Articles by Rick Martin
Posted on Mar 28, 2019 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
Profile in Courage PT-109 Board Game Review. Publisher: High Flying Dice Games Game Designer: Rod Bauer Price $11.95 with unmounted counters or $17.95 with mounted counters Passed Inspection: Easy to learn, great fun to play, company is very responsive to questions, unique subject matter, nice graphics, good replayability, solo game Failed Basic: typos cause some confusion, the PT boat template isn’t used to its maximum effectiveness, needs a fuel tracking chart Profile in Courage: PT-109 is a terrific little solo game. It is a tactical look at the legendary operations of John F. Kennedy’s PT-109 during July and August of 1943 during the Japanese attempts to reinforce Munda in New Georgia. This boat, PT 109, became so associated with JFK that a swimming pool float toy of the 109 was produced in the 1960s (I know this because I still have my PT 109 swimming pool toy that I got when I was 4 or 5 years old!) American PT boat operations were predicated upon the relatively small... Read More
Posted on Mar 22, 2019 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
Dual Powers Revolution 1917 Board Game Review. Publisher: Thunderworks Games Game Designer: Brett Myers, James Kyle and Keith Matejka Price $39.95 Passed Inspection: beautiful artwork and components, solo or two player, lots of historical information, easy to learn, player reference cards are provided, high replay value for a low price Failed Basic: some information on Petrograd and its suburbs would have been helpful as it forms the area of conflict on the map; rules are short but need an index “In March of 1917, Tsar Nicholas II was forced to abdicate the throne of Russia. In his place, a conservative Provisional Government formed, representing the official authority of the state. Opposed to the newly formed government stood the Petrograd Soviet, an elected council of workers organized by socialist activists. Over the following months, an internal struggle for power and influence would dominate the country and spark a social revolution. In this state of dual power, or dvoevlastie, charismatic and powerful leaders would rise with the tide of public dissatisfaction... Read More
Posted on Feb 28, 2019 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
Panzer Expansion 4: France 1940 Board Game Review. Publisher: GMT Games Game Designer: James M. Day and Fernando Sola Ramos Price $65.00 Passed Inspection: highly detailed but easy to learn, adds French and early German tanks, exciting solo rules which apply to all the Panzer/Main Battle Tank (MBT) games, super fun, adds Leaders to the World War 2 system Failed Basic: no British Expeditionary Forces, hidden unit/fog of war rules need clarification for solo use (one additional paragraph would clarify these rules), counters are a little too dark making it difficult to discern the front from the back of the tank or armored car, needs a rule and cards for fighters to escort or intercept the ground attack planes “After a while, a fourth tank appeared through the orchard. It was a real monster and we had no idea that France had tanks like that. We fired 20 shots at it without success. However, after a few more shots, we managed to knock off its track. […] a fifth... Read More
Posted on Feb 14, 2019 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
Victory and Glory Napoleon Board Game Review. Publisher: Forbidden Games Game Designer: Glenn Drover Price $79.00 Passed Inspection: Stunningly beautiful board and components, elegantly designed game, easy to learn, tough to master, solo rules included, fast playing, great fun for the whole family Failed Basic: very large footprint, needs a greater incentive to keep a good economy, the Event Cards could use flavor text explaining their historical significant. Victory and War Napoleon is, first and foremost, one of the most beautiful games I’ve ever seen and that beauty doesn’t just apply to the artwork – this game is pure elegance from its rules to its game play. This game should be played on a wooden table by candle light! The box is huge and stuffed to the gills with goodies. The components include: 10 page rule book 150 full color, beautifully illustrated Event and Campaign Cards grouped by decades 3 piece map board (total size when put together is 45″x36″,) representing Europe and North Africa from 1796 – 1815 Dozens... Read More
Posted on Feb 7, 2019 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features
Open Panzer PC and Android Computer Game Review. Designed by Nicu Pavel. Based upon Panzer General II. Price 0 – Totally Free! Passed Inspection: great selection of units, works on any platform, tons of scenarios and campaigns, great fun and free Failed Basic: some bugs, some scenarios are completely unbalanced and unwinnable, no multiplayer, needs comprehensive rules, can only play from the German side, no zoom feature NOTE: I played this game on both a PC and on an Android phone thus, the review is based upon that platform. It is also available for iOS systems. Panzer General was a groundbreaking game when it was released in 1994. It was simple, almost a beer and pretzels game, but addictive and fun. Strategic Simulations followed it up with multiple sequels one of which sold in excess of 100,000 units! Sadly, Strategic Simulations is no more but Panzer General lives on and now it’s free thanks to Nicu Pavel. Open Panzer is a multi-platform version of Panzer General. It is... Read More
Posted on Jan 25, 2019 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
V Commandoes Board Game Review. Publisher: Triton Noir Game Designer: Thibaud de la Touanne Price $50.00 Passed Inspection: Rules and components are in both French and English, very high quality, logically laid out rules with full training courses, tons of replayability Failed Basic: the terrain tiles could benefit by having a unique identifier somewhere on them Triton Noir was founded in 2014 by Thibaud de la Touanne and is based in Montréal, Canada. V Commandos is their first game release and, man oh man, this game is a winner! V Commandos is a solo or cooperative game in which you send teams of commandos in to occupied Europe in order to fulfill various missions. This game puts you down in the dirt with each unit being one person or piece of equipment and each turn being a minute or two. You control the commandos and the game controls the German troops. The stunningly illustrated box includes English and French copies of: 1 rule book 1 training manual 37 event... Read More
Posted on Jan 16, 2019 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features
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... Read More
Posted on Dec 20, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
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,... Read More
Posted on Dec 11, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
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... Read More
Posted on Dec 10, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
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... Read More
Posted on Dec 4, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
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.... Read More
Posted on Nov 22, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
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 out there,... Read More
Posted on Nov 12, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
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... Read More
Posted on Nov 8, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
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... Read More
Posted on Oct 8, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
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:... Read More
Posted on Sep 25, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
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... Read More
Posted on Sep 19, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
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... Read More
Posted on Aug 16, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
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... Read More
Posted on Aug 3, 2018 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features
Battle Fleet 2: Ground Assault Computer Game Review. Publisher Mythical City Games Price $19.99 (available for PC and Mac) Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Excellent graphics, music and sound, easy to run and play, solo mode or play against others, great value for the money, skirmish and campaign modes Failed Basic: a little too “arcady” for some players, no infantry support, computer AI is a little too accurate with its attacks, sometimes unbalanced in solo mode, too many rare tanks show up too often, at this time only American, British and German tanks are included Back on August 5th of 2014, I reviewed the excellent Battle Fleet 2 which simulates ship to ship combat during the Second World War. The players control one or more ships (from destroyers and frigates to battleships and aircraft carriers) and fight epic sea battles between American and Japanese forces. The player can play head to head against a human opponent or in a campaign mode or against the computer. That game has been upgraded... Read More
Posted on Jul 31, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
Israeli Air Force Leader Board Game Review. Publisher: DVG Game Designer: Kevin Verssen Price $89.99 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: easy to learn, nicely functional graphics, tons of replayability, great value for the money, exciting Failed Basic: a few minor rules nitpicks (some rules such as situational awareness are too spread out through the book), needs an index, Angle of Attack rules are a neat addition but are a little confusing. In the interest of full disclosure, Richard Martin has designed three games for DVG – Tiger Leader, The Tiger Leader Upgrade Kit and Sherman Leader. Phantom Leader was my introduction to Dan Verssen Games’ line of solitaire games way back in 2010. In that game, you play American pilots flying in the skies during the Vietnam War. The game controlled the enemy ground forces and planes and you focused on managing your squadron and trying to survive the war. Let’s just say that after playing that game, I was hooked. Phantom Leader’s prequel was 2005’s Hornet Leader which was... Read More
