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Design Notes from Collins Epic Wargames
Byron Collins
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Suffolk
Virginia
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First, this is an experimental list closed to public additions of GL items, but your comments are certainly welcome. It stems from suggestions that as a result of the recent (10/2009) change in the way BGG ranks Wargames, Small Publishers need to get more creative with how we expose our games to you guys (beyond advertising). I really appreciate your support of this list and if you feel it's a good concept/contribution, give it a thumbs up

Several wargame publishers larger than I (such as GMT, Columbia Games, and MMP) have very well done monthly GeekLists dedicated to tracking preorder trends and status, providing information about upcoming games, and more. I could go that route with my games, but, I currently only have a list of two P500 titles, so I feel it's not quite appropriate.

My purpose here is to add GeekList Item Comments that highlight different design challenges I've encountered with each of my games, how I am working through (or worked through) them, and why it was an issue worth discussing. I'll also use the list to update you on the current preorder status of each game we have on P500. Finally, some Comments will be dedicated to what I call "modified" session reports- reports from a playtest session.

I feel you can continue to design and improve a game well after release, for example implementing rules revisions that improve the game yet minimally impact components. You'll see a bit of post-production improvement in this list as well as I strive to improve the rules of my releases, give reasons for those changes, and give insight into how the mechanic or situation was improved.

I'm designing four games at the moment, all in various stages of completion- three WWII games and one Sci-Fi game (currently unnamed and not yet listed below). The list is ordered from the most recent game announced (top) to the oldest (bottom).

I welcome your comments and questions with each new addition to this list. To keep things organized, there will be one GL item per game (the Game itself is the item), and Comments will introduce new Design Notes for each of those games. General Design commentary that doesn't apply to a particular game will be handled on a separate item.

So I give you...

Design Notes from Collins Epic Wargames
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1. Board Game: Spearpoint 1943 [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:3430] [Average Rating:6.86 Unranked]
Byron Collins
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Frontline General: Spearpoint 1943 is a fast-playing card game that uses tactical Unit Cards similar to Frontline General: Italian Campaign Introduction as well as all new Command Cards to simulate plausible frontline combat at a fast pace. Squad-level infantry and individual tanks, artillery, and aircraft form the Tip of the Spear, or Spearpoint, of the battle. Each 30-40 minute game is one intense card-based combat engagement. Improved Combat rules developed for this game will parallel the combat system in FG:ICI.

Cardplay in this game allows players to bring in reinforcements, form surprise attacks, dig in infantry, call in fire missions, withdraw, and much more. The game centers around brief rules that are easy to digest, lots of tension, plausible combat results, and hard-hitting strategy.

This game is also a tool to learn the combat system of the Frontline General Series. Players can then take their skills to the next level in one of our larger games to add additional units and options, maps, and scenarios.

Spearpoint 1943 will only be available as a high quality production version.

External Game Info Page:
http://frontlinegeneral.com/html/spearpoint_1943.html

Production Status:
P500, currently available for preorder through FLGSs in the US and Spain as well as direct.
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2. Board Game: Frontline General: San Pietro Infine [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Byron Collins
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Entirely tactical, this wargame covers the WWII Battle of San Pietro in its entirety through a series of challenging scenarios. US, German, and Italian units represent the full historic strength of the fighting forces that struggled for control of the mountains Sambucaro, Lungo, and Rotondo, and the small village of San Pietro Infine located in the foothills of Monte Sambucaro.

Mark Mahaffey and I (all art credit to Mark) have produced a functional and beautiful large, mounted 32"x27" full color map at a scale of 1"=500'. Each 1.2" hex represents 200 yards with platoons and sections as the basic maneuver units. All terrain modifiers are conveniently printed right in the hex to provide even more terrain representation flexibility and ease of reference during the game. Large 7/8" counters are easy to read and pair one for one with the game’s Unit Cards - Cards that handle all of the important combat and maneuver stats, track earned experience, and provide a step-loss reduction to easily track damage.

San Pietro Infine will only be available as a high quality production version.

External Game Info Page:
http://frontlinegeneral.com/html/san_pietro_infine.html

Production Status:
P500, currently available for preorder through FLGSs in the US and Spain as well as direct.
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3. Board Game: Frontline General: Italian Campaign Introduction [Average Rating:6.73 Unranked]
Byron Collins
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Suffolk
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This is my first release. Dual released as a PnP and as a Production Version, this game was debuted at Gen Con Indy in 2008 (August). I'm still selling the game at shows and online, but it will not be in distribution due to production costs. It is a WWII Wargame set in Southern Italy.

The game's basic premise is to work at two levels (Operational and Tactical). Each can be played entirely separate, or they can combine to work together and simulate different aspects of warfare that are more suited to each level. Operationally, it works as a standalone board wargame. Players may however "zoom in" to one of the operational battles and use miniatures to fight out that battle at the Tactical Scale for greater (much greater) detail.

The result? A very flexible campaign system for miniatures that's received good feedback from both board wargamers and miniatures wargamers.


Above: German Armor on the move in a Tactical Game of FG:ICI using 15mm miniatures.


Above: Production Board Game components on display at launch (Gen Con Indy 2009)


Above: Production Deluxe Map printed on Vinyl on display at Historicon 2009

External Game Info Page:
http://frontlinegeneral.com/html/italian_campaign.html

Production Status:
Released, August 2008
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4. Board Game Publisher: Collins Epic Wargames
Byron Collins
United States
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General Game Design Discussion

All comments on this item discuss Game Design and the various challenges of it in general.

This item also links to my blog, which is more focused on Publishing, for those interested:

http://publisherperspective.blogspot.com/
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