Archive For The “Reviews” Category

Classic Reviews: Aria, Canticle of the Monomyth

Brant Guillory, 30 May 2019

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

An RPG book you could show off on an academic bookshelf.  But what’s the payoff?

click images to enlarge

Digging through my boxes of game books (if you ever want to know exactly how much game stuff you really have, pack up and move a few times) I found this old treasure.

I can remember when I bought it – it looked like what all of us gamers had been holding our breath for all these years: A serious intellectual take on role-playing, which addressed an adult audience in an adult fashion.

It succeeded on that level.

 

archive Aria 74

The front cover is gorgeous.

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Classic Reviews: Aliens versus Predator 2 – Primal Hunt

Michael Eckenfels, 23 May 2019

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

Once More Into the Breach

Aliens vs. Predator 2: Primal Hunt continues the grand tradition of first-person-shooting one’s way through dark, nightmarish corridors populated by ghastly creatures. Insofar as the movie genre is concerned, Aliens vs. Predator 2 is a knockout of a game; as a first-person shooter it is adequate

The location: LV-1201, a planet not much different from LV-426 (the location from the first two movies). The sun never shines, and terrain inspired by a Lovecraftian nightmare mixed with a Dr. Seuss bender adds an impossibly brilliant aspect to the game. The terrain is as deadly serious as the game itself, with three species vying for survival and ultimate possession of a unique and powerful object merely known as “The Artifact.”

AVP2-Artifact

So this is what all the fuss is about? The Aliens sure don’t like it, so it’s important to all three species.

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Armchair Dragoons Reviews Dungeons & Dragons Lords of Waterdeep (PC Version)

Armchair Dragoons Reviews Dungeons & Dragons Lords of Waterdeep (PC Version)

Avery Abernethy, 22 May 2019

D&D Lords of Waterdeep was launched in 2012 as a tabletop boardgame.  It is a worker allocation game in the fantasy Dungeon and Dragons City of Waterdeep.  The game was very well-received, winning the 2013 Origins Best Board Game Award.  Lords of Waterdeep has been a very popular board game.  A whopping 47,000+ people claim to own it on BoardGameGeek making it one of the more popular board games among aficionados.

In Lords of Waterdeep you take the role of a “secret Lord of Waterdeep.”  You get agents every round who can be used to recruit minions of four specialties (fighter, thief, priest and wizard) to solve quests. There are five quest types: warfare, skullduggery, commerce, piety, and arcana.  Your agents recruit minions who are (often) combined with gold to solve quests.  You send agents to get the quests, minions, and gold to complete missions. As you would expect, the quests themselves yield rewards which can be used to solve more quests.

starting game board

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Classic Reviews: Small General Mobile (VR Designs)

Brant Guillory, 16 May 2019

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

Looking for a grognard-quality game in a light, on-the-go package? Walk, don’t run, to your Android phone and grab this little gem.

sg30Is That A Battle In Your Pocket…?

Small General is a light wargame for the Android OS that has a generic-but-roughly-WWII-era theme that offers some interesting tactical challenges in a package that plays quickly, but still offers a robust grog-friendly experience. The “beta” is available as a free download, and includes about 5 scenarios of varying size/challenge. The paid version unlocks significantly more content. Moreover, the AI in the paid version seems to cheat less, but maybe it’s just me!

Small General is played on a hex grid with basic terrain: woods, cities, hills, marshes, etc. Units are presented as counters with attack/defend values, which are updated based on current damage status. Counters may be stacked, and the stacks examined. Additionally, attackers can pick and choose their targets from within an enemy stack. Movement is also rather simple, with a basic touch-screen drag-and-drop interface to move units around. The same motions are used to specify an attack.

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Armchair Dragoons Reviews Aggressors Ancient Rome (Matrix Games)

Armchair Dragoons Reviews Aggressors Ancient Rome (Matrix Games)

Avery Abernethy, 15 May 2019

Aggressors Ancient Rome is a 4x (explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate) strategy game from Kubat Software distributed by Slitherine/Matrix games.

Many 4x games have been released over the years across multiple genres including the development of man from ancient times to the space age (Civilization), development of space faring civilizations (Master of Orion, Space Empires) and Fantasy settings (Warlock; Age of Wonders; Fallen Enchantress). Aggressors enters a crowded 4x field containing both old school favorites and recent releases.

My review is based on more than a hundred and ten hours of play and a cover-to-cover reading of the 225 page manual.  Aggressors has two complete games under the hood, an “everyone starts at the beginning” scramble game and a game starting in the Mediterranean in 282 BC with twenty unequal opponents ranging from highly advanced civilizations (Carthage, Ptolemaic Empire, Rome, Athens) to barbarian tribes.  Both the scramble start game and the 20 opponent 282 BC game were played to completion.   The game is stable and I experienced only one crash playing on a on a one year old Falcon Northwest Talon.  I was given a review copy of the game.

1 Two Games in One

Two games in one

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My Go-To Game: 7 Wonders

My Go-To Game: 7 Wonders

Brant Guillory, 17 April 2019

For a lot of people, their “go-to” game is the game they boot up on the computer when they have time to kill in the evenings, or over a weekend when they’ve got the game on TV and want to safely ignore commercials.  And while I have a few casual “go-to” games in the digital world, I would be remiss if I failed to extoll the virtues of my tabletop “go-to” game for multi-player gatherings: 7 Wonders.

For most wargamers, 7 Wonders barely registered on their radar.  A fast-playing European production, 7 Wonders has an abstract combat mechanic, and one that can be safely ignored and still result in a resounding victory.  With so little battlefield relevance, it’s not wonder that many grogs steered clear of 7 Wonders when it was released.  Their loss.  Seriously.

7WONDERS 3D

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