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Posted on Sep 2, 2021 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

“After all, no one is stupid enough to prefer war to peace; in peace sons bury their fathers and in war fathers bury their sons.”― Herodotus 300 Earth & Water Board Game Review

“After all, no one is stupid enough to prefer war to peace; in peace sons bury their fathers and in war fathers bury their sons.”― Herodotus 300 Earth & Water Board Game Review

“300 Earth & Water”  Board Game Review.  Publisher: Nuts Publishing and Bonsai Games   Distributed by Ares Games  Designer:  Yasushi Nakaguro and Antonio Stappaerts   Price $29.99 Passed Inspection:     Very easy to learn; beautiful box and artwork; small footprint; perfect game to take on a trip; great fun Failed Basic: typo on “Tribute to Earth and Water” card; a few alternative scenarios or advanced rules would add some variations to replays; in this Age of Covid solo rules would be a nice addition 300 Earth & Water is a new game which covers the 50 year war between Greece and Persia between 499 BC and 449 BC.  The game is designed to be easy to learn and fast to play.  An entire 5 campaign game can be played in 30 to 45 minutes.  It uses blocks and disks plus dice and cards to drive the game play. The game comes in a beautifully designed compact box of approximately 9” x 6 ½” x 1 ¼” (22.86 x 16.51 x 3.18 centimeters). ...

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Posted on Aug 22, 2021 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

“Sir, reports from HQ say that there are five U-boats in this area.” The Battle of the Atlantic comes to the game table. An Interview with Alan Eagle, Designer of “Corvette Command”

“Sir, reports from HQ say that there are five U-boats in this area.” The Battle of the Atlantic comes to the game table. An Interview with Alan Eagle, Designer of “Corvette Command”

“This is a story of the Battle of the Atlantic, the story of the ocean, two ships, and a handful of men. The men are the heroes; the heroines the ships. The only villain is the sea, the cruel sea that man has made more cruel….” The opening lines of the 1953 movie “The Cruel Sea” captures the feel of Alan Eagle’s recent solitaire game “Corvette Command”. In the game, the player takes on the role of the commander of an Flower class corvette (These were mostly Canadian and Royal Navy vessels). The player is tasked with escorting convoys of merchant ships back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean between the United Kingdom and North America. Corvette Command creates a narrative of events in a way similar to the classic board game “B-17 Queen of the Skies”. Your escort vessel is tied to supporting the convoy (barring some random events) and moves across the sea zones. In each zone, you check for a number of events and try to...

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Posted on Aug 20, 2021 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

“Combat makes the pilot’s will to win stronger. With every fight they become much stronger. I got stronger with each victory. ”― Lieutenant Saburo Sakai, Ace Zero Pilot –  Zero Leader   Board Game  Review

“Combat makes the pilot’s will to win stronger. With every fight they become much stronger. I got stronger with each victory. ”― Lieutenant Saburo Sakai, Ace Zero Pilot –  Zero Leader   Board Game  Review

“Zero Leader”  Board Game Review.  Publisher: DVG Games   Designer:  Chuck Seegert   Price $99.99 Passed Inspection:     perfectly captures the atmosphere and challenges of being a pilot for the Empire of Japan during WW2; fun to play; easy to learn; great AI; beautiful components and artwork; a nearly perfect game; years of replayability Failed Basic:      the Pearl Harbor campaign needs a tweak; the box needs to be deeper to hold all the goodies Full Disclosure – Rick Martin has designed Tiger Leader and Sherman Leader and is currently designing T34 Leader for DVG Games In 2018, I reviewed a game called Corsair Leader. It was a solo World War II aviation game in which you fly for the US Navy or Marines in the Pacific Theater.  It was one of my favorite games that year and a game I continue to play over and over again.  Now DVG Games has put out a companion game to Corsair Leader called Zero Leader.  Zero Leader tells the tale of Japanese Army and Naval...

