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Subject: About motives and agendas rss

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christian freeling
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Edit: For reference read this post.

I'll make this short. The forum wants honesty, right? So here are my motives and agendas. I'm 68 now, lead an uncomplicated and pleasant life. I'm not interested in marketing my games because I don't need my name on a box at Nestors and I don't need the money. In ten years or so I'll be dead and beyond caring or not caring about anything.

The five games I consider to be the core of my work will still be there for a long time, because they are excellent games and will be assured of a context of more than double that number of very good games, all to be found in the ArenA. A wider context of some forty games that I can afford to label 'collateral damage' even though they're decent games, is present in the Pit, and though the games will not all be remembered individually, they will as a context. To get a high summit, you need a broad base.

At mindsports we've always tried to present games of other inventors if they met our standards. There's still a number of candidates for a place in the ArenA, like Slither and Richard Moxham's Morelli. We feature games of Luis Bolaños Mures, Nick Bently, Mark Steere, Corey Clark, Ljuban Dediç, Emanuel Lasker, Sid Sackson, Walter Zamkauskas, João Pedro Neto, Claude Soucie, Benedikt Rosenau, Martin Medema, Dieter Stein, Micael Howe and others. We don't charge anyone for anything and we don't feature adds.

Inventing was never a trouble to me. The only trouble was that it came in short waves interrupted by substantial intervals, like a virus, and then it would be obsessive. I never had much choice other than to let it run its course and gather the games afterwards, not to mention getting the household running after a couple of months of neglect.
Many games took only minutes to complete, without the need for tinkering. Many were published before playtesting, yet turned out to be anywhere from decent to excellent. I never used actual game material, not because I didn't have it, although that was true, but because I didn't need it.
I'm very uncomforable with the fact that I obviously have to add that this is the truth. For one, this forum would expect honesty, and for another, I see no reason to lie, nor a reason why someone would suspect me of lying. To have my motives questioned and character smeared for trying to share my insights by using a great but sadly neglected game as an example, is not a pretty sight. On the other hand, to have my manners criticised by posters who do not exactly care to lead by example, is really funny.

I have no hidden agenda, no questionable motives and no commercial interest. If that makes me suspect to anyone, then please allow me to consider such a person as a deranged consumer in need of professional help. Make sure you pay for it, otherwise it might not work!
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Christian K
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Weird post. I appriciate your thoughts but most of this post seem to be establishing that you are not to be suspected or accused of anything. Maybe I missed the attacks
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christian freeling
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Muemmelmann wrote:
Weird post. I appriciate your thoughts but most of this post seem to be establishing that you are not to be suspected or accused of anything. Maybe I missed the attacks

Apparently. I characterised the forum as increasingly being inclined to hypocrisy and shunning in depth coverage of games. I've put a reference in the OP.
 
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Michael Howe
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It's been a long time since I put in a word in here. Christian, I'm sorry you feel you've been poorly treated here, although given human nature that does seem to be the way that internet forums tend to go these days: participate long enough and you're sure to reach your frustration limit. I hope you're wrong about having only 10 years left; at 68 and with modern medicine, who knows, maybe you have 40 years left! Regardless, in the interest of saying it while you're still alive (it's sad to realize that most of the kindest things ever said about people are said after they are dead and cannot hear them), and making no judgment about the recent dust-up you've had with others here, and at the risk of being accused of being a sycophant, let me thank you for all the brilliant games you've created and offer the opinion that as long as people play these kind of games, the name of Freeling will be remembered. I think the first games of yours I got excited about were Emergo and Grand Chess in their original Games Magazine publications, and I thereafter discovered and admired Buskha, Chad, Caissa, Havannah, Hexade, Lotus, Medusa, Symple and others. I still think of your games as the perfect marriage of elegance and playability and always will. Long life and happiness to you.
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christian freeling
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mhowe wrote:
It's been a long time since I put in a word in here. Christian, I'm sorry you feel you've been poorly treated here, although given human nature that does seem to be the way that internet forums tend to go these days: participate long enough and you're sure to reach your frustration limit. I hope you're wrong about having only 10 years left; at 68 and with modern medicine, who knows, maybe you have 40 years left! Regardless, in the interest of saying it while you're still alive (it's sad to realize that most of the kindest things ever said about people are said after they are dead and cannot hear them), and making no judgment about the recent dust-up you've had with others here, and at the risk of being accused of being a sycophant, let me thank you for all the brilliant games you've created and offer the opinion that as long as people play these kind of games, the name of Freeling will be remembered. I think the first games of yours I got excited about were Emergo and Grand Chess in their original Games Magazine publications, and I thereafter discovered and admired Buskha, Chad, Caissa, Havannah, Hexade, Lotus, Medusa, Symple and others. I still think of your games as the perfect marriage of elegance and playability and always will. Long life and happiness to you.

