Recommend
29 
 Thumb up
 Hide
21 Posts

Brotherhood & Unity» Forums » General

Subject: Brotherhood & Unity - Designer Blog (Part 1 - Introduction) rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Tomislav Cipcic
Croatia
Split
flag msg tools
designer
badge
To boldly go where no one has gone before!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Brotherhood & Unity - Designer Blog (Part 1 - Introduction)

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Tomislav Čipčić, and I live in Split, Croatia. I've been designing games for much of my life .. video games, board games, you name it. Other than that I was always interested in history, especially military history. When you live where I do, you really have no choice. My country is situated on the sunny coast of Adriatic Sea, in the southern part of Europe. Maybe you know it as a part of Balkan Peninsula, or as a part of former Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia, or maybe you know it's famous countryman - Josip Broz Tito.


Game box cover - designed by: Ilya Kudriashov


Brotherhood & Unity is a game created after years of studying the war in the neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina. I've tried to capture the essence of that defining historical event, and to bring it to the wargaming table. I'll describe it in the series of Designer Blog posts. The game will be published by Compass Games, probably in the 1st quarter of 2019. My thanks go to the CG team, and especially to Billy Thomas who is the producer of the game. And to Ilya Kudriashov as well, who designed this beautiful and haunting game box cover. Without their support, this game would not be possible. You can find the official preorder game page on: https://www.compassgames.com/preorders/brotherhood-unity.htm...


Why Bosnia?

It's hard to forget those images, even after all those years. I've been a teenager then, living in neighbouring Croatia, a mere dozens of kilometres from the fighting. But the war remained in my memory .. The siege of Sarajevo, with people running across the streets while being sniped from the hills above. The Srebrenica massacre, with general Mladić telling the civilians that no harm will come to them, while his troops perpetrated mass killings just a couple of kilometres further. The handshake between Bosniak and Croat generals Dudaković and Mareković on the Korana bridge, while relieving the siege of Bihać. And those were just tiny fragments of a much greater conflict.

I was always interested in military history, since I was a small kid. I read about every war I could find, the big ones and the shorter ones: Second World War, First World War, Napoleonic wars, American Civil War, Vietnam war, Six Day War, Yom Kippur War ... the list goes on and on. But for a long time I avoided „my“ wars, the ones I lived through: Croatian War of Independence (or „Homeland War“ as we call it) and War in Bosnia and Herzegovina (or „Bosnian War“). Why? Well probably because I didn't know would I be able to approach the topic objectivelly and systematically.

As I grew older, I grew more interested in those events. The one question that bogged me (and my fellow compatriots) was: why did it have to end like this? Why did Yugoslavia break as it did, in a storm of destruction which swept all of the former republic, from west to east? And could the breakup have been resolved in peaceful manner, as was in other socialist countries during the same period.

Initially, my interest was with the Croatian War of Independence. The book „Domovinski rat“ (eng. Homeland War) by Davor Marijan gave me an excellent overview of these events. But as I went through I realised that war in Bosnia and Herzegovina constituted an integral part of that war. Moreover, because of B&H's geographical position (in the center of Yugoslavia, forming a wedge between Croatia and Serbia), its abundance of resources, mountainous terrain and developed military industry complex ... all of that made B&H and its recent history even more interesting story. A story that had to be told. So I decided to make a game about it ..


What's The Game About?

A war is a complex event. It can be described in a lot of ways, and from many points of view. You can research it's pure military side: structure and organization, command and control, strategical and tactical doctrines, history of individual operations and such. Or you can describe the political side of things, the grand scheme and the political will which shaped those events. Or you can talk about personal experienced of the war, from the individual's point of view, may he be a soldier, a civilian in besieged city, or a news reporter showing the horrors to the world.

After giving it much thought, I've decided to make this game about the military side of the war. I've decided to concentrate on offensives, defence, organization, manouvres. I wanted to see could the war have ended sooner if Bosniaks and Croats had maintained a strong alliance since the beginning.


Playtest version of the map


Initially I had to decide on several things: how many players will the game have, what type of game will it be, what main mechanics will it employ, and how long would a game session last. The first thing that was obvious to me was that this was a three player game. Since the war had three distinct sides: Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats – this was a logical decision.

First challenge was to pick a right mechanics. There were several of them I thought of using:
- Hex and counter
- COIN
- CDG + point to point

Hex and counter seemed too detailed to represent a war as a whole. There were couple of hundred battalion level units in this war, and representing all of them in the game would make the game too long and cumbersome. I wanted to reduce the gameplay time as much as I can, while retaining all the possibilities as in a longer game.

COIN system looked interesting enough. It is a very popular system, created for simulations of counterinsurgency operations. But this war was of another nature. There was no government per se here, nor insurgents. And also, combat and offensive operations could not be well presented. So COIN system was not an ideal choice.

Card Driven Game with Point-To-Point movement system seemed the best choice. I could design the map around strategic locations, instead of having a lot of unused hexes. I could simulate combat and manouvres all over the BiH. And I could use the cards to represent historical events, giving the game flavor and increasing its replayability. So the CDG mechanics was the way to go.

