11:26 AM

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Warmaster Checkers?

Mister Nizz

Keeping his hand in

Ty Bomba has a reputation for a couple of virtues, tenacity and confidence, which are often confused with their ugly stepsisters, stubborness and arrogance. I just noticed that he has released a freebie download game called MILLENIUM CHECKERS, a PDF file available on Consimworld (PDF, 232K). I recall the controversy that surrounded the ill-fated issue 49 of the late (and greatly lamented) COMMAND magazine, where Ty published War Master Chess 2000 as a last minute replacement for the main issue game, causing a storm of outrage among Command subscribers who wanted a "real wargame". Ty hung in there, and even published two followups to the game 'series', to the occasional unkind hoot of derision from his customers.

As many of us grognards know, and Ty has admitted himself, the impact of that decision (and subsequent refund to all the complainers of their subscriptions) probably did for Command permanently, and that was a great loss.

So I wonder if releasing a variant game about Checkers is hubris, tenacity, or a bit of a joke. Personally, I rather like some of the Chess variants published by Steve Jackson Games, particularly Proteus, which can be a lot of fun. I don't see anything wrong, or ridiculous, about investigating abstract game variants. Paying for it, well, that depends on the variant...

I've downloaded the PDF, and taken a look at it. It's not bad stuff, and the price certainly can't be beat (anyone releasing a free game on the 'Net is automatically raised in my estimation). The rules reminded me strongly of those Icehouse games published by Looney Labs.. many potential games using a system of cheap and easily replaceable parts. Nothing wrong with that...