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Posted on Jul 1, 2021 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Where’s There’s Smoke, There’s Fire – “Smokejumpers” Board Game Review

Where’s There’s Smoke, There’s Fire – “Smokejumpers” Board Game Review

Smokejumpers. Publisher: Microgame Design Group. Designer: Kerry Anderson. Price $ 30.00 Passed inspection: Solid components and well laid out rules. Failed basic: It’s a harsh, but realistic model for controlling wildfires. If the fire gets away from you because the weather shifted unexpectedly – you may lose the game through no fault of your own decision-making. Growing up in a midwestern suburb we had our share of natural hazards. Thunderstorms, tornadoes, blizzards, even the rare red flag event when open fires were discouraged. But wild fires were not a hazard with which we had to contend. The only exposure to forest fire was via movies like “Fire on Kelly Mountain” or “Always”. Sometimes we’d encounter the effects of wildfires during our infrequent travels to the southeast or western parts of North America. On those trips, it was the occasional appearance of a charred landscape, or smoke tainted air were the rare signs that wild fire was an ever-present natural hazard. Working to contain fires is often expressed in martial...

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Posted on Jun 29, 2021 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Age of Dogfights Takes Us to the Dangerous Skies of World War II – Kickstarter Preview

Age of Dogfights Takes Us to the Dangerous Skies of World War II – Kickstarter Preview

Age of Dogfights World War II Board Game Preview.  Publisher: Forsage Games  Designers:  Predrag Lazovic and Dragan Lazovic Age of Dogfights World War II is a sequel to Age of Dogfights World War I.  Age of Dogfights World War II is currently active on Kickstarter and Armchair General has been fortunate to have been sent a demo of the game to preview.  Forsage Games of Serbia again utilizes their patented “Triangle System” of movement.  Previously Armchair General reviewed their modern tactical naval battles game “Naval Battles in the Archipelago” and “Age of Dogfights World War I” which also both use their movement system. You can find the Kickstarter campaign at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1732812836/age-of-dogfights-wwii While the game’s components are not finalized based upon fulfilling Kickstarter goals, the components seem to be close to what was included in the World War I edition, namely: 3 bi-fold maps 4 board extensions 60 aircraft counters 112 plastic altitude stands including level flying and banked versions 2 tilt compensators Initial position markers 21 control panels Fuel tracking...

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Posted on Jun 22, 2021 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Operation Judgement: The Taranto Raid Hits the Tabletop in “Terrible Swift Swordfish”. Board Game Review

Operation Judgement: The Taranto Raid Hits the Tabletop in “Terrible Swift Swordfish”. Board Game Review

Terrible Swift Swordfish. Publisher: LPS, Inc. Designer: Roberto Chiavini. Price $19.95 Passed inspection: Generates an engaging narrative of the attack on Taranto. Simple rules that lead player through gameplay. Color map of the Taranto harbor area. Color counters represent each plane in the attack.  Failed basic: The rules are printed as part of the gameboard as white text on a medium blue background. The combination of distance from the eye combined with the relatively small size of the text and the contrast between text and background may pose an issue for readability for visually impaired players.   There’s a long history of synergy between history books and historical board games. An engaging historical game can prompt a player to seek out additional information through various books and maps. The converse is true where inspiring historical books can motivate the reader to find a historical game on the topic. For  me, David Hobbes book Taranto was the catalyst which led to the acquisition of the tabletop game Terrible Swift Swordfish...

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Posted on Jun 5, 2021 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

We’re Eyeball to Eyeball – Now’s Who’s Going to Blink? Plague Island Games Takes on the Cold War in “2 Minutes 2 Midnight.” Board Game Review

We’re Eyeball to Eyeball – Now’s Who’s Going to Blink? Plague Island Games Takes on the Cold War in “2 Minutes 2 Midnight.” Board Game Review

...Stuart Tonge’s upcoming game 2 Minutes to Midnight explores the Cold War in the form of a game in which atomic weapons were still sought after and stockpiled, while the United States and Soviet Union competed for dominance by using means that fell short of a Global Thermonuclear War. Starting in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War the players strive to expand their influence and rebuild nations shattered by war. Their ultimate goal - create a global community in which they are recognized as the dominant socio-political economic philosophy. In other words, it’s a geopolitical struggle for the ages....

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Posted on Jun 1, 2021 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Touring the Crystal Palace: Unboxing “2 Minutes 2 Midnight.”

Touring the Crystal Palace: Unboxing “2 Minutes 2 Midnight.”

Ron Perlman’s narration in the Fallout game series usually opens and closes with the phrase “War never changes”. But in the latter half of the twentieth century, we saw that war did change. The invention of the atomic bomb and the end of World War Two ushered in an era in which some weapons had become so destructive that it was impossible to rationalize their mass use, except as a form of deterrent. Plague Island Games current project 2 Minutes to Midnight explores this period of history in the form of a game in which atomic weapons were still sought after and stockpiled, while the United States and Soviet Union compete for dominance using means that fell short of all out global thermonuclear war.  Starting in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, in a devastated global landscape, the players strive to expand their influence and rebuild nations shattered by war. Their ultimate goal is to create a global community in which they are recognized as the dominant...

