Simulacrum #30: special issue on Brian Train’s games!

issue cover


“New from publisher, John Kula. Simulacrum #30 is the sporadically published zine of board wargame collecting, accumulating and hoarding. As is traditional with the decade issues of Simulacrum (number 10 was a special on Simulation Canada’s games, and number 20 dealt with the quadrigames put out by SPI), this issue is a special on the games of Brian R Train. It’s all here. Get it quickly before BRT ruins everything by starting another half-dozen designs. There are even a couple of designs that nobody has either heard of, or remembers. The issue comes as a PDF file, 87 pages in full and glorious color. Price: $5 (order direct from Or you can obtain ALL issues of Simulacrum on a CD for $35, which includes postage to North America.”

John has worked on this issue for years. I’m very grateful and touched; no one could ask for a greater gesture of friendship.

Off to Connections 2012

I am leaving tomorrow to attend the Connections 2012 conference at National Defense University in Washington DC.

While there, I will be participating in a “Game Lab” exercise where groups of us will be working on the concepts that would go into a Humanitarian Disaster Response situation, in this case the Haitian earthquake of January 2010.

This is something new for me, as I don’t usually design collaboratively (although I will be doing more facilitating than actual design) and have never tried this kind of design before.

Getting there will be interesting: I am going to Los Angeles, where I will meet Joe Miranda and we will travel in a (hopefully not sealed) train to Washington, via Chicago. I have never been on a long train trip before, so I am looking forward to it. Usually when I take time off from work I never get a rest because I am twice as busy shooting off in a different direction. But they say on the train there is nothign to do but ride it, and read, and walk around. Sounds good to me; every time I fly I like it less. But I will be flying home from Washington on the 29th, then back to work….


The Envelope, Please…

I’ve been nominated in the 2011 Charles S. Roberts Awards for a “James F. Dunnigan Design Elegance Award” for my game Summer Lightning!

(scroll way, way down to the bottom)

I highly doubt I’ll win though – as much as I liked the game, just not enough people own it to vote on it, and I would not ask my Deah Readuhs to stuff the ballot box. No. That would be wrong.

But it’s nice to see your name on the list, at any rate.


Now it can be told…

For the last month or two Volko Ruhnke (designer of Wilderness War, Labyrinth, Andean Abyss and Cuba Libre) ( and I have been working on on an Afghanistan game for GMT Games, as one of the instalments in their “COIN series”.

Provisionally, it’s called “A Distant Plain” and is derived from Volko’s just-released game Andean Abyss ( Like Andean Abyss, the game is for four players: Coalition, Afghan Government, Taliban, and Warlords. Each has differing powers and abilities, and varying victory conditions. Also like Andean Abyss, there will be a solitaire-playable version. So far there will be three scenarios from different times during the war: 2003-04 (the Taliban begins to revive and build its insurgency), 2005-06 (Taliban making rapid gains) and 2009 (just as the Afghan Surge of American troops begins).

Gene Billingsley playtested it at the recent Consimworld Expo and liked it a lot:…

Consimworld discussion topic for the game has been started:

Now “live” for P500 at GMT’s website:

More details in a recent post at PAXSims: