Barteus Con 2017: The convention for the rest of us
Judd Vance
United States
Wichita
Kansas
flag msg tools
Every Man a (K-State) Wildcat!
badge
"Just get that sucka to the designated place at the designated time and I will gladly designate his ass...for dismemberment!" - Sho Nuff.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Recommend
57 
 Thumb up
2.07
 tip
 Hide
Back in 2014 my friend Rob:

Robert B
United States
Parsons
Kansas
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb


was unable to go to BGG Con, so he created Barteus Con: the convention for the rest of us! (the gaming equivalent of Festivus!) During BGG Con, he played solitaire games.

I went that year, but was unable to go the following year, so I partook in Barteus Con, but I had so many solitaire games that it is more than I could handle over 5 days, so I increased it to an entire month of festivities: 30 games in 30 days!

This was the resulting Geeklist: Barteus Con 2015: The convention for the rest of us

I went back to BGGCon in 2016, but am unanable to go this year, so Barteus Con is back!

To kick off the festivities, I took a picture of the games I will play:



Last time, I had a rough go, with many late night, struggling to re-learn games and taking on some tough ones. This time, I am older and wiser. First of all, I am not releasing the AAR on the night I am playing, but rather, the following day.

Second, I am not taking on a few of the really tough (or lengthy) games that I played last time.

Third, every game is going to be solitaire-only.

Subscribe here for daily AARs beginning November 2. If you want to take part in Barteus Con, feel free to create your own Geeklist or go add your games at:

Solitaire Games on Your Table Geeklist

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
  • [+] Dice rolls
1. Board Game: Zulus on the Ramparts! [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:1387]
Judd Vance
United States
Wichita
Kansas
flag msg tools
Every Man a (K-State) Wildcat!
badge
"Just get that sucka to the designated place at the designated time and I will gladly designate his ass...for dismemberment!" - Sho Nuff.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
November 1

Game: Zulus on the Ramparts
Publisher: Victory Point Games (2009)
Designer: Joe Miranda
Edition: 2nd (2012)

Past Experience with game: I got the 1st edition and the expansion in a trade last summer for Trenches of Valor + Expansion. I played it a couple of times and liked it, but didn’t beat it. After experiencing some of the Gold Banner editions of games, I was impressed with the quality, so when a Gold Banner edition of Zulus appeared in the 2016 BGG Con Math Trade, I got it for Storm Over Stalingrad and at the same time, put up my 1st edition and expansion in the BGG Pay it Forward and got Levée en Masse.

Game Play: This was my first time playing the Gold Banner edition, but playing the first edition goes a long ways in jogging the memory. This one plays quite a bit differently than other State of Siege games. In those games, you go through a deck and try to survive. The card moves forces on a track toward a center location and you try to push them back via die rolls. It is highly abstracted. Each card gives you a variable number of actions that you can use to push back forces, gain temporary advantages, or basically put out various fires on the board.

In this one, the deck is the timer, but the cards are only good news. Each turn, you draw a chit from a cup that directs the Zulus. The cards go into your hand. You get one action. You can play a hero from your hand to the tableau or play a fire volley card from your hand or use a hero in the tableau for various functions, such as building a barricade, passing out ammunition & water, or forming the reserves. It takes 3 turns (3 actions) to build a barricade and doing so pushes the center (auto loss) location back from “0” on all tracks to “-1” or “-2” (you can build 2 barricades sequentially.)

Each hero card also has special functions. Most of them are one time uses, causing you to permenently lose them in a heroic effort. Other uses put them back into your hand, where it takes an action to get them back into the tableau, while yet other options force you to put them back into the draw deck, which slows down your timer.

Each turn also brings in a card draw and you have to carefully manage your hand and actions, so you aren’t forced to discard valuable cards when you exceed hand size, since none of the cards are bad.

The Zulu regiments are various numbers of chits (representing strength) with a fancy stand up piece on top of the stack. Each hit removes a piece underneath and if you knock out the last piece (the stand up), that track is going to be clear.

