Air, Land and Sea Card Game Review. Publisher: Arcane Wonders Designer: Jon Perry Price $14.99 Passed Inspection: small footprint, easy to learn, addictive game play, excellent value for the cost Failed Basic: would like to have seen a solo module for the game as well as advanced rules, the Withdraw rule needs more explanation “In the midst of the greatest conflict humanity has ever known, victory will be claimed by the military that can overcome their enemies in every battleground. Do you have the skills to lead your nation’s best and bravest in the Air, Land, & Sea?” says the Air, Land and Sea’s tag line on Arcane Wonder’s website. Air, Land and Sea is a new World War Two themed card game by Jon Perry and released by Arcane Wonders. The colorful cards and easy to learn but challenging to play game play makes this game wonderful for a wide audience. Beginners will find it fun and approachable while “seasoned war gamers”, such as your humble reviewer, will...Read More
Can Lee Be Taken? Worthington Games ‘Lee’s Invincibles: The Gettysburg Campaign 1863’. Board Game Review.
Lee’s Invincibles: Gettysburg Campaign of 1863. Publisher: Worthington Games. Designer: Sean Chick. Price $65.00 Passed inspection: Color, unmounted map that conveys a sense of space and place of the 1863 campaign. A two-player game that captures the challenges facing each historical general. Block game brings the fog of war and limits intelligence of opposing forces. Failed basic: It’s tough to put your whole army in motion at the same time, which can feel a little ‘gamey’ at times. It’s late June and naturally thoughts turn to the upcoming July 4th weekend and the annual commemoration of the Battle of Gettysburg. You can find a multitude of games that recreate the battle of Gettysburg in detail. Games come in multiple scales, multiple game designs. Like the literature on the battle, you’d think there would be little left to say. But literature still yields books that offer insights and games do as well. For example, two recent books that give solid insights into events surrounding the lead up and aftermath...Read More
Eternal City’s End Board Game Review. Publisher: High Flying Dice Games Designer: Roberto Chiavini, Marco Lazzerini and Marco Spepi Developed by Paul Rohrbaugh Price $20.95 (unmounted counters) $26.95 (mounted cardstock counters) Passed Inspection: Beautiful components, fun to play, easy to learn but tough to master, multiplayer or solo from either the German or Italian side, playable in one afternoon, very challenging, great value for the price, tons of optional rules to make the game easier or harder Failed Basic: some typos and rule issues (mostly addressed with an Addendum), a little review of the background history would have been helpful to put the game in context, would have preferred a cheat sheet with the turn sequence and combat results table, combat results tables need a little more explanation in the rules On September 3rd, 1943, after arresting Mussolini and forming a new non-fascist government, Italy signed an armistice with the Allies. The Reich along with Italian fascists launched Operation Axis to attempt to stabilize Italy as a “partner” of...Read More
Holdfast: Korea 1950-51. Publisher: Worthington Games. Designer: Sean Chick. Price $64.99 (Sale price $20.00) Passed inspection: Map gives an excellent overview of the geography of the Korean Conflict. Block game brings the fog of war and limits intelligence of opposing forces. Failed basic: Automatic victory conditions for each side are very difficult to achieve. “Man, I’m telling you, I got a bad feeling about this drop” Private Frost, Aliens Private Frost’s words echoed in my head as I prepared to start my fourth game of Holdfast: Korea 1950-51. It was about this point that I felt that the victory conditions in the game were bait designed to lure each player into overextending their forces to set up an inevitable disaster. The question in my mind was – if I know that the victory conditions are bait, should try a different strategy instead of biting on that hook? In early 2020 I was casting about for some new boardgames to keep me occupied during the pandemic lockdown. Worthington Publishing...Read More
Wings of Glory World War 2 Aircraft Squadron Packs – Ju 88s and Do 17s Game Review. Publisher: Ares Games Designer: Andrea Angiolino and Pier Giorgio Paglia Price: Booster: $29.00 each Passed Inspection: Beautiful, fully painted, tons of additional cards with each plane, different options, decals to modify the aircraft, important additions to your squadron Failed Basic: Nothing at all. Any time Ares Games releases new aircrafts for their magnificent Wings of Glory World War 1 or World War 2 game system, players can rejoice. We know that these planes will be fully playable right out of the box and will feature beautiful and authentic paint jobs and markings. Now Ares has released the Junkers 88 and Dornier 17 bomber and night fighter to join the ranks of the Heinkel 111 medium bomber released some years back. Players now have all the major medium bombers of the Luftwaffe to add to their air to air conflicts. For those who don’t know, in brief, Wings of Glory (formerly known as...Read More
Age of Dogfights was previewed a few weeks ago at Armchair General. It’s a fast paced World War I aviation game with multiplayer and solo rules. And now its officially on Kickstarter! Here is the link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1732812836/age-of-dogfights-ww1?ref=discovery&term=age%20of%20dog...Read More
