Thursday, September 30, 2004

From a state of total ignorance, I have now switched over the last couple of weeks to obsessively anticipating the arrival of War of the Ring, even going so far as to reserve a copy at the Aldershot Games Shop. This is all thanks to a tipoff from Iain C, which just goes to show the danger of reading gamers' weblogs. This game looks like a beautiful presentation, with really clever gameplay features like the way the various free peoples of Middle Earth get reluctantly drawn into the war, and the way Frodo's quest is handled so that his progress is often hidden from both sides. If you're a Tolkien fan it's very hard to read an after-action report like this one without being drawn in - it reads like an "alternative history" of Tolkien's War but nevertheless an exciting and plausible one. And I get the feeling that this game was generated more as a book-spinoff than a movie-spinoff. IT MUST BE MINE!

Friday, September 24, 2004

I am learning the rules to Sword of Rome at the moment and working through the example of play. I'm really impressed so far - this is a 4-player card-driven wargame with very similar mechanics to that old classic Hannibal. The period is very appealing to me. And this level of complexity is just right for me. I got quite disillusioned with Barbarossa to Berlin, a promising evolution of the card-driven wargame, whose rules turned out to be painfully full of fiddly exceptions, and which underwent several major rules revisions in the year or so after it was released. The card deck in my set is liberally plastered with amendments on yellow stickies. No fun.

Sword of Rome was a P500 pre-order from GMT, so arrived on the doorstep as a Christmas-like surprise gift from my months-ago self. P500 is a bit habit-forming. There are some very interesting new titles on the list at the moment, and I have put my name down for 3 of them: Grand Illusion, Empire of the Sun and Clash of Giants 2. This is in addition to Twilight Struggle and Command and Colours: Ancients which I ordered earlier this year. Oh and there's Rommel in the Desert from Columbia too. I'm feeling quite exposed on the preorders front.

Which is why I am contemplating becoming an EBay seller and having a proper clearout of some of my games. Both to generate some cash to fund these new purchases and to clear some shelf space, as my collection has already overspilled its bookshelf into the airing cupboard. And you know I have so many games sitting there that I never play and probably never will again. Why am I hanging onto them?

For your interest here is a list of the ones that I may give the chop, along with my estimate of their resale value and my reason for selling:

The Napoleonic Wars (£30) - always leads to quarrels.
Squad Leader plus 2 gamettes (£20) - too many rules, fiddly bits.
Triumph and Glory (£35) - usual shoddy effort from Berg.
West Front Tank Leader (£10) - just looks shabby by today's standards.
RoadKill (£20) - far too long for a joke game.
Krieg (£15) - will never play again now I have Europe Engulfed.
ThroneWorld (£20) - not sure, maybe should hang onto this.
Advanced Civilization (+ AH Civ) (£60) - I've seen the light. Civ was better.
Vinci (£15) - always ends with recriminations.
Medieval (£20) - another Berg rush job.
Barbarossa to Berlin (£20) - too many errata. EE trumps it.
7th Fleet (£15) - needs more time, table-space and plexiglass than I possess.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Played two games of Memoir44 with Phil this week. I thought he would love it, as he loved Up Front! and has watched Band of Brothers through about 12 times. We played the St Mere l'Eglise and Sword Beach scenarios. However I made the mistake of beating him both times, and I was surprised when he went all nimrod on me, and started complaining about the game being implausible and historically inaccurate. He was particularly irritated by the ability of infantry to pick off tanks at 3 hex range. In my view his defeats had more to do with his habit of leaving his men standing around in the open having a fag-break next door to towns full of heavily armed Germans.....

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Just for the record my recent Hornet Leader campaign ended ignominiously, with me being relieved from command after five missions because I had lost 4 pilots KIA, and their planes as well. How unreasonable! Everyone makes mistakes.

Friday, September 10, 2004

There's a good interview with Ted Raicer over at, where he talks about his latest World War 1 design for GMT, Grand Illusion, which sounds very interesting indeed. At the end of the interview Ted says something I firmly believe myself - we are living through a Golden Age of boardgaming.

Just that I think that our hobby today has a degree of finesse in the artwork and the design, even in the quality of play…some people play these games online enormous numbers of times. I know people who have played Paths of Glory hundreds of times. We talk about the 70’s and the early 80’s as the Golden Age of Wargaming. There was SPI and there was Avalon Hill. Certainly in terms of numbers of people in the hobby and the money involved that was the Golden Age. But I think in terms of the quality of product, the look of the games, and, as I said, the quality of the play, this is probably the Golden Age of Wargaming.
I picked up Memoir44 a few days ago to cheer myself up - this is the benefit/danger of living only 5 miles from the Aldershot game shop. I played solo through the Operation Cobra scenario last night and really enjoyed myself. It was a tense situation with the Americans needing to push forward to get the victory locations, and the Germans slowly pulling back through difficult bocage terrain and hitting back with their elite panzers when able to do so without overexposing them. I loved BattleCry, even though I have no great interest in the ACW period, but I think I will love Memoir44 even more. Can't wait to get a real opponent - Phil is coming home on Sunday in a weakened post-typhoid state, he'll do.

Much as I admire GMT it is a shame that they are sitting on the Command & Colours: Ancients design. Doesn't look like they will be able to publish for a year or two, and then it will be only cardboard standup figures.

I would love to see a Command & Colours: Lord of the Rings game. I wonder if anyone has considered that yet. Or I could just go down to Games Workshop for some figures and design my own...........