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Posted on Dec 7, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

The Russians strike West and the clock tolls for Hindenburg’s Hour! Game Review

The Russians strike West and the clock tolls for Hindenburg’s Hour! Game Review

Hindenburg’s Hour: The Tannenberg Campaign, 1914 Game Review Publisher: Dr. Richter Konflictsimulationen \ Gesellschaft für historische simulationen (Society for historical simulations), Designer: Benjamin Richter Price $29.95 Ray Garbee Passed Inspection: Solitaire game. Compact game with die cut counters. Small table footprint that is perfect for small spaces or as a travel companion. Fast playing game that models the high-level decision making by the German Eighth Army in the Tannenberg campaign. Nice map that captures the feel of the period while still overlaid with a hex grid for movement. Failed Basic: Could have used a spare small plastic bag in which to store the counters, once punched out. Good things do come in small packages! Dr. Benjamin Richter has produced a compact, elegant game that covers the Russian invasion of East Prussia in 1914. While the main armies of Germany, Britain and France clashed in the West, a single German army fended off an invasion by two numerically superior, though less capable Russian armies. The German plan is to protect...

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Posted on Dec 5, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Explore North America’s  Mound Builders’ Culture – Game Review

Explore North America’s Mound Builders’ Culture – Game Review

Mound Builders Game Review. Publisher: Victory Point Games Designer: Wes Erni and Ben Madison Price: $38.99 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Interesting and unique subject matter, highly educational, engaging game pay, excellent value for the cost, small footprint, excellent graphics and examples of play, perfect solo play for an afternoon Failed Basic: Some rules confusion, felt a little limiting in terms of player actions, had some trouble with the enemy stand up counters When I was around 12 years old, I had the chance to visit Serpent Mound Park which was many hours away in Southern Ohio. It was a spiritual experience I will never forget and it fueled my interest in the people who constructed this over 1300 foot long effigy of a snake with an egg clutched in its mouth. Now we can learn about these people through a wonderful game called Mound Builders. The solo game Mound Builders is a 2015 release from Victory Point Games but it has just come to our attention here at Armchair...

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Posted on Dec 4, 2017 in Boardgames

‘Quintilius Varus, give me back my legions!’ The Victory of Arminius Game Review

‘Quintilius Varus, give me back my legions!’ The Victory of Arminius Game Review

The Victory of Arminius – Teutoburg Forest, IX AD Game Review. Publisher: Turning Point Simulations Designer: John Prados Price: $29.95 (zip lock) $34.95 (boxed) Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Interesting subject, attractive mounted map board, small footprint, seems to capture the feel of the battle, easy to learn and fast to play. Good solo play based upon the static set up of the Romans. Failed Basic: Editorial issues in the 1st edition rule book but a second edition was posted on-line with some changes, needs larger hexes, counters difficult to read, too many die rolls which I found exhausting. A “turn counter” is provided but no turn track is included. Arminius’ total victory over Varus’ three Roman legions marked a turning point in Imperial Rome’s expansion in to lands held by the Germanic tribes. It showed to the Germans that Rome was not invincible on the battlefield and shattered Roman moral. This decisive battle is game number 5 in Turning Point Simulations’ Decisive Battles of the World series. For those...

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Posted on Nov 28, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Bombs Away!     Target for Today hits right on target!      Board Game Review.

Bombs Away! Target for Today hits right on target! Board Game Review.

Target for Today Bombers Over the Reich 1942 to 1945 Board Game Review. Publisher: Legion War Games Game Designer: Steve Dixon & Bob Best Price $80.00 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: High quality attractive and functional components, superb narrative experience, simulates five aircrafts – B24s and B17s – with amazing detail. Very easy to learn. Excellent tutorial. Failed Basic: Some Axis aircrafts such as the Me210 are a little too common; number of tables may intimidate some gamers, a few more role playing elements could be added to the bomber crew if the players want a more exacting level of immersion such as crew starting skills and home airfield. 2017 has been a great year for B17 Flying Fortress themed games. Armchair General has already reviewed the excellent “B17 Flying Fortress Leader:” by DVG Games and Lock N’ Load Publishing has released their “A Wing and a Prayer”. While both of those games focus on leading squadrons of bombers, a new take on an Avalon Hill classic puts the player...