Fly a Lancaster through the unfriendly skies over the 3rd Reich with Legion War Games’ Target for Tonight. Board Game Review
Target for Tonight – Britain’s Strategic Air Campaign Over Europe 1942 – 1945 Board Game Review. Publisher: Legion War Games Game Designer: Steve Dixon & Bob Best Price $94.00 Passed Inspection: beautiful components, well researched, easy to learn rules, great replay value, strong solo narrative experience, makes you feel that you are there Failed Basic: some issues with the moon phases (but the enclosed errata fixes this), needs a guide as to how many days pass between missions, a glitch can trap your bomber in a never ending combat loop (until you are shot down that is) with an Ace piloted night fighter in some specific circumstances (this is now fixed thanks to some intrepid gamers), the Halifax bomber needs some attention to its flaws “A searchlight catches the plane for an instant. The cockpit is awash with searing bluish brightness. As if a revelation is about to take place. As if an angel is about to appear. He can’t see the instrument panel. The finger of light...Read More
Vicksburg Is the Key. Worthington Games ‘Pemberton versus Grant: The Vicksburg Campaign 1863’ Board Game Review
Pemberton & Grant: Vicksburg Campaign of 1863. Publisher: Worthington Games. Designer: Sean Chick. Price $65.00 (Sale price $35.00) Passed inspection: Color, mounted map that conveys a sense of space and place. Two player game captures the challenges facing each historical general. The use of blocks brings the fog of war and limits intelligence of opposing forces. Failed basic: Pemberton’s starting location is missing in the set up. Depiction of the Walnuts Hills region around Vicksburg could have been depicted more clearly as to if/where the mountain terrain modifier is in effect. I pondered the map in front of me. Confederate divisions were defending the southern avenues to Vicksburg. Off to the northeast, a lone Confederate division held the city of Jackson, Mississippi’s capital and a key rail connection for the Confederacy. The rebel troops at Port Gibson had been driven back behind the Big Black River, but the question now was how to best move forward in an effort to capture Vicksburg and Jackson as quickly as possible. Perhaps,...Read More
3500 YEARS OF HISTORY AT YOUR FINGERTIPS! – GMT’s ANCIENT CIVILIZATIONS OF THE INNER SEA Board Game Review
Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea Board Game Review. Publisher: GMT Designer: Christopher Vorder Bruegge and Mark McLaughlin Developed by Fred Schachter Price $85 Passed Inspection: Fun, Immersive, Great solo or multiplayer experience, easy to learn, full support on the GMT website Failed Basic: the number of pages in the rule book makes the game look more complex than it is Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea is a dream of a game! It is a huge sandbox of a game that allows the players to relive over 3500 years of history of the kingdoms and empires found around the Mediterranean from 3000 BC to 500 AD and, so far, it’s one of my favorite games of late 2019 and early 2020! The cover artwork on the game box is stunning! In fact, the artwork and graphic layout for the map, cards and books is not just functional, it’s beautiful so I must congratulate the artists and designers for the work on the whole package – good work Chechu...Read More
Pacific Fury, Guadalcanal 1942. Publisher: Bonsai Games/Revolution Games/Quaterdeck International Designer: Yasushi Nakaguro. Price 30.00 Passed inspection: The colorful map is a clean, effective depiction of the waters surrounding Guadalcanal. Counters are die-cut and easy to read. Rules are clear and to the point. A great game to introduce new players to area movement wargaming. Failed basic: Nothing. In 1942, a pivotal series of naval battles in the area around Guadalcanal ensured that the US victory at Midway was not a fluke. But unlike Midway, these battles would see heavy losses to both sides and stretch the US Navy almost to the breaking point. Designer Yasushi Nakaguro brings these battles to the tabletop in ‘Pacific Fury’. An updated version of 2001’s Campaign for Guadalcanal, released in the United States by Revolution Games. Pacific Fury is similar to other games produced by Revolution Games as well as other games designed by Yasushi Nakaguro. The game consists of a small map sheet, 53 die cut counters and eight pages of rules. The...Read More
Age of Dogfights Board Game Preview. Publisher: Forsage Games Designers: Predrag Lazovic and Dragan Lazovic Age of Dogfights is a new game which is about to be Kickstarted by Forsage Games of Serbia. It utilizes their trademarked “Triangle System” of movement which provides more realistic movements than does a traditional hex based system. Previously Armchair General reviewed their modern tactical naval battles game “Naval Battles in the Archipelago” and “Age of Dogfights” is just as much fun and just as easy to learn as “Naval Battles”. Age of Dogfights is a tactical air combat game of World War I air combat. The game’s components are: 3 bi-fold maps 4 board extensions 54 aircraft counters 100 plastic altitude stands 3 tilt compensators 3 initial position markers 18 control panels 117 sliders 24 photo mission markers 30 bomb mission markers 24 ace/rookie markers 36 damage overlay markers 10 cloud markers 1 each sun direction and wind direction indicators 6 task zone markers 5 six sided dice 1 16 page rule book...Read More
Your Own Private Cold War. High Flying Dice Games ‘Cold Confusion: The Soviet Raid on Iceland 1985’. Tabletop Game Review.
