Coming soon: Strike For Berlin!

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Chunk of the playtest countersheet. Proper counters will be done by John Cooper, who also did Winter Thunder and Red Horde 1920.

s4Bmapsnip

Elongated blurry slice of the playtest map. Proper map will also be done by John Cooper.

Yaah! magazine #11, which I am told will probably ship in March 2018, will have my game Strike For Berlin in it. Opening blurb to the rules:

STRIKE FOR BERLIN is a simulation game of a hypothetical invasion of Germany by the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic’s (RSFSR) armed forces in 1920.  The game is for two players, one representing the irresistible forces of proletarian revolution (called the Red Player), and the other the (hopefully) impervious alliance of anti-Bolshevist forces that would have been arrayed to oppose such an invasion (called the White Player).

The game begins just after the Red Player’s forces have won the Battle for Warsaw in mid-August 1920.  Sensing that “over the corpse of White Poland lies the road to worldwide conflagration” (Tukhachevsky, leader of the Red forces, in a communique), the leadership of the RSFSR has decided to go for broke and seize Berlin, capital of a Germany in political and economic disarray.  However, it is already late summer and they cannot sustain a military effort of this size past the onset of bad weather at the end of October. The Red Player has just ten weeks to change the course of world history.

This is a complete makeover of 1998’s Freikorps, just as Red Horde 1920 was a complete makeover of Konarmiya. 176 counters, 17×22″ hex map. Same updated and revised system, and like Red Horde this one has lots of optional rules to vary the game, including: armoured trains; the Trotsky Train (making a reappearance); the Red Baltic Fleet; Entente units and the Royal Navy;  different deployments and structures for the Reichswehr; Danzig – what of Danzig?; and Red conscription on the march.

And of course, just as with their predecessors the two games can link, so you can play one long game from May to October of 1920, on a combined map that stretches from Kiev to Berlin.

I just handed in the files for this game, so no better samples or even kooky cover art to show… but when it’s time, you can pre-order your copy here. Price will likely be $40 but there’s usually a 10% pre-order discount, and the PnP version is generally less than $20.

https://flyingpiggames.com/t/yaah-magazine

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Nights of Fire – prototype components!

prototype

Here you are – an advance look at the prototype version of Nights of Fire!

Not the largest image – best I could get – but you can see some details. The green wooden blocks are the Insurgents, divided into Fighters and non-mobile Locals (sticker sheet in the foreground). The 10 large red triangles are Garrison markers, and the 9 large red hexagon pieces are the different regiments in the three divisions involved in the battle for the city. The small gray squares on the counter sheet are Civilians, to be rescued or arrested depending on which side you’re on, the 10 orange squares are Barricades/Rubble, the red circles are Wounds (I think), and the number counters at top are for use in the solo mode.

The glass stones (in the small bag) are markers for game parameters like Soviet Prestige, Hungarian Morale, etc.. There is one die but it isn’t used much, only for resolving Soviet counterattacks against Insurgents (simple roll against the current Readiness level, which moves up and down during play).

Lots of cards. Cards for the Insurgents to undertake operations, Hero cards for extra insurgent fun, Tactics cards for the Soviets, Headline cards to provide temporary objectives, Scenario cards to vary conditions of play, “Konev mode” cards to handle solo play, and so on… you will have lots of replayability with this game.

The map is an area movement map of downtown Budapest with objectives marked on it; the artist has gone for the “map looks like a map on a table overlaid with images of other documents” look. Somewhat the same look but much more sensible and intuitive to me than the map for Days of Ire.

And yes, we are working on a way to have a “campaign” between the two games.

I’ll be getting a sample in a few weeks to play with. More pictures then.

And finally, another look at the cover art!

NOF cover art mid

(by Kwanchai Moriya, a remarkable fellow:  https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgameartist/28024/kwanchai-moriya)

Book video review: Zones of Control

ZOC book cover

Or maybe it’s a video book review!

Two reviews of the Zones of Control anthology on Youtube: a lengthy one by the notorious Marco Arnaudo.

https://youtu.be/rF0_YiWzlBo

And a shorter one by the Bonding with Board Games group, who also do the HAMTAG (Half As Much, Twice As Good) show

https://youtu.be/mk0UhBAhku4

By the way, MIT Press is having a sale on this and every other book they carry until Monday!

You can get a copy of this for 40% off, or just thirty Yankbucks!

https://mitpress.mit.edu/zones-control

And be sure to look elsewhere in the Game Studies area, as there are some other very good titles there.

https://mitpress.mit.edu/category/discipline/game-studies

Eight pages of stuff and like always 95% of it is about digital games and gaming, but I have bought and liked:

  • Works of Game: on the Aesthetics of Game and Art, by John Sharp
  • Uncertainty in Games, by Greg Costikyan
  • The Well Played Game: a Player’s Philosophy by Bernard de Koven
  • Critical Play: Radical Game Design by Mary Flanagan (excellent book)
  • War Games: A History of War on Paper by Philipp von Hilgers

Use promocode GIVEBOOKS40 at checkout. Hurry, offer ends at midnight 11/27/2017!  (Discount applies to website purchase only.) Service is prompt and shipping is pretty reasonable too.