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Posted on Nov 22, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

An Amazingly Compelling Game  – Comancheria The Rise and Fall of the Comanche Empire Game Review

An Amazingly Compelling Game – Comancheria The Rise and Fall of the Comanche Empire Game Review

Comancheria The Rise and Fall of the Comanche Empire 1700 to 1875 Board Game Review. Publisher: GMT Game Designer: Joel Toppen Price $60.00 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Beautiful components, mounted map, perfect for solo play, unique subject matter, on-line support, elegant game system, excellent value for the price, good tutorials included, duplicate counters included in case you lose some Failed Basic: Some rules are a little confusing In 2013, GMT released Joel Toppen’s stunning Navajo Wars board game. It was an Armchair General top game of the year! http://http://armchairgeneral.com/navajo-wars-boardgame-review.htm” Now Toppen releases an eagerly awaited sequel which looks at the “Lords of the Plains” – the Comanche people. Comancheria takes Navajo Wars to whole new level and improves the design making it easier to learn and play while keeping the dynamic story telling experience of the original. To write this review, I played a linked campaign covering from 1700 to 1799. Per Wikipedia, the Comanche “emerged as a distinct group shortly before 1700, when they broke off from the...

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Posted on Oct 26, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Who Will Survive and What Will Be Left of Them?  Ghoulish Terror in Time for Halloween (or Friday the 13th ) from Ares Games. Last Friday Game Review!

Who Will Survive and What Will Be Left of Them? Ghoulish Terror in Time for Halloween (or Friday the 13th ) from Ares Games. Last Friday Game Review!

Last Friday Game Review. Publisher: Ares Games’ release of a Pendragon Design Designers: Antonio Ferrara and Sebastiano Fiorillo, Price: $41.25 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Innovative design, fun, captures the excitement of a slasher film from the 1980s, great value for the price Failed Basic: Rules need an index; a tracker sheet could have been included for “saving” the game between chapters This is the second part of our Ares Games’ double feature of science fiction and horror goodness for the month of October. “My name is Alice and I’ve come to Camp Apache ostensibly as a counselor but in reality, I wanted to find myself. I figured that the peaceful woods and the beautiful lake would help me in that goal. But, to put it mildly, things have not been going well since we arrived. First, we got to the camp to find several of the owners’ bodies just lying near their tents (that should have been our first warning that things were about to go horribly wrong); Second,...

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Posted on Oct 13, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Join the ranks of Earth’s heroes – The Galaxy Defenders! Do You Want To Know More? Read the Game Review!

Join the ranks of Earth’s heroes – The Galaxy Defenders! Do You Want To Know More? Read the Game Review!

Galaxy Defenders Game Review. Publisher: Ares Games Developed by: Gremlin Project studio Designers: Simone Romano and Nunzio Surace Price: $70.99 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Exciting; perfect for solo or small group play; dynamic story elements; easy to learn; tons of replay value; great looking minis and components. Failed Basic: Needs a turn counter or chart to track turn number Sometime in the future: “. . . my partner and I had been sent to Area 51 to investigate a nearly total communications loss from the facility. Our transport had dropped us off within the grounds of the instillation but a little way from the first building. We had moved in on foot and found a battlefield. The aliens had launched a surprise strike against the facility and massacred many of the regular troops there. A handful of scientists had escaped and we found them. They told us that the aliens were methodically moving through the facility and while they killed the troops immediately, the aliens were rounding the scientists...

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Posted on Oct 12, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

The Hills Are Alive with the Sound Of Insurgency in GMT Games’ Colonial Twilight

The Hills Are Alive with the Sound Of Insurgency in GMT Games’ Colonial Twilight

Colonial Twilight: The French-Algerian War, 1954-62. Publisher: GMT Games Designer: Brian Train. Price: $75.00 Ray Garbee Passed Inspection: Gorgeous, heavy duty mounted map board. Clear, well written rules. Excellent players guide with examples of both two-player and solitaire play. Separate play aids for both the two player and solitaire games. Failed Basic: None. The French-Algerian War is a lesser known conflict in the United States. Some of this is understandable as the dual language barriers of the French and North African participants limit the quantity of material available. The most accessible English-language study remains Alistair Horne’s Savage War of Peace, which provides a solid, if somewhat dated overview of the conflict. The conflict encapsulates many trends of the modern age and in some sense provided a vision of the nature of conflicts to come in the Cold War era. Algeria is a montage of Mediterranean settlement patterns for the past three millennia. Even today the landscape features the remains of colonization efforts by Rome, the Ottoman Empire and most...

