District Commander: on sale, sale, sale!

Starting today, District Commander Kandahar is on sale from Hollandspiele!

In fact, all three District Commander games are currently on sale.

Buy two and use the discount code “DCdiscount” at checkout will save an additional $5.

Buy all three modules and use “traingames” to save an extra $10.

I’ve made it, I’ve become a discount code!

I really like Tom’s ad copy for this one:

District Commander: Kandahar simulates the problems facing insurgent and counterinsurgent commanders in southern Afghanistan circa 2009-2010. This is not Brian Train’s first or even second game about this conflict, and you might be wondering, what does this one have to offer? We think that the District Commander system – with its emphasis on bluff and deception, scarce resources, and shifting operational goals – is an especially good fit for capturing the pace and nature of operations in Afghanistan. 

Brian Train’s District Commander is a series of operational games on counterinsurgency situations. The players alternate activation of groups of units (stacks) to perform discrete operations (missions) through the expenditure of Task Points (TP). Some missions are Tactical Missions – straightforward military tasks such as performing patrols, ambushing or attacking enemy forces, or moving from one place to another – and these may be performed multiple times by a stack during a turn. Other missions emphasize the “non-tactical” end of the campaign, establishing friendly influence, control, and infrastructure in an area, reducing the enemy’s claim to the same, and recruiting or training troops. These missions take more time to perform and so unlike the tactical missions may be the only mission performed by the stack during the turn. 

Missions are resolved by play of secretly-held Chance Chits, each with ratings that are better or worse for certain types of operations. Chits are played simultaneously and the ratings compared, modified by units, assets, and the current board state to determine the outcome. Using the right chit at the right time – knowing when to save a good chit for later and when to use it, and trying to determine if your opponent is going all-in or holding back – will require steely judgment in an atmosphere of doubt and deception.

All this is done in pursuit of objectives handed down to you by your superiors (i.e., chosen randomly) and kept secret from your opponent – objectives that may even change over the course of the game. Within this framework, the two sides – Government and Insurgent – play very differently, with the Insurgent player, in particular, depending on bluff and deception to achieve their goals. A large number of variant rules allow you to turn the game into a sandbox for exploring counterinsurgency doctrine and practice.

Now go have fun in the sandbox….

District Commander Kandahar: preview video from Hollandspiele!

Coming next week from Hollandspiele: District Commander: Kandahar, the third in a series of four volumes using the District Commander system.

Tom gives a quick introduction to some wrinkly and attractive parts of the system, and references the procedural videos he made last year to introduce District Commander: Maracas.

I hope you’ll give this one a look!

The fourth and final (so far) volume will be District Commander: ZNO, which takes place in Algeria 1959. It will be out some time next year but meanwhile you can get it for free print-and-play here.

Free Games!

Link: DC Maracas: Two Videos

Link to the Hollandspiele store: https://hollandspiele.com/collections/all

BTR Games: suspending sales

NOTICE:

I have been working from home since March, 2020 and do not have the access to copy/print shops I did when I was at my downtown office.

I have run out of at least some components for most of the games and am suspending sales of the physical versions until I can resupply.

I guess I should also look into making PnP versions of these available from wargamevault.com, but really they would be the same files as available from me personally.  The main difference would be you could order them drunk at 3 am, like most online purchases, and get them right away. 

 

Heat Ray!

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-54187961

An Army National Guard officer has testified that his unit was asked by military police whether they had a “heat ray”, more formally known as the Active Denial System, as Washington DC authorities prepared to clear demonstrators from Lafayette Square on June 1, 2020.

This is a vehicle-mounted system that uses a tightly focused beam of microwave energy to make the target feel as if their skin is burning, though the chances of actual physical damage are low. It was deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 but sent back unused, and was proposed to be but wasn’t deployed to the US border with Mexico in 2018. I am not sure it has ever actually been used in other than demonstrations for the media; a smaller version may have been used in prisons (possibly to break up impromptu performances of “Telephone” in the exercise yard).

The National Guard unit did not have one of these jolly contrivances, but YOU can have one of your very own – IF you get a copy of my forthcoming game Civil Power!

The counter for it is pictured above (art by Ivan Caceres). Rules are as follows:

  • The ADS may be used in scenarios taking place after 2010.
  • The ADS may apply its Shock Combat strength of 10 to one target unit in the Fire Combat Phase. The die roll is not modified. In the case of an X result, no WIA is counted.
  • The ADS has an infinite range (even at night) but only one unit in a stack may be targeted. 
  • The ADS may not attack units that are in a building, in the same area as a Gas cloud, or units where the LOS to the target crosses a Fire area or Barricade (the beam does not penetrate solid objects, and even a small amount of smoke or mist will reduce its power to the point where the target only feels toasty warm).

Brief Border Wars: here at last!

BBWbox

Yesterday I got my designer copies of Brief Border Wars from Compass Games!

Very pleased with the physical production… Counters nice, very pretty maps, rules printed on cardstock sheets, not paper (probably easier for them to print because everything could go on one sheet of 11×17″ stock, folded). Game was in a 2″ bookcase box, not the thinner 1″ one I was expecting. So, lots of room for the dice you’ll be rolling!

Brief Border Wars: unboxing and overview videos

Rob of “Rob’s Tabletop World” gives a really kind and enthusiastic overview of Brief Border Wars and talks about the graphics and some of the game subsystems.

 

Maurice Fitzgerald posts a short unboxing video for Brief Border Wars. First look I’ve had at how everything printed out!

Brief Border Wars: errata

2006-08-27.destroyed.israeli.tank

Errata (like ants at a picnic):

Football War

Sequence of Play aid: per the system rules, Urban area always gives +2d6 for the defender.

Operation Attila

Setting up the Game: Cypriot forces, read ELDYK instead of GRK (couldn’t make the longer acronym fit on my original counters); Turkish forces, read KTA not TRK (later research uncovered the Turkish language acronym)

Third Indochina War

Sequence of play aid: per the system rules, Urban area always gives +2d6 for the defender.

Second Lebanon War

Setting up the game: Reference is made to placing 3 leftover Irregular units anywhere in Lebanon; actually it’s 2 Rocket and 1 Irregular, anywhere in Lebanon.

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

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!