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

Wings of Glory, Giants of the Sky. World War I Aircraft Booster Packs – Game Review

Wings of Glory, Giants of the Sky. World War I Aircraft Booster Packs – Game Review

Wings of Glory, Giants of the Sky. World War I Aircraft Booster Packs – Game Review.  Publisher: Ares Games Designer: Andrea Angiolino and Pier Giorgio Paglia. Price $59 (Handley Page) $79 (Zeppelin Staaken) Passed Inspection:  Beautifully painted, amazing detail, new rules 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. (For previous World War I Wings of Glory reviews see  http://armchairgeneral.com/wings-of-glory-world-war-i-rules-and-accessories-pack-miniatures-game-review.htm) Ares Games new Wings of Glory air plane packs integrated with their tactical airplane combat system makes for a wonderful gaming experience.  Their new 1:144 scale World...

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Posted on Apr 18, 2016 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Silent Victory – Board Game Review

Silent Victory – Board Game Review

Silent Victory — Board Game Review.  Publisher: GMT Games and Consim Press   Game Designer: Gregory M. Smith.  Price  $55.00 Passed Inspection: Easy to learn but complex and immersive game. Role playing elements. Tense historical action.  Well laid out rule booklet with index. Tons of value for the money. Failed Basic: Zip lock baggies would have been nice to include in the box. Dud torpedoes are very frustrating but accurately depicted. “April 1942: Capt Martin of the USS Pike, a Porpoise class American sub, on their third war patrol; this time patrolling the Northern Marianas Islands. In our sixth week of patrol we encountered the 11,600 ton Japanese armed freighter Hie Maru with one smaller ship and a Japanese Destroyer. We engaged at medium and close range from submerged position. During our two hour attack, we fired 15 torpedoes at the Hie and the destroyer. Most torps hit but of those that hit all but one were duds except for the last torpedo which caused the Hie to explode. The...

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Posted on Apr 4, 2016 in Front Page Features, Games PR

Star Wars Armada – Game Review

Star Wars Armada – Game Review

Star Wars Armada  Game Review.  Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games Designer: James Kniffen and Christian T. Petersen Price  $99.00 for the Starter Set $15.00 and up for additional ships. Passed Inspection: Beautiful miniatures. Exciting game play. Fairly easy to learn and lots of advanced rules. Perfectly captures fleet actions in the Star Wars universe. Failed Basic: Some components are difficult to put together and tend to fall apart during game play. Rules are not always clear. More layouts needed to speed learning of ship and squadron information. The Admiral sat overlooking the crew pits on the bridge of the Eviscerator, a Victory Class II Star Destroyer.  His crew had engaged a Rebel task force of a Corvette and a Nebulon B frigate.  The two Rebel ships launched their complement of X Wings but they were soon outnumbered by the multitudes of Tie Fighters that the Imperial ship scrambled.  The high quality of experience provided by the endless conflicts since the Clone Wars, plus the exceptional training offered at the Imperial...

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Posted on Mar 31, 2016 in Books and Movies, Front Page Features

Nisid Hajari Wins 2016 Colby Award

Nisid Hajari Wins 2016 Colby Award

NORTHFIELD, Vt. – Nisid Hajari has won the 2016 William E. Colby Award for his book, “Midnight’s Furies: The Deadly Legacy of India’s Partition.” Now in its 17th year, the Colby prize is awarded annually by Norwich University to a first-time author in recognition of a work of fiction or non-fiction that has made a major contribution to the understanding of military history, intelligence operations, or international affairs. Hajari oversees Asia coverage for Bloomberg View, the editorial page of Bloomberg News. He writes editorials on Asian politics and economics and edits Bloomberg’s opinion columns and commentary from the region. “Midnight’s Furies,” his first book, has been named one of the best books of 2015 by NPR, Quartz, the Daily Beast, the Seattle Times, and Amazon. “I am absolutely thrilled to be named the recipient of the 2016 Colby Award,” Hajari said. “To join the company of such distinguished military and historical writers as Jon Meacham and Dexter Filkins is a tremendous honor, and it’s particularly gratifying that the judges chose...

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Posted on Jan 15, 2016 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features

Ravenmark – PC Game Review

Ravenmark – PC Game Review

Ravenmark – Scourge of Estellion PC Game Review.  Publisher: Witching Hour Studio Price  $14.99 (STEAM) Passed Inspection: Detailed fully developed fantasy world. Easy to use tactical combat controls. Excellent tutorials and reference materials. FUN!!! Failed Basic:  A little too easy for units to disengage from combat. Witching Hour Studio of Singapore has released a classic fantasy war game with the STEAM release of their new game Ravenmark – Scourge of Estellion!  This game is a follow up to Witching Hour’s Ravenmark Mercenaries multi-player war game from 2013 but it expands that game with a much stronger narrative element and excellent AI. The recommended system requirements for Ravenmark – Scourge of Estellion are as follows: OS: Windows XP SP2+ / Vista / 7 / 8 Processor: Intel P4/AMD Athlon XP or better Memory: 1 GB RAM Graphics: Open GL 1.5 Compatible Graphic Card DirectX: Version 9.0c Storage: 732 MB available space On first glance, Ravenmark – Scourge of Estellion reminds me of a mix between “Game of Thrones” and the...

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Posted on Jan 15, 2016 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features

Heroes of Normandy – PC Game Review

Heroes of Normandy – PC Game Review

Heroes of Normandy PC Game Review.  Publisher: Slitherine Price  $24.89 (STEAM) Passed Inspection: Great conversion from board game. Easy to learn. Fun.  Excellent graphics and sound. Humorous game play. Failed Basic:  More beer and pretzels than a serious war game. Scope is limited. Good dice rolls can make or break your plan too often. Tutorial can be confusing. Line of site seems a little wonky. Heroes of Normandy is based upon the extremely popular beer and pretzels board war game of the same name. The theme of the game is that the players are thrown in to the European Theater of World War II but with a twist, all the characters, missions and situations are based on Hollywood’s version of World War II as exhibited in their huge budget war films of the 1960s and 70s.  Therefore, you play with caricatures of Clint Eastwood, Lee Marvin, Sir Peter O’Toole, Donald Sutherland and other great war film actors. The computer game simulates the board game down to the use of...

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Posted on Jan 15, 2016 in Books and Movies, Draft, Front Page Features

Outsourcing Security: Private Military Contractors and U.S. Foreign Policy – Book Review

Outsourcing Security: Private Military Contractors and U.S. Foreign Policy – Book Review

Outsourcing Security: Private Military Contractors and U.S. Foreign Policy.  Bruce E. Stanley.  Potomac Books.  238 pages.  Soft cover. $25.00 There are many books published that are simply not intended for the mass market.  These volumes are crafted by authors to be read by a particular readership. When that book also fills a gap in scholarship for that select group of readers then you have a special volume.  This is the case with Bruce Stanley’s outstanding book, Outsourcing Security: Private Military Contractors and U.S. Foreign Policy.   It unquestionably fills an existing niche and greatly adds to the body of knowledge in this area. As the title clearly suggests, Stanley’s focus is on the use of private military contractors (PMCs) by the United States.  Certainly, this is a subject area which can generate some highly emotional debate.  However, the author stays clear of the moral and legal aspects of their use.  Instead, Stanley examines the rise in the use of PMCs by the United States in the past 25 years.  Just as...

