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Posted on Jun 12, 2022 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

From the Halls of Montezuma to “The Shores of Tripoli” Board Game Review

From the Halls of Montezuma to “The Shores of Tripoli” Board Game Review

The Shores of Tripoli Board Game Review.  Publisher: Fort Circle Games  Designer:  Kevin Bertram  Price $60.00 Passed Inspection:   tense game play; easy to learn; a lovely game; solo or two players; excellent replayability; great value for the price; historical supplement included; very educational Failed Basic: Absolutely nothing After the Revolutionary War, American merchant vessels sailed the 7 seas but those merchant ships no longer could rely on the protection of the British navy.  Starting in 1785, the Barbary States (Morocco, Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli) captured over a dozen American merchant ships and took their crews hostage.  In the late 1790s, the Barbary States “offered” to “control” the pirates if America paid a monetary tribute to their governments.  The US government refused to pay the protection money and Tripoli declared war on the US.  In 1801, Thomas Jefferson ordered the US Navy to send armed frigates to blockade Tripoli.  The war against the Barbary Pirates had begun and would be  a trial by combat for the US Navy and the...

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Posted on Apr 16, 2022 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Opening a New Front Against the Ottomans. “On to Baghdad: The Campaign in Mesopotamia & Persia, 1914-1918”. Board Game Review

Opening a New Front Against the Ottomans. “On to Baghdad: The Campaign in Mesopotamia & Persia, 1914-1918”. Board Game Review

On to Baghdad: The Campaign in Mesopotamia & Persia, 1914-1918. Publisher: Decision Games. Designer: Joseph Miranda. Price $49.99 Passed inspection: An engaging game of an obscure First World War campaign. Attractive hex map that showcases the theater while integrating most of the charts and tables around the perimeter. Large, legible counters. Failed basic: A handful of minor typos on counters and text, but the majority of these were caught and integrated into the text before the rules were printed.    Mention a conflict in Iraq and most folks will think of the recent 21st invasion and occupation by the United States and her allies to replace the Iraqi government and nominally secure the flow of oil. But a century earlier, another global power waged a multi-year war to take control of Iraq and Iran (Persia) in order to…secure the flow of oil. The more things change, the more they stay the same. It’s a campaign that first came to my attention via the book Wings Over Mesopotamia by Mark...

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Posted on Apr 10, 2022 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

A World War I Card Game with Incredible Art and Great Game Play!  MacGowan & Lombardy’s The Great War Card Game Review

A World War I Card Game with Incredible Art and Great Game Play! MacGowan & Lombardy’s The Great War Card Game Review

MacGowan & Lombardy’s The Great War Card Game Review.  Publisher: Lombardy Studios and RBM Studio  Designer:  Dana Lombardy  Art Director: Rodger B. MacGowan  Price $49.00 Passed Inspection:   solo or two player; great value for the money; beautiful artwork; easy to learn but challenging to master; includes a War of the Worlds expansion; includes a teaching aid to teach students about World War I Failed Basic:  I would have liked to see a little more clarity on what deck is where on the player’s mat, maybe some text to one side saying something like “Bonus Deck”. A Beautiful Box  MacGowan & Lombardy’s The Great War Card Game is a beautifully designed game with elegant game play created by the award winning game designer Dana Lombardy and featuring artwork by the legendary Rodger MacGowan.  It not only features new World War I themed art by MacGowan but also features reprints of much of his World War I game artwork for such publishing companies as GMT Games. So what’s in the box? ...

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Posted on Mar 11, 2022 in Boardgames

First Look: Salerno ’43 from GMT Games

First Look: Salerno ’43 from GMT Games

My P500 order of Salerno ’43 arrived in the post this week. Here’s a quick unboxing video and perusal of the contents of the box. I’m looking forward to this as it’s my first time playing a game in the series. We’ll get a more in depth look at the components up...

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Posted on Feb 19, 2022 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

GMT Games P500 Offering “Infernal Machine: Dawn of Submarine Warfare” Aims to Explores the Role of Submarines in the American Civil War.

GMT Games P500 Offering “Infernal Machine: Dawn of Submarine Warfare” Aims to Explores the Role of Submarines in the American Civil War.

