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!

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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/

Back From San Diego

Well, it was a pretty good conference!

This time, people seemed to have a slightly better idea of what I was talking about… here are my slides and text:

NPG body 8 apr (text)

News Paper Games 6 apr (slides)

I went to a number of interesting presentations too. There seemed to be not as many as the conference in Seattle last year, generally. This might be due to the time of year – someone on the panel I presented with came in the day before, and left the day after to get back to his classes – or due to geographical distances.

The game night was fun, and even catered (though I had already had a big dinner). I taught four people how to play Guerrilla Checkers, and sent them off with copies of their own.

We had pretty good weather too, a few degrees warmer than here but the sunlight was much more direct. Unfortunately, no time for touristy things except that we did get to the USS Midway museum just up the road from the hotel, and clambered around in the guts of an aircraft carrier for three hours. It was fun, I had never been in such a large ship, and the capper was the talking robot in the Captain’s cabin, in the likeness of Captain Larry Ernst, the last Captain of the Midway before it was finally decommissioned in 1991. Spooky video above.

I do regret not being able to get to Balboa Park, where all the museums are. The San Diego Museum of Man had an exhibit on the history of cannibalism, and just a few hundred yards away was the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theatre! Two of my favourite topics… one would weep bitter tears at missing the combination of the two. Anyway, an excuse to go back to San Diego one day. (Image: the All Puppet Players, of Phoenix AZ)

How To Kill A Rational Peasant

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This post is half-placeholder, and half-recommendation to one and all concerning “How to Kill A Rational Peasant”: a very good film and article made in 2012 by Adam Curtis, on the history and development of counterinsurgency (COIN) doctrine and its misapplications and perversions.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/adamcurtis/entries/93073500-9459-3bbb-a3e5-cde7a1cc2559

It’s necessary to do this because simply Googling the title of the film leads you to an old URL for the post which is no longer functioning.

So many great references… he leaps and bounds from the story of Jack Idema, a noted fake “security expert”, to David Galula to the film Battle of Algiers to the OAS to The Ugly American to the RAND Corporation’s cost-benefit theories of counterinsurgency, which approach is summarized in this book:

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And thence to the failure in Vietnam, the Phoenix Program, CORDS and finally to the 2007 “Surge” in Iraq under General David Petraeus, equipped as he was with FM 3-24 which was in turn inspired by Galula’s theories.

Wargamers will be tickled to note that Curtis introduces one of the film clips thus:

I have also put at the front of the film a wonderful couple of minutes of two civilian “advisers” in Vietnam playing a board game called “Insurgency”. It had been designed by one of the team to express and test out their theories. It sets the weird context for the even stranger reality that then follows.

I don’t know how to embed the clip here, it’s about 2/3 of the way down the post and the initial image is of a bunch of flowers. Anyway, the two analysts are playing what appears to be an early version of the game Insurgency, published by Battleline in 1979, and one of them must be Blake Smith, whose debrief on his time with the AID Program in Vietnam has been published here: http://hdl.handle.net/10524/1110

Anyway, I highly recommend this… and now I don’t have to scramble around every time to point someone to it.