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Game Design: Pierre Razoux

Game Development and Editing: Paul Rohrbaugh

Playtesting: Brian Brennan, Alan Emrich, André Fages, Kevin Fortuna, Michel Goya, Lance McMillan, Paul Rohrbaugh, Pierre Pahlavi and Patrick Ruestchmann.

Bloody Dawns: The Iran-Iraq War is a two-player grand strategic level card driven wargame depicting the struggle between Iraq and Iran from September 1980 to August 1988. This terrible confrontation between Saddam Hussein and Ayatollah Khomeini drastically changed the geopolitical balance of power in the Gulf and was the last Total War of the 20th Century. Its events still shape and influence those of today.


Each turn represents four months of real time and is divided into two phases; one for the player who has the initiative and one for the other player (see the Sequence of Play in the Chart).  The cards constitute the driving mechanism of the game, allowing for the movement of units, offensives or replacements, generating specific events, and influencing combat resolution.

I was greatly helped to design this card-driven game by my long-term experience as a player and by the years of researches spent for drafting my book on the Iran-Iraq War published by Harvard University Press. My deep knowledge of the military, political, diplomatic and economic events was essential in identifying the key historical events and assets which are represented by cards, but also to ensure that the scenarios are well balanced, fun to play, and at the same time very close to what happened in reality.

The key difficulty was indeed to find the best game system to reproduce a war which was mostly static and which length eight years. Quite a challenge! After several attempts, I opted for a grand strategic card driven game with boxes, instead of hexagons, and for 4 month turns. The card driven system maintains suspense and obliges the players to co-ordinate carefully their actions.---Pierre Razoux

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