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It all started with Scotland Yard

Posted by on 8:54 am in Blogs | 0 comments

It all started with Scotland Yard   My gaming career started around this time of year when I was eleven years old. I cannot recall how I found out about Scotland Yard, but somehow the gift shop in my little town had a copy of the game and I had enough savings to buy it. There was one little problem though. How should I explain purchasing this game to my parents? Because I did not want to ask for their permission. It was only a few days before Sinterklaas (a kind of Santa Claus), whhich meant my brothers and I would be getting a lot of other gifts too. I was afraid my parents would ask me to postpone the purchase. After mulling it over for some time, I saw that the solution was right there in front of me. My mother would hide all the gifts throughout the house. On the evening of Sinterklaas my brothers and I would go and search for these gifts room by room. We would take them down to the living room and open them there. All I had to do was make sure that my copy of Scotland Yard was wrapped as a gift and hidden somewhere to be found. So the plan was set. I bought the game, I hid it, we ‘found’ it and acted really surprised when it turned out to be this cool game. The next day I read the rules and we started playing. And man, have we played that game often! My mother told me much later, that she had been extremely puzzled about this gift. She was 100% sure she had not bought it. My father said he had not bought it either. Neither had our grandparents. So who then? It had taken her a few months before she found out that we had actually bought it ourselves.     Follow me!...

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Confusing road signs

Posted by on 6:26 pm in Blogs | 0 comments

Is it just me… or are the new dutch road signs confusing?   The dutch government introduced some new road signs this week. Starting with signs on the highways in the south of the Netherlands. I myself find them rather confusing. I am always afraid that it is just me. But in this case there are more people having problems understanding them. The sign in the upper left corner is pretty straight forward. Trucks are not allowed to drive on the left lane. It is not entirely clear to me if that also includes the middle lane(s), if there are more than 2 lanes. The sign in the upper right corner probably means that cars are not allowed to drive backwards on the right lane. But what about the left lane then? I think the road sign in the lower left corner means that trucks must drive to the left of cars. Does this also mean that cars are allowed to overtake while driving on the right lane?* The last one is the hardest to interpret. Is everything forbidden? Even driving? Or smoking? Or does it mean the opposite? Can you do anything you normally are not allowed to do? Well that would be something! I have not yet figured it out. Do you have any idea?   *In the Netherlands you are not allowed to overtake a vehicle when driving on the right lane. Follow me!...

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A dream of a game – Oklahoma Boomers

Posted by on 6:59 pm in Blogs | 0 comments

The dream I remember dreaming about playing Oklahoma Boomers. Well, to be completely honest, I do not remember dreaming about it at all. But I do remember that I woke up and found this note that I had scribbled down in the dark. Hardly comprehensible, because my handwriting is not very good and gets even worse when I can’t see what I write. Somehow I was able to make out it what it said though. But the real surprise was, that it seemed to be an interesting game idea. Most of the times the games that I play in my dreams are good, really good. The cold light of dawn however exposeses them for what they really are. Plain dumb boring games. Or completely incomprehensible games. This time it was different however. This time the game I dreamed about could actually work. And so I started fleshing it out.   Rocks The game board (a checkers board) was filled with rocks. One on each field. On their turn, players could place a tower on one of the rocks. The towers could not be moved once placed (of course they could not, they were towers). They could attack each other however, using the diagonals. If you attacked, you had to remove all rocks at the points where their diagonals intersected. More or less the opposite of what happens now, when you place cornerstones at the spots that can be reached by both Boomers. Removing rocks diminished the power of the towers, as they had no influence over the gaps. They were creating their own islands as it were. At the end of the game, you would score points for each rock still attached to your tower. This game worked and was interesting. But not satisfying enough in the end. The opposite After five versions I turned it into the opposite game. An empty game board, where you could place stones, rather then remove them. In subsequent versions the towers turned into magicians and back to towers (enchanted towers this time). I also changed some minor rules. The breakthrough came in version 9 of the prototype, when I made it possible to move a tower. Now the game was getting really interesting. My youngest brother, who happened to visit us somewhere around that time agreed with me. It was a beautiful day and we were sitting under the maple tree in my garden, sipping from our drinks, playing “towers” (which was still the working title). The first game lasted only 10 minutes. My brother was utterly defeated. But as we played game after game, he learned from his mistakes and pretty soon he was a good match. Playing time rose steadily each game – until a game would take 25 to 30 minutes. Each one of us contemplated his moves with greater and greater care and the games got more exciting until they became cut-throat. We had a marvelous afternoon! Inspired by this succes, I added illustrations to the next version of the game rules. Then I verntured out into the world, enslaving innocent people to see what they would do if I only gave them the game and the game rules. Well, maybe it did not entirely go that way. Most people volunteered to test the game and the game...

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