Posted on Jul 18, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
Interview with War of the Worlds Game Designer Arnauld Della Siega Rick Martin 1) Tell us about yourself? Hello Richard. I am a 41 year old French guy who loves a lot of things such as Lovecraft, car racing and astronomy. I have been a part of the gaming hobby since 1995 first as a player (with Ambush! and Fall of Rome (Strategy &Tactics issue 191)); then as a translator; then as a reviewer (for the French magazine Vae Victis); and lastly as a designer. I like simple games and due to a chronic lack of players, solitaire systems have my preference. It is a pity Blood Bowl doesn’t have solitaire rules because this game is a blast! 2) How did you become a game designer? As far I can remember, I always created something, either gamebooks or strange novellas or game rules. I still need to create – it is my fate. The 1st project (still unpublished) I showed to publishers was a tactical game recreating battles between... Read More
Posted on Jul 17, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
But Not in Vain: The Siege of Calais Game Review. Publisher: High Flying Dice Games Designer: Paul Rohrbaugh Price: $20.95 (non mounted counters) $26.95 (mounted counters) Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Easy to learn. Fast and addictive game play. Great value for the money. Interesting subject matter. Beautiful components. Failed Basic: Historical unit set up would be nice. AA guns should have some affect on air strikes. You have to cut the counters out. High Flying Dice Games (HFDG) has another hit on their hands with their newest release “But Not in Vain: The Siege of Calais ” which covers the fight for the port of Calais over three days in 1940. “But Not in Vain” breaks from many other HFDG products in that it uses a point to point movement system which is overlaid on top of their beautiful map of Calais and the surrounding country side. From HFDG’s rule book: “After breaking out of the Ardennes, the German armored and motorized forces drove for the Channel ports to... Read More
Posted on Jul 10, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
Hastings 1066 AD Game Review. Publisher: Turning Point Simulations Designer: Lembit Tohver with Jim Werbaneth Price $32.95 (ziplock) or $37.95 (boxed) Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Fun and educational, nice components and expertly written rules, interesting random events, mounted board, innovative activation system, good solo play, living rules updated on company’s website Failed Basic: a little too static in set up, maybe more alternative set ups and scenarios, needs a glossary, yellow banded counter set up not clear on map board “Hastings 1066” is the 8th game in Turning Point Simulations’ wonderful “Twenty Decisive Battles of the World” series which is based upon Sir Edward Creasy’s book. It effectively and succinctly illustrates the challenges, strategies and tactics which encompassed this famous battle. While I could go in to my own dissertation on the basics and historical significant of this battle, let me quote from Turning Point’s expertly written description for the game from their own website: “The background to Hastings is well known, with an English king (Edward the Confessor,... Read More
Posted on Jun 20, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
The War of the Worlds – East Coast of America Board Game Review. Publisher: DVG Game Designer: Arnauld Della Siega with Kevin Verssen Price $59.99 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: easy to learn, fun to play, covers strategic maneuvering plus tactical land and sea battles, can be played in an afternoon, tons of replay value, different editions of the game can be linked for a grand Earth wide campaign Failed Basic: Rules need re-organizing and editing, needs an index, clarity issues, not enough plastic stands included in the game, plastic stands can damage counters if not careful, box not deep enough for easy storage of game components. No index in the rule book. In the interest of full disclosure, Richard Martin has designed three games for DVG – Tiger Leader, The Tiger Leader Upgrade Kit and Sherman Leader. “Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with... Read More
Posted on Jun 5, 2018 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features
D Day at Omaha Beach Computer Game Preview. Publisher: Decision Games Price: $24.95 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Captures the feel of the board game; nice sound effects, quick to load, takes up very little hard disk space, help screens are nice Failed Basic: Includes two manuals but both are for the board game; one 9 page semi-formatted manual is in folder entitled “Media”; a little back ground musical score would be nice; has some bugs regarding the “landing window” which don’t allow the game to progress; feels like an alpha release; needs more development “It will be the longest day,” said Field Marshal Rommel when he spoke of the D Day landings. Unfortunately, playing this game felt like the “longest day” to me as well. On this anniversary of the D Day landings, we are looking at Decision Games computer version of their wonderful D Day on Omaha Beach board game. While that board game is a classic, the computer game doesn’t make the cut. In D Day at... Read More
Posted on May 28, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
Richard Berg’s Arquebus Men of Iron Volume IV Board Game Review. Publisher GMT Designer Richard H. Berg Price $65.00 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: solid game play, easy to learn, very detailed, great solo play, highly educational Failed Basic: the counters are a little too small for “mature” gamers Arquebus is the fourth in the series of Richard H. Berg’s Men of Iron games. The Men of Iron games look at the evolution of warfare from the Middle Ages to the Crusades to the War of the Roses. Now, with the release of Arqebus, Men of Iron turns its attention to the battles in Northern Italy from 1495 to 1544. During this time period, warfare began to change with the introduction of the primitive firearm known as the arbuebus. From GMT’s wonderful description of the game on their website: “Northern Italy – and especially Milan – at the end of the 15th century was the brutal focal point for power and control between France and the Imperialist empires of Venice... Read More
Posted on May 25, 2018 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features
John Tiller’s Modern Campaigns Mideast 67 Android Computer Game Review. Publisher John Tiller Software Price $2.99 (also available for PC and Mac at different prices) Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Nice traditional war gaming graphics, good help functions can be accessed on the web, evocative sound effects, accurate units, tons of options, challenging, great value for the price Failed Basic: limited number of scenarios, frustrating time limits on some scenarios, can only play the Israelis on the Android game, no “help labels” for the buttons on top of the screen, no way to take back a move For computer war gamers, John Tiller is a legendary game designer. His games on the PC, Mac and now on the Android platforms have covered all imaginable subjects from ancient battles, the American Civil War, World War I, World War II and modern conflicts; Tiller has a game for every interests. Middle East 67 covers the wars for Israel from 1956 to 1973. You, as the Israelis, must coordinate infantry, armor, artillery, engineers... Read More
Posted on May 11, 2018 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features
KARDS – Computer Game Preview. Publisher: 1939 Games Lead Game Designer: Gudmundur Kristjansson Price: The base game is free but expansion cards will have to be purchased but the exact price has yet to be determined Rick Martin World War 2 themed card games have been few and far between. Two standouts that I played almost all the time many years ago are the fantastic Echelons of Fury and The Last Crusade. During this decade, DVG Games’ Warfighter has breathed life in to the genre and is considered a classic by many. Now, a company out of Reykjavik, Iceland called 1939 Games is developing a World War II themed card game with a twist – the cards are virtual! While I was initially skeptical as I like to hold the cards in my hand – call me “old school”, I have been captivated by KARDS. KARDS is currently undergoing play testing and I have to say, it will be a winner! KARDS is a multi-platform game. It will be... Read More
Posted on May 1, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
The Sadowa Campaign 1866 AD Game Review. Publisher: Turning Point Simulations Designer: Jim Werbaneth Price $32.95 (ziplock) or $37.95 (boxed) Rick Martin Passed Inspection: concise expertly written rule book, easy to learn, dynamic play, great solo experience, excellent value for the money Failed Basic: flipping the counters to show that they have acted gets old fast especially with the small hex size and stacks of 4 or more counters The Austro-Prussian War is a subject that I knew next to nothing about until I started my research in order to review Turning Point Simulations game “The Sadowa Campaign 1866 AD” (Sadowa). If one sign of a good game is that it challenges the player to learn more about the subject then Sadowa is not only a good game, but a great game! Why is Sadowa considered a “turning point in history”, you may ask, I couldn’t put it any better than in the description on Turning Point Simulations’ web page regarding The Sadowa Campaign: “… one could make the... Read More
Posted on Apr 26, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
Age of War Game Review. Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games Designer: Reiner Knizia Price $12.95 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Easy to learn, fast to play, beautiful graphics Failed Basic: Rules for Special Daimyo Battle Line are lacking and confusing, very abstract, no solo rules The Japanese “Age of War” (Sengoku Jidai) lasted from 1467 until 1603. During this turbulent period, Japanese feudal lords called Daimyo fought for control of neighboring kingdoms and, eventually, for control of Japan, itself. This was the golden age of the Samurai and the Ninja. Fantasy Flight’s Age of War is a highly abstract dice throwing game which allows from 2 to 6 players to take control of warriors, cavalry and bowmen in order to conquer castles and take control of Japan. The game is attractively packaged in a small box with gorgeous artwork. The components are 7 custom dice, 14 double sided castle cards and a one page, double sided rule sheet. The game is perfectly sized to take on trips. Age of War is... Read More
