Archive for August, 2010

Note on Axis & Allies: Guadalcanal Review

Posted by James (admin) on 29th August 2010

After posting my Axis & Allies: Guadalcanal, someone let me know that Hasbro issued some errata and the reinforcement points should have been twice as many as stated in the printed rules, i.e. 10 + 4 per island.  That would have made a big difference as we could have bought a lot more reinforcements during the game.  Hasbro’s web site says you can play it either way (with the double reinforcement points or without) so my review is of the game without that ammended rule as we played it using the rules as stated in the box.  Please keep this in mind when you read the review.

Now I know the errata says we should have received double the amount of reinforcement points that we did, I can see that this would have made a big difference as we could have reinforced properly and our forces would have diminished much less.  I’m not sure it would solve all the issues in the game and I’m not convinced it would mean it would be better than its siblings (D-Day or Battle of the Bulge); however, I think it would have been better than it was and could make a bit more sense to the ratio of pieces included in the box.  I’ll write a revised review when I play it again using the proper rules, although that may not be for sometime.  Such a shame a game could have such a major error in the rules.

I really should check the Hasbro/Wizards/Avalon Hill web site before playing their games from now on – the original version of ‘Betrayal at the House on the Hill’ I have (and played) had so many errors and incomplete rules in it that the errata they released was about the same size as the rules!

Also, thanks to the person who let me know about the rule error too.

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Review: Axis & Allies: Guadalcanal

Posted by James (admin) on 28th August 2010

[Note: After posting this review, someone let me know that Hasbro issued some errata and the reinforcement points should have been twice as many, i.e. 10 + 4 per island.  That would have made a big difference as we could have bought a lot more reinforcements.  Hasbro's web site says you can play it either way (with double reinforcement points or without) so this is a review of the game without that ammended rule as we played it using the rules as stated in the box.  Please keep this in mind when you read the review and I'll comment more on it at the end.]

Axis & Allies: Guadalcanal is one of the three 2-player Axis & Allies games – the others being D-Day and Battle of the Bulge.  Each game has completely different rules to the others and all have different rules compared to the main Axis & Allies game too.  Earlier this year, my friend Matt and I decided to start playing some games that are connected to their anniversaries so we played A&A: D-Day on June 6th.  As I like A&A: D-Day and Battle of the Bulge, I picked up a second-hand copy of Guadalcanal to play in August (anniversary of the start of the Guadalcanal conflict).

The Guadalcanal conflict was a series of battles during World War II which lasted many months where both sides fought over a group of tactically important islands in the Pacific.  So, the board shows 6 main islands (land zones) and the sea around them is segmented into zones, plus players have a home base zone each too.  Both players have land forces (infantry, artillery, anti-air), air forces (fighters, bombers) and sea forces (transports, destroyers, cruisers, submarines, aircraft carriers, battleships).  The islands have spaces on them where one or two airfields can be built. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Axis & Allies: Guadalcanal, Board Game Review, Board Games | 6 Comments »

Review: Campaign Manager 2008

Posted by James (admin) on 27th August 2010

Campaign Manager 2008 is a card-driven game recreating the Presidential Election between Obama and McCain.  The designers of the game are well-known for Twilight Struggle and 1960: Making of the President – both are card driven strategy games and Twilight Struggle is ranked the number 3 best board game of all – so the game was highly anticipated.

The game primarily consists of 45 cards for each player, a deck of Breaking News cards, a mini-board for each state.  Players aim to win the electoral votes of each state and be the first player to gain 270+ votes.  During the game, 4 states boards are laid between the players which are the ones the players are currently campaigning (fighting) over to win.  Each state has a track showing whether economy or defence is currently the important issue to its voters, and each state has two demographic groups printed on them with a marker showing which is currently the most influential group in that state. Read the rest of this entry »

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On the Radar: Dakota and Olympus

Posted by James (admin) on 26th August 2010

Fifty-seven days to Spiel in Essen and my list of games to check out (ranging from take a look to definitely pre-order) is already up to 44 games.  Two more games definitely stirring my interest are Dakota and Olympus.

Dakota is a game of settlers and natives in the American West.  It caught my attention because players can be settlers or natives in any mix and the the two sides play differently on the same board.  Also, players on the same side may be allied but not a team.  Bruno Faidutti’s write-up was very complimentary and being called the tensest nastiest game just intrigues me more.  The image of the game from Spiel 2009 makes it look quite complex but I’m hoping the 60-90 minutes playing time means it’s not too fiddly as that would limit the people I could play it with.

