Nights of Fire: Kickstarter is done!

KS stretch goals

The Kickstarter campaign is over. And the final tally is: $87,821 !

Over three times the minimum $25,000 goal required to get this game produced at all… so I am gratified!

Final counts:

  • 167 people bought just Nights of Fire
  • 396 people bought Nights of Fire and the expansion pack (which includes 28 miniatures, two decks of cards for expansion of Nights (scenarios and leaders) and rules for play of the the campaign game)
  • 94 people bought the combined Days of Ire (reprint) and Nights of Fire package
  • 254 people bought the combined package with the expansion pack
  • 8 people bought something else – e.g. large group buy (thanks!)

So that’s about 900 copies at least that will be out in the wild… plus more for the retail trade, no idea of the production numbers.

Really nothing left to do now except review bits and pieces of stretch goals like new art bits for the Insurgent pieces… everything that has anything to do with the actual play of the game has long been written, arted-up and tested. Which is all I wanted to know.

If production goes well some copies will be in people’s hands (or at least for show) at the Essen game fair in October. However, to be sure, they are committing to a delivery date of March 2019 which will cover all exigencies.

If you backed this Kickstarter, good for you and many thanks!

If you didn’t, I hope you get a chance to buy or at least play it when it comes out! I think you will be pleased.


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.

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!

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:

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!

New book out – Small Wars


Released today, from John Curry’s History of Wargaming Project: Small Wars, New Perspectives on Wargaming Counterinsurgency on the Tabletop.

The book contains six sets of rules for playing out situations from 20th and 21st century irregular wars. It’s a bit unusual in that all but one of them are written to portray the action at the operational/ campaign level, where each stand of figures on the tabletop represents a large combined-arms unit. Using card-based systems, these games are particularly suitable for the solo wargamer.

  • Boots on the Ground: Company Level Actions in the early 21st Century
  • An Isolated Outpost: Six Months in the Sahara
  • Eight Years in a Distant Country: Soviet involvement in Afghanistan
  • Ovambo: Counter- insurgency in South West Africa
  • Good Morning Vietnam: LBJ’s War 1965-68
  • Flying Column: The Irish Troubles 1920-21

Oh, and I wrote the foreword, and supplied a list of readings and games on counterinsurgency! Look in the front and the back, when you are done having fun with these rules.

Buy your copy now at:

Prices are quite reasonable and are printed by print-on-demand arrangement with, so your copy doesn’t take very long to reach you.

Tupamaro is out!


Copies of Tupamaro are winging, rumbling, lumbering their way through the American postal system to all who pre-ordered this folio game from One Small Step Games, at the low price of $19.95.

Everyone else is welcome to buy theirs now, at the slightly higher price of $24.95!

For more on this game, one of my first completed designs (1994-95), see:

Interview at The Players Aid blog: Tupamaro

short article I wrote about the Tupamaros, at about the time of designing the game


Obligatory end-of-year review


So, that was 2017.

This year I published these games, or got them down the slipway:


It was also a busy time for conferences, events and conventions.

  • April: we went to San Diego for the Popular Cultural Association conference where I made a presentation on “News Paper Games”, about journalism in analog game form. Next year’s conference is in Indianapolis so no way am I going there, but I think I am about done presenting my ideas in this kind of academic venue… not much left to say.
  • May: I went back to the Army War College to screen The Battle of Algiers for them, and do some guided play of Colonial Twilight with the guys of the Strategic Simulations Division. Also sat in on a very good panel with Peter Perla and Jim Lacey. Then I went up to Ottawa for the Cangames convention, where I played some more Colonial Twilight and met up with Rex Brynen, who was running a zombie game. I also learned The Grizzled from Michel Boucher, and had dinner at his place… I did not know of course that this would be the last time I would see him.
  • June: Consimworld Expo at Tempe AZ. Hm, I seem not to have written anything about that. Well, it was the usual good time among the hardest-core gamers, and nice as always to meet with publishers and discuss future projects. Lianne and I went to the local art museum and saw a neat exhibition on Frida Kahlo. Unfortunately Tom Russell hurt his back so Hollandspiele could not make the 800 mile drive to get there, but I’ll see them next year.
  • September: Back to Kings College London for the 2017 Connections-UK conference, boy that was fun! Also had a couple of extra days to look about in London, so that was great too.
  • November: BottosCon, like always, and it was a great weekend, like always, though I see I have not written anything about it either. I think I like the new hotel.


Near-meaningless digest of site statistics:

  • I seem to be cruising at between 1.4 to 2.1 thousand views per month, definitely higher than the preceding two years. Not surprisingly, the five most curious countries were: US, Canada, the UK, France and Australia. One guy clicked in from Jersey (the Channel Island, not the toxic waste dump).
  • Besides the then-current post, popular pages or posts included the BTR Games and Free Games pages, and the post about how to use the “horseshoe” in Colonial Twilight to play any four-player COIN system game with two players (this was also published in issue #31 of C3i magazine).
  • Even less surprisingly, the most clicked-on documents were the rules, corrected tutorial and playbook for Colonial Twilight, followed by the free PnP files for Ukrainian Crisis, Third Lebanon War and Caudillo. The page for all my presentations and other material got a lot of visits, but very few people downloaded the files. Oh well.

Now on to 2018, and further dumpster fires. Things I am pretty sure will get done in the coming year include:

  • Nights of Fire on Kickstarter in February, might be produced in time for Essen but we’ll see
  • Tupamaro will come out in 1Q as well, in folio format from One Small Step
  • Strike for Berlin will be in the next issue of Yaah! magazine (#11, March (?) 2018)
  • Chile ’73, folio game on the coup that put Pinochet in power (Tiny Battle Publishing)
  • A quad of mini-games on border wars, using a development of the Little War system (most likely Compass Games)
  • Finish off design work on Thunder Out of China (China 1937-41, COIN system, 4 players, different emphases)
  • And there will likely be other stuff besides…
  • …so get to work, ya bastich!