Cold Confusion: The Soviet Raid on Iceland 1985. Publisher: High Flying Dice Games. Designers: Paul Rohrbaugh. Price $14.95-$28.95 (depending on options – zip lock or box, mounted counters, etc.) Passed inspection: Small, fast playing game of the Soviet raid on Iceland. Good replay value with variable reinforcements and set up. Card deck provides for a good fog of war. Failed basic: Unpredictable length of the game turn can be aggravating as players are constrained by the random appearance of the turn end cards. Personnel carriers are fire support vehicles and not used for carrying personnel. The first mention I can remember of Soviet troops invading Iceland was Tom Clancy’s novel ‘Red Storm Rising’. If the book did one thing, it was elevating the strategic importance of Iceland in the minds of thousands of readers. The novel delves into the invasion, occupation and eventual (spoiler alert) liberation of the island as one thread within the larger story of a ‘cold war gone hot’. Games focused on the invasion of Iceland...Read More
Ice, Ice, Baby. High Flying Dice Games ‘Breaking the Ice: The Great Lakes Winter Fleet 1942’. Tabletop Game Review.
Breaking the Ice: The Great Lakes Winter Fleet 1942. Publisher: High Flying Dice Games. Designers: Paul Rohrbaugh. Price $30.00-$41.00 (depending on version and options) Passed inspection: Presents a little told aspect of the Merchant Marine in World War II. Offers a challenging series of decisions to the player. Failed basic: You will learn to hate lake ice and unexpected work stoppages. By Ray Garbee Mention the merchant marine in World War Two and generally the first thing you think of is the Battle of the Atlantic. Allied convoys with columns of freighters facing off against the wolfpacks and aircraft. Possibly, you might think of the long trans-Pacific supply lines that supported the war against Japan. But you’d be forgiven for never thinking of the merchant fleet of the inland seas – the bulk carriers that cruised the Great Lakes of North America. Paul Rohrbaugh aims to change that gap in our knowledge with ‘Breaking the Ice: The Great Lakes Winter Fleet – 1942’. ‘Breaking the Ice’, a solitaire game...Read More
262 Board Game Review. Publisher: TS Games Designer: Wojciech Zalewski Price $38 Passed Inspection: beautiful components; nice counters; only 1 page of rules; very fun to play; solo and multiplayer scenarios, stunning box artwork; includes rules and scenarios in English, Polish, Spanish, Italian and Catalan. Failed Basic: may be a little too simple for some gamers; wish it had rules broken in to basic, intermediate and advanced play; the Me262 is a little too maneuverable; fighters have to attack first and then bomber defensive fire occurs – this seems backwards based upon my experience in other games and in simulators. TS is a Polish war gaming company with an impressive catalogue of games (see the picture of their catalogue which I have included in this review). 262 is their newest game and it focuses on late World War 2 air combat –specifically the epic battles between the few Luftwaffe Me 262 jet fighter squadrons and the Allied day bombers and fighters. The Messerschmitt Me 262 was the world’s first...Read More
The Fox is Cunning, But It Still Fears the Hounds. Consim Press/GMT Games, The Hunted. Tabletop Game Review.