Posted on Apr 9, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
MBT BAOR and FRG Expansions Game Review. Publisher: GMT Games Designer: James M. Day Price $65.00 each Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Highly detailed but very playable expansions to a classic game system, easy to learn, beautiful components Failed Basic: Difficult to get the new maps to lay flat. In 2016 GMT released James Day’s fully updated MBT (Main Battle Tank) which was a tactical game based on a hypothetical war between the NATO forces and the Soviet Union in 1987. Now GMT follows up their initial release with these two well researched expansion packs which add the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR) and the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) to the mix! And, hold on to your tracks MBT fans – GMT has added an expansion featuring the 4th Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group to their P500 list of possible upcoming games! MBT, as previously stated, is a tactical combat game. Each unit is one vehicle or aircraft or a squad or half squad of infantry or a special... Read More
Posted on Mar 27, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
Gone to Pieces The Battle of Binh Gia Game Review. Publisher: High Flying Dice Games Designer: Paul Rohrbaugh Price: $14.95 (non mounted counters) $19.95 (mounted counters) Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Exciting game play. Interesting subject. Dynamic turn sequence. Fantastic value for the price. Nearly perfect solo play. Easy to learn. Engages all players in the action at all times. Failed Basic: Needs a full sequence of play aid including rolling for weather sequence. A typo in the rules says that the map is only one 11 x 17 inch page when it is actually two 11 x 17 pages. High Flying Dice Games (HFDG) has consistently delivered highly engaging games at amazingly low prices. Each game covers a unique historical battle many of which have not been covered by other gaming companies. Their newest release “Gone to Pieces” is no exception. Gone to Pieces covers the Battle of Binh Gia which lasted from December 28, 1964 to January 1st, 1965. From HFDG’s own introduction to this game, “Following the... Read More
Posted on Mar 13, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
Immortal Souls – Sword and Sorcery Board Game Review. Publisher: Ares Games Developed by: Gremlin Project studio Designers: Simone Romano and Nunzio Surace Price: $70.99 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Beautiful components – great looking minis and wonderful dungeons and building tiles, exciting game play, perfect solo or group game, dynamic campaign, feels like a game run by a game master, exciting tactical battles Failed Basic: Rules are a little overwhelming at first, too many symbols to learn, too few scenarios in the basic game For those of us who remember the post apocalyptic Japanese animation “Hokuto no Ken” aka “Fist of the North Star” or “Ken North Star Fist”, the hero of the story would use a special attack on his enemies and then wait for them to die. He would tell them “Omae wa shindeiru” or “You are already dead” and then they would die usually in a pretty spectacular and gory way. In Ares Games’ new fantasy game series “Sword and Sorcery”, you can take “You are... Read More
Posted on Feb 28, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
The Invincible Armada 1588 AD Game Review. Publisher: Turning Point Simulations Designer: Mark G. McLaughlin Price: $29.95 (zip lock) $34.95 (boxed) Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Small footprint, simple to learn but dynamic to play, great value for the price, exciting, plays perfectly well solo. Also a great educational experience. Failed Basic: Needs a better explanation of the Parma counters (turns out these are used during the Armada Rendezvous sequence but they are not referenced directly in the rules), a few rule typos, “Eddystone Light” on the strategic map should just read “Eddystone” as the lighthouse wasn’t built until 1696 – over 100 years after 1588. Fireship rules could be “unpacked” a little for clarity. The Invincible Armada 1588 AD is a game in Turning Point Simulations’ “Battles that Changed the World” series. As with the other games in the series, this game is available in a zip lock version or a boxed version. Surely the battle between the British Navy and the Spanish Armada must be remembered as one... Read More
Posted on Feb 6, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
Rambo the Board Game- Board Game Preview. Publisher: Everything Epic Game Designer: Chris Batarlis, Sam Bailey Price to be determined (on Kickstarter now) Rick Martin Chris Batarlis who brought us Secrets of the Lost Tomb and the upcoming Big Trouble in Little China Board Game and Sam Bailey of Star Wars Imperial Assault and Forbidden Stars fame have licensed the classic Rambo movies and are now Kickstarting Rambo the Board Game! They sent Armchair General a prototype copy and we can safely say “It’s a blast!” Rambo the Board Game is a tactical game in which each player plays either John Rambo or Sam Trautman or two other team mates. Three missions are included in the prototype and each mission can be played either solo or with up to four players – each player taking a team member. The game controls the enemy and the story line. From the press kit “The game provides sealed “legacy-like” Operation Envelopes which gradually expand the game as each mission completes. Each mission... Read More
Posted on Jan 26, 2018 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
878 Vikings – Invasions of England Board Game Review. Publisher: Academy Games Game Designer: David Kimmel Price $70.00 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Concise elegant rules, beautiful components, visually pleasing, easy to learn and play, approachable even by non-war gamers, excellent value for the price Failed Basic: Flavor text on cards a little too small for “mature” gamers. Viking Reinforcement rules were a little confusing on first read and play through. 878 Vikings – The Invasions of England (hereinafter “Vikings”) is the first game in Academy Games’ Birth of Europe series and it’s fantastic! Like its brethren in the Birth of America series, Vikings shares a common core game design and is based on die rolls, cards and counters. This time the board shows the shires of Britain as they were in the 800s. The main regions are Wessex, Susea, Essex, Kent, Middle Anglia, Mercia, etc. and each region is broken down in to shires listing either cities or fortified cities. Certain regions allow reinforcements to be marshaled at the... Read More
Posted on Dec 22, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
The 2017 Armchair General Holiday Buyers Guide for Gamers 2017 has been a great year for gamers and, more specifically, war gamers! We at Armchair General believe that if 2017 isn’t a “Golden Year” for games, it will certainly qualify for an “Almost Golden Year”. For solo gaming, we have seen some truly fantastic and innovative games released plus at least one update of a classic solo game from yesteryear. We have had not one but two excellent B17 Flying Fortress games this year but each one features a different aspect of the air war over Europe! For multi-player games, we have seen games covering so many different topics and subjects that there is certainly something for everyone. In addition, some great science fiction, fantasy and horror games have graced our gaming tables this year! While not all of the games listed below have been covered by reviews yet, rest assured that we at Armchair General are very stoked about them and you, dear readers, will be seeing reviews... Read More
Posted on Dec 21, 2017 in Electronic Games
John Tiller’s Panzer Campaigns Bulge 44 Android Computer Game Review. Publisher John Tiller Software Price $2.99 (also available for PC and Mac at different prices) Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Nice traditional war gaming graphics, good help functions can be accessed on the web, evocative sound effects, accurate units, tons of options, challenging, great value for the price Failed Basic: limited number of scenarios, frustrating time limits on some scenarios, can only play the Germans on the Android game, no “help labels” for the buttons on top of the screen, no way to take back a move For computer war gamers, John Tiller is a legendary game designer. His games on the PC, Mac and now on the Android platforms have covered all imaginable subjects from ancient battles, the American Civil War, World War I, World War II and modern conflicts; Tiller has a game for every interests. Bulge 44 covers those frantic few weeks when the German army initiated its last great offensive in an attempt to cut the... Read More
Posted on Dec 21, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
Nemo’s War 2nd Edition Game Review. Publisher: Victory Point Games Designer: Christopher Taylor and Alan Emrich Price: $65.00 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Perfect solo gaming experience, dynamic story based on the book, unique game play, beautifully designed Failed Basic: footprint slightly too large for an average card table, rules need an index I have always loved Jules Verne’s classic 1870 novel “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”. Form my first view of the Nautilus as a youngster watching the film adaptation on The Wonderful World of Disney to reading the novel when I was 10 to re-reading it now as part of this review, to its adaption in to Japanese anime with the classic TV series “Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water”, Verne’s adventure story was ahead of its time. Now Victory Point Games puts you in the roll of Captain Nemo as you chart your path of exploration and revenge with your crew and the super submarine, Nautilus! The box art, components and rules are works of art. The... Read More
Posted on Dec 13, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
