Space-Biff! reviews Colonial Twilight

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Image from GMT Games pre-order page, using French anti-war poster.

Daniel Thurot, aka Space-Biff!, reviews Colonial Twilight on his blog. (He also posted it on my birthday, which was yesterday, but I didn’t find out until today – but what a nice gift!)

https://spacebiff.com/2017/10/24/colonial-twilight/

He says, among many other things:

At its best, Colonial Twilight captures the high-level decision space of guerrillas and counterinsurgents alike, peeling back the layers to reveal the processes by which a war of independence is fought on both sides, and aptly illustrating the complexity that can arise when that war’s belligerents define “victory” by very different standards. Its take on war is brutal, bitter, and liable to leave both sides taking and retaking the same inches of ground many times over.

Ah yes. That’s good to hear….

He also wrote a very kind review of A Distant Plain, some time ago:

Space-Biff! reviews A Distant Plain

Many thanks!

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“A perfect modeling of chaos and terror”

Over at The Players Aid blog, Grant Kleinheinz has written a superb, very long and detailed review of his impressions of Colonial Twilight. Go read it!

https://theplayersaid.com/2017/10/24/a-perfect-modeling-of-chaos-and-terror-a-review-of-colonial-twilight-the-french-algerian-war-1954-62-from-gmt-games

The money quote:

I was really impressed with the integration of the theme into the gameplay and the care given to make sure players actually feel the consequences of their actions. As I have played the game, I have paused many times to simply think about things, either my actions during the game, the moral turpitude of the two combatants (who is the good guy? Is there even a good guy?), the purpose and meaning of it all, etc. I truly believe that this is Brian’s masterpiece, his Mona Lisa, David or Sistine Chapel as it were. The skill with which he has weaved the bitter elements of the struggle together in a playable and enjoyable way is nothing short of triumphant. And any game that can make you think about things is a good thing. Bravo, I say! Bravo.

I am so pleased with this theme that I have seen in reviews of this game… that it made people, in the course of playing the game, think about what it was they were playing at, and what relation it and they bore to the grimy historical reality.  In that sense it is not a physical simulation but an emotional simulation of the conflict, something that doesn’t always emerge in wargames (though any good wargame will create lots of excitement and suspense for the players). And I’m proud that I have been able to foster these feelings, however ambivalent, in players.

Thank you so much Grant! (And it’s my birthday too!)

Review of Colonial Twilight in The Armchair General

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Today the website Armchair General published a review of Colonial Twilight by Ray Garbee.

http://www.armchairgeneral.com/the-hills-are-alive-with-the-sound-of-insurgency-in-gmt-games-colonial-twilight.htm

It’s one of the first full-length reviews of the game I’ve read… hopefully there will be more, but Ray was very impressed by what he had seen:

This is going to read as very odd. I’ve played the game several times. Of those, two games left me with a feeling of sadness bordering on ennui, without the aspects of boredom. Reflecting on why this happened, I think it’s measure of how well the game engages the players. The detailed nature of the event card descriptions drives home the horrors and moral compromises inherent to this conflict.

The card descriptions strip off the veneer of jingoistic patriotism and revolutionary fervor and give a glimpse into the brutal nature of the conflict. It’s not just wooden pieces being removed from a cardboard map. It’s assassination. It’s torture. It’s café bombings, governmental scandals and forced relocation of population. None of this is colorful flags flying in the wind as brave soldiers fight an honorable battle against an enemy whom is much like themselves.

It’s tough to feel good about conducting terror operations, regardless of your goals. It also is an excellent insight into the nature of this war. A great game should do more than provide a competitive experience, it should also teach and challenge the players assumptions. Colonial Twilight easily accomplishes both. It’s an engaging game. But it can also be a powerful teaching tool. The game teaches the geography of Algeria and it teaches the history of a pivotal event in twentieth century history. Like the experience of this war to it’s French participants, Colonial Twilight is a game that will leave its players with a lasting impression of the nature of modern conflict.

Armchair General Rating: 95%

I can’t add anything to that. I am very pleased that this game engaged him on this emotional level.

Video reviews of Colonial Twilight

Several video reviews of Colonial Twilight have popped up on Youtube in the last few weeks. All of them have been quite positive!

An unboxing video by the colourful Adam Koebel.

Half an hour with the affable guys from The Player’s Aid blog – Grant Kleinheinz (on the left) has interviewed me many times about this and other games.

A long review by the legendary Marco Arnaudo! If Marco reviews one of your games, you know that you have arrived. He really likes it, too.

A review by “NapoleonsTriumph”, who lives in New Zealand. His review is from the POV of a solo player so it’s largely about the ‘bot, but he also posted other and longer videos of his thoughts as he learned the game.

A Distant Plain: P500 on 3rd printing launched!

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GMT Games has launched a P500 for the THIRD printing of A Distant Plain!

This will be a straight reprint of the second printing, which I think had caught all the errata from the first.

If you get in on it now, you pay $54 instead of the regular price of $78!

http://www.gmtgames.com/p-656-a-distant-plain-3rd-printing.aspx

Interview at The Player’s Aid: Gandhi

Bruce Mansfield is in the process of developing Gandhi, a new COIN system game that covers the exit of Britain from India, 1917-47. This is his first “large game” and takes the system in a new but for me inevitable direction: the incorporation of nonviolence into a violent situation. I say inevitable because I have always felt that the COIN system would do well in any number of power-politics situations; it doesn’t always have to be about an actual war.

The game made its P500 point extremely quickly, in just over 24 hours, and I am one of the people on the preorder list. The game will probably be out next summer if all goes well and I’m very interested to see what develops.

Anyway, the interview, per Grant Kleinheinz’s usual style, is extensive and detailed and will tell you all you want to know about the game in its present state:

https://theplayersaid.com/2017/05/01/interview-with-bruce-mansfield-designer-of-gandhi-the-decolonization-of-british-india-1917-1947-by-gmt-games/

Now It Can Be Seen: Box art for Colonial Twilight

Rodger MacGowan has finished the box art for Colonial Twilight!

And boy it looks good. The collage-of-images is a staple for many wargame covers, but it’s particularly interesting how Rodger has arranged these and used colours to imitate and fuse the structures of both the French and Algerian flags. And the green-and-black scheme really makes it pop.

I’m very pleased with this, another great cover by Rodger!

And now, this is the very last thing there is for me to look at and approve… so that’s it.

I think we’re done here, after more than two and a half years.

*sigh*

Look for this to appear in June or July!