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Posted on Jan 16, 2019 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features

“Carthage, methinks, ought to be utterly destroyed.” Command and Colors: Ancients Computer Game Review

“Carthage, methinks, ought to be utterly destroyed.” Command and Colors: Ancients Computer Game Review

Command and Colors: Ancients PC Computer Game Review.  Publisher GMT Games and Hexwar Games.  Based upon Richard Borg’s Board Game.  Price $19.99   Passed Inspection:  easy to learn, tough to master, excellent game play, great music, nice graphics capture the board game feel, lots of scenarios Failed Basic:  no multiplayer, needs more comprehensive rules, some bugs, AI seems to be a little too easy on the players at times, typos in the rule book. NOTE: I played this game on a PC and, thus, the review is based upon that platform. Richard Borg’s Command and Colors is a classic board game system which has been adapted to everything from the ancient world to World War II to the Sengoku Jidai civil war time period of Japan.  Now Command and Colors: Ancients has been adapted in to a computer game and it rocks! The game is available on Steam for both the PC and the MAC and the system requirements are as follows: PC  MINIMUM: OS: Windows XP SP2+ Memory: 2 MB...

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Posted on Dec 28, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Over the Top and Into the Fire. GMT Games ‘Gallipoli 1915: Churchill’s Greatest Gamble Board Game Review.

Over the Top and Into the Fire. GMT Games ‘Gallipoli 1915: Churchill’s Greatest Gamble Board Game Review.

  Gallipoli 1915: Churchill’s Greatest Gamble. Publisher: GMT Games.  Designer: Geoffrey Phipps. Price $105.00   Passed inspection: A triumph of quantitative design. Very detailed simulation of the early days of the Gallipoli campaign. Game mechanics feed the narrative depicting the nature of the conflict. Failed basic: The game design is bursting with a plethora of modifiers to account for the many dimensions of activities the player may perform. Large map footprint for the full game requires a ‘side table’ for all the charts and counter sleds.   My initial introduction to Australian participation in the Great War came from Hollywood in the form of two films – The Lighthorsemen and Peter Weir’s 1981 move Gallipoli. The impression made by these films were of a high command unable to learn from past mistakes, the deadly reality of the modern battlefield and the profound waste of lives expended in the deadly intersection of these concepts. Now with Geoffrey Phipps’ game Gallipoli 1915: Churchill’s Greatest Gamble you can glimpse some insights into...

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Posted on Dec 21, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Best Games of 2018!  Holiday Buyers’ Guide

Best Games of 2018! Holiday Buyers’ Guide

Gaming Holiday Buyers’ Guide 2018 2018 has been an amazing year for gaming!  In 2017, we said that “maybe” we were in a second Golden Age of Gaming.  Well after 2018, if anyone doubts that we are in a second Golden Age of Games then they haven’t been paying attention.  Let me reiterate – WE ARE IN A SECOND GOLDEN AGE OF GAMING!  This year has had some fun surprises.  From the adventure, tactical combat, puzzle solving Big Trouble in Little China the Board Game to fantastic games playable on your cell phone such as Mideast 67 to some great ancients and aviation games to Martian invasions of the Earth, 2018 had it all!  And while we at Armchair General are still playing catch up on some games that came out in 2018 and have gone unreviewed (shame on us), we hit a good selection of game genres in our reviews this year.  But wait my friends, there’s more!  2019 will be positively smashing so look out! There is...

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Posted on Dec 20, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Smoke that Toaster! – Battlestar Galactica Starship Battles Board Game Review

Smoke that Toaster! – Battlestar Galactica Starship Battles Board Game Review

Battlestar Galactica Starship Battles Starter Set.  Publisher: Ages Games  Designer: Andrea Angiolino  and Andrea Mainini Price  $59.90   Passed Inspection: Beautiful components and miniatures, innovative movement system simulates zero G space combat, exciting game play, multiple difficulty levels, tons of value for the money   Failed Basic: Kinetic movement and Acceleration rules need more examples, maneuver cards storage not deep enough to hold the cards in place in the box, slight problem with space ship bases not rotating (but Ares has an easy fix for that)   After 4,571 days, the Cylon War ended with a sudden armistice. Peace lasted 40 years. But now the Cylons are back as fierce and combative as ever. They want to exterminate what remains of mankind . . . and they have a plan.   The Twelve Colonies are wasted and in ruins. But the Colonial Fleet is there to face the Cylon spaceships and protect what it is left of mankind.     As a kid, I grew up on Star Trek,...

