Paul Koenig

My first wargame was Avalon Hill's D-Day (1977) for Christmas in 1979. Earlier in the year, my brother had received Air Assault on Crete for his birthday and it proved to be too complicated for us. D-Day was perfect, however, and I've been hooked ever since. For my birthday (just 12 days after Christmas), my sister gave me SPI's Kharkov (boxed edition), and I was really in heaven. A few months later I rode my bike to the local game store in Newport Beach, CA, to spend my $20 birthday money. I knew that I wanted a strategic-level WW2 game, so the choices boiled down to Third Reich or War in Europe. I chose 3R, partly because it was cheaper, but mainly because it was only one large map (instead of 9!).

In those early days I primarily played my next door neighbor, Richard Seibert. Richard and I have been best friends for nearly 40 years and he has been the chief playtester on all of my designs. In the late 1980s he joined the Army and became a tanker, and I took the time while he was gone to hone my wargame skills. When he first returned from leave I shocked him when I beat him at Waterloo. The little kid who didn't know what a flank was the year before had grown up.

By 1989 I was ready to start playtesting and try my hand at designing. Our first playtest gig was for GRD's Second Front. Unfortunately, little of what the playtesters said made an impact and the published game was a disaster. Just too many air units. At the same time, with the help of Richard and our friend Philip Towne, we began work designing Twilight of the Gods. Twilight essentially is an amalgamation of our two favorite games, Fortress Europa and The Russian Campaign. Unfortunately, with the untimely passing of Philip, that game has been shelved at about 80% completion for nearly 20 years.

Several playtests and about 15 years later and I was once again ready to design. I had always wanted an easy yet historically accurate game on the Battle of Shiloh. One night in 2006 I had one of those eureka moments and I jumped out of bed to get to work. I had decided to adapt Avalon Hill's Gettysburg (1977) to Shiloh. The end result worked perfectly and my professional designing career was (almost) born. I sold Shiloh: Bloody April, 1862 to Decision Games in early 2008. However, the game was not published until 2010, inside Strategy & Tactics #264. By that time I had been published several times by VPG.

After leaving the employ of DG in May 2008, I approached Alan Emrich with my Normandy series of introductory games. He loved them. With his personal guidance, Paul Koenig's D-Day was born and a career launched. I am forever indebted to Alan for having the confidence in me as a designer. PKDD was followed shortly thereafter with Paul Koenig's Market-Garden.

Throughout all of this time I had also been working on a redesign of Fortress Europa for L2 Design Group. After sitting in limbo for more than six years, and the demise of L2 all but official, I decided to form my own company in order to publish Paul Koenig's Fortress Europe. I also took more of Alan's advice and pulled the plug on Chancellorsville that was scheduled to be published by Legion Wargames. Legion does great stuff and I am indebted to Randy Lein. However, I knew that Paul Koenig Games (PKG) would have growing pains, and it was decided better to start with a small project like Chance than a large one like PKFE.

PKG was officially formed on April 20, 2013. I am not sure if having Hitler's birthday as an anniversary is ominous or not for a wargame company. Chance was published on May 22, 2013, followed six months later with PKFE on Veterans' Day.

But even with the formation of PKG, I still find time to work with the great folks at VPG. Paul Koenig's The Bulge: 6th Panzer Army, the first of a new series, was published in late December. Look for 5th Panzer Army in late 2014. I am also working on the XXX Corps Expansion Kit to PKMG.

A word on my design philosophy, if I might. Long ago I read Jim Dunnigan's book on wargame design. And what I took from it was KISS. With virtually all of my designs I have emphasized playability over historical accuracy. I design games based upon history, not simulations. If historical accuracy is your guidepost, play Campaign for North Africa. I prefer to play games that are fun, easy, and "rooted" in historical research.

Lastly, I am currently designing several games for PKG. Gettysburg is "ready" from a design/development perspective and only awaits sufficient pre-payment orders. I will be attending CSW Expo 2014 later this year and playtesting Tora! Tora! Tora!, which is basically War in the Pacific-lite. Come join us if you are there.