Monthly Archives: May 2016

Farewell Lionhead Studios

Heading home from Switzerlands snowy alps after my school ski trip I was exhausted. Our flight had finally reached London, and we had some time to kill before our onward journey. Some chose to sleep. I chose to shop for games.

On shelves crowded by the ordinary, Black & White glinted at me. Painted with wondrous scenes of mystical grandeur I was unable to resist its sirens call. I scoured my pockets, hoping I had enough left from my spending spree on grossly overpriced bobbles, and delectable Swiss confectioneries.

Little did I know buying Black & White was to be an investment of a lifetime.

Black & White turned out to be one of the best games I’ve ever played, and its not an ‘objective’ best I’m referring to. When I say best, it’s because of the joy, and experience in that time and place which can never be recreated; no matter how advanced the graphics or sophisticated the A.I.


Finishing Black & White, I eagerly anticipated its sequel, going so far as to reach out of my introverted childhood and send Lionhead Studios an email as news of Black & White 2 trickled across the net.

I wish I still had that mail; alas a lost memento.

I recall asking about features. Would there be creature armor? What would it be like? Would there be more types of wild animals? What would their behaviors be?

If I could meet the boy who sent Lionhead that email, I’d have chastised him for his priorities, and compelled him to seek forgiveness for his god awful writing. Yet, more importantly, I’d also have given him a smile and a pat on the back for his sporadic naive bravery.

Can you believe they replied to that little boy? An intern actually went round their office with his questions. They took the time to reply to an email asking ‘silly’ questions about ‘silly’ details. They sprinkled a little color into a child’s imagination.

A small gesture, I’ll always be grateful for.


Again it seems that time changes everything. Yet I’ve quietly kept wishing for more Black & White games. Now I guess I’ll put that wish away on my dusty shelf of dreams.

I’m not sad though, as I’ll exchange one wish for another. Now with your talent unleashed, perhaps I’ll again meet an incarnation of you?

Farewell Lionhead Studios.

Thanks for the good times.


Dawn of War 1

Recently I’ve been playing titles from Warhammer 40Ks Dawn of War 1. I’ve returned to these games multiple times now, and I have wondered why? My conclusion is that its the well designed battles.

Dawn of War 1 has taken many hours from me, and with this piece I think I’ll take something back.


Given the rich history of lore, previous video games, and an existing tabletop game there is plenty of meat for a game designer to sink ones teeth into during the design process.

By the end of Dawn of War 1 Soulstorm there were nine playable factions with varying mechanics. Each faction had a distinct identity, strengths and weaknesses. One faction I will briefly look at is one of my favorites, The Imperial Guard.


Imperial Guard

Known as the Emperors Sledgehammer, The Imperial Guard are neither the Super Soldier Space Marines nor the Mystical Eldar Warlocks. The Imperial Guard are the common human, seemingly weak in strength, and spirit among the denizens of the universe.

Yet only seemingly.


In Dawn of War 1 the core of the Imperial Guard are its Guardsmen. Imperial Guardsmen are numerous, and cheaply replaced. They are initially weak, their morale easily shattered facing slaughter at the hands of heavier infantry units. Their limitations can however be overcome.

With thematic enhancement options such as propaganda, decrees, equipment upgrades, and squad leaders. Guardsmen can be significantly augmented to become fierce fighters able to withstand, and even overcome opponents they were initially unable to.

Perhaps I’m reading into it too much, but I enjoyed how its designed that the common human with determination, equipment, training, and leadership. Can unlock their potential, can rise up, and defeat their enemies.

Still the common human has much more to offer.

Continue reading Dawn of War 1