Game Summary: Often, I play a State of Siege game incorrectly the first time and win. Since I played the old edition and lost every time and because the new edition clarifies points on the pieces themselves, I am less prone to make an error. However, but I did win, which makes me say “Hmmm.” I got lucky that the large regiments were slow to move. I also got a hero out there that made it harder for the Zulus to enter the North Wall and I got lucky with those rolls, which allowed me to get a barricade up early.

I also caught a break getting the reserves formed and then pulling the cards which allow me call them forward (5 dice at close range with a +1 retreat!) so I am prone to think my victory was due to some blessed die rolls and card pulls because the Zulus did manage to enter the “0” space, which would have spelled auto-defeat, if not for my barrier.

One odd thing was that the storeroom caught fire on the first chit pull. I saw no reason to put it out. All it did was prevent me from playing a specific hero and limited my ability to shoot long range, which I did not care about since I had the barricade up quickly, buying me more time. Meanwhile, the fire had quite a few advantages: the Zulus on that track could not move 2 spaces through the fire when you pulled the “move 2” chit, which is how I have lost past games. They are forced to stop and then I can fire and the fire causes them to retreat on a 4 as well as a 5. At night, the fire prevents the -1 DRM. So why put it out? And it was odd that the fire burned all day and all night. I keep thinking I missed something there, but nothing stood out at me. That is a case of I need to re-read the entire rulebook and see if something slipped through the cracks.

Conclusion: Heck of a fun game. Joe Miranda knows how to take the State of Siege model and own it. Empires in America (coming up later) is another design of his using the engine, but plays a lot differently than the others.

The Gold Banner edition was totally worth the trade. I know folks gripe about the soot on the VPG counters and yeah, it is an annoyance to clean, but I do it while I watch TV or sit at a table and carry on a conversation. The laser cut counters allows them to make custom counters that you just don’t see elsewhere, such as zombie bites in Dawn of the Zeds (coming up later) or stand up barriers and heroes in this game. The counters are very thick. Once you clean the soot, I think you end up with the best counters in the industry.

I also like the dual boards. There was a paper map for the plexi crowd and a jigsaw puzzle map for those who must have mounted boards. I used the former in this case, but I have frequently used the latter, which they have now gone away from.

The cards were a big improvement. They aren’t GMT cardstock, but they are a huge improvement from the 1st edition.

There are so many great State of Siege games that it never sounds complimentary to rank them. This is easily in the top 1/3rd that is from a series where I have liked all but 2 of the 12+ games I played in it.


21 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
2. Board Game: Galaxy Command [Average Rating:5.67 Overall Rank:11591]
Judd Vance
United States
Wichita
Kansas
flag msg tools
Every Man a (K-State) Wildcat!
badge
"Just get that sucka to the designated place at the designated time and I will gladly designate his ass...for dismemberment!" - Sho Nuff.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
November 2

Game: Galaxy Command
Publisher: Worthington Publishing (2015)
Designer: Robert Bartelli
Edition: 1st (only)

Past Experience with game: I’ve known Rob since I was 4 years old. Back in our misspent youth (junior high / high school), we played many games such as Star Fleet Battles, G.E.V., Axis & Allies and Revolt on Antares. Now, when I go back to my home town, we hook up for a couple of hours for some light wargaming (Manoeuvre) and fillers (Cold War: CIA vs KGB).

He created a PnP filler game called Micro Space Empire. The game caught on and had a rabid fan base – the game even has a Vassal module and not made by me because it came before I learned to make them.

Back in 2015, Worthington put out a call for non-wargames in their newsletter. I forwarded it to Rob and suggested he submit his game. About two weeks later, he’s signing a contract. The game came with the original rules (and they added a lot of cards to his original 18 card game for variety), and Worthington added a multi-player solitaire variant. Rob and his friend Ben made a really cool two-player 4X wargame variant and Rob’s brother made a two-player race game variant. Unfortunately, Worthington released the game before the latter two were finished, but they can be accessed through the files section on BGG.

When the kids would go to kids choir and such, I would sit in the church lobby and play games. I carry a game kit (dice, dice tray, etc) and in the bottom, I carry two games: this and Airborne Commander. When I need a 15 or 45 minute filler, I pull out one of these games.

