Hollandspiele Holiday Sale

“From now until December 6, every game in the Hollandspiele catalogue is $5 off. Buy at least two games, get Reign of Witches for free. Spend at least $100, and we’ll automatically deduct another 10% from your total. And we’ve got canvas maps for fifteen of our titles.”

– Tom Russell

Reign of Witches is Tom’s annual small-card-based-game-dealio, on the political conflict between John Adams and Alexander Hamilton.

Unfortunately, there are no canvas maps in production for any of my Hollandspiele titles (illustrated above), but don’t let that stop you.

These are good people. They produce nicely made games from quality designers. Do everyone a favour and pick something out!

The Zenobia Award

Mentor.

Signal boost for a worthy cause: the Zenobia Award.

Rex Brynen is a better writer, speaker and when it comes down to it thinker than I am so I will quote from his announcement:

“Historical board games are enjoyed by people from all walks of life, but their designers are predominately white men. The Zenobia Award hopes to change this by encouraging game submissions by people from marginalized groups. The Zenobia Award is not an ordinary design award. Promising applicants will receive mentorship on their designs from established industry designers, and the winners will receive help navigating the game publication process in addition to a cash prize.”

Daniel Thurot at Space-Biff! is also far more eloquent than I, at his post at https://spacebiff.com/2020/11/22/zenobia/

More details are all here: https://zenobiaaward.org so go and have a look.

I write a lot about my game designs on this blog, less often on politics, and only occasionally on the state of the hobby. But anyone who’s been in it for long soon susses out that just as there are definitely more “outputs” (published games) on certain topics than others, there are also more “inputs” (designers of published games) of a certain category than others – white, male, and older.

This is an observation, and hardly a profound one at that.

I don’t see anything nefarious about this situation. It was well known, Back In The Day, that this was a hobby that was generally indulged in by white, educated males… the Great Dunnigan remarked on this, particularly the gender imbalance, in the pages of SPI-era Strategy and Tactics many times, and often referred to the whole shootin’ match as “the hobby of the overeducated” – which back then largely also meant white and male.

I also don’t see anything particularly praiseworthy about this situation. It is also well known, Now, that many cylinders of this hobby’s engine have run on nostalgia fumes for a very long time, and many players and designers from Back In The Day are still with us, just older. That’s expected – time does march on – but society has marched on too and the audiences, actual and potential, for tabletop games are far different in gender, ethnicity, nationality and cultural outlook from 40 years ago.

I think it’s pretty simple: if you want to see the hobby continue to function, to encourage new ideas and explore different topics, to invite new people and their experiences into the fold, either help to spread the word yourself or consider contributing, either as a member of an underrepresented group or part of a team that includes such. It’s not about the prize (personally, I don’t see why money has to be be involved at all), it’s about the offer of help, advice and mentorship to people who want to become involved… which is something I have tried to extend to everyone who has approached me, as a designer (and in my day job).

If these things are not important to you, or you think they will happen by themselves, or you think that historical board games are not inherently political objects, then carry on as you have – this initiative doesn’t require anything of you, and I am sure you can find someone who will agree with you elsewhere. But I have never had time for self-appointed gatekeepers.

Future GUWS event = me! (December 8, 2020)

 

For some time now, under the energetic direction of Sebastian Bae, the Georgetown University Wargaming Society (GUWS) has been holding regular online webinars and events. Designers and users have talked on many aspects of the professional and civilian uses of wargames. Here’s a link to the GUWS Youtube channel, where many of them can be reviewed. 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw0nVuQu5KoHv0kFiC9yX4Q

Now it’s my turn!

On Tuesday, December 8, from 6pm Eastern (that’s 2200 Zulu Time) for two whole hours (maybe), I will be talking and taking questions on the whys, hows and wherefores of self-publishing and distributing your own wargames. Everything begins with something homemade, and sometimes it just stays that way.

The event is free but you have to register through Eventbrite:

Hope to see y’all there!

Or if not, I will just talk to myself for two hours… I’m good mit der in-jokes.

And later, you can talk about it on the discussion forums at Armchair Dragoons:

https://www.armchairdragoons.com/forum/index.php#c12

Brief Border Wars: shipping at last!

bbw-boxcover-1100px

https://www.compassgames.com/brief-border-wars.html

Available and shipping as of today!

Still shows price of $52 so perhaps you can order quickly and save a few dollars too!

As was briefly discussed in the recent interview with John Kranz, I have been mulling over another set of four conflicts… nothing succeeds like a sequel (which is rather idiotically self-referential, now that I think about it).

Interview with Compass Games, 5 June 2020

Winter Thunder: coming to Steam!

Screenshot from website.

Casey Bruyn is making a version of Winter Thunder, complete with Artificial Intelligence, that will play on Steam! Game is also playable 2-player “hot seat”, if you like. Due out the end of 2020!

