Greek Civil War, redux

So, my game on the 1947-49 Greek Civil War is out, in issue #11 of Modern War magazine.

Constant Readers will recall that I sent my original game design, using a development of the game system I developed for Shining Path and Algeria, in to Decision Games at the end of 2011. DG asked me to redesign the game using a game system developed by Joe Miranda for his Decision Iraq game that was to appear in issue #6. So I did, at the beginning of 2012, and sent that in.

I had read some rules questions on the Consimworld and Boardgamegeek sites from subscribers who had received their copies that made me wonder. Then I got a copy of the e-rules and yes, DG had made a number of major rules changes between 2012 and now, without my knowledge. Finally I got my own subscriber copy. I do not agree with these changes.

Part of the publishing agreement a designer signs with Decision Games reads: “Decision is responsible for the development, graphics and publication of the Game. Decision is free to edit, develop, and make other changes it deems necessary for publication of the Game. Decision has final approval for all materials utilized in publishing the Game. Designer incurs no obligation for any of these, other than those specified above. Decision agrees to credit Designer in the published game rules.”

So, they have done their part in all of the above. I want to be fair: with other designs I have sent to them, DG has been more or less good with keeping me in the loop. And presumably they had their reasons for making the changes they did.

While I feel uncomfortable publicly disagreeing with the publisher, I am also uncomfortable standing behind this game in its published form with my name on it.

Therefore, I am making the rules and charts I originally submitted available here for download, so that players can play the game in the manner I originally intended.

GCWrules11

GCWchts11

As for the very first version of Greek Civil War, which I am going to retitle Andartes, I intend to self-publish this in DTP format later in the year.

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About brtrain
This blog is mostly devoted to posts, work and resources on "serious" conflict simulation games.

10 Responses to Greek Civil War, redux

  1. neilspry says:

    Brian

    Very pleased to see that Andartes will be the first of the ‘Algeria’ system games you are going to self-publish: you can definitely consider me a pre-order for it. I never realised that publishers had such an open licence to adapt and change a design in this way, especially without consultation. Anyway, I’ve been pondering whether to purchase MW #11, but now I know the ‘100% your’ version is available soon I’ll wait.

    Regards
    Neil

  2. brtrain says:

    Thanks Neil. Along with the Greek Civil War, an even more detailed game on the Cyprus Emergency (1955-59) called EOKA will follow.

    But if you can get MW #11, do so – the map and diecut counters are nice, and Joe MIranda’s system makes for a fun game with an approach quite different from mine (if you can call a bloody civil war fun).

    As I said, the publishing agreement with DG spells out what they can do with a submitted design quite clearly.
    Language similar to this is quite common in agreements other companies use: basically, they feel they need to be free to make necessary decisions involved in publishing the game.

    Quite understandable, since they’re not a charity.

    There is an expectation that there will be at least some consultation, though, and while DG has kept me involved in the development of other games I’ve designed for them, there was none in this case.

  3. Neal Durando says:

    Seems like a backwards way of doing business. As far as I understand, the rights to the game revert to you upon publication. I could understand redoing everything if the idea were to retail your design. Well, it’s cool of you to put the original rules out there. DG can’t complain, as doing so can only drive sales. For what it’s worth, the Decision Iraq system seems like it needs more work. Maybe GCW will benefit from a reworking of the basic system.

    • brtrain says:

      Nope, with DG the deal is that you sell them the rights; kiss ’em goodbye at the moment of acceptance, and get paid upon (eventual) publication. DG’s not complaining; several thousand copies of the game are out there, as they redesigned it, and one has to have the game anyway to drop in the original rules. And the map does look nice, is a decent size, and the counters are simple and well made.
      The Decision Iraq system is an example of the sort of thing Joe MIranda has been nibbling around with his recent designs – a central metric called Netwar (Decision Iraq, Somali Pirates), Political Index (Greek Civil War), the price of oil (Target Iran) that’s sort of like “national will” which shows up in a lot of games but refers to a lot of nebulous non-physical aspects to conflict.
      In my view, the changes that DG made to the Greek civil war rules were mostly about streamlining processes and simplifying choices, which would be good for getting people through a game quickly but at the cost of ultimate game balance (I think it’s been thrown towards the Government side considerably) and subtlety in exploring the situation. But we’ve discussed before about how DG values the use of particular systems in getting players into games quickly; they’re in the business of getting people to play the product, after all.

  4. Michel Boucher says:

    “I think it’s been thrown towards the Government side considerably”

    Ah, those Yanks…they hate to lose…

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