The Player’s Aid: another review of Winter Thunder

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To follow up on the video review done in October, Grant Kleinheinz has written up his impressions of the game on the Players Aid blog.

https://theplayersaid.com/2017/12/13/review-winter-thunder-the-battle-of-the-bulge-from-tiny-battle-publishing/

Thanks Grant!

And remember:

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Video review of Colonial Twilight at Tric Trac (avis: c’est en francais)

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Colonial Twilight, Hex Rules #18 – Actualités – Tric Trac

Over at the French-language website Tric Trac, the video blog or review series “Hex Rules” features:

Nov 21, 2017 – Dans cet iconoclaste numéro de Hex Rules, Monsieur Guillaume et Monsieur Guillaume revivent “Les événements”. Mais qui prendra le contrôle de l’Algérie ? 
Gist: “In this iconoclastic episode of Hex Rules, two guys named Guillaume relive “the events” [as the Algerian War is sometimes euphemistically referred to]. But who will take control of Algeria?”
Unfortunately, this content is available for subscribers only, so I don’t know what they thought of it.
From the beginning, I have been quite curious as to what kind of reception this game would have in France. So far the only indications I’ve had are that there hasn’t been much of anything: individual gamers have written in, a couple have prepared French-language player aids, but no lengthy reviews or commentary. This is the first example of the latter I have seen, so acknowledging that few will go and subscribe there I post this to show that there was at least one such.

No Fun Allowed review of Colonial Twilight

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Riccardo Fabris, whom I met in September at David Turczi’s when I visited him in London, has written a short and perceptive review of Colonial Twilight at his blog No Fun Allowed.

https://allownofun.blogspot.ca/2017/11/difficult-decisions-and-designing.html

Despite the title of his blog, he did have fun with the many and varied difficult decisions in playing this game!

Thanks Riccardo!

Space-Biff! reviews Colonial Twilight

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Image from GMT Games pre-order page, using French anti-war poster.

Daniel Thurot, aka Space-Biff!, reviews Colonial Twilight on his blog. (He also posted it on my birthday, which was yesterday, but I didn’t find out until today – but what a nice gift!)

https://spacebiff.com/2017/10/24/colonial-twilight/

He says, among many other things:

At its best, Colonial Twilight captures the high-level decision space of guerrillas and counterinsurgents alike, peeling back the layers to reveal the processes by which a war of independence is fought on both sides, and aptly illustrating the complexity that can arise when that war’s belligerents define “victory” by very different standards. Its take on war is brutal, bitter, and liable to leave both sides taking and retaking the same inches of ground many times over.

Ah yes. That’s good to hear….

He also wrote a very kind review of A Distant Plain, some time ago:

Space-Biff! reviews A Distant Plain

Many thanks!

“A perfect modeling of chaos and terror”

Over at The Players Aid blog, Grant Kleinheinz has written a superb, very long and detailed review of his impressions of Colonial Twilight. Go read it!

https://theplayersaid.com/2017/10/24/a-perfect-modeling-of-chaos-and-terror-a-review-of-colonial-twilight-the-french-algerian-war-1954-62-from-gmt-games

The money quote:

I was really impressed with the integration of the theme into the gameplay and the care given to make sure players actually feel the consequences of their actions. As I have played the game, I have paused many times to simply think about things, either my actions during the game, the moral turpitude of the two combatants (who is the good guy? Is there even a good guy?), the purpose and meaning of it all, etc. I truly believe that this is Brian’s masterpiece, his Mona Lisa, David or Sistine Chapel as it were. The skill with which he has weaved the bitter elements of the struggle together in a playable and enjoyable way is nothing short of triumphant. And any game that can make you think about things is a good thing. Bravo, I say! Bravo.

I am so pleased with this theme that I have seen in reviews of this game… that it made people, in the course of playing the game, think about what it was they were playing at, and what relation it and they bore to the grimy historical reality.  In that sense it is not a physical simulation but an emotional simulation of the conflict, something that doesn’t always emerge in wargames (though any good wargame will create lots of excitement and suspense for the players). And I’m proud that I have been able to foster these feelings, however ambivalent, in players.

Thank you so much Grant! (And it’s my birthday too!)

Review of Colonial Twilight in The Armchair General

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Today the website Armchair General published a review of Colonial Twilight by Ray Garbee.

http://www.armchairgeneral.com/the-hills-are-alive-with-the-sound-of-insurgency-in-gmt-games-colonial-twilight.htm

It’s one of the first full-length reviews of the game I’ve read… hopefully there will be more, but Ray was very impressed by what he had seen:

This is going to read as very odd. I’ve played the game several times. Of those, two games left me with a feeling of sadness bordering on ennui, without the aspects of boredom. Reflecting on why this happened, I think it’s measure of how well the game engages the players. The detailed nature of the event card descriptions drives home the horrors and moral compromises inherent to this conflict.

The card descriptions strip off the veneer of jingoistic patriotism and revolutionary fervor and give a glimpse into the brutal nature of the conflict. It’s not just wooden pieces being removed from a cardboard map. It’s assassination. It’s torture. It’s café bombings, governmental scandals and forced relocation of population. None of this is colorful flags flying in the wind as brave soldiers fight an honorable battle against an enemy whom is much like themselves.

It’s tough to feel good about conducting terror operations, regardless of your goals. It also is an excellent insight into the nature of this war. A great game should do more than provide a competitive experience, it should also teach and challenge the players assumptions. Colonial Twilight easily accomplishes both. It’s an engaging game. But it can also be a powerful teaching tool. The game teaches the geography of Algeria and it teaches the history of a pivotal event in twentieth century history. Like the experience of this war to it’s French participants, Colonial Twilight is a game that will leave its players with a lasting impression of the nature of modern conflict.

Armchair General Rating: 95%

I can’t add anything to that. I am very pleased that this game engaged him on this emotional level.

An old review of Summer Lightning

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In trolling around the Net, I discovered that in 2013 Alexey Beznin had posted a long and complimentary review of Summer Lightning in the Russian-language online game magazine “Stratagema”.

http://stratagema-magazine.ru/archives/1535

Here’s the URL, and if you hit Google Translate it does a pretty good job of word substitution. Short version is, he liked it and spent considerable time playing and studying it.

Alexey also posted a nice, photo-heavy AAR of a game to Boardgamegeek in 2013:

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1022483/summer-lightning-solo-aar

Spasibo, Alexey!