By Ray Garbee Infernal Machine: Dawn of Submarine Warfare – P500 Campaign. Publisher: GMT Games. Designer: Ed Ostermeyer and Jeremy White.  P500 Preorder Price $55.00 After playing Nicola Saggini and David Thompson’s solitaire game By Stealth and Sea (DVG, 2020), I started to think about what other periods would lend themselves to a similar type of game. The challenge of using ‘bleeding edge’ technology where you were fighting your own equipment as much as the enemy was an interesting way to depict how warfighting can drive technological innovation (and to a degree, vice versa). In conversation with Matt, one of my long-time wargaming associates, we thought that a similar game covering the exploits of submarine warfare during the American Civil War posed similar challenges and would be an interesting topic. I resolved to pull together various reference books off the shelf and then we would sit down and start to envision what such a game would look like. Before we made any appreciable progress (well, I did have a...

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Posted on Feb 5, 2022 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

One book – hours of World War II adventures!  Bismarck Solitaire Book -Game  Review

One book – hours of World War II adventures! Bismarck Solitaire Book -Game Review

Bismarck Solitaire Book- Game Review.  Publisher: Worthington Publishing   Designer:  Mike Wylie, Sean Cooke and Grant Wylie  Price $29.95 Passed Inspection:  full solo experience, easy to learn but difficult to master, multiple skill levels as each scenario gets more challenging if played in order, multiple strategies  to win, good  A/I, the whole game is in the book – you just need a photocopier, dice and a pencil, perfect for trips or to pay in the car Failed Basic: would have loved an advanced game with more detail Worthington Publishing’s Bismarck Solitaire is, to put it simply, a brilliant game.  The game is a book and the book is the game.  The book is 58 pages with 4 pages of rules, 2 pages of example play and important game concepts.  The other 52 pages are scenarios, the game’s artificial intelligence charts (called “Event Charts”) and the history of the campaigns in the North Atlantic. Bismarck The artwork and graphic design work on the game are first rate.  Each scenario includes a...

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Posted on Jan 30, 2022 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

The Kriegsmarine threatens Britain’s Atlantic lifeline in GMT Games, “Atlantic Chase: The naval war in the Atlantic 1939-1943”. Board Game Review.

The Kriegsmarine threatens Britain’s Atlantic lifeline in GMT Games, “Atlantic Chase: The naval war in the Atlantic 1939-1943”. Board Game Review.

Atlantic Chase: The Kriegsmarine Against the Home Fleet. Publisher: GMT Games. Designer: Jeremy White. Price $85.00 Passed inspection: A multi-layered operational game covering maritime operations from 1939 through 1943.Extensive two-player and solitaire scenarios. Well laid-out rulebook(s) nicely cross-referenced with the play aid charts. Failed basic: “Failed basic” is an overly harsh term here. We could quibble over how specific ships are rated for firepower and if the effect of airstrikes is overstated or understated. But the biggest challenge is that Atlantic Chase is a radically different game from what traditional naval gamers are used to playing. The block format of the trajectories may be off-putting to old school hex and counter grognards. But work through the pain, folks – this is a great game! steamed for the Jutland coast into bad weather and stumbled upon our quarry. After a short exchange of gunfire, the Germans managed to break contact. In the morning, the storm had passed and the real battle began. Luftwaffe dive bombers and torpedo planes repeatedly struck...

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Posted on Dec 30, 2021 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

The Best Games of 2021!

The Best Games of 2021!

2021 was a challenging year for most of us but at least some great games were released to help ease the pain.   Enjoy this list of Armchair General’s Tope Games of 2021!   Corvette Command Designer: Alan Eagle. Corvette Command creates a narrative of events in a way similar to the classic board game “B-17 Queen of the Skies”. Your escort vessel is tied to supporting the convoy (barring some random events) and moves across the sea zones. In each zone, you check for a number of events and try to repair damage. With a little luck, you’ll avoid the U-boats and make it to your destination. The game covers events for the two-year period from May 1941 through May 1943. This is a free print and play game that can be played in a small footprint with optional advanced rules that enable you to play a quick set up one-off game or a two-player game and introduce greater level of detail. There’s even a VASSAL module available (thank you Lee...

