Chile ’73: first review!

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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


Chile ’73 – Out Now!

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image: Tiny Battle Publishing


Like a column of trucks and jeeps arriving in the middle of the night, disgorging teams of infantry who fan out and begin arresting Cabinet ministers, my latest game Chile ’73 is upon us!

From Tiny Battle Publishing, in the familiar folio format, comes my latest game (though I had designed it some time ago) on “the other 9/11” … the coup d’etat of September 11, 1973 that overthrew Salvador Allende and established Augusto Pinochet as the leader of the military junta that would rule Chile for a generation.

The ad copy by TBP’s imaginative writers runs thusly:

Coup d’etats are a messy business. Far from carefully orchestrated military precision, when various factions of a populace overthrow a government (especially when they did so before the age of internet), operations are strung together in secrecy, with limited communication between even likeminded factions. Veteran game designer Brian Train’s brand new thriller of a game, Chile ’73, brings the secrecy, the suspense, and then the all-out battle of the coup to your game table. In the first portion of the game, two to four players plot secretly to carry out their own plans to gain or maintain rule of Chile, plotting and scrambling to position their forces to best advantage. Once the coup begins, the entire game shifts to open warfare. Loyalties are revealed, and players battle to the finish.

Civilian and paramilitary units face off against military ground forces, aided by tactical air units and transport aircraft. Do you have what it takes to elevate your cause to supremacy?

Chile ’73 includes:

44 Big, Beautiful, Glossy 1″ Unit Counters
43 Control Chits
18 Action Chits
One Colorful 18″ x 12″ Map
One 12-Page Full-Color Rulebook
One Handy Tactical Plastic Zippered Bag
Game Designer: Brian Train
Game Art: Jose Ramon Faura
Players: Two to Four
Duration: 45 to 90 Minutes
Complexity: Medium-Low

Anyway, here’s the important part: the link to buy!

(physical product, $19.99 – down from $22.99)

(Print and Play version, $6.99 – down from $8.99)

[ETA] The game now has a BGG entry, too:


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Close-up of map and counters. image: Tiny Battle Publishing

The map and counter art is by Jose Ramon Faura, who also did the art for my games Ukrainian Crisis and The Little War.  Definitely a cut above what I handed in to TBP.

Also, when I originally submitted the game it had 88 counters, to use half of the 176-counter 5/8″ countersheet die TBP often uses. But when the company people played it they thought it would benefit from their larger 1″ counter die. The way that die is laid out let them add seven extra units to the mix, so the game is playable by an even greater number of players – you really aren’t limited to four, technically there is no upper limit and the more the merrier (but there are still only 43 units to command).

This game uses a drastic revision and redevelopment of the system used in one of my first game designs, Power Play from 1991. I’ve always been interested in coups d’etat as a subject for wargames, and it’s a topic that has been touched on only rarely. See this post I wrote for Rex Brynen’s blog Paxsims on the genre:

My original inspiration for the original game was the 1978 film Power Play, featuring Peter O’Toole, David Hemmings and some familiar faces from Canadian movies and TV as officers plotting a coup in an unnamed country. Donald Pleasence fittingly played the head of the secret police.

Yeah, I should have picked a better title for my original game… but Chile ’73  is the game I said I was planning to design in the final paragraph of that Paxsims  article, featuring multiplayer play, hidden information, and hidden agendas… and now you can have it.

Available for pre-order: Yaah! #11, with Strike For Berlin

Yaah 11 cover

Coming in April!

Strike For Berlin is a revised version of my earlier game Freikorps. It has had the same level of revision to it as Konarmiya got to become Red Horde 1920: that is, a new interleaved sequence of play, new map and terrain analysis, new order of battle research, loads of new and improved optional rules and variants.

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Map and counter art by the very capable John Cooper, who also did Red Horde 1920 and Winter Thunder.

And yes, Strike for Berlin‘s map will join with Red Horde 1920‘s so that you can play one long hot summer of Central European war, from Kiev to Berlin. Essentially you start with a game of Red Horde 1920 and play until Warsaw falls, then you carry on with renewed proletarian vigour… to strike for Berlin!

Yaah! magazine #11 is now available for pre-order, at $35 ($3 off the normal price):

Copies of Red Horde 1920 are also now on sale at $29 instead of $35, so you can buy a copy now and practice while waiting for the sequel game.

