Ludobits: 5 Eurogamer Mistakes When Learning the COIN System

Banner by Rodger MacGowan

Excellent advice on what to avoid when your’re a Eurogamer learning the COIN system.

I wish I could link to an article as concise and coherent as this one, with respect to the mistakes wargamers make when they learn the COIN system. Though writers of some reviews of A Distant Plain have talked about the epiphanies they had when the light went on and they realized they weren’t playing Kursk or Gettysburg.

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

4 Responses to Ludobits: 5 Eurogamer Mistakes When Learning the COIN System

  1. defling says:

    There is a real geospatial disconnect in counterinsurgency with respect to conventional warfare, as there are still no satisfying cartographic conventions setting out the pertinent human or physical geographies. (Perhaps these conventions are four dimensional, including time.) This is what I think causes wargamers the most difficulty. So it is wonderful to get a window into euro-confusion, which seems more centered on frustration with building a victory point engine. The success of COIN (the games) is encouraging as it seems to frustrate both camps. You may well become rich and famous. Paul’s judicious and useful critique is of a kind that the wargaming community has difficulty formulating.

    • brtrain says:

      As I’ve said here and elsewhere, many times, in my view the main run of wargamers are no more interested in counterinsurgency, or even current events, than the main run of Eurogamers… or even “ordinary people”.
      So it beats me from which camp more COIN game players are coming, I suspect wargamers because these games are after all about definite wars, not competing area influence or economic exploitation in some undefined time period in one Mediterranean country or another.
      But I’ve found many wargamer heads to be quite fragile, they may be large but they do not contain multitudes (pace Walt Whitman).
      It’s not just the problems of rendering human geographies, as you pointed out, it’s also their approach to playing multi-player games… the “bucket of crabs” worldview where, to quote Jeffro Johnson elsewhere, “the idea that ‘bash the leader’ is the correct answer to every turn and if you don’t you’re playing it wrong.”

      Anyway, I highly doubt I am going to be famous over this, far less rich… I’m not even trying to convince people of something.
      People who will respond well to the stimuli COIN games provide, will benefit from them.
      Others won’t, and probably never would.
      Some of them are Eurogamers, others wargamers.

      As always Neal, you point out the interesting problem here… representing cartographically and usefully the pertinent human geographies.
      We do well, or at least better, at the physical geographies though there is always room for improvement, as you have been showing so well on your blog.
      I’ve tried to do things along these lines, in games where the usual time and space dilemmas wargamers pose themselves don’t matter… for example, in my game Tupamaro where the map is a map of attitudes of different socioeconomic sectors.
      Card games do well here too, they have a lot of potential for exploring and analysing social networks in conflict… kind of like Colonel Mathieu’s organigramme in the film “Battle of Algiers” when you think about it, or “duelling wire diagrams” like the old Illuminati: New World Order card game (the only CCG I ever got into, or enjoyed).
      Dunnigan tried to show this with a hex map in Plot to Assassinate Hitler, and the mighty note he sounded reverberated for years among gamers… almost all of whom were tone-deaf, unfortunately.

  2. Pingback: Ludobits: 5 Eurogamer Mistakes When Learning the COIN System — brtrain | Tome and Tomb

  3. Pingback: WARGAMES WEDNESDAY: The Euro Gamer’s Guide to Learning GMT’s COIN Series –

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