Olympus is designed by the same guys that created Kingsburg so, for me, that definitely makes it worth a look.  I own the board game of Kingsburg and I played the PC version against the AI a lot so I know it well and like the balance and choices the game offered.  Rather than dice-rolling, Olympus is priest (worker) placement game with difficult choices each turn and no luck involved.  Sounds good, and as it’s from these designers, I’ll definitely check it out.

James.

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Review: Arkham Horror: The Lurker at the Threshold

Posted by James (admin) on 25th August 2010

This post reviews “The Lurker at the Threshold”, an expansion for Arkham Horror, and not the full game.  If you don’t know Arkham Horror, it’s an excellent horror game based on H P Lovecraft’s 1920’s setting where the players travel around the town of Arkham (and often into weird dimensions too), having unusual encounters as they work together to stop the Great Old One awaking from its slumber (which will likely spell doom for mankind).  During the game, players try to increase their abilities to keep the menacing goings-on in check and their bodies and their sanity intact.

Lurker in the Threshold is a small expansion so consists of new cards, tokens and game mechanics and no new board.  We played with just the basic game and the Lurker expansion.  I always like to play new expansions on their own with the basic game the first time so it’s possible to really see what they’re like.

Dark Pacts with the Lurker – One of the three new game mechanics in this expansion is ‘The Lurker’ itself who is a Herald.  Heralds are powerful supernatural entities preparing the way for the Great Old One – they are monster characters who affect the gameplay and makes things harder for the players while the Great Old One slumbers.

The Lurker itself awaits the players in between the dimensions and tempts them with deals (called ‘Dark Pacts’) that will give them power.  Of course, there’s always going to be a price to pay at a later stage.  A player can choose to take a Dark Pact at the start of their turn or they can take one to make a spell succeed without sanity cost.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in AH: Lurker at the Threshold, Board Game Review, Board Games | No Comments »

On the Radar: JAB

Posted by James (admin) on 16th August 2010

JAB is a real-time card-game coming from Tasty Minstrel Games (Homesteaders, Terra Prime). I saw the rules were online to read so I took a look as I read most new board game rules that are made available. I have to confess I was slightly wary of the boxing theme as sports games just aren’t my thing and there have been many average hand-to-hand combat card games. However, as I read the rules, the more I liked the idea of the game. Real-time games can be a bit chaotic but can be light fun – I remember playing Falling (players falling through the sky with no parachute and trying to be the last to hit the ground) and it was chaotic, messy, short-lived but hysterically funny.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Review: For $ale

Posted by James (admin) on 10th August 2010

For $ale is a fast and light auction game for 3 to 6 players with an excellent difference.

The game primarily consists of two decks of cards: One deck of properties and the other of cheques.  Each property card has a value ranging from 1 to 30 and the higher the value the nicer the property pictured on the card, i.e. the value 1 card shows a cardboard box, value 10 shows a basic log cabin, value 29 is a castle.  Each cheque card has a value ranging from zero to $15,000.  In addition, there are some cardboard tokens which are cash and each player starts with $18,00.

The game is made up of two halves.  First, the players bid for the properties using their cash.  Each round a number of cards equal to the number of players cards are laid out face-up in the middle of the table.  Going clockwise, players bid by either increasing the previous bid or passing.  If a player passes, they take the lowest value property card and pay half of their bid to the bank.  The last player left in each round wins the highest value card but must pay the full amount of their bid to the bank. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Board Game Review, Board Games, For $ale | 1 Comment »

Review: Liberté

Posted by James (admin) on 6th August 2010

Liberté was released in 2001 and Valley Games are publishing a new version of the game in 2010.   This review is of the 2001 version by Warfrog Games and not of the new version by Valley Games – I’m not sure what differences there may be (if any) but I know the boards look very similar.  I bought Liberté about 8 years ago and had never played it until a week of two ago.  When I bought it, it seemed too complex for the main gaming group I had at that time and other games always took priority.  However, the news of its re-release made me re-visit the game and it wasn’t seem as complex to me now having played so many other games.

Set during the French Revolution, players play cards to place blocks on a map of France.  The coloured blocks represent the support for the three political groups in the area where they are located – the nicely-thematic red, white and blue blocks represent the radicals, the royalists and the moderates respectively.  The map is divided into 6 coloured regions each containing several areas.

Each turn, a player can either play a card from their hand, or take a card from the 3 face-up or a face-down card from the draw pile.  Players don’t represent any one party – instead, the card played determines which colour block(s) can be placed into which region’s areas.  When a player places blocks, they put a  marker on the top of the stack showing they added them.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted in Board Game Review, Board Games, Liberté | 2 Comments »