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Posted on Jul 31, 2016 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features

Wings Over Flanders Fields Expansion 3  Game Review

Wings Over Flanders Fields Expansion 3 Game Review

By Rick Martin Publisher: OBD Software Games Price $39.99 Passed Inspection: Completely immersive, control over difficulty levels, amazing graphics, realistic flight models and AI, more flyable aircrafts than any other WW 1 flight simulator Failed Basic: No multiplayer OBD Software continues to expand on its award winning World War I flight simulator Wings Over Flanders Fields with this 3rd expansion to their simulator. For a complete review of the game and its first two expansions, see: http://armchairgeneral.com/wings-over-flanders-fields-pc-game-review.htm While many enjoy playing the graphically gorgeous but solitaire impaired Rise of Flight, Wings Over Flanders Fields (WoFF) gives the players a fully immersive world to play around with. Covering from 1915 to 1918, WoFF with this 3rd expansion now features 83 different aircrafts including trainers, scouts, two seaters and heavy bombers — Nieuports and Fokker Eindeckers to Albatroses, Be2cs, Se5as, Gothas, Zepplins and Spads Oh My! WoFF 3 is not just a flight simulator but a fully crafted dynamic World War I environment with role playing elements in that you can track...

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Posted on Jul 29, 2016 in Front Page Features, History News

Interview: Louis Valiante, WWII P-61 Black Widow Crewman

Interview: Louis Valiante, WWII P-61 Black Widow Crewman

Heatherly: Tell me about your early years. Valiante: “I was born in June 11, 1922. We lost my maternal granddad in 1927. Also my paternal grandmother the same year. They both were our favorite grandparents. I loved them both. I went to Catholic school and the first and second grade were in the same room. I was appointed to read to the first graders while the nun taught the second graders. Then in 1928, my Dad who had been in the World War One, was very sick. He had been mustard gassed and had to have a major operation. He did not go to the Veterans hospital. Our home doctor said he knew a surgeon who would do the operation and my dad would be recuperating at home. My Dad did not go back to work until 1933. Our doctor came to our house twice a day until my Dad got up his stamina. Being a vet he was given a very easy task for the city. Then in...

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Posted on Jul 25, 2016 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Long Range Desert Group – Special Operations Against Rommel 1941 – 1942 Game Review

Long Range Desert Group – Special Operations Against Rommel 1941 – 1942 Game Review

Publisher: Decision Games Designer: Joseph Miranda, Chris Perello, Eric Harvey and Christopher Cummins Price $12.95 By Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Great value for price, high quality components, interesting subject, fun with tons of replay value, great solitaire experience Failed Basic: Some slight rules clarifications needed “I was never scared of the Germans,” commented legendary actor Sir Christopher Lee (Dracula in 9 films, Count Dooku in Star Wars, Saruman in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, and an actor in over 200 more films) “but I was scared of other members of the Long Range Desert Patrol…” During World War II, Sir Christopher Lee was an RAF attaché to the Long Range Desert Group. Their exploits in gathering information and harassing the supply lines of Rommel’s Africa Corp would forever burnish their names in to history. Decision Games release Long Range Desert Group – Special Operations Against Rommel 1941-1942 (LRDG) not only provides a fascinating look at the missions of this special forces group but also provides an extremely satisfying...

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Posted on Jul 22, 2016 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Lost Interview with Zvezda Game Designer Konstantin Krivenko Who Passed Away in 2014

Lost Interview with Zvezda Game Designer Konstantin Krivenko Who Passed Away in 2014

By Rick Martin (Konstantin Krivenko passed away in July of 2014. This is an interview conducted in 2012.) Rick Martin: First of all, I am a fan of World War II games and a huge fan of Samurai movies and literature, so let me say thank you for designing these fascinating games. Please tell us about Zvezda. American gamers may not be too familiar with this company. Konstantin Krivenko: The history of our company started more than 20 years ago with plastic models, and “Zvezda” is now a leading manufacturer of plastic model kits and at the same time one of the largest board game publishers in Russia. Our products are represented by official distributors in more than 50 countries. Today our product range contains more than 350 items, including over 80 board games. We have achieved world-wide success and recognition in the hobby segment of the business. RM: Tell us a little about your background as a game designer. KK: My job is completely different. I’m a founder, co-owner,...

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Posted on Jun 27, 2016 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Wings of Glory World War II Fighters and Dive Bombers are on the Prowl!

Wings of Glory World War II Fighters and Dive Bombers are on the Prowl!

Wings of Glory World War II Aircraft Booster Packs  Game Review.  Publisher: Ares Games Designer: Andrea Angiolino and Pier Giorgio Paglia   Price  $14.50 By Rick Martin Passed Inspection:  Beautifully sculpted and painted, 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 bombers. Ares Games new Wings of Glory air plane packs integrated with their tactical airplane combat system makes for a wonderful gaming experience.  Their new 1:200 scale World War II aircraft packs feature two late war fighters plus two dive bombers to add to your air fleet. The new...

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

Odyssey: Wrath of Poseidon Game Review – Release Your Inner Kraken!

Odyssey: Wrath of Poseidon Game Review – Release Your Inner Kraken!

Odyssey: Wrath of Poseidon  Game Review.    Publisher: Ares Games   Designer: Leo Colovini  Price  $39.90 By Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Great, family friendly game play. Excellent Concept. 1 hour or less per game! Easy to learn. Failed Basic: Rules are a little unclear at times. No solitaire capability. Ares Games should be respected for continually branching out in to new genres of the wonderful hobby of board gaming.  Best known for their amazing World War I and II air craft game Wings of Glory aka Wings of War, and for their outstanding age of sails game Sails of Glory, Ares Games has released games based upon the Lord of the Rings and Conan the Barbarian as well as science fiction, family and now Euro Games! Euro Games are an interesting, unique style of board games which have their roots in Germany. Per BoardGameGeek.com : Most Eurogames share the following elements: Player conflict is indirect and usually involves competition over resources or points. Combat is extremely rare. Players are never eliminated...

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Posted on Apr 22, 2016 in Front Page Features

“I was Rommel’s Barber” – Interview with Helmut Thomasite, an Africa Corp. Tanker

“I was Rommel’s Barber” – Interview with Helmut Thomasite, an Africa Corp. Tanker

“I was Rommel’s Barber”  Interview with Helmut Thomasite, an Africa Corp. Tanker by Mike Burnside and Rick Martin What did you do before the war? I was born in a very small town.  It was so small that there were only several people rich enough to be able to afford cars.  Most of us walked or rode horses or bicycles.  It was a strange experience because I learned to drive a tank before I ever learned how to drive a car.  When Hitler came to power, my parents had very bad feelings about him but he was so popular it was difficult to criticize him or his policies since everyone in town knew each other’s business.  When I was ten or so we had to join a civilian works organization which was like a very political form of the Boy Scouts in America.  Of course, it was controlled by the Nazi party.  It was also the stepping-stone for the Hitler Youth.  They recruited from that organization and, if you...

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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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