Naval Battles in Archipelago Game Review. Publisher: Forsage Games Designer: Pedrag Lazovic and Dragan Lazovic Price: $80.00 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Beautiful components, complete “sand box” allowing for any number of scenarios and modifications, easy to learn rules, family friendly, completely fun, addicting Failed Basic: Abstractions may alienate hardcore gamers, needs a critical hit system, initiative rules are unclear, map boards could use an identifier for creating scenarios, needs a few deep water (no island) map boards, rules could use an index and little more English language editing Remember the thrill of getting a big box of toy soldiers and then opening the box and seeing the massive possibilities for playtime battles? For me it was getting the toy soldier set I believe was called “Bridge Attack” back in 1969 or so which was put out by Marx. That sense of wonder is something that adults don’t usually experience but I experienced it again when I opened up the review copy of Forsage Game’s Naval Battles in Archipelago! The... Read More
Posted on Dec 12, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
Tripods and Triplanes Wings of Glory Expansion Game Preview. Publisher: Ares Games Designer: Andrea Angiolino, Marco Maggi and Francesco Nepitello Rick Martin Ares Games brings 2017 to a triumphant end with yet more Wings of Glory goodness! This time the Earth is uniting against an alien threat! Tripods and Triplanes has hit Kick Starter! From Ares Games’ own description – “March 18th, 1918: the nearest approach of planet Mars to Earth. The First World War suddenly changes into a War of the Worlds, when what appears as a meteor shower falls over a wood in Alsace. A few hours later, just after dawn, an army of giant alien fighting machines appear out of the trees and starts burning villages and houses with their lethal heat-rays, leaving pestilential trails of black smoke behind them. A truce is hurriedly signed between the warring nations and, against the advancing Martian tripods, the best war machines of Earth are dispatched, manned by the most gallant and skilled warriors of our planet! In Wings... Read More
Posted on Dec 5, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
Mound Builders Game Review. Publisher: Victory Point Games Designer: Wes Erni and Ben Madison Price: $38.99 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Interesting and unique subject matter, highly educational, engaging game pay, excellent value for the cost, small footprint, excellent graphics and examples of play, perfect solo play for an afternoon Failed Basic: Some rules confusion, felt a little limiting in terms of player actions, had some trouble with the enemy stand up counters When I was around 12 years old, I had the chance to visit Serpent Mound Park which was many hours away in Southern Ohio. It was a spiritual experience I will never forget and it fueled my interest in the people who constructed this over 1300 foot long effigy of a snake with an egg clutched in its mouth. Now we can learn about these people through a wonderful game called Mound Builders. The solo game Mound Builders is a 2015 release from Victory Point Games but it has just come to our attention here at Armchair... Read More
Posted on Dec 4, 2017 in Boardgames
The Victory of Arminius – Teutoburg Forest, IX AD Game Review. Publisher: Turning Point Simulations Designer: John Prados Price: $29.95 (zip lock) $34.95 (boxed) Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Interesting subject, attractive mounted map board, small footprint, seems to capture the feel of the battle, easy to learn and fast to play. Good solo play based upon the static set up of the Romans. Failed Basic: Editorial issues in the 1st edition rule book but a second edition was posted on-line with some changes, needs larger hexes, counters difficult to read, too many die rolls which I found exhausting. A “turn counter” is provided but no turn track is included. Arminius’ total victory over Varus’ three Roman legions marked a turning point in Imperial Rome’s expansion in to lands held by the Germanic tribes. It showed to the Germans that Rome was not invincible on the battlefield and shattered Roman moral. This decisive battle is game number 5 in Turning Point Simulations’ Decisive Battles of the World series. For those... Read More
Posted on Nov 28, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
Target for Today Bombers Over the Reich 1942 to 1945 Board Game Review. Publisher: Legion War Games Game Designer: Steve Dixon & Bob Best Price $80.00 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: High quality attractive and functional components, superb narrative experience, simulates five aircrafts – B24s and B17s – with amazing detail. Very easy to learn. Excellent tutorial. Failed Basic: Some Axis aircrafts such as the Me210 are a little too common; number of tables may intimidate some gamers, a few more role playing elements could be added to the bomber crew if the players want a more exacting level of immersion such as crew starting skills and home airfield. 2017 has been a great year for B17 Flying Fortress themed games. Armchair General has already reviewed the excellent “B17 Flying Fortress Leader:” by DVG Games and Lock N’ Load Publishing has released their “A Wing and a Prayer”. While both of those games focus on leading squadrons of bombers, a new take on an Avalon Hill classic puts the player... Read More
Posted on Nov 22, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
Comancheria The Rise and Fall of the Comanche Empire 1700 to 1875 Board Game Review. Publisher: GMT Game Designer: Joel Toppen Price $60.00 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Beautiful components, mounted map, perfect for solo play, unique subject matter, on-line support, elegant game system, excellent value for the price, good tutorials included, duplicate counters included in case you lose some Failed Basic: Some rules are a little confusing In 2013, GMT released Joel Toppen’s stunning Navajo Wars board game. It was an Armchair General top game of the year! http://http://armchairgeneral.com/navajo-wars-boardgame-review.htm” Now Toppen releases an eagerly awaited sequel which looks at the “Lords of the Plains” – the Comanche people. Comancheria takes Navajo Wars to whole new level and improves the design making it easier to learn and play while keeping the dynamic story telling experience of the original. To write this review, I played a linked campaign covering from 1700 to 1799. Per Wikipedia, the Comanche “emerged as a distinct group shortly before 1700, when they broke off from the... Read More
Posted on Oct 26, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
Last Friday Game Review. Publisher: Ares Games’ release of a Pendragon Design Designers: Antonio Ferrara and Sebastiano Fiorillo, Price: $41.25 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Innovative design, fun, captures the excitement of a slasher film from the 1980s, great value for the price Failed Basic: Rules need an index; a tracker sheet could have been included for “saving” the game between chapters This is the second part of our Ares Games’ double feature of science fiction and horror goodness for the month of October. “My name is Alice and I’ve come to Camp Apache ostensibly as a counselor but in reality, I wanted to find myself. I figured that the peaceful woods and the beautiful lake would help me in that goal. But, to put it mildly, things have not been going well since we arrived. First, we got to the camp to find several of the owners’ bodies just lying near their tents (that should have been our first warning that things were about to go horribly wrong); Second,... Read More
Posted on Oct 17, 2017 in Armchair Reading, Books and Movies, Front Page Features
Legends of Ground Warfare Panzerkampfwagen IV The Backbone of Germany’s WW II Tank Force – Book Review David Doyle, Shiffer Publishing, Ltd.. 2017 112 pages Hard Cover $19.99 ISBN 978-0-7643-5359-8 Rick Martin Prolific military scholar David Doyle has outdone himself with this 2017 look at the venerable Panzer IV medium tank. The Panzer IV (Pz IV) was, as the book’s title indicates, the backbone of the German Army during the 1940s. It was found serving on all fronts and over 8,500 tanks of this type were produced. This 112 page book is arranged with each chapter looking at a different Pz IV model from the prototype and Type As to the last production model, the Type J. Each chapter features a thorough discussion of the Type with a handy table showing the dimensions, engine type and performance, crew, speeds, fording depth and trench crossing ability and armaments of each particular model. In addition, the manufacturers, chassis numbers and quantities of each type are also shown. Crystal clear black and... Read More
Posted on Oct 13, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
Galaxy Defenders Game Review. Publisher: Ares Games Developed by: Gremlin Project studio Designers: Simone Romano and Nunzio Surace Price: $70.99 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Exciting; perfect for solo or small group play; dynamic story elements; easy to learn; tons of replay value; great looking minis and components. Failed Basic: Needs a turn counter or chart to track turn number Sometime in the future: “. . . my partner and I had been sent to Area 51 to investigate a nearly total communications loss from the facility. Our transport had dropped us off within the grounds of the instillation but a little way from the first building. We had moved in on foot and found a battlefield. The aliens had launched a surprise strike against the facility and massacred many of the regular troops there. A handful of scientists had escaped and we found them. They told us that the aliens were methodically moving through the facility and while they killed the troops immediately, the aliens were rounding the scientists... Read More
Posted on Sep 21, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
