2019 has been yet another great year for board games, card games and miniature games. The sheer amount of product coming out has swamped our Armchair General reviewers and we’ve been fortunate to have new reviewers added to our little game review family this year. The following are some of the highest rated games that we reviewed in 2019. All of our reviewers have games released in 2019 still on our shelves or gaming tables with reviews that are not completed. As such, I must toss a few titles out that haven’t been reviewed yet but look very promising – Ares Games’ Tripods and Triplanes (Rick Martin previewed the game based upon the prototype set but will be doing a review of the finished game ASAP!), Command & Colors Medieval by GMT, Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea by GMT, UBoot the Board Game by Phalanx, Tank Duel by GMT, Birds of Prey and its Expansions by Ad Astra Games and Highlander the Board Game by River Horse. These...Read More
“Don’t die a nugget! Be an Ace!” – Battlestar Galactica Starship Battles Ship Booster Packs Game Review
Battlestar Galactica Starship Booster Packs. Publisher: Ages Games Designer: Andrea Angiolino and Andrea Mainini Price $15 to $18 each Passed Inspection: Stunning miniatures, extra cards, different versions of each vehicle, sturdy boxes which can be used for display Failed Basic: Nothing at all Ares Games is famous for their innovative miniature game systems Wings of Glory (known in a previous release as Wings of War) and Sails of Glory. Wings of Glory features World War 1 and World War 2 aircrafts while Sails of Glory is a game of sailing ship combat in the 1700s and early 1800s. Last year, Ares brought out their Battlestar Galactica game which uses a similar system to their previous air and sea combat games. This year, Ares is thrilling us with new fighters and support crafts for the game. As with the ships in the starter set, these new miniatures space fighters and support ships are beautifully sculpted and painted. Each ship has a rotatable base and four stands as well as pilot...Read More
“After several minutes of firing on the move, the attacking echelon of our 29th and 18th Tank Corps cut into the Nazi ranks with a thrust forward—a rapid assault literally through the enemy ranks.” ― Soviet Cmdr. Pavel Rotmistrov — Conflict of Heroes: Storms of Steel Kursk 1943 Board Game Review
Conflict of Heroes: Storms of Steel Kursk 1943 Board Game Review. Publisher: Academy Games Designer: Uwe Eickert and Gunter Eickert Price $80 Passed Inspection: Beautiful components, easy to learn, logical well laid out rule book with plenty of examples, large easy to pick up counters, exciting game play, great value for the price Failed Basic: Needs wrecked vehicle counters, needs unit values for player designed scenarios, rule 15.5 Vehicle Stacking needs clarification, the front of the vehicles should face the front of the counter “We were conducting a reconnaissance with our 3 squads of Sdkfz 251 mounted Panzergrenadiers supported by two Sdkfz 251/9 Stummel halftracks and our Panzer II. The object was to get a clearer indication of what the Soviets were up to near a farm at a critical road junction. Before the weather became overcast, a reconnaissance flight had reported activity there. As we approached, we noted what appeared to be dug in Ivans near the farm. Suddenly Ivan anti-tanks guns opened up and our Panzer II...Read More
It’s the 4th Armored Division’s Iron Will versus German Steel in ‘Patton’s Vanguard: Arracourt, 1944’. Board Game Review.
