Review: We Are Coming, Nineveh

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At the blog “A Wargamer’s Needful Things”, a very complimentary and detailed review of We Are Coming Nineveh.

https://www.awargamersneedfulthings.co.uk/2023/05/we-are-coming-nineveh.html

2023-01 Urban Operations Planner Course

(all photos: Jayson Geroux)

I’ve spent the last week attending the third serial of the Urban Operations Planners Course, run by the 40th Infantry Division (California Army National Guard) and held at Joint Force Training Base Los Alamitos. Went very well!

A solid week of really great lectures and exercises on urban warfare, featuring the usual suspects like COL John Spencer of the Modern War Institute’s Urban Warfare Project, Stuart Lyle of the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Dr. Jacob Stoil of the School of Advanced Military Studies, Dr. Sahr Muhammedally, and MAJ Jayson Geroux of the Royal Canadian Regiment. These are some of the most knowledgeable people on kinetic urban conflict in the world. I met a lot of really interesting students as well – most were Americans but there were also students from other armies. Still no Canadians other than MAJ Geroux and myself.

There was more time for instruction and play of the the Quick Urban Integrated Combat Kriegsspiel or QUICK, designed by yours truly. We had an introductory period mid-week and spent the final day playing both basic and advanced versions, which I think was much better for the students to digest and get used to. Like last time there were a few former gamers in the class, but for some this was a completely new item.

https://www.facebook.com/reel/1952645965127587

(PAFF people made a short clip showing people playing the game… I don’t know how to link a Facebook reel. If I’d known the camera was on me, I might have used knife hands!)

It landed very very well; the students seemed really engaged by it. Also, a number of remote students played online at the same time, using a VASSAL module produced by Curt Pangracs at the Command General and Staff College.

(Of course people got to use their Military Pointing Skills!)

Fortunately I had a set of great facilitators including the heads of training for the Division, faculty from the Joint Special Operations University and US Army Command and General Staff College, and volunteer students and instructors of the course. It never would have worked without them!

The course had a bit more social media presence than last year and I was told “we were blowing up on Twitter” after some pictures of the game being played were posted to Twitter. Maybe I need to get on that medium too, before Elon scatters its ashes. Anyway, there was a surge of visits to the page here where I offer the game files to everyone for free print and play: The QUICK Page

However, be aware that like last year I will be making some changes and revisions to the game rules and charts due to feedback and comments from the students. Like all games, it’s a continual work in progress.

The standard grip-and-grin: me and BG Robert Wooldridge, Deputy Commander of 40ID, sponsor of the course and avid wargamer himself.

Urban Operations Planners Course 23-01: D-29

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Starting in one month’s time: the third serial of the Urban Operations Planner Course, sponsored by the 40th Infantry Division (CA AARNG).

As before, we’ll be playing the Quick Urban Integrated Combat Kriegsspiel on the last day; I will also be bringing along several smaller games on aspects of operations that I have been inspired to put together since last summer.

I’m VERY excited about going back and working with such a great group of professionals again.

Here’s hoping I don’t lose my voice like last time!

2022-02 Urban Operations Planner Course

I’m appearing at SDHist Con Online 2023

SDHist Con Online 2023 Spring Deployment is a one-day online event coming this Saturday, March 18.

I’ll be giving a talk on the games I’ve done on modern urban combat at the operational level, both irregular and regular flavours… from Tupamaro to EXURB (don’t know what that last one is? Tune in and find out!)

[EDITED TO ADD:

SDHistcon urban 17 Mar 23

SDHistcon urban 11 mar 23

HERE ARE MY SLIDES AND SCRIPT. ]

[FURTHER EDITED TO ADD: HERE IS THE VIDEO GOOD LORD THERE IS ALMOST TWO HOURS OF IT….]

Registration link: https://tabletop.events/conventions/sdhist-online-2023-spring-deployment

It’s $5.00 to attend but every event is free.

Link to the event, but be reminded there are dozens of other interesting panels and presentations too (just not at the same time as mine). https://tabletop.events/conventions/sdhist-online-2023-spring-deployment/schedule/73

Overall event schedule, searchable: https://tabletop.events/conventions/sdhist-online-2023-spring-deployment/schedule

Here are some I think would be interesting and intend to check out:

Talk on We Are Coming, Nineveh! out at last from NUTS! Publishing: https://tabletop.events/conventions/sdhist-online-2023-spring-deployment/schedule/58

Land and Freedom, an interesting new game on the Spanish Civil War (title of good Ken Loach movie too): https://tabletop.events/conventions/sdhist-online-2023-spring-deployment/schedule/42

ZOIN, or zombie-inspired COIN system game about an outbreak in the northeastern US I guess… played out on Tabletop Simulator: https://tabletop.events/conventions/sdhist-online-2023-spring-deployment/schedule/59

More COIN, a presentation by Yann de Villeneuve on A Fading Star, the newest GMT COIN system game (volume 15 in the series!) about insurgency in modern Somalia: https://tabletop.events/conventions/sdhist-online-2023-spring-deployment/schedule/6

The very clever Vesa Arponen presents Order & Opportunity, his new game on the making of the post-Cold War new world order: https://tabletop.events/conventions/sdhist-online-2023-spring-deployment/schedule/9

Okay, this looks neat: Chicago ’68, a “tactical asymmetric game” by Yoni Goldstein on the famous police riot: https://tabletop.events/conventions/sdhist-online-2023-spring-deployment/schedule/16

And in case you wanted to find out all the secrets, “How To Design a Board Game”, a table featuring Joe Schmidt (GMT Designer and Developer), Alex Knight (Designer of Land and Freedom: The Spanish Revolution and Civil War), and Sebastian Bae (Research Analyst, Wargame Designer, and Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University) where they spill the beans: https://tabletop.events/conventions/sdhist-online-2023-spring-deployment/schedule/52

And though the event is taking place in the Pacific time zone, there will be extended hours and events so our friends in the UK and EU don’t have to stay up late to attend!

