Coming soon: interview with Radio War Nerd

I spent a very pleasant time today talking about my game designs with Mark Ames and Gary Brecher, who run the Radio War Nerd podcast. It should be up and available soon!

Watch this space….

Meanwhile,

Patreon page that supports the podcast: https://www.patreon.com/radiowarnerd

Facebook page that supports the chatter (also, a lot of interesting posts and questions on their own, it’s quite an eclectic crowd) https://www.facebook.com/people/Gary-Brecher/100009407541064

Twitter, for those who tweet https://twitter.com/TheWarNerd

Podcast: I’ve been Diced! ep 78

I’ve Been Diced! episode 78: Brian Train on newsgames, little wars, and simulation

Not long ago Tom Grant had an interview with me for his long-running podcast I’ve Been Diced!

Have a listen! I duck out about 1 hour 23 min, and Tom carries on and amplifies some of the points we talked about, particularly games vs. simulations, far more articulately than I’ve ever been able to. He even makes a Borges reference!

This is episode 78; I was on the podcast once before, back in 2011 for episode 20 where we talked about revolutionary and asymmetrical warfare. Here we are ten years later, still talking about irregular wars and simulating them, though I have more titles (and a new fixation, analog newsgames) under my belt.

I’ve Been Diced! episode 20: Brian Train on wargames about revolutionary and asymmetric warfare

Connections North 2022: videos

The videos from the Connections North 2022 conference have been posted to Youtube.

One of them is me introducing a panel discussing “influence gaming”, with some remarks on two of my primitive efforts in that direction… Ukrainian Crisis and Kashmir Crisis.

REMARKS ON INFLUENCE GAMING 2022

Urban Operations Planners Course: featured on the Urban Warfare Project podcast!

roomshot1

COL John Spencer of the Urban Warfare Project, and one of the three principals of the recent Urban Operations Planners Course, has BG Wooldridge back on his program to discuss how the second iteration of the course went… what changes they made, what was dropped and added and why, and how the course generally achieved its aim quite well!

The whole podcast is great listening – this course was run really well, in my opinion, and that was obviously not without a lot of prior work and thought. The QUICK wargame as a concluding exercise gets some discussion about 34:40; both were impressed with how the wargame went over and COL Spencer terms me “the Yoda of wargaming” – but apparently not because I am short or pudgy or sometimes difficult to understand!

Next serial of the course is 14-20 May, 2023.

https://mwi.usma.edu/urban-warfare-project/urban-warfare-project-podcast/

Two Interviews: The British Way, La Jeu de la Guerre

ONE

https://elwargameronovato.blogspot.com/2022/05/the-british-way-interview-stephen.html

Daniel Iniesta interviewed Stephen Rangazas, whose 4-pack of cut-down GMT COIN system games is forthcoming from GMT.

The British Way picks up on four postwar British entanglements: Malaya, Palestine, Kenya and Cyprus. He says:

The main changes to the core COIN mechanics for The British Way was altering the way two player COIN works. I streamlined the two-player sequence of play designed by Brian Train in Colonial Twilight and changed victory to work off an overall Political Will Track to reflect that these were really head-to-head challenges between the British and insurgents. There are also significant variations to the core COIN mechanics with the two more clandestine cell-based insurgencies in Cyprus and Palestine. Finally, I think the multipack really benefited from the linked campaign scenario and designing a macro game that covers four smaller COIN games required innovating from what had been done before in the series.

It’s kind of interesting to me that my “4-box” family of games that partly inspired Volko Ruhnke’s design for the COIN system (Algeria particularly) also depended heavily on an overall Political Will or Support Track that reflected each side’s cohesion and popular support (I suppose more accurately government support for the British, since these were decolonization campaigns) in a non-zero-sum way. So kind of a return to base, in its way.

The games are limited in size and component count – not more than 18 cards played in a game, so it’s done in 1-2 hours.

I’m looking forward to this package very much!

TWO

The very clever Fred Serval has an interview with Alex Galloway about Guy Debord’s La Jeu de la Guerra for his podcast Homo Ludens. History about Debord and his game, and talk about Galloway’s work on a digital version of the game (still in process). Also, a neat clip from the Situationist detourned film, “Can Dialectics Break Bricks?”

And some time later (July 2022), Fred posts part 2, where he plays through a game with Alex Galloway and they discuss the design and adaptation of the game, among other things.

Indigenous counterpoints to colonial themes in board games

Not ‘just a game’: World of board games faces reckoning for colonial themes

A news story in Canadian Indigenous media about a teacher up-Island from me who created a board game about the Truth part of Truth and Reconciliation.

The article mentions Spirit Island, something I would like to try but can’t arrange a trade for on BGG, and also gives a shout-out to the Zenobia Awards which is nice. It mentions Settlers of Catan as an example of an objectionable board game. I add that Greg Loring-Albright (co-designer of Bloc by Bloc: Uprising 3rd Edition, which I am awaiting eagerly) created a variant of the game, First Nations of Catan, that adds an Indigenous player since the mythical island is not and never was terra nullius.

https://analoggamestudies.org/2015/11/the-first-nations-of-catan-practices-in-critical-modification/

(nice-looking printable version is here: https://doctrineofdiscoverymenno.files.wordpress.com/2019/09/ddofd-catan-handout-frontback.pdf )

Meanwhile, the Playing Oppression anthology that was being worked on at MIT Gamelab (Mary Flanagan et al) seems to have ground to a halt about 2019/20, though Mary Flanagan is still designing games.

http://gamelab.mit.edu/research/games-and-colonialism/

Do you want to know more?

A very interesting recruiting video (sort of) produced by the US Army’s 4th Psychological Operations Group, describing the uses and practices of psychological warfare.

To subdue an enemy without firing a shot, is the mark of a true warrior.”

Sun Tzu

My Dinner with Werner

Nothing to do with wargaming, history, or even design… well, maybe creativity.

But I like Werner Herzog, and I like chicken (more than he does).

A funny short film with musing, yelling, door-banging and birds talking via the miracle of champagne.

And if you can’t make it out, dine at home with selections from the Herzog line of canned foods.

HerzogCans

COIN System games: tips on teaching

Over at The Players Aid, Grant Kleinheinz presents a very good short piece full of tips on how to introduce and teach a COIN system game to a group of people who may or may not be familiar with this type of game, or even with wargames at all.

https://theplayersaid.com/2022/04/15/secrets-to-teaching-the-coin-series-from-gmt-games-a-guide-to-making-the-process-seamless-and-getting-your-players-to-enjoy-the-system

VDV Song, updated

Oh, this is just brilliant!