June 22, 2024

#UnboxingDay – Brief Border Wars by Compass Games

Brant Guillory, 18 November 2021 ~ #UnboxingDay

The old SPI quad were a glorious gift to wargaming.  The ability to play multiple games from a single base rules set made exploring a variety of related topics much easier than chasing around multiple small-footprint games.  Alas, those quads never really carried on after the implosion SPI (and later, TSR), but they are now making a comeback.  Whether it’s DG’s D-Day Quad or Brief Border Wars from Compass Games, perhaps we’ll get a chance to see more quad games over the next few years.

click images to enlarge


That right there is a thing of beauty, and that before you notice that Brian Train is the designer.


All the normal info you’d expect on the back of the box


Inside you’ve got 4 maps, a countersheet, the rules folios, and a deck of cards.  Oh, and dice.

There’s a standard rules folio, and a individual folios for each game.

The counters are colorful, and relatively simple.

The maps are area-movement maps, with the terrain noted in the circle in the middle of every area, to eliminate any confusion that might come from the attractive artwork.

The cards are split between the two sides of each conflict, and have consistent symbology.  They’re usable across every game, so there’s no need for game-specific decks.  You just need a way to tell player A/B apart.


We reviewed this game a while back, so there’s plenty more to chew on, if you like the look of it.


Thanks for joining this month’s #UnboxingDay with the Armchair Dragoons and we hope you enjoyed our recon of our recent acquisitions.
You can always leave us your feedback in our #UnboxingDay thread, or in the comment area on this article, below.
The regiment also occasionally musters on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, and occasionally at a convention near you, once we’re allowed to hold them again.

Brant G

Editor-in-chief at Armchair Dragoons

View all posts by Brant G →

3 thoughts on “#UnboxingDay – Brief Border Wars by Compass Games

  1. I cajoled Mark Mahaffey into giving the box cover the old-style Quadrigame look by Redmond Simonsen (peace be upon him).
    I see that Compass also adopted this for their forthcoming East Front Quad of operational battles.
    I recently turned in the files for Brief Border Wars Volume II: Second Balkan War 1913, Teschen 1919, Nomonhan/Khalkin-Gol 1939, and Italo-Greek War 1940.
    Compass thought a box of pre-1945 titles would go well; if there is appetite for a third (and I’m not personally sick of doing them), I will do a set of post-1965 titles.

    Oh, and you will need more than two dice to play comfortably!

    1. Thanks for the info. When you’re ready to get mad, lemme know. I’ve got a few ideas for some quads you could tackle!

      1. I suppose I could spend the rest of my career designing quad games. But I won’t; this is me taking a moderately interesting simple system for a spin to see what it can do.
        I’ve said this before in interviews etc. but the criteria I had for choosing the border conflicts I did were:
        – limited in time (days to weeks/months)
        – limited in space (conflict held to a specific area or small space)
        – limited in aims (no wars of annihilation; territorial goals)
        – postbellum status quo was historical outcome, or at least possible (for balance and interest – this one was not always applied)
        So there were a lot of candidates, but I felt just a few fulfilled enough of them to make interesting matchups.


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