Patton’s Vanguard: Arracourt, 1944. Publisher: Take Aim Designs and Revolution Games. Game Designer: Michael Rinella. Developer: Roger Miller. Price $ 30.00. Passed inspection: An easy to grasp area movement game that showcases a key Western Front tank battle during late summer 1944. A solid game with easy to read counters. Failed basic: Organization of the rulebook requires a careful reading to extract all the relevant rules for each scenario. After Allied forces broke out along the Normandy front, they raced across France. In early September, the Third Army was nearing the German border. General Patton’s orders were for the 4th Armored Division to strike northeast into Germany. But at the same time, the German Army was preparing a major counterattack in the same area. This would be the first combat for Germany’s newly raised Panzer brigades and the ensuing battle would be the largest tank battle between the United States and Germany until the Battle of the Bulge. On paper, this looked like a tough fight for the Americans....Read More
The Hobbity Company of Poland in conjunction with Ares Games has just put their new World War II Battle of Britain aviation game on Kickstarter and it looks fantastic! The Hobbity Company was founded in 2002 by board games fanatics and hard-core gamers, for whom games are not only an excellent way to spend free time in the family circle but also an important Hobby with capital “H”. They have years of experience in the market and work with such companies as Eagle-Gryphon Games, What’s Your Games, Asyncron, Ares Games and many more. 303 Squadron promises to be an intense, fast-paced solo or cooperative board game that will push you and your plane to the limits. It is a 1-4 player experience and is inspired by true events: players take the role of legendary pilots from the 303 Squadron, to experience epic dogfights against Luftwaffe pilots, and – most of all – to create unforgettable stories. This is the kind of game that sparks those “Remember the time when…” conversations....Read More
‘Die Hard. Publisher: The Op. Game Designers: Patrick Marino and Sean Fletcher. Price $ 39.95 Passed inspection: Light rules with good explanations of objectives and actions. Captures the feel of the original movie. The game is scripted but at the same time players have flexibility in how they go about achieving their goals. Failed basic: If playing with more than two players, the additional players on the thieves’ ‘team’ often do not feel fully engaged with the game play. Luck is a factor – like other card-based games, Die Hard relies on you having the right cards, at the right time to achieve specific goals. There are few more iconic action movies made in the past 30 years than Die Hard. The tale of New York cop John McClane’s trip to Los Angles to visit his estranged wife quickly transforms into a high-octane action film with a generous amount of humor mixed into the narrative. Released in July, 1988, the advent of home video media quickly made this corporate...Read More
Wings of Glory World War 1 Aircraft Booster Packs Game Review. Publisher: Ares Games Designer: Andrea Angiolino and Pier Giorgio Paglia Price: Booster: $11.00 to $15.00 Passed Inspection: Reissues of out of print (very expensive on EBay) planes, stunning pre-painted miniatures, added value through additional content Failed Basic: Nothing at all. Ares Games has hit the bull’s eye again with the re-issue of four more styles of out of print aircrafts – the French Breguet 14 two-seater, the Entente S.E.5a (and one S.E.5) and the German Rumpler C.IV two-seater and the Pfalz D.III. Each plane comes in three different paint schemes representing different historical pilots’ planes. The S.E.5a also includes one S.E.5 representing a plane flown by Billy Bishop. Each plane comes complete with a fully painted miniature aircraft, altitude pegs, plastic aircraft base, maneuver cards and special cards for ace pilots and special ace skills. You must have the base Wings of Glory game to get full use out of these aircrafts. Let’s start with the two-seaters which...Read More
“Only the spirit of attack borne in a brave heart will bring a success to any fighter aircraft…” ― Adolf Galland– Interceptor Ace Game Review
Interceptor Ace Daylight Air Defense Over Germany, 1943-44 Game Review. Publisher: Compass Games Designer: Gregory M. Smith Price $75 Passed Inspection: Well written rule book with examples and an index, easy to learn and fun to play, immersive almost role playing game like play, beautiful components, addictive Failed Basic: Would have liked to have seen rules for the Me163, Me262, Dornier Arrow and other late war fighters; also a way to track days between missions would be nice; would also like to see a squadron success table and rules for late 1944 and 1945 operations March 7th – 2nd mission Lt Marten flying Lion’s Claw, a Bf109 G4 Jg27 is my home squadron. B24 raid on the Ruhr. Good weather. Intercepted a formation of B24 Liberators. No enemy escorts are visible- I and my wingman approach a B24 from 12 O’clock level. We fire from long range hitting the port wing badly. The B24 flips as pieces of the wing break off and the B24 enters a diving spin....Read More
Fields of Fire Volumes 1 and 2. Board Game Review. Publisher: GMT Games. DESIGNER: Ben Hull ORIGINAL DEVELOPER: Dick Vohlers SERIES DEVELOPER: Richard Gray Price: $75.00 (Vol 1) $82.00 (Vol 2) Passed Inspection- generates excellent narratives, replayability, and models the problems of command very well. Failed Basic- A rulebook and playbook that are in dire need of revision Fields of Fire is a solitaire company level simulation of combat during the Second World War, Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Rather than being a game specifically focused on infantry tactics, it tries to model the problems of command, with a skilled player being one who understands how to use is order points efficiently by taking advantage of the command hierarchy. The actual combat is abstracted out to a high degree, revolving around the draw of action cards. Both volumes of Fields of Fire contain an action deck, 3 different map decks representing the different eras of play, and 5 counter sheets totaling something over 800 different counters. Along with...Read More
Clash of Chariots : The Battle of Kadesh, 1274 B.C. Game Review. Publisher: High Flying Dice Games Designer: Paul Rohrbaugh Price: $11.95 (unmounted counters) $17.95 (mounted counters) Passed Inspection: Easy to learn. Interesting subject matter. Great looking components. Tense game play. Great for solo play. Excellent value for the money. Failed Basic: Since the game play is depending on cards to end the turn, the game can go on for a good deal longer than one afternoon. “Morale” is misspelled on the “Moral Level Tracker” (Paul has that corrected now – ed) High Flying Dice Games (HFDG) continues their tradition of high quality, low price games with Clash of Chariots : The Battle of Kadesh, 1274 B.C. The Battle of Kadesh was a decisive battle between the Egyptians under Ramesses II (also spelled as “Ramses II”) and the Hittite Empire under King Muwatalli II. From Wikipedia: The battle is generally dated to 1274 BC from the Egyptian chronology and is the earliest battle in recorded history for which details...Read More
Last Battle: Ie Shima, 1945. Publisher: Take Aim Designs and Revolution Games. Game Designer: Michael Rinella. Developer: Roger Miller. Price $ 30.00. Passed inspection: Easy to grasp area movement game that showcases a smaller battle from late in the Pacific war. Game board really captures the feel of the period. Solid game with easy to read counters. Failed basic: Nothing that would keep me from buying the game. It’s possible that single bad die roll can end a game turn early and wreck the US time table. It won’t happen every game and there is a way to mitigate the effect by controlling and using the advantage marker. As far back as I can remember, I always enjoyed playing the classic Avalon Hill Game ‘Storm Over Arnhem’. Partly it was that the game was released a few short years after the film ‘A Bridge Too Far’ had been on the television, partly that the topic was one of the pivotal actions of the Market-Garden campaign, but a lot of...Read More
A battle of attrition fought by reinforced infantry battalions! Dirk Blennemann’s “Crossing the Line – Aachen 1944” Board Game Review
Crossing the Line – Aachen 1944 Board Game Review. Publisher: Furor Teutonicus Games Designer: D.Blennemann, Developer & Art Director: P.Gebhardt, Graphic Artist: P.Bazerque, Rules Editor: J.Bruncken Price €55,00 / $60 Review by Matt White Passed Inspection: beautiful artwork and components, high production values, solo or two player, fluid turn structure, interesting combat mechanics and superb use of HQ units Failed Basic: Rules would benefit from more examples of play; game has lots of dice rolling that won’t be to everyone’s taste “Crossing the Line – Aachen 1944 is an operational level simulation of the Battle for Aachen, which took place from September 12th to October 21st, 1944. The game is intended for two players but is also suitable for solitaire and team play. The game is played in a semi-interactive way, as only one Division of the active player is activated to conduct actions at the same time and the inactive player sometimes can have one of his Divisions react to specific threats and interrupt the enemy’s actions. While...Read More