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Posted on Dec 11, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Conquer or Free Europe, Your Choice! – Hitler’s Reich Board Game Review

Conquer or Free Europe, Your Choice! – Hitler’s Reich Board Game Review

  Hitler’s Reich Game Review.  Publisher: GMT  Designers: Mark McLaughlin and Fred Schachter  Price  $69.00   Passed Inspection: Great value for the money, tons of replay value, attractive components, easy and fast to play, fun, great historical and designers’ notes, plenty of examples, 2 different styles for solo play, many optional rules   Failed Basic: Rules are over written, needs a more complete index, needs a “fast start” rule book to ease players in to the game, needs more flexibility for planning invasions or other major events, conflict cards need different backs to differentiate between Axis and Allies   Hitler’s Reich is GMT’s new strategic level World War 2 board game whose scope of play encompasses the British Isles, all of Europe and North Africa and the Middle East.  Each turn is comprised of multiple impulses in either 6 months or one year.  The game starts in April of 1941 and ends before or during 1945. At the start of the campaign game, Hitler controls much of Europe and...

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Posted on Dec 10, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

“Location, Location, Location” – New York 1901 Board Game Review

“Location, Location, Location” – New York 1901 Board Game Review

New York 1901 Game Review.  Publisher: Blue Orange Designer: Chenier La Salle  Price  $59.99   Passed Inspection: Beautiful components, family friendly, mentally challenging, pure fun, informative examples of play   Failed Basic: colors are a little confusing (and may be detrimental if you are color blind), rules need to show both the back and front of the different card decks   Not all battles are fought on the battle field and, as New York 1901 demonstrates, business can be considered a battle as well.   Blue Orange’s brilliant New York 1901 is not a war game per say.  It is a combination of a worker placement game and an area control game.  It’s easy to learn, fast to play, family friendly and extremely addictive.   As we gamers gather together with family over the holidays, we at Armchair General think it important that all gamers have family friendly games at their disposal as well as the more tradition “grognard” games that we all enjoy.  New York 1901 perfectly fits...

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Posted on Dec 4, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

“My center is giving way, my right is retreating, situation excellent, I am attacking.” The First Battle of the Marne 1914 AD Game Review

“My center is giving way, my right is retreating, situation excellent, I am attacking.” The First Battle of the Marne 1914 AD Game Review

The First Battle of the Marne 1914 AD Game Review.  Publisher: Turning Point Simulations Designer: Jon Compton Price  $32.95 (ziplock) or $37.95 (boxed)   Passed Inspection: mounted board, good solo play, multiple scenarios, small footprint, can be played in one afternoon, educational, living rules updated on company’s website   Failed Basic: Set up is a little confusing, black printing on dark background makes both some of the counters and some parts of the board too dark to comfortably see, army boundary rules and “no Central Powers in Paris” may be realistic but are too constricting on freedom of game play   “The First Battle of the Marne” is the 18th game in Turning Point Simulations’ wonderful “Twenty Decisive Battles of the World” series which is based upon Sir Edward Creasy’s book.  It looks at the victory during the 1914 “mobile” battles of the First World War and clearly illustrates why the war then bogged down in to the devastating trench warfare for which World War 1 is now remembered....

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Posted on Nov 22, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Defending the Father Land.  Night Fighter Ace Board Game Review

Defending the Father Land. Night Fighter Ace Board Game Review

Night Fighter Ace   Board Game Review.  Publisher Compass Games  Designer: Gregory M. Smith and Joe Gandara   Price $99.00   Passed Inspection:   Stunning artwork, high quality components, extremely immersive role playing aspects, compelling narrative develops for each mission, excellent rule book   Failed Basic: index is not complete, the Event table is referenced by another table and not a standalone table – this needs to be referenced in the rules, no 20 sided die included but one is needed on at least 1 table, some rule references are incorrect and the Dark -1 modifier is not on the Moon Phase Chart.  (Many of these are corrected in the November 18th 2018 Errata Update from Compass Game’s website – ed)   Oberleutnant Tomosite guided “Lola’s Dream”, his Ju88 R1 night fighter, towards the distant radar contact.  Rikard, the radar operator, was giving him slight directional changes.  The British bomber should soon be visible.  Rikard thought he had detected several contacts with the FuG202 Lichtenstein radar but if there were more bombers...

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Posted on Nov 15, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Battling Shot for Shot to turn the tide of the war at Pavlov’s House. Dan Verssen Games ‘Pavlov’s House’ Board Game Review.

