Archive For The “Reviews” Category

Classic Reviews: Crosswind, the novel

Brant Guillory, 9 January 2020

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

Crosswind is Steve Rzasa’s first book about the Sark brothers, Winchell and Copernicus.  Winchell is a journalist at a small newspaper, and his brother is a pilot, in the frontier town of Perch.

The brothers stumble into an intrigue filled plot involving a larger town to their South known as Trestleway.

While Cope is the adventurous brother, alternating between stunt pilot antics in the air and ladies man smoothness on the ground, Winch is the conservative family man with a wife and children.  The brothers stumble upon the mystery when Cope flies his brother out to the wreck of another aircraft to take pictures and write a story for the newspaper. A rather unfriendly gentleman masquerading as a local rancher tries to steal a coded message that the brothers discover in the aircraft wreckage. It turns out this man is from Trestleway, and the coded message is a warning of an impending “invasion” that was being flown in by the nephew of Perch’s mayor-general.

The brothers are sent to investigate, and report back to home. Along the way, they discover a variety of intrigue, and a few interesting technical – and mystical – tricks up Trestleway’s sleeves. (more…)

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Combat! Early Impressions of the Game

Combat! Early Impressions of the Game

Billy Riley, 18 December 2019


Combat! is a single soldier (man to man) counter game. Hexes are 20m and the maps provide ample ability to be tactical with many ways to move and many places to hide.

There are 4 maps to fight across and 14 scenarios with 4 being introductory scenarios to help ease you into the game mechanics. (more…)

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Matrix Games’ Command:Modern Operations – First Look!

Matrix Games’ Command:Modern Operations – First Look!

Mike Orwick, 11 December 2019

Command: Modern Operations (CMO) is the successor to Command: Modern Air and Naval Operations (CMANO).  I have had some experience with CMANO, though I never got very deep into it, nor have a played it for a couple of years.  I had just finished reading H-Hour: Northern Fury, which was based on a series of scenarios written for CMANO and had decided to revisit the game.  Before I did, I learned that CMO was coming out soon and decided to wait.

The first thing everyone needs to understand about CMO is that it is a very detailed and complicated game.  The games database is loaded with ships, aircraft, sensors, and weapon systems.  These are not just generic items, but very detailed items based on real world systems.  You don’t just have air to air missiles, you have Sidewinders, Sparrows, Pythons, and all their different variations.  As an example, if you lookup the Sparrow missile in the database, you get 14 variations.  The one thing I would like to see added to the database is a short description section to help novices understand what the general purpose of the system is, and what the differences are between variations.


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Compass Games’ Combat! – First Look!

Compass Games’ Combat! – First Look!

Billy Riley, 9 December 2019

As some of you may be aware, I have been looking for a single unit counter solo board game for some time. I was aware of an older game called Ambush and some of you helped me by throwing some suggestions to me. Unfortunately, most of them were either old – and therefore lack lustre in the graphics department – or card driven games which aren’t wholly my cup of tea.

No. I was looking for Conflict of Heroes or LnL Heroes titles but with the focus on single man counters as opposed to squad/platoon based counters. I wanted that personal attachment to the men under my command.

When I stumbled across a game called Combat! and read about it, I couldn’t believe my luck. I read more. I enjoyed what I was reading. I looked at the pictures and my oh my – this looked exactly like the kind of game I was looking for. Then I saw the price and my heart fell. £135! That was an awful lot of money. How was I going to be able to come by that amount. I didn’t want to take it out the family coffers.

I decided to sell some games. Games that I liked, but hadn’t played for a while and likely wouldn’t play again. Goodbye Hornet Leader (I already had Phantom Leader – my favourite). Au revoir LnL Heroes of Normandy (I have Heroes of The Falklands). Adios B-17 Queen of the Skies (I have Target for Today). Arrivederci Price of Honour (I have Storms of Steel). Now I had the cash.


