War Plan Crimson, Mark II

WPC Cover 8sm

Faithful Readuhs will recall (or they can refer to my ludography) that I have designed four games in a family of games I call the “Between the Wars” system. In chronological order of design they are Freikorps (1998), War Plan Crimson (2000), Konarmiya (2007) and Finnish Civil War (2009).

Finnish Civil War, as the last one to be designed, was the first to use the three-Operations-Segment, interleaved sequence of play when it was published by Compass Games in Paper Wars magazine in 2016.

Subsequently Konarmiya got an overhaul to use this system and was published by Tiny Battle as Red Horde 1920 (along with the upgraded system it also had a new map, new order of battle research, some new rules and different components, so it really did need a new title too).

Freikorps was next to get a similar treatment and will be published in April 2018 in Yaah! magazine #11 (from Flying Pig Games, which is Tiny Battle’s sister company) as Strike for Berlin.

That leaves War Plan Crimson as the only one of the family left using the old mechanics and sequence of play. There’s nothing I want to change in the game’s content, just its mechanics, so today I rewrote the rules to update the game for the new system.

You can use these, or not; playing with the new system will probably give you a more chaotic experience, which is fun for many, but not all (I know some of you out there probably wince even at the idea of random events).

Warplancrimson mkII rules

Warplancrimson MkII charts

charts in pdf: warplancrimson-mkii-chartspdf

The rules and charts replace those supplied with the game. I might have missed a numerical reference here or there, deal with it.

You will have to make two sets of three Operations Chits each using blank markers, poker chips or something like that. That’s about all the physical conversion required.

I hope you will give this a try!


Chile ’73 – Out Now!

c73 banner

image: Tiny Battle Publishing


Like a column of trucks and jeeps arriving in the middle of the night, disgorging teams of infantry who fan out and begin arresting Cabinet ministers, my latest game Chile ’73 is upon us!

From Tiny Battle Publishing, in the familiar folio format, comes my latest game (though I had designed it some time ago) on “the other 9/11” … the coup d’etat of September 11, 1973 that overthrew Salvador Allende and established Augusto Pinochet as the leader of the military junta that would rule Chile for a generation.

The ad copy by TBP’s imaginative writers runs thusly:

Coup d’etats are a messy business. Far from carefully orchestrated military precision, when various factions of a populace overthrow a government (especially when they did so before the age of internet), operations are strung together in secrecy, with limited communication between even likeminded factions. Veteran game designer Brian Train’s brand new thriller of a game, Chile ’73, brings the secrecy, the suspense, and then the all-out battle of the coup to your game table. In the first portion of the game, two to four players plot secretly to carry out their own plans to gain or maintain rule of Chile, plotting and scrambling to position their forces to best advantage. Once the coup begins, the entire game shifts to open warfare. Loyalties are revealed, and players battle to the finish.

Civilian and paramilitary units face off against military ground forces, aided by tactical air units and transport aircraft. Do you have what it takes to elevate your cause to supremacy?

Chile ’73 includes:

44 Big, Beautiful, Glossy 1″ Unit Counters
43 Control Chits
18 Action Chits
One Colorful 18″ x 12″ Map
One 12-Page Full-Color Rulebook
One Handy Tactical Plastic Zippered Bag
Game Designer: Brian Train
Game Art: Jose Ramon Faura
Players: Two to Four
Duration: 45 to 90 Minutes
Complexity: Medium-Low

Anyway, here’s the important part: the link to buy!


(physical product, $19.99 – down from $22.99)


(Print and Play version, $6.99 – down from $8.99)

[ETA] The game now has a BGG entry, too:



c73 mapsnipbig

Close-up of map and counters. image: Tiny Battle Publishing

The map and counter art is by Jose Ramon Faura, who also did the art for my games Ukrainian Crisis and The Little War.  Definitely a cut above what I handed in to TBP.

Also, when I originally submitted the game it had 88 counters, to use half of the 176-counter 5/8″ countersheet die TBP often uses. But when the company people played it they thought it would benefit from their larger 1″ counter die. The way that die is laid out let them add seven extra units to the mix, so the game is playable by an even greater number of players – you really aren’t limited to four, technically there is no upper limit and the more the merrier (but there are still only 43 units to command).

This game uses a drastic revision and redevelopment of the system used in one of my first game designs, Power Play from 1991. I’ve always been interested in coups d’etat as a subject for wargames, and it’s a topic that has been touched on only rarely. See this post I wrote for Rex Brynen’s blog Paxsims on the genre:


My original inspiration for the original game was the 1978 film Power Play, featuring Peter O’Toole, David Hemmings and some familiar faces from Canadian movies and TV as officers plotting a coup in an unnamed country. Donald Pleasence fittingly played the head of the secret police.