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Posted on Sep 21, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Hell On Wheels Has Some Great Points But Like The Panther Tank It Has Some Teething Pains. Game Review

Hell On Wheels Has Some Great Points But Like The Panther Tank It Has Some Teething Pains. Game Review

Sergeants Miniature Game Hell on Wheels and Vehicle Booster Packs Game Review. Publisher: Lost Battalion Games Designer: Jeff Billings Prices: Starter: $39.95 Expansions: Vehicle Modules $29.95 Large 20mm Vehicle Miniatures $44.95 to $55.95 Small 10mm Vehicle Miniatures: $14.95 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Beautiful hand printed pewter miniatures. Fully rotatable turrets and machine guns. Complete rules for playing a standalone vehicle game or using with Sergeants infantry minis. High quality components. Totally immersive playing experience. Two different sizes to fit your budget. Failed Basic: Expensive. Rules for damage are tough to figure out. Needs outlines or some other visual aid to show the flow of some rules. Rules reference an FAQ which can’t be found (at the time of the writing of this review). No rule for oblique armor aspects. Some of the art for the Marder III and German halftrack show wrong model type of each vehicle. The gunner on the German halftrack shows he is armed with an Mg42 but the halftrack control board shows an Mg34 –...

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Posted on Sep 18, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Panzer Orders Card Game is a Blast!  Card Game Review

Panzer Orders Card Game is a Blast! Card Game Review

Panzer Orders Base Game and Expansion 1 Game Review. Publisher: Matt White Designs Designer: Matt White Price: $26.80 base game, $16 for Expansion 1 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Stunning artwork; fast dynamic play; great on-line support; rules are constantly being updated based upon player comments; third party add-ons, great value for the money Failed Basic: back of Allied and Axis cards are the same so if the decks get mixed up it takes some time to sort out; new victory conditions would help balance the game; needs breakthrough rules Matt White, a computer game designer, has put out a stunningly illustrated World War 2 card game, Panzer Orders. This card game, designed, illustrated and published by White, features beautiful full color card sized paintings of tanks, vehicles and infantry. Each card is its own unique art print and no two cards in the game are the same. In White’s own words “I’ve been an avid gamer for over 30 years since school where we had a Friday afternoon war-games...

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Posted on Sep 13, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

For the Emperor!  Kido Butai Game Review

For the Emperor! Kido Butai Game Review

Kido Butai 2nd Edition Game Review. Publisher: Dr. Richter Konfliktsimulation Designer: Benjamin Richter Price: $20.00 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Tense game play; small footprint; easy to learn; exciting; great value for the price Failed Basic: a few rules need clarifying; US carriers don’t have Wild Cats; counter printing hard to read The carrier Akagi had been sunk by 6:30 AM on June 4th, 1941. Our carriers had launched an attack on Midway Island but pilots reported no real visible damage even though the islands air fleet was mostly made up of obsolete Buffalos which were no match for our escorting Zeros. The planes from the Akagi had to be ditched at sea but our task force rescued most of the pilots. Starting at 8 AM, our pilots launched a raid on the American group centered around the Yorktown. Our men were out for blood; Midway would wait for a few hours. By noon our planes had returned from sinking the Yorktown and some of its escort ships but we...

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Posted on Aug 30, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Come Fly With Me – More Wings of Glory World War 1 Aircrafts Take Flight! Game Review

Come Fly With Me – More Wings of Glory World War 1 Aircrafts Take Flight! Game Review

Wings of Glory World War 1 Aircraft Booster Packs Game Review. Publisher: Ares Games Designer: Andrea Angiolino and Pier Giorgio Paglia Price: Booster: $14.90 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Beautiful miniatures, reissues of out of print planes, added value through additional content Failed Basic: Nothing at all. 2017 has been a great year for Wings of Glory both in its World War I and World War II incarnations. The year keeps getting better with reissues of these long out of print World War I aircrafts, but Ares didn’t just reissue them! They added new content for each aircraft! The four types of aircrafts which have been re-releases include the Albatros D.III, the Nieuport 17, the R.E.8 and the UFAG C.1. Let’s start with the two-seaters. The UFAG C.1 was released in April of 1918 and it quickly made a name for itself as the fastest two-seater of the Cental Powers. It clocked in at around 118 mph/190 kph mainly due to its revolutionary wing design which did away with many...

