Rebel, Inc.

Screenshot: Ndemic Creations

https://www.c4isrnet.com/it-networks/2019/02/22/what-if-anything-can-the-pentagon-learn-from-this-war-simulator/

An interesting article mostly on a new computer game called Rebel, Inc. designed by James Vaughan of Ndemic Creations.

The writer introduces the game, and writes more broadly about the value of and use of these kinds of games for educating policy makers and other interested parties. He contacted Volko Ruhnke and me for some quotes and background. The conclusion is that “it’s complicated”, which is fair enough!

Rex Brynen already posted a review of the game a while back, here:

https://paxsims.wordpress.com/2018/12/07/review-rebel-inc/

I’m waiting for the forthcoming Android version myself, since I can’t stand to play things on that tiny iPhone screen. (However, if anyone wants to take a crack at making an iOS version of Guerrilla Checkers, I’d be pleased to talk to you!)

iOS version here, for $1.99:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/rebel-inc/id1439187947

EDIT: the game is available on Android! Appears to be free, but there are a lot of in-game purchases to make.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ndemiccreations.rebelinc

Uploaded about 10 days ago and over 50,000 downloads and over 4,000 ratings already. No indication of total downloads for the iOS version, but it has over 9,300 ratings, so following the same ratio – let’s say at least 150,000 examples of the game are being played, or not.

For perspective, it took five years and two reprints to get 10,000 copies of A Distant Plain out there.

Sure glad I am not in this to make money.

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Obligatory end-of-year-review, 2018

FranklinHowe_o

Can you mansplain convincingly while wearing breeches, stockings and buckle shoes?

Well, another year has zipped by. Maybe a bit early for year-end post-mortems, but I have been busy:

Game publishing

  • February: the Kickstarter launch for Nights of Fire. We made the first, most important target in 12 or 13 hours, and ended up with $87,821 pledged over 30 days. Nights of Fire: Kickstarter day at last!
  • February also saw Tupamaro come out, in folio format from One Small Step. Tupamaro is out!
  • March saw the release of Chile ’73 from Tiny Battle Publishing. I was pleased that this came out, but there were a number of unfortunate changes/additions of art, physical components and rules that lessened the “bang” for me. Chile ’73: errata file
  • May, and out came Strike for Berlin in #11 of Yaah! magazine. Very nice art and production, a really great overhaul of Freikorps. I was quite pleased with it, but it doesn’t seem to have garnered a lot of attention on BGG and other places. Strike for Berlin has struck
  • July: I posted District Commander: Maracas, for free print-and-play. This is presented as an example of how the District Commander system works (this and three other modules will be published by Hollandspiele over the next couple of years) and as an introductory essay of mine into operational level urban combat against irregular forces in a large city. New free game: Maracas
  • September: a second edition of Summer Lightning came out, from Lock n Load Games. This is a physically enlarged (one might say engorged) edition, the rules are the same – just all of the components are bigger. Pretty spiffy looking though! Summer Lightning: Second Edition!

Game design work and future publication

Work and or testing continued throughout the year on some of the following, while others have likely publishing dates in 2019 or later:

  • Thunder out of China (now renamed China’s War, at least until an even better title comes along): testing testing, and hoping to have this ready for GMT P500 by Consimworld Expo time.
  • Strongman, an extensive rework of Caudillo that may be a while coming, and publisher not completely confirmed.
  • Brief Border Wars Quad, from Compass Games – I handed this over to the guys at Consimworld Expo and understand that it will be up for pre-order in the next couple of months. Will be published all four in one box.
  • District Commander series, from Hollandspiele – I handed over four modules (Algeria 1959, Vietnam 1969, Afghanistan 2009, and Maracas 2019) to Hollandspiele at Consimworld Expo and they will be publishing these as separate single titles over the next two years.
  • We Are Coming Nineveh: This very clever game on contemporary urban combat (Mosul 2017) was designed by two of Rex Brynen’s students in a trial course he ran in getting students to design games. Rex and I have done a considerable amount of development on it, without changing its basic concepts, and I’m quite pleased at how this came out. Will likely be published in 2019 or early 2020.
  • Nights of Fire: Pretty sure this will be out in March 2019 or so. I think people will be pleased.

