News from GMT

Today saw the monthly GMT Games update newsletter, with tidings of developments on all game projects and – most keenly anticipated by all – announcements of new items up for P500.

https://mailchi.mp/de4993df6d3b/march-23-update-from-gmt-new-p500s-final-art-and-rules-production-update-gmtone-and-developer-updates-and-more?e=3e213be610

Two of these are notable:

1032

A new four-pack of games on Latin American insurgencies by Stephen Rangazas, using a slightly encomplexified iteration of the cut-to-its-core COIN system he used in the first four-pack, The British Way. This one has games on the Tupamaros (1968), El Salvador (1979), Nicaragua (1979) and Shining Path (1980). You can play the El Salvador and Nicaragua games simultaneously side-by-side in the “Resisting Reagan” scenario.

More here: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-1032-the-guerrilla-generation.aspx

1033

This one is a continental-scale game on the European revolutions of 1848, using a an area control system that was featured in 1989: Dawn of Freedom and Twilight Struggle, two perennial GMT best sellers. The designer is Jules Felisaz, whose name I do not recognize and does not show up on Boardgamegeek so this must be his first published design.

More here: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-1033-1848-the-springtime-of-nations.aspx

I designed a game on the Tupamaros in 1995, a game on the Shining Path in 1996, and a continental scale 1848-revolutions game in 1997. As far as I could tell these were the first designs on these conflicts.

So of course I am excited to see the second designs on all these conflicts coming out, over 25 years later!

Yes, I signed up for these, certainly….

Wargame Developments has a new website!

Wargame Developments, my favourite group of British madmen, has launched a new and very tidy website, thanks to member David Burden.

History, important gaming resources (including the WD Handbook), rules sets, and the nine days’ wonder journal The NUGGET (well, I call  it that because it comes out nine times a year, but it is really good).

Some extremely clever and inventive people belong to this group; one day I want to travel to their annual conference and meet them all.

Check it out!

https://wargamedevelopments.org/

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 .

Panel: Colonialism in Boardgames, 26 Feb 2023

aff10

Exciting news, everybody!

This Sunday at 2000 UTC, I will be on a panel on Fred Serval’s Homo Ludens Youtube channel considering depictions of colonialism in boardgames – with a lineup of people that I never, ever expected I would share a stage with.

Description of topic and participants from Fred’s announcement:

“We will focus on the evolution of colonialism’s depiction in our games, examine ethical and historical considerations of this depiction and discuss a possible way forward for the hobby.”

The panel:
Mary Flanagan: Pioneer in the field of game research.
Jason “ShelfStories” Perez: Content creator and cultural advisor for board game publishers.
Brian Train: Legendary designer of weird wargames.
Cole Wehrle: boardgame mogul.

These are brilliant people…. accomplished academics and thoughtful designers… my Imposter Syndrome is surging so much right now.

Anyway, tune in, and see if I can keep my finger out of my nose while the big kids talk.

[Edit: I think it went quite well, even if I was not at my most articulate.]

New for 2023: Palace Coup!

PalCoup cover

Now available for download and print-and-play from Wargame Vault: PALACE COUP, a simple and fast game on the modern coup d’etat.

This game was inspired by two works: Coup d’etat, a Practical Handbook published by Edward Luttwak in 1968, which in turn inspired the making of the movie Power Play in 1978. David Hemmings and Peter O’ Toole played two Army officers plotting a coup in an imaginary country, Donald Pleasence fittingly played the head of the secret police, and Barry Morse played a civilian academic who advises the military. This game is a thorough revision of a game I designed in 1991 called, unoriginally, Power Play. In homage to the movie I have supplied an alternative set of Leader counters with images of these actors, and the cover sheet is a still image from the movie.

Same price as all BTR Games products in this line: $8.00 US funds!

https://www.wargamevault.com/product/421823/Palace-Coup

Ad copy:

Historically in the Third World, coups have changed more governments than elections since World War II. Most coups involve using part of the armed forces of a country to seize power from a ruler, though there is usually little overt conflict – the coup d’etat is generally a much less bloody way of seizing power than its distant cousin, the popular revolution.

In the game, two or more players act as the leaders of political or professional factions in a fictional country. Some players will be plotting, individually or severally, to effect a change in the existing government; they will be opposed by others who wish things to remain as they are.

The game is played in two phases: the Pre-coup Phase where players attempt to secure support for their faction and thwart the others; and the Coup Phase where both pro-government loyalist and rebel sides face off in direct combat.

Each game contains the following: one set of 40 counters, one Tactical Map, and these rules. You will also need one six-sided die, some bits of scrap paper for recording secret information, and one deck of ordinary playing cards (including Jokers).

Power Play was available only briefly from a DTP publisher, with lackluster components and limp promotion, over 20 years ago. I hope you will give this new and much improved BTR Games version a try!

[ETA: a Boardgamegeek entry for this game was approved with suspicious speed: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/377788/palace-coup ]

La jeu de la guerre: now available for iOS and MacOS

A digital version of Guy Debord’s Meisterwerk (at least, the one he spent the most time and wine on) is now available on the App Store.

http://r-s-g.org/kriegspiel/index.php

From the site FAQ:

Is the game free?
Yes, the game is free. There are no in-app purchases. No advertisements. No Patreon. No GoFundMe. No monetization of player data. There is literally no possible way to take your money.

What are the system requirements?
iOS system requirements: Version 15.0
macOS requirements: Version 12.0 (“Monterey”)

Will the game be released for Android, Windows, or another OS?
The game is supported on two platforms (macOS and iOS). There are no plans to port the game to other operating systems.

Do I need a log in to play?
The game uses Apple’s Game Center for networked play. You may log in to Game Center using an Apple ID. If you are not logged in to Game Center you may still play in Practice or Tabletop mode.

