Archive For The “Reviews” Category

First Look at the new Siege of the Citadel

First Look at the new Siege of the Citadel

Jim Owczarski, 7 March 2019

It seems like a lifetime ago — admittedly it was 1993, which for some reading this is a lifetime — that Richard Borg released “Siege of the Citadel”, his mass-market introduction to the world of the Mutant Chronicles. The latter was ever an attempt to knock Games Workshop’s Warhammer: 40,000 from its perch atop the world of ultra-violent future dystopia tabletop skirmish gaming.

Coming as it did on the heels of the mass market success of “HeroQuest”, however, “Siege of the Citadel” shipped laden with toys: a shovel-load of decently-sculpted plastic miniatures, bright plastic game components, and even a garish cardboard and plastic citadel over which the sides could fight. Players led teams of elite commandos, each team typed after one of the human nations which had taken over a planet in our solar system, against an army of demons. Gameplay was simple and moved very quickly. I fell so hard for the system, and was so disgusted by the changes being made to WH:40K, that I eventually bought three copies of the boardgame just to have the figures. (more…)

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Classic Reviews: Cactus Throne (ATO)

CRCT magcover

The cover of the magazine

On #TBT, we bring you the occasional classic article – an older review or analysis piece we wanted to rescue

Brant Guillory, 20 December 2018

An early game from Against The Odds Magazine that looks at what was going on while us Americanos were recovering from the US Civil War / War Between The States / War of Northern Aggression / “The Wahr” ~

INTRODUCTION

Cactus Throne is an operational/strategic-level game that covers the war in Mexico between the Republican Mexican government forces, and the Imperial forces of France, Britain, Spain, Austria, and their Mexican allies. The war was originally fought between 1862-1867.

Although there were significant political machinations that affected the campaign, especially in Europe, the game focuses on the allocation of forces within Mexico, and control of the important areas of country.

Some of the political events are included as random events. Additionally, there are events that could have happened, but did not, such as the appearance of both Union and Confederate forces from the American Civil War. Cactus Throne does include some elements of seapower, but only to the extent that it affected the land battles. Ship-to-ship combat is not simulated.

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Classic Reviews: Runebound 2nd Ed (FFG)

On #TBT, we bring you the occasional classic article – an older review or analysis piece we wanted to rescue

Brant Guillory, 29 November 2018

  • Pros:  Well-balanced, nifty movement mechanics, gorgeous.
  • Cons:  Little interaction between players, needs a lot of table space.

Some gamers love the intricate role-playing game full of soliloquies, conspiracy theories, and more character development than a British melodrama.  Others would rather dispense with the backstory, role-play an archetypal character, and kick butt.  In the early days of computer games, most fantasy ‘role-playing’ was the former, not the latter.  Runebound strikes me as one of these computer games, transported to a board game environment.
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Battles of North Africa 1941 Preview (WDS & JTS)

Battles of North Africa 1941 Preview (WDS & JTS)

Jim Owczarski, 17 November 2018

There must be something to this.  While it is neither chronologically nor in absolute terms my first wargaming love, there is something about World War II’s struggle in the desert that appeals.

Jackson Bentley:  What is it, Major Lawrence, that attracts you personally to the desert?
T.E. Lawrence:  It’s clean.
–Lawrence of Arabia

Monty, Rommel, the “Desert Rats”, the “Afrika Korps”, are all evocative enough, but what is it about the theater itself?  A vast expanse of sand and forbidding ground; oppressive heat; and armies sweeping back and forth a space far too great for them ever to command. It had none of the hedgerows, sunken roads, farm fields, and tree-covered hillsides of Normandy.  Nor did it play host to the barely-imaginable hordes of the Eastern Front.  And yet we have gamed it again and again.

Consider just the best-known games; games that many who read the articles on this site have been playing for years:  Afrika Korps, Tobruk, Rommel in the Desert, DAK (1 and 2), and, always good for a cheap laugh, Campaign for North Africa.  Combat Mission: Afrika Korps is, for some, the most missed of the series’ first iteration.  And newer consims like Revolution Games’ Operation Battleaxe and Gazala: the Cauldron have been very well received.

MyGuy

And they had this dude.

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Classic Reviews: Dust (FFG)

On #TBT, we bring you the occasional classic article – an older review or analysis piece we wanted to rescue

Brant Guillory, 15 November 2018

– Number of players:  2-6
– Designed for ages: 12 and up
– Learning Curve: Low to Medium
– Playing time: 1-3 hours
– Pros:  Visually grand; familiar mechanics; lots of choices for players
– Cons:  Backstory irrelevant to gameplay; some game effects not clearly explained

Final Word:  Great chips-and-soda game that is familiar in gameplay, but with just enough added complexity to keep players engaged throughout the game. Combat is nuanced but still fast-flowing, and players have to make serious strategic choices at every turn.

Dust, Fantasy Flight’s new “big box” game, is based on the comics of the same name, in which history was altered by the discovery of alien technology on a polar expedition early in WWII.  You now know more than you need to know about the backstory of the game in order to play it.  But don’t let that get you down, because Dustis a great game, regardless of the story behind it.

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The Best of the Jena-Auerstedt Games

The Best of the Jena-Auerstedt Games

Jim Owczarski, 9 November 2018

 

And now, as I write this, fall has come to the American Midwest.  Football (our flavor) is being played in earnest, a chill is felt in the air, and the leaves have begun to turn.

That means it is time to think of Jena-Auerstedt one last time.

Unlike Waterloo which has been distilled to consims many times — only the unwashed say too many — the double-battle of 14 October 1806 is more slightly covered.  This is not to say there are not some fine offerings, and I would like to take a moment to introduce you to the five I like best. (more…)

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