Colonial Twilight: Playing the Game Solitaire

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In previous Inside GMT articles, the designer Brian Train has written extensively on the various game play features of Colonial Twilight. In this article he asked me –the solitaire designer for Colonial Twilight– to talk about playing the game solitaire.

Colonial Twilight: Propaganda Rounds and Pivotal Events

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In this article I will write about the specific activities that take place during the Propaganda Rounds in Colonial Twilight, and about the various Pivotal Events that players can execute during the game.

Colonial Twilight has three scenarios: Full, Medium and Short, consisting of 5, 4 and 3 Propaganda Rounds respectively. Like other COIN system games, in preparing the deck for play, one Propaganda Card is shuffled into each group of 12 Event Cards, so the run of cards between two Propaganda Rounds (the “campaign”) can be (but likely won’t be) up to 24 cards.

Colonial Twilight: Operations and Special Activities

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In this article I will write about the menus of Operations and Special Activities available to the two factions in Colonial Twilight: the Government, representing both local Algerian and metropolitan French authorities; and the political and armed fighters of the Fronte de Liberation Nationale (FLN), the insurgent force.

You may wish to refer to the previous two posts on the game, which explain the major differences and features of the game, and the forces and structures that meet in conflict within the game.

Colonial Twilight: Pieces and Force Structure

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What are the forces in the game and what is their structure?

Colonial Twilight has a total of 91 wooden pieces representing the various forces available to both sides. They are divided into the following types:

Government (total 46 pieces)

  • 21 French Police (light blue cubes)
  • 9 French Troops (dark blue cubes)
  • 6 Government Bases (light blue disks)
  • 7 Algerian Police (light green cubes)
  • 3 Algerian Troops (dark green cubes)

FLN (total 45 pieces)

  • 30 Guerrillas (black octagonal cylinders)
  • 15 Bases (black disks)

The following gives some more background on what each force type is meant to represent from history, and how it works in the game.

Introducing Colonial Twilight: The French-Algerian War, 1954-62

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Colonial Twilight is Volume 7 in the COIN series of games from GMT. It will be the first game in the series designed for two players. That alone has attracted much attention from fans of the series; in fact, it’s probably responsible for more attention than the subject matter of the game itself, the struggle of the nationalist Front de Liberation Nationale (FLN) against the French colonial authorities.

On the last day of the Consimworld Expo in Tempe AZ in May 2014, Mark Simonitch sat down with me and asked if I would be interested in designing a COIN system game on the Algerian War. As I was the guy who had designed the first game to be published on that war (Algeria: The War of Independence 1954-62, first published in 2000), and considering the influence of that game on Volko when he designed Andean Abyss, and my co-design of A Distant Plain with Volko, I of course said yes! By fall I had roughed in the design and was doing my own playtests; by the end of the year I was working with Jordan Kehrer, an experienced and very able developer. Jordan helped me to see vital concepts from another vantage point, and was always willing to throw ideas back and forth; I’ve been very pleased to work with him.

By spring 2015 we had the game in approximately its present state, and at the Consimworld Expo in June we showed our work to Gene…. And lo, Gene saw that it was good, and put it up for P500 the following month. The game took about 43 days to reach its trigger point, and as of this writing pre-orders stand at 939.

We’re still in playtesting and the artists are starting to work their magic, but it’s possible this game will be in players’ hands by the end of 2016 or early 2017. While everyone is waiting, I thought it would be helpful to talk about the design a bit.