Game Play: The game consists of 6 planets in your immediate vicinity. There are 3 more planets far away. The goal is to conquer as many of them as you can before your timer deck runs out. Some planets offer resources. These resources are used to build up military ships and buy various technologies.

The timer deck is a series of events. The game is two “years” long and a year consists of going through the event deck. The first year, you remove one event and the second year, you reshuffle them all and remove two. After deciding which planet to move on, you gain your resources from your conquered planets and spend them and then draw one event at the end of your turn: some are good, giving you additional resources and some are bad, such as worker strikes (no resources next turn), revolts, and alien invasions, which cause you to re-conquer those planets. Technologies you purchase can reduce the threats of bad events.

Game Summary: I started the game snake bit by die rolls, failing to conquer Cygnus for the first 3 turns. It wasn’t a tough planet: a roll of 4-6 would have subjugated it, but every time I lost, I would lose a military strength point, and spend the turn re-building it. So I fell behind early. Fortunately, since I had not conquered any planets, alien invasions didn’t matter.

I finally subjugated a couple of systems and then made short order of the near planets and fortunately, the forces working against me failed to conquer any of my systems. I had time to move on one distant planet, but my military campaign failed. An ill-timed worker strike prevented me from getting the resources to purchase the diplomacy technology that would have won the planet for free.

At the end, my score was 12, which barely allowed me to hold my current rank.

Conclusion: Since this is Barteus-Con, in honor of Barteus, I wanted to kick off the festivities off with this game. However, tonight I had tickets to see the greatest band on earth, Dream Theater, perform in town.



Being a 3 hour concert (oh yeah!) with a 24 minute encore song (yes, a single song!) I knew I wouldn’t have much time, since I work during the day, so I saved this for the second day, since it is my shortest game and plays in about 15 minutes.

But in honor of Rob, I used the original 18 cards he used in Micro Space Empire. Funny thing: as I flipped over the cards, I saw “Wolf 359” and said, “Ah! Good one Rob!” All good Trekkers know Wolf 359 is where the Federation massed to confront the Borg cube in “Best of Both Worlds, Part 2.” Then I flip over Proxima and say, “And Rob showing love for Babylon 5!” I’m fully expecting to see Epsilon 3 in there, as well and maybe even Caprica, as I pondered if Rob made Micro Space Empire before or after I introduced him to Babylon 5, but when I didn’t recognize the other planets, I wondered if these are all real systems. A quick Google search determined that yes, they are real. I’m just an ignorant buffoon who watched too much TV.

I always enjoy this one. If not for the concert, I would have followed it up with a re-match, which often happens when I play this. But every time I play it, I also think, “I need to play Rob in the 2 player variant.” That one is a real hoot, because you are trying to expand your empire against another player trying to conquer it and you run into each other’s fleets and do battle.

18 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
3. Board Game: Soviet Dawn [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:2283]
Judd Vance
United States
Wichita
Kansas
flag msg tools
Every Man a (K-State) Wildcat!
badge
"Just get that sucka to the designated place at the designated time and I will gladly designate his ass...for dismemberment!" - Sho Nuff.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
November 3

Game: Soviet Dawn
Publisher: Victory Point Games (2015)
Designer: Darin A. Leviloff
Edition: C3i (2014)

Past Experience with game: If you aren't familiar with it, there are Geeklists and Facebook groups for "Pay it Forwards" which is an elaborate chain of generosity list. Somebody posts a game and if you want it, you grab it and post another of similar value. There are various rules and such to ensure fairness so it's not a trash for treasure trove, but that's the gist of it.

In one of my better moves, I got this (just the game, not the magazine) and the first edition of Ottoman Sunset in a single pickup. Being impressed with this, I grabbed the expansion later on.

I never got to try the expansion and truth be told, it has been two years since I played this, despite my good intentions. My last play was at Barteus-Con 2015, where I pulled an epic fail by losing on the 3rd card in the game!

