice game design challenge to send him a virtual congrats!
There’s still time to back Dave’s game HEAT on Kickstarter!
Update: Dave’s game HEAT was successfully funded!
Drama is anticipation mingled with uncertainty.
― William Archer
A quote from a Turn of the Twentieth Century dramatist and theater critic I keep in mind when I want to create a sense of drama in my games. Anticipation and
Uncertainty. It’s a mantra.
A while back, I read
this article about a hill-fort on the edge of a weakening Roman Empire in Britain; an important architectural find, emblematic of the turbulence of the era. In it, I came across a lovely phrase in their translation of a Latin inscription on the famous Vettweiss-Froitzheim Dice Tower.
Vettweiss-Froitzheim Dice Tower. Roman, fourth century AD. (Rheinisches Landesmuseum Bonn). Image: Wikimedia
PICTOS VICTOS – HOSTIS DELETA – LVDITE SECVRI, which they translate as, “The Picts defeated – the enemy wiped out – play without fear”
Lvdite Secvri – Play Without Fear. In the context of a dying empire harried by enemy invaders, it has a powerful implication.
Ludite Securi –
Play Without Fear. It could be a motto for our Ludic Century, as well. It should resonate for all advocates of play. I know it resonates for me.
post adapted from earlier tweets