SDHistCon 2021: Spring Deployment!

Clio provides a wonderful summary of the experience at the SD Hist Con.

Clio's Board Games

I’ve always (well, at least since 2018) dreamed of going to the San Diego Historical Games Convention (SDHistCon). Now as it happens, San Diego is about 10,000 kilometers away from where I live, so just casually stepping by was never an option. As current events dictate it, the con was transformed into an online one last November – and that opened up opportunities for me. I missed the first online SDHistCon in November, though – I’d found out it was happening, and just hours later when I wanted to buy my ticket, they were all sold out already. So, I was ever more excited when I got the badge for the May 21-23 one!

Many thanks to Harold Buchanan and his team of enthusiastic volunteers for making this happen! It was great to chat with fellow gamers, some of whom I’d known from Twitter, see designers showcase their old and…

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Five Packs – 25 Harold on Games podcasts daily for the discriminating quarantine – and growing!


#1 Mark Herman

#2 Trevor Just

#3 Jason Carr

#4 Bruce Geryk

#5 Jason Matthews

#6 Uwe Eickert

#7 Kimber VanRy

#8 John Butterfield

#9 Liz Davidson

#10 David Thompson

#11 Volko Ruhnke

#12 Tuesday John Sy from the Philippines

#13 Wednesday Morgane Gouyon-Rety from Canada

#14 Thursday Vez Arponen from Germany

#15 Friday Brian Train from Canada

#16 Joel Toppen

#17 Rob Factor

#18 Tom Russel

#19  Mark Miklos

#20 Volko Ruhnke and Morgane Gouyon-Rety

#21 Brant Guillory

#22 Fred Serval from Denmark although he would rather be in France

#23 James Pei master of For the People

#24 Riccardo Masini from Italy

#25 The Players Aid Grant and Alexander

Podcast #30 Douglas Sun discusses his D&D5E/Pathfinder modules, Places by the Way NOTES


Sound Cloud Link: Harold on Games podcast #30 with Doug Sun

iTunes Link: Harold on Games podcast #30 with Doug Sun

Stitcher Link: Harold on Games podcast #29 with Rob North


Places by the Way #9 The Paladin Queen’s Forest (for D&D 5E and Pathfinder) on Kickstarter

Ramen Sandwich Website

Ramen Sandwich on Twitter

Ramen Sandwich Press on Facebook

Harold Buchanan on YouTube

Harold Buchanan on Twitter @HBuchanan2

Twitter accounts for War Game Companies, sorted by followers

Join the Harold on Games group on Facebook

Join the Harold on Games guild on Board Game Geek

Wargamers INsurgency

Wargamers INsurgency on Facebook


Podcast #29 Rob North discusses his game store Pair A Dice Games NOTES


Sound Cloud Link: Harold on Games podcast #29 with Rob North

iTunes Link: Harold on Games podcast #29 with Rob North

Stitcher Link: Harold on Games podcast #29 with Rob North



Pair A Dice Games on Facebook

Harold Buchanan on YouTube

Harold Buchanan on Twitter @HBuchanan2

Twitter accounts for War Game Companies, sorted by followers

Join the Harold on Games group on Facebook

Join the Harold on Games guild on Board Game Geek

Wargamers INsurgency

Wargamers INsurgency on Facebook


A List of Underfollowed Wargame Designers on Twitter


I use Twitter to follow others in the gaming hobby and to keep a finger on the pulse.  Wargame designers are always interesting to me and provide me with ideas and motivation. Thinking about that holistically I wondered, who are we all missing?  Below is my list of Wargame Designers on Twitter with 500 followers or less and their associated games. Although I generally disqualify wargame designers who mistakenly think we follow them for their political views, here I will let you sort them out while giving a warning or two.  Caveat emptor.

As always, let me know what I am missing.

In no particular order and with a game for reference:

