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Tide of Valor: The Normandy Campaign» Forums » General

Subject: The Normandy Chronicles - Chapter 1 rss

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Steven Cunliffe
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Pennsylvania
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Welcome, this page is dedicated to providing a firsthand look at the newest game from Clash of Arms Tide of Valor: The Normandy Campaign. Through this blog I will provide an in-depth look at how I develop games while listening to your advice and suggestions. I am always up for new ideas from playtesters, gamers, friends, designers, or even complete strangers, it is rare to meet a professional wargamer who does not have something valuable to add to the discussion. I might not always be able to use every good idea that comes my way but I love to get as much advice and feedback as possible.

A Few Thanks
First before I begin I want to give thanks for all the incredible assistance I have received from my publisher Ed Wimble of Clash of Arms Games. Ed has been incredibly supportive of this latest game and I am only too thrilled to be able to work with him again. Having a good relationship with your publisher is critical to success and I am honored to be designing for Ed and his very talented Art Director, Timothy Schleif.

I want to give credit to my lead playtester, Jeff Dougherty. He is a partner in Shenandoah Studio, makers of the great Ipad game, Battle of the Bulge. Jeff has been my good friend and dedicated foil since The Hell of Stalingrad. Jeff is a master historian, a dedicated gamer, and brutally honest friend. He has been vital to the success of every game I have made.

I also like to thank Dirty Harry, Billings Spike, Gameluis, Mr. Peabody and everyone who reached out to lend their support for this upcoming game. I have always said that wargamers are the most well-spoken and dedicated of all fans and I have received great words of encouragement from all quarters. Thank you for your comments, posts, and opinions, please keep it up, you make everything possible.

Getting Started
If I had to describe my style of game design, I would call it The Blitzkrieg method, meaning that I am involved with every aspect of the development; I design the game, create the cards, develop the contents, manage the play-testing, write the rules, layout the game, send it to the printer, and write the marketing materials. Launching a game is a full-time job and through this blog I am going to give you an insight into how everything fits together.

Fans of The Hell and Stalingrad and The Fires of Midway will have an idea about how my games tend to work. While I love hex and counter games, they have been done many times over and any trip to a dedicated game store will reveal shelves of wargames on every subject imaginable related to the greatest invasion in history. Hell, just finding an energetic and interesting title to use for a D-Day themed game was a huge challenge. Whether this game is a success or not will depend on my ability to create a new Normandy experience that is true to the history of the battle.

The Perfect Balance
The engineers who laid out the schematics for tanks in WWII had to balance their new weapon systems on the three main principles of mobility, protection, and firepower. Sometimes they succeeded magnificently in the case of the T-34 and the Panther but often times the design was found lacking when it was put into heavy production and sent into combat as in the case of the Churchill (firepower), the Sherman (protection), or the Tiger (mobility).

Game designers likewise have to balance fun, strategy, and challenge. The games you know and love are often a great blend of the three, the ones collecting dust on your shelves are often lacking in one critical area. I like cards as a mechanic because it introduces a random and exciting element. I also enjoy rolling dice, and have ever since my first game of Risk, but most importantly I love strategy. Now in the past I have not always been able to achieve the perfect balance as well as I wanted to, but thankfully I will have the opportunity with Tide of Valor, to take some of the game mechanics that fans loved from the previous games and make them even better while letting go others. Game design is a constant journey of improvement and if you are fortunate, you can add your successes to your next game.

In the next chapter I will dig into the mechanics of fighting battles in the varied terrain of Normandy! So if there is anything that you would like to see in the new game please post it here.

- @stalingradsteve
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