B-25 Prince of the Skies Board Game Review. Publisher: None – Print and Play Game Designer: Lee Smith Price FREE Review by Rick Martin Passed Inspection: Easy to learn, strong solo narrative, beautiful components, FREE!!! Failed Basic: The Ki84 shouldn’t be included in the 1942 Doolittle Raid scenario. A few typos. If you don’t like dice rolling, this may not be for you. Skills that your crew could earn would be a nice addition and add to the role playing experience. Mission #2 of the Betty Page. B25 Mitchell bomber of the 42 Bombardment Group flying out of Port Moresby, New Guinea. “A collective groan escaped the bomber crews this morning when we were briefed that our target for today was, once again, that damned Japanese naval airfield at Gasmata that we failed to damage yesterday. We knew they’d be expecting us back and the welcoming committee would be angry as hell. This mission got worse when our fighter escort failed to meet us at the rendezvous point. ...Read More
Glory Recalled: Hong Kong 1941. Publisher: Homeland Workshop (US Distributor, Quarterdeck International). Game Designer: David Cheng. Price $70.00. Passed inspection: A fast playing game of a rarely covered chapter from the Pacific War. Failed basic: Color choices on cards may be an issue for those with red/green color blindness. A player aid chart detailing the turn sequence would be a welcome addition. Good day and welcome to my review. First up, I’ll admit that I have a weak spot for games covering the Pacific theater in World War Two. This goes back to playing the snot out of classic Avalon Hill games like ‘Victory in the Pacific’ and ‘Midway’. This carried over across the years into tabletop miniatures that led me to doing a lot of reading on the battles fought across the Pacific from the Aleutians to New Guinea and from the jungles of Burma to the forests of Oregon and Washington state. So, I may be pre-disposed to enjoy this game more than the typical casual...Read More
“Fight on and fly on to the last drop of blood and the last drop of fuel, to the last beat of the heart.” ― Baron Manfred von Richthofen – Review of Fighting Eagles
Fighting Eagles – Board Game Review. Publisher: High Flying Dice Games Game Designer: Paul Rohrbaugh Price $7.95 with unmounted counters or $11.95 with mounted counters Passed Inspection: Fun, introductory aviation war game, fantastic value for the price, perfect to take on trips, excellent solo play Failed Basic: nothing at all Paul Rohrbaugh’s High Flying Dice Games has made a name for itself in the field of easy to learn, fun to play, inexpensive board war games. The zip lock bagged “Fighting Eagles” covers the air war in Europe during 1918 on a tactical, plane to plane scale. The game’s components include: a 3 page rule booklet an 8 ½ “ x 11 “ map board 39 counters You’ll need 1 pack of playing cards and 1 six sided die. Yes – you read it right!!! This game comes with a 3 page rule book and in those rules are covered everything you need to know about playing World War I air combat including altitude, combat, maneuvers, strafing, anti-aircraft fire,...Read More
It’s the Final Countdown to Victory with War Drum Games ‘Race to Tokyo: Operation Coronet’. Tabletop Miniatures Game Review.
Race to Tokyo – Operation Coronet: The 1946 Allied Landing Plan for Tokyo. Designer: Yasushi Nakaguro. Price $39.00 Passed inspection: Fast-playing game, good introduction to hex and counter wargames without complex rules. Good coverage of a hypothetical campaign that could have been, but wasn’t. Failed basic: Translated player’s aid card could have been slightly clearer regarding Japanese reinforcements and strategic reserves. Back in the day, I had a college instructor that was a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He’d waded ashore on Pacific beaches and onward to serve through Korea and into the 1960’s. He’d speak a little of his experiences, mostly how he and his comrades knew that the logical next step after capturing Okinawa would be the invasion of the Japanese home islands. He was a full supporter of using the atomic bombs on Japan, if for no other reason than he had an excellent understanding of what that cost would have been to himself and the other Marines, soldiers and sailors tasked with executing...Read More
Peloponnesian War Board Game Review. Publisher: GMT Games Game Designer: Mark Herman Price $65.00 Passed Inspection: beautiful components, stunning cover artwork, dynamic narrative to the game play, solo and 2 player rules included, multiple scenarios covering different wars, tons of replayability, can be played in one sitting, easy to learn Failed Basic: a few typos or unclear rules, map board doesn’t law completely flat on the left side, counter stacks can get unwieldy Mark Herman has taken his Peloponnesian Wars game originally published by Victory Games in 1991 and given it an unbelievably brilliant upgrade. This new edition is winner! For those who own the original edition, Herman has added the following to the game: 1) This new edition not only covers the 2nd Peloponnesian War (431 BC to 404 BC) but now includes the 1st Peloponnesian War (460–445 BC), the Archidamian War (431 BC to 421 BC – a shorter game which can be played in an hour or so), the Decelean War (413 BC to 404...Read More
Confederate Iron Clashes with Federal Courage in High Flying Dice Games’ “Thunder on the Water”. Board Game Review.
