Saturday, July 25, 2009

This Gettysburg game has me salivating

Bowen Simmons has a series of "design entries" at his Web site on his new Gettysburg game, and it's looking intriguing.

Here's a sample:

Check out the entry here

What I think is fascinating about Simmons as a designer is his ability to break with his own past. Most game designers who develop successful mechanics use them over and over again in their new designs, to the point that those techniques can become synonomous with their names. I think everyone knows what to expect in a Richard Borg, Larry Harris or Jim Dunnigan design.

Simmons, on the other hand, isn't afraid to start from first principles each time. This can be a little confusing, because the one constant is his devotion to the "look" first pioneered in Bonaparte at Marengo. But anyone who mistook its surface resemblance with BaM for how Napoleon's Triumph would play were in for a surprise. I think many BaM players found that NT was a lot more different than they expected.

Likewise, I expect to see the design entries for Guns at Gettysbrug revealing something very different from either of the Napoloenic games.

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