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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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Posted on Jun 20, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Set Sail in 1805!   A Game Review of GMT’s Age of Sail Game.

Set Sail in 1805! A Game Review of GMT’s Age of Sail Game.

1805 Sea of Glory Game Review. Publisher: GMT Games LLC Designer: Phil C. Fry Price: $59.00 Retail Greg Johnson Passed Inspection: Intriguing strategy. Failed Basic: Rules are detailed and well-defined, but certain areas of details need additional illustrations or explanations for players who may not be as familiar with this type of game play. An online tutorial, or play through would go a long way to help with setup and basic game play. Intro: If you love history, attention to detail, strategy and tactics, organizing and managing an army of pieces, then you will find 1805 Sea of Glory an intriguing and engaging game. Rest your chin on your hand and begin strategizing and planning your moves. Description: This is a two-player game that pits France and Spain, the Allies, against the blockade of the British during the time of Napoleon. The Allies are attempting to break out if they can and mount raids against the British. The British have a very tight blockade meant to squeeze the Allies...

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

B17 Flying Fortress Leader Hits Its Target! Review of the New Game

B17 Flying Fortress Leader Hits Its Target! Review of the New Game

B17 Flying Fortress Leader Game Review. Publisher: DVG Designer: Dean Brown Price: $89.99 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Tense game play, dynamic campaigns, tons of detail, great replay value for the price, excellent enemy AI, on-line support Failed Basic: Some slight rules confusion (fixed with downloadable 2nd edition rules). The single bomber supplement could be expanded for more options. Needs a complete index not just a table of content. (Editor’s Note – In The Interest Of Full Disclosure – Dvg Has Published Tiger Leader And The Upcoming Sherman Leader Games – Both Of Which I Co-Designed With Dan Verssen. Dean Brown also helped design elements of Sherman Leader.) While not all of Dan Verssen Games are solitaire games, it is certainly truthful to state that DVG has cut its teeth on the solitaire game market place. From ancient Greece to the campaigns of Napoleon, from the sands of North Africa to the oceans of the Pacific and from the skies over Vietnam and beyond, DVG has consistently designed high quality...

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Posted on Jun 6, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Re-fight the Day of Days, June 6th, 1944, with the Sergeants Miniature Game!

Re-fight the Day of Days, June 6th, 1944, with the Sergeants Miniature Game!

Sergeants Miniature Game Starter Set and Booster Packs Game Review. Publisher: Lost Battalion Games Designer: Jeff Billings Prices: Starter: $79.95 Expansions: between $29.95 and $49.95 Soldier Packs: $9.95 to $29.95 with 10 man packs at $99.95 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Fantastically detailed hand painted miniatures, comprehensive well written rules, tons of scenarios, dynamic and original game play, well balanced, unlimited replayability, an all cardboard version is thoughtfully available at a lower price Failed Basic: High cost of the miniatures may alienate some gamers but an all cardboard version is thoughtfully available at a lower price! Back in 2011, I reviewed the original Sergeants game and its first expansion from Lost Battalion Games. These games were set on the Eastern Front and were very detailed while not being overly complex. Both the original games used traditional cardboard counters for the units. Only a few months later, Lost Battalion Games announced their release of a miniatures version of Sergeants and Armchair General covered the news. Jump ahead 6 years. Armchair General...

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Posted on Jun 1, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Pocket Ops Preview – a game of spies and doomsday weapons which fits in your pocket!

Pocket Ops Preview – a game of spies and doomsday weapons which fits in your pocket!

Pocket Ops Board Game Preview. Publisher: Grand Gamers Guild Game Designer: Brandon Beran Price (To be determined) Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Fun and original. Very small footprint. Nice components. Easy to learn. Perfect game to take on trips. Great for ages six and up! Failed Basic: Rules need a little more clarification and a few examples. The Start Tile wasn’t described so I had no idea what to use it for. Pocket Ops is a new game being developed by the Grand Gamers Guild. It is named “Pocket Ops” because it can, literally, fit in your pocket. The rules, game board and components come in a zip lock bag roughly the size of sandwich bag. But don’t let this fool you, there is quite a bit of depth in this little game. At first glance, Pocket Ops may seem like Tic-Tac-Toe and it actually is except that it gives players the ability to kill off the other player’s pieces! The basic set up is that some terrorists are building...

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

“First you get the money…” Business is War!  1846: Race for the Midwest Game Review

“First you get the money…” Business is War! 1846: Race for the Midwest Game Review

1846: Race for the Midwest Game Review Publisher: GMT Designer: Tom Lehman Price $69.00 Ray Garbee Passed inspection: Heavy duty box. Hi quality components with thick cardboard glossy color terrain hex tiles and cardboard tokens. Rules are clearly written and illustrated with examples of play. Failed Inspection: None. From a component and rules standpoint, this is a very well executed game. Ever wondered what it must be like to live the hard life of a corporate president? Sure, they make bank, but really, how hard could the job be? The job basically consists of “Sell more widgets! Cut costs! Keep the shareholders happy!” Easy, right? Well now you too can share the experience of leading a major corporation by playing GMT Games 1846: Race for the Midwest! This is ostensibly a game that pits players against each other as they build competing railroads from the Eastern United States to connect with the emerging markets of the American Midwest. But that façade conceals the true game – a game of...