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Posted on May 18, 2021 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

“Who are the Britons?”  Morgane Gouyon-Rety Mints a Roman COIN Embedded in Arthurian Legend with GMT’s “Pendragon: The Fall of Roman Britain”. Board Game Review

“Who are the Britons?” Morgane Gouyon-Rety Mints a Roman COIN Embedded in Arthurian Legend with GMT’s “Pendragon: The Fall of Roman Britain”. Board Game Review

Pendragon: The Fall of Roman Britain. GMT Games. Designer: Morgane Gouyon-Rety. Price $95.00 Passed inspection: An exiting four player game that explores the decline of Roman Britain. Engaging game play with high replay potential. Failed basic: The font used on event card headers evokes the period, but some players found it difficult to read. This only impacts the title – the event text itself was easy to read. GMT Game’s Counter Insurgency (COIN) series has been a literal game changer for strategy games. While the core rules of the series explores conflicts grounded in asymmetrical warfare, each new title has adapted and evolved to bring something fresh to the game table. Pendragon: The Fall of Roman Britain  is no exception. In Pendragon, the eighth title in the COIN series, game designer Morgane Gouyon-Rety started with the foundation of the traditional four-player COIN game and transformed it into a struggle depicting the decline of Roman Britain. The imprint of Roman colonization can still be seen across the landscape of modern...

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Posted on May 12, 2021 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Unboxing Kerry Anderson’s “Smokejumpers”

Unboxing Kerry Anderson’s “Smokejumpers”

Smokejumpers. Publisher: Microgame Design Group. Designer: Kerry Anderson. Price $ 30.00 A recent addition to the game library was Smokejumpers published by Microgame Design Group and designed by Kerry Anderson. Smokejumpers is a solitaire game which pits the player against the threat of wild fires. It’s not a wargame in the traditional sense, but it feels like one with the player having to maneuver their units, build works and use the terrain to their advantage. We’ll get a full review out soon, but for now, we’ll tease you this short description. The cover captures the theme of the game. The bagged edition of the game includes a cover sheet (pictured above) with the key charts for fire growth on the back. In addition there is a player aid sheet and one (1) counter sheet with nicely die cut, double-sided counters. The game has a relatively compact footprint, though this can be expanded by combining two or more of the four mapsheets together. We’re waiting for someone to call in...

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Posted on Apr 22, 2021 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

“The greatest enemy will hide in the last place you would ever look.”―Julius Caesar – Caesar Rome vs Gaul Board Game

“The greatest enemy will hide in the last place you would ever look.”―Julius Caesar – Caesar Rome vs Gaul Board Game

“Caesar Rome vs Gaul”  Board Game Review.  Publisher: GMT  Games   Designer:  Mark Simonitch  Developer:  Mitchell Land   Price $60.00 Passed Inspection:    Easy to learn; fast game play; beautiful and useful components; printing is large enough for “mature” eyes to read; high replay value; easy to solo play (contrary to the low solo listing on GMT’s website); almost everything you need is on the game board; excellent value for the price Failed Basic:     influence counters cover town names; subdued tribes don’t count towards victory points; no solo rules included; no zip lock bags included for the counters components Julius Caesar’s campaigns in Gaul needs no introductions to most war gamers thanks in no small part to Caesar’s own writings on his campaigns.  I first read Caesar’s Gallic Campaign book when I was fifteen years old and it brought ancient history to life in a whole new way for me.  Now you can bring that same ancient history to life through this game! GMT’s Caesar Rome vs Gaul was released in the...

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Posted on Mar 9, 2021 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Retro Review # 4 “Beware the Hun in the Sun!” Ace of Aces Wingleader Game Review

Retro Review # 4 “Beware the Hun in the Sun!” Ace of Aces Wingleader Game Review

Retro Review # 4 Ace of Aces Wingleader Game Review.  Publisher: Nova Game Designs   Game Designer: Alfred Leonardi   Price:  varies (EBay) Passed Inspection: Includes 24 different World War II fighters, easy to learn, can be played almost in real time, different levels of complexity Failed Basic:  out of print so it can be difficult to find, not solo compatible Ace of Aces Wingleader is 33 years old this year and its World War I version is 41 years old as it came out in 1980.  First gracing the shelves of your friendly neighborhood game store in 1988 (for me it was the Tin Soldier in Dayton, Ohio), Ace of Aces has not lost any of its allure and, like a fine wine, seems to get better with age.  For Retro Review Number 4, come with me in our fighter plane of the imagination and let’s take a closer look at the Ace of Aces Wing Leader game system. (The original Ace of Aces Retro Review can be read at: ...

