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.

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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!

The Player’s Aid: review of Winter Thunder

My comments:

Grant and Alex from The Players Aid blog give their (very favourable) impressions of Winter Thunder.

My comments:

1:16 “Dunnigan Ceramaceous Randomizer” = the legendary clean, dry coffee cup.

2:40 I have also used this system in Summer Lightning: The Invasion of Poland 1939 and Balkan Gamble. It was originally inspired by a variant for Blitzkrieg by Jim Stahler from over 30 years ago. Very glad you find it interesting!

8:30 ??? The only HQ command limitation is that the British 30 Corps HQ cannot command American units (rule 9.6). (And I wanted hot pink SS, but got purple instead…)

9:10 I thought 6 divisions was quite a large span for a corps to coordinate, 3 or 4 might have been more realistic. It was also kind of an abstraction on my part to let a division be under command by one corps in one turn, and another corps on the following turn, but I think in practice it fell out that most corps ended up commanding 3-4 divisions, and assumed responsibility for certain sections of front line or Schwerpunkten using those same units, so it worked out.

11:40 Yes, another abstraction but about as far as I wanted to go down the whole puzzle of moving supply and reinforcements forward through enemy air superiority.

12:20 Not just engineer units but also many detached battalion-size task forces manning roadblocks, which in many Bulge games get their own little counters and wads of fiddly rules.

15:00 Exploitation movement gets more use in Summer Lightning: The Invasion of Poland 1939 due to the more open terrain and greater dispersion of forces. The Ardennes is quite closed (whence the Traffic Control rule, 6.11).

17:00 I once joked that for any game designer to be taken seriously, he had to do a Bulge game, and this one was mine. The game originally came out of a deal that the Microgame Design Group was trying to hatch with a Spanish magazine, where they wanted to put wargames in their magazine but they only wanted the “Big 5” battles (Waterloo, Gettysburg, Stalingrad, Bulge and something else I forgot – maybe Arnhem). The deal did not go through but we did get a couple of games done, and which were later published by other companies. Hjalmar Gerber did a Stalingrad game that was later published by Turning Point Simulations, which coincidentally the Players Aid guys reviewed just a few months ago:

19:30 Now that you guys know the system, you could perhaps play the standard length game, where the Allies get to develop their counteroffensive fully – this game is also a few days longer than other Bulge games, to allow this.

20:30 The solitaire system is adapted from the one that Lock n Load wanted me to put in Summer Lightning: The Invasion of Poland 1939.

22:15 And you should let Grant play the Germans next time too, so he feels better!

Thanks so much guys and I am glad you enjoyed the game.

Brian

Some more videos from The Players Aid (unboxing this time)

I’ve been finding other Youtube videos that the guys at The Players Aid blog have been making of my work. These are unboxing videos, where the maker of the video opens the box or bag and talks about what they find inside – necessarily, mainly first impressions of rules, map and counters.

First, Winter Thunder from Tiny Battle Publishing.

And Red Horde, a more recent release from TBP.

Next, The Scheldt Campaign from Hollandspiele.

And finally, the unboxing video to Colonial Twilight, to go with their longer video on their impressions of play.

Thanks so much for doing these Grant!

 

Video reviews of Colonial Twilight

Several video reviews of Colonial Twilight have popped up on Youtube in the last few weeks. All of them have been quite positive!

An unboxing video by the colourful Adam Koebel.

Half an hour with the affable guys from The Player’s Aid blog – Grant Kleinheinz (on the left) has interviewed me many times about this and other games.

A long review by the legendary Marco Arnaudo! If Marco reviews one of your games, you know that you have arrived. He really likes it, too.

A review by “NapoleonsTriumph”, who lives in New Zealand. His review is from the POV of a solo player so it’s largely about the ‘bot, but he also posted other and longer videos of his thoughts as he learned the game.

Kevin Sharp plays Ukrainian Crisis, and likes it

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Which about says it all, I suppose!

Pop over to his bigboardgaming.com site, and see his account of a complete and suspenseful game. Pictures, too!

http://bigboardgaming.com/ukrainian-crisis/

Some time earlier he also made a short video of his initial impressions:

http://bigboardgaming.com/ukraine-crisis-post-play-notes/

Review of Ukrainian Crisis and The Little War at Boardgamegeek!

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Roger Leroux, He of the Hat, has posted a very nice review of the Hollandspiele two-fer edition of these games at Boardgamegeek.com:

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1806601/rogers-reviews-orange-crush-and-bag-chips

Some time ago, Roger also published an intelligent review of Guerrilla Checkers as well:

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1780174/rogers-reviews-delightful-hybrid-two-great-classic

Thanks Roger, you are very kind!