Archive For The “Reviews” Category

Classic Reviews: Harbinger

Classic Reviews: Harbinger

By Michael Eckenfels, 19 September

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

Harbinger
The American Heritage Dictionary defines the word “harbinger” as “one that indicates or foreshadows what is to come; a forerunner.” If a game developer could tell the future, they could take everything that will go wrong with a title before it happens and create games with such ardor and primacy that awards would become commonplace – every developer would have such an award. This is, of course, as probable as making a good giant starship-simulator game in the year 3000 A.D., but nobody’s perfect. (more…)

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Classic Reviews: Empires in America (1st Ed)

By Brant Guillory, 29 August 2019

Designed by Joe Miranda for Victory Point Games

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

Victory Point Games is still considered by some to be a “small” publisher.  If so, I’m curious what the definition of “small” is.  These guys churn out a game a week – and excellent games, too.

A perfect blend of size, simplicity, and skill, Empires in America challenges players with an interesting variation on a tower defense scenario, well-blended with a nice dash of history.

One way they’re able to do so is by relying on some well-tested basic mechanics, such as the solo game rules known as the States of Siege series.  These card- and track-movement-driven games provide a player with a significant and well-balanced challenge, in a variety of genres, including the Israeli War for Independence, and the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

Empires in America, the third entry in the States of Siege series, covers the French and Indian Wars in North America.  A precursor to the American War for Independence, the French and Indian Wars were the battles in New World as a part of the larger Seven Years’ War across the globe between various European powers.

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Classic Reviews: Blitzkrieg (PC Game)

Michael Eckenfels, 25 July 2019

Developer: Nival Interactive
Publisher: CDV Software

I’ve reviewed my share of RTS-type games. Heck, I’ve played more than my share. Titles such as WarCraft and StarCraft whetted my appetite for such games: building, training, destroying, encroaching…conquering! Such is the makeup of most serious wargames, whether tactical or strategic in nature, and while an RTS is inherently enjoyable from its base qualities, it’s a very difficult genre to capture effectively across the board.

I had reviewed a similar World War II RTS-type of title recently (Panzer Claws), and while I enjoyed that game, Blitzkrieg is in many ways a fuller experience for a gamer eager to get their fix from World War II era battlefields. And yet, it is still not quite a full RTS game in the same sense that it’s predecessors are.

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Classic Reviews: Africa’s Commandos (book)

Brant Guillory, 11 July 2019

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

A new collection of memoirs and first-hand accounts of the actions throughout the distinguished history of the Rhodesian Light Infantry makes for a compelling read and memorable look into the first-hand accounts of Africa’s bush wars of the 60s and 70s.

We took off en masse, ten G-Cars carrying the 2Cdo troops; ten K-Cars; two
command helicopters and ten G-Cars carrying the Support Commando troops detailed
to man the forward admin base and ferry in fuel and supplies to the target
area.

The flight provided us with some impressive and memorable visuals.
All 32 helicopters were flying in single file through the majestic Penhalonga
Mountains, some of the most magnificent terrain in the world. The troops gazed
in awe at the spectacle as they leaned out of the Alouettes and looked around.

Two or three Canberras thundered low over us en route to their targets.
For a few minutes there was the amazing sight of the command helicopters and the
ten K-Cars peeling off in front of us to position over their allocated targets;
the six paradaks dropping the 3Cdo and the SAS paratroopers; and the Hunters
diving in on their targets. The air was thick with dust and smoke and the
streaks of SNEB rocket trails.

And the tales of Op Dingo – the Rhodesian raid on an ZANLA camp inside Mozambique – put the reader front and center in the battle.  These are not analyses of secondary sources with discussions of geo-political implications.  These are the memories of the men on the ground, at the sharp end of the spear, pulling triggers and “culling floppies.”  This isn’t the news conference soundbite; this is the scene in Blackhawk Down when the choppers are taking off and the trucks are rolling out and Stevie Ray Vaughn’s cover of Voodoo Chile is providing the soundtrack.

As you read the book and pore over the memoirs, however, you realize that although the raid on Chimoio was an aberration in its size and distance from the RLI’s bases inside Rhodesia, the action wasn’t.  These men were a battle-hardened brotherhood who had chased “terrs” (slang for “terrorists”, the ZANLA and ZIPRA guerilla forces) across their entire country, protecting the population from invaders whose semi-safe bases outside of Rhodesia’s borders gave them a geographic and demographic edge.  The RLI didn’t care.  They found a way to succeed in every battle they faced, and along the way became perhaps the most successful counter-guerilla force in history.
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Armchair Dragoons Reviews Buffy the Vampire Slayer – The Board Game

Avery Abernethy, 9 July 2019

BuffyReview1 Box

Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV show ran from the late 1990s to the early 2000s.  Set in the 1990s, Buffy and her friends fought generic vampires, monsters of the week, and a “big bad” who from behind the scenes was responsible for the evil that season.  Buffy had campy evil nemeses, humor, and good acting for a horror/teen romance/teen angst TV show. (more…)

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Classic Reviews: FFG’s original Tide of Iron

Brant Guillory, 6 June 2019

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

click images to enlarge

INTRODUCTION

So you may have heard about this little shooting match that happened waaaaaaaay back in the ‘40s? Started out when the Germans decided they needed a little more elbow room and they decided that Austria, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and most of Western Europe was perfectly suited to their needs? No? Buddy, you really need to read up on your WWII history.

Tide of Iron is a hex-and-figures boardgame (a combination gaining in popularity) covering actions between the US and German forces on the Western Front in WWII. It is played at the tactical level – squads of soldiers and individual vehicles – and decked out in Fantasy Flight’s trademark gorgeous components and graphics.

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