Obit: Yacef Saadi, Abimael Guzman

ColTwilightCover(edit)RBM

Yacef Saadi, military commander of the FLN’s Algiers Autonomous Zone during the Battle of Algiers, has died age 93.

This went almost unreported in English language media, so French language link. https://information.tv5monde.com/afrique/algerie-dernier-hommage-yacef-saadi-figure-emblematique-de-la-bataille-d-alger-423953

Saadi’s name would likely be lost to history if he had not made a place for it by bringing Gillo Pontecorvo’s film on the Battle of Algiers into the world.

Pontecorvo couldn’t get money for the project in Italy, so when he was approached in 1964 by Yacef Saadi, who was the director of the Casbah Film Company – Algeria’s first and only film production company – with an offer of money and logistical cooperation, they set to work. Saadi altered the script significantly several times during the process, and gave himself the major role of Djafar in the film – that is, he plays himself in the movie, though under another name. Pontecorvo put up with this because Saadi’s political connections with the Algerian government allowed them to film in Algiers and the Casbah zone itself, for five months in 1965. President Houari Bomedienne, who had recently taken power from Ahmed Ben Bella in a coup d’etat, made sure the film got all the necessary permissions, and loaned both troops and equipment from the Algerian Army for crowd scenes (which explains the jarring appearance of a Soviet SU-100 assault gun in the riot scene near the end of the film).

Yacef Saadi did not only rewrite the film, he rewrote the role he played in its subject. Towards the end of the Battle of Algiers a tip from a double agent led the French to Yacef Saadi’s hideout, where he was discovered with Zohra Drif, one of the women who had set bombs in the milk bar attack. Both of them talked freely, without physical coercion, and were kept prisoner until the end of the war in 1962. At the beginning of the film you see a frightened man who has just been tortured into giving up the location of Ali-la-Pointe, the last leader of the FLN in Algiers. This man never existed. In fact, it was Yacef Saadi himself who led the French paras to the hideout, because the real life equivalent of “Little Omar” in the movie was Saadi’s nephew, working as an errand boy for Ali-La-Pointe, and the boy’s mother had appealed to him to save his life.

spathcvr11

In other news, Abimael Guzman, leader of the Sendero Luminoso movement in Peru, has died in prison aged 86.

He had been in solitary confinement more or less continuously since his capture in 1992; I was a bit surprised he lasted this long.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-49110427

Melodice: playlist for your favourite games

Now here’s a clever thing!

Melodice.org will assemble a Youtube playlist of favourite musical pieces based on player submissions. Let this play while you are playing, to set the mood.

You can search for different games, so here are two I found for A Distant Plain and Colonial Twilight, and two I made for Nights of Fire and District Commander Kandahar:

https://melodice.org/playlist/a-distant-plain-2013/

https://melodice.org/playlist/colonial-twilight-the-french-algerian-war-1954-62-2017/

https://melodice.org/playlist/nights-of-fire-battle-for-budapest-2019/

https://melodice.org/playlist/district-commander-kandahar-2020/

On Youtube: Heavy Cardboard plays Colonial Twilight

On the Tube of You, Edward from “Heavy Cardboard” (on the 6th anniversary of his show!) plays a COIN system game for the first time: Colonial Twilight. He does something a little different: he plays the short scenario and takes the role of Government, introducing and teaching the game as he goes, while the Peanut Gallery (everyone watching: including Volko Ruhnke himself for a while!) discusses and suggests the FLN moves. What a great idea to learn the game collectively!

He didn’t promise to play the game well, and you know what, I don’t play games particularly well either; never have. But the play and the learning of it is the thing, for me.

Thanks Edward! I appreciate it.

(note: the stream goes for about 7 hours since it’s his first COIN game, and he introduces everything about the game first… so feel free to skip ahead to the game itself. The main commenter in the Peanut Galley, Laura Guy, very ably played the FLN!)

Colonial Twilight: unboxing video

Featuring Andrei Achim and his enormous knife!

 

 

Crepuscule d’Empire?

Image result for "colonel mathieu" gif

Saw this on the Book of Face today:

PIXIE et ASYNCRON ont l’immense plaisir d’annoncer qu’un accord avec l’éditeur américain GMT a été conclu en vue de localiser et d’éditer des jeux en français qui proviennent du catalogue de GMT et, en particulier, d’offrir à la communauté francophone, le nec plus ultra de ce qui se fait matière de jeu d’histoire asymétrique : la réputée série COIN.

Pour inaugurer cette collaboration, nous avons choisi comme premier jeu, Falling Sky (vol VI) et son extension Ariovistus. Cet opus traite de la Guerre des Gaules et de César contre les chefs gaulois, dont le célèbre Vercingétorix. L’extension Ariovistus est le prequel de Falling Sky, le début de la conquête romaine de la Gaule, qui permet de jouer la faction germanique.

Well, isn’t that something!

