Friday, October 24, 2014

Once I played A Victory Denied while reading Rise & Fall of the Third Reich and had a moment.

The title really says it all, but if you're still reading, you want more detail.

So ever since I played my first historical wargame I've been reading history.  A lot.  So immediately after I finished reading A World Undone I launched myself into Rise & Fall of the Third Reich.  After all, in the story of WW1, probably one of the most compelling character is Germany, and WW1 ends on such a cliff hanger.

To go with my history books, I like a good solo friendly history game.  So I'm playing A Victory Denied and I'm reading Rise & Fall of the Third Reich.  Suddenly something clicks.  Because I'm reading about the concentration camps.  I'm reading about all the horror of them.  Probably the most vivid and repulsive part was describing the Nazis gassing people with interesting tattoos so they could make lampshades out of their skin.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Augustus Review

I honestly don't remember how Augustus got my attention.  Partially various nominations.  Partially it's Roman theme.  I am a huge Roman history fan after all.  And then lastly, it just looked like a great game to play with my girlfriend.  Gaming isn't her hobby, it's mine, but she's kind enough to indulge me.  Augustus looked like the sort of game we could get through after she's driven 90 minutes through rush hour traffic back home from a 9 hour work day.

Augustus was released in 2013 by Hurrican Games, and was designed by Paolo Mori.  Disappointingly, I have nothing to say about them.  I've never played a game from that designer or publisher before.  However, Augustus is a good first impression.

Augustus is a sort of "Roman Bingo".  You have objective cards, and various icons will be called out, which will allow you to check off requirements for those objective cards.  This is all themed around conquering Provinces and winning over Senators to please the grand Augustus.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

PAX East: Bl4k Lotus sang this song about Race for the Galaxy

I saw this at PAX East and it blew me away. Thankfully someone recorded it. Most of it at least.

Monday, March 24, 2014


Burnout is something we've probably all suffered from at some point.  Something happens to an activity you really enjoy, and all the fun gets sucked out of it.  So much so that we feel compelled to avoid it at all cost.  Which can really suck, because suddenly you are short a hobby that may have really been fulfilling.  It can also really hurt any aspirations of competitive growth if that's your thing.

I've found burnout can come from a lot of sources.  The one that probably happens the most to people is playing a game to death.  I find this to be especially the case when the metagame for your group turns to cement.  Bob always opens with the same strategy obnoxious rushing strategy that feels over powered.  Sue always gangs up against him with Greg.  You know the broad strokes of the game before you even sit down to play it.

Monday, March 17, 2014

First Impressions for March

Hapsburg Eclipse

I only got a single game of Hapsburg Eclipse in since I got it, although I'm hoping to get a bunch more in this week.  It's another States of Siege game, and first off I have to say I love the National Loyalty minigame much more than previous minigames.  The National Loyalty has you constantly rolling to see if your ethnically diverse empire has torn itself apart yet.  Ottoman Sunset's forcing of the narrows minigame felt incredibly tacked on, and poorly integrated.  The National Loyalty in Hapsburg Eclipse feels much more elegantly unified to the rest of the game design.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Agricola Review

When I first got into board gaming, Agricola was the game.  But it looked complicated.  I read the rules online, but didn't get much out of them.  Then I tried it out at a convention, borrowing it from the library.  But you know how library copies of games can be.  Whoever played it last just unceremoniously dumped all the pieces back in the box helter skelter.  So after an hour of sorting everything back out and setting up the game, I got half an attempt in with it, then we had to quit.  I tried again the next day, and this time someone taught us how to play.  Then they left us in the dust.

To put it bluntly, my initial experiences with Agricola did not endear me to the game.  However a nugget of affection stuck with me.  So much so that years later when I was looking for a heftier worker placement game than Lords of Waterdeep or Stone Age, I came back to Agricola.  This time around, my experience has been much better, and it's now one of my favorite games.

Agricola was released in 2007 by Z-Man Games, and was designed by Uwe Rosenberg.  It's a worker placement game that tasks you with building up your farm, and not starving.  Players will have to plow fields and plant crops, raise animals, and build additions onto their house in order to grow their family.  In the midst of all this, you also need to feed your family at an increasing pace.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The 10x10x12 Challenge

So I signed up for the 10x10x12 Challenge for 2014 on BoardGameGeek.  The basis of the challenge is that you pick 10 games, and you try to play them 10 times in 2014.  There is a strong emphasis on playing games you feel you've neglected.  I picked 10 games I thought would be a piece of cake to play 10 times.  I thought I'd love to play them ASAP.  However January went by and I didn't touch a single one of them.  I just got too many games for Christmas and from Kickstarter that I wanted to get in.  Trying to play these 10 games I was chomping at the bit to play in December 2013 has been an insightful experience, almost 2 months into the challenge.