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Posted on Dec 28, 2021 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Tank Duel takes to the Desert – Tank Duel Expansion 1 North Africa and Tank Pack 1 –   Board Game  Review

Tank Duel takes to the Desert – Tank Duel Expansion 1 North Africa and Tank Pack 1 – Board Game Review

Tank Duel Expansion 1 North Africa Board Game Review.  Publisher: GMT Games   Designer:  Mike Bertucelli  Price $70 and  Tank Pack 1 $38 Passed Inspection:  beautiful components, new rules for the North African environment, new rules for infantry and anti-tank guns, night combat, open topped vehicles, recon units, multi-gun tanks, updated solo rules Failed Basic: nothing at all Box Art  The crew of the Marder II worked like a finely oiled machine as the driver put the tank hunter in to a hull down position near a depression in the desert.  The commander spotted a Crusader moving at cruising speed in the distance.  “Probably on a scouting mission or maybe it got separated from its unit after the sandstorm cleared,” thought the commander.  He and his crew were green but were trusted enough by his unit to put his Marder on an over watch mission. “Load AP.”  he said.  “AP loaded answered the loader”.  “Target  Mk II Crusader.  900 meters.  Fire when ready” he ordered.  His gunner fired but the...

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Posted on Dec 9, 2021 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

It’s Epic High Fantasy in a Tiny Box!  Mini Rogue  Board Game  Review

It’s Epic High Fantasy in a Tiny Box! Mini Rogue Board Game Review

Mini Rogue Board Game Review.  Publisher: Nuts! Expert   Designer:  Paolo Di Stefano and Gabriel Gendron  Price $25.00 Passed Inspection:  full solo or two player adventure in a small box; fun artwork; high quality components; tons of replay value for the money; great optional rules; campaign included Failed Basic: when playing the wizard, it’s a little unclear as to how you can get your spells back after you use them; some of the icons need a little more explanation When I was a 12 year old child I first discovered Dungeons and Dragons at a candy store owned by a dentist (he was probably investing in making sure he had future work as a dentist) in Dayton, Ohio.  At one corner of the candy store was a section which included Dungeons and Dragon Basic Sets and the hard cover Advanced Dungeons and Dragons books – Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide and the Monster Manual.  He also had Ral Partha miniatures made out of real lead and tons of dice as...

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Posted on Oct 27, 2021 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

“My revenge has just begun. It is spread over centuries.” Count Dracula― Fury of Dracula   Board Game  Review

“My revenge has just begun. It is spread over centuries.” Count Dracula― Fury of Dracula Board Game Review

Fury of Dracula Board Game Review.  Publisher: Fantasy Flight  Games   Designer:  Stephen Hand, Kevin Wilson and Frank Brooks Price $199.00 Passed Inspection: tense game play, beautiful components, easy to learn and fast to play, Board Game Geek has a great solo play rule set Failed Basic large footprint, Fantasy Flight should have included solo rules, why is the price so freaken’ high?!? I am a huge fan of all things vampire. As a little kid back in 1970, I cut my teeth (fangs?) on Dark Shadows during its initial run and became of fan of its guilt haunted vampire, Barnabas Collins. I grew up on both the Universal Dracula played by the immortal Bela Lugosi and in later films by John Carradine and Hammer’s Dracula series starring Christopher Lee (the only actor who I was nervous with when I met him).  In the late 1970s, I received an interesting Christmas gift – Steve Jackson Game’s Undead. In that Micogame, you either play Dracula or the vampire hunters stalking him...

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Posted on Oct 16, 2021 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

“Begun, these Clone Wars have.” Jedi Master Yoda -Star Wars Armada Clone Wars Table Top Game

“Begun, these Clone Wars have.” Jedi Master Yoda -Star Wars Armada Clone Wars Table Top Game

“Star Wars Armada Clone Wars”  Table Top Game Review.  Publisher: Fantasy Flight  Games   Designer:  Michael Gernes and Brooks Flugaur-Leavitt Price $99.00 (Starter Sets) and $25 Fighter Booster Packs Passed Inspection:   perfectly captures the Star Wars feel, great looking miniatures and components, easy to learn, fast playing Failed Basic star fighter stands come apart during play, very expensive, no built in solo system, boxes don’t hold up as storage for the game, rules reference is not included and must be downloaded and printed The two Hardcell transports took up positions in the asteroid field as Count Dooku paced the bridge on one of the armed transports.  “Captain, when will we be in position to launch the prototype Tri Fighters?” he asked exasperated.  The human commander nervously turned from speaking with the comm officer and looked at the Count.  “We are a ready  to launch now, my lord.  But we just received a parameter alert.  Two Republic Consular cruisers just jumped in to the system.  Passive scans seem to indicate that...

