The Games Journal | A Magazine About Boardgames

Letters - November, 2000

Burt Hochberg: I have nothing but admiration for Mark Thompson. I consider his analysis of abstraction in games one of the finest articles on the subject I've ever read, and I was honored that he allowed me to feature it in the first edition of The Games Cafe. But comparing Chess and Go seems to me a fruitless exercise that proves nothing. It may well be true that go is "more elegant" as defined by him, but it can also be said that chess is more dramatic and more varied (and more popular, if that matters). So what? They're simply different games and have no more in common than that both are played by two opponents across a board. Is the Pacific Ocean mathematically preferable to the Grand Canyon?

GGA - For the record it should be noted that the description of Mark's article; "Mark Thomson proves mathematically that Go is better than Chess" was entirely mine.

Kris Burm: I just read Mark Thomson and Larry Levy's contributions. Great stuff!—especially the fact that you published them both in this month's issue. They are perfectly complementary. Mark writes about "elegance" and, being a games purist, tries to reveal the beauty of nothing but "essence" (but what if it doesn't sell?). Larry, on the other hand, reflects on the surface of games: the theme of a game as a promotional campaign in itself (but where is the poetry?). You can't say the one is too elitist and the other too banal, because they have both plenty of reasons to write what they wrote.

Jeff Dee: I've just read the review [Warchest]; it seems honest and fair, which is as much as anyone can ask.

I was a bit surprised when you said you found it difficult to "visualize" the game as a story, mainly because so many WarChest players have told me that they could, and that it was one of the things they especially liked about it. I find that miniatures players do tend to view WarChest with some skepticism, but this seems mainly due to their preconceptions about the form that games with miniatures ought to take, and not so much a failure of WarChest to evoke a sense of real battle. But I suppose that must vary depending on the player.

I have to agree with you about the low quality of the stat sheets; our only excuse is the manufacturer's prior inexperience with printed materials (they're a miniatures manufacturer more than anything else). We are now in the process of upgrading the stat sheets to full color glossy paper, or possibly playing card board though that brings up some packaging problems. One way or another, we'll have color stat sheets within a few months.

I'm also about to post version 1.1 of the rules on my web site. There have been a few clarifications and minor rules changes for the sake of balance. Anyone can download the rules from my site for free. Which reminds me—would you mind posting my URL along with the review? It's:

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