The Hunted. Publisher: GMT Games. Designers: Gregory M. Smith. Price $55.00 Passed inspection: Captures the experience of putting to sea in a German U-boat in the face of a capable and dangerous opponent. Failed basic: Minor errors with the rulebook. Game brutally reflects the dangers faced by the U-boat crew in the latter half of the war. Most campaigns will not make it to the end of the war. Two torpedoes slammed into the unsuspecting merchant and detonated. The freighter’s back broke and the ship split apart. ‘A good start to the U-boat’s patrol. Now to evade the escort! Just a couple of rounds of depth charges and we’ll slip away to find other targets. ‘ Those were my last thoughts as the British destroyer’s ‘Squid’ depth charge thrower bracketed the U-boat with three depth charges. The ensuing explosions crumpled the boat’s pressure hull like an empty tin can, ending the patrol along with lives of her crew. In early 2020 GMT Games’ released a reprint of Consim...Read More
Mark Simonitch’s Stalingrad 42. Publisher: GMT Games. Designer: Mark Simonitch. Producers: Tony Curtis, Rodger MacGowan, Andy Lewis, Gene Billingsley, Mark Simonitch. Price: $75.00 Passed Boot: smoothest iteration of the “battle 4x” system so far, some nice chrome Failed Basic: somewhat bland map, nuts and bolts we’ve seen many times, offensive and defensive Finishing the first game of Stalingrad 42 with a friend of mine, who also happens to be a big Mark Simonitch fan, he commented to me that the game was “classic Mark Simonitch.” I spent a lot of time thinking about this, and really, if I had to sum it up in only three words, “classic Mark Simonitch” are the best three for it. The two second review of the game is this- if you have played this not-quite-a-series before, and liked them, you’ll like this one! If you have played them before and thought they weren’t good, this won’t be the one that changes your opinion. Before we get into the details, let’s review what...Read More
Nail Biting Solo Aircraft Action! – Fly an SM. 79 Torpedo Bomber in Quarterdeck International’s “278th Squadron – The Same 4 Cats” Board Game Review
278th Squadron – The Same 4 Cats Board Game Review. Publisher: Quarterdeck Games Designer: Marco Campari Price $16 Passed Inspection: small footprint, innovative solo system, easy to learn, strong narrative, addictive game play, excellent value for the cost Failed Basic: final map size different from what the rules say, would like a chart detailing damage done to the target ships instead of just hit or miss Our SM.79 flew at near surface level as we prepared to pounce on the British destroyer Fearless. Bright sunlight and nearly flat ocean made this approach almost perfect. The torpedo launched as we pulled up and banked slightly to port to avoid colliding with the destroyer. All hell broke loose as black puffs of flak and machine gun tracers danced across our flight path tearing holes in our starboard wing. Just then over the increasing drone of our three engines, we heard a roaring boom and our top gunner reported Fearless listing to port with smoke and flames billowing from her. As long...Read More
Castle Itter – The Strangest Battle of World War II Board Game Review. Publisher: DVG Designer: David Thompson Price $59.99 Passed Inspection: Strong solo narrative, fast playing, easy to learn but hard to master, solo or multiplayer Failed Basic: needs a little more explanation in the rules, have to buy a second product for $20 to get a history of the battle and designer’s notes, what are the colored cubes for? As the subtitle to the game suggest, this is definitely the strangest battle of World War 2 and one that I knew nothing about until researching this for my review of this game. Per the Battle of Castle Itter entry in Wikipedia: The Battle for Castle Itter was fought in the Austrian North Tyrol village of Itter on 5 May 1945, in the last days of the European Theater of World War II. Troops of the 23rd Tank Battalion of the 12th Armored Division of the US XXI Corps led by Captain John C. “Jack” Lee, Jr., a...Read More
Frank Chadwick’s Thunder in the East. Publisher: Victory Point Games / GMT Games. Designer: Frank Chadwick. Developers: Alan Emerich, Lance McMillan Price $ 149.00 Passed inspection: A more playable giant version of the Great Patriotic War. Big, gorgeous counters and huge maps. A glossy well-constructed rule book. Quality play aids. Multiple scenarios spanning the war and a massive campaign game. Failed basic: It’s so big it might not fit on your game table! Back in the days of my youth, Game Designers’ Workshop, or as it later came to be known, ‘GDW’ was a prolific producer of conflict simulations, a.k.a. – wargames. Even in those days, a designer’s reputation – or brand if you will – was a way for consumers to gauge their interest in a new title. My buddy Matt and I use to flip over the box of the latest GDW game to see if it was yet another design from the creative mind of Frank Chadwick. In the spring of 1983, Matt and I embarked...Read More