Thank you Michael, that's a nice first read on a gloomy Sunday morning. I'm not actually planning to die, but many of my friends didn't either and nowadays I seem to play a lot of music by dead artists. Fortunately Bob Dylan is still alive and the Stones and Bowie also appear to take their immortality quite literally. But when Lou Reed died I thought "well, that's about it".

The point is, I'm done game inventing and I'm clueless as to what I'm here for in the first place. Inventing games was a nice way to dodge that question. Not that I'm depressed in any way, far from it. I love my animals (provided you're not using Explorer, you can look live into my eh … garden where the raccoon dogs live) and I have a couple of good friends living not too far off, who have a pleasant lack of interest in abstract games. But the Stones where right, back in 65: getting old is a drag. How did they know, I wonder.
 
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David Akenson
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Is it Nick Bentley or Cameron Browne who initiated an in depth (100 plays) review/analysis regime? I think it was Nick.

I would love to do an in-depth analysis of your games but have little time.

I have a major issue with "reviews" that begin with: "I have only played this game once, but it has awesome depth, beyond imagining"; or "I have only played this game once and it's crap", or "I haven't played this game but I can tell you it's crap because I don't like abstracts".

I'm afraid I will need to wait 'till I retire before I have time to do an in depth analysis of one of your games, or indeed one of my own half-formed designs, and that's a couple of decades away.

There are too many games out there to spend much time on a single one.

What if we were to only "publish" our best, in your case, your 5 greatest hits, we might see more attention lavished on each?

If I'm lucky I might have 1 game to give to humanity before my long good bye. People won't have to dig through so much crap ( or in your case very good, but not great, games) to get to the gold!
 
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christian freeling
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arimarima wrote:
I have a major issue with "reviews" that begin with: "I have only played this game once, but it has awesome depth, beyond imagining"; or "I have only played this game once and it's crap", or "I haven't played this game but I can tell you it's crap because I don't like abstracts".

So do I and I wouldn't risk any in depth coverage if that were the case.

- In Emergo's case, the game is 35 years old and I have played many hundreds of games, both square and hex.
- Emergo is extensively covered at mindsports, both in the ArenA and in On the Evolution of Draughts Variants.
- Emergo's emergence was brought about by application of general principles that are held in high regard around here: asking the right questions, Occam's Razor and the quest for simplicity. Emergo shows how these applications actually work. It led to the only game in the checkers family that can afford to declare nothing short of total elimination a win.
- Emergo is the only column checkers game that didn't emerge as the 'columnification' of an existing game.
- The discovery that the known column interaction led to finitude as such, without a checkers-like direction of play 'supporting' it, was fascinating, but its significance somehow managed to escape the busy BGG community's attention.

If sharing these insights is interpreted as 'haranguing a game' then I do indeed weep for this community.

Ah, and yes, Emergo turned out to be a strategy game - dominated by tactics, but governed by strategy - not a tactical game. The difference is presumed to be known to all.
 
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Nick Bentley
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arimarima wrote:
Is it Nick Bentley or Cameron Browne who initiated an in depth (100 plays) review/analysis regime? I think it was Nick.

Me! This.
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christian freeling
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milomilo122 wrote:
arimarima wrote:
Is it Nick Bentley or Cameron Browne who initiated an in depth (100 plays) review/analysis regime? I think it was Nick.

Me! This.

An impressive thread indeed. May I point out that all games are commercial products and that most of them are non-abstracts? The latter category doesn't interest me all that much, and as to the former: I got nothing against a commercially available abstract game, but I don't consider it a condition for in depth analysis. My best game is arguably Dameo, which is played on a chess board with checkers. If someone feels that speaks against it, allow me to consider such a person as referred to in the OP.

Let me also point out that the game analysis was accompanied by an about thread to illustrate various hailed aspects of inventing that are supposedly widely understood, but somehow failed to be recognised as such by the community at large.
 
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Nick Bentley
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christianF wrote:
milomilo122 wrote:
arimarima wrote:
Is it Nick Bentley or Cameron Browne who initiated an in depth (100 plays) review/analysis regime? I think it was Nick.

Me! This.

