Hollandays Big Sale: buy buy buy!

It’s that time of year again!

Hollandspiele is having its big sale: for two weeks (November 15-28) you can get substantial savings on all of their titles. Everything is $5 off, and if your order total before shipping is at least $100, you’ll get an additional 10% off (deducted automatically at checkout, no codes needed)!

Order two or more complete games and you get a free copy of this year’s mini-card-game, Republic of Virtue (for two players, about surviving the Reign of Terror).

Europeans are reminded to order from Second Chance Games in the UK, Hollandspiele simply cannot make it work from their end without suspending laws of time, space and thermodynamics.  https://www.secondchancegames.com/index.php/component/virtuemart/manufacturer/hollandspiele/

My Hollandspiele titles:

  • No. 1 The Scheldt Campaign $45 => $40
  • No. 9 Ukrainian Crisis and Little War $45 => $40
  • No. 43 District Commander Maracas $50 => $45
  • No. 47 District Commander Binh Dinh $50 => $45
  • No. 54 District Commander Kandahar $50 => $45
  • No. 60 District Commander Zone Nord Oranais $50 => $45

Go there now!

https://hollandspiele.com/pages/hollandays-sale

Updated: Quads That Never Were

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Back in 2003 I wrote a piece for Simulacrum magazine on SPI Quadrigames that were proposed but never published. Today was a rainy day and I went through my collection of MOVES magazine to comb the Feedback sections for more Quads That Never Were, to add to the piece.

I found 47 in all!

Here is a link to the updated article. I hope you find it interesting!

NEVERQDS 2021

Melodica Men

Okay, I guess this has been around for a while but it’s new to me!

Who says we have to be serious around here alla time…..

More on the Urban Warfare Planners Course

The US Army’s First Urban Warfare Planners Course

(photo: Modern War Institute website)

A couple of weeks ago I posted a news item on the first ever Urban Warfare Planners Course, run by the staff of the 40th Infantry Division in California. News you can use

The Urban Warfare Project at the US Military Academy, Modern Warfare Institute has posted a very good podcast where they interviewed BG Robert Wooldridge, deputy commanding general for support about this first course – how it came about, what it is intended to do, and where they want it to go. Normally I do not have the time or patience to listen to podcasts but I did this one. You should too!

https://mwi.usma.edu/the-us-armys-first-urban-warfare-planners-course/

Podcast includes just a few tantalizing details of the tabletop exercise they ran, facilitated by LTC Luke Gygax (yes, the son of That Gygax, he serves in the California National Guard) on the adventures of a multinational task force engaging in combat operations in a dense urban area against a peer enemy. Factions included US forces, Allied forces, Civilians, the Enemy, and a Criminal element. Dice were rolled and chaos ensued!

This is inspiring me to return to work on an idea I had a while ago, the Scaleable Urban Combat Kriegsspiel… I had thought about the District Commander system could be useful as a manual system the Army could use for tabletop exercises, and it quite likely is, but perhaps I could work out something even easier to get into than District Commander Maracas. I easily forget how far these manual games lie outside “ordinary” people’s experience and frame of reference.

SDHistCon: Chat with Harold Buchanan, 0900 13 November

[EDITED TO ADD: here is the video of our very pleasant chat!]

Once or twice a year Harold Buchanan holds the San Diego Historical Games Convention or “SDHistCon”. The last while it has been an online event perforce, and so is this one, coming up next weekend.

Early next Saturday morning Harold and I will spend a pleasant (it’s always pleasant) hour or so chatting about whatever comes into our heads, gamewise. If you would like to listen in, it is $10 to get a badge for the Convention but all the convention events are free!

https://tabletop.events/conventions/sdhist-con-2021

Dates and times

Thu, Nov 11 2021, 8:00am – 10:00pm
Fri, Nov 12 2021, 6:00am – 10:00pm
Sat, Nov 13 2021, 6:00am – 10:00pm
Sun, Nov 14 2021, 6:00am – 10:00pm
Time zone: America/Los_Angeles (UTC -08:00)

There are dozens of events – panels, interviews, demonstrations of games and seminars. All free (but you have to reserve a ticket). Some of the notable ones that caught my interest include:

  • 0900 Fri 12 November: Harold Buchanan interviews Phil Sabin
  • 1800 Fri 12 November: Designer chat on John Company with Cole and Drew Wehrle
  • 0900 Sat 13 November: Harold Buchanan interviews me
  • 1100 Sat 13 November: Panel introducing the finalists of the Zenobia Awards
  • 1300 Sat 13 November: Panel on “History as Tourism in Modern Strategy Games” panel with Liz Davidson of Beyond Solitaire
  • 1700 Sat 13 November: “Inside GMT” night with company principals and designers
  • plus demos of various upcoming games I’m especially interested in (Cross-Bronx Expressway, In the Shadows, Order and Opportunity, The British Way, and various Zenobia Award finalists) throughout the weekend.

Hope you will join us!

Livestream: discussion on Civilian Victimization (Wargame Ethics #1)

At 2000 GMT Sunday November 7, Fred Serval will host a discussion between him, myself, Javier Romero, John Poniske and Tomislav Cipcic (sorry, I don’t know how to get the characters to show up!) on the topic of civilian victimization in wargames, and how it shows up or more often is merely elided. Habitues of this blog probably recognize all these names and the very good games they have designed that include this aspect of warfare.

Loose list of topics we will discuss:

– Introduction: presenting participants, why the topic is important, what is the panel’s objective
– Part 1: why should wargames represent civilian victimization? Forms of victimization, the risk of whitewashing history, limits of the ludic medium etc.
– Part 2 : how to depict those effects? The role of the player, the effect on the game’s dynamics, choices beyond pure strategy & player experience etc.
– Conclusion : final thoughts and opinion on future topics.

