I suppose I should also say what my decision on my novel is. I have a feeling, just a feeling, that if I were to modestly show it around to other people outside family and online friends (who have seen drafts of it for years upon years), people who actually held interest in reading it, they would tell me, "WOW". I'd point out the flaws; they wouldn't care too much about them. So, that's encouragement to keep going...
...But I also made a decision. This is, still technically speaking, an edit of my second draft. I want to complete my second draft and immediately begin a third. But...when I begin my third draft, I do want to write everything from scratch, line by line, word for word. Speaking it out loud, and then, as I type, thinking: is this repetitive? And if so...does the repetition add something?
This is something that can only be done effectively with typing. Editing doesn't cut it. Even with typing, I doubt it will be 100% effective, especially when page after page begins to pile up. My novel is long. Like, really, really long. As in, I'm on page 113 as of right now, and I'm not even to the half way point, long. (This, after it has already been divided into two books! The first draft's ending was the originally-planned half-way mark until I realized all that content couldn't possibly fit into a single story.)
But this would be something that could help a lot. I want to hold off until my editing the second draft is complete. (It'll help if I reach the end point of the second draft, which is where I ran out of steam in rewriting the first draft, because then, I'll actually be writing rather than editing. There's 235 pages, by the way, so...half-way there, almost.)
Anyway, I also felt like talking about my identity even MORE, basically, about how, at least since moving here, Brian has always been there for me, and I know David appeared in many of my early writings so he clearly existed by the time I was 14, maybe even sooner, but it's not a subject I can really verbalize that well.
So, instead, I'll talk a bit about a board game I designed! It's inspired by Chess, but it has some elements of card games (that is, Magic: The Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokemon, and other such duels) in it as well, not to mention, a slight randomness factor. I haven't really thought about the name, but I have mapped out the mechanics of the game quite extensively.
It's a two-person game. Before the game begins, you can establish house rules, so to speak (e.g. blitz move games for chess), but the only mandatory thing is deciding who gets to be the attacker, and who gets to be the defender. If no mutual agreement can be made, then each player rolls one die. The higher number gets their decision. If the problem in making an agreement was neither side being able to choose, then they default to being the attacker.
The defender lays out their pieces first. This is done on a 9x9 grid (one box larger than a chess grid), where they get the 9x2 end spaces on one side to set out 15 units and 3 bases, in an order of their choosing. They also get to set aside any number of reinforcements on the side, with a maximum unit count of 50. (The maximum for knights is 10, and the maximum allowed in the field at once is 9 per side. Ergo, you can have 10 knights and 40 other units, but can only deploy 9 of them along with 6 other units at the game's start.)
After they have finished setting up their formation, offense gets to set up, on the other side of the grid, their own pieces, same amount: 9x2 grid, 15 units, 3 bases. Then, defense gets a chance to modify their setup, allowed to make 4 changes of ANY kind (even reinforcements count) to their setup.
The terms of the game are simple: either capture/destroy all enemy bases, or eliminate all enemy units. Every turn, EVERY piece can act (rather than just one), but is not required to act, ergo, if they are strategically placed, they can stay put. You are not required to fill every space on the board (meaning, you can have less than 15 starting units), nor are you required to call in reinforcements; all of these are deliberate choices a commander can make.
I should probably describe the units then.
Bases are the basis of the game. They are, effectively, the 'King' unit: they can move one square in any direction per turn. They cannot attack, and cannot be destroyed by a ranged archery attack. However, if attacked, they will always have a single die, used as defense. Bases are valuable, because you are allowed to spawn one unit per base each turn, if there's any empty square surrounding the base.
If a base's defenses are overcome, the attacking player can choose to either capture or destroy the base. If the base is destroyed, it is eliminated. If the base is captured, different effects happen depending on the game state: if the player capturing the base has all three of their own bases, their headquarters (a lead base) can now spawn two units for as long as the fourth base is held.
If the player capturing the base has had one of their bases captured, nothing happens. However, if the player capturing the base has had one of their bases destroyed, the new base replaces their lost base. So basically, the only time you want to destroy a captured based are if you're either (1) positive you can't hold it, or (2) if you've had a base captured yet all bases are currently still standing (since you gain nothing from leaving the base standing and you can potentially lose it again).
Pikemen are give 2 dice by default. They have a -1 die penalty against footsoldiers, a -1 die penalty against a ranged archer barrage, a +1 to their die if entrenched (no movement for one whole turn), and +2 if facing a knight. They can attack two tiles straight forward (this counts as a melee attack for all unit purposes), or one tile any other of the 7 directions. They move one tile at a time. If they attack, they do not move into the attacked space if victorious.
Footmen are give 3 dice by default. They get -2 against knights, but +1 against archers. They also receive +1 if they are attacking. They can move/attack 1 tile in any direction, and if victorious in an attack, will move into the attacked space. They also shorten the range of enemy archers by 1.
Archers are the only unit able to deal damage without being at risk of getting killed, by performing a ranged attack 2-5 spaces diagonally OR straight in any direction. (This makes the middle tile highly desirable for an archer, because they can snipe virtually the whole board from there.) They have 3 dice by default, but have a -1 penalty if engaged in a melee (one tile) fight. They also have area of effect when attacking: every time they attack a tile, they also attack the surrounding 8 tiles, with a single die. This, however, does not discriminate between friend or foe, thus, can kill allies. (It is, of course, just one die, so it's unlikely to kill anything, but...it's possible!) They can move one tile, but generally stay put.
Knights are the only unit capable of both moving and attacking in the same turn...in fact, they specialize in it. They can move and attack in any combination of 5 tiles, e.g. moving 3 squares to attack once, then moving two squares to attack a second time. They start with 3 dice. They take -1 if attacking a tile in their immediate 8 surroundings. (This -1 also applies on defense.) If they move two tiles prior to attacking, they gain +1. If they move 3, +2. If they move 4, it's +3. This follows the path of least resistance: it may be possible to move away from a unit at point blank and charge back in theory, but the game forbids this from happening; if you're right next to the unit, you're right next to the unit. They get -1 when facing pikemen. They also cannot bypass pikemen; if they enter a pikeman's zone of influence (the immediate 8 squares around the pikeman+1 ahead of the pikeman), they must either stop their movements or attack the pikeman.
Now, you might wonder what the dice are for. Simple. Each time a unit wishes to attack, a combat roll is made, off of these statistics. This represents both the element of randomness in war (not all variables can be accounted for perfectly; fights always turn out in ways that are unexpected), and the element of strategy, in that each unit has a weakness that can be exploited. Pikemen > Knight > Footmen > Archer > Pikemen, in this case. With those opposite one another (pikemen/footmen, knight/archer) being about evenly matched all things considered.
When engaged in combat with these combat rolls, the side with the higher roll lives; the side with the lower roll dies. If they roll equally, unless it is a base being attacked, both parties die. This is why stalemates are not impossible, albeit rare: if both sides end up wiping each other out, then the battle is obviously over. (It is also, of course, possible to surrender.)
I really, really, really like this game. All it needs is a name, and I'll have found a good game. I think I did a good job balancing the units, as to allow for the game to be an extreme battle of the wits, in regards to gaming and metagaming, looking at what the enemy has, building up your own forces...it's just...it's the game I've wanted to make for ages, and now I've finally made it. I think it's an accurate depiction of how warfare was fought for thousands of years: the balance between infantry, cavalry, and ranged, at a pragmatic level.