I hope you will drop by and check it out.

Also, if you happen to live near Rhode Island, be advised that the weekend of August 18-20 will see SD Hist Con East, hosted by the US Naval War College in Newport RI – registration opens at the end of this SD Hist Con!
This promises to be a very special event: numbers are strictly limited by the host to 60 only – first come first served!
The lucky few will spend time touring some cool local historical sites from the American Revolution and WW2 (Battleships! Submarines!)
You can access the registration link at http://www.sdhist.com .

We Are Coming Nineveh: make your pre-orders now!

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The time has come for all good people to make their pre-orders for the English-language version of We Are Coming, Nineveh! from Nuts! Publishing.

This is a grand-tactical/operational scale block wargame on the battle for Mosul in 2017, designed by two former students of Rex Brynen’s and further developed by Rex and I. This one is a challenge to balance speed and casualties and time as Iraqi government forces hem ISIS fighters into a smaller and smaller perimeter in the Old City. The game has many event and capability cards that vary play, by accident or on purpose respectively.

Price 52 Euros (about $56 USD), reduced from regular price of 65 Euros. Not sure of shipping cost of course, but for once the European customers will get a break on this part of buying a wargame.

Deliveries begin in March 2023, so no long waits! The link below is for pre-orders and has some very good images of the high quality graphics to help you make up your mind about that part… as for the play and replay value, I definitely will vouch for that.

https://www.nutspublishing.com/eshop/nineveh-en

MWI podcast: urban irregular warfare

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I don’t have a lot of time to listen to podcasts but this is one from COL John Spencer at Modern Warfare Institute that is worth a listen.

Something to think about when listening to talk about “peer to peer combat”: it’s still going to be downright guerrillas-in-the-mist in BUAs of any size.

https://mwi.usma.edu/the-great-equalizer-irregular-warfare-in-the-city

New book: Understanding Urban Warfare (Spencer/ Collins)

Okay, I usually don’t shill things, even my own work (much) but this is an item worth looking into if you are interested in the topic as I am.

On sale as of today, a new book on directions in urban operations that hits all the high spots – complexity of the urban battlefield, the extreme strains on logistical and C3I systems, high rates of casualties, concerns for the civilian population and protection of infrastructure, etc. and illustrates it with recent examples of extended urban battles, from Mogadishu 1993 to Shusha 2020 (Second Nagorno-Karabakh War).

John Spencer is the Chair of Urban Warfare Studies at the Modern War Institute at West Point, co-director of the Urban Warfare Project, and host of the Urban Warfare Project podcast. He is also the Chair of Urban Warfare Studies with the Madison Policy Forum and a Colonel in the California State Guard with assignment to the 40th Infantry Division, California Army National Guard as the Director of Urban Warfare Training.

From DSTL: Stuart Lyle on the Urban Operations Planner Course

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(photo credit: CA Army National Guard Public Affairs)

https://www.gov.uk/government/case-studies/stuart-lyle-international-knowledge-exchange-on-urban-warfare

Stuart Lyle of the UK Government’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) writes about his experiences teaching and learning on the 40th Infantry Division Urban Operations Planner Course in July. I was really glad to meet Stuart and the lectures he gave were fantastic! He’s the one in the middle of the group, with the beard.

I also owe him a beer or three for helping me set up the game sets the night before we played the QUICK game, and for his introductory remarks before we started that set the context for the use of games in professional military education – he was far more articulate about it than I could ever be.

Urban Operations Planners Course: featured on the Urban Warfare Project podcast!

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COL John Spencer of the Urban Warfare Project, and one of the three principals of the recent Urban Operations Planners Course, has BG Wooldridge back on his program to discuss how the second iteration of the course went… what changes they made, what was dropped and added and why, and how the course generally achieved its aim quite well!

The whole podcast is great listening – this course was run really well, in my opinion, and that was obviously not without a lot of prior work and thought. The QUICK wargame as a concluding exercise gets some discussion about 34:40; both were impressed with how the wargame went over and COL Spencer terms me “the Yoda of wargaming” – but apparently not because I am short or pudgy or sometimes difficult to understand!

Next serial of the course is 14-20 May, 2023.

https://mwi.usma.edu/urban-warfare-project/urban-warfare-project-podcast/

Urban Operations Planner Course: story in the Digital Grizzly

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https://grizzly.shorthandstories.com/40thIDhostsweeklongUrbanOperationsPlannerCourse/index.html

A profusely illustrated story on the Urban Operations Planner Course in the Digital Grizzly, theĀ  online version of the California National Guard magazine. (photos: California National Guard Public Affairs)

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