Sergeants Miniature Game Hell on Wheels and Vehicle Booster Packs Game Review. Publisher: Lost Battalion Games Designer: Jeff Billings Prices: Starter: $39.95 Expansions: Vehicle Modules $29.95 Large 20mm Vehicle Miniatures $44.95 to $55.95 Small 10mm Vehicle Miniatures: $14.95 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Beautiful hand printed pewter miniatures. Fully rotatable turrets and machine guns. Complete rules for playing a standalone vehicle game or using with Sergeants infantry minis. High quality components. Totally immersive playing experience. Two different sizes to fit your budget. Failed Basic: Expensive. Rules for damage are tough to figure out. Needs outlines or some other visual aid to show the flow of some rules. Rules reference an FAQ which can’t be found (at the time of the writing of this review). No rule for oblique armor aspects. Some of the art for the Marder III and German halftrack show wrong model type of each vehicle. The gunner on the German halftrack shows he is armed with an Mg42 but the halftrack control board shows an Mg34 –... Read More
Posted on Sep 18, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
Panzer Orders Base Game and Expansion 1 Game Review. Publisher: Matt White Designs Designer: Matt White Price: $26.80 base game, $16 for Expansion 1 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Stunning artwork; fast dynamic play; great on-line support; rules are constantly being updated based upon player comments; third party add-ons, great value for the money Failed Basic: back of Allied and Axis cards are the same so if the decks get mixed up it takes some time to sort out; new victory conditions would help balance the game; needs breakthrough rules Matt White, a computer game designer, has put out a stunningly illustrated World War 2 card game, Panzer Orders. This card game, designed, illustrated and published by White, features beautiful full color card sized paintings of tanks, vehicles and infantry. Each card is its own unique art print and no two cards in the game are the same. In White’s own words “I’ve been an avid gamer for over 30 years since school where we had a Friday afternoon war-games... Read More
Posted on Sep 13, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
Kido Butai 2nd Edition Game Review. Publisher: Dr. Richter Konfliktsimulation Designer: Benjamin Richter Price: $20.00 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Tense game play; small footprint; easy to learn; exciting; great value for the price Failed Basic: a few rules need clarifying; US carriers don’t have Wild Cats; counter printing hard to read The carrier Akagi had been sunk by 6:30 AM on June 4th, 1941. Our carriers had launched an attack on Midway Island but pilots reported no real visible damage even though the islands air fleet was mostly made up of obsolete Buffalos which were no match for our escorting Zeros. The planes from the Akagi had to be ditched at sea but our task force rescued most of the pilots. Starting at 8 AM, our pilots launched a raid on the American group centered around the Yorktown. Our men were out for blood; Midway would wait for a few hours. By noon our planes had returned from sinking the Yorktown and some of its escort ships but we... Read More
Posted on Aug 30, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
Wings of Glory World War 1 Aircraft Booster Packs Game Review. Publisher: Ares Games Designer: Andrea Angiolino and Pier Giorgio Paglia Price: Booster: $14.90 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Beautiful miniatures, reissues of out of print planes, added value through additional content Failed Basic: Nothing at all. 2017 has been a great year for Wings of Glory both in its World War I and World War II incarnations. The year keeps getting better with reissues of these long out of print World War I aircrafts, but Ares didn’t just reissue them! They added new content for each aircraft! The four types of aircrafts which have been re-releases include the Albatros D.III, the Nieuport 17, the R.E.8 and the UFAG C.1. Let’s start with the two-seaters. The UFAG C.1 was released in April of 1918 and it quickly made a name for itself as the fastest two-seater of the Cental Powers. It clocked in at around 118 mph/190 kph mainly due to its revolutionary wing design which did away with many... Read More
Posted on Aug 16, 2017 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features
The Korean War 1950-1953 for the Android Operating System Game Review. Publisher and Designer: Joni Nuutinen Price $3.99 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: detailed play, nice graphics, great AI, fantastic value for the price Failed Basic: too easy to move a unit by mistake and no option to take back a move, solo play only Joni Nuutinen is a Finnish developer of strategy games for the Android system. An overview of his games for the Android Operating System was published back in 2015. http://armchairgeneral.com/conflict-series-android-os-game-review.htm With tensions being so tight on the Korean Peninsula right now, it seems the time is right to look at one of Nuutinen’s newer games – The Korean War 1950-1953. The app size is small and will fit easily on many devices without taking up too much storage space. This app is for Android versions 4.1 or higher. The game is a strategic look at the Korean War. The player controls divisions from the Republic of Korea as well as America and other United Nation Allies... Read More
Posted on Aug 15, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
Merrill’s Marauders Commandos in Burma 1943 to 1944 Board Game Review. Publisher: Decision Games Game Designer: Joseph Miranda Price $12.95 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: fast paced, great AI, amazing value for the money,perfect game to take on a trip Failed Basic: rules have a few typos Merrill’s Marauders is another World War II themed game using Decision Games’ Commando solitaire system. The last one we reviewed was the excellent North African game Long Range Desert Group. While Long Range Desert Group had you slogging through the sands of North Africa while deep behind enemy lines, Merrill’s Marauders has you slogging through the jungles of Burma fighting the Imperial Japanese Army! Here is a handy link to the Long Range Desert Group review : http://armchairgeneral.com/long-range-desert-group-special-operations-against-rommel-1941-1942-game-review.htm The game comes in a zip locked bag with a full color 11” x 17” map, 40 double sided, full color die cut counters, 18 cards and the Commando game rules plus a Merrill’s Marauders supplement rule book. The components are all first rate especially... Read More
Posted on Aug 9, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
SAILS OF GLORY STARTER SET and EXPANSIONS Game Review. Publisher: Ares Games Designer: Andrea Angiolino and Andrea Mainini Starter Set $90.00 Extra Ships run from $10 to $15 per ship Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Beautiful pre-painted minis. Easy to learn rules. Stunning components. Easy to play solitaire. Failed Basic: Nothing Sails of Glory is Ares Games’ line of miniature combat rules which cover the Age of Sail. The Starter Boxed Set features rules and 4 miniature ships from the Napoleonic Wars of the late 18th Century to the early 19th Century. The box is filled with tons of content and the 4 mini ships which are included all contribute to deliver a visually stunning shot across the bow of the gamer! Sails of Glory utilizes an adaption of Ares Games’ award winning card based movement system which is featured in their Wings of Glory World War I and II airplane combat system. And like their other mini game systems, the player is able to purchase additional mini ships which... Read More
Posted on Aug 3, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
Dungeon Time Board Game Review. Publisher: Ares Games Game Designer: Carlo A. Rossi Price $25.00 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: fast paced, fun, nice components, exercises your memory, addicting, family friendly Failed Basic: rules are a little difficult to figure out Ares Games of Italy is perhaps most well known for being the company behind the Wings of Glory World War I and World War II aircraft game but their product line is growing from other miniature war games such as Sails of Glory to epic science fiction games such as Galaxy Defenders and Euro Games such as Odyssey. Now Ares gives the card game genre a unique twist with Dungeon Time! Dungeon Time is a card based game with a twist – for the first phase of the game, there is a strict time limit! An hourglass which is included in the game gives you 5 minutes to achieve your mission, when the time runs out, the first phase is over and the players then see how well they... Read More
Posted on Jul 31, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
1754 Conquest – The French Indian War Board Game Review. Publisher: Academy Games Game Designer: Beau Beckett and Jeph Stahl Price $70.00 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Concise elegant rules, beautiful components, visually pleasing, easy to learn and play, approachable even by non-war gamers Failed Basic: Flavor text on cards a little too small, not solitaire friendly 1754 Conquest – The French Indian War (hereinafter “1754”) is the newest game in Academy Games’ Birth of America series which includes 1775 Rebellion and 1812 The Invasion of Canada and, probably, should also include Academy Games’ Freedom: The Underground Railroad. All of these games have been reviewed on this website! The French Indian War has been covered in games such as GMT’s Wilderness War and A Few Acres of Snow by Tree Frog Games (both reviewed on this site) and 1754 joins the ranks of these esteemed games! The hefty game box features beautiful artwork by Steven Paschal and tons of beautiful components including a sturdy tray to let the components fit... Read More
Posted on Jul 14, 2017 in Books and Movies, Front Page Features
U.S. Halftracks in Action – Book Review David Doyle, Squadron Signal Publications. 2017 80 pages Soft Cover $19.95 ISBN 978-0-89747-829-8 Rick Martin Squadron Signal’s venerable In Action line has been publishing soft cover books on military vehicles, ships and aircrafts since 1971! Now they are going back and updating their past releases adding new content. Their most recent release is U.S. Halftracks in Action and what an improvement! The original U.S. Halftracks In Action was printed in 1996 and was written by Jim Mesko. It was book number 34 in the “In Action” line. It ran a tight 50 pages and was mostly in black and white with some color inserts. This new release written by David Doyle and represents a new effort on the part of Squadron Signal. As David puts it “Squadron is making an effort to standardize their books at 80 pages. The older volume was well short of that. The company is also taking advantage of newer printing methods which allow for more color and... Read More
