The Player’s Aid: another review of Winter Thunder

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To follow up on the video review done in October, Grant Kleinheinz has written up his impressions of the game on the Players Aid blog.

https://theplayersaid.com/2017/12/13/review-winter-thunder-the-battle-of-the-bulge-from-tiny-battle-publishing/

Thanks Grant!

And remember:

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Video review of Colonial Twilight at Tric Trac (avis: c’est en francais)

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Colonial Twilight, Hex Rules #18 – Actualités – Tric Trac

Over at the French-language website Tric Trac, the video blog or review series “Hex Rules” features:

Nov 21, 2017 – Dans cet iconoclaste numéro de Hex Rules, Monsieur Guillaume et Monsieur Guillaume revivent “Les événements”. Mais qui prendra le contrôle de l’Algérie ? 
Gist: “In this iconoclastic episode of Hex Rules, two guys named Guillaume relive “the events” [as the Algerian War is sometimes euphemistically referred to]. But who will take control of Algeria?”
Unfortunately, this content is available for subscribers only, so I don’t know what they thought of it.
From the beginning, I have been quite curious as to what kind of reception this game would have in France. So far the only indications I’ve had are that there hasn’t been much of anything: individual gamers have written in, a couple have prepared French-language player aids, but no lengthy reviews or commentary. This is the first example of the latter I have seen, so acknowledging that few will go and subscribe there I post this to show that there was at least one such.

Coming soon: Strike For Berlin!

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Chunk of the playtest countersheet. Proper counters will be done by John Cooper, who also did Winter Thunder and Red Horde 1920.

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Elongated blurry slice of the playtest map. Proper map will also be done by John Cooper.

Yaah! magazine #11, which I am told will probably ship in March 2018, will have my game Strike For Berlin in it. Opening blurb to the rules:

STRIKE FOR BERLIN is a simulation game of a hypothetical invasion of Germany by the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic’s (RSFSR) armed forces in 1920.  The game is for two players, one representing the irresistible forces of proletarian revolution (called the Red Player), and the other the (hopefully) impervious alliance of anti-Bolshevist forces that would have been arrayed to oppose such an invasion (called the White Player).

The game begins just after the Red Player’s forces have won the Battle for Warsaw in mid-August 1920.  Sensing that “over the corpse of White Poland lies the road to worldwide conflagration” (Tukhachevsky, leader of the Red forces, in a communique), the leadership of the RSFSR has decided to go for broke and seize Berlin, capital of a Germany in political and economic disarray.  However, it is already late summer and they cannot sustain a military effort of this size past the onset of bad weather at the end of October. The Red Player has just ten weeks to change the course of world history.

This is a complete makeover of 1998’s Freikorps, just as Red Horde 1920 was a complete makeover of Konarmiya. 176 counters, 17×22″ hex map. Same updated and revised system, and like Red Horde this one has lots of optional rules to vary the game, including: armoured trains; the Trotsky Train (making a reappearance); the Red Baltic Fleet; Entente units and the Royal Navy;  different deployments and structures for the Reichswehr; Danzig – what of Danzig?; and Red conscription on the march.

And of course, just as with their predecessors the two games can link, so you can play one long game from May to October of 1920, on a combined map that stretches from Kiev to Berlin.

I just handed in the files for this game, so no better samples or even kooky cover art to show… but when it’s time, you can pre-order your copy here. Price will likely be $40 but there’s usually a 10% pre-order discount, and the PnP version is generally less than $20.

https://flyingpiggames.com/t/yaah-magazine

Nights of Fire – prototype components!

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Here you are – an advance look at the prototype version of Nights of Fire!

Not the largest image – best I could get – but you can see some details. The green wooden blocks are the Insurgents, divided into Fighters and non-mobile Locals (sticker sheet in the foreground). The 10 large red triangles are Garrison markers, and the 9 large red hexagon pieces are the different regiments in the three divisions involved in the battle for the city. The small gray squares on the counter sheet are Civilians, to be rescued or arrested depending on which side you’re on, the 10 orange squares are Barricades/Rubble, the red circles are Wounds (I think), and the number counters at top are for use in the solo mode.

The glass stones (in the small bag) are markers for game parameters like Soviet Prestige, Hungarian Morale, etc.. There is one die but it isn’t used much, only for resolving Soviet counterattacks against Insurgents (simple roll against the current Readiness level, which moves up and down during play).

Lots of cards. Cards for the Insurgents to undertake operations, Hero cards for extra insurgent fun, Tactics cards for the Soviets, Headline cards to provide temporary objectives, Scenario cards to vary conditions of play, “Konev mode” cards to handle solo play, and so on… you will have lots of replayability with this game.

The map is an area movement map of downtown Budapest with objectives marked on it; the artist has gone for the “map looks like a map on a table overlaid with images of other documents” look. Somewhat the same look but much more sensible and intuitive to me than the map for Days of Ire.

And yes, we are working on a way to have a “campaign” between the two games.

I’ll be getting a sample in a few weeks to play with. More pictures then.

And finally, another look at the cover art!

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(by Kwanchai Moriya, a remarkable fellow:  https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgameartist/28024/kwanchai-moriya)

Book video review: Zones of Control

ZOC book cover

Or maybe it’s a video book review!

Two reviews of the Zones of Control anthology on Youtube: a lengthy one by the notorious Marco Arnaudo.

https://youtu.be/rF0_YiWzlBo

And a shorter one by the Bonding with Board Games group, who also do the HAMTAG (Half As Much, Twice As Good) show

https://youtu.be/mk0UhBAhku4

By the way, MIT Press is having a sale on this and every other book they carry until Monday!

You can get a copy of this for 40% off, or just thirty Yankbucks!

https://mitpress.mit.edu/zones-control

And be sure to look elsewhere in the Game Studies area, as there are some other very good titles there.

https://mitpress.mit.edu/category/discipline/game-studies

Eight pages of stuff and like always 95% of it is about digital games and gaming, but I have bought and liked:

  • Works of Game: on the Aesthetics of Game and Art, by John Sharp
  • Uncertainty in Games, by Greg Costikyan
  • The Well Played Game: a Player’s Philosophy by Bernard de Koven
  • Critical Play: Radical Game Design by Mary Flanagan (excellent book)
  • War Games: A History of War on Paper by Philipp von Hilgers

Use promocode GIVEBOOKS40 at checkout. Hurry, offer ends at midnight 11/27/2017!  (Discount applies to website purchase only.) Service is prompt and shipping is pretty reasonable too.

Walking the Distant Plain: InsideGMT blog

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Over at the InsideGMT blog, Chris Davis gives his impressions of A Distant Plain and how it captures the atmosphere of what he actually experienced during his service in Afghanistan:

http://www.insidegmt.com/?p=18097

No Fun Allowed review of Colonial Twilight

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Riccardo Fabris, whom I met in September at David Turczi’s when I visited him in London, has written a short and perceptive review of Colonial Twilight at his blog No Fun Allowed.

https://allownofun.blogspot.ca/2017/11/difficult-decisions-and-designing.html

Despite the title of his blog, he did have fun with the many and varied difficult decisions in playing this game!

Thanks Riccardo!