Brief Border Wars: review by RMN

https://www.armchairdragoons.com/feature/armchair-dragoons-reviews-brief-border-wars-from-compass-games/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=armchair-dragoons-reviews-brief-border-wars-from-compass-games

RockyMountainNavy guy has a very nice review of Brief Border Wars over on Armchair Dragoons.

For some reason I cannot leave a comment on that site without it being denounced as spam or a duplicate comment, so here are my comments (because I know he is one of my Faithful Readers here):

Thanks, I am very glad you liked this!

Cover art: yes, I did badger Mark Mahaffey into giving it the old SPI Quad look.

Rules reference # on counter: Mark suggested that, and I suppose if we hadn’t put it in someone would have complained that there’s nothing on the counter to indicate it’s a special case. Can’t win.

Air rules: bingo.

Optional rules: probably best to avoid using all these until you’ve played the game once or twice. 9.14 is a potent handicap for one or both sides – the systemic predecessor game, The Little War, had this in effect for both sides. Feel free to spot the handicapped player something nice like one level of victory, or a beer…

Historical notes: no room for these but anyone who wants details and background can start with Wikipedia entries and go from there.

 

 

Nights of Fire: review by Table for One

repairmanjackNOFminis

A very nice review by Fredrik Schulz at the Table for One site (dedicated to solo gaming), on Nights of Fire and its solo “Konev” system.

https://tableforone.me/blog/review-nights-of-fire-battle-for-budapest-mighty-boards

Nights of Fire: video review by The Players Aid

https://theplayersaid.com/2020/04/12/video-review-nights-of-fire-battle-for-budapest-from-mighty-boards

Grant Kleinheinz reviews Nights of Fire, particularly how you work the “Konev” deck of cards which makes a very interesting Artificial Intelligence for a solo game.

Grant did a long interview with me a couple of years ago with much more about the game itself:

https://theplayersaid.com/2018/02/19/interview-with-brian-train-co-designer-of-nights-of-fire-battle-for-budapest-from-mighty-boards-coming-to-kickstarter-soon/

Thanks Grant!

Summer Lightning and Winter Thunder: video reviews by Marco Arnaudo

Marco must be a shut-in these days too!

He has posted a nice balanced review of Winter Thunder.

Marco has previous experience of this chit-pull system, from his nice review of Summer Lightning from 2011:

Nights of Fire: video review

Liz Davidson of “Beyond Solitaire” does a short review of Nights of Fire.

She really liked the theme and the challenging nature of the desperate situation, but would have liked a closer connection to the events relating to the physical locations on the board and thought the final turns of the game (as the Insurgent’s options and numbers dwindle) dragged a bit. Fair enough. But on balance, she liked it!

Obligatory end-of-year review, 2019

headthames

Well, another year has zipped by. A busy year too, though day job stuff dominated my busy:

Game publishing

Game design work and future publication

Work and or testing continued throughout the year on some of the following:

  • China’s War: testing testing, and hoping to get into development in early 2020. Almost 900 pre-orders now.
  • Strongman, an extensive rework of Caudillo that may be a while coming, and publisher not completely confirmed. Really need to spend some time on this but it needs multiple people to play it.
  • Brief Border Wars Quad, from Compass Games – up for pre-order and probably will come out in the first half of 2020: not sure what conditions they apply to pull the trigger.
  • District Commander series, from Hollandspiele – Maracas is out, Binh Dinh is coming next; maybe Kandahar might be out in 2020, or maybe not. Meanwhile, the Algeria module is available for free PnP.
  • Semi-abstract urban counterinsurgency games: I have been working on two of these for some time now, can’t get time to finish them off. Will likely put them up for free PnP as few people seem interested in this kind of thing.
  • Civil Power: This was one of the first games I ever designed (1991-92) and revising it after 25 years is proving almost as much work as doing a new one. Like the original version, this will have a lot of new scenarios based on contemporary headlines: Hong Kong 2019, duelling mobs in Caracas, Violent Demo USA, etc..

Conferences and conventions

Not so busy year on this front:

  • February: I attended Connections North for the first time, at McGill University. It was a great but short event: I made a presentation, met some nice folks, role-played CDS John Vance in the megagame about a zombie outbreak, and spent some quality time talking with Jim Wallman! Into the White
  • April: I went to Marine Corps University at MCB Quantico April 2-5 for a special MORS event on urban warfare. I presented on the different games I had worked on to cover urban conflict at the operational level. There were some really imaginative analyses but it seems to me that the professional military is still consumed by the likely problems of standing armies fighting “peer” forces in an urban environment, not the far more likely and nastier irregular warfare. Studies in Concrete
  • June: Consimworld Expo at Tempe, AZ. High point was meeting and spending time with Nick Karp and Mark Herman, two Gods of Design, and a long, fun interview with Harold Buchanan for his podcast! Back from Consimworld Expo 2019
  • July-August-September: no Connections conferences for me, in any flavour, as Day Job kept me too busy. I intend to attend as many as I can in 2020.
  • November: BottosCon was fun as it usually is, though I got there rather late. Still, got some testing of China’s War and Kashmir Crisis in, and picked up a couple of nice games in the flea market. BottosCon pictures  .

Writing

  • Not a productive year, as far as writing about war and games. Nothing formally published, just the usual torrent of wise-guy stuff on blogs, sites and social media.
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Near-meaningless digest of site statistics:

  • I seem to be cruising still at just below 2,000 views per month, but about 3,000 fewer than 2018. About 8,000 visitors. The five most curious countries were: US (by a very wide margin), UK, Canada, Italy and Australia. One guy clicked in from Ghana! Don’t know what to make of that.
  • Besides the then-current post, popular pages or posts included the BTR Games, Free Games and Scenarios and Variants pages. No surprises there.
  • The most clicked-on and/or downloaded documents (WordPress started measuring downloads in July 2019) were the files for the free games District Commander,  Ukrainian Crisis, Third Lebanon War and Battle of Seattle.

Video Review: A Distant Plain

 

Reporting in from Buckeye Game Fest, Grant Kleinheinz and other friends of The Player’s Aid talk about their experience of a longish game of A Distant Plain. Not just a post-mortem; very nice commentary and musing through the various actions and combinations available to all sides!

Thanks, fellows.

WW2 +80

80 years and one day ago the Second World War began with the German invasion of Poland. Boardgamegeek user “Grisz” commemmorated the occasion with a video review of Summer Lightning.

Thanks Grisz! I do not speak Polish, so I hope it is a nice review. The video does not end with the game being swept off the table into the Round File, or crumpled, or set afire, so I guess it’s at least OK.

PS: For those who drop by here regularly, I’ve made an addition to the rules to Kashmir Crisis. The “1sep” rules and player aid card now available have an additional optional rule with an alternate, “sudden death” victory option; they replace the “28aug” version. Stop by and replace your rules: New game: Kashmir Crisis

Nights of Fire: kind comments from RMN

NOF cover art mid

Over at the RockyMountainNavy Gamer blog, some very positive comments about Nights of Fire and its apparently successful fusion of wargame with Eurogame.

https://rockymountainnavy.wordpress.com/2019/09/01/shedding-some-daylight-on-nights-of-fire-battle-for-budapest-mighty_boards-2019-wargame-boardgame/#comments

Thanks so much for the kind words!

 

 

Ukrainian Crisis: Two Videos

 

The guys at Take Your Turn post two videos about Ukrainian Crisis on Youtube: first, a short review, then a longer playthrough of a game (the “low-luck” variant with the playing cards).

They like it very much!

Thanks guys!