Posted on Jun 30, 2017 in Boardgames
Interview with Jeff Billings of Lost Battalion Games Rick Martin 1) What inspired you to get in to war game designing? I made my first war game when I was 11 years old. I had played Blitzkrieg several times and had been reading some of my Dad’s Bantam Books paperbacks on World War II. When I read about the Battle of Gazala I decided I wanted to play the game for that battle and set out to make my own using my parents’ card table. With markers and paint, I drew out the battlefield on the table top, much to the annoyance of my parents. In my twenties, I met my late business partner S. Craig Taylor, Jr. while playtesting for him. It was several decades later when we were talking about our childhood experiences with games, design and development that I realized for some of us this is a calling. We want to understand and express the lessons of history through the “odd” art of gaming. 2) What... Read More
Posted on Jun 12, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
B17 Flying Fortress Leader Game Review. Publisher: DVG Designer: Dean Brown Price: $89.99 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Tense game play, dynamic campaigns, tons of detail, great replay value for the price, excellent enemy AI, on-line support Failed Basic: Some slight rules confusion (fixed with downloadable 2nd edition rules). The single bomber supplement could be expanded for more options. Needs a complete index not just a table of content. (Editor’s Note – In The Interest Of Full Disclosure – Dvg Has Published Tiger Leader And The Upcoming Sherman Leader Games – Both Of Which I Co-Designed With Dan Verssen. Dean Brown also helped design elements of Sherman Leader.) While not all of Dan Verssen Games are solitaire games, it is certainly truthful to state that DVG has cut its teeth on the solitaire game market place. From ancient Greece to the campaigns of Napoleon, from the sands of North Africa to the oceans of the Pacific and from the skies over Vietnam and beyond, DVG has consistently designed high quality... Read More
Posted on Jun 6, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
Sergeants Miniature Game Starter Set and Booster Packs Game Review. Publisher: Lost Battalion Games Designer: Jeff Billings Prices: Starter: $79.95 Expansions: between $29.95 and $49.95 Soldier Packs: $9.95 to $29.95 with 10 man packs at $99.95 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Fantastically detailed hand painted miniatures, comprehensive well written rules, tons of scenarios, dynamic and original game play, well balanced, unlimited replayability, an all cardboard version is thoughtfully available at a lower price Failed Basic: High cost of the miniatures may alienate some gamers but an all cardboard version is thoughtfully available at a lower price! Back in 2011, I reviewed the original Sergeants game and its first expansion from Lost Battalion Games. These games were set on the Eastern Front and were very detailed while not being overly complex. Both the original games used traditional cardboard counters for the units. Only a few months later, Lost Battalion Games announced their release of a miniatures version of Sergeants and Armchair General covered the news. Jump ahead 6 years. Armchair General... Read More
Posted on Jun 1, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
Pocket Ops Board Game Preview. Publisher: Grand Gamers Guild Game Designer: Brandon Beran Price (To be determined) Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Fun and original. Very small footprint. Nice components. Easy to learn. Perfect game to take on trips. Great for ages six and up! Failed Basic: Rules need a little more clarification and a few examples. The Start Tile wasn’t described so I had no idea what to use it for. Pocket Ops is a new game being developed by the Grand Gamers Guild. It is named “Pocket Ops” because it can, literally, fit in your pocket. The rules, game board and components come in a zip lock bag roughly the size of sandwich bag. But don’t let this fool you, there is quite a bit of depth in this little game. At first glance, Pocket Ops may seem like Tic-Tac-Toe and it actually is except that it gives players the ability to kill off the other player’s pieces! The basic set up is that some terrorists are building... Read More
Posted on May 19, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
Wings of Glory World War 2 Battle of Britain Starter Set and Squadron Booster Packs Game Review. Publisher: Ares Games Designer: Andrea Angiolino and Pier Giorgio Paglia Prices: Starter: $69.90 Booster: $14.90 Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Fantastically detailed fully painted customizable aircrafts, new – more comprehensive rules and scenarios, most replay-ability of any game on the market Failed Basic: Aircraft decals in the boosters are difficult to put on without tearing them. 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 Battle of Britain Starter Set... Read More
Posted on May 9, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
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... Read More
Posted on Apr 6, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
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... Read More
Posted on Feb 24, 2017 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features
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... Read More
Posted on Jan 27, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
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... Read More
Posted on Jan 16, 2017 in Armchair Reading, Books and Movies, Front Page Features
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... Read More
Posted on Jan 9, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
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... Read More
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. 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... Read More
Posted on Oct 6, 2016 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
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... Read More
Posted on Sep 20, 2016 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
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... Read More
Posted on Sep 13, 2016 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
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... Read More
Posted on Jul 25, 2016 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
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... Read More
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. 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... Read More
Posted on Apr 18, 2016 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
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... Read More
Posted on Apr 4, 2016 in Front Page Features, Games PR
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... Read More
Posted on Jan 15, 2016 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features
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... Read More
Posted on Jan 15, 2016 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features
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... Read More
Posted on Dec 3, 2015 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features
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. ... Read More
Posted on Dec 3, 2015 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
Carl Paradis’ No Retreat series of games is rapidly becoming the end all, be all of detailed World War II strategy games.
Posted on Nov 9, 2015 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
Beautifully packaged with a stunning painting by Antonis Karidis of a few P40s tearing up some Ki-43s before diving in on some Ki-21 “Sallies”
Posted on Oct 12, 2015 in Draft, Electronic Games, Front Page Features
A strategy simulation of the events leading to the unification of Japan during and slightly after the “Sengoku Jidai” which was the age of Japanese civil war which lasted from roughly 1477 to 1576
Posted on Sep 3, 2015 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features
‘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... Read More
Posted on Jun 4, 2015 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
“Normandy ’44,” 2nd edition, provides interesting coverage of D-Day and the weeks beyond in a traditional wargame format, but the rules and set-up charts could have used a bit more editing.
Posted on May 28, 2015 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features
‘Combat Mission: Black Sea’ depicts a fictional future conflict between NATO, Ukraine, and Russia in the year 2017.
Posted on Apr 28, 2015 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
‘Brave and Noble Fights’ covers two battles of the 1894–1895 Sino-Japanese War, the Battle of the Yalu and the Battle of Wei Hai Wei.
Posted on Mar 24, 2015 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features
“Wings Over Flanders Fields” takes what is arguably the best WW1 air war simulator on the market and expands on what it offers players.
Posted on Feb 17, 2015 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features
‘Frontline: The Longest Day’ is a decent and inexpensive beer-and-pretzels game, but with a lot of bugs that reduce its entertainment factor.
Posted on Jan 2, 2015 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
“What Went Wrong: The Battle of Ap Bac” covers a usually ignored but Vietnam War significant battle. Simple mechanics make this game easy to learn and quick-playing and reflect the fluid nature of the battle.
Posted on Dec 22, 2014 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
“Panzer Expansion 3: Drive to the Rhine” takes James M. Day’s “Panzer” boardgames to the Western Front, introducing American, British and new German counters.
Posted on Oct 7, 2014 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
“1775: Rebellion – The American Revolution” from Academy Games uses cards for events and movements but resolves combat with special dice. This 2-4 player game is likely to become a classic.
Posted on Sep 3, 2014 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
“Blood & Roses – Men of Iron III” covers six battles of the English Civil War. It’s smaller scale makes it more solitaire-friendly than previous games in the popular series.