This time, I played with the expansion. The reason you see the Star Trek logo on the cards is because the expansion cards are different sized than the base game cards. I was forced to sleeve them and I had a lot of clear sleeves on hand and then I slid a card from Star Trek (TNG) Collectible Card Game behind each one. That stiffens the sleeve/card combo and obscures the size of the card. I have a bunch of starter decks from that crappy Trek game and they have found a use as stiffeners for sleeved cards.

Game Play: This is your classic State of Siege game designed by the man who created it all. Your turn consists of an event and then instructs you to move different "fronts" along numbered tracks that all converge toward a center location (in this case, Moscow). If any of them reach the center, you lose. You then are allotted so many action you can use to push the fronts back (via die roll) or in this case, you can try to reorganize the red army and receive bonuses or you can try to push up the political track. In most games, you win by getting through the deck. This offers an alternate route, by getting the political track to "9."

The expansion offers a lot of great ideas. For starters, you get more cards, which thicken the deck, making it more difficult to win. The reserve offensive markers can be used as post die roll +1 DRM. If you roll a natural 6, you cock the front 90 degrees disorganizing it. The next time it is called to move, instead, it flips upright. If you have a chance to remove a front on its highest track, you now have to roll and push it off the board with a -1 DRM. If you ever roll a 1 on an offensive, not only do you fail, but you roll again and if the roll is less than or equal to the location number, the front will move forward. And you get to start with the "Cheka" marker. It's a mixed bag: some things are good and some are bad.

Game Summary: I played with the cards in numerical order. I don't have the deck memorized and I like to read the narrative on the cards for the historical flow.

Because the fronts don't move on card 1, I spent all actions pushing the political meter up and I succeeded on 2 of 3 attempts. I wasn't going to get burned like last time. The next few cards, I had luck pushing fronts back. I even rolled a 6 against the Germans, which is huge, since they are so tough. Because I was hot, I was spending extra rolls on pushing up the political meter. I had it up 6 quickly.

The fronts started pushing and I needed to get to Brest-Livosky (Card 8) and get that tough German front inactive, so I focused on keeping them and the Fins out of Petrograd, as that would cost me a point on the political meter and the roll was getting harder to hit. I couldn't waste my fortunate rolling. Every time I rolled their exact number on their front counter, I was spending reserve offensives to push them back, because by this time, the Finnish counter had flipped to its 4 side. I caught a break and pushed the meter up to 7, which kept the Allies at bay with indecisiveness. The eastern front was neglected and they got all the way to "1" (Kazan), but they had no asterisks location that could pull my political meter down and they were weaker than the other fronts. Once they got to the "1" location, I decided to go all out on them and my first roll was a 6, which pushed them back and cocked their counter. I had an action to spare and decided to try for the political meter and got the 6 again. I use a BUNCH of dice and each roll is with a new die, so my dice rolling was legitimate and randomized.

Being that close to victory, I went all out. I spent both of my political decree markers to roll for that track and failed. The next card would have moved the Fins up to Petrograd and screwed me by pushing the political meter back, so I spent the Checka Marker to move it back in the deck and get 2 free actions. Two more rolls on the political meter. Four rolls ... no luck. I flip the next card and none of my fronts move. 3 actions. 3 more attempts. Boom! Got it. Auto-win.

Conclusion:

My first goal was to get out of trouble with the political will. That lesson burned from last time (although that failure came with me failing to hit a 50% with 8 straight dice).

And because I was focusing on the expansion, I saw some rules that helped and some that hurt. The big one that hurt was adding 12 more cards to the deck, increasing the game by 20%. If I could win the game before I got there, I could minimize that disadvantage.

The reserve front +1 DRM is huge. That was the key to making my strategy work. Once I had a little luck on the political meter, I spent everything to keep those fronts off of Petrograd. If I had failed to get the auto-victory, I would have been screwed. I won on the 15th card of the game. I was out of Political Decree markers, I had used Cheka, had no red army reorganizations, and had used up 2 of my 5 reserve offensives and I still didn't have the Polish and Southern Fronts on the map and the German front was Inactive. It was a huge gamble and it paid off.

This one is still a great game and the red army reorganization and the Political Will meters are the best parts of it. The only bad part is the history: as I read the cards and saw the Soviets shutting down the assembly when they lost an election, having food shortages, and disarming the populace, I just shook my head and said, "What did you expect? Socialism sucks." But we play war games to learn from history, right?

Always a fun one to play and the C3i version looks really sharp and the expansion, unlike the The Lost Cause Expansion Kit, which ruined that game (go back to Barteus-Con 2015 to read why), this one enhanced the game and gave great flexibility.

19 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
4. Board Game: B-17: Queen of the Skies [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:1164]
Judd Vance
United States
Wichita
Kansas
flag msg tools
Every Man a (K-State) Wildcat!
badge
"Just get that sucka to the designated place at the designated time and I will gladly designate his ass...for dismemberment!" - Sho Nuff.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
November 4

Game: B-17: Queen of the Skies
Publisher: Avalon Hill (1983)
Designer: Glen Frank, Bruce Shelley
Edition: Avalon Hill, 1st (Only)

Past Experience with game: My father got me this game back in 1983. It was one of my most played games. By no means did I play it like (HAMTAG) Bart did, but it right up there near the most played wargames. When I first joined BGG, this was my #3 ranked game, behind only Strat-O-Matic Pro Basketball and Revolt on Antares.

I had a run of games back in 2011, flying missions on the BGG Forum in the Dream Theater, an awesome plane manned by band members past and present. During a 4 hour delayed flight, I sat in a terminal to pass time and decided to fly missions on Vassal when a Me-109 exploded my bombs and my plane blew up over the English Channel.

I was too crestfallen to fly again until Barteus-Con 2015 when I flew a new bomber called Legends of Awesome + Judd which was manned by pure awesome people and an awesome dinosaur and myself.

Game Play: The game is a narrative-driven game. You roll on tables and look up values on tables. A typical turn involves:

1. Moving your bomber marker into a zone (it represents all of the squadrons on the mission).
2. Possibly rolling to determine the quality of your fighter cover.
3. Rolling to determine if you run into enemy fighters and if so, how many waves and then what each wave consists of. These are the fighters that specifically attack your plane.
4. Determining if your fighter cover chases off any planes.
5. Selecting which gunner fires at which enemy fighter (if it is in his firing arc).
6. Rolling to see if you hit enemy fighter.
7. Rolling to see if surviving enemy fighter hits your bomber.
8. Rolling to see how many times the enemy hit your plane, where it hit, and what damage it caused.

See? Lots of dice rolling but the only choice you make is where to point your guns.

But oh does it tell a story!

Game Summary: When you play the game, you play mission after mission, replacing wounded and dead crew and trying to get through 25 missions. As you progress, your missions get harder and your crew gets more experienced (better at hitting enemy fighters).

For starters, I wanted to try the B-24 variant that I got from Bart. I should add that my grade school principal was a waist gunner on the B-24 during WWII.

I called my B-24J Legends of Awesome + Judd 2 and put the same crew on it as last time:

Pilot: George Washington
Co-Pilot: Graig Nettles
Bombardier: Teddy Roosevelt
Navigator: Chuck Norris
Engineer: Me
Radio: The Rock
Left Waist Gunner: Curly Howard (Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk)
Right Waist Gunner: Mark Herman
Belly Gunner: Mr. T
Tail Gunner: T-Rex

With my crew's relative inexperience (1 mission), I should have had had an easy mission, but I didn't want a milk run so I selected Bremen. This was in zone 7, well past my fighter cover.

Well, I may not have tried for a milk run, but I got one. I rolled for fighter contact in 12 zones and only ran into fighters in one of them (Zone 3 on the way back). Yep, I went all the way to Brenen without running into a single fighter.

When I got there, I rolled 3 times for flak and got hit once. I had port wing flap hit that had no effect and a bomb bay hit that was superficial.

I had clear weather. Teddy put on the pince-nez, looked into the norden bombsight and put 30% of the bombs on target.

We turned for home, saw no fighters until we got close to it. We finally ran into a single wing of fighters, both were ME-110s (chumps). My crew licked their chops and prepared to add another notch to the guns when the fighters chased them off.

