Microgame Design Group

Microgame Design Group was a Canadian wargame company begun in 1996. After eight years and the production of forty games, the company deleted its website on 1 Nov 2004, when co-founder and business manager Kerry Anderson decided to pursue a PhD, leaving no time for business.

In an online article, Microgame Design Group was credited for "the current vigorous state of the desktop publishing segment of wargaming."1 The article went on to say that "(MDG) demonstrated from the start that inexpensive games (all titles are priced between nine and 15 dollars) can be as attractive and innovative as the $40 products of more conventional publishers, though they do require a bit of assembly."

One cost savings, according to the company's own website, was the use of unmounted and uncut counters.

All Microgame Design Group games come with unmounted counters. While this may be a nuisance to the purchaser, it is a significant saving for us. Besides keeping costs down (both physical components and postage), there is a great deal of personal time saved with this shortcut. The time and money saved enables us to come out with more designs per year. Also, by keeping our costs low, we can do more games on obscure topics with less concern about recovering costs.

Like Simulations Canada, the company offered games on subjects not covered by other publishers, as well as some Canadian content.

List of Games2

  • The Marcher Lords: The Norman Conquest of Wales (2003), designed by David Cuatt. Grand strategic treatment of the Norman advance from 1066 through the end of the 11th Century.
  • The Dutch Revolt, 1566-1609 (2003), designed by Michael Gilbert. The political, religious and military struggle to keep the Netherlands Spanish and Catholic.
  • A Mere Matter of Marching: The Niagara Campaign, 1812-1814 (2002), designed by Bruce McFarlane. The American invasion of Canada during the War of 1812.
  • Trampling Out the Vintage: The Campaign for Atlanta, 1864 (1999), designed by Paul H. Rohrbaugh. High-level operational treatment (3 week turns) emphasizing the relationship of Sherman’s drive through Georgia to the rest of the war.
  • Bittereinder: The Anglo-Boer War (2000), designed by Hjalmar Gerber. The Second Boer War, 1899-1902; probably the only game on this topic to make extensive use of Afrikaans language sources.
  • Clash of Empires: The Battle for France, 1914 (2003), designed by Kerry Anderson. The initial phase of the war, continuing until decisive victory or (more often) stalemate. Novel mechanics intended to reflect the opposing sides’ ignorance of what weapons and tactics would work.
  • Ypres, 1915 (1998), designed by Kerry Anderson. The first gas attack of World War I. A more elaborate edition was published by Moments in History under the title In Flanders Fields (1999).
  • Vimy Ridge (2001), designed by Kerry Anderson. One of the finest hours of Canada’s military history: the capture of Vimy Ridge on April 9, 1917. One of the few games to make a serious attempt to portray WWI trench warfare.
  • Across the Piave: Italy 1918 (2002), designed by Hjalmar Gerber. The last two major battles on the WWI Italian front: the Piave and Vittorio Veneto. One of the rare games in which a unit can be placed “between” two hexes.
  • Byzantium Reborn: The Greek and Turkish War, 1920-1922 (2004), designed by R. Ben Madison. Borrows from the ¡Arriba España! system to give due weight to political factors and the key role of foreign support.
  • Freikorps: The Bolsheviks Attack Germany, 1920 (1999), designed by Brian Train. A hypothetical Red Army invasion of Germany following a communist victory in the Battle of Warsaw.
  • Land of the Free: American Politics During the Depression (1996), designed by Brian Train. A two or three-player political game in which extremists try to win power between 1930 and 1941.
  • War Plan Crimson: The U.S. Invasion of Canada (2001), designed by Brian Train. Based on actual, though highly hypothetical, American plans in the event of war with Great Britain during the 1930’s.
  • ¡Arriba España! (1997), designed by Brian Train. The best game, IMHO, yet devised on the Spanish Civil War; pays attention to factions within the opposing sides, military developments and varying levels of foreign aid and intervention. Owners of Aide de Camp 2 can find my module for the game here.
  • Battle for China (1999), designed by Brian Train. The Sino-Japanese War, 1937-1941, for two or three players.
  • More Battle for China (2001), designed by Brian Train. Extends Battle for China through 1949, covering World War II and the ensuing civil war.
  • Zhukov’s First Victory: The Battle of Nomonhan (2003), designed by Paul Rohrbaugh. The clashes in the Far East between the Soviet Union and Japan in July and August 1939, whose outcome dissuaded the Japanese leadership from joining in Hitler’s invasion two years later.
