Review of Afghanistan ’11

I don’t play computer games. Ever, or at least not for a long time. The last one I played was half of Imperialism, the original one from SSI published in 1997.

But I happened across a review of this one http://www.wargamer.com/reviews/review-afghanistan-11/ and it looks interesting, in that its action seems to approximate a simpler manual wargame, except with a lot more drudgery that the computer mostly handles. It is also an updating of an earlier Vietnam game by the same designer, ’65.

The interesting part is the final two paragraphs, on doctrine:

More fundamentally though, Afghanistan ‘11 is based on some good faith assumptions about COIN that the doctrine itself probably doesn’t deserve. The U.S. strategy of “build infrastructure, visit villages until bad guys go away” is modelled as completely workable in Nagel’s games, despite the fact that the two major American wars that have relied heavily on this strategy are anything but resounding successes. Since David Galula published the first comprehensive explanation of COIN, Counterinsurgency Warfare and Practice (1964), the concept has not been meaningfully adapted nor successfully brought to bear in either major war where it’s formed the centrepiece of American strategy. Afghanistan ‘11 doesn’t interrogate COIN theory, but rather is content to assume that it just works, so long as commanders using it are clever enough.

Then again, what would a strategy game that does critique COIN doctrine even look like? The fact that Afghanistan ‘11 refuses to dig into the question doesn’t detract from its effectiveness as a military strategy game. With relatively few moving pieces, this game evokes a side of modern warfare that’s rarely seen in games due to the difficulties in modeling something as conceptually squishy as “hearts and minds.” The elegance of its design make it engaging and fun from the word go, and the game’s new features fill out the already solid foundation laid down by ‘65.

Emphasis mine. And yes, you won’t find the answer in a computer game, at least not this one.

Oh well, baby (digital) steps….

 

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Interview at The Players Aid blog: Tupamaro

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The ever-alert Grant Kleinheinz, one of the “Faithful Eight” (readers of this blog, that is) asked me some questions about Tupamaro, my game on the Uruguayan urban guerrilla movement that is coming out soon from One Small Step Games (Tupamaro available for pre-order from OSS Games!)

Step over and have a look!

https://theplayersaid.com/2017/03/27/interview-with-brian-train-designer-of-tupamaro-from-one-small-step-games/

“Who controls the present controls the past” – part many of many, many

THE DANGERS OF BEING A HISTORIAN IN ORBÁN’S HUNGARY

Something extraordinary happened yesterday. László Tüske, director of Hungary’s National Library, launched disciplinary action against János M. Rainer, head of the Institute for the History of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution (’56 Institute), and three of his colleagues. Two were charged with making their views public on the factually inaccurate billboards used to advertise the sixtieth anniversary extravaganza staged by Viktor Orbán’s court historian, Mária Schmidt. This was the by now infamous case in which a fourteen-year-old boy who was one of the “pesti srácok” (urchins of Pest) was misidentified. A third was charged with complaining about photoshopped images used in the anniversary celebration. The fourth was charged with behaving improperly during Viktor Orbán’s speech on October 23.

The rest of the story is at http://hungarianspectrum.org/2017/03/24/the-dangers-of-being-a-historian-in-orbans-hungary/  The blog post is written by someone who was 16 at the time of the Revolution, and lived through the events in Budapest.

Briefly, Viktor Orban, who along with his compatriots has a view of the Hungarian Revolution that is very much at odds with historians inside and outside Hungary, looked to shut down the ’56 Institute when he came to power but failed… instead, individual members are being punished professionally for pointing out the difference between facts and invented facts (including a real live “Lieutenant Ogilvy” created through a deliberate misidentification of another person),  alteration of images of the past, and disrespectful personal gestures… in short, for doing their jobs as historians, or as citizens.

Again, as happened with the WW II museum in Poland (“Who controls the present controls the past.”), the question must be asked… who gets to remember, and how?

Now It Can Be Seen: Box art for Colonial Twilight

Rodger MacGowan has finished the box art for Colonial Twilight!

And boy it looks good. The collage-of-images is a staple for many wargame covers, but it’s particularly interesting how Rodger has arranged these and used colours to imitate and fuse the structures of both the French and Algerian flags. And the green-and-black scheme really makes it pop.

I’m very pleased with this, another great cover by Rodger!

And now, this is the very last thing there is for me to look at and approve… so that’s it.

I think we’re done here, after more than two and a half years.

*sigh*

Look for this to appear in June or July!

Ukrainian Crisis and Little War now available!

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YES!

The day is here, the hour is at hand!

GO and order your copy here!

https://hollandspiele.com/products/ukrainian-crisis-the-little-war

And it’s even five bucks off physical copies – $40 instead of $45 – for the next little while!

Digital Print-and-Play version available from Wargame Vault for $12 too!

http://www.wargamevault.com/product/207634/Ukrainian-Crisis–The-Little-War

BUY BUY and BUY again!

Trample Grandpa!

 

Tupamaro available for pre-order from OSS Games!

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OSS edition cover. Art by Ania B. Ziolkowska

Tupamaro will be released as #13 in One Small Step’s line of small, quick and clever folio games!

Pre-order at: http://ossgamescart.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=6&products_id=105

Pre-order price is $19.95, retail price later will be $24.95.

Nice-looking art by Ania B. Ziolkowska!

Everyone climb aboard for Lucky Thirteen!

NOTE: This also means that the DTP-quality, BTR Games version of the game will not be available, while this edition remains available from One Small Step… which means from now. You’ll just have to suffer with the generously sized, nicely pre-printed and colourful components in this one. I know you’ll pull through.

Over at Hollandspiele: Designer’s Remarks on The Little War

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https://hollandspiele.com/blogs/hollandazed-thoughts-ideas-and-miscellany/designers-remarks-on-the-little-war-by-brian-train

And very nice looking components they are! Good production job by Blue Panther.