He has already worked on Krim, a 1990s Ty Bomba game on the Crimean campaign that was in an early issue of Command magazine.

http://www.bruinbeargames.com/#winterthunder

On Youtube: Heavy Cardboard plays Colonial Twilight

On the Tube of You, Edward from “Heavy Cardboard” (on the 6th anniversary of his show!) plays a COIN system game for the first time: Colonial Twilight. He does something a little different: he plays the short scenario and takes the role of Government, introducing and teaching the game as he goes, while the Peanut Gallery (everyone watching: including Volko Ruhnke himself for a while!) discusses and suggests the FLN moves. What a great idea to learn the game collectively!

He didn’t promise to play the game well, and you know what, I don’t play games particularly well either; never have. But the play and the learning of it is the thing, for me.

Thanks Edward! I appreciate it.

(note: the stream goes for about 7 hours since it’s his first COIN game, and he introduces everything about the game first… so feel free to skip ahead to the game itself. The main commenter in the Peanut Galley, Laura Guy, very ably played the FLN!)

Interview with Compass Games, 5 June 2020

Coming to an Orthicon Tube near you: John Kranz of Compass Games does a live online interview with me!

Mostly we will be talking about the Brief Border Wars Quad, coming out Real Soon Now from Compass, but maybe other things if John lets Unca’ Gran’pa’s mind and mouth wander….

Friday, June 5, 2020: 1700 Pacific, 2000 Eastern

Click on the above or below to set a reminder!

Tune in, maggots!

Happy May Day, comrades!

Happy Labor Day, Public Service Poster PSD

It’s May Day, and while the day is observed more in Europe than Canada or the United States, there are labour actions and anti-rentier unrest aplenty.

TESA Collective, who I have mentioned here before, are having a big honkin’ sale too!

This will be a May Day to remember.

Across the country, renters and homeowners are demanding relief from the escalating crisis. At the same time, workers are going on strike to fight for safer working conditions, better pay in the face of a pandemic, and basic dignity.

Today, in recognition and celebration of all these people fighting for a better world, and with acknowledgement that many people need entertainment while social distancing at home, we are offering most of our games about changing the world for half off! No coupon code needed: but the sale is today only.

We are beyond proud that all of our games and products are made domestically, primarily by worker-owned cooperatives, and using sustainable materials. These are our most popular games:

  • Rise Up: The Game of People & Power. Rise Up is a board game about building people power and fighting together to create social justice—even when the cards are stacked against us. Everyone wins and loses together. 2 – 5 players, ages 10 and up.
  • Space Cats Fight Fasicsm. Space Cats Fight Fascism is a cooperative game where you play as a band of rebel cats trying to stop fascists from taking over the galaxy. You’ll go on secret meowssions to liberate your crated allies. 2 – 4 players, ages 12 and up.
  • Co-opoly: The Game of Cooperatives. In Co-opoly, you’ll learn and practice skills needed to run a cooperative, make tough choices and put your teamwork to the test, and build the cooperative economy in your community! 3 – 6 Players, ages 10 and up,
  • STRIKE! The Game of Worker Rebellion. STRIKE! is on pre-order and is only $5 off, instead of half off, because we want to honor the commitment our Kickstarter backers made when they supported the creation of the game. This game will begin shipping when our manufacturer in the US can safely resume production. All other products are shipping immediately.

Because even while we are at home, we can still imagine – and work towards – the world we want to build.

Also on sale are our other products, like this STRIKE! Shirt. And if you have a young rabble rouser in your life, then check out the adorable and powerful modern classics, A is for Activistand Counting on Community.

We have some more exciting updates and content planned for you – so stay tuned! And please feel free to share this with anyone who you think could use some games to get them through this time of social distancing.

In solidarity with those striking and organizing,

The TESA Collective

Eagerly awaiting my copy of Strike!

 

 

Interview with Howard Buchanan

A surprise interview with Howard Harold Buchanan, from confinement.

A very enjoyable three quarters of an hour!

Kind of a weird echo sometimes on my end, and just as many umm, uhhh, ahhs as ever.

Fair bit of detail about China’s War 1937-41, if you haven’t heard it already, and a bit about Strongman (remake of Caudillo).

But I hope you like it.

 

Compass Games sitrep

So, Compass Games has extended the spring sale of 40% many items to April 17, including Finnish Civil War, and added a number of other games at 33% off.

https://www.compassgames.com

On the front page of their website, it says that Brief Border Wars has been pushed back to May 2020, though the pre-order page still says 14 February 2020… obviously “that statement is inoperative”.

Connecticut is under a stay-at-home order but apparently Compass is still able to ship games, and the US Postal Service hasn’t been completely destroyed yet, so I imagine you would get prompt service!