--------------------------------------

End of first part. Read about new details of the game in the following part of the series. Until then, have fun!

32 
 Thumb up
6.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Christian van Someren
Netherlands
Groningen
Groningen
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Sounds really interesting. Looking forward to hearing more details about this game, like how is the UN portrayed in the game?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tomislav Cipcic
Croatia
Split
flag msg tools
designer
badge
To boldly go where no one has gone before!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hi Christian,

UN is represented with UN Safe Areas. Some spaces can be declared UN Safe Areas via using Strategy Cards. These areas protect these spaces, but in a more diplomatic way. Enemy can still overrun them with their brigades, but if he does that Foreign Attitude towards him will fall really fast and it could take him in a lot of trouble.

E.g. Serbian player can try to capture UN protected safe area, but he has to weigh that against the damage it will do to his international reputation. If he does it in the wrong moment, that can lead to NATO air strikes, or even losing the war. We had a lot of these situations during playtesting .. sometimes he pulled it off, and sometimes he was destroyed soon afterwards.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Stig Morten
Norway
Kvernaland
flag msg tools
Thunder Alley: Crew Chief Expansion - Coming soon to Kickstarter!
badge
Evil lurks here!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Nice writeup and cool to know the story of how the game came to you.

Looking forward to hearing more about the game and also how it plays with just 2 players.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tomislav Cipcic
Croatia
Split
flag msg tools
designer
badge
To boldly go where no one has gone before!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Glad you like it, Stig. Keep following the blog and you won't be disappointed. Have fun!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gomez Caddy
msg tools
mbmb
Hi,

What a treat to find you here, since this is a game that I'm very much looking forward to. I'm interested in learning more about the conflict. I've narrowed my search down to two books. I was wondering if you were familiar with either of them and if you had an opinion on which one was superior. The first is The Fall of Yugoslavia by Misha Glenny and the other is Yugoslavia: Death of a Nation by Laura Silber. Any advice you have would be appreciated.

Also, do you plan on posting any of the game's cards? I'm curious to see.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tomislav Cipcic
Croatia
Split
flag msg tools
designer
badge
To boldly go where no one has gone before!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hi there, I haven't read those two books (although I've heard about them) so I can't say which one is better. But I can give you my suggested reading list. You can find it at the end of this post.

I was planning on posting a whole section in this Blog about Strategy Cards, with several cards as an example. I think you'll like it.

Have fun

-------------------------

Books in English

Probably the best book on the topic written in English. It's in public domain and can be downloaded for free as PDF:

Balkan Battlegrounds:
A Military History of the Yugoslav Conflict (Volumes I-II)

OFFICE OF RUSSIAN AND EUROPEAN ANALYSIS, United
States Central Intelligence Agency. Washington,
DC, 2002-2003.



In the link below you can find a massive amount of maps which come with that book. You can check them to get the feeling of the scope of military operations in the war:

Balkan Battlegrounds Maps in Library of Congress
https://www.loc.gov/item/2010588135


Other good books on the topic:

The War in Bosnia-Herzegovina:
Ethnic Conflict and International Intervention.

BURG, Steven L.; SHOUP, Paul S,
M.E. Sharpe. Armonk, New York, 1999.



To End a War
HOLBROOKE, Richard: Random House, Inc.
New York, 1998.


The Muslim-Croat Civil War in Central
Bosnia: A Military History, 1992–1994

SHRADER, Charles R., Texas A&M University
Press. College Station, Texas, 2003.




Books in Croatian/Serbian/Bosniak

The best one out there in Croatian:

Domovinski rat
MARIJAN, Davor, Despot Infinitus, Hrvatski
institut za povijest. Zagreb, 2016.


Borbe za Kupres u travnju 1992
MARIJAN, Davor, Polemos:
časopis za interdisciplinarna istraživanja rata i mira, Vol.III
No.5. Zagreb, 2000.



“Jedinstvo” - Posljednji ustroj JNA
MARIJAN, Davor, Polemos:
časopis za interdisciplinarna istraživanja rata i mira,
Vol.VI No.11-12. Zagreb, 2003.



Oluja
MARIJAN, Davor, Hrvatski memorijalno-dokumentacijski
centar Domovinskog rata. Zagreb, 2007.



Slučaj Jugoslavija
MAMULA, Branko, CID. Podgorica, 2000.


Knin je pao u Beogradu
SEKULIĆ, Milisav, Nidda Verlag. Bad
Vilbel, 2000.

12 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tomislav Cipcic
Croatia
Split
flag msg tools
designer
badge
To boldly go where no one has gone before!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
New part of this blog has just been posted here.

I hope you'll enjoy it
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alan Carlson
United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
wednesdaybizzare wrote:
Hi,

What a treat to find you here, since this is a game that I'm very much looking forward to. I'm interested in learning more about the conflict. I've narrowed my search down to two books. I was wondering if you were familiar with either of them and if you had an opinion on which one was superior. The first is The Fall of Yugoslavia by Misha Glenny and the other is Yugoslavia: Death of a Nation by Laura Silber. Any advice you have would be appreciated.