Monday, February 17, 2014

No Retreat: The Russian Front Review

I don't quite remember how No Retreat: The Russian Front got my attention.  It was just one of those games that I saw mentioned here and there.  By the time it got my attention enough for me to investigate further, the deluxe GMT edition was already out of print.  There was the Victory Point Games edition, but I really wanted the mounted board and high quality counters that came with the GMT version.  Now the situation is even worse, with VPG no longer offering an edition, and GMT's version still out of print.  Regardless, one day I was looking for No Retreat: The Russian Front on eBay, and was lucky enough to win a copy for only $40!  I was the only person who even bid on it.  Truly a singular occurrence.

No Retreat is an operational level wargame taking place on the front between Germany and Russia in World War II.  It was designed by Carl Paradis, released by VPG in 2008, and re-released by GMT in 2011.  It's a wargame in the classic hex and counter style, with an emphasis on enemy zones of control, supply, and combat result tables.  It also introduces an engaging modern element with it's masterful use of event cards, which simultaneously represent special abilities, reinforcements, rail capacity and combat initiative on your opponent's turn.  Each individual scenario plays in about 2 hours for me, and the campaign would likely take me all day.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

First Impressions for February

The last month has been very busy for me.  So most of my gaming happened after hours with some amazing solitaire designs.  I discovered John H Butterfield, and his amazing games D-Day at Omaha Beach and RAF: The Battle of Britain 1940.  I also finally tried my first Leader series game with Hornet Leader.  Plus along with all that, I managed to grab a copy of The Hunters pretty much the day before it was announced that it was out of stock.  Aside from those, the only other game which was new to me was Guts of Glory, which I already reviewed.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Guts of Glory Review

Guts of Glory was another Kickstarter I supported back when I first got into Kickstarting projects.  I probably Kickstarted way too many games in a row back then, as evidenced by the glut of Kickstarters I received over the holidays.  However, Guts of Glory stood out with interesting artwork and novel gameplay.  It also looked like it had a substantial amount of development already.  Lastly, the guy who designed it, Zach Gage, also designed an iOS game I enjoyed called SpellTower.

Well, Guts of Glory shipped towards the end of of December 2013, although I got my copy early in January 2014.  I've played it a good amount since, and so far I've really enjoyed it.  It's a drafting game, themed around a post apocalyptic eating contest.  Everyone is a mutant, and you are eating everything left in the world.  It's quite charming actually.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Paper Time Machines.

A recent Victory Point Games newsletter referred to their games as "Paper Time Machines".  I don't know who first uttered those words, but they are brilliant.  They really got me thinking.  Those three words perfectly encapsulate what historical wargaming is to me.  I play them to be transported back in time, and be put in a position where I can see why history unfolded the way it did.  Where I can experience what commanders had to deal with, and why they made the choices they did.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Zulus on the Ramparts Review

Zulus on the Ramparts has been on my wishlist for a long time.  I love the States of Siege series, and Zulus' has gotten great reviews.  But it looked like it strayed quite far from the formula, and I wasn't sure how I felt about that.  I got Zulus for Christmas however, and I've played it nonstop since then.  It's not as easy to get 6 games played in a row, like Soviet Dawn.  But if I play one game, I'm incredibly likely to at least play a second.

Zulus on the Ramparts was released in 2009 by Victory Point Games, and was designed by Joseph Miranda.  It's a single player wargame, based on a battle at a mission station in Africa.  It's 1879, and an enormous hoard of Zulus is descending on the British troops there, who are hopelessly outnumbered, 4000 to 140!  Your goal is to hold out through the night until help gets there.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

First Impressions for January

I've been branching out into a few more games over the past month or so.  Games which I haven't had the opportunity to work on a full review for, and may not for some time.  But I really wanted to say something about them, so here are my first impressions.  I'm expecting to have a full review again next week, and am aspiring to an every other week schedule on full reviews this year.

Red Winter

I got this wargame mostly because of it's solitaire potential.  What I found was a game that easily ranks up there with No Retreat in terms of simplicity, and relatively reduced counter clutter.  It is a far more deterministic game however, with slightly less of a resource management aspect.  It is tactical after all.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Star Realms Review

Star Realms is a Kickstarter project that ran in October, and went out to backers in December.  Personally, I almost didn't back it because that just seemed to wildly impossible.  But it arrived the day after Christmas, and I've played it constantly since it got here.

Star Realms is a sci-fi themed deck building game, most closely related to Ascension.  It was designed by Robert Dougherty and Darwin Kastle and published by White Wizard Games.  Robert Dougherty in specific put a lot of work into the Ascension series, which explains how closely related the two games feel.