Monday, January 17, 2011

Game Development – Part 1: What’s in a Name?

As some of you may already know, I’m currently working on, among other things, a starship combat game that will accommodate engagements of individual ships, task force vs. task force and fleet battles using the same rules no matter how large the action. It hasn’t gone to playtest, yet, but it's looking pretty good. The rules will incorporate things learned from 30+ years of tabletop gaming and the recent exercise of editing and expanding MEKA TAC into MEKA TAC – GIANT STOMPY ROBOT EDITION.

It has come to my attention that the main reason why many “serious mecha wargamers”* are hesitant to download a fresh, modern, easy to learn, playable on an open tabletop or hex mat and FREE mecha battle game is not that it did away with the archaic overheating-as-play-balance mechanism or a that battle between a dozen or more mechs can reach a definitive conclusion in a single evening of play.

No, it’s none of that.

It’s the name.


If someone downloaded GSRE, read it through and found it wasn’t for them – for any reason, such as disliking the ability to easily scale the weapon ranges and mecha movement to fit the size of mecha miniatures in their collection - great! At least they looked and made an informed decision. I respect that. But to be afraid of the word “edition” just boggles me.

[ring-ring] 'Scuse me, folks. Hey! Yeah. What? Wait. It's STOMPY? They're afraid of the word STOMPY?! Okay. Yeah. Thanks. Later. [click]

Okay. So, it seems the more pretentious the title, the greater the possibility of perusal. Taking this lesson to heart, the working title of my spacefleet battle game under development, which was referred to as GIANT SHOOTY SPACEFLEETS, shall henceforth be called:


Next: Background “fluff” in non-historical miniature wargames – metaphysical mandate or plague upon humanity?

*Yes, they are out there.


  1. As you know, too much serious anything gives me hives.

    That said, you must always remember and never forget that you my dear friend are something of an anomaly.

    Much like myself with RPGs, the average wargamer with your age and experience is a dyed in the wool Grognard of the highest order. Though they play games, that don't want to be reminded that their hobby involves games. Games are for children.

    Wargamer: "Do you think I do this for FUN?! This is serious business my good woman!"

    Civillian Bystander: "OK, sorry Grandpa. Oh and I'm 7"

    Go with Sunder the Stars. It has the special balance of poetry, simplicity and kickassness that will win them over.

  2. It also abbreviates well: "StS". Very important when folks on forums will be debating unofficial add-ons and house rules that completely and utterly unbalance the game to the advantage of their particular style of play or favorite fleet. See? Thinking ahead. :knowing wink:

    Hmm. We need a "knowing wink" emoticon.

    And I play games with toys, thank you very much. ;)