Hope you can join us, or have a listen after the fact!

Foucault in the Woodland, Part 1

foucault d and p

Over at the insanely clever (or cleverly insane) Space-Biff! blog of Daniel Thurot, he writes ably on Foucault’s take on power and biopolitics as it is expressed in Cole Wehrle’s game Root. Cole Wehrle wrote about Foucault’s ideas in this regard in his Root designer diaries as well, this is a good expansion on that.

It’s just… oh, go and read it!

https://spacebiff.com/2021/11/04/foucault-in-the-woodland-1

This is part 1 of a series of 3. What he has written so far in summarizing Foucault resonates with the underpinning ideas in some of my games on irregular conflict… this is unconscious on my part since my Poli Sci education did not involve reading him, but still, DINGGGG, and I present my current favourite Fouquote where he flips Clausewitz’s dictum about war being a continuation of politics by other means:

“It may be that war as strategy is a continuation of politics. But it must not be forgotten that ‘politics’ has been conceived as a continuation, if not exactly and directly of war, at least of the military model as a fundamental means of preventing civil disorder. Politics, as a technique of internal peace and order, sought to implement the mechanism of the perfect army …. It is strategy that makes it possible to understand warfare as a way of conducting politics between states; it is tactics that makes it possible to understand the army as a principle for maintaining the absence of warfare in civil society.”

(Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish (1986): 168)

News you can use

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[Unfortunately could not link to a corker of a photo by BGEN Wooldridge of the course students standing around a giant map with their hands in their pockets.]

https://www.latimes.com/socal/daily-pilot/entertainment/story/2021-10-26/with-an-eye-on-china-los-alamitos-based-army-division-looks-at-fighting-in-cities

PRIMUS

An interesting piece on the US 40th Infantry Division (a National Guard formation, with brigades in Hawaii, Oregon and California) and its offering of the Urban Warfare Planners course, a first on the topic.

Maj. Gen. Laura Yeager, commanding general of the 40th Infantry Division, and Wooldridge have led the charge on urban warfare training partly because they could be called upon to fight in an all-out war with the People’s Liberation Army.

While the U.S. Army has long maintained its Ranger and Mountain Warfare schools, urban warfare has no equivalent training center in the service.

[Brig. Gen. Robert] Wooldridge underscored his division’s readiness to fight wherever and whenever they’re called, but he still wants to do everything possible to avoid some of the casualties U.S. forces will endure fighting in megacities.

“I hope we never have to use this, but if we’re planning to take back some city in the Indo-Pacific region maybe some staff officer or planner will think back to the course and say, ‘Thank god we went through this,’” he said.

Sir, I do not think a one-week engagement with the subject material is enough. 

And realistically, if the 29th Infantry BCT (Hawaii component of the 40th) finds itself fighting to clear formations of regular PLA troops out of a major city, several Very Large Things have already gone wrong. 

But I maintain that there will continue to be irregular warfare within cities, some of them very large, and it behooves professional militaries to learn how to deal with them, as best they can. So it’s a start. 

 

bots11playgcheck.jpg

Playing Guerrilla Checkers with Michel Boucher – deux vieux avec un jeu nouveau.

https://www.wired.com/story/this-ai-resurrects-ancient-board-games-lets-you-play-them

http://ludeme.eu/outputs/index.html

SECUNDUS

Here is a new word for you to learn today: digital archaeoludology, “a new field of study involving the analysis and reconstruction of ancient games from incomplete descriptions and archaeological evidence using modern computational techniques.”

First link is to a story in Wired about the Digital Ludeme Project, which is I guess the first and possibly only institution dedicated to this field. The Artificial Intelligence described in the article breaks what is known about the dug-up ancient game into “ludemes” which are then cross-referenced with other similar pieces to try and reconstruct how the game might have been played and to what end, and then to attempt playing the reconstructed item. Fortunately the team includes an anthropologist who evaluates the games via their social aspect and probable alterations to the rules, since there are rulesets that are perfectly logical but make for bad games. I wonder what this software would do with Monopoly or RISK.

Second link is to the outputs page of the Project itself, where you can find and use the Ludii software and see its applications. One of these is a Youtube demonstration video I haven’t had time to see yet on “Designing, Playing and Testing Games with Ludii”, which seems interesting.

TERTIUS

https://rockymountainnavy.com/2021/10/27/wargame-wednesday-my-wargame-news-feeds

A link back to RockyMountainNavy’s blog where he talks about where he gets his wargame news from. He’s a lot more choosy than I am, I think!

History and Games Lab blogpost: Analog Newsgames as Citizen Journalism

uacrlwcover

https://historyandgames.shca.ed.ac.uk/analog-newsgames/

As a follow-up to our very pleasant interview a couple of weeks ago, I put together a post for the History and Games Lab blog about analog games as a form of citizen journalism.

It’s a cut-down version of the piece I have written on the same subject for the EuroWargames anthology (no news lately on when that is coming out) so perhaps nothing new for many of you; if not, then have a look.

Compass Games: titles on sale!

Compass Games has launched its holiday catalog sale!

Many nice deals, but of more interest to my Dear Readers:

Paper Wars #84 with Finnish Civil War, marked down to $25.00

Brief Border Wars reduced to $45.00 (that’s less than $12 a game, friends!)

No coupon code required and prices are good until January 25, 2022.

See this and all the other on-sale goodies at https://compassgamesbucket.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/downloads/Compass+catalog+2021+web+optimized.pdf