Battling Shot for Shot to turn the tide of the war at Pavlov’s House. Dan Verssen Games ‘Pavlov’s House’ Board Game Review.

Pavlov’s House: The Battle of Stalingrad. Publisher: Dan Verssen Games Designer: David Thompson Price $ 59.99   Passed inspection: Clean presentation of the rules and components. Nice graphic depiction of how one building is the critical focus of the entire battle. Concise examples of play included for each section of rules. Failed basic: Counters representing the Kickstarter backers are not required for play of the game and the images don’t match those of the standard counters. Couple of minor typos snuck through editing process.   Disclaimer:  Your reviewer backed the Kickstarter to fund Pavlov’s House. So clearly, it’s a game he wanted to see brought to market. Beyond that, it means that in return for his financial funding, this reviewer (along with other backers) received a copy of the game and is represented ‘in the game’ in the form of a set of alternate counters. Aside from the Kickstarter rewards for participating in the funding of the campaign, the reviewer has no other connection to Dan Verssen Games.  ...

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Posted on Nov 12, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

A Comprehensive Look at a Nightmare Scenario.  Next War Poland Game Review

A Comprehensive Look at a Nightmare Scenario. Next War Poland Game Review

Next War Poland Board Game Review.  Publisher: GMT   Game Designer: Ralph Shelton,Gene Billingsley, Mitchell Land, Douglas Bush and Chris Fawcett  Price  $89.99    Passed Inspection:   Covers all aspects of a modern war in the region, programmed rules, three complete levels of complexity, tons of replay value, full index   Failed Basic:    needs a more complete glossary of abbreviations, sheer number of rules can be overwhelming   “More important than the modes of warfare, however, are the possible scenarios in which Russia might employ them. Here it is possible to distinguish two essentially different types of aggression that correspond to different political objectives. The first is an ambiguous, low-intensity operation, employing hybrid, largely non-military tactics and deliberately kept under the threshold of war to avoid triggering NATO’s collective-defence mechanism. The other is a sudden and decisive strike on another country or countries. Conceivable variants include action aimed at seizing a territory populated predominantly by ethnic Russians; occupation of a swathe of NATO territory in order to use it as a bargaining...

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Posted on Nov 8, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Unleash Your Inner Black Sheep!  DVG’s “Corsair Leader” Game Review

Unleash Your Inner Black Sheep!  DVG’s “Corsair Leader” Game Review

Corsair Leader  Board Game Review.  Publisher: DVG   Game Designer: Dan Verssen   Price  $99.99  Aces Expansion Deck $24.99   Passed Inspection:   top quality components, tons of replay value, highly immersive solo or cooperative experience, box stuffed with tons of campaigns and other materials, beautiful artwork, errata and fast support/Q and A on Facebook   Failed Basic:    some typos, damaging enemy planes would be a nice option instead of just shooting them down, needs and index and an in depth example of how to maneuver in dogfights   In the interest of full disclosure, Richard Martin has designed three games for DVG – Tiger Leader, The Tiger Leader Upgrade Kit and Sherman Leader.   As a kid growing up in the mid to late 1970s, Pappy Boyington was everywhere.  The TV series “Ba Ba Black Sheep” was running on TV and the star of the show, Robert Conrad, and Pappy Boyington, himself, were appearing at the Dayton International Air Show in what I believe was late July of 1977.  I remember...

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Posted on Oct 30, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Grappling with the Anaconda’s coils in GMT Games ‘For the People’. Board Game Review.

Grappling with the Anaconda’s coils in GMT Games ‘For the People’. Board Game Review.

  ‘For the People’. Publisher: GMT Games. Game Designers: Mark Herman. Price $ 65.00 Ray Garbee Passed inspection: Gorgeous full color mounted map board, deep deck of event cards, clean, simple combat system. Dynamic gameplay that provides unique experiences in each game. Captures the scope of not just a single theater, but the grand sweep of a conflict that raged from the Atlantic into the Great Plains.   Failed basic: Implementation of the naval blockade feels too random, Card-driven game mechanism allows for a degree of friction that can thwart the best strategy.     Over the years I’ve played a number of Civil war games. I’ve written games on the naval aspects of the American Civil War for miniatures gaming. My bookshelves groan under the weight of my library. I have friends that have a deep knowledge of the war and several with published books to their name. In short, I like to think I know a little bit about a lot of things related to the Civil...