Makes sense they would start with Falling Sky. Everyone loves Asterix.

But I wonder if/when they will get around to Colonial Twilight. Not everyone likes Colonel Mathieu.

On s’engage, et puis on voit….

Oooppp, here is something that did not appear on the other notices, I saw this on Strategikon… (translated):

A subscription will be launched in early April on the Ulule platform in order to finance the production of the French edition of the game. If this subscription is successful, other titles will then also be located.

“The game” in this case is Falling Sky.  Ulule is a French crowdfunding platform, not sure how or if it is different from the others, though they do have a manifesto.

https://www.ulule.com/

Meanwhile, I thought that I had done this already, but here are some French-language rules for Colonial Twilight done by Sebastien Vassort:

Colonial Twilight Règles FR V.0.1

And a link to a French-language translation of the Event Cards, done by Vincent Tulasne:

http://www.ludistratege.fr/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Traduction-cartes-V1.pdf

Click to access Traduction-cartes-V1.pdf

Colonial Twilight as a gateway game

 

GMT_CT_MAP_071616

Over at “gringogamer”, Carsten writes about the value of using Colonial Twilight as a starter or gateway game to get people into the COIN system.

https://gringogamer.space/2020/02/13/complex-gateway-wargames-colonial-twilight

The Putsch and the Bomb

bof-a

Over at the Rockymountainnavy blog, the writer (I’ve been reading his blog for a long while but still don’t know his name) posts that he has acquired a copy of Colonial Twilight, and is looking forward to playing it! I’m glad to hear that, he has enjoyed other designs of mine he has played in the past.

In his post he also draws attention to a research paper he found detailing an incident that took place during the April 1961 putsch against de Gaulle: a nuclear device prepared for testing at the Reggane site (wayyy off to the south of the game map) was detonated during the events of the coup. The author explores the various interpretations of why and how the test took place, and whether there was any question of the rebellious generals being able to seize the device and use it (symbolically or in reality) against the government. The answer in this case is either “no” or “maybe, but so what”, but it does provide an interesting base for other questions about the role of nuclear weapons in contentious situations between a nation’s military and civilian powers.

https://rockymountainnavy.wordpress.com/2019/01/09/wargame-for-train-coups-nukes-colonial-twilight-the-french-algerian-war-1954-62-gmtgames-2017/

Of course, nothing like this is reflected in the game, except for the Coup d’etat card (#66) and a reference to the nuclear Force de Frappe in the NATO card (#16) – which was another piece in the complicated game de Gaulle was playing to impress his vision of France on its armed forces.

dc_maracas medium

RMN also mentions the upcoming release of District Commander Maracas by Hollandspiele – they have announced that it and the Binh Dinh module will be released in 2019, followed by the Algeria and Afghanistan modules in 2020.

Colonial Twilight: a bot for the FLNbot

coltwibox2

BGG user Curt Sellmer has created a program that automatically implements the FLNbot that Vesa Arponen made for Colonial Twilight. He says it handles the details of ‘bot decisionmaking, and is similar to a program he created for the expansion to Volko Ruhnke’s Labyrinth game,  Labyrinth: The Awakening: 2010-?

It supports the the Short, Medium and Full scenarios.

It will run on a MacOS terminal, a Linux terminal and the Windows console as long as the Java JVM is installed and the path to the ‘java’ executable program is referenced in your PATH environment variable.

For more information and to download the built package, go here: https://github.com/sellmerfud/coltwi

Scroll down until you see section heading: “Downloading the package”. In that section is a link to the “built package” which is a zip file.

Finally, here is the discussion thread on BGG where he introduces the program, and where players (that’s you, cousin) will discuss questions and problems, when encountered.

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2095115/software-runs-fln-bot

Thank you for your work Curt!

 

Review of Colonial Twilight in Nerdly

ColTwilightCover(edit)RBM

http://www.nerdly.co.uk/2018/10/03/colonial-twilight-the-french-algerian-war-board-game-review/

A very nice review of Colonial Twilight by Matthew Small at Nerdly, a British site that seems to review a bit of everything under the sun.

Thanks Matthew!

 

Colonial Twilight in Warsaw!

A Distant Plain in Warsaw!

Last year Piotr Bambot, a teacher who uses games in his classrooms and sometimes engages with members of the Polish military for their professional development, reported on his use of A Distant Plain with a group of officers and senior NCOs from the three main services.

Recently he did much the same thing with a similar group, using Colonial Twilight. He ran three games at the same time, each game was played with teams of five or six.

Bambot4821

Piotr gives initial instruction. Apparently the head-grabbing went away after a while.

Piotr said that many of the participants, some of whom had had several Afghanistan tours, appreciated the mechanics used to mimic insurgent actions. That’s always good to hear.

 

Thanks so much Piotr, and I am glad to hear that they found the games useful!

BambotRangi

Piotr thoughtfully provided a photo listing the ranks of the players, so you can get an idea of the the intended audience.