Many wargame designers are so single-mindedly devoted to their craft that they tend to suffer in the personality department. Let’s face it, designing any type of super megamonster game tends to take over your life, and you are never quite the same after. Other designers develop insufferable egos, feeling that their particular rehash of the Battle of the Bulge has somehow made them veritable gods in the wargaming community. Hopefully, they will never grasp how few people actually play these kinds of games. The realization that they are being ignored by virtually all of humanity may be too much for them to bear.
Greg Costikyan has always been a happy exception to the ‘designer as misfit’ ethos. Not only does he have a sense of humor, but he is actually interesting as a person. These qualities are reflected in his web site which covers his gaming, consulting, and writing projects, often with a healthy dose of irreverency.
Like most designers, Costikyan’s site features his annotated ludography with extra material on his games included. While most of his work concerns board and role-playing games, he has also done simulations on evolution and public policy. Collectors will find his SPI Compendium of special value since it indexes almost every SPI periodical, including the company’s more obscure newsletters, and contains much information on SPI games. The site’s best feature is his collected writings on board and online game design, as well as the field’s business and historical aspects. Most are reprinted here, and all are useful for anyone interested in entering the profession. Also interesting is a report on the future of wireless gaming.
Costikyan also writes other things, including science fiction novels (four published so far), and short stories. Besides his bibliography, the site contains four stories, and much humorous material. Other nongaming material includes his recollections of 9/11 (he lives within a block of the site) and a useful public relations primer by Eleanor J. Lang, his significant other. Overall, it is an interesting site, even if he had to include a web page on his cats.
Peter L. de Rosa
Note: The original version of this review appeared in Strategist 29 (June 1999):5-6, as "Costikyan Site." The Strategist is the newsletter of the Strategy Gaming Society.
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