The Player’s Aid: Best 3 Games with… Designer Brian Train!

 

Oh my. I really did not expect this.

Grant Kleinheinz has written a really nice post about three of my designs he’s had the most fun with:

  • Winter Thunder
  • Binh Dinh ’69
  • Colonial Twilight

I’m touched by this, and happy that he’s enjoyed my work enough to write such nice things about it. Thank you Grant!

Go have a look….

https://theplayersaid.com/2018/01/05/best-3-games-with-designer-brian-train/

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WargameHQ: Why Model Insurgencies?

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C3i banner by Rodger MacGowan

Over at the WargameHQ blog, the editor (I cannot find his name, there or on Boardgamegeek) posts a short piece about modern insurgencies, counterinsurgency theory (namely Trinquier, and a good reading of Kilcullen’s The Accidental Guerrilla) and the COIN system games that model them.

https://wargamehq.com/why-model-insurgencies/

Coming soon: Strike For Berlin!

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

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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.

https://flyingpiggames.com/t/yaah-magazine

An unexpected but very welcome comparison

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Over on Boardgamegeek.com I posted a link to the review on Armchair General (Review of Colonial Twilight in The Armchair General). In a reply to the ensuing thread, user Paul Heron wrote:

I feel I ought to point out that, while the tone of CT is certainly serious, it thankfully isn’t sanctimonious, earnest or po-faced.

In fact, a refreshing element of this game for me has been the flashes of humour in there (also to be found in some of Brian’s other designs, Ukrainian Crisis for one). For instance, the Jean Paul Sartre card with its tagline, ‘Either way, he and Albert Camus are no longer friends.’

While some may argue that humour is inappropriate in a wargame, unless the game as the whole is intended as satire (War on Terror), my view is that humour has always been a part of war, and not only as a ‘defense mechanism’ employed by soldiers and civilians.

Rather, humour/absurdity is in an odd way one of the intrinsic elements of war (and the literature of war seems to me to confirm this), part of its troubling strangeness, what novelist J.G. Ballard called the ‘casual surrealism of war’ (which probably more often is simply weird and jarring, rather than blackly humourous).

As the son of British ex-pats living in Shanghai when the Pacific War began, Ballard spent his early teens in a Japanese internment camp. In particular his experience, in the dog days of the war, of leaving the camp and exploring the devastated and largely abandoned city, seems to have left an especially vivid impression on him, informing all his subsequent writing (only a small portion of which – his 1984 novel Empire of the Sun for instance – is explicitly about war).

Incidentally, like the jokes that Brian sneaks into his games, much of Ballard’s writing is slyly humourous – ‘guerrilla humour’ as it were, rather than the more obvious sort that bludgeons you with massive frontal assaults (War on Terror again springs to mind).

Those who know me well, know that J.G. Ballard is one of my absolute favourite writers. This guy gets me!

(oh man, can this day get any better?)

 

Red Horde 1920: interview at The Players Aid blog

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Grant Kleinheinz of The Players Aid blog interviewed me about Red Horde 1920. Pictures, and a silly anecdote too!

https://theplayersaid.com/2017/08/21/interview-with-brian-train-designer-of-red-horde-1920-from-tiny-battle-publishing

Meanwhile, Mark Walker liked the idea of a Freikorps revised to the same standard and I have spent the last week bashing that one into shape. I tested it on the weekend with Akito, and he found it interesting. It will be quite a bit different from the earlier version, yet more of the same.

 

YPPA! YPPA! Red Horde 1920 is out now!

 

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Tiny Battle Publishing has released Red Horde 1920, my drastic reworking of Konarmiya, my game from 10 years ago on the Russo-Polish War. New rules, new order of battle, new map, new counters – Papa’s got a brand new bag!

Special introductory price: $24.00, six bucks off the regular price of $30.00!

They also usually make a Print and Play version available for about $12.00, so you can save on postage by supplying your own paper.

https://tinybattlepublishing.com/products/red-horde-1920

The gates of Warsaw await you…

 

 

Interview on Travis Hill’s Low Player Count podcast

Travis Hill interviewed me recently for his podcast “Low Player Count”: we talked mostly about Colonial Twilight, but a number of other semi-rants crept in there too….

http://hwcdn.libsyn.com/p/d/6/6/d66213cf0db9b71d/Travis_Gets_Heavy_-_Brian_Train_Interview.mp3?c_id=15861033&expiration=1500241198&hwt=518aafe9e446255dff4f17cfa120b629