Scheldt Campaign: Evolution of a Cover


Over on the Hollandspiele company blog, Tom Russell talks about the design and technical processes he went through to arrive at the above cover:

Back from Consimworld Expo *kaff* 2015

Me and Ian Weir at table, playing a few cards of Colonial Twilight (photo: Cisco Serret)

Me and Ian Weir at table, playing a few cards of Colonial Twilight (photo: Cisco Serret)

So, it was a good week, marred only by my catching a cold from the hotel air conditioning, which usually happens after I spend 3 or 4 days in a hotel. It was 110 – 115 degrees outside for much of the week, and all the work/game stuff was inside, so I didn’t have much of a choice. Felt nasty yesterday but I’ll be all right in a couple of days.

Anyway, yes, a good week. I showed Denouement to Gene Billingsley, who liked what he saw and lo, the game is going up for P500 orders Very Soon Now.

However, the working title did not survive and the game is now called Colonial Twilight, which is OK with me – still an evocative title and nicked from the title of an excellent article on the French-Algerian War written by John Prados back in Campaign/Panzerfaust magazine (does anyone remember that?), issue #73, May-June 1976.

Talked to many many other people over the course of the week, it’s great to be able to see these folks, even if it is only once a year, and talk about technique or common histories/anecdotes. I even got in a game of Quartermaster General, which had some interesting choices in it but isn’t much more than filler (but it’s fun filler).

I brought a lot of new stuff with me but did not get to show much of it besides the two COIN games, which caught a lot of attention. GMT staff seemed interested in Thunder Out Of China which was also on display, but there are at least 8 or 9 teams working on COIN system games now so it would be years before this one saw production.

Contemplated setup for 1937 scenario (photo: Cisco Serret)

Contemplated setup for 1937 scenario (photo: Cisco Serret) (Santa did not fall off the map, he was like that when I got there)

So, back to work… until next year. But meanwhile there is BottosCon, November 6-8!


uprisingyaah2 Issue #2 of YAAH! magazine, featuring two of my abstract games, will be taking pre-orders as of April 3:–magazine-issue–2.html Pre-order price is $24.99; after it ships in May sometime it’s $29.99. Also, to beat steep international postage costs of $20 you can get a PDF download for $14.99 and you then print out the games. The above illo is the preliminary game art for Uprising. I have been told there will be a few changes. Lots of other interesting stuff in the issue too – scenarios, reviews, interview with Alan Emrich, and more!

Includes a short piece by me on the think-value of abstract games, starting with Benjamin Franklin’s love of Chess, his essay on the morals of Chess, and the mental exercise afforded by different types of abstract games (especially the three of mine in this issue!)

Looking forward to this one.

Airborne Church!

Over on David Dockter informs me (

“The Russian military has introduced a high-tech air-dropped church along with a unit of priests trained in parachuting and vehicle assembly to serve the army and navy’s Orthodox Christian soldiers in the field. The European country claims its airborne-friendly and ready-to-assemble house of worship is the first the world has ever seen, although similar structures have long been in existence.”

Looks like a unit for your game, Mr.Train. 

No room to include this one in the counter mix but I wondered about the unit symbology to use for it:



The one on the left for the TO&E “wire diagram”, the one on the left for the installation in the field… though I am not sure what exact system the Russian Federation uses for its maps now, I am sure someone will fill me in, here or on BGG….

Nice RBM Graphic for ADP

New banner for A Distant Plain, by Rodger B. MacGowan.

Latest news I have heard is that the game will be out in August!

I’ve just turned in my designer’s notes, sources and references list, and background text (i.e. explanatory notes and citations) to the 72 Event Cards in the game deck. From now on it’s art and production decisions.

Whew. It’s been a real experience working on this game with Volko!


Delirios Paranoides

Counters, translated into Spanish

Here’s a nice thing that “thredith undomiel”, someone I do not know from Bogota, Colombia did for me – translated my free game “Paranoid Delusions” into Spanish!

Go to his blog to download the materials here:

Or here:


He says:

Después de una ausencia de un par de meses, regreso con una nueva traducción lúdica. En esta ocasión, le corresponde el turno a un juego un tanto demencial llamado Paranoid Delusions, el cual es de 2 a 6 jugadores.

Creo que lo que más me llamó la atención fue la trama, y la simpleza pero genialidad de los componentes de juego. Ahora bien, se preguntarán ¿de qué va la trama? Pues es más o menos algo así: Cada jugador desempeñará 2 roles, el del “Paranoico”, y el del “Enemigo”, y se involucrará en el oculto mundo de las conspiraciones.

Lo interesante es que nadie sabrá qué conspiraciones hay en marcha, a menos que se trate de la conspiración propia, pero de igual forma tendrá que esforzarse por averiguarlo todo. Y no será sencillo, ya que las acusaciones que decida hacer, le afectarán su sanidad mental, llevándole poco a poco a la locura absoluta.

