Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Episode 32: View from The Hill

This was a big night for us in the broadcast foxhole. We've had some wonderful interviews in the past, but tonight was something special. This time we had the very great pleasure of speaking with Mr. John Hill. Yes, THE John Hill, from whose fertile imagination sprang Squad Leader. It was an honor to have this war gaming icon donate an hour of time to sit and talk with us about our favorite of his many splendid contributions to the hobby.

Just think of how different our lives might be if not for this giant of the gaming community. Why, if it weren't for John Hill we might all be playing Candyland.

(0:00) - Intro
(11:00) - Listener Mail
(16:30) - Interview with John Hill
Total running time: 1:17

Listen Now:
Download this episode: Right-click here and select to save the file.


Todd R said...

Guys, that was great. You should post links to this all over BGG, CW, and GS and not just in the ASL sections. I think a lot of non-ASL gamers would be interested in this.

Michael Dorosh said...

You guys realize this has to be your last interview, ever, right? I mean - who can possibly come follow that act? Episode 32 with the Great John Hill. And next week - Charlie Kibler's barber! Or maybe the guy who parks Perry's car at MMP's headquarters. You've just ruined your own show!

Mark Evans said...

I liked the historical perspective of the development of our hobby. I played Johnny Reb about 20 years ago, I didn't care for it for some reason. I didn't know that was his game. He really has a detached perspective on this whole thing. Very informative, and don't worry, I will still listen to your show, even if you interview Charlie Kibler's barber.

David L. said...

Dear Gang:

Simply wonderful. I must admit that I was thrilled to learn that John Hill's game design philosophy was more or less what I had imagined. (Remember my article I sent you on pre-ASL?) At any rate, I was inspired all over again. I am currently listening to the show for the third time, while attempting to write a one page set of RPG rules.

I don't want you guys to get big heads, but the show has taken a major leap forwards in the last few months. Keep up the good work!


David L.

Unknown said...

Thanks for a great episode.

/Martin Svärd

Anonymous said...

Great interview! Interesting history. His view that ASL has gotten too detailed for quick play was enlightening. It reminded me of some articles (way back in The General I believe) about the optional use of chess clocks w/ASL. I wonder if it's the length of play or the less-casual play required with all the rules since Squad Leader that he views as a greater drawback?

Mike said...

John Hill is kind of on a different wave length, isn't he? Both of you did an excellent job drawing information out of him, but finding the plane from which he operated was challenging. Great job, great show!

Menace said...

When are you going to add the missing Extra's to the podcast? iTunes is not seeing them. Also I rated #32 dull, because you still have the option. ;) Keep up the good work I really enjoy your podcasts.

Anonymous said...

Finally found time to listen to this episode (re-sorting my VGs Vietnam counters into their tray compartments). Count me as another one who found his comments very instructive regarding speed of play in SL vs ASL; frankly, I don't think SL was all that fast either, simply because the challenge is the decision matrix. If he wanted that snappy effect, he should have included an egg timer, like they did with RoboRally. I've always been intrigued by the idea of using a timer in the game, but never followed through on it, just like I've never played Combat Mission using only view level 1 locked on the Company HQ.

I would've liked more detail on his labelling of the ASL Starter Kit as a 'rip off'...very intriguing.

Now I'm off to cruise the archives to see if you guys have interviewed Charlie Kibler or Don Greenwood yet...

Brent Pollock (WBRP)

Tim K said...

I really enjoyed the interview but I'm going to differ with others - it was not the "interview to end all interviews".

Simply put, John Hill is not a fan of ASL. After all, he didn't develop it - he designed Squad Leader, Cross of Iron, and Crescendo of Doom. What you need to do is track down the guys who took over at that point and did the original development work on ASL. I found it strange that the podcast about the greatest game in the world tracked down its presumed father but he never talked like it was his child.

But as I said there was a lot to like in the interview. John's description of the origin of the sequence of play was really interesting. ASL is good design because its foundation is SL which is also good design, grounded in reality. Whatever ASL's shortcomings, they are far outweighed by its fundamentally sound design foundation.

David L. said...

Dear Tim K.

I think you may confused cause and effect. It seems more likely that Hill did not contribute to ASL because he didn't care to go in that direction. From what little I know about Don Greenwood, it is even MORE likely that he was "frozen out" from participating.


David L.

Anonymous said...

Don Greenwood was interviewed at Point 2 Point and offers perspectives on the development of ASL.


August 21 2007 episode

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