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First Look at Strategic Command: WWI

First Look at Strategic Command: WWI

Mike Colello, 5 December 2019

Armchair Dragoons takes a first look at Strategic Command: WWI from Matrix Games

Fury Software released their first title in the Strategic Command series in 2002 and have been going strong ever since. Released on December 5, Strategic Command: WWI is an updated version of the original SC: WWI grand strategy game. Those familiar with the classic version will immediately notice a big change in graphics. Not just a visual update, the game now uses hexes instead of tiles.

Click enlarge most images in this article

You can choose to use either 3D or NATO type counters on the map. The game is mod-friendly so it is also possible to create your own counters and maps. In fact, a quick trip over to the Matrix Games forum shows that there is already at least one mod, The Blue Max 2D Counter and Map Mod by IronX that does just that.

And speaking of options, there are plenty to choose from. At the start of a game, even one in progress, you can change both Basic and Advanced settings, although some options can only be set at the start of a new game.


The game also allows you to set friendly controlled Major Powers to AI-controlled if you wish. For example, if you want to just play as Britain you could set the other Entente powers to AI-controlled. It is even possible to switch sides if you wish. You can change these settings at any time during a game, a feature new to this version of Strategic Command: WWI.



As the game progresses you will have to make important strategic decisions that could affect the outcome of the war. When a Decision Event pops up you now have the option to minimize the Decision box and look around the map before choosing a response. Each Decision Event also includes historical notes that you can review.




Another new feature in this version of Strategic Command: WWI is the ability of Destroyers and Torpedo Boats to lay mines. Caution is advised, however, as laying mines in certain strategic locations could actually trigger an event with other nations.




Also as you would expect from a World War I game, Entrenchment is possible for infantry and cavalry units. Trenches can have up to three sides (which is recommended) and will receive defensive bonuses if attacked from one of those sides. The game will even default to which sides should be entrenched based on the proximity and location of enemy units.


If you are familiar with the classic version of this game or have played any of the other titles in the Strategic Command series, you will feel right at home with this version as most of the basic gameplay is the same.

Other new features to this updated version of Strategic Command: WWI include new unit types (ANZACs, Colonial Corps, Mountain Corps), an Enhanced Fog of War that shows the limits of a unit’s spotting range, Dynamic Movement which allows you to re-select and move units with unused Action Points, Naval Cruise movement which allows naval units to move quickly over long distances, and Land Convoys in addition to Sea Convoys. The AI is also rumored to be much improved.

If you are familiar with the classic version of this game or have played any of the other titles in the Strategic Command series, you will feel right at home with this version as most of the basic gameplay is the same. And newcomers to Strategic Command: WWI need not worry. The Strategic Command games are not overly complex and are easy to learn. Strategic Command: WWI’s complexity is on par with games like Panzer Corps and Order of Battle. Strategic Command: WWI also includes and excellent manual that comes in at almost 300 pages. Additionally, three strategy guides are also included that cover the three campaigns included with the game.

The three campaigns included with Strategic Command: WWI are:

  • 1914 Call to Arms
  • 1914 Triple Alliance (where Italy joins the Central Powers)
  • 1917 Fate of Nations

Strategic Command: WWI also includes the same features as the previous edition including: Supply Rules, Partisans, Diplomacy, Weather effects, Research, Production, and Reinforcing.  The new version also supports Single Player, Hotseat, and PBEM++ Online modes of play.

Stay tuned for more as we dig further into the game.

Thanks for reading!  We’d love to have your feedback either in the comment area below, or in our discussion forum.  You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube

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A First Look at Bloody Mohawk: The French & Indian War

Michael Eckenfels, 12 November 2019

If you’re feeling like you need more tactical-sized French and Indian War combat in your life, you might want to take a look at Bloody Mohawk by Lock n’ Load Publishing.

For one or two players, with high solitaire suitability regardless of scenario, this game is, as the title infers, firmly planted in the North American theater of the French and Indian War, fought between the English and the French.


To be clear, the game is not a campaign covering the entire conflict, but rather, a simulation of twelve battles in that campaign. It is meant as a light, introductory-level wargame that can be set up, played, and put away in a short period of time (the game says “about an hour” for each game).


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