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Posted on Mar 5, 2021 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Remember to Always Be Bold – The Campaigns of the Tenth Assault Vehicle Flotilla. “By Stealth and Sea” Board Game Review.

Remember to Always Be Bold – The Campaigns of the Tenth Assault Vehicle Flotilla. “By Stealth and Sea” Board Game Review.

By Stealth and Sea. Publisher: Dan Verssen Games. Designer: David Thompson. Price $72.00 Passed inspection: Quality components. Glossy rules and scenario book. Engaging gameplay that explores in detail a rarely covered aspect of the naval war in the Mediterranean. Failed basic: No faults with game play. A minor component fault with one warped game board. When I was a lad, Saturday afternoon B-movies were quite popular. One of these films was The Silent Enemy which depicted British efforts to defend Gibraltar against attacks from Italian frogmen on mini submarines. While it may seem like something straight out of a James Bond adventure, the exploits of the Italian “Decima Flottiglia MAS” (or the Tenth Assault Vehicle Flotilla) are firmly in the historical record. While the Italian Royal Navy struggled to compete against the British on the surface of the Mediterranean Sea as well as in the air, it was beneath the surface of the Mediterranean Sea where the efforts of these Italian commando frogmen demonstrated how skill and determination lead...

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Posted on Feb 8, 2021 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

“I have yet to hear anyone engaged in this work dying of old age” Jimmy Doolittle  – High Flying Dice Games’ “September’s Eagles  –  The Thompson Trophy Air Races 1929 – 1939”  Game  Review

“I have yet to hear anyone engaged in this work dying of old age” Jimmy Doolittle – High Flying Dice Games’ “September’s Eagles – The Thompson Trophy Air Races 1929 – 1939” Game Review

“September’s Eagles  –  The Thompson Trophy Air Races 1929 – 1939”  Board Game Review.  Publisher: High Flying Dice Games  Designer:  Paul Rohrbaugh  Graphic Design: Bruce Yearian  Price $60.00 Passed Inspection:    fun, fast and furious game play, 11 scenarios, solid game design, beautiful graphics, good for solo or multiplayer games, optional rules add to the challenge Failed Basic:     the rule booklet needs to be a little bigger to accommodate older eyes High Flying Dice Games (HFDG) is known for high quality, low price games as well as for focusing on military topics not often addressed by other game companies.   September’s Eagles goes in a different direction than past HFDG products.  First, it is technically not a war game but a game focusing on air racing.  Second, it is a boxed game as opposed to a game in a zip lock bag.  Third, it can be played by up to 4 players.  And fourth, it has a higher price point than other HFDG products.  So, taken all together is September’s Eagles...

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Posted on Feb 1, 2021 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Follow your tanks to victory with DVG’s “Tiger Leader, Second Edition”. Board Game Review

Follow your tanks to victory with DVG’s “Tiger Leader, Second Edition”. Board Game Review

Tiger Leader, Second Edition. Publisher: Dan Verssen Games (DVG). Designer: Rick Martin. Developers: Kevin Verssen and Dan Verssen. Price $89.99 Passed inspection: An updated version of the original Tiger Leader. Redesigned unit cards and counters.  Solitaire campaign narrative. Failed basic: Second edition rules for cover don’t match the first edition tiles included in the game. Line of sight rule will cause a problem if read literally. In 2020, Dan Verssen Games (DVG) released Tiger Leader, Second Edition.  One of the many solitaire games from DVG, Tiger Leader is set in World War Two and provides a narrative of combat from the perspective of an anonymous German military unit. The box art has been updated with new images In Tiger Leader, you lead a group of Wehrmacht soldiers into battle. The game includes multiple campaigns that span from the Polish campaign, into North Africa across Europe culminating in the Allied drive into Germany. Over the course of each campaign, you’ll endeavor to defeat your opponent while keeping your own troops...

