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Interview with Ray Weiss from Conflict Simulations LLC  Ray, please give us a bit of background on you, and how...

Interview with Ray Weiss from Conflict Simulations LLC Interview with Ray Weiss from Conflict Simulations LLC

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

Ray Weiss

Interview with Ray Weiss from Conflict Simulations LLC

 Ray, please give us a bit of background on you, and how you got into designing games?

 32-year-old from NYC, previously a touring musician that managed to screw up every other job I had other than this one. I started off designing RPGs 10 years ago, and wargames for the past 3-5 years. I majored in History and Political Science in college and was already into strategy games, the first time I laid eyes on a proper hex and counter wargame (John Tiller’s East Prussia 14) I was entranced. Experiencing that kind of control and attention to detail enraptured me to no end, and soon after I moved onto board games as I stare at screens enough all day. After getting sick of waiting for others to check out and publish my games, I decided to just jump off the deep end and publish them myself. I’ve now been running CSL for 2 years. 

 So what wargames have you developed, or working on?

Wargames I’ve Designed which are currently shipping:
1916 – Operational combat @ Verdun
1950 – Strategic Korean War
1812 – Strategic Napoleon’s Invasion of Russia
1987 – Operational What if Kaliningrad
1864 – Grand Tactics 2nd Schleswig War
AGN – Operational Barbarossa
AGC – Operational Barbarossa
AGS – Operational Barbarossa
1995 – Strategic What if Yugoslavia
1870 – Operational Franco Prussian War
1968 – Strategic Tet Offensive
1914 The World Undone: East Prussia – Operational Tannenberg

 If you had the chance and all the time in the world, what game would you design?

 Maybe a tangent, but my dream would be to design a computer or video game at some point, something like a CRPG, roguelike, or something as equally niche as wargaming, if not a computer wargame itself. One of the main reasons I got into analog design though was because I am so bad at programming so there’s that. One of the benefits to running your own publishing company is that you get to publish whatever you want, so I'm very fulfilled in terms of the stuff I’m working on, from the Eastern Front in 1914, an American WW1 What-if, Diadochi and more.

 Diadochi, that really hits the time period I enjoy gaming the most. Please hurry up with that design.

 What plans do you have for you and your company in the future?

  I am hoping to release an upgraded/deluxe version of our Destroy All Monsters series of games (AGN, AGC, AGS) which combine for a larger mini-monster type game. We’ve made the print larger, rewritten some chapters for clarity, and tweaked the exclusive rules for each module for historical accuracy and balance. I think it’s probably wishful thinking but I was hoping to get Imperial Bayonets: Sedan 1870 done or close to done this month, but I’ve been compulsively refining and perfecting the rules for this series making sure everything makes sense. The world undone is probably our simplest game at 6 pages of rules, whereas Imperial Bayonets is maybe our most complex system with both series and exclusive rules, similar to OSG’s Library of Napoleonic Battles (the system is similar as well). Basically, I hope to get most of if not all of everything that’s been up for pre-order the past 2 years out this year, which is a sh*t ton of work, but such is my (lovely) lot in life. 

 From what games and designers do you get your inspiration?

 One thing I’d hope sets my games apart from other contemporary publishers is that I really attempt to put many of the same design principles as practiced by SPI into practice. I prefer older games as I find them more immersive and less distracting, along with often times being more historical. My favorite designer is John Young of SPI who tragically died pretty young, but designed my favorite wargame The Marne, after him would be Kevin Zucker, who was gracious enough to encourage and help my initial efforts at design, and finally David Isby who designed SPI’s Soldiers and East Front Quad. I believe these designers represent a holistic approach to design in which every aspect of a game works to support another, there is little to no “chrome” in most of their games, and the games are historically accurate above all else.

 Full disclosure; I invested in a preorder of Ray's 'Imperial Bayonets: Solferino 1859: For Liberty & Lombardy. I couldn't help it, another of my favorite historical times.

 Thank you Sir, and good luck with your designing and company.

Here is the link to Conflict Simulations LLC: