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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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Posted on Feb 24, 2017 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features

Combat Mission Final Blitzkrieg PC Game Review

Combat Mission Final Blitzkrieg PC Game Review

Combat Mission: Final Blitzkrieg Computer Game Review. Publisher Battle Front Price $60 for Mac and Windows Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Engrossing campaign play, instant battle generator, incredible immersive graphics Failed Basic: battle generator has a few bugs in unpatched state, text too small on anything less then a 20” monitor, campaign games load up slowly even on fast machines The venerable Combat Mission franchise has been providing first class World War 2 and Modern Conflict action since 2000. Originally designed by Charles Moylan as an official Advanced Squad Leader computer game for Avalon Hill, it was picked up by Big Time Software (now known as Battlefront) after the purchase of Avalon Hill by Hasbro. Now with Combat Mission: Final Blitzkrieg, Battlefront has taken their World War 2 system to a whole new level! Combat Mission: Final Blitzkrieg (CMFB) examines the actions of the Allies and Germans during the critical Battle of the Bulge campaign in December of 1944 but play actually covers October 1944 to January 1945. The player...

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

Falling Sky – Pure War Gaming Goodness! Game Review

Falling Sky – Pure War Gaming Goodness! Game Review

Falling Sky Game Review. Publisher: GMT Games Designers: Andrew Ruhnke and Volko Ruhnke Price $80.00 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Perfectly recreates the Roman occupation of Europe, incredible components, good index, tutorials included, substantial designers’ notes, challenging solitaire and multiplayer rules, great fun, great value for the price Failed Basic: needs a shorter basic scenario, intimidating to a new player, victory rules need a better explanation, player set up chart not printed clearly The sixth and newest entry in the COIN (COunter INsurgencies) game series jumps back in to the turbulent 50s, no not the 1950s but to 54 to 52 B.C. as Caesar’s Roman Legions attempt to pacify Gaul! This is a distinct change in time period for a game system which has mostly focused on late 20th and early 21st Century conflicts such as the Cuban Revolution, Vietnam and the on-going conflict in Afghanistan. I must admit to being a newcomer to the COIN series but my interest in ancient Rome led to my request to review this...

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Posted on Jan 16, 2017 in Armchair Reading, Books and Movies, Front Page Features

MACARTHUR AT WAR – Book Review

MACARTHUR AT WAR – Book Review

Walter R. Borneman, Little, Brown and Company. 2016 595 pages Hard Back $30.00 ISBN 9780316405324 Walter Borneman’s range of history books cover from the Revolutionary War to the Westward expansion of the railroads to World War II. His new book, “MacArthur at War” is a warts and all biography of General Douglas MacArthur. “Douglas MacArthur always lived in his father’s shadow. It grew long before he was born…” are the first two sentences in chapter 1 of Borneman’s engrossing biography. Douglas’ father, Captain Arthur MacArthur, Jr., fought under Sheridan during the Civil War and won the Medal of Honor for a rather unorthodox and somewhat controversial frontal assault which may or may not have been ordered by his commander. It is this personal initiative which was shared by his son, Douglas, as well as other legendary commanders of World War Two such as Patton and Rommel, but which put these men in to conflict with their superiors. Douglas not only had to contend with a father whose experiences in...

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

Conflict of Heroes – Guadalcanal 1942 Review

Conflict of Heroes – Guadalcanal 1942 Review

Conflict of Heroes Guadalcanal 1942 The Pacific Game Review. Publisher: Academy Games Designer: Uwe Eickert, Gunter Eickert and Dean Halley Price $80.00 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Top quality components, clear and concise rules, easy to learn, beautiful modular terrain, special Bushido rules force the Japanese player to act authentically Failed Basic: hexes are a little too difficult to make out on the maps Macready and his boys in L Company didn’t know exactly what to expect as they crept forward through the heavy jungle towards the village of Matanikau. A few days earlier Goettge’s men were ambushed by Imperial Japanese Navel Troops and now the Marines wanted revenge. The jungle heat made even the simplest tasks a burden. At least L Company didn’t have to cross the Matanikau River. Macready could hear rifle and machine gun fire coming from the East – likely B Company was dishing it out to the Japanese but B Company had to get across the river and Macready knew the Japanese weren’t about to...

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Posted on Dec 12, 2016 in Boardgames, Electronic Games, Front Page Features

Best of 2016 Gaming Guide!

Best of 2016 Gaming Guide!

The 2016 Armchair General Holiday Buyers Guide for Gamers The game reviewers here at Armchair General want to share their top games of 2016. These little gems brought more smiles to our faces in 2016 and helped get our minds off of what was a pretty stress filled year. Full reviews of most of these games can be found on our site but, for some, the full reviews are not done. These are noted as with the words “Full Review Coming Soon” but take it from us, you are being given a sneak preview of the full review. Just don’t tell anyone else ok? It’s just between us. Now here we go! The Grizzled. This came out in 2015, but the expansion was released this year. Simple, elegant, artful, easy to set up and play. Comrades not included in the box, but who doesn’t like a game that you can bring your friends over for the enjoyment of their company! Wings of Glory. We love airplanes and aviation. So...

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Posted on Dec 12, 2016 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

The Grizzled is Top Notch! A Card Game Representing the Human Experience of World War I

The Grizzled is Top Notch! A Card Game Representing the Human Experience of World War I

The Grizzled Game Review. Publisher: Cool Mini or Not (CMON Limited) Designers: Fabien Riffaud and Juan Rodriguez Artist: Tignous Price: $24.99 Greg Johnson Passed Inspection: Gameplay: Simple, direct, intimate. Playing through the game once will be enough to continue play without much additional learning. Artwork: The art stands out on the box and cards as elegantly simple and eye catching. It has a comic strip style and appeal with an intimate personality that suits the game perfectly. The art brings this writer to the mind of the Valiant Hearts –The Great War 2D video game. The same setting, different artists yet the style feels exactly right. Failed Basic: The instructions for The Grizzled is not actually a fail. Instructions are always one of the toughest areas to get perfect in any game and one of my pet peeves. The Grizzled gets most of it right through organization and simplicity, but there are a couple of areas of game play that could benefit from some additional clarification. I seem to...

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Posted on Nov 21, 2016 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Conflict of Heroes Eastern Front Solo Expansion and Awakening the Bear Fire Fight Generator  Game Review

Conflict of Heroes Eastern Front Solo Expansion and Awakening the Bear Fire Fight Generator Game Review

Conflict of Heroes Eastern Front Solo Expansion and Awakening the Bear Fire Fight Generator Game Review. Publisher: Academy Games Designer: Uwe Eickert, Gunter Eickert and John Butterfield Price $45.00 (Solo Expansion), $45.00 (Fire Fight Generator) Rick Martin Passed Inspection: High Quality Components, Great “AI”, Atmospheric Failed Basic: A little too overwritten. High Price as both expansions could have been in one box and one release. Needs more complete enemy morale and retreat rules. As the morning fog burns off, a German scouting force comprised of a half track, an 8 wheeled armored car (8 rad) and an anti-tank gun hears Russian motors in the distance. Can they hold the farmhouse they rested at or will their light force be destroyed? As the fog continues to burn off and with motors in the distance, a Sdkfz 8 rad becomes the target of a Russian gun crew who wheeled their gun towards the farm under cover of the fog! Fire is traded. The gun is eliminated by 20mm fire from the...

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Posted on Nov 9, 2016 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Hot War: Battle for Oil Game Review

Hot War: Battle for Oil Game Review

Hot War: Battle for Oil Game Review. Publisher: Zvezda. Designer: Konstantin Krivenko. Price: $69.95. Game Review by Ray Garbee Ray Garbee Passed Inspection: High quality components. Heavy duty cardboard map boards. Full color rule and scenario books that are well illustrated. Detailed example of play that demonstrates the mechanics. Cleanly integrates ammunition and casualties into the game system. Failed Basic: Game only provides data for units included in the box. Missing the canopies for both helicopters. A plain vanilla model of the M1. “Hot War: Battle for Oil” is a Zvezda board game that is part of the Art of Tactics series. It shares the same game system as the Barbarossa 41 game. The game is set in a fictional historical past of the 1990’s where the Soviet Union did not dissolve. Instead, the Soviets and the United States (and presumably the rest of their respective allies) have escalated their competition into open war. The setting is an un-named Middle Eastern state that serves as a faceless backdrop for...

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Posted on Oct 6, 2016 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

New Wings of Glory World War I Aircrafts Have Taken Flight!

New Wings of Glory World War I Aircrafts Have Taken Flight!

Wings of Glory World War I Aircraft Booster Packs Game Review. Publisher: Ares Games Designer: Andrea Angiolino and Pier Giorgio Paglia Price $14.90 to $19.90 Passed Inspection: Significant aircrafts, wonderful detail, nice selection of paint jobs and types, another Turkish aircraft is added to the fleet Failed Basic: Nothing at all! 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 air plane packs integrated with their tactical airplane combat system makes for a wonderful gaming experience. Their four new 1:144 scale World War I aircrafts feature...

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Posted on Sep 20, 2016 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

James Day’s MBT – MAIN BATTLE TANK Game Review

James Day’s MBT – MAIN BATTLE TANK Game Review

MBT Game Review. Publisher: GMT Games Designer: James M. Day Price $95.00 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Tons of content. Complete rules for armor infantry and airpower. Multiple levels of play from beginner to advanced player. Beautiful components. Complete table of contents and index. Failed Basic: Some confusion as to air power attacking armor using armor piercing ammunition. MBT is the newest release in the reconstituted series of armor games by legendary game designer James Day. While earlier releases from GMT have been updates of the classic Yaquinto Panzer and Armor World War 2 games (still waiting on an update to the North African themed “88” which is my favorite of the series – come on guys!), GMT’s MBT is an update of the Avalon Hill released MBT which focuses on Nato vs Eastern Block “what if” battles from 1987. As I stated in my original review of Day’s updated Panzer: “Back when I was in 8th grade (I’m 46 now – you do the math), I discovered military and...