How can I learn more about Guy Debord and the history of the game?
The “About” page contains a brief overview. For a deeper reflection on the history of the game, see section five on “Crystalline War” in Alexander R. Galloway’s book Uncomputable: Play and Politics in the Long Digital Age.

[Edited to add:]

If you don’t have a Mac or an iDevice, there is now a Web version of the game available on Freeboardgames.org, that you can play via your browser.

https://www.freeboardgames.org/en/play/kriegspiel

[/edit]

Some more about Debord and the game here, in this Youtube video of an interview with the app designer Alexander Galloway:

Two Interviews: The British Way, La Jeu de la Guerre

Coming soon: interview with Radio War Nerd

I spent a very pleasant time today talking about my game designs with Mark Ames and Gary Brecher, who run the Radio War Nerd podcast. It should be up and available soon!

Watch this space….

[ETA 26 Sep] Here it is!

https://www.patreon.com/posts/radio-war-nerd-72457682

You’ll have to join the Patreon to hear it, they might unlock it later and make it free.

Meanwhile,

Patreon page that supports the podcast: https://www.patreon.com/radiowarnerd

Facebook page that supports the chatter (also, a lot of interesting posts and questions on their own, it’s quite an eclectic crowd) https://www.facebook.com/people/Gary-Brecher/100009407541064

Twitter, for those who tweet https://twitter.com/TheWarNerd

Podcast: I’ve been Diced! ep 78

I’ve Been Diced! episode 78: Brian Train on newsgames, little wars, and simulation

Not long ago Tom Grant had an interview with me for his long-running podcast I’ve Been Diced!

Have a listen! I duck out about 1 hour 23 min, and Tom carries on and amplifies some of the points we talked about, particularly games vs. simulations, far more articulately than I’ve ever been able to. He even makes a Borges reference!

This is episode 78; I was on the podcast once before, back in 2011 for episode 20 where we talked about revolutionary and asymmetrical warfare. Here we are ten years later, still talking about irregular wars and simulating them, though I have more titles (and a new fixation, analog newsgames) under my belt.

I’ve Been Diced! episode 20: Brian Train on wargames about revolutionary and asymmetric warfare

Brief Border Wars: Volume II now available for pre-order!

I did a Compass Games broadcast with John Kranz tonight.

Big announcement: volume II of Brief Border Wars is now available for pre-order from Compass Games!

Get it now for the “pay later” price of $54.00!

I talk about the game for about 30 minutes on the video above, and the ad copy at the link below will tell you more and show you the maps, counters and cover artwork, very ably done by Knut Grunitz.

Brief Border Wars 2 (Pay Later)

The four games in Volume II are:

1913: Second Balkan War
The division of lands given up by the Ottoman Empire at the end of the First Balkan War was soon the subject of squabbles between the allied nations that had defeated the Empire. Bulgaria decided to grab as much of this territory as it could by a surprise attack on June 30, 1913 against Serbia and Greece. The offensive by their more powerful army soon petered out due to poor logistical depth and bad coordination, then in mid-July Romanian and Ottoman forces crossed Bulgaria’s borders. This made Bulgaria sue for peace but if the Bulgarian player has seized enough territory and made significant diplomatic assurances, they will have a better position in the negotiations.

1919: The Seven-Day War
The Duchy of Teschen (Cieszyn in Polish) was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the end of the war. The two new countries of Czechoslovakia and Poland both laid claim to the territory on historic and ethnic grounds; more urgently, both countries desperately needed the land because of its large coal deposits and valuable mines, as well as the important iron and steel works at Trinec. On January 23, 1919, Czechoslovakia invaded to seize control of as much of the region as they could to stop Poland’s efforts to claim sovereignty over it. After seven days of fighting, the Entente nations forced a ceasefire and the two antagonists signed an agreement establishing a border at the Olza River, dividing the city of Cieszyn.

1939: The Nomonhan Incident
Also called the Battle of Khalkin Gol, this border clash between Japanese and Soviet forces in a remote part of the Mongolian grasslands had an impact on the development of the Second World War in the Pacific all out of proportion to the numbers involved. The game covers the early to mid-July 1939 period, the only time frame in which the Japanese Army could have succeeded in overpowering the local Soviet forces and establishing their claim to the zone between the Soviet claimed boundary and the Halha River. The attack provoked extensive reinforcements for the Soviet 57th Corps and their counteroffensive in August under the command of General Georgi Zhukov discouraged the Japanese Empire from contemplating further attacks on Mongolia or the USSR.

1940: The Italo-Greek War
This game covers the first two months of the Italian invasion of Greece in the fall and winter of 1940. Hardly anything went right for the Italians; chaotic logistics and poor communication nullified their great advantage in men and machines and their offensive was halted and then thrown back into Albania by the determined Greek forces. Could you have done better than Mussolini?

bbw2-gamebox-top-062022

Consim Game Jam #2: 19-21 August 2022

NOF18juncloseup

(everything starts with a prototype)

http://consimgamejam.com/

Consim Game Jam is a so-far-annual event where small groups of people from all over the world get together to create a wargame prototype, from start to finish, in 72 hours!

The last one was in October 2021 and the given theme was “Recycle an existing COIN game”. That is, using the physical components of a published GMT COIN system game, create a new design. This event shook 15 submissions out of the Idea Tree, and they are impressive in their variety and imagination.

http://consimgamejam.com/edition-1-submissions/

Now, the next one is scheduled for the weekend of August 19-21, 2022!

Theme hasn’t been announced yet, as far as I can find.

Go to the link at the top of the post, and/or register at this link to get further details.

http://consimgamejam.com/register/

I won’t be in this one, but I cannot wait to hear the theme and see what comes of this second exercise.