Yeah, I should have picked a better title for my original game… but Chile ’73  is the game I said I was planning to design in the final paragraph of that Paxsims  article, featuring multiplayer play, hidden information, and hidden agendas… and now you can have it.

Available for pre-order: Yaah! #11, with Strike For Berlin

Yaah 11 cover

Coming in April!

Strike For Berlin is a revised version of my earlier game Freikorps. It has had the same level of revision to it as Konarmiya got to become Red Horde 1920: that is, a new interleaved sequence of play, new map and terrain analysis, new order of battle research, loads of new and improved optional rules and variants.

Yaah 11 counters2

Map and counter art by the very capable John Cooper, who also did Red Horde 1920 and Winter Thunder.

And yes, Strike for Berlin‘s map will join with Red Horde 1920‘s so that you can play one long hot summer of Central European war, from Kiev to Berlin. Essentially you start with a game of Red Horde 1920 and play until Warsaw falls, then you carry on with renewed proletarian vigour… to strike for Berlin!

Yaah! magazine #11 is now available for pre-order, at $35 ($3 off the normal price):


Copies of Red Horde 1920 are also now on sale at $29 instead of $35, so you can buy a copy now and practice while waiting for the sequel game.


This is my second appearance in Yaah! magazine… my first was in issue #2, which had my games Army of Shadows and Uprising, as well as the rules for Guerrilla Checkers and a short article by me on the value of abstract games (From YAAH! #2: Thinking About and Through Abstract Games)


By the way, if anyone is balking at the price of postage, downloadable copies of all the above are available through Wargame Vault, at usually less than half of the price of the physical product.



Colonial Twilight: video review po polsku

On his regular video podcast Wojennik TV, Michel Sorbet gives his impressions of Colonial Twilight. Unfortunately I don’t speak a word of Polish but it looks as if these impressions are positive ones.

Nights of Fire: Kickstarter day at last!


Cover art by Kwanchai Moriya

It’s taken a year and a half but today is the day – the designing is done, the testing is completed, the components are composed – and Nights of Fire is launching on Kickstarter!

Here are two videos to entice you, if you hadn’t made up your mind already… and of course, if you had, these will make you feel good about doing it!

Paul Grogan explaining how to play the game. This should answer any questions you may have left about play mechanics, especially after reading the long interview I did with The Players Aid blog recently where I went into the sequence of play.

Nights of Fire: quite long interview at The Players Aid

And here are Grant and Alexander from The Players Aid blog, giving you their impressions after a good play-through. I really appreciate the help and attention these guys have given me and my games over the past year and more. I wonder if we’ll ever meet in person… but if we do, I owe them several beers!

And finally, here’s what you’ve been waiting for: the link to Kickstarter!


Let’s go, man, GO !!!

Edited to add: Sometime during the night we made the first goal! 0900 PST right now, 19 hours after the launch, and we are at over $29,000 US pledged, over the first goal of $25,000 and past the first stretch goal of $28,000, which sees two extra leader cards added. So the world will get this game, after all, and then some.

Twenty-seven days to go in the funding period… let’s see how it goes.

Further edited to add: some people on BGG and on the Kickstarter site have complained that the $35 expansion kit is composed of cards (with short rules for playing the game with added details, and the campaign game that joins the two) and 28 miniatures (which are usable in both games). They would like to have just the cards and not the minis. I will quote the publisher, from the Kickstarter site, who explains the economics of the decision quite well:

With regards to questions regarding the combination of campaign mode and the minis in one product, this is related to economies of scale, and it is actually what makes that product possible.

If we were to separate the two, the mini pack would still need to sell at the current price point due to a high Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ), whilst the campaign mode, with the costs of new packaging design and material, additional warehousing and added costs in fulfilment and management of pledges, would need to sell for a separate 15-20$.

Because our game has no miniatures in the base game, and they are an optional add on, for us to be able to create them we need to commit to a very high comparative MOQ (when considering it is an optional add-on). This means that combining the two, and therefore increasing ever so slightly the attach rate, is what makes the product possible at all.

Thanks to this we feel we have achieved quite an aggressive pricing range for our entire Days of Ire line. The game is now cheaper than it was in the original Kickstarter and the Days and Nights pack is the best value Mini-Pack we have ever offered (in comparison, the Vengeance Saboteurs pack went for 45$ for fewer miniatures on KS).