Thunder on the Water. Publisher: High Flying Dice Games. Game Designer: Paul Rohrbaugh. Price $14.95 (base game) $28.95 (with mounted counters and the custom draw deck). Passed inspection: A fast playing game of a pivotable naval battle in North Carolina waters. Failed basic: A number of typos in the rules and player aid chart that can cause some confusion and some questions on unit names and ratings. A long time ago, I lived in eastern North Carolina. At the time I was doing a fair bit of travelling between the Outer Banks and Greenville and often found myself traveling around the waters of Albemarle Sound. As I passed through Plymouth or crossed the bridge at Edenton, I’d often think of that epic naval battle fought between the Union Navy’s wooden warships and the Confederate ironclad CSS Albemarle. After assisting with the Confederate victory at Plymouth, the ironclad had then sortied in attempt to steam south to the Pamlico Sound and help in the assault on the town...Read More
“Ask me for anything but time.” GMT’s ‘The Last Hundred Yards’ is a hit that leaves you wanting more. Board Game Review.
‘The Last Hundred Yards’. Publisher: GMT Games. Game Designer: Mike Denison. Price $ 59.00 Passed inspection: Colorful counters depicting the troops of both combatants, map board graphics that are evocative of the European countryside, core rules that cover the major elements of WWII ground combat. Good mix of scenarios. Captures the feel of company – platoon ground combat in the European Theater. Failed basic: Focused solely on US and German forces in ’44-45. Vehicle assortment only covers the basics of the armored and support units found on both sides. There are few more iconic wargaming experiences than the Western Front in 1944. The image of heroic GI’s going toe to toe with the grim Wehrmacht troops defending the Reich has been ingrained into popular culture through photographs, books, movies and, of course, games. It’s rare when a game triggers both feelings of nostalgia and an appreciation of innovative design. Mike Denison has nailed both of those with ‘The Last Hundred Yards’ from GMT Games. Why nostalgia? This game transported...Read More
Legendary War Game Designer Richard H. Berg has Passed Away. Armchair General Presents a Personal Tribute by Tim Williams and Rodger MacGowan.
Tim Williams Another One Gone… Richard Berg 1943-2019 Richard H. Berg was one of the best wargame designers that ever took up a pencil and a history book and converted the results into a historical simulation game capable of stimulating players’ interest in History, sharpening their intellects, and damaging their friendships. Outside of movies, my primary hobby between 1977 and roughly 1991 was Board Wargaming, and Berg designs were prominent in my collection, which at its peak numbered approximately 320 games. Aside from game design, Mr. Berg was a retired Criminal Defense Lawyer by trade, but was also a true ‘Renaissance’ individual, capable of holding forth with great authority on subjects as diverse as Literature, Baseball, Haute Cuisine and Opera. Having joined several wargame-related FaceBook pages some years back, I took a chance and sent him a friend request, which to my surprise he accepted. I was even more surprised how willing he was to make comments on my posts, especially considering that we were not actually “friends” or even...Read More