With clear weather, we landed back in England without firing a shot.

Here is my non-interesting summary sheet:



I calculated the odds of avoiding fighter contact in those 11 zones and my odds were 1 in 10,793. Keep in mind that each roll was made with a different d6 (I have a bunch of them as you can see in the picture) and each one made on a dice tower. What can I say? When you're hot, you're hot and I've been rolling smoking hot during Barteus-Con 2017.

After I landed, Sir Winston Churchill himself met us on the runway and he and Teddy Roosevelt had a rap battle. Fortunately, I had my phone with me and recorded it for your amusement:




Conclusion: It's a golden oldie I enjoy playing. This one was certainly the strangest game I ever played of it. It took me longer to scan and print a copy of the summary sheet than it did to play the game (the computer was being fiddly). It took me longer to set up the game than it did to play it. Seriously, I played it in like 30 minutes and only because the Hulk was on TV and I was a little distracted.

27 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
5. Board Game: Airborne in my Pocket [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:3714]
Judd Vance
United States
Wichita
Kansas
flag msg tools
Every Man a (K-State) Wildcat!
badge
"Just get that sucka to the designated place at the designated time and I will gladly designate his ass...for dismemberment!" - Sho Nuff.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
November 5

Game: Airborne in My Pocket
Publisher: Web Published (2009)
Designer: Emmanuel Aquin
Edition: Print and Play

Past Experience with game: I wasn't aware of this game until the whole Kickstarter / Valley Games fiasco. This PnP version popped up in this summer Wargame Math Trade and I grabbed it and gave up my 2nd copy (folio) of Ottoman Sunset.

I played a couple of games of it and was amused that it felt like a video game being played on a table. It is a good filler game to toss in the gaming kit.

Game Play: The game is a tile-laying game with event cards. You select a direction, lay a tile, draw an event and make a decision. If there is enemy units, do you evade or fight? And then resolve any effects of the tile. You can do nothing and gain back health and flip an event card and not resolve it if you choose.

The event cards are your timer. You shuffle them and discard two face down. Every turn, you flip one. If you find items, you flip them to discover what you find, but it speeds up the timer. When you go through the deck three times, you are done.

For this (intro) scenario, I was to find an ammo depot, get explosives, find a bunker and blow up the weapon in it and get back outside.

Game Summary: The game takes about 15 minutes to play. Not much to say: I found a gasoline can and a flame thrower. I beat some SS soldiers and took their submachine gun, went into the bunker, flamed any group I saw, set the explosives and got out.

Conclusion: If you want simulation, run away. Run fast and far. This game is like Wolfenstein 3d, if you remember that old first-person shooter game from the early 1990s. You start by yourself with a single pistol and nothing else. Really? Yeah, great Normandy planning, Ike!

You kill enemy units and search them for weapons. Sometimes you find medical kits or even food and regain health. Yes, it's just like the white medical kits and turkey dinners from Wolf 3d.

It's a silly game, but it's over so quickly, you don't mind.

There are a LOT of scenarios and optional and advanced rules, and since I got a really nice PnP copy, I'm not trading it. Maybe the other scenarios offer more challenge.

Even if the Kickstarter problems were resolved, I wouldn't waste my time buying it retail, but I'm happy I have a nice PnP copy.

10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
6. Board Game: First Team: Vietnam [Average Rating:6.38 Overall Rank:8358]
Judd Vance
United States
Wichita
Kansas
flag msg tools
Every Man a (K-State) Wildcat!
badge
"Just get that sucka to the designated place at the designated time and I will gladly designate his ass...for dismemberment!" - Sho Nuff.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
November 6

Game: First Team: Vietnam
Publisher: 3W (1986)
Designer: Mike Josyln
Edition: 1st (only)

Past Experience with game: The Vietnam War has long been a subject I am interested in dating back the high school when I wrote a research paper on the Tet Offensive. It’s a tough subject to game, so when I saw great feedback on this game years ago, I got interested in it. I finally traded one magazine game (Race to the Meuse) for this one 5 years ago.