Posted on Aug 5, 2014 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features
“Battle Fleet 2” offers an ocean of fun for a small price. Players choose the types of WWII ships that will comprise their fleet for tactical battles or Pacific War campaigns. AI is good but too defensive-minded at times.
Posted on Jul 18, 2014 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
In the solitaire wargame “Soviet Dawn” the player controls the Bolsheviks under Lenin; the game mechanics control belligerents such as Germany, the Allies, White Russians, and even Red Russians who want to control the “Revolution.”
Posted on Jun 3, 2014 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
“No Retreat! The North African Front” is actually two games, one covering maneuvering and battles in North Africa during WW2 and the other covering the Sicily campaign.
Posted on Mar 23, 2014 in Boardgames, Front Page Features
“The Hunters” is an outstanding simulation of U-boat missions during the Second World War. Easy to learn, but complex and immersive, it features tense historical action.
Posted on Mar 23, 2014 in Boardgames
A campaign log for U-34 in the boardgame “The Hunters.”
Posted on Jan 22, 2014 in Boardgames
“A Brilliant Combat” is a fast-playing, easy to learn boardgame of the Battle of Manila Bay, plus two alternative scenarios.
Posted on Jan 13, 2014 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features
“Combat Mission: Market Garden” takes the venerable PC game series to history’s largest airborne operation, the attempt to seize bridges over the Rhine in 1944.
Posted on Dec 10, 2013 in Boardgames
“Navajo Wars” is a fascinating and innovative solitaire boardgame of Navajo culture, society and warfare, from the Spanish incursion in 1598 through the wars with the US Army that ended in 1864. The components are beautiful but the learning curve is steep.
Posted on Nov 20, 2013 in Boardgames
“Gettysburg 150” is a streamlined, easy to learn game of the 1863 battle – only 8 pages of rules – and is great for solitaire play.
Posted on Oct 23, 2013 in Boardgames
“A Test of Mettle” board game covers three battles on the Western Front from 1944: Arracourt; the Free French 2nd Armored Division at Dompaire; and the Sept. 8 defense of Patton’s flank at Mairy by the Texas-Oklahoma Division.
Posted on Jul 9, 2013 in Electronic Games
Although “Machines at War 3” doesn’t add much that’s new to real-time strategy games, it is still a worthy addition to the genre, putting players into a science-fiction combat world.
Posted on Jul 5, 2013 in Boardgames
GMT’s ‘Iron and Oak’ is a tactical boardgame of naval combat in the American Civil War that also has campaign rules. No tedious pre-plotting of moves required, thanks to the card system, but its index needs to be expanded.
Posted on Jun 12, 2013 in Boardgames
The “Top Cover” magazine promises be a fantastic house organ for the “Fighting Wings” series, delivering new scenarios and aircraft, along with special articles in each issue.
Posted on May 23, 2013 in Boardgames
“Fox’s Gambit” is a low-complexity board game of the Battle of Gazala, May-June 1942, that can be played in about three hours.
Posted on May 14, 2013 in Boardgames
The second edition of Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! boardgame introduces new units, such as flamethrower tanks, brings the rules up to date with other games in the series, and comes in a redesigned box that is great for storing the components.
Posted on May 8, 2013 in Boardgames
“Bushido Denied,” a boardgame of the defense of the Philippines against Japanese invasion in 1941-42, is actually two games in one: the defense of Bataan and the defense of Corregidor, which can be combined into a single game.
Posted on Apr 10, 2013 in Boardgames
A preview based on a prototype of “Sails of Glory,” a game of ship combat in the Napoleonic Era, that adapts Ares Games’ “Wings of Glory” system to the Age of Sail.
Posted on Apr 2, 2013 in Electronic Games
A report from the closed beta of “World of Warplanes” says the graphics are amazing, and it has the screenshots to prove it. The game shares some of the same strengths and weaknesses of its predecessor “World of Tanks.”
Posted on Mar 19, 2013 in Boardgames
“Rise of the Zombies!” is a card game in which players must break through hordes of shambling undead to reach an evacuation helicopter, racing against the clock in a real-time race for survival. If the timer runs out, the chopper leaves.
Posted on Mar 15, 2013 in Boardgames
“Field Commander Napoleon” from DVG is highly addictive. It offers 11 different campaigns that can be linked to cover Napoleon’s entire career. Programmed actions by Napoleon’s opponents provide for solitaire play.
Posted on Mar 11, 2013 in Boardgames
“Naval War of 1812” abstracts the actions of that war between warships and merchant vessels. Fast, fun and easy to learn, it is great for new players, though gamers looking for more of a simulation of the era won’t find it here.
Posted on Feb 27, 2013 in Boardgames
The “Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures” game is easy to learn and has beautiful miniatures, but the rules could have used a little help from Yoda.
Posted on Feb 11, 2013 in Boardgames
“1812 The Invasion of Canada” is an easy-to-learn boardgame with strategic depth. It is the first in Academy Games’ new “Birth of American” series.
Posted on Jan 18, 2013 in Boardgames
At last, medium-level bombers make their appearance in the “Wings of Glory World War 2” miniatures and card game. First up are variants of the B25 Mitchell and the He-111 Heinkel.
Posted on Jan 8, 2013 in Boardgames
The boardgame “Bloody Hell” covers two British and Canadian operations during the attempt to break out of Normandy in July 1944 and is “a bloody impressive game.”
Posted on Jan 3, 2013 in Electronic Games
“Panzer Campaigns: Moscow ’42,” from John Tiller Software, is easy to learn, but offers a complex strategic war game with tons of options and a good A/I.
Posted on Dec 29, 2012 in Boardgames
Renowned game designer James M. Day, in an exclusive “Armchair General” interview, talks about “Panzer,” “88,” “Gunship,” and many of his other designs.
Posted on Dec 6, 2012 in Boardgames
The boardgame ‘Thunderbolt – Apache Leader’ focuses on the modern air war environment but with a twist – its main focus is on ground attack. It is a solitaire game but can be used as a multiplayer.
Posted on Nov 27, 2012 in Boardgames
‘Wings of Glory – World War I Rules and Accessories Pack’ combines the rules that had been spread across three ‘Wings of War’ rules sets and provides optional rules for tracking pilot performance over a campaign. No model aircraft are included, however.
Posted on Nov 27, 2012 in Boardgames
A review of the initial offerings of early war fighter packs and bomber packs for ‘Wings of Glory – World War I.’
Posted on Nov 7, 2012 in Boardgames
‘Samurai Battles’ board game is an instant classic. Actually two games in one, it comes with 122 snap-together models, Konstantin Krivenko’s ‘Art of Tactics’ rules, and Richard Borg’s ‘Commands and Colors’ rules.
Posted on Oct 15, 2012 in Boardgames
The ‘Panzer’ boardgame is a new, improved version of the Yaquinto Games classic about tactical warfare on the Eastern Front of World War II. With its two expansions, players can simulate any small-unit action from Barbarossa to Gotterdammerung.
Posted on Oct 15, 2012 in Boardgames
With these two expansions for the Panzer boardgame you can play any tactical-level action of World War II’s Eastern Front, from the German invasion of the USSR in 1941 to Soviet victory in 1945.
Posted on Sep 25, 2012 in Boardgames
‘Day of Infamy: The Attack on Pearl Harbor’ is a throwback to the golden days when board wargames came in plastic ziplock bags, cost less than ten bucks and had simple rules. It’s easy to learn and to play, with high replay and solitaire value.
Posted on Sep 5, 2012 in Boardgames
‘World War II Barbarossa 1941 Expansion 1: Battle for the Danube’ introduces Romanian troops and provides additional units such as an armored train, armored boats, and Soviet border guards with dogs.
Posted on Sep 5, 2012 in Boardgames
The board wargame ‘World War II Operation Barbarossa 1941’ from Zvezda comes with snap-tight plastic models and mounted, modular mapboards with extra 3D terrain, a fantastic value for the price – and it plays well, too!
Posted on Jul 31, 2012 in Boardgames
‘Next War: Korea’ from GMT is actually three games in one box – a standard game, advanced game, and an all air-power game for control of the skies over modern Korea, with squadrons abilities based on aircraft types such as F-22s and MiG-29s.