@JasonDCMatthews Jason Matthews – Twilight Struggle
@GameChangerII Trevor Bender – Labyrinth: The Awakening, 2010 – ?
@VPJArponen VPJ Arponen – All Bridges burning
@djackthompson David Thompson – Undaunted Normandy
B@trevormbenjamin Trevor Benjamin – Undaunted Normandy
@Toadkillerdog Mitchell Land – Next War: Korea
@KimKanger Kim Kanger – Dien Bien Phu: The Final Gamble
@KenTee124 Ken Tee – People Power
@bc_mansfield Bruce Mansfield – Gandhi
@PhotoAvalanche Kurt Keckley – Fields of Despair: France 1914-1918
@gutterowl Erin Lee Escobedo – Meltwater: A Game of Tactical Starvation
@djberg96 Daniel Berger – Hands in the Sea
@DouglasBush Douglas Bush – Red Storm: The Air War Over Central Germany, 1987
@rdeleskie Robert Deledkie – Wars of Marcus Aurelius: Rome 170-180CE
@tcgamer Terry Coleman – Traveller Ascension: Imperial Warrant
@SemperVictor Frédéric Bey – Jours de Gloire: Battle of Issy, 1815
@tdraicer Ted Raicer *POLITICS WARNING* – Paths of Glory
@Hobiecat18 Mike Bertucelli – Tank Duel
@WriteGameRead Maurice Suckling – Freeman’s Farm 1777
@MatthiasCramer1  Matthias Cramer – Watergate
@GregoryMSmith5 Gregory M Smith – The Hunters: German U-Boats at War, 1939-43
@Seado31 Jose Antonio Rivero – Granada: Last Stand of the Moors – 1482-1492
@bublublock Dan Bullock – No Motherland Without: North Korea in Crisis and Cold War
@LumacaGames Lumaca Games – Caccia a Tito Drvar 1944
@josephnschmidt Joe Schmidt – Guerrillas of the Peninsular War
@ivan_prat Ivan Prat – 1714: The Case of the Catalans
@VRdesigns Victor Reijkersz – Decisive Campaigns: Case Blue
@Seado3 Iván Cáceres – Santa Cruz 1797


Wargame Oriented Podcasts Ranked by iTunes Ratings

I pulled the data from iTunes. Includes Board Wargames and Board Wargame related podcasts.  Sure some aren’t publishing any more or frequently but if they are available, I ranked them.  Let me know what I missed.

Sort is highest ranking first and number of rankings second. Start the new year by sharing the love and rating your favorite pod cast!

5.0 – History on the Table – 7 Ratings

5.0 – the Mary and Tom Show – 5 Ratings

5.0 – “Mentioned In Dispatches” with the Armchair Dragoons – 4 Ratings

5.0 – Seven Questions – 2 Ratings

4.9 – Harold on Games – 69 Ratings

4.9 – The 2 Half-Squads – 54 Ratings

4.9 – Rally in the Valley – 37 Ratings

4.9 – Guns Dice and Butter – 29 Ratings

4.9 – Wild Weasel – 27 Ratings

4.9 – Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy – 14 Ratings

4.8 – Advance After Combat – 50 Ratings

4.8 – The Veteran Gamer – 17 Ratings

4.8 – I’ve Been Diced – 12 Ratings

4.8 – Chance of Gaming – 6 Ratings

4.7 – Low Player Count – 48 Ratings

4.6 – Wargames to Go – 25 Ratings

4.6 – Wargaming Recon – 18 Ratings

4.4 – 1 Player Podcast – 23 Ratings














11 Most Influential Wargames of the Last Decade

These are the wargames published during the last 10 years that left a mark on me. Vitamin E hasn’t removed the mark. They made me think about wargames differently and challenged my own design direction.

Innovation can come from many directions. It can be the subject of the game or the approach to the subject. It can be the complexity or more importantly the simplification. It can be systems and processes or it can be the perspective of the players.

I am particularly excited about the innovations that make wargames more accessible and easier to play. This often means stepping up to the innovations in non wargames – learning from the progression of the euro game world.

What you find here is my list.  I look forward to hearing about yours.

In chronological order

Hearts and Minds: Vietnam 1965-1975 2010 – Worthington Games

Card driven Vietnam in 3 hours – and they said it couldn’t be done.  Hard to find a better Vietnam package optimized on the fun to time ratio.  It will hit the table frequently and make you think about what else can we design for more fun and less time.

A Few Acres of Snow 2011 – Treefrog Games

Brilliant early application of deck building to the French and Indian War. Remember that Martin Wallace is a wargamer from way back. He has many wargame titles under his belt (Try Gettysburg2010 or Waterloo2009 if you can find them!) Each side works to connect locations through a chain of cards that are the basic construct of a players’ deck. Both the French and British have a few cards they can commonly draft (and can create some interesting arms races) but most additive cards are unique to the side. In the end, a wonderful flexible system that provides challenges and the need to watch your opponent. Brilliant.

I interviewed Martin Wallace here and we discuss wargames and his work Lincoln.

Andean Abyss 2012 – GMT Games

The game that moved more gamers away from counters than any other. Volko provided an interesting take on the insurgency with 4 players and highly asymmetric (a word that is elsewhere overused!) Crazy innovative initiative system where all players see the cards (card driven with no hands?!?!) and turn order shifts based on a matrix of prior actions.  The multiplayer game changed my world and the solo  systems changed many others. Volko’s good work and his nurturing personality has hatched many a “COIN” game through fans and friends.  I’ve been down that path and would love to do it again.  The innovation of of the Andean Abyss continues to pay dividends.

