Archive For The “Features” Category

Armchair Dragoons Reviews Masks of Nyarlathotep and Companion (Chaosium)

By Avery Abernethy, 24 October 2018

Masks of Nyarlathotep was first published way back in 1984 as one of the first adventures for the then new RPG Call of Cthulhu.  It is a huge adventure with the investigators attempting to stop a world-wide conspiracy to bring chaos and destruction to the world. Masks has been reprinted many times and with the advent of the internet will probably always be available for sale online in pdf form.  But Masks has remained so popular that its publisher has regularly released a new print edition every decade or so. (more…)

Read more »

Armchair Dragoons Reviews Napoleon: 1806 by Shakos

Armchair Dragoons Reviews Napoleon: 1806 by Shakos

Jim Owczarski, 13 October 2018

There is a sea-change afoot in wargaming and it is honestly unlike any I have seen in my lifetime.  For those keeping score at home, I am old enough to have watched “Good Times” before syndication.

designers should seek, using clear rules and transparent systems, to make a historical “argument”

The coming of the hobby boardgame, particularly the euro, has washed through the industry like a Spring rain.  Companies that were once almost exclusively committed to chits, hexes, and CRTs are letting heresies like wooden pieces, cards, and even table-free combat systems into their offerings.  Perhaps nothing is bigger, though, than the demand that consims should be more than elaborate statistics, detailed maps, and tottering stacks of chits.  There is a desire — which I first heard spoken by Dr. Bruce Geryk — that game creators no longer try to supplant design with detail or, perhaps more accurately, to conceal poor design under a mound of detritus.  On the contrary, designers should seek, using clear rules and transparent systems, to make a historical “argument”, if you will, regarding the event they are portraying and let the players make their way through it.  In the end the player can agree or disagree with the argument, but through this process the designer will communicate to the player and open up the history on the table.  This must not be taken as an excuse for ahistorical nonsense masquerading as simplicity, but instead a demand that designers, well, do better.

(more…)

Read more »

Armchair Dragoons reviews the Eldritch Horror Board Game

Armchair Dragoons reviews the Eldritch Horror Board Game

by Avery Abernethy, 10 October 2018

Eldritch Horror is a world-spanning boardgame within the Lovecraftian Horror world published by Fantasy Flight Game.  In Eldritch Horror from one to eight players cooperatively attempt to forestall the horrors from beyond time and space from eating the entire world.

Unlike Arkham Horror, Eldritch Horror requires a lot of globetrotting.  Your players must frequently spend precious time traveling long distances to fight monsters, obtain clues and close gates. Unlike some games, the chosen opponent is not run by one of the players.  Instead, cards are turned over and the effects on the individual players, cities, and the world is executed after the player’s turn.

Eldritch 4

Adventurers in Shanghai

(more…)

Read more »

Wargaming Evolved: We’ll Always Have Hexes

Wargaming Evolved: We’ll Always Have Hexes

by Gary Mengle, 8 October 2018

Around 1998 I declared wargaming as a hobby finished, washed my hands of it and sold off most of my games.

Yeah. That was dumb.

I mean, it seemed logical at the time. The wargame-as-simulation designs that the hobby was then still in the grip of could clearly be better accomplished on computers. Non-CCG tabletop gaming was getting crowded out of retail spaces and conventions. Gamers’ time was increasingly being devoured by computer games. And wargaming, by then a niche for the better part of two decades, was the first to vanish from the major convention scene.

Digital wargaming

Digital wargaming

(more…)

Read more »

Adventures in Napoleonicisms: An Auerstedt Travelogue

by Jim Owczarski, 6 October 2018

In the Summer of 2017, I spent two wonderful weeks chasing after Napoleonic glory in what was once East Germany.  I have written at length about my experience of researching and eventually visiting Jena, but have neglected to report on what I think is both one of the most pristine and most intriguing of the Napoleonic battlefields I have have been to: Auerstedt.

In this case, however, Auerstedt is sufficiently intact to have permitted me to find each of the viewing points recommended by the book and these, in turn, inform the narrative that follows.

Telling the story briefly, in October 1806, Napoleon, stealing a march on the uxorious Fredrick William III, drove his armies into Thuringia with the intent of destroying the Prussian army before it could attack.  Wrong-footed by the rapid French advance, the Prussians began a retreat from their forward positions, intending to form a new defensive line in the vicinity of Leipzig.  The Emperor, however, did not wait and his V Corps first caught up with and routed the Prussians at Saalfeld (10 October).  Then, three days later, Napoleon himself caught up with what he assumed was the main Prussian army near Jena.  He determined to attack early on the morning of the 14th, but, in the meanwhile, sent both Marshals Bernadotte and Davout on a long flank march to the North and East to cut off the likely route of the Prussian retreat. (more…)

Read more »

Field of Glory vs C&C: Ancients – A Comparison of Digital Wargames

Field of Glory vs C&C: Ancients – A Comparison of Digital Wargames

by Jim Owczarski, 2 October 2018

Given what is about to happen here, I really ought to establish my bona fides.  I am a huge fan of Richard Borg’s Commands and Colors series. I own the entirety of the Ancients series and have taught it as an introductory wargame at Origins.  I think its clean design and relative simplicity make it one of the the best gateways to this hobby of which I am so fond.

Despite this, when GMT Games announced that it had partnered with Hexwar to bring C&C:A to the PC, I was skeptical.  For me, C&C in all its flavors is the perfect game for face-to-face play.  The learning curve is reasonable, the time commitment is modest, and it still brings a decent amount of historical flavor.  As much as I love more complicated games, my ratio of C&C played to any other system these days is very high.  As a result, I felt no particular need for a digital version.

And then there is the fact that Field of Glory 2 exists. (more…)

Read more »