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Posted on Dec 3, 2015 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features

Battle of the Bulge – PC Game Review

Battle of the Bulge – PC Game Review

Battle of the Bulge PC Game Review.  Publisher: Shenandoah Studio Price  $9.99 Passed Inspection: Fun fast play which is easy to learn but challenging to master. Great sound affects and music. Atmospheric. Great value for the price. Failed Basic:  Unrealistic combat results.  Too simplistic at times. At times very frustrating. Shenandoah Studios has delved in to the last great German offensive of World War II with their new treatment of The Battle of the Bulge.  Available on Steam for the price of $9.99, this strategy game is a great value for the money. The system requirements are: Windows® XP/Vista/7/8 or 10. Pentium 4 or equivalent 2Gb RAM 512Mb DirectX 9 video card with shader model 2.0 CD ROM Drive (not required for the digital version) DirectX Compatible Sound Card Focusing on the December, 1944 battle, award winning game designer John Butterfield’s design is both opulently atmospheric and streamlined minimalistic.  Each unit is a division, brigade or regiment and each turn is several hours of each day of the battle. ...

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Posted on Oct 12, 2015 in Books and Movies, Front Page Features

Tough As They Come – Book Review

Tough As They Come – Book Review

Tough As They Come. SSG Travis Mills with Marcus Brotherton.  Convergent Books. 272 pages.  Hard cover. $25.00   The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have generated some incredible personal stories of courage and determination.  These stories highlight the power of the human spirit and have undoubtedly inspired many who have struggled with their own challenges.  One Soldier’s story which clearly has touched and effected many is that of SSG Travis Mills.  His story and his ability to face an incredible challenge will now be known and appreciated by a far greater audience with the release of his outstanding book, Tough As They Come. For those unfamiliar with the challenge Mills has faced, it is a significant to say the least.  During his third deployment to Afghanistan, while conducting a patrol, Mills set his backpack on the ground.  This touched off an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) which immediately made him a triple amputee.  A few days later, while in the hospital, his remaining limb was removed.  Incredibly, Mills survived making...

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Posted on Oct 12, 2015 in Books and Movies, Front Page Features

Rock of the Marne: The American Soldiers Who Turned the Tide Against the Kaiser in World War I – Book Review

Rock of the Marne: The American Soldiers Who Turned the Tide Against the Kaiser in World War I – Book Review

Rock of the Marne: The American Soldiers Who Turned the Tide Against the Kaiser in World War I. by Stephen L. Harris (Berkely Caliber, 2015), 348 pages. One year into the centennial of World War I (1914-1918), publishers have turned from presenting a flood of books on the war’s root causes and how it erupted in the summer of 1914 to subjects covering how it was fought on the war’s battlefields. Stephen Harris’s Rock of the Marne moves the action ahead to the Western Front’s penultimate battle in 1918 – the Second Battle of the Marne. Fought from July 15 to August 6, the battle pitted 52 German divisions against 44 French, 8 American, 4 British and 2 Italian divisions along the Marne River about 50 miles northeast of Paris. During the opening phase of the battle, the initial German assault crossing of the Marne, the stubborn defense against overwhelming odds mounted by a regiment of the 3d U.S. Infantry Division earned that outfit its everlasting “Rock of the...

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Posted on Sep 3, 2015 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features

‘Conflict’ Series – Android OS Game Review

‘Conflict’ Series – Android OS Game Review

‘Conflict’ Series. Android OS game review. Developed and Published by Joni Nuutinen. Price for Android: $3.99; free for some. Editions Reviewed: Panzer Missions; Invasion of Poland 1939; Invasion of France 1940; Rommel and the Afrika Korps; Battle of Okinawa 1945; Battle of Moscow 1941 Passed Inspection: Inexpensive, strategic level simulations.  Great replay value. Company is very responsive to user feedback and concerns. Failed Basic: Some past victory conditions and playability issues but these were always fixed very quickly with updates. Solitaire only – no two player versions. Traditional strategic and tactical war games for the Android operating system are few and far between.  In the tradition of fine Android adaptations by John Tiller as well as the Android Combat Mission by Battlefront, Finnish game developer Joni Nuutinen has entered the battlefield with more traditional board game interpretations to the relatively new frontier of “smart devices” and, oh, what an entrance! While this overview will focus on Nuutinen’s World War II games, his releases cover the gamut from medieval themes, the American Revolutionary and Civil Wars and World War...

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