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Posted on Oct 8, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

“Speed is life, altitude is life insurance” New Wing Leader Board Games Review

“Speed is life, altitude is life insurance” New Wing Leader Board Games Review

Wing Leader: Supremacy 1943-1945 and Wing Leader: Blitz 1939 to 1942 Board Game Review.  Publisher GMT  Designer: Lee Brimmicombe-Wood  Price $79.00 For Supremacy and $36 for Blitz   Rick Martin Passed Inspection:   interesting and unique perspectives on World War 2 air combat, beautiful components and artwork, tons of replay value, complete index   Failed Basic:   needs a complete random combat generation system   As many of you loyal readers have picked up, I love aviation games.  I am a diehard addict . . . er . . . player of Wings of Glory, Target for Today, Hornet Leader, Night Fighter, Ace of Aces and many other air combat games.  From easy to play games such as Wings of Glory to intermediate games such as Check Your Six and to the very complex Squad Leaders of air combat games – Over the Reich, Achtung Spitfire and Whistling Death, I love playing these things!  I guess I was a pilot in a past life!   Back in 2015, I reviewed Wing Leader:...

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Posted on Sep 25, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

“Disperse the vehicles and ready for action!” Long Range Recon Actions in Russia –  Greyhound vs Bear: The Raid on Astrakhan Game Review

“Disperse the vehicles and ready for action!” Long Range Recon Actions in Russia – Greyhound vs Bear: The Raid on Astrakhan Game Review

Greyhound vs Bear: The Raid on Astrakhan Game Review. Publisher: High Flying Dice Games Designer: Paul Rohrbaugh Price: $7.95 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Easy to learn – only 3 pages of rules! Great looking components. Tense game play. Perfect for solo play as the Germans. Excellent value for the money. Failed Basic: Rules need some clarification, no Russian victory point counter, Soviets should be able to get a move bonus from their railroads High Flying Dice Games (HFDG) continues their tradition of high quality, low price games with Greyhound vs Bear: The Raid on Astrakhan. Greyhound vs Bear is a cleverly designed game whose rules are only 3 pages long – 1 page of which are optional rules! The game reminds me quite a lot of the classic “One Page Bulge” game from the 1980s in which the designer, Steve Jackson, was challenged to design a Battle of the Bulge game with only 1 page of rules. Paul Rohrbaugh’s Greyhound vs Bear elegantly captures the German operation to scout...

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Posted on Sep 19, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Do You Have What It Takes to be a Top Gun?  DVG’s “Down in Flames:Locked On” Game Review

Do You Have What It Takes to be a Top Gun? DVG’s “Down in Flames:Locked On” Game Review

Down in Flames:Locked On Board Game Review. Publisher: DVG Game Designer: Dan Verssen Price $59.99 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: challenging multi-player or solo play, tons of aircrafts covering from the Korean War to the near future, fast action, small footprint, can be used as a tactical combat expansion to the other Flight Leader games, tons of replay value, amazing customer support over Facebook, full solo rules included, campaigns included Failed Basic: needs text as well as the small flag identifying aircraft’s country, solo rules require a 10 sided die which is not included, range rules could be explained more clearly, “standard missile load” is not clear. In the interest of full disclosure, Richard Martin has designed three games for DVG – Tiger Leader, The Tiger Leader Upgrade Kit and Sherman Leader. Down in Flames:Locked On takes the original World War 2 Down in Flames airplane combat game in to the jet age and, while I don’t own the World War 2 game, after playing Down in Flames:Locked On, I...

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Posted on Sep 4, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

One Eye on Manila and the other on Tokyo. Decision Games Luzon Campaign, 1945. Board Game Review.

One Eye on Manila and the other on Tokyo. Decision Games Luzon Campaign, 1945. Board Game Review.

Luzon Campaign, 1945 (World at War, issue #59). Publisher: Decision Games. Game Designer: Ty Bomba. Price $ 39.99 Ray Garbee Passed inspection: Short rules with lavishly illustrated examples of play. Easily understood map that captures the major land use features on the island of Luzon. Quick playing solitaire game covers the majority of the campaign. Failed basic: Combat is somewhat abstract and focused at the divisional level. The resulting mechanism lacks the gritty details of the engagements documented in the historical accounts of the campaign and feels like a dry G-2 daily brief summarizing the progress of the 6th Army’s combat formations. In January of 1945, soldiers of the United States 6th Army landed on the Philippine island of Luzon. The ensuing eleven-week campaign would see US soldiers battling through a diverse landscape experiencing beach assaults, air drops, river crossings and prepared assaults on urban built up areas. The campaign culminated in the all-out attack on the Japanese defending the capital city of Manila and the combined amphibious/airborne attack...

