Over at Hollandspiele: Designer’s Remarks on The Little War

lilwar-ctrsmpl

https://hollandspiele.com/blogs/hollandazed-thoughts-ideas-and-miscellany/designers-remarks-on-the-little-war-by-brian-train

And very nice looking components they are! Good production job by Blue Panther.

Over at Hollandspiele: Designer’s Remarks on Ukrainian Crisis

Over at the Hollandspiele company blog, some more remarks and description by me on Ukrainian Crisis, which is coming out in the next 2-3 weeks:

https://hollandspiele.com/blogs/hollandazed-thoughts-ideas-and-miscellany/designers-remarks-on-ukrainian-crisis-by-brian-train

I’m really looking forward to this game’s first physical publication! Kind of running out of things to say about it, though – people should just play it, already.

Evolution of a Cover

uacrlwcover

Fourth time was the charm.

Over at the Hollandspiele blog, Tom Russell talks about the progression of images and ideas used before arriving at the present newspaper-page style cover for Ukrainian Crisis/ The Little War.

https://hollandspiele.com/blogs/hollandazed-thoughts-ideas-and-miscellany/cover-story-ukrainian-crisis-the-little-war-by-tom-russell

I appreciate that Tom involves me in these kinds of decisions, and entertains my thoughts and suggestions. I also appreciate his willingness to experiment, and let us in on what was on his mind.

A commenter to the post suggests that the cover art for a wargame really doesn’t have much to do with how well it might eventually sell. I feel the cover art is probably considered about the same level as the game’s map: it’s expected to be tasteful and informative, but unobtrusive and really, just a background to what’s going on elsewhere. Certainly a bad map will get you remembered faster and denounced the more deeply, and it’s the same with a bad cover… there are a few notably cartoonish examples listed on Boardgamegeek:

https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/55843/why-you-dont-let-your-little-brother-be-graphic-ar

Interview at The Players Aid blog: UACR/TLW

uacr-mapsmpl

Map by Tim Allen.

Over at The Players Aid blog, a long interview describing the background and mechanics of The Little War and Ukrainian Crisis. Jokes too!

https://theplayersaid.com/2017/02/21/interview-with-brian-train-designer-of-the-little-war-ukrainian-crisis-two-game-package-from-hollandspiele/

Go have a look.

Ukrainian Crisis and The Little War coming soon!

Friends,

The release of the two-pack Ukrainian Crisis and The Little War from Hollandspiele is imminent! In the next five or six weeks, that is….

Just created a Boardgamegeek entry for The Little Warhttps://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/220357/little-war

Here are samples of the final map and counter art. I think you’ll be pleased!

uacr-ctrsmpl

Ukrainian Crisis counters by Tom Russell.

uacr-mapsmpl

Ukrainian Crisis map by Tim Allen.

lilwar-ctrsmpl

lilwar-mapsmpl

Little War map by Jose Faura.

Coming soon from Hollandspiele: Ukrainian Crisis and The Little War!

uacrlwcover

Another interesting cover design by Tom Russell.

Coming in March 2017, from Hollandspiele!

Ukrainian Crisis will be much the same as the PnP version available now here, except that the Resource cards will be chits (they can’t print up that many cards), the game length is increased to 9 turns and there are a few extra units, for variety and to fill up the counter sheet.

Even better, this will be half of a two-game package… the other game will be the mini-game The Little War, on the brief Slovak-Hungarian border war of March 1939! This one uses only 30 counters and a deck of ordinary playing cards to drive the action. I designed this one last year.

The free print-and-play version of Ukrainian Crisis will remain available. But you know Hollandspiele and their printing partner Blue Panther LLC have been doing a very good job of production!

A New PnP Game: UKRAINIAN CRISIS

 

New New rules etc. for Ukrainian Crisis

A little early for St. Nicholas Day but I’ve made some changes to the Ukrainian Crisis game and want to share them with you.

