Archive For The “Reviews” Category

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.

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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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A First Look at The Pacific War: From Pearl Harbor To The Philippines

Michael Eckenfels, 5 November 2019

Full disclosure up front: I was commissioned by David Heath at Lock n’ Load Publishing to re-edit the rules to this game, as they were fairly atrocious (my opinion). I was compensated for this work, but I still will speak freely about this first look article for the game. This might be a bit more than an unboxing article, but will fall short of a full review.

Let’s speak a bit more about the rules before proceeding. The rules were originally translated (and very well I might add) from the original Japanese. You see, this game was originally published in Japan; I don’t know a lot about its history then, so I cannot speak to it offhand. Since the rules were translated from Japanese, some ambiguities were left. Though the translation was excellent, there were a lot of instances where the different languages do not translate well, which led to some unclear points.

 

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The Pacific War: From Pearl Harbor to the Philippines (let’s say it’s The Pacific War for the rest of this article) is a grand-scale, two-player card and counter game that reflects the entire war in the Pacific in one sitting. Counters represent forces in the game (e.g., ships and aircraft), and cards represent both events as well as resources that are used to conduct actions.

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Unboxing Stalingrad ’42

Michael Eckenfels, 30 October 2019

To put it in a, as Bob48 would say, “smart-arse” way, a P500 is a landmine of fun where you bet your credit card number on possibility of getting a GMT game that you’re pretty stoked about. When the game’s goal is met and goes to the printer, you get an email saying your CC is about to get charged for a game you, likely in a haze of the past (because who remembers what happened yesterday, let alone six months ago), jumped all in to get.

I’m not speaking of Kickstarter, of course – which is, I’m happy to say, something that’s not yet gotten its claws into me. Though, I can no longer now say that about P500 games. Oh sure, I’ve signed up for plenty of them in the past, but I usually end up going back and cancelling them later. What seemed like a great idea at the time ends up being masticated in my head a bit more, and suddenly no, I decide I don’t need a game about wizards in submarines (which isn’t a thing…yet).

I’m currently in on The Hunted: Twilight of the U-Boats, 1943-1945 and Mr. President, two games I’d really like to get my hands on – especially the latter. I did just yesterday add SpaceCorp: Ventures to my P500 list. SpaceCorp is a fantastic game and you should certainly check out the AAR that I wrote in 21 parts.

The first P500 I ever ordered, though, just arrived last night. I unfortunately did not have time to do a video, nor do a punch-and-clip, but I did have time to take a lot of pictures and throw them together into an article for your reading pleasure. The P500 in this case is Stalingrad ’42.

 

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This game is a division-level simulation of the Axis 1942 summer offensive against southern Russia. For some reason, it is among one of my favorite campaigns to read about and play games about, though I am sorely lacking in the game department when it comes to that particular part of the War. This one was designed by Mark Simonitch and is apparently very similar to Ukraine ’43 (one I was interested in but missed out on). Mark also designed Ardennes ’44 and Holland ’44, of which I own the latter but have yet to get to the table, strangely enough (shut up, mirth).

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Immersive Battle Maps Kickstarter Delivery

Immersive Battle Maps Kickstarter Delivery

Brant Guillory, 23 October 2019

Tanner Yarro launched a Kickstarter earlier this year for a set of “immersive battle maps” that would be bound in a book, but lay flat for RPG use.  I pledged at the lowest level, and did not add on any of the options.  The sample maps quite attractive, and the idea of an oversize book (11×17 closed) that I could pull out for a quick skirmish was too good to pass up for under $40.

Now, the original delivery date was supposed to be May, and here we are in October and it just showed up.  Yes, that’s way late.  But Tanner Yarro never left backers in the dark about the status of production, or shipping, and was very forthcoming on the current state of the project such that when the delays popped up, there was no mystery as to whitings were moving slowly.

So how does the finished product look?  In a word….  amazing.

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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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