News you can use


[Unfortunately could not link to a corker of a photo by BGEN Wooldridge of the course students standing around a giant map with their hands in their pockets.]


An interesting piece on the US 40th Infantry Division (a National Guard formation, with brigades in Hawaii, Oregon and California) and its offering of the Urban Warfare Planners course, a first on the topic.

Maj. Gen. Laura Yeager, commanding general of the 40th Infantry Division, and Wooldridge have led the charge on urban warfare training partly because they could be called upon to fight in an all-out war with the People’s Liberation Army.

While the U.S. Army has long maintained its Ranger and Mountain Warfare schools, urban warfare has no equivalent training center in the service.

[Brig. Gen. Robert] Wooldridge underscored his division’s readiness to fight wherever and whenever they’re called, but he still wants to do everything possible to avoid some of the casualties U.S. forces will endure fighting in megacities.

“I hope we never have to use this, but if we’re planning to take back some city in the Indo-Pacific region maybe some staff officer or planner will think back to the course and say, ‘Thank god we went through this,’” he said.

Sir, I do not think a one-week engagement with the subject material is enough. 

And realistically, if the 29th Infantry BCT (Hawaii component of the 40th) finds itself fighting to clear formations of regular PLA troops out of a major city, several Very Large Things have already gone wrong. 

But I maintain that there will continue to be irregular warfare within cities, some of them very large, and it behooves professional militaries to learn how to deal with them, as best they can. So it’s a start. 



Playing Guerrilla Checkers with Michel Boucher – deux vieux avec un jeu nouveau.


Here is a new word for you to learn today: digital archaeoludology, “a new field of study involving the analysis and reconstruction of ancient games from incomplete descriptions and archaeological evidence using modern computational techniques.”

First link is to a story in Wired about the Digital Ludeme Project, which is I guess the first and possibly only institution dedicated to this field. The Artificial Intelligence described in the article breaks what is known about the dug-up ancient game into “ludemes” which are then cross-referenced with other similar pieces to try and reconstruct how the game might have been played and to what end, and then to attempt playing the reconstructed item. Fortunately the team includes an anthropologist who evaluates the games via their social aspect and probable alterations to the rules, since there are rulesets that are perfectly logical but make for bad games. I wonder what this software would do with Monopoly or RISK.

Second link is to the outputs page of the Project itself, where you can find and use the Ludii software and see its applications. One of these is a Youtube demonstration video I haven’t had time to see yet on “Designing, Playing and Testing Games with Ludii”, which seems interesting.


A link back to RockyMountainNavy’s blog where he talks about where he gets his wargame news from. He’s a lot more choosy than I am, I think!

History and Games Lab blogpost: Analog Newsgames as Citizen Journalism


As a follow-up to our very pleasant interview a couple of weeks ago, I put together a post for the History and Games Lab blog about analog games as a form of citizen journalism.

It’s a cut-down version of the piece I have written on the same subject for the EuroWargames anthology (no news lately on when that is coming out) so perhaps nothing new for many of you; if not, then have a look.

Compass Games: titles on sale!

Compass Games has launched its holiday catalog sale!

Many nice deals, but of more interest to my Dear Readers:

Paper Wars #84 with Finnish Civil War, marked down to $25.00

Brief Border Wars reduced to $45.00 (that’s less than $12 a game, friends!)

No coupon code required and prices are good until January 25, 2022.

See this and all the other on-sale goodies at

Podcast: History and Games Lab, episode #12

Recently I sat down with Eduard Gafton, of the History and Games Laboratory at the University of Edinburgh, to talk about many things – we talk about the origins of some of my game designs and how I got into game design, and focus on Brief Border Wars and the issues involved in designing games on sensitive and controversial topics (A Distant Plain gets a look in, of course).

A great podcast and some very good questions came up!

I’m in very good company on this podcast… earlier guests in the series include Cole Wehrle, Tomislav Cipcic, Volko Ruhnke and Lewis Pulsipher.