The game now concentrates specifically on the first 6 months of the crisis, from Yanukovytch’s departure in late February 2014 to about the time of the adoption of the first Minsk Protocol in September. This was the period in which a large and overt Russian military intervention might have taken place, and while violence continues in Ukraine, the main threat of a military invasion seems to have passed.

Two important changes to the game include: game is lengthened to 8 turns, and instead of there being a pre-invasion and invasion phase of the game either player can declare a Combat or a Strategic turn . This gives players a bit more time to fill out strategies, and fits with the stop-and-start nature of how the crisis played out militarily. Following on from this, the map has been revised slightly and the cards also have additional or changed functions.

Still no NATO units.

The latest files for the game are here, and links are also on the original page:

uacr-rls-20 (the latest rules)

uacr-cds-20 (latest cards, to match the longer length of the game and some slight revisions to event cards)

UA crisis map1722-1 (latest version of the map with revised point values for Ukrainian ethnic zones)

UA_Crisis_ctrs2 (game counters, same as always; cut off and throw away the right-hand portion as the rules it refers to have been replaced)

Material is copyright 2014-2015 Brian Train.

EDIT!

Ukrainian Crisis published by Hollandspiele in March 2017!

Coming soon from Hollandspiele: Ukrainian Crisis and The Little War!

Ukrainian Crisis to be published by Victory Point Games

Well, I was holding my tongue but Alan Emrich let the cat out of the bag hisself… this from the 3 July number of the Crimson Courier, Victory Point Games’ (VPG) electronic newsletter:

Putin Pressure on Ukraine: Designer Brian Train has his first design with us which he originally published as a print-and-play game. This is a simulation of maneuver and pressure (political, economic, and military) rather than a straight force-on-force wargame. The international dance for prestige and resources over the territories of the Ukraine (and its neighbors) today is a fascinating study in current events in the guise of a clever simulation.

While I was at the CSW Expo in Tempe, Alan approached me with his interest in publishing the game. Besides vastly improved components which you don’t need to assemble yourself (full colour, die-cut, a box, all that neat stuff) this game will have a few other changes incorporated besides the name (Alan’s idea, not my boring original title):

  • All processes will use a d6, not via the substituting method I listed in section 2.1 of the rules though – we are going to a dice-averaging system which I did briefly consider when originally designing the game. This required a couple of changes to processes, notably the Diplomatic resolution and the introduction of random Critical Incidents that can occur when players make a Maximum Effort on something.
  • Some Russian OOB changes to reflect the ID numbers and likely composites of units that appear to have been actually fielded, rather than my original guesses (most of which were right, but they were obvious ones).
  • A completely deterministic version of the game that doesn’t use dice at all, if you feel that rollin’ dem bones is a sin (though it does use playing cards, so you are halfway to Perdition anyway).

The game is now in the hands of the VPG developers, so no telling what will emerge in the end, nor when that will be. Stay tuned!

[EDIT: In the end, VPG did not publish the game, and it was published by Hollandspiele in March 2017 in slightly different form. ]

Coming soon from Hollandspiele: Ukrainian Crisis and The Little War!

Now, if that had been the only good thing to come out of the CSW Expo, I would have been happy, but there’s more… can’t talk about all of it right now, but I did score some nice old SPI games and magazines at the Flea Market and Game Auction (a highlight of the week, ably and amiably cried by Alan Emrich) and had a very good playtest session of Dios O Federacion – which I have now renamed Caudillo, for now – with some of the Vancouver gang plus others:

Dios test csw expo

Just a few of the testers – from left to right, John “Tex” Teixeira, Clayton Baisch, Kerry Anderson, Me, The Forearm of Jamie Shanks, and Rob Bottos took the picture.

A New PnP Game: UKRAINIAN CRISIS

EDIT, 22 December 2016:

Ukrainian Crisis will be published by Hollandspiele in March 2017, in slightly different and boxed format. This print-and-play version will remain available.

Coming soon from Hollandspiele: Ukrainian Crisis and The Little War!

EDIT, 2 December 2015:

You’ve probably come here for the Ukrainian Crisis game.