An impressive thread indeed. May I point out that all games are commercial products and that most of them are non-abstracts? The latter category doesn't interest me all that much, and as to the former: I got nothing against a commercially available abstract game, but I don't consider it a condition for in depth analysis. My best game is arguably Dameo, which is played on a chess board with checkers. If someone feels that speaks against it, allow me to consider such a person as referred to in the OP.

Let me also point out that the game analysis was accompanied by an about thread to illustrate various hailed aspects of inventing that are supposedly widely understood, but somehow failed to be recognised as such by the community at large.

yep, almost all commercial (though there are entries for a few abstracts, like Lines of Action and Slither)

Unfortunately, it's hard to participate in the larger BGG culture without focusing on commercial games. I'm interested in them (and in fact it's not hard to find commercial games which are great games period), so I don't mind, even if, in my ideal world, BGG culture would be a little more inclusive.
 
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christian freeling
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milomilo122 wrote:
Unfortunately, it's hard to participate in the larger BGG culture without focusing on commercial games. I'm interested in them (and in fact it's not hard to find commercial games which are great games period), so I don't mind, even if, in my ideal world, BGG culture would be a little more inclusive.

I'm in the abstract games sub-forum because it's a subject matter that I know a few things about, that I can contribute to and that I can discuss intelligently. I have no special reason to participate in 'the larger BGG culture' because there's little I can contribute to it.

I'm glad to hear your heart is in the right place, especially since working in the game industry doesn't make that any easier to communicate. I'm sure Nestor's heart is in the right place too!
 
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christianF wrote:

I'm glad to hear your heart is in the right place, especially since working in the game industry doesn't make that any easier to communicate. I'm sure Nestor's heart is in the right place too!

I sense sarcasm.
 
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christian freeling
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milomilo122 wrote:
christianF wrote:

I'm glad to hear your heart is in the right place, especially since working in the game industry doesn't make that any easier to communicate. I'm sure Nestor's heart is in the right place too!

I sense sarcasm.

Not at all, but it is hard to serve two masters. First thing Ravensburger suggested back then was a "Chinese Wall" theme for Havannah. Would you have agreed?

Later they offered me a job in Development. I sincerely believe that my refusal was better for both parties. It would have corrupted me as an inventor and it wouldn't have served the company at all, I fear.
 
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christianF wrote:
milomilo122 wrote:
christianF wrote:

I'm glad to hear your heart is in the right place, especially since working in the game industry doesn't make that any easier to communicate. I'm sure Nestor's heart is in the right place too!

I sense sarcasm.

Not at all, but it is hard to serve two masters. First thing Ravensburger suggested back then was a "Chinese Wall" theme for Havannah. Would you have agreed?

Yes, it's hard to serve two masters.

To deal with it, when I'm designing, I now try not to mix the two: I treat commercial design as separate from "for me" design. I like the process of design in both cases, but the goals and methods are different.
 
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christian freeling
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milomilo122 wrote:
Yes, it's hard to serve two masters.

To deal with it, when I'm designing, I now try not to mix the two: I treat commercial design as separate from "for me" design. I like the process of design in both cases, but the goals and methods are different.

Here's the thing about my 'method'. If I do it, I don't think about it. If I think about it, I can't do it. There was this guy who could count the letters of a random sentence while saying the sentence. When asked how he did it he said: "I count them".

So I made Storisende, triggered by the "Occupation" thread that started on august 16, and having further input by the "Sacrificial Scoring" thread of august 21.

The game shaped itself in a couple of hours, while watching TV and keeping an eye on the forum in the evening, and going to the market next morning. Then I wrote it down. I could see it working and I still can see it working. I even think it might be fun.

But I didn't use physical material, just watched my mind shaping it. Implicitly: I didn't playtest it. But I trust it.

This may not at all be according BGG etiquette regarding inventing abstract games. BGG etiquette gives a lot of leeway for trouble and strive, but not quite as much it would seem for dumb talent. And according to BGG etiquette "this can't be done" so I must be a fraud. Quite frankly I'm surprised that I'm not yet accused of haranguing Storisende.

One thing is reassuring. If something is wrong with a new game, BGG posters will usually be keen to point it out. One could almost expect excellence to meet with silence.

Edit:
- Without wanting to deprive them of the joys of trouble and strive, I feel that Luis Bolaños Mures and Mark Steere belong in this 'dumb talent' category.
- And yes, I do recognise that excellent games have been invented by posters on this forum, and that this obviously requires a bit more than just trouble and strive.
- And yes, I'm still a bit pissed, obviously, about some comments in the About a game of Emergo thread. Very dumb comments.
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