This way, we are able to offer the Expansion for NoF AND the campaign mode, in a product that would essentially still cost the same without them. We feel this is much better way of doing this, as you, the backers are helping us reach that steep MOQ, while we offer you more content at no additional cost.

Furthermore, notice that our first few stretch goals (which we seem to be getting to soon!! :D) are specifically directed to adding value to the Days & Nights pack, with even more content at no extra cost as we reach more economical numbers.

Even more edited to add: It’s just over 24 hours in and total pledges have almost hit the $32,000 mark which is the second stretch goal. There are 423 backers at the moment of writing, distributed as follows:

Support (pledge without a reward): 10 backers
Access to Pledge Manager (choose a reward later): 26 backers
Insurgent (Nights of Fire only): 60 backers
Leader (Nights of Fire plus Days and Nights expansion pack): 213 backers
Combined Insurgent (Nights of Fire plus reprinted Days of Ire): 24 backers
Combined Leader (both games plus expansion pack): 81 backers
Army (“if you want lots of copies, contact us for a good deal!” – this must be for people doing a group buy in a remote city or maybe a dealer): 2 backers


Aw c’mon, just write another post already huh: Publisher Mighty Boards has decided to listen to the complainers above (some of whom had written on BGG that because they didn’t like the way the extras were offered, they were going to pass on the game completely, in any version) and partly decoupled the expansion cards plus miniatures, for early backers only:


Good for them for responding to customers, albeit a small number of vocal (real and potential) ones… though this does pose a small but real risk for them, because of the Minimum Order Quantity issue discussed in the publisher’s quote above. Hopefully it will not come back to bite them in their fourth point of contact.

And the next day: we are at $37,000, and a new stretch goal has been revealed – if they make it to $45,000 you can read my designer’s notes!

Newest COIN system P500: People Power

Just announced for P500, is a new COIN system game from GMT: People Power: Insurgency in the Philippines, 1983-86. Designed by Ken Tee, a gamer I know from CSW  – this appears to be his first design.

I’ve just had a glance over the description but here are some of the interesting points I noticed:

  • 3 factions:
    • Government, symbolized by the personal rule of Ferdinand Marcos, his wife Imelda, and his political cronies and military forces. Seeks Support and Patronage.
    • Insurgents, split into two blocs – the communist New People’s Army (or NPA) and the Moro National Liberation Front (or MNLF but more commonly referred to as Moros). The NPA sought a national uprising from both the urban and rural populace, while the Moros wanted a separate nation founded on Islamic autonomy. Seeks Control of spaces and some form of “Resistance” index.
    • Reformers, think Corazon Aquino. A non-violent faction that was historically the winner of the conflict as the Philippine political landscape changed. Seeks to build Bases and Opposition.
  • Seems to be an effort to create a high-speed, low-drag entry into the COIN system: small map (17 x 22″) with only two terrain types (city and country) and likely a small number of spaces; low number of pieces (79 wooden bits), and a small deck of event cards (likely around 40 or 50).
  • Some new features:
    • A hand of Key Personality cards kept by each player, that represents the effectiveness of various generals and power brokers.
    • Propaganda Rounds replaced by a two-turn Election Cycle procedure (each Election Cycle is made up of 10 cards and represents 6 to 9 months of activity).
    • A faction can combine any Operation with any Special Activity.
    • card-driven solitaire play system; no more flowcharts.

Here’s the link to the description page and pre-order link:


220 orders already – I’m jumping on this one too!

Days and Nights: preview of expansion kit!

nof exp pack box

The Kickstarter launch is imminent. And today we have a preview of the expansion kit that adds to and joins both Days of Ire and Nights of Fire!

Days & Nights: Red Army Pack is an add-on pack that contains 28 miniatures compatible with both games. It also contains a small deck expansion to Nights of Fire, and an additional deck allowing campaign play.

In Campaign mode you can play a game of Days of Ire followed by a game of Nights of Fire (solo, cooperative, or conflict mode up to 1v2 supported), and have the winner decided only at the end!

BGG link: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgameexpansion/247103/days-nights-red-army-pack

I have seen the renderings for the miniatures and they are very, very good. There are three figures: a T-54 (12mm tall including the base, so about 1:200 or around “Z” scale), a standing infantryman with a PPSh41 sub-machine gun (34mm tall including the base, so about 1:64 or “S” scale), and a kneeling sniper with a scoped Moisin-Nagant (15mm tall).

Purely coincidentally, the infantryman bears a strong resemblance to Yul Brynner, as he appeared in the role of “Major Surov” in the film The Journey!