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Posted on Jan 26, 2021 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

“I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm’s way.” — John Paul Jones, 1778  Devil Boats: PT Boats in the Solomons.  Board Game Review

“I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm’s way.” — John Paul Jones, 1778 Devil Boats: PT Boats in the Solomons. Board Game Review

Devil Boats: PT Boats in the Solomons Board Game Review.  Publisher: Compass Games  Designer: Joe Carter  Price $69.00 Passed Inspection: well researched, historically accurate, easy to learn rules, beautiful components, easily moded, strong narrative campaign, can easily add players. Failed Basic: printed errata sheet or revised rulebook did not ship with the retail version but are available for download. Devil Boats: PT Boats in the Solomons is the first wargame design by Joe Carter covering the summer and early fall of 1943 as the Allies launched the New Georgia campaign. PT boats played a key role in the Solomons attacking enemy supply ships, rescuing downed airmen or shipwrecked sailors, and supporting the Coastwatchers. Devil Boats is a solitaire game similar to the classic B-17 Queen of the Skies by Avalon Hill or more recent additions such as The Hunters / Silent Victory by Consim Press and B-29 Superfortress by Legion Games. Players take command of a squadron of four PT boats in a three-month campaign to destroy as much...

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Posted on Jan 6, 2021 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Hooker’s Brilliant Maneuver or Lee’s Masterpiece? “Chancellorsville 1863” Board Game Review

Hooker’s Brilliant Maneuver or Lee’s Masterpiece? “Chancellorsville 1863” Board Game Review

By Ray Garbee Chancellorsville 1863. Publisher: Worthington Games. Designer: Maurice Suckling. Price $75.00 Passed inspection: Fantastic introductory level game that will also appeal to seasoned gamers. An innovative approach to incorporating the fog of war that is critical to capturing the mind set of the commanders. Supports solo play by either side. A fast playing, easy to set up game. Failed basic: Units can feel almost generic when compared to a traditional board game approach. The solitaire bot for playing the Confederate player is unbalanced. At the start of May 1863, the Union was engaged in campaigns on two fronts. In the West, Ulysses S. Grant was in the midst of his latest maneuvers to capture the city of Vicksburg, Mississippi. In the East, the Army of the Potomac’s latest commander ‘Fighting Joe’ Hooker was about to embark on a campaign designed to encircle Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia – the Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia. With a numerical superiority, Hooker planned to ‘go around to the right’...

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Posted on Dec 28, 2020 in Boardgames, Electronic Games, Front Page Features

Top Reviewed Games of 2020

Top Reviewed Games of 2020

If 2020 was a pretty crummy year for the whole planet, at least we had some great games come out to see us through our Pandemic isolation.  I think a trend of 2020 that will continue is that more games will have optional rules for solo play.  Enjoy this list of the top reviewed games of 2020 and let’s all look forward to a better and safer year in 2021. Cold Confusion: The Soviet Raid on Iceland 1985. Publisher: High Flying Dice Games.Designers: Paul Rohrbaugh.  – AG Rating 95%   Small, fast playing game of a hypothetical Soviet raid on Iceland during the 1980s. Good replay value with variable reinforcements and set up. Card deck provides for a good fog of war. This is an affordable game on a unique topic with a variety of elite troops, that is easy to play for a solitaire gamer. With all that going for it, yes – it’s a game that will appeal to cold warriors and solo gamers alike. It sparked...

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Posted on Dec 27, 2020 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

One Last Big Push to Victory. “1918/1919: Storm in the West” Board Game Review

One Last Big Push to Victory. “1918/1919: Storm in the West” Board Game Review

By Ray Garbee 1917/1918: Storm in the West. Publisher: GMT Games. Designer: Ted Raicer. Developers: Ty Bomba and Chris Perello. Price $49.00 Passed inspection: An excellent update to a proven design. Good coverage of a pivotal year in the war. Excellent expansion covering the ‘what if’s’ surrounding the strategic decisions on both sides. Failed basic: A solid design that’s had all the kinks ironed out over the years, there’s nothing to not like about this game! GMT’s recent release 1918/1919: Storm in the West dropped onto the game table in December. This is a game with a storied past, dating back to its initial release in 1992 with Command Magazine. 1918/1919: Storm in the West was Ted Raicer’s first game design and it was an immediate success, earning a Charles S. Roberts Award nomination. Its popularity inspired the design of a Plan 1919 variant which assumed a German defensive strategy in 1918 with an all-out Allied assault to win the war the following year. GMT’s release presents this classic magazine...

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