Punched, punched

Out today, the second number of Punched, a free online zine on wargames edited by James Buckley of Cardboard Emperors!

https://www.cardboardemperors.co.uk/punched-2#coin

This one is a special issue with lots of content on COIN everything:

  • James Buckley discusses the four keys to the success of the COIN engine
  • Jason Carr talks about COIN’s success, discusses some mechanics, and considers the future of the series
  • Volko Ruhnke discusses how insurgencies are modelled in the COIN series, and what Control and Oppose/Support mean
  • Fred Serval writes about the seething mass of fan-made COIN games churning around on the GMT COIN Discord server; it’s frightening to poke your head in there. Of special interest is an upcoming quad of short games by Stephen Ranganzas using cut-down COIN system mechanics to explore “the British Way” of counterinsurgency: Palestine, Malaya, Kenya and Cyprus.
  • Also, a really nice review of Brief Border Wars!

It’s free, it’s there, it’s waiting for you at the above link!

Oh, and would I ever love to attend this con in July – Camden is so neat (setting aside the tourist-trappy stuff). But maybe next year.

Camden

District Commander Kandahar: quick look by Maurice Fitzpatrick

Moe’s Game Table has a look at District Commander: Kandahar, the Afghanistan 2009/10 module of the series. He likes what he sees.

Thank you Moe!

History Chat Podcast: Days of Ire/ Nights of Fire

Jason Perez and Liz Davidson (who posted a review of Nights of Fire some time ago on Beyond Solitaire, here: Nights of Fire: video review) have a long discussion on the games Days of Ire and Nights of Fire for the first 25 minutes, then spend another 25 minutes discussing the broader historical context and background of the Hungarian Revolution.

Jason puts in a good word for the Red Army expansion kit, which besides miniatures includes material for a campaign game that links the two – so the end state of the first game sets up some conditions for the second, and characters may or may not survive to do things in the sequel.

This is a really great exchange to examine both game and history! Go and have a listen.

Brief Border Wars: unboxing video by The Fortinbras Effect

Having digested Colonial Twilight, Andrei Achim of The Fortinbras Effect reappears with his unboxing video of Brief Border Wars.

Thanks Andrei!

Fearsome knife!

District Commander Kandahar: unboxing by Armchair Dragoons, shrink-rip by Big Board Gaming

Armchair Dragoons does a decloaking of District Commander: Kandahar. You can get a pretty good look at the components.   

They were sent a copy to review, and review it they shall… later.  

Also, Kevin Sharp rips the shrink on his review copy of the game!

Brief Border Wars: recensione del gioco, in italiano





Second Lebanon War

In San Marino, there lives a genial fellow named Gian Carlo Ceccoli who has run the “Associazione Sammarinese Giochi Storici” (San Marino Historical Games Association) for the last 22 years.

He has written a very kind review of Brief Border Wars (at least Google Translate told me it was kind – I do not speak Italian at all, though perhaps I should). Have a look!

http://asgs.sm/mensile/867-ottobre-2020-brief-border-wars

Unboxing videos by The Players Aid: District Commander Maracas and Brief Border Wars

Today, a Brian Train double feature as Alexander of The Players Aid does unboxing videos for District Commander Maracas and Brief Border Wars.

Interview with TPA about the game: https://theplayersaid.com/2019/07/22/interview-with-brian-train-designer-of-district-commander-maracas-from-hollandspiele/

Interview with TPA about the game: https://theplayersaid.com/2020/02/17/interview-with-brian-train-designer-of-brief-border-wars-from-compass-games/

Winter Thunder: video review and playthrough

Over at The Diagonal Move, Neil Bunker introduces Winter Thunder’s components and mechanisms, and plays through some of the game to illustrate.

Nice!

Brief Border Wars: video reviews and play by TheGimpyGamer

A set of FIVE (!) videos of Brief Border Wars by TheGimpyGamer, who really likes the overall idea of four small games in one box and the core + exclusive rules approach. Component show-and-tell, description of play mechanisms, comments, and then he plays through a full game of The Football War.

Nice!

Brief Border Wars: reviews at Moe’s Game Table

Over at Moe’s Game Table, Maurice Fitzpatrick gives his impressions of Brief Border Wars, both the system and each of the four games in the volume. He likes it!

And a few days later, he puts up a complete and mostly positive review, using a partial playthrough of the Football War game.

Thanks Moe!

I put here my notes to his review:
 
You are right, this game does a few things differently and it is not for everyone. I’ll also say that many of the questions I’ve answered on BGG are from long-time players and are in the nature of “rules say X, can you confirm you really mean X”. This often happens when I try to do something a little different; as I go on designing games (more than 25 years now) I encounter more and more players who mentally port over rules and assumptions from other games they have played. 
 
Map legend missing is an unfortunate slip. My original maps that I sent in to Compass had separate tree, hill and urban icons that were obvious; Mark Mahaffey came up with the little roundel device and I thought it was clever – the woods and mountain icons are obvious enough and that’s two of the three terrain types down. Many people figured out on their own that a black top semicircle meant an urban area but that’s not a good excuse: yes, a map legend would have made it simple. If there is a Volume II quad I will address this point, of course, as well as adding a long combat example so fewer grognards will be thrown by the options added to what is otherwise a simple bucket of dice combat system.
 
Speaking of combat, I agree reformatting the combat results explanations in the rules as a table would have worked, except space demands and layout would have broken the table in two parts across columns. The Sequence of Play aid that comes with each game presents the combat results as a more compact bullet list, which is part way there.
 
Cards and chaos: Each side has the same number of potential moves and/or combats in its deck, the randomness is in how and when they come out. Moe remarks accurately that the armies in these games are bad, disorganized, second or third-string forces in impromptu conflicts and this game mechanic underlines that. Players are overall commanders and they are in the role of chaos managers, in a way that most wargames don’t ask them to be. Sometimes chaos gives you the shaft, and sometimes the other guy gets it (and if you’re playing solo, you always get it!). But, as noted, this gives the game a lot of replayability.
 
Certainly not all players react the same way to chaos in their games, this may be too much for some (and I know full well there are players out there who dislike even having random event tables in a game), so I can suggest a not-random way for them to play:
 

Take out the 2 Random Event Cards and each player starts the game with their allotted 20 Action Cards and 6 special Actions. Each turn a player plays a total of up to 3 cards of their choice from their deck, alternately, beginning with the scenario-designated tie-winning player. Some cards will be left over as you play up to 21 of 26 cards of your choice in the course of a 7 turn game. A workable way to play, rather dull, not respectful of chaos and not the point I wanted to make in these designs at all. But it works. And no random events. Eh.
 
Order of play of the 4 games: I didn’t have a set order in mind, all situations are rather different from each other and each has examples of special units or rules that give flavour to each conflict. No getting around that.
 
Stripes on the random event cards: that was a printing slip and not deliberate. As you noted, the random event card is resolved before the action cards are played so you go with the ones you have in hand at the start of the phase.

One more comment about the randomness of the Action Cards appearances: people are willing to blame their defeats on the cards, but their victories are always due to their clever planning and skill with dice!

I never did test the no-random-cards method suggested above, again it seemed to me to be missing the point but people are welcome to try it. I suppose it has a root in the playing card variant for Ukrainian Crisis.