Space-Biff! reviews A Distant Plain

A very nice review of the game is here:


CONNECTIONS 2014 at MCB Quantico, 4-7 August

… and I’ll be there!

It’s going to be an interesting one (well, I have never been bored on one of these yet, except on the plane trips back and forth).

Keynote speakers include Thomas Schelling and Larry Bond!

It will be great to see the people I often meet at this conference, plus some new ones from the UK, and the Netherlands.

I will be speaking on the GlobalECCO project and its use for international cooperation – well, camaraderie and understanding really. No Game Lab exercise this year, too much else going on, but I will get to show and demonstrate a few things – will bring Kandahar and Green Beret, Caudillo, Ukrainian Crisis, and the abstract games I’ve taken to other conferences. Maybe also the latest project I’ve been working on, which is working out well but perhaps can’t be talked about widely yet (he hinted, not so darkly). Also looking forward to visiting the Home of the Marine Corps! Purposely packing minimal clothes so as to cram in extra demo material, maybe I’ll go home wearing 6 T-shirts, pockets stuffed full of Chinese-made Devil Dog tat….

Ukrainian Crisis to be published by Victory Point Games

Well, I was holding my tongue but Alan Emrich let the cat out of the bag hisself… this from the 3 July number of the Crimson Courier, Victory Point Games’ (VPG) electronic newsletter:

Putin Pressure on Ukraine: Designer Brian Train has his first design with us which he originally published as a print-and-play game. This is a simulation of maneuver and pressure (political, economic, and military) rather than a straight force-on-force wargame. The international dance for prestige and resources over the territories of the Ukraine (and its neighbors) today is a fascinating study in current events in the guise of a clever simulation.

While I was at the CSW Expo in Tempe, Alan approached me with his interest in publishing the game. Besides vastly improved components which you don’t need to assemble yourself (full colour, die-cut, a box, all that neat stuff) this game will have a few other changes incorporated besides the name (Alan’s idea, not my boring original title):

  • All processes will use a d6, not via the substituting method I listed in section 2.1 of the rules though – we are going to a dice-averaging system which I did briefly consider when originally designing the game. This required a couple of changes to processes, notably the Diplomatic resolution and the introduction of random Critical Incidents that can occur when players make a Maximum Effort on something.
  • Some Russian OOB changes to reflect the ID numbers and likely composites of units that appear to have been actually fielded, rather than my original guesses (most of which were right, but they were obvious ones).
  • A completely deterministic version of the game that doesn’t use dice at all, if you feel that rollin’ dem bones is a sin (though it does use playing cards, so you are halfway to Perdition anyway).

The game is now in the hands of the VPG developers, so no telling what will emerge in the end, nor when that will be. Stay tuned!

[EDIT: In the end, VPG did not publish the game, and it was published by Hollandspiele in March 2017 in slightly different form. ]

Coming soon from Hollandspiele: Ukrainian Crisis and The Little War!

Now, if that had been the only good thing to come out of the CSW Expo, I would have been happy, but there’s more… can’t talk about all of it right now, but I did score some nice old SPI games and magazines at the Flea Market and Game Auction (a highlight of the week, ably and amiably cried by Alan Emrich) and had a very good playtest session of Dios O Federacion – which I have now renamed Caudillo, for now – with some of the Vancouver gang plus others:

Dios test csw expo

Just a few of the testers – from left to right, John “Tex” Teixeira, Clayton Baisch, Kerry Anderson, Me, The Forearm of Jamie Shanks, and Rob Bottos took the picture.