This is my second appearance in Yaah! magazine… my first was in issue #2, which had my games Army of Shadows and Uprising, as well as the rules for Guerrilla Checkers and a short article by me on the value of abstract games (From YAAH! #2: Thinking About and Through Abstract Games)

By the way, if anyone is balking at the price of postage, downloadable copies of all the above are available through Wargame Vault, at usually less than half of the price of the physical product.

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.

Thanks Grant!

And remember:

Coming soon: Strike For Berlin!


Chunk of the playtest countersheet. Proper counters will be done by John Cooper, who also did Winter Thunder and Red Horde 1920.


Elongated blurry slice of the playtest map. Proper map will also be done by John Cooper.

Yaah! magazine #11, which I am told will probably ship in March 2018, will have my game Strike For Berlin in it. Opening blurb to the rules:

STRIKE FOR BERLIN is a simulation game of a hypothetical invasion of Germany by the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic’s (RSFSR) armed forces in 1920.  The game is for two players, one representing the irresistible forces of proletarian revolution (called the Red Player), and the other the (hopefully) impervious alliance of anti-Bolshevist forces that would have been arrayed to oppose such an invasion (called the White Player).

The game begins just after the Red Player’s forces have won the Battle for Warsaw in mid-August 1920.  Sensing that “over the corpse of White Poland lies the road to worldwide conflagration” (Tukhachevsky, leader of the Red forces, in a communique), the leadership of the RSFSR has decided to go for broke and seize Berlin, capital of a Germany in political and economic disarray.  However, it is already late summer and they cannot sustain a military effort of this size past the onset of bad weather at the end of October. The Red Player has just ten weeks to change the course of world history.

This is a complete makeover of 1998’s Freikorps, just as Red Horde 1920 was a complete makeover of Konarmiya. 176 counters, 17×22″ hex map. Same updated and revised system, and like Red Horde this one has lots of optional rules to vary the game, including: armoured trains; the Trotsky Train (making a reappearance); the Red Baltic Fleet; Entente units and the Royal Navy;  different deployments and structures for the Reichswehr; Danzig – what of Danzig?; and Red conscription on the march.

And of course, just as with their predecessors the two games can link, so you can play one long game from May to October of 1920, on a combined map that stretches from Kiev to Berlin.

I just handed in the files for this game, so no better samples or even kooky cover art to show… but when it’s time, you can pre-order your copy here. Price will likely be $40 but there’s usually a 10% pre-order discount, and the PnP version is generally less than $20.

Invasion Fantasies

WPC Cover 8sm

From The Walrus magazine, last month:

In an excerpt from War is Here: The Vietnam War and Canadian Literature (McGill-Queen’s University Press) the writer Robert McGill discusses various “US invades Canada” novels, in the context of the Vietnam War – so his examples all date from that war or after, beginning with 1968’s Killing Ground by Bruce Powe (writing as Ellis Portal).

The last two paragraphs are telling:

That said, the fact that books such as The Red Wing SingsUSNA and Faultline 49 continue to be written, along with the fact that they’re so similar to their Vietnam War-era predecessors, indicates that US invasion narratives have a certain ongoing appeal. For one thing, they allow for the Canada-US relationship to be dealt with in a straightforward, plot-driven way, and they construe the actions necessary for the preservation of Canadian sovereignty as no more difficult or complex than the execution of various military manoeuvres. Rather than mucking about with the complicated details of America’s cultural and economic dominance, invasion scenarios reduce the problem to a single, totalizing danger that jeopardizes the entire Canadian population, and not just in terms of people’s incomes or choice of TV programs but in terms of their very lives.

Likewise, stories of a Canadian military resistance to the US continue to facilitate fantasies of a united Canada, in contrast with the ongoing reality of regional, political, and ethnic differences in the country. And as the allusions to the Vietnam War in the contemporary novels suggest, resistance stories permit their writers to express a nostalgia for a time when a vociferous nationalist movement was led, in part, by authors who could count on a considerable audience to listen to them.

I think, with certain variations, the last paragraph could also be applied to the generous assortment of “America invaded” fantasies that have appeared over the years, beginning in 1890. Though the genre of English-language “invasion literature” did start with the English, with The Battle of Dorking in 1871.

Anyhow, just putting this here to bounce War Plan Crimson, and to make mention of Mark Wightman’s Dorking title, also available from Tiny Battle.


A couple of Red Horde 1920 videos

A guy on Youtube named “Bad Karma” has posted two videos of him inspecting and playing Red Horde 1920:

Unboxing, or rather unbagging.

And in this one he plays through one and a half semi-improvised turns, explaining all the ins and outs of the game’s phase and combat systems as he goes.

Thanks for filming your game adventures!