The latest files for the game are here:

uacr-rls-20 (The latest rules. The game now concentrates specifically on the first 6 months of the crisis, from Yanukovytch’s departure in late February 2014 to the adoption of the first Minsk Protocol in September. This was the period in which a large and overt Russian military intervention might have taken place. Important changes to the game include: game is lengthened to 8 turns, and either player can declare a Combat turn instead of there being a pre-invasion and invasion phase of the game. This gives players a bit more time to fill out strategies, and fits with the stop-and-start nature of how the crisis played out militarily. Following on from this, the map has been revised slightly and the cards also have additional or changed functions.)

uacr-cds-20 (latest cards, to match the longer length of the game and some slight revisions to event cards)

UA crisis map1722-1 (latest version of the map with revised point values for Ukrainian ethnic zones)

UA_Crisis_ctrs2 (game counters, same as always; cut off and throw away the right-hand portion as the rules it refers to have been replaced)

Material is copyright 2014-2015 Brian Train.

Enjoy!

END EDIT

Well, it took all of 48 hours but I have created a new game, from scratch, on the current Ukraine-Russia crisis.

It is a fairly simple “pol-mil” game for two players that concentrates on the buildup and resolution of threatened territorial annexation by Russia.
An overt military invasion of Eastern Ukraine is possible but not necessary for the Russian player to win the game. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian player desperately mobilizes to defend himself and build a coalition of allies to support him.

And you can have a copy, free to download!
You’ll have to print out the bits and make the game yourself, though.

Download the files found at the links here (material copyright 2014 Brian Train):

UA crisis map12

UA Crisis ctrs13

UA Crisis cards

ua-crisis-rules-1111

ua-crisis-rules-12 (replacement rules from June 2014)

Note that I originally posted this on the evening of March 16, 2014, just hours after the Crimean people voted massively to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. Or something like that.
Will this be the end of the crisis?
Or will Vladimir Putin keep going and try to intervene in the rest of Ukraine?

Please leave a comment that you have downloaded the game, and come back later to tell me what you thought of it, and see if there are additions or changes… this is obviously a work in progress, and as the wonks say “a tool to explore the problem space”. There will be changes and updates, and I shall note them below.

Thanks for your interest!

Brian Train

ETA:
Monday: made corrections to rules re diplomacy, truces, and start of Invasion phase, and added some examples to amplify terse wording. Uploaded a new map that tunes VP values for areas, adds a Sevastopol enclave and makes all the reds in the Russian ethnic Zone the same shade.

Wednesday: Polished rules (now version 1.1) and amplified/improved non-military options for players, so a straightforward military invasion is no longer the obvious option and framework for play of the game. A few changes to game’s initial parameters. Corrected small reminder chart under Card Matrix.

Friday: Neal Durando made an excellent suggestion for terminology, substituting the word “Information” for “Economic” in that area of the Card Matrix. This captures much better the raft of associated non-military, non-striped pants brigade options that I had in mind, which includes things like economic threats, minior sanctions against individuals, boycotts and pursuing other deals – but also the domain of “informational activities” that informs and affects the situation: rumours, the well-timed interview or Youtube video, cyber-shenanigans, other propaganda, in short, who is controlling the Narrative… and also intelligence, the incoming part of the action. Hence the options in this area are related to Prestige. I had all this in my head but couldn’t at the time think of a better word for it than “Economic”, it was bugging me. So consider the word replaced by “Information”, but I am not going to go back and change the rules and charts right now (later – I did).

Sunday 30 March: Playtesting showed a few kinks and necessary tunes in the combat and diplomatic sections, these have been addressed. Airfields added to Kiev and Odessa to allow the Ukrainian parachute brigade to move.

Monday 21 April: for those who don’t want to deal with the papercrafting aspect of things, a VASSAL module for this game is here! https://brtrain.wordpress.com/2014/04/22/vassal-module-for-ukrainian-crisis/
Many thanks to the dynamic Martin Hogan, who did a great job very quickly.