I interviewed Volko Ruhnke here and we discuss wargames and his work Nevsky.

The Guns of Gettysburg 2013 – Mercury Games

Bowen Simmons is the Elon Musk of Wargames.  I am continually blown away by her thought process and her innovations.  Just spend some time with her blog post on line of sight and her application of a solution in Guns of Gettysburg and you will be blown away.  Her extensive blogs posts across games past and present are a must read.  I think some players struggle with the game because it is so very different than what they have played before. Time shifts, victory conditions shift, and reinforcements shift. Guns of Gettysburg rules are short but every word means something.  It can be a brain burner but my brain has been burned before on less thoughtful applications.

1775: Rebellion 2013 – Academy Games

Academy hits the sweet spot with a super simple to teach and fun to play American Revolution – and that’s the innovation. No counters, only cubes. Custom dice for simplicity and great quality components.They have sold a lot of units and converted a lot of counter pushers. It led to a lot of other games using the same or similar system. It does drive me crazy that the side that moves last during that last turn will win (although my buddy says not always….) Seems ripe for an alternate victory condition or SOP but who has the time……

Reluctant Enemies 2014 – Multi Man Publishing

A more accessible OCS system game provides the breakthrough here. One map and low counter density actually provides both a slog and a high maneuver region on map. Much better as a starter than Sicily II due to the density.  It was a nuclear spider bite for me – now I am wacky on the OCS junk….

Churchill 2015 – GMT Games

Mr. wargame innovation, Mark Herman, gives us a look at WW2. This is a war that has been modeled 1,000 times. But, as you would expect, Mr Herman finds a different path.  This time he focuses on the three big dogs pulling the strings at the very top. Work together, for the most part, to save the freeish world.  But my favorite innovation in this game is the victory condition traditionalists hate. Stay close and don’t run away with the score or you will subject yourself to randomness in the form of a six sided dice!

I interviewed Mark Herman here, and here and we discuss wargames.

Enemy Action: Ardennes 2015 – Compass Games

So why do we need another Bulge game?  Because John wants to design one! When John Butterfield designs any game, he designs it from the perspective of a solo player.  That, along with design greatness, makes John the preeminent designer of solo games.  Exceptional solo play as well as options for 2 players make this a welcome addition to the bulge of Bulge games.

Supply Lines of the American Revolution: The Northern Theater, 1775-1777 2017 – Hollandspiele

Another cool idea by design savant Tom Russell.  Plays fast and integrates resource planning into battles in a theater. Interesting linkage between length of turn and initiative make for a new take on a theater we have been gaming for years. We must all hang together……

I interviewed Tom and mary here and we discuss wargames.

Cataclysm: A Second World War 2018 – GMT Games

Cataclysm was published a couple of years after  Triumph and Tragedy but is a superior sandbox in many ways.  It will leave a mark on wargames and wargamers as it better addresses 3 player games and expands the box to the Pacific.  No twirly blocks necessary and no tech trees which are fun but better for a Sid Myers’ game. It is not driven by cards as it uses a chit pull system.  All this leading to a refined system for more enjoyable 3 player sandbox play around life in the 1930s and 1940s.

Undaunted: Normandy 2019 – Osprey Games

Tactical WW2 deck builder – what does that mean – it means awesome! Trevor Benjamin and David Thompson have created a tension filled game that innovates mechanics to the point where those that like to argue about such things say “not a wargame!” Well I say “wargame” and its my list anyway – you can exclude it from yours. But, if you play it you will love it. And if you want to argue about what is and isn’t a wargame, Im sure there is a forum on ConSimWorld that will accommodate.


Root 2018 – Leder Games

Navajo Wars 2013 – GMT Games









Podcast #28 Stuka Joe discusses his YouTube channel NOTES


Sound Cloud Link: Harold on Games Podcast #28 Stuka Joe

iTunes Link: Harold on Games Podcast #28 Stuka Joe

Stitcher Link: Harold on Games Podcast #28 Stuka Joe


Stuka Joe on YouTube

Stuka Joe at Bellota Con

Stuka Joe at Consimworld Expo

Stuka Joe’s Campaigns of 1777 Preview Video

Harold Buchanan on YouTube

Harold Buchanan on Twitter @HBuchanan2

Twitter accounts for War Game Companies, sorted by followers

Join the Harold on Games group on Face Book

Join the Harold on Games guild on Board Game Geek


An interview with prolific game reviewer, analyzer and video creator, Stuka Joe. We will discuss his YouTube channel, his interest in games, and his work as a federal prosecutor in Puerto Rico.