The (brief) return of Balkan Gamble

BGmbl cover

BALKAN GAMBLE

BACK IN PRINT – only 10 copies available! (no wait, only 9 left now…8…7…6…5…4…)

(I initially made only 20 figuring they would never all sell, but they did and people have been asking for it, so I have made up another 10 copies.)

The Allied invasions of the Balkans that never happened. One of the great what-ifs of World War 2 in the Mediterranean theatre, at least to Hitler and the German High Command, was the possibility of an Allied invasion of Greece and/or Yugoslavia. The Allies knew the Germans perceived such invasions as a credible threat and created several strategic deception plans, leading the Germans to move or keep critical troop formations in northern Italy and the Balkans when they would have been much more useful somewhere else. Scenarios for 1943, 1944, 1945, and a hypothetical 1950 Soviet invasion of Yugoslavia. Uses the Autumn Mist/ Summer Lightning/ Winter Thunder system of formation activations and almost-diceless combat with mission matrix, at a larger scale: 1 week/turn; 30 km/hex; division/brigade; 17×22″ hex map and 280 double-sided counters. Many “chrome” rules to cover the fragmented human, political and physical terrain of the area.

This game has twice the map (and it’s printed on nice heavy paper) and twice the counter sheets, so the price per copy is $25 US. This includes postage. Paypal to brian.train@gmail.com. Thanks!

Nights of Fire now on BGG

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Cover art by Kwanchai Moriya.

Yes!

Now officially added to the Boardgamegeek.com database, I can now say and show a bit more about what David Turczi (designer of Days of Ire, a card-driven game on the October 1956 Hungarian Revolution) and I have been working on all year.

From BGG:

Nights of Fire: Battle for Budapest is the second game in our duology adapting the events of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution for modern board game form. Following the Hungarian success in part one, this game starts as the Red Army arrives at the edge of the capital and pushes into the heart of the city; bent on retribution, destruction, and ruthless pursuit of control. For the players in charge of the Hungarian defence there is no time left for organizing and sedition. This is a hopeless war of survival, plain and simple.

Combining card and action management mechanisms of modern euro games with the theme and feel of a classic block wargame, players can experience the rush of a true no-win scenario, and see how long they can keep the flame of the revolution going under the pressure of the unstoppable march of the Soviet military machine.

The game can be played by up to 2 Revolutionary players against either a live or an automated opponent.

In response to a question announcing the sequel to Days of Ire (DoI), David describes the game mechanics very well:

Yes it’s card driven, but no it’s not like DoI.

The Hungarian side plays a light block wargame with area movement, where the stronger actions require an icon on the block to match an icon on the card. It’s a bit of action allowance and a bit of card management. Cards are randomly drawn, but the deck is small enough to guarantee a reshuffle in every game, so you see every card roughly twice.

The Soviet side plays more of an hand building-action management game. He has 12 cards, each with a mix of actions and a mix of combat values. At the beginning of every round the Soviet picks 6 cards he’ll play one at a time for his actions. The remaining 6 cards are shuffled together into a “combat deck”. Every time he attacks, he flips the top card of that deck and uses the appropriate combat value on it. The more hits he suffers, the fewer cards he can pick from.

If you held a gun to my head and asked me to compare it to other games, I’d compare the Hungarian side to Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan. The Soviet side I had no direct inspiration for, some of the “feel” was inspired by the Empire’s metagame in Star Wars: Rebellion, but it’s an extremely thin comparison. (As opposed to DoI’s Soviet cards which were directly influenced by Twilight Struggle and Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001 – ?)

A few things in the game have the feel of a COIN game (both Brian and I were very conscious of that) – flipping units, asymmetrical actions, but it’s less “inspired by COIN” and more “how can you do it differently than COIN”.

I would say the luck element is even smaller than in DoI.

I’m very pleased with how this one has worked out. David’s design background is Euros, but he speaks some Wargame, so I think we have created an interesting hybrid. I know I have learned a lot from him about the use of different mechanics. This one is quite removed from my earlier Operation Whirlwind, but it’s still a lot of fun.

Not much to see so far, but you may want to subscribe to the BGG entry:

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/236125/nights-fire-battle-budapest

The game will be up for Kickstarter in 1Q 2018. We’re still talking about stretch goals.

 

 

Some more videos from The Players Aid (unboxing this time)

I’ve been finding other Youtube videos that the guys at The Players Aid blog have been making of my work. These are unboxing videos, where the maker of the video opens the box or bag and talks about what they find inside – necessarily, mainly first impressions of rules, map and counters.

First, Winter Thunder from Tiny Battle Publishing.

And Red Horde, a more recent release from TBP.

Next, The Scheldt Campaign from Hollandspiele.

And finally, the unboxing video to Colonial Twilight, to go with their longer video on their impressions of play.

Thanks so much for doing these Grant!

 

A Distant Plain: P500 on 3rd printing launched!

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GMT Games has launched a P500 for the THIRD printing of A Distant Plain!

This will be a straight reprint of the second printing, which I think had caught all the errata from the first.

If you get in on it now, you pay $54 instead of the regular price of $78!

http://www.gmtgames.com/p-656-a-distant-plain-3rd-printing.aspx