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Posted on May 19, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Wings of Glory’s Battle of Britain expansion has taken flight!

Wings of Glory’s Battle of Britain expansion has taken flight!

Wings of Glory World War 2 Battle of Britain Starter Set and Squadron Booster Packs Game Review. Publisher: Ares Games Designer: Andrea Angiolino and Pier Giorgio Paglia Prices: Starter: $69.90 Booster: $14.90 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Fantastically detailed fully painted customizable aircrafts, new – more comprehensive rules and scenarios, most replay-ability of any game on the market Failed Basic: Aircraft decals in the boosters are difficult to put on without tearing them. Wings of Glory is the successor to the extremely successful line of Wings of War World War I and World War II cards and miniatures game which has been available since 2004. While the game started as a card game where each card represented one airplane, anti-aircraft gun or balloon, it has evolved in to a non-collectable, non-randomly packaged, air war game where players could purchase a starter set and then purchase “booster” packs with individual airplanes or even large models of observation balloon and bombers. Ares Games new Wings of Glory Battle of Britain Starter Set...

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

Arbela – Richard Berg’s compelling new war game!

Arbela – Richard Berg’s compelling new war game!

Arbela –Gaugamela 331 BC Board Game Review. Publisher: Turning Point Simulations Game Designer: Richard H. Berg Price $34.95 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Easy to understand rules, nice components, highly solitaire suitability. Interesting subject matter. Failed Basic: Needs an index. Initiative rules are unclear. Perhaps add some event cards to provide extra challenges. Richard H. Berg, perhaps the most prolific board game designer in the world, has returned to a subject that he clearly loves – the battles of the ancient world. Arbela – Gaugamela 331 BC is a release of Turning Point Simulations and this game is not what you may expect. There is no board and no terrain, the real battle was fought on a nearly perfectly level field so this style perfectly meets the needs to simulate the real battle. The units in this game are not chits or miniatures – the units are cards but it’s not a traditional card type war game either as this review will reveal. First some back ground on this decisive...

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Posted on Apr 6, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

The American Revolution Board Game Review

The American Revolution Board Game Review

The American Revolution: Decisions in North America 1775 to 82 Board Game Review. Publisher: Decision Games Game Designer: Joseph Miranda Price $35.00 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Great value for the money. Engaging activation system for units. Seems realistic. Easy way to track political points and alliances. Nice graphics. Rules have FAQ and Designer’s Notes. Easy to play solitaire. Failed Basic: Rules are not laid out in an easy to read manner. Typos in the rules. Needs an index. Needs more play aids. Incorrect rule reference numbers in some sections. Needed an extra editorial review before release. Decision Games, publisher of Strategy and Tactics, has released games of various degrees of complexity on a variety of subjects. In addition, they have reprinted previously published games. The American Revolution: Decisions in North America 1775 to 82 is a zip lock bag game designed by multiple award winning game designer and editor of Strategy and Tactics Joseph Miranda. It is an updated version of the game which originally appeared in Strategy and...

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

“This Must Be Just Like Living in Paradise…”  Review of GMT’s Board Game – Conquest of Paradise

“This Must Be Just Like Living in Paradise…” Review of GMT’s Board Game – Conquest of Paradise

Conquest of Paradise – 2nd edition Game Review Publisher: GMT Designer: Kevin McPartland $57.00 Ray Garbee Passed Inspection: Heavy duty box, high quality mounted map board. Durable thick, cut cardboard counters and tiles. Rules are clearly written and to the point. Playing pieces are painted wooden blocks for villages and cardboard counters for explorers, canoes and warriors. Failed Basic: None. This game is almost perfect. Jared Diamond’s 1997 book Guns, Germs and Steel is a brilliant study in the origins, rise and fall of imperialist powers. While today we associate “Imperialism” with the 18th-20th Century global domination by (mostly) western European powers, Diamond offered a scaled down case study of Imperialism in the form of Polynesian settlement across the Pacific. It’s a great book. Find a copy and read it. You’ll learn something. But before you do that, run out and buy a copy of Kevin McPartland’s “Conquest of Paradise”. Specifically, the deluxe second edition. Conquest of Paradise is a game of exploration, settlement and conquest. The core concept...

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Posted on Mar 16, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Steampunk Corporate Conflict – Brass Empire Review

Steampunk Corporate Conflict – Brass Empire Review

Brass Empire Game Review. Publisher: Rock Manor Games Designers: Mike Gnade Price: $49.00 Greg Johnson Passed Inspection: Engaging game play, Original theme Failed Basic: I would have enjoyed having the Brass token cubes as yellowish or goldish to fit with the theme better. Different sizes for the denomination would have been better. Having a different type token for damage would also have been better. As it is the Brass tokens are solid red cubes and translucent red cubes of the same size. The damage tokens are translucent clear cubes. All cubes are the same size. Factions abilities don’t seem to play as much a part in the gameplay as I expected it would. Intro: This deck building game is set in a steampunk world where factions ruled by corporations try to enhance their wealth and influence by acquiring the valuable currency of Brass. They build structures and organize their employees for mining, labor, construction, offensive and defensive tactics. Strategies may be involved in espionage, technology or security and mining....

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