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Posted on Oct 9, 2021 in Boardgames, Front Page Features, Games PR

A Pictorial Review of Origins 2021

A Pictorial Review of Origins 2021

Or, “What I Did On My Post-Summer Vacation” Origins 2021 was held September 30, 2021 through October 3rd, 2021. It was a unique event, but then these are unique times, eh? I was able to attend on Friday and Sunday. Over the course of my time, I snapped some shots of things that might be of interest to our tabletop gaming audience. If I missed, you, your event or your booth, my apologies, it was a bit of a whirlwind experience. The convention center is a large facility with huge halls. You could park an airliner of two inside these spaces! The new parking garage on the north end of the facility added a lot of much needed parking! The registration desk space was well organized and running efficiently. Across the room was the pre-registration check in stations. This was fast and easy with a staff member on hand to assist with any issues. I arrived very early on Friday morning with vendors completing their set up. Origins 2021...

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Posted on Sep 2, 2021 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

“After all, no one is stupid enough to prefer war to peace; in peace sons bury their fathers and in war fathers bury their sons.”― Herodotus 300 Earth & Water Board Game Review

“After all, no one is stupid enough to prefer war to peace; in peace sons bury their fathers and in war fathers bury their sons.”― Herodotus 300 Earth & Water Board Game Review

“300 Earth & Water”  Board Game Review.  Publisher: Nuts Publishing and Bonsai Games   Distributed by Ares Games  Designer:  Yasushi Nakaguro and Antonio Stappaerts   Price $29.99 Passed Inspection:     Very easy to learn; beautiful box and artwork; small footprint; perfect game to take on a trip; great fun Failed Basic: typo on “Tribute to Earth and Water” card; a few alternative scenarios or advanced rules would add some variations to replays; in this Age of Covid solo rules would be a nice addition 300 Earth & Water is a new game which covers the 50 year war between Greece and Persia between 499 BC and 449 BC.  The game is designed to be easy to learn and fast to play.  An entire 5 campaign game can be played in 30 to 45 minutes.  It uses blocks and disks plus dice and cards to drive the game play. The game comes in a beautifully designed compact box of approximately 9” x 6 ½” x 1 ¼” (22.86 x 16.51 x 3.18 centimeters). ...

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Posted on Aug 22, 2021 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

“Sir, reports from HQ say that there are five U-boats in this area.” The Battle of the Atlantic comes to the game table. An Interview with Alan Eagle, Designer of “Corvette Command”

“Sir, reports from HQ say that there are five U-boats in this area.” The Battle of the Atlantic comes to the game table. An Interview with Alan Eagle, Designer of “Corvette Command”

“This is a story of the Battle of the Atlantic, the story of the ocean, two ships, and a handful of men. The men are the heroes; the heroines the ships. The only villain is the sea, the cruel sea that man has made more cruel….” The opening lines of the 1953 movie “The Cruel Sea” captures the feel of Alan Eagle’s recent solitaire game “Corvette Command”. In the game, the player takes on the role of the commander of an Flower class corvette (These were mostly Canadian and Royal Navy vessels). The player is tasked with escorting convoys of merchant ships back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean between the United Kingdom and North America. Corvette Command creates a narrative of events in a way similar to the classic board game “B-17 Queen of the Skies”. Your escort vessel is tied to supporting the convoy (barring some random events) and moves across the sea zones. In each zone, you check for a number of events and try to...