Es más, resulta probable que llegado un cierto punto, el jugador tenga que acusarse a sí mismo, con tal de intentar revelar todos los secretos y misterios que sus enemigos (sean reales o imaginarios) ocultan. ¡Todo un delirio paranoide!

Desde los Masones, Aliens, y Nuevaeristas, a la influencia de la Educación Pública, la Meditación o el Café para así llegar a formar un Nuevo Orden Mundial, o desatar el Calentamiento Global. Ninguna teoría será lo suficientemente disparatada, como para no ser cierta. En Delirios Paranoides, el Paranoico más grande, o el Enemigo más maquiavélico, será quien se lleve la victoria.

Todo lo que se necesita para jugar será: las reglas de juego (4 páginas en total), un par de contadores genéricos (como piedrecillas o botones), dos copias de la hoja de contadores (ver arriba), y tantas copias como jugadores.

Sin más que decir, les dejo el link de descarga de los componentes, y como de costumbre: ¡espero que lo disfruten!

Or (Google translated, unfortunately my Spanish is about the level of “Mas cervezas, por favor”):

After an absence of a couple of months back with a new translation of a game. This time turn it is an insane liottle game called Paranoid Delusions, which is for 2 to 6 players.

I think what caught my attention was the plot, but the simplicity and genius of game components. Now, you ask what is the plot? For it is more or less like this: Each player will play two roles, that of “Paranoid”, and the “enemy”, and will be involved in the hidden world of conspiracies.

The interesting thing is that nobody knows what plots are underway, unless it be the conspirator itself, but equally it may struggle to find everything. And it will not be easy, because the accusations you decide to do, it will affect your sanity, slowly bringing you to complete madness.

Furthermore, it is likely that at a certain point, the player has to attack himself, so to try to reveal all the secrets and mysteries that his enemies (real or imaginary) hidden. All paranoid delusions!

From the Freemasons, Aliens, and New Age, to the influence of public education, meditation or coffee so eventually form a New World Order, or Global Warming. No theory is crazy enough as to not be true. In paranoid delusions, the paranoid largest, or the most Machiavellian Enemy, who will take the victory.

All you will need to play: the game rules (4 pages total), a pair of generic counters (like pebbles or buttons), two copies of the sheet counters (see above), and as many copies as there are players.

Without further ado, here is the link to download the components, and as usual I hope you enjoy!

Spiffy cover art image he selected too, I never did get around to making a cover for this.

COMING SOON – The Scheldt Campaign

cover – all artwork by Kerry Anderson

Kerry Anderson has done some wonderful artwork on The Scheldt Campaign and the game will soon be ready for release through the Microgame Design Group. This game will feature a 17×22″ map and 244 die-cut counters!

This will be the first board wargame to focus exclusively on the clearing of the Scheldt Estuary by the First Canadian Army, an important campaign that has received scant interest in history.

CSW discussion area at

BGG game entry at for a look at some graphics samples (well, they are all reproduced here, but can be viewed at different sizes there).

small section of the map

small section of the map

The game uses a heavily adapted version of the Staff Card system first seen in Joe Miranda’s seminal game Bulge 20

Each player has a C2 Level which represents the maximum number of Staff cards he may have in his hand at any one time. The current C2 Level also determines how many Tactical Units the player may have under command of a single Task Force HQ at one time. Also, the mix of Staff Cards differs between the German and Allied sides.

Each Player selects his hand of Staff Cards from those in his Available Pile during his Planning Phase at the end of his Player Turn. Cards remain in your hand until played or your ensuing Planning Phase, at which time you keep or discard any cards in your hand and then select back up to your current C2 Level (thus planning out your next turn).

In the game you have four kinds of staff cards, with the following functions:

G-1 (Administration):

  • Enter reinforcement units (not in Isolated hexes);
  • Recover 1-3 Hits from Tactical Units (only one card per Tactical unit, and if not Isolated)

G-2 (Intelligence):

  • Regroup Tactical Units in Operations Zone of a Task Force HQ;
  • Play in Battle sequence to take or keep Tactical Advantage (first fire);
  • Play any time to inspect enemy card hand or OOB Mat for 30 seconds

G-3 (operations):

  • Conduct Tactical Movement with one unit (which can be anything from a single battalion to a Task Force HQ fully loaded with combat brigades and supporting arms);
  • Conduct an Attack

G-4 (Logistics):

  • conduct Strategic Movement (either triple MF with one unit, or cross-Scheldt movement with one Tactical Unit);
  • Play in Commitment step of Battle sequence to give Combat Support (German can play one for artillery; Allied can play one for artillery and one for Air Support)

Also, the combat system uses multiple dice so that units wear away as they take hits and become less capable. There are never enough Staff Cards so you have to balance out the need to push on vs. the risk of burning out your front line units.

section of the counter sheet

section of the counter sheet