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Posted on Nov 15, 2020 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

‘Remember the Maine!’. Compass Games ‘Dawn of Empire: The Spanish American Atlantic Naval War, 1898’. Board Game Review

‘Remember the Maine!’. Compass Games ‘Dawn of Empire: The Spanish American Atlantic Naval War, 1898’. Board Game Review

By Ray Garbee Dawn of Empire: The Spanish American Atlantic Naval War, 1898. Publisher: Compass Games. Designer: Stephen Newberg. Price $55.00 (Holiday sale price $36.00) Passed inspection: Color, mounted map that conveys a sense of space and place in the Atlantic and Caribbean basin. A fast playing game that conveys the relative strengths of each side. Plentiful variant rules for exploring a number of ‘what if’ scenarios. Failed basic: Printing error on the gameboard mars what is an otherwise excellent effort. A number of typos in the rules that may cause confusion (All of which can be remedied by downloading the current errata from the Compass Games website.) Ask for a quick summary of naval operations during the Spanish American War and you’ll likely get a response along the lines of, ‘America, heck yeah!’. The two major naval battles of the war – Manila Bay and Santiago, Cuba were both decisive defeats for the Spanish Navy. The lop-sided casualty ratio – in terms of both ships and men –...

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Posted on Apr 2, 2020 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Ice, Ice, Baby. High Flying Dice Games ‘Breaking the Ice: The Great Lakes Winter Fleet 1942’. Tabletop Game Review.

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...

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Posted on Jan 3, 2020 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

It’s a Red Storm on The Rise with Compass Games ‘Blue Water Navy’. Board Game Review.

It’s a Red Storm on The Rise with Compass Games ‘Blue Water Navy’. Board Game Review.

Blue Water Navy. Publisher: Compass Games. Game Designer: Stuart Tonge and James Derek Harris. Price: $109.00 Passed inspection: Provides a strategic overview of World War Three at sea, while retaining enough tactical detail of engagements to allow you to envision how the events unfold. The game does a good job of integrating all the aspects of naval warfare in a package that rewards coordinating attacks to maximize your strengths while minimizing your weaknesses.  Failed basic: Rulebook could be better organized for clarity. A table of contents and index would have been helpful. Including rule number references on the player aid charts would simplify looking up rules. You’ll need to be incorporate the errata into the rules and scenario book.   In 1979, General Sir John Hackett’s book ‘The Third World War’ laid out one possible scenario for what a war in Europe between NATO and the Soviet Union might look like. While written as a backwards looking retrospective of fictional events, it was a sobering look at the state...

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