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Posted on Aug 20, 2021 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

“Combat makes the pilot’s will to win stronger. With every fight they become much stronger. I got stronger with each victory. ”― Lieutenant Saburo Sakai, Ace Zero Pilot –  Zero Leader   Board Game  Review

“Combat makes the pilot’s will to win stronger. With every fight they become much stronger. I got stronger with each victory. ”― Lieutenant Saburo Sakai, Ace Zero Pilot –  Zero Leader   Board Game  Review

“Zero Leader”  Board Game Review.  Publisher: DVG Games   Designer:  Chuck Seegert   Price $99.99 Passed Inspection:     perfectly captures the atmosphere and challenges of being a pilot for the Empire of Japan during WW2; fun to play; easy to learn; great AI; beautiful components and artwork; a nearly perfect game; years of replayability Failed Basic:      the Pearl Harbor campaign needs a tweak; the box needs to be deeper to hold all the goodies Full Disclosure – Rick Martin has designed Tiger Leader and Sherman Leader and is currently designing T34 Leader for DVG Games In 2018, I reviewed a game called Corsair Leader. It was a solo World War II aviation game in which you fly for the US Navy or Marines in the Pacific Theater.  It was one of my favorite games that year and a game I continue to play over and over again.  Now DVG Games has put out a companion game to Corsair Leader called Zero Leader.  Zero Leader tells the tale of Japanese Army and Naval...

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Posted on Jul 1, 2021 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Where’s There’s Smoke, There’s Fire – “Smokejumpers” Board Game Review

Where’s There’s Smoke, There’s Fire – “Smokejumpers” Board Game Review

Smokejumpers. Publisher: Microgame Design Group. Designer: Kerry Anderson. Price $ 30.00 Passed inspection: Solid components and well laid out rules. Failed basic: It’s a harsh, but realistic model for controlling wildfires. If the fire gets away from you because the weather shifted unexpectedly – you may lose the game through no fault of your own decision-making. Growing up in a midwestern suburb we had our share of natural hazards. Thunderstorms, tornadoes, blizzards, even the rare red flag event when open fires were discouraged. But wild fires were not a hazard with which we had to contend. The only exposure to forest fire was via movies like “Fire on Kelly Mountain” or “Always”. Sometimes we’d encounter the effects of wildfires during our infrequent travels to the southeast or western parts of North America. On those trips, it was the occasional appearance of a charred landscape, or smoke tainted air were the rare signs that wild fire was an ever-present natural hazard. Working to contain fires is often expressed in martial...

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Posted on Jun 29, 2021 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Age of Dogfights Takes Us to the Dangerous Skies of World War II – Kickstarter Preview

Age of Dogfights Takes Us to the Dangerous Skies of World War II – Kickstarter Preview

Age of Dogfights World War II Board Game Preview.  Publisher: Forsage Games  Designers:  Predrag Lazovic and Dragan Lazovic Age of Dogfights World War II is a sequel to Age of Dogfights World War I.  Age of Dogfights World War II is currently active on Kickstarter and Armchair General has been fortunate to have been sent a demo of the game to preview.  Forsage Games of Serbia again utilizes their patented “Triangle System” of movement.  Previously Armchair General reviewed their modern tactical naval battles game “Naval Battles in the Archipelago” and “Age of Dogfights World War I” which also both use their movement system. You can find the Kickstarter campaign at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1732812836/age-of-dogfights-wwii While the game’s components are not finalized based upon fulfilling Kickstarter goals, the components seem to be close to what was included in the World War I edition, namely: 3 bi-fold maps 4 board extensions 60 aircraft counters 112 plastic altitude stands including level flying and banked versions 2 tilt compensators Initial position markers 21 control panels Fuel tracking...

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Posted on Jun 22, 2021 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Operation Judgement: The Taranto Raid Hits the Tabletop in “Terrible Swift Swordfish”. Board Game Review

Operation Judgement: The Taranto Raid Hits the Tabletop in “Terrible Swift Swordfish”. Board Game Review

Terrible Swift Swordfish. Publisher: LPS, Inc. Designer: Roberto Chiavini. Price $19.95 Passed inspection: Generates an engaging narrative of the attack on Taranto. Simple rules that lead player through gameplay. Color map of the Taranto harbor area. Color counters represent each plane in the attack.  Failed basic: The rules are printed as part of the gameboard as white text on a medium blue background. The combination of distance from the eye combined with the relatively small size of the text and the contrast between text and background may pose an issue for readability for visually impaired players.   There’s a long history of synergy between history books and historical board games. An engaging historical game can prompt a player to seek out additional information through various books and maps. The converse is true where inspiring historical books can motivate the reader to find a historical game on the topic. For  me, David Hobbes book Taranto was the catalyst which led to the acquisition of the tabletop game Terrible Swift Swordfish...

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