Conferences and conventions

Another busy year on this front, a week or more away at each of these events:

Writing

  • Only one formally published piece, the foreword to a book of wargames rules on irregular war situations published by History of Wargaming Project, John Curry’s imprint. New book out – Small Wars

Near-meaningless digest of site statistics:

  • I seem to be cruising still at just below 2,000 views per month, a bit higher than the preceding two years. The five most curious countries were: US (by a very wide margin), UK, Canada, Spain and Italy. One guy clicked in from Venezuela!
  • Besides the then-current post, popular pages or posts included the BTR Games and Free Games pages, and the post containing the corrected Tutorial and errata for Colonial Twilight. Also popular was a new page of Scenarios and Variants I added in July, incorporating material lugged over from my old website as well as some new pieces (e.g. the 4-player variant for Colonial Twilight and the historical scenario for Operation Whirlwind).
  • 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 Desert Leader.

More unboxing videos! In limba romana…

 

Two unboxing, or rather unbagging videos of the OSS editions of Kandahar and Operation Whirlwind.

However, the poster is speaking in Romanian, a language I do not know. I presume it’s a positive impression!

 

Review of Colonial Twilight in Nerdly

ColTwilightCover(edit)RBM

http://www.nerdly.co.uk/2018/10/03/colonial-twilight-the-french-algerian-war-board-game-review/

A very nice review of Colonial Twilight by Matthew Small at Nerdly, a British site that seems to review a bit of everything under the sun.

Thanks Matthew!

 

Chile ’73: review at Paxsims

c73 tbp cover

Over at the redoubtable Paxsims blog, Rex Brynen and students try Chile ’73 and find they like it!

I’m not sure I would ever use it to teach about Latin American history. It is, however, a terrific design with very different pre- and post-phase phases, and it does get at the uncertainties and strategic considerations characteristics of successful and unsuccessful military takeovers.

https://paxsims.wordpress.com/2018/05/01/review-chile-73

“As you know, Bob,” Chile 73 is a historically-themed version of my multi-player, hidden-agenda and -information game Palace Coup, which is itself an extensive re-do of Power Play, one of the very first games I designed… back in 1991. But the basic concept of very different pre-coup and coup phases was there from the beginning. And it joins the very small group of games that deal with the coup d’etat:

https://paxsims.wordpress.com/2011/12/08/gaming-military-coups/

Rex is certainly right, I would not ever use this to teach about Latin American history either. Almost all coups are very unbalanced affairs, by design, and succeed or fail in a matter of hours.

In Chile 73 game terms the actual coup of 9/11/73 in Santiago would see about a dozen Army units including at least one Tactical air unit,  plus one or two Paramilitary units, sitting in different objective areas while Allende and the GAP (his personal bodyguard) are in the Palace. Whoosh, one big attack backed up by the Tac air and the defenders are eliminated.  This  doesn’t make much of a game, which is why we try to make something interesting of the pre-coup phase.

4Box system: series video review

On Youtube, Randy Strader has posted a 22-minute video on the games of mine he owns that use the 4Box system, beginning with Andartes.

This is a good explanation of the system and variations thereof: he runs through all six or so games that use the 4 box system (Tupamaro (as prototype), Shining Path, Algeria, Andartes, Kandahar, EOKA) and other area-control games of mine he also owns (Green Beret, Binh Dinh 69 and Operation Whirlwind).

Seven of these nine have been published in folio format by One Small Step, and their production gets a good look-in. He’s also kind to the much more modest graphic and production standards of my own BTR Games products.

He also acknowledges the influence of the 4Box system on the development of Volko Ruhnke’s COIN system, and my two games using that exact system (A Distant Plain and Colonial Twilight)

Thanks Randy! I appreciate your work.

Binh Dinh: unbagging video by Players Aid

Over at the Players Aid blog, the indefatigable Grant Kleinheinz unbags and explores the contents of Binh Dinh ’69 from OSS Games.

Thanks Grant!