  • Mediterranean Fury: The Battle of Cape Matapan, 1941 (2001), designed by Paul Rohrbaugh. The battle that ended Mussolini’s hopes of challenging the Royal Navy.
  • The Siege of Hong Kong (1997), designed by Michael Gilbert. The last week of the battle, covering the Japanese assault on Hong Kong island.
  • Switzerland Must Be Swallowed! (2001), designed by Peter Schutze. Hypothetical German invasion of Switzerland during World War II.
  • Stalingrad: Pivot on the Volga (2003), designed by Hjalmar Gerber. The campaign in Southern Russia, July 1942-January 1943, with a rational portrayal of the effects of Hitler’s interference and some unusual rules.
  • Blood & Steel: The Battle of Prokhorovka, July 12, 1943 (1999), designed by Paul Rohrbaugh. The climactic engagement of the Battle of Kursk; one of the largest tank battles in history.
  • Blood & Steel Expansion: The Battles of Oboyan Hills and Rzhavets Bridgehead, July 12, 1943 (2001), designed by Paul Rohrbaugh. Two companion battles to Prokhorovka, which can be played without the original Blood & Steel; with the earlier game, all three battles can be combined.
  • Patton’s Finest: The Battle of Arracourt (2001), designed by Paul Rohrbaugh. Uses the Blood & Steel system for the 4th Armored Division’s clash with counterattacking German panzers, September 19-21, 1944.
  • Operation Veritable: The Battle for the Reichswald (2000), designed by Paul Rohrbaugh. A free, downloadable game, later incorporated into Schutze Games’ Breaking into Valhalla (2001).
  • MacArthur’s War: The Korean War and Beyond (1996), designed by Kerry Anderson. A fairly conventional treatment of the conflict coupled with possibilities of nuclear confrontation.
  • Vallée de la Mort: Dien Bien Phu (2000), designed by Paul Rohrbaugh. Semi-tactical portrayal of the siege that ended French rule in Indochina, March-May 1954.
  • Algeria: The War of Independence, 1954-1962 (2000), designed by Brian Train. A classic asymmetrical war, as FLN rebels try to erode the colonial power’s political will before they are physically destroyed by its military superiority.
  • Operation Whirlwind: The Soviet Invasion of Hungary (2002), designed by Brian Train. Street battles pitting Hungarian patriots against Soviet tanks in 1956, with options for NATO intervention.
  • Cuban Missile Crisis: The Threshold of Nuclear War (2002), designed by Kerry Anderson. A board game with card play that makes it possible to win the 1962 U.S.-Soviet confrontation without going to war, though the possibility of military action cannot be ignored.
  • Victory in Vietnam (1999), designed by Bruce Costello. The War in Vietnam from 1964 through 1975, featuring a wide range of strategic options for the both players.
  • Victory in Vietnam II (2002), designed by Bruce Costello. A revised and enlarged second edition of Victory in Vietnam. The only MDG game with die-cut counters.
  • No Middle Ground: The Battle for the Golan Heights, October 6 to 10, 1973 (2003), designed by Paul Rohrbaugh. The Syrian Offensive at the beginning of the Yom Kippur War; intended as a relatively simple game suitable for novices.
  • Afghanistan (1999), designed by Perry Moore. Tactical/operational portrayal of battles in the Panjshir and Kunar Valleys between conventional Soviet forces and Afghan guerillas, 1982-1987.
  • Shining Path: The Struggle for Peru (1998), designed by Brian Train. The continuing guerilla conflict between the Peruvian government and Maoist rebels.
  • The Battle of Armageddon: Apocalyptic Warfare in the End Times (1999), designed by Kerry Anderson. A near future, military interpretation of the Book of Revelation, for two or three players.
  • The Final Frontier: Man’s Expansion into the Solar System (1997), designed by Kerry Anderson. Competition, primarily economic and political, among two to four nations aiming to achieve dominance of the Solar System.
  • Barnard’s Star: The First Interstellar War (1999), designed by Kerry Anderson. Planetary combat between humans and aliens in a hostile environment.
  • Astromachia (1997), designed by Peter Drake. Tactical spaceship combat using a quasi-three dimensional movement system.
  • Smokejumpers (1996), designed by Kerry Anderson. A solitaire game in which the player directs a crew fighting a forest fire.
  • He Shoots. . . He Scores! (2000), designed by Bruce McFarlane. An ice hockey game designed to illustrate realistic tactics.

Notes

  1. http://stromata.typepad.com/stromata_blog/
  2. Game descriptions also taken from http://stromata.typepad.com/stromata_blog/, 29 Sep 2004 entry.
 

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