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Posted on Aug 25, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

THERE’S A BEAR IN THE WOODS (AGAIN)!  Putin’s Strikes Game Review

THERE’S A BEAR IN THE WOODS (AGAIN)! Putin’s Strikes Game Review

“Putin’s Strikes: The Coming War for Eastern Europe” Game Review Publisher: One Small Step Games Designer: Ty Bomba Price $54.95 Ray Garbee Passed Inspection: Heavy duty box, relatively straightforward rules. Crisp, clean counter design. Great candidate for a solitaire module. The game does a good job of delivering information about the boundary between Europe and Russia as well as the correlation of forces expected in the theater. Air support rules are quick and clean. Failed Basic: Unique game mechanics will force veteran players out of their comfort zone. Game play for the Allied player has few choices and limits enjoyment. Game lacks an order of battle which can lead to some confusion if the optional Russian counters get mixed with the standard counters. A little too expensive. Way back in the dark ages of the 1980’s a popular sub-genre of board game was the ‘modern game’. Classic board games like GDW’s Third World War, Victory Game’s NATO, SPI’s Next War or the Central Front series. Most explored different aspects...

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Posted on Aug 15, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Merrill’s Marauders offers amazing play value for the cost!  Game Review

Merrill’s Marauders offers amazing play value for the cost! Game Review

Merrill’s Marauders Commandos in Burma 1943 to 1944 Board Game Review. Publisher: Decision Games Game Designer: Joseph Miranda Price $12.95 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: fast paced, great AI, amazing value for the money,perfect game to take on a trip Failed Basic: rules have a few typos Merrill’s Marauders is another World War II themed game using Decision Games’ Commando solitaire system. The last one we reviewed was the excellent North African game Long Range Desert Group. While Long Range Desert Group had you slogging through the sands of North Africa while deep behind enemy lines, Merrill’s Marauders has you slogging through the jungles of Burma fighting the Imperial Japanese Army! Here is a handy link to the Long Range Desert Group review : http://armchairgeneral.com/long-range-desert-group-special-operations-against-rommel-1941-1942-game-review.htm The game comes in a zip locked bag with a full color 11” x 17” map, 40 double sided, full color die cut counters, 18 cards and the Commando game rules plus a Merrill’s Marauders supplement rule book. The components are all first rate especially...

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Posted on Aug 9, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Set Sail with Ares Games’ Sails of Glory!  Game Review

Set Sail with Ares Games’ Sails of Glory! Game Review

SAILS OF GLORY STARTER SET and EXPANSIONS Game Review. Publisher: Ares Games Designer: Andrea Angiolino and Andrea Mainini Starter Set $90.00 Extra Ships run from $10 to $15 per ship Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Beautiful pre-painted minis. Easy to learn rules. Stunning components. Easy to play solitaire. Failed Basic: Nothing Sails of Glory is Ares Games’ line of miniature combat rules which cover the Age of Sail. The Starter Boxed Set features rules and 4 miniature ships from the Napoleonic Wars of the late 18th Century to the early 19th Century. The box is filled with tons of content and the 4 mini ships which are included all contribute to deliver a visually stunning shot across the bow of the gamer! Sails of Glory utilizes an adaption of Ares Games’ award winning card based movement system which is featured in their Wings of Glory World War I and II airplane combat system. And like their other mini game systems, the player is able to purchase additional mini ships which...

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Posted on Aug 3, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Give Your Grey Matter a Work Out with Dungeon Time!  Game Review

Give Your Grey Matter a Work Out with Dungeon Time! Game Review

Dungeon Time Board Game Review. Publisher: Ares Games Game Designer: Carlo A. Rossi Price $25.00 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: fast paced, fun, nice components, exercises your memory, addicting, family friendly Failed Basic: rules are a little difficult to figure out Ares Games of Italy is perhaps most well known for being the company behind the Wings of Glory World War I and World War II aircraft game but their product line is growing from other miniature war games such as Sails of Glory to epic science fiction games such as Galaxy Defenders and Euro Games such as Odyssey. Now Ares gives the card game genre a unique twist with Dungeon Time! Dungeon Time is a card based game with a twist – for the first phase of the game, there is a strict time limit! An hourglass which is included in the game gives you 5 minutes to achieve your mission, when the time runs out, the first phase is over and the players then see how well they...

