Chile ’73: first review!

c73 banner

Over at SP’s Projects Blog, “Pete” (I don’t know his name but he comments here frequently) writes about his purchase and play-through of a PnP copy of Chile ’73 with his friend Paul.

He enjoyed himself quite a bit!

Thanks Pete!

By the way, the game now has a entry so you can see some pictures and see what other Geeklists and things it is involved in.

One thing I have posted over there already, and make available here now, is a one-page expanded sequence of play that summarizes the rules. Help yourself:

CL73 expanded sequence 8mar


Colonial Twilight: review, yong zhongwen


Across the ocean, Mike Yuan of Taipei writes his impression of Colonial Twilight:

Unfortunately, I do not speak any Chinese and the machine translation is not very good…

Back to the front, compared to the four people may continue to soy sauce this situation, a little look you will find that in the CT, continuous action often occurs, so players will not only have a flexible schedule, but also make a good To be full, the ability to effect very strong.  At the same time the goal of action is also simplified; So I line up the skateboard machine to not finished thinking immediately turn to me, how do I use this opportunity?

But I think I get the gist of it – he was not entirely happy nor unhappy with the game.

  • He found the two-player mechanics interesting, and that they mitigated some of his frustrations with the 4-player mechanics and stabbery in the other COIN system games published so far.
  • Some of the Event Cards are quite strong (e.g. Napalm) while others are uninteresting or indeterminate in effect (he cites the “many” +/-1d6 cards in the deck – there are 6 that effect either side equally, of 60). Of this he says, “This is indeed Brian Train’s style, enhance the player’s sense of dilemma, sense of historical experience; in Chinese is called: ‘unlucky in rotten peach’ (「在爛桃中挑顆不爛的」)”. I liked that.
  • His impression is that the game is unbalanced against the Government; I think he played the Short scenario, twice, for this review so that is perhaps understandable.

Perhaps next time I should soy sauce my skateboard machine. Internet translation has a long way to go!


Colonial Twilight: video review po polsku

On his regular video podcast Wojennik TV, Michel Sorbet gives his impressions of Colonial Twilight. Unfortunately I don’t speak a word of Polish but it looks as if these impressions are positive ones.

Koloniale Daemmerung: the video

Ach so! (and I don’t know how to get an a-umlaut on this thing…)

I don’t know if any of my readers here are German speakers, but here is a new 70-minute video on Youtube where the Spieler (Christoph, a frequent contributor) gives a very complete introduction to, and description and impressions of, Colonial Twilight. I didn’t stop to listen to the whole thing but he seems quite complimentary.

Danke sehr Christoph!

(also appearing on Victoria Parta Spiele website:

The Player’s Aid: Best 3 Games with… Designer Brian Train!


Oh my. I really did not expect this.

Grant Kleinheinz has written a really nice post about three of my designs he’s had the most fun with:

  • Winter Thunder
  • Binh Dinh ’69
  • Colonial Twilight

I’m touched by this, and happy that he’s enjoyed my work enough to write such nice things about it. Thank you Grant!

Go have a look….

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!

Review of Colonial Twilight at Katie’s Game Corner

Ohhh, exciting!

The very clever Katie Aidley has reviewed Colonial Twilight on her blog Katie’s Game Corner… she likes it, a lot.

Excellent! Thank you Katie!