Also, do you plan on posting any of the game's cards? I'm curious to see.


Hi - as a diplomat formerly stationed in Bosnia and Montenegro, I've read many of the books on the war in Yugoslavia. Both books, by Glenny and Silber, are excellent. I think Silber's gets the nod if you are to read one, as it is more comprehensive.

I also like the books suggested by Tomislav (although I haven't read the newer ones in Croatian).
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nap George
msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Very interested in this simulation. I will be following and ordering.

I appreciate the sources provided above detailing this conflict. From a standpoint of English language fiction, I also found Steven Galloway's "The Cellist of Sarajevo" is the seminal work. I also found the nonfiction story of a journalist who witnessed much of the conflict at close range, "My War Gone By, I Miss It So," by Anthony Loyd a jarring and distrubing story of the conflict.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tomislav Cipcic
Croatia
Split
flag msg tools
designer
badge
To boldly go where no one has gone before!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thank you George and Alan for your book recommendations. I'm off to web bookstore to order those titles. It's gonna be an interesting read, I'm sure
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jim F
United Kingdom
Birmingham
West Midlands
flag msg tools
You know with Hitler? the more I learn about that guy, the more I don't care for him
badge
contrarian
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

Really interested. Good luck with this project.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tomislav Cipcic
Croatia
Split
flag msg tools
designer
badge
To boldly go where no one has gone before!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks Jim! Luck always comes in handy
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mike Whittemore
United States
Coronado
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
This sounds really interesting. Subscribed.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tomislav Cipcic
Croatia
Split
flag msg tools
designer
badge
To boldly go where no one has gone before!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for your support Mike! I hope you'll enjoy the blog
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gomez Caddy
msg tools
mbmb
Thanks, everybody, for the information. I also came across another freely available U.S. Government publication from the War College: War in the Balkans by R. Craig Nation. I've only had an opportunity to give these sources a small glance as of yet, but Nation's work seems to have slightly more literary, reader-friendly language than the one from the CIA, but does seems to keep the focus more on the military engagements and less on the political and social. As I said though, I've only glanced at the books so far.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
German Mike
United States
Hudson
Ohio
flag msg tools
...mmmmh MEAT
badge
FlgAbw
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hi Tomislav,

I am very excited to see a game being made about this conflict. My parents are from Jugoslavija, but I grew up in Germany. I spent every summer from the mid-80s until mid-90s on Sumartin in Brac (ne daleko od tebe). I remember driving on the Maslenica pontoon bridge after the original bridge had been destroyed by artillery shelling.

Your paragraph on picking the right mechanics (hex & counter vs COIN vs CDG) was very interesting to read. I have often thought of the possibility of a multiplayer wargame using the COIN design for this conflict. COIN is elegant and popular and it supports multiple factions very easily. But I definitely understand your argument about this conflict not really being about a Counterinsurgency. I also respect your design choice to focus on the military aspects of this conflict. I still think there may be space for a larger-scale (all republics) and more political treatment of the breakup of SFRJ.

I pre-ordered your game. I hope it will be a success!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tomislav Cipcic
Croatia
Split
flag msg tools
designer
badge
To boldly go where no one has gone before!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks DaMilli! Hvala ti puno

You're quite right about the political aspect of the breakup. I've just finished reading a great book by Laura Silber and Allan Little on that same topic and felt quite impressed by the possibilities of making it into a game. Just imagine combining the aspect of negotiations, peace conferences, threats of using the airforce or troops on the ground. And mixing it all with the situation on the battlefield ... that would be really something.

Yet again, I've learned the beauty of step-by-step approach in designing complex products. So if all goes well these features can be made in a separate game, and maybe even make it integrateable into this game. But let's see first how will B&U be received with the wargamer community. Have fun playing
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Drazen Kramaric
Croatia
Zagreb
Unspecified
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Is there any chance for this game to be expanded into one about war in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegowina?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tomislav Cipcic
Croatia
Split
flag msg tools
designer
badge
To boldly go where no one has gone before!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Pozdrav Dražene!

Ajmo na engleski, radi drugih ...

I tried to incorporate war in Croatia (Homeland War) with War in B&H, but it didn't work. Croatian Homeland War was not continuous, but dispersed in several major events (war against Krajina and JNA in 1991, Dubrovnik and Konavle in 1992, Maslenica in 1993, Dinara in 1994/1995, Bljesak and Oluja in 1995). I couldn't make a wargame spanning 4 years with month of intensive warfare and 11 months of low-level conflict. I tried .. I even had a huge map on the table with all the brigades and battalions of that war, but they weren't used most of the time because that was the policy of the time.

I chose Bosnia because that war was pretty much continous and fierce. And regarding Croatia, I think a game could be made but of operational or tactical scope. For example: Battle for Vukovar, Operation Gusar (Maslenica), battles in western Slavonia in 1991, Battle for Šibenik .. etc.

I have several ideas for games like that in the future. I hope that answer satisfies you. Sretno!
3 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nick
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
Definitely looking forward to this one. It's great to see new games coming about conflicts that are very undersubscribed with current games. Right up my street. Can't wait for more updates along the way.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls