Tag Archives: COIN

The Tuesday Interview – COIN on Mars!

The designer of the home-brewed COIN-on-the-Red-planet game gives us the scoop on his personal design ~

Brant Guillory, 25 July 2017

The COIN system has taken a variety of odd directions – some modern, some not – many of which we’ve covered here at GrogHeads.  One place the COIN system had not yet gone was to space.  Until now.

A home-made COIN-based game, set on Mars, has started to capture some attention, and there’s some buzz about it on teh interwebz.  With that in mind, we tracked down the creator (wasn’t too hard, he’s on BGG!) and bugged him with some questions about his design.

First, the obvious question – this wasn’t anything official from GMT, was it?  You’re not just part of a, ahem… “guerrilla” marketing campaign, are you?

Not official from GMT in any way shape or form. When I first had the idea for the game I messaged Volko and asked his permission to use the game engine. He was 100% cool with that and said if I ever wanted to publish the game, that GMT would be the place to do it.

As it stands, there is no agreement, formal or informal, with GMT to publish the game.  Ideally, there will be. Otherwise this will end up being a free PnP game.



Vietnam ‘65 vs Afghanistan ‘11 – Two sides of the same COIN?

How do the two counterinsurgency games stack up? ~

Boggit, 10 June 2017

Developed by Every Single Soldier and published by Matrix/Slitherine

The opening screen summarising the game parameters. A player can tweak these in the options screen.

A couple of years ago I did an article on Every Single Soldier’s debut release – Vietnam ‘65. At the time I thought with a bit of tweaking and updating of the game engine they could make a decent Afghanistan game, which is exactly what they have done. So what is different and how does it play out?


GrogHeads Advanced Research on Projects Advisory #85

GARPA!  Special Weekend Edition ~

Invierno Cubano: Castro’s Counterinsurgency, 1959-1965 (GMT Games)
p500 $19, MSRP $28 (not there yet)

An expansion for Cuba Libre, Invierno Cubano expands Cuba Libre to focus on Castro’s initial time in charge, as he consolidated power through his own counterinsurgency.  Factions include Casto’s forces, the rich landowners threatened by the socialist revolution, the escapees to the US that want to strike back at the new government, and Batista’s holdouts hoping to take the country back.  It’s almost like a whole new game on the same map.  Wade ashore at GMT’s p500 site to get your order in!


GrogHeads Interviews Harold Buchanan (GMTs Liberty or Death: The American Insurrection)

Brant Guillory, 11 February 2015

Harold Buchanan gives us the low-down on the next COIN game from GMT, and turns the tables on our interviewer!

We had a chance to chat with Harold Buchanan, Designer of GMTs Liberty or Death: The American Insurrection. This one takes the COIN system to the American Revolution. This is Harold’s first game, but he is well supported by series creator Volko Ruhnke and series developer Mike Bertucelli. Örjan Ariander is designing the ‘bots’ that control the factions not represented by a player in the game. Harold is also an expert on the period and has a degree in Finance and Game Theory from MIT. He resides in San Diego, California where he lives with his wife of 22 years and has 3 kids in college, so he needs all the help we can give him with pre-orders.




GrogHeads: Do we really need another American Revolution Game?

Harold Buchanan: Are you kidding me? Absolutely! I love 1776 and played it a lot in my youth. I love the Area Status Chart and how British pieces in a Region reduce reinforcements to the Patriots! A game ahead of its time in incorporating regional politics. Then came We the People/Washington’s War with its breakthrough card driven mechanics. I enjoyed it as an elegantly playable innovation and really enjoyed timing the game end through the use of the “War Ends” cards. Plenty of room exists for new and different approaches in it.

Liberty or Death: The American Insurrection looks at the same war as so many other games have but from a different angle: it identifies the four factions critical to the conflict and plays off how they interacted politically, economically and militarily. The game is driven by a detailed set of historical events cards on the topic. Grab three friends and give the conflict a look from a new perspective. It may change the way you think about the American War of Independence.

Given the Patriots won the Super Bowl I am considering adding another card to the mix—the Pete Carroll event card. If you are the Seahawks and you are winning the game during a Winter Quarters Round you must first roll a die: 1-5 you do something stupid and the Patriots win and 6 you actually get to win.

More playtesting.

More playtesting.

GrogHeads Reviews Fire in the Lake

Michael Eckenfels, 25 October 2014

Michael gives GMT Games’ latest COIN offering a work-thru


It’s 2014, and when you take stock of history, it’s almost unbelievable how time has marched on. The strangest thing is that our Vietnam War vets are in their 60s and 70s these days, whereas back in the 80s when I was in high school, this was the age range of our World War II vets. As these soldiers fade into history through inexorable tick-tocking of time, it’s good to know that the subject of the Vietnam War remains in the modern psyche, whether through books or companies like GMT producing games such as this.

Games simulating the Vietnam War (and yes, I’ll call it a war – let’s not get into a debate over ‘war’ or ‘police action’ or ‘conflict’ – unless you want to take it to the GH forums, of course) are fairly rare, though if you enter “Vietnam” in the BGG website you’ll get 45 titles, about 12 of which have been done since 2010. This of course doesn’t include games that have to do with Vietnam, but don’t have ‘Vietnam’ in the title – like this very game.

Several are all about tactical combat, though, and few actually try to detail the entire war including combat, politics, and internal struggles between alliances. When you buy Fire in the Lake, you’re going to get a complete package that includes all of this. If you’re only interested in the military aspects of the Vietnam War, you’re going to miss out on some interesting game play. First, let’s take a look at what comes in the box.