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Digital Subscriptions > Tabletop Gaming > February 2018 (#15) > How We Made

How We Made

The swan song in Martin Wallace’s deckbuilding trilogy brings to a close a tale spanning hundreds of years, from historical warfare to the colonisation of space. With the next chapter of his own story just beginning, the designer looks to the stars


A Handful of Stars is the third entry in the ‘A Few Acres of Snow trilogy’, reimplementing gameplay from the historical deckbuilder

His answer was to give players a reserve – an area where they could store potentially useful cards for later use, mitigating some of the deckbuilding formula’s inherent randomness. “I’ve always felt that it’s nice if you can plan something long-term,” he explains, “which is why with A Few Acres of Snow you have the ability to put something aside for the future.

It’s a key part of being able to have a strategy, and it also fits thematically in that you can build a reserve army, but there’s a cost. That refiects real life, where if you have a standing army, you have to pay them, you have to feed them and a lot of the time they’re standing around doing nothing.”


A Few Acres of Snow had genuine depth, but it was also slick and fast-playing, and bridged a gap between historical wargamers and more general board game fans. While it met with an enthusiastic reaction, Wallace thought, it ran into a problem when players discovered what they argued was an unbeatable strategy – the designer points out that the approach actually mirrors the plan that eventually won the war for the British. But while it might have been historically accurate, it reduced the game’s appeal for some players who considered it to be ‘broken.’

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About Tabletop Gaming

Batman: Gotham City Chronicles: As the makers of Conan prepare to take their superhero extravaganza to Kickstarter, we check in and see what’s in store for the Caped Crusader and his sidekicks How Minis Are Made: From sculpting to casting, we follow the entire process of making plastic and metal miniatures and find out how they make it onto your table Masks of Nyarlathotep: One of roleplaying’s greatest adventures is back with a new edition for horror RPG Call of Cthulhu and an Eldritch Horror expansion. We look at the history of the revolutionary campaign and see what’s planned for its return The 7th Continent: Co-creator Bruno Sautter talks to us about the epic choose-your-own-path card game and asks if it’s the end of the adventure Hearthstone: The digital card game with Magic: The Gathering in its sights is taking on the dungeon-crawler in its latest expansion. But can an app really live up to the physical world? How We Made: A Handful of Stars: Martin Wallace looks back on the creation of the final chapter in his deckbuilding trilogy Educating with Evolution: University professors and students consider the brain-boosting benefits of board games Reviews including: Charterstone Battle for Rokugan Pandemic: Rising Tide Fallout Gaia Project Genesys RPG Legacy of Dragonholt Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle Fog of Love A Game of Thrones: Catan – Brotherhood of the Watch First Martians And much, much more!