Posted on Jun 26, 2012 in Boardgames
‘Virgin Queen: Wars of Religion 1559–1598’ is a boardgame of diplomacy, trading, and war in a time when Europe faced conflict between competing religious beliefs.
Posted on Apr 25, 2012 in Books and Movies
‘The German Aces Speak’ presents interviews with four of the Luftwaffe’s most important commanders of World War II: Walter Krupinski, Adolf Galland, Eduard Newmann, Wolfgang Falck.
Posted on Apr 4, 2012 in Boardgames
What can gamers expect now that ‘Wings of War’ has been re-released as ‘Wings of Glory’? Find out in this interview with Ares Games editor and product supervisor Roberto Di Meglio.
Posted on Apr 4, 2012 in Boardgames
‘Wings of Glory – War World II’ returns the ‘Wings of War’ system to game tables just when it seemed this popular, easy-to-play miniatures game had flown into the sunset. It has a new publisher but the same creative design team.
Posted on Mar 30, 2012 in Boardgames
‘Star Trek Heroclix Tactics’ brings starship combat from the “Star Trek” universe to the popular Heroclix miniatures gaming system.
Posted on Mar 8, 2012 in Boardgames
In an exclusive interview with J.D. Webster, whose air combat boardgame designs include ‘Air Superiority,’ ‘The Speed of Heat,’ ‘Over the Reich,’ ‘Achtung – Spitfire,’ and ‘Whistling Death,’ talks about his work.
Posted on Mar 8, 2012 in Boardgames
‘Whistling Death: WWII Air Warfare Over the Pacific, 1941 – 1945’ is an expansion for J.D. Webster’s ‘Fighting Wings,’ a highly detailed boardgame series. ‘Whistling Death’ comes with counters and data for over 40 types of aircraft and ships.
Posted on Feb 17, 2012 in Boardgames
The second edition of ‘Mark H. Walker’s Lock ‘n Load: Forgotten Heroes–Vietnam’ updates a classic boardgame that is great for solitaire, 2-player or even multi-player games.
Posted on Jan 24, 2012 in Boardgames
The short rules may make it look like a “beer and pretzels” game but Incredible Courage at Austerlitz – Telnitz is anything but.
Posted on Jan 15, 2012 in Boardgames
Nightfighter is a masterpiece of aviation wargames, in which players hunt for bombers to shoot down in the darkness over Europe and the Pacific.
Posted on Jan 4, 2012 in Boardgames
With Sekigahara The Unification of Japan, GMT Games has continued their tradition of releasing top-notch war games featuring daring, trend-setting designs.
Posted on Dec 21, 2011 in Boardgames
The boardgame “Buffalo Wings – WW2 Tactical Air Combat Over Finland” is a simplified version of the old “Fighting Wings” series but is still geared toward players who prefer detail over simplicity in aerial combat games.
Posted on Oct 28, 2011 in Electronic Games
Tunisia was a unique battlefield during the Second World War, and John Tiller captures the spirit of it perfectly in Tunisia ’43.
Posted on Sep 29, 2011 in Boardgames
Many Lord of the Rings games have been released, but what does the deck hold for Lord of the Rings: The Card Game?
Posted on Sep 13, 2011 in Boardgames
‘Fighting Formations: Grossdeutschland Motorized Infantry Division’ is a tactical-level board-wargame that features several unique innovations.
Posted on Aug 19, 2011 in Boardgames
A wargame of medieval cavalry, “Infidel” is for the gamer who relishes a good cavalry charge, mounted archers, and defenders with polearms.
Posted on Aug 1, 2011 in Books and Movies
“An Airman’s Story: Duty, Honor, Country The Legacy Lives On” is an independent, hour-long documentary focusing primarily on the American pilots who flew F105s and F4 Phantoms against the Communist MiGs during the Vietnam War.
Posted on Jul 11, 2011 in Boardgames
See why reviewer Richard Martin calls the ‘Conflict of Heroes’ series ‘easily the best board games I’ve ever reviewed for Armchair General.
Posted on Jun 22, 2011 in Boardgames
Armchair General’s Rick Martin had the opportunity to catch up with Academy Games’ founder Uwe Eickert to discuss Academy’s games and where this fast-growing company is going.
Posted on Jun 17, 2011 in Boardgames
The outstanding TV series ‘Battlestar Galactica’ now has an equally great boardgame to match.
Posted on Mar 30, 2011 in Boardgames
Phantom Leader is a well-designed, streamlined, card-driven solitaire game covering the air war in Vietnam. Highly recommended.
Posted on Mar 24, 2011 in Electronic Games
Despite a couple of barnacles Harpoon Ultimate Edition can’t be topped.
Posted on Feb 14, 2011 in Boardgames
Gameplay is fast and furious in the Sergeants on the Eastern Front skirmish-level boardgame and its Repple-Depple 1 expansion.
Posted on Jan 6, 2011 in Electronic Games
Amazingly detailed with huge maps, Kharkov ’43 is a must-have for the fans of the Panzer Campaigns series.
Posted on Nov 23, 2010 in Electronic Games
HISTORY: Great Battles Medieval, a PC game from Slitherine based on the 100 Years War, has a few chinks in what is overall shiny armor and has vast replay value.
Posted on Aug 25, 2010 in Electronic Games
The PC game Over Flander’s Fields proved to be the nearly perfect re-creation of WWI aerial combat this reviewer has long been searching for; a review of this holy grail of biplane battles.
Posted on Aug 11, 2010 in Electronic Games
Airstrike Eagles of World War 2 is wonderfully fun and a nice break from the more heady flight simulators currently on the market, according to this Armchair General review.
Posted on Aug 4, 2010 in Boardgames
The All Things Zombie boardgame from Lock n Load Publishing proves you can have a hordes of shambling undead and still produce a good, small-unit-tactics wargame; review on ArmchairGeneral.com.
Posted on Jun 15, 2010 in Electronic Games
Steve Grammont, production lead for the Combat Mission Shock Force: Afghanistan PC game coming from Battlefront, talks in an exclusive interview about the game’s ability to portray the asymmetrical warfare of the Soviets’ war in Afghanistan.
Posted on Jan 5, 2010 in Boardgames
A review of DDH Games’ June ’44 board war game says it has high replay value, thanks to random event cards and weather rules, and can be play it just 3 – 4 hours.
Posted on Jan 5, 2010 in Boardgames
A review of Destination: Normandy finds it to be a both a good introductory board war game and a quick-but-challenging play for experienced gamers.
Posted on Dec 21, 2009 in Boardgames
This review of Band of Heroes 2nd Edition says some of the problems of the original edition have been fixed, and it provides a fast-flowing game of man-to-man combat during the Normandy invasion.
Posted on Sep 22, 2009 in Boardgames
A new addition to the miniature wargaming genre, Battlefield Evolution: Modern Combat is easy to learn and fun to play. An ArmchairGeneral.com review.
Posted on Sep 17, 2009 in Boardgames
Mark H. Walker’s Lock ‘N Load: Heroes of the Blitzkrieg takes wargamers to the French Campaign of 1940 on a tactical level. An ArmchairGeneral.com board game review.
Posted on Sep 4, 2009 in Boardgames
A review of Baptism of Fire: World War Two Role Play, which offers gamers a new way to immerse themselves in the history of the 20th century’s greatest conflict.
Posted on Sep 4, 2009 in Boardgames
Why did Michael D. Burnside choose World War Two as the subject for a role-playing game? Exclusive ArmchairGeneral.com interview with the designer of Baptism of Fire World War Two Role Play.
Posted on Aug 4, 2009 in Electronic Games
Combat Mission Shock Force: British Forces is an ‘amazingly detailed and playable expansion,’ according to this ArmchairGeneral.com review. The campaign is challenging and offer high replay value.
Posted on Apr 13, 2009 in Books and Movies
The Red Baron, a new film about Manfred von Richthofen, had its U.S. premier at the Reel Stuff Film Festival of Aviation in Dayton, Ohio, in March 2009. This preview praises the movie for its authentic-looking aircraft mockups and CGI.
Posted on Apr 13, 2009 in Books and Movies
The Red Baron, a new film about Manfred von Richthofen by Nikolai Muellerschoen, was a labor of love. Rick Martin interviews the writer – director – co-producer for ArmchairGeneral.com.