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Subject: Three Years of War Update - It's Happening! rss

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Jay Little
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It's finally (really close to) happening!

I'm excited that Three Years of War will be going to crowdfunding soon -- I'm posting this as news for now since we don't have an exact date, but wanted to provide an update since I get a lot of questions about this game.

It sounds like almost everything is complete -- but it's nice to be able to announce that Three Years of War has a great shot at getting published, with a very, very achievable funding goal. Once I have a firm date, let people know.

I love the stark, strong black box cover (being uploaded). And I love the subtitle as "An action-drafting game of despair"

I also appreciate the publishers' more conversational promotional tone with part of the game's overview:

"Jay came up with a crazy idea. Why not take the idea of hand management, toss in some resource management and some bidding, and give it a historical setting? Hand AND resource management--AND war?? He wanted gamers to suffer. And the best point in history for that? Well, that's the Thirty Years War."

Think The Grizzled meets Knizia's Beowulf meets... Russian Roulette?

The game is brutally fun. Brutal because Despair is a painful resource you can't escape but must manage lest you end up with a negative score. Fun because even after I've had a game where *everyone* scored negative points, they immediately wanted to play again.

The player in last place that game got the lowest score I had ever seen during playtesting -- but he told me it was the most fun he's ever had losing a game. And that's saying something.
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Jim Dietz

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I'm glad you're letting me/Dietz Foundation do this.

It's a frickin' great game.

And a date for the KS to start has been set as of a few hours ago: July 8.
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Jeff Warrender
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ynnen wrote:

"Jay came up with a crazy idea. Why not take the idea of hand management, toss in some resource management and some bidding, and give it a historical setting? Hand AND resource management--AND war?? He wanted gamers to suffer. And the best point in history for that? Well, that's the Thirty Years War."


I mean, kinda sorta; the TYW was disastrous for the populace, but it's not entirely clear that the princely class felt the effects of the war all that acutely. Indeed, that's part of the reason that the war goes on for so long. Each participant refuses to stand down because by letting the war go on just a little longer, they hope they might emerge in a little bit stronger position to extract just a bit more advantage in the eventual peace negotiations.

It sounds like this game does present its players with some challenging problems. But I'm not certain they're problems that the people in the roles the players play would actually have grappled with all that much. They were happy to keep hunting and eating well, and the rumors of people eating shoe leather or of soldiers marauding and pillaging affected them not very much at all.
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Jay Little
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My goal with the 30 Years War was to design a game about war that isn't necessarily a traditional wargame, so there are some abstractions and a bit of historical license. Like the The Grizzled -- a fantastic game that captures the tension and pressure of war without trying to recreate specific moments.

Three Years of War isn't meant to represent the households and the highest levels of aristocracy, nobility, or power -- rather, to focus the people who end up paying the price for the decisions for the conflict's perpetuators higher up on the food chain.

You aren't the head of the house of Habsburg, or the electorate of Saxony, or the Holy Roman Empire who made the political and military decisions that kept driving the bloody conflict forward. You're one of the (relatively speaking) unnamed people who had to enact or suffer by those decisions; the head of a minor household, barony, dukedom, or margravate.

In an odd way, the game is about the bleak outlook and almost petty irrelevance of some of the war's outcomes. The winner becomes a minor footnote in history. A name on a Wikipedia entry that doesn't even get its own clickthrough link. The losers don't even have their names remembered and may have led their household into complete ruin, scrubbing their names from history altogether.

I readily admit the design of Three Years of War is not a Simulationist effort to re-create all the historical and military goings-on of the time like something GMT or Columbia might publish. In that sense, I don't think I could design a game that would historically do the 30 Years War justice.

Rather, Three Years of War leans into the Gamist and Narrativist pillars of play. With this premise, I don't have to summarize or simulate the entire war -- just its three *worst* years. And since that part is subjective based on who you were, where you lived, and how you were suffering, those worst three years could take place almost anywhere during that time period in almost any region consumed by the conflict.

Anyway -- this is all just context. You bring up some excellent point and are absolutely right about how the higher levels of power were unaffected (or just plain indifferent) to the suffering their decisions created.

You're not the CEOs or the factory floor workers. You're middle management. Middle management!
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