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Posted on Jul 31, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

1754 Conquest – The French Indian War is a Must Play! Board Game Review

1754 Conquest – The French Indian War is a Must Play! Board Game Review

1754 Conquest – The French Indian War Board Game Review. Publisher: Academy Games Game Designer: Beau Beckett and Jeph Stahl Price $70.00 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Concise elegant rules, beautiful components, visually pleasing, easy to learn and play, approachable even by non-war gamers Failed Basic: Flavor text on cards a little too small, not solitaire friendly 1754 Conquest – The French Indian War (hereinafter “1754”) is the newest game in Academy Games’ Birth of America series which includes 1775 Rebellion and 1812 The Invasion of Canada and, probably, should also include Academy Games’ Freedom: The Underground Railroad. All of these games have been reviewed on this website! The French Indian War has been covered in games such as GMT’s Wilderness War and A Few Acres of Snow by Tree Frog Games (both reviewed on this site) and 1754 joins the ranks of these esteemed games! The hefty game box features beautiful artwork by Steven Paschal and tons of beautiful components including a sturdy tray to let the components fit...

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Posted on Jul 27, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

The Doomsday Men make “Tough, Calculating Decisions” GMT’s Triumph and Tragedy Review

The Doomsday Men make “Tough, Calculating Decisions” GMT’s Triumph and Tragedy Review

Triumph and Tragedy, 2nd Edition Game Review Publisher: GMT Designer: Craig Besinque Price: $95.00 Ray Garbee Passed Inspection: Heavy duty box, high quality mounted map board. Durable thick, cut cardboard counters and tiles. High quality wooden blocks with stickers detailing unit abilities. Rules are clearly written and to the point. Playing pieces depict various combat units and status markers. Failed Basic: Some assembly is required. As with most block games, the players of the game must attach the unit stickers to the wooden blocks before play can commence. Fortunately, this is a one-time chore that is best viewed as part of the unboxing of the game. It gets a little tedious if tackled by one person all at once. OCD people may find it mildly distressing as you try and align the stickers perfectly on the blocks. Plan ahead and don’t expect to unwrap the box and start playing the game without allowing for this work. Triumph and Tragedy will appeal to those gamers that want to really explore...

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Posted on Jul 11, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

The Battle of Midway from Turning Point Simulations – Full Review!

The Battle of Midway from Turning Point Simulations – Full Review!

The Battle of Midway 1942 AD Game Review. Publisher: Turning Point Simulations Designer: Paul Rohrbaugh Price: $29.95 (zip lock) $34.95 (boxed) Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Small footprint, exciting, simple to learn but dynamic to play, great value for the price, plays very well solo, covers the air and sea battles plus land battles if the Japanese land forces on Midway Failed Basic: Editorial issues in the 1st edition rule book, some editorial issues in the 2nd edition rule book, printing on some counters is too small and dark to easily read, some set-up issues. Needs rules to explain the aircraft capacity of aircraft carriers and Midway base. The Battle of Midway 1942 AD is a game in Turning Point Simulations’ Battles that Changed the World Series. As with the other games in the series, this game is available in a zip lock version or a boxed version. June of 2017 marked the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Midway which occurred from June 3rd to June 7th of 1942....

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Posted on Jun 30, 2017 in Boardgames

Armchair General Interviews Lost Battalion Games’ Jeff Billings

Interview with Jeff Billings of Lost Battalion Games Rick Martin 1) What inspired you to get in to war game designing? I made my first war game when I was 11 years old. I had played Blitzkrieg several times and had been reading some of my Dad’s Bantam Books paperbacks on World War II. When I read about the Battle of Gazala I decided I wanted to play the game for that battle and set out to make my own using my parents’ card table. With markers and paint, I drew out the battlefield on the table top, much to the annoyance of my parents. In my twenties, I met my late business partner S. Craig Taylor, Jr. while playtesting for him. It was several decades later when we were talking about our childhood experiences with games, design and development that I realized for some of us this is a calling. We want to understand and express the lessons of history through the “odd” art of gaming. 2) What...

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