Power Director software

Watch it Played Games



Hit the Beach

Dog Fight


Battle Cry


France 1940


Lion of Ethiopia

D-Day at Tarawa

Campaigns of 1777


Twilight Struggle

CDG Solo Method Display and Materials


Horace Silver: Spotify

Horace Silver: iTunes

Horace Silver Quintet – Song For My Father


Podcast #27 Bruno Sinigaglio on Bulge 1965, 1981, Bitter Woods and A Time for Trumpets NOTES


Sound Cloud Link: Harold on Games Podcast #27 Bruno Sinigaglio

iTunes Link: Harold on Games Podcast #27 Bruno Sinigaglio

Stitcher Link: Harold on Games Podcast #27 Bruno Sinigaglio


Bruno Sinigaglio on BGG

Harold Buchanan on YouTube

Harold Buchanan on Twitter @HBuchanan2

Twitter accounts for War Game Companies, sorted by followers

Join the Harold on Games group on Face Book

Join the Harold on Games guild on Board Game Geek


An interview with designer Bruno Sinigaglio. We met at Consimworld Expo this Summer. We will discuss his work updating Avalon Hills Battle of the Bulge 1965 to Battle of the Bulge 1981, his development work on Bitter Woods and his work on the current Time for Trumpets, a Battalion level Bulge game currently on the GMT P500 system at a sweet discount.

Bruno Sinigaglio is game designer and ‎mechanical engineer from Fort Wainwright, Alaska. He has worked on the 1981 Battle of the Bulge, the Siege of Jerusalem and the Bitter Woods as well as his newest endeavor, A Time for Trumpets. All of this through the hey day of wargaming working with and around Avalon Hill.

At the World Boardgaming Championships he won championships in Afrika Korps, Anzio, The Battle of the Bulge, Bitter Woods, Fortress Europa, Battles of the American Revolution and Waterloo.


Slow Season: Spotify

Slow Season: iTunes

Slow Season: Facebook


Afrika Korps


The Battle of the Bulge

Bitter Woods

Fortress Europa

Battles of the American Revolution



AH Battle of the Bulge 1965

AH Battle of the Bulge 1981

AH Bitter Woods

GMT A Time for Trumpets


A Time for Trumpets

Steel and Snow

St Vith Lion in the Way

Band of Brothers


Battle of the Bulge


Band of Brothers


Podcast #26 Dan Mansfield on his YouTube Channel and playing with Deaf and Hard of Hearing Gamers


Dan Mansfield Transcript REV


SoundCloud Link: Harold on Games Podcast #26 Dan Mansfield

iTunes Link: Harold on Games Podcast #26 Dan Mansfield

Stitcher Link: Harold on Games Podcast #26 Dan Mansfield


Hands on Board Games on YouTube

Deaf Board Game Convention on Face Book

Harold Buchanan on YouTube

Harold Buchanan on Twitter @HBuchanan2

Twitter accounts for War Game Companies, sorted by followers

Join the Harold on Games group on Face Book

Join the Harold on Games guild on Board Game Geek


An interview with fellow gamer Dan Mansfield. We will discuss his YouTube channel Hands on Board Games providing game reviews in American Sign Language, his work in the games industry, and his guidance on gaming with the deaf and hard of hearing.

Dan has been playing games since he was a kid—mostly card games and the usual kids’ games, but also backgammon and chess. He didn’t really consider himself a board game enthusiast until about 10 years ago. Now he plays all types of games, including euros and war games.

When he’s not playing games, he works as an editor, and also enjoys rock climbing and hiking.

Dan and I have been joined today by Daniel, a friend of Dan’s who is a certified American Sign Language interpreter. Although Dan usually lip-reads well and voices for himself, Daniel is with us to help ensure that Dan understands me clearly. So the voice you hear in this podcast is that of Daniel, while the words and thoughts behind the voice are Dan’s. Dan is going to sign his responses and Daniel will voice those comments.

I’ve been told by Dan that interpreting American Sign Language into spoken English not an exact word-for-word translation. Instead, Daniel will use his skill and experience as an interpreter to understand the concepts expressed by Dan in sign language and then convert those signs into spoken English. Daniel’s way of expressing something may not be exactly what Dan would have said if he were voicing for himself, but it will be close. You will hear delays as we all communicate through this chain.


Adam Riviere : iTunes

Adam Riviere : Facebook


Twilight Struggle

Liberty or Death: The American Insurrection


Deaf Board Game Convention (DBGC)

Inside Up Games

Liberty or Death on Hands on Board Games