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Posted on Sep 16, 2016 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Interview with Legendary Game Designer Richard Berg

by Richard Martin September 2016 Award Winning Game Designer Richard Berg is a living legend amongst war gamers. He is one of the most prolific designers of games, if not the most prolific designer, and many of his games are considered classics. After service in the military, Berg went on to practice criminal law in the 1970s and 1980s. Holding a Bachelor of Art Degree in Asian History and a Juris Doctor Degree, Berg has brought his passion for education and history to every game he designs. Armchair General is honored to have been able to ask Mr. Berg a few questions about his experiences in the board games field. 1) How many games have you designed? Richard H.Berg: Oh, around 160+ that doesn’t include the ones that never got published, of which I have around 30-40 sitting around. 2) Of all the games you have designed, what is your favorite? RHB: That’s like asking a parent who his favorite child is. There is no possible cogent answer for...

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Posted on Sep 13, 2016 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Age of Conan – Adventures in Hyboria Expansion Game Review

Age of Conan – Adventures in Hyboria Expansion Game Review

Publisher: Ares Games Designer: Francesco Nepitello and Marco Maggi Price $34.90 Review by Shawn Johnson and Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Adds more Conan to the game. Tracks Conan’s abilities at different levels of his experience, great content, great artwork Failed Basic: A shorter campaign could have been included for gamers who have less than 6 hours to play. “KNOW, oh prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities, and the years of the rise of the Sons of Aryas, there was an Age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world like blue mantles beneath the stars—Nemedia, Ophir, Brythunia, Hyperborea, Zamora with its dark-haired women and towers of spider-haunted mystery, Zingara with its chivalry, Koth that bordered on the pastoral lands of Shem, Stygia with its shadow-guarded tombs, Hyrkania whose riders wore steel and silk and gold. But the proudest kingdom of the world was Aquilonia, reigning supreme in the dreaming west. Hither came Conan, the Cimmerian, black-haired, sullen- eyed,sword in...

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Posted on Aug 31, 2016 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Battles for the Galactic Empire Game Review by Greg Johnson

Battles for the Galactic Empire Game Review by Greg Johnson

Publisher: Decision Games Inc. Designer: Joseph Miranda Price: $19.95 Greg Johnson Passed Inspection: A simple game in a folder, an elegant and attractive presentation. The art was simple and does the job. Failed Basic: The instructions, while complete enough to eventually get it figured out, were a bit cryptic when deciphering game play. Adding a round of play example would allow the reader a chance to see the features of the game being played once and would probably alleviate a few question marks. This is a two-player game with no solitaire option. Players must provide their own dice and create their own screens. I used the folder and found another folder to hide each player’s secret moves. If you enjoy tactics and strategy, Decision Games’ Battles for the Galactic Empire offers a fun and enjoyable two player battle with some variant scenarios to play through. The two players will send their forces of Chaos and Imperial to fight for control of six quadrants of the galaxy. The two fleets...

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Posted on Aug 15, 2016 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Zipang Card Game Preview – release your inner Samurai!

Zipang Card Game Preview – release your inner Samurai!

Zipang Portable Card Game preview. Publisher: Engine-ID Game Designer: Ko Sasahara Expected Price: To be determined Passed Inspection: Easy to learn. Very fast to play. Lots of play options. Can accommodate up to 6 players. Failed Basic: A little fine tuning needs to be done to the rules. Optional rules would be nice to add more depth. No solitaire playability. By Rick Martin “Zipang” is one of the ancient names for “Japan” aka “Nihhon”. Zipang Portable the card game is a sweet little card game coming out from Engine-ID. The card game is set during the Sengoku Jidia – the age of civil war in feudal Japan which lasted from approximately 1467 –1603. Zipang Portable is the companion card game to an ambitious Zipang Samurai board game to be put out in the near future by Engine-ID. Currently prototypes of Zipang Portable can be purchased on-line from The Game Crafter for $24.95. The rules are still in development but current editions of the rules are available for download. Designer Ko...

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Posted on Aug 14, 2016 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features

Wings Over Flanders Fields Give Away!

Wings Over Flanders Fields Give Away!

Armchair General and OBD Software are working together to give away the main Wings Over Flanders Fields software plus expansions 2 and 3! All you have to do is leave a comment below as to why you would like to win Over Flanders Fields and on or about September 6th, 2016 we will randomly select one person from the comments to win this amazing flight simulator! This prize package is worth over $60.00! Good luck and keep the dirty side down! For a video of this simulator in action, click below: title=”Wings Over Flanders Fields...

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