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Posted on Aug 30, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

A Brilliant Strategic Puzzle! Fortress Sevastopol Board Game Review

A Brilliant Strategic Puzzle! Fortress Sevastopol Board Game Review

Fortress Sevastopol Board Game Review. Publisher UGG.DE Designer: Christian Diedler Price $65.00 Passed Inspection: Beautiful map and counters, organic turn sequences, great value for the price, good replay value Failed Basic: some rules confusion, initial set up needs to be more clearly described in the rules, combat results system could be more streamlined, what are the purple colored German units as these are not in the rules Rick Martin Sevastopol is the largest city on the Crimean Peninsula and a major Black Sea port and, as such, was a tempting target for German military during World War 2. Per Wikipedia: “The Siege of Sevastopol …was a military battle that took place on the Eastern Front of the Second World War. The campaign was fought by the Axis powers of Germany, Romania, and Italy against the Soviet Union for control of Sevastopol, a port in the Crimea on the Black Sea. On 22 June 1941 the Axis invaded the Soviet Union during Operation Barbarossa. Axis land forces reached the Crimea...

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Posted on Aug 23, 2018 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features

“In peace you are an able subject; in chaos you are a crafty hero!” Romance of the Three Kingdoms Part XIII Computer Game Review

“In peace you are an able subject; in chaos you are a crafty hero!” Romance of the Three Kingdoms Part XIII Computer Game Review

Romance of the Three Kingdoms Part XIII Computer Game Review. Publisher Koei Tecmo Games Co., Ltd. Price $59.99 (available for PC on STEAM) Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Very immersive, excellent graphics, beautiful music and visuals, models almost every aspect of Han Dynasty military and court life. Failed Basic: there is so much in this game that it is difficult to learn even with the training “Hero” mode, needs a complete manual, sometimes crashes Years ago I cut my teeth on the Keoi strategy game series with Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Nobunaga’s Ambition on my Nintendo and then Romance of the Three Kingdoms II and Nobunaga’s Ambition on my Amiga 2000 computer! That would have been around 1989 or 1990. Nobunaga’s Ambition was set in Japan during the Sengoku Jidai (focusing specifically from around 1568 to 1603 AD) while Romance was set in China during the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD. These games were an amazing breath of fresh air and allowed the players to control a province...

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Posted on Aug 17, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

‘GMT Games brings the bomber war home with Skies Above the Reich’. Board Game Review.

‘GMT Games brings the bomber war home with Skies Above the Reich’. Board Game Review.

Skies Above the Reich. Publisher: GMT Games. Game Designers: Jeremy White and Mark Aasted. Price $ 89.00 Ray Garbee Passed inspection: Large block counters depicting the planes of a German fighter squadron, innovative map board graphics that capture the feel of the aerial battle space. Clearly written, lavishly illustrated rules. Good mix of scenarios and campaigns that capture the nature of the air war across the span of the Second World War. Failed basic: Staffel log sheet and pilot log sheet were a little clunky to use for more than a single mission at a time. IN 1981, the board game ‘B-17: Queen of the Skies’ was released. For almost four decades, solitaire board game players have taken to the skies in their cardboard B-17’s and taken the tabletop war to Germany with their simulated bombing missions over the Reich. Like the men documented in Billy Wilder’s documentary ‘Memphis Belle’ the player’s goal is to bomb the target and bring their plane and crew back in one piece. Beset...

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Posted on Aug 16, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

“We shook the pillars of heaven!” Big Trouble in Little China Board Game Review

“We shook the pillars of heaven!” Big Trouble in Little China Board Game Review

Big Trouble in Little China the Board Game Board Game Review. Publisher Everything Epic Designers: Christopher Batarlis, Boris Polonsky and Jim Samartino Price $99.99 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Beautifully designed components, tons of replay value, excellently written rules with examples, full index, easy to learn and play, great sense of humor, perfectly captures the feel of the film Failed Basic: 1 important rule (character starting locations) was addressed in a side bar when it should have also been in the set up procedure I am a huge movie fan and was a film critic for a local newspaper in Dayton, Ohio for 8 years. Director, writer, producer and musician John Carpenter is a major influence on my taste in films. From Dark Star and Halloween to The Thing to Escape from New York, The Fog and Big Trouble in Little China, Carpenter’s films can always be counted on to thrill, scare and entertain. To me, Carpenter’s golden period was the 1980s when he worked with almost a repertory company...

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