I got it to the table back in 2014 and then again for the first time at Barteus Con 2015. It remains one of my all-time favorite solitaire-only games. This game caused me trade away my copy of Silver Bayonet. Silver Bayonet is a great game, but uses a lot of hidden movement, requiring a 2nd player, which has been historically difficult for me to find when it comes to playing Vietnam games (not designed by Mark Herman and Volko Ruhnke). Because I had this game covering the same topic, it made the other one expendable and perfect trade fodder for the Pay it Forward lists.


Game Play: The goal of the Artificial Intelligence is to take the town of Pleiku with secondary goals of taking the Special Forces camps and/or cause as many American casualties as possible.

You start off by mixing up and placing 20 Landing Zone (LZ) markers in locations on the (point-to-point map). In a turn, you receive 20 command points. You can spend these points for:

1. Flip over a LZ counter to see if it is legitimate or not.
2. Buy a die roll to attempt to locate enemy units.
3. Purchase a DRM for #3.
4. Purchase a supply marker.
5. Transport a company or supply marker.
6. Launch a gunship or observation helicopter.
7. Call in artillery or rocket support.
8. Call in tactical air strikes or B-52s.

The enemy units start on a side map that shows zones they are moving through. Each zone corresponds to 6 locations on the map. The enemy units start off in the “Unknown” zone and each turn, you roll to see if there is movement. If there is, it tells you which regiment to move to which zone box. They may or may not move. If you wait too long, when they do move, they will be much closer to their objective. It’s not a matter of moving one zone, but rather they have been moving all along and NOW you kind of know where they are. Such units are identified.

Identified units roll to see if they are “contacted” (placed on the map), as they will go for priority targets that fall in line with their goals.

Each turn consists of each side going back and forth twice. You purchase supplies, move units, and attack enemy. They move around on the side map and enter the main map, move, attack, and possibly evade back to the side map (disappear back into the jungle).

The enemy has manpower. You have mobility and massive amounts of fire power support. However, you have limited resources and you have to keep your companies supplied and supported. The combat result system is clever: Each enemy company is represented by two double-sided counters, representing 4 steps. When you hit them, you cause step losses. Each of your companies are represented by a single marker. When they hit you, they cause combat fatigue to the units, represented by a marker you place underneath the marker, and you record an equal number of casualties on a casualty meter.

Game Summary: This one had one funny aspect: three times, I tried to locate the enemy. Each time, I spent the maximum allowable 3 command points in order to gain 3 DRM on the die roll for success. To succeed, you need to roll a 1 or less of D6 (so I succeed on 1-4). Each time I rolled a 1.

The enemy wasn’t too bright, as they twice attacked the Duc Co Special Forces Camp and once attacked Pleiku itself in broad daylight. Before attacking, you roll and on a 1-5, they receive a 3 column shift on the combat chart for attacking at night. I rolled 6s. That was huge in tipping the game.

I repulsed their chances of overrunning that location, but did take casualties in the process. They suddenly popped up with the large 66th regiment and tried to move on Pleiku (auto-win if they can take it). I rapidly deployed a pair of companies to support each other and stand in their way. When the NVA engaged them, I got lucky and forced a retreat. This left them in the open, so I was able to call in my lone B-52 strike (they cannot bomb if the enemy is in the same location as you) and the B-52s tore that force to shreds. The same thing happened at Pleiku, where I forced them back and then hit them with a massive tactical air strike. We fought to a standstill at the Plei Me Special Forces camp until I was able to free up the resources to call in an air strike down there.

At that point, the enemy had taken so many casualties, that they never had a chance to take any location, and slinked back to Cambodia. I could have tried to locate them, rapidly deployed forces and hit them with more attacks, but that is a risky venture, as I had taken significant (14) casualties myself, so I let them go, content to deny the enemy his primary goal.

I added up the victory conditions. They failed to take any locations, caused 14 casualties and I eliminated 3 companies and broke 11 others. That resulted in -3 victory points for the NVA, which was a draw. I have never been able to fight better than a draw, which was the historical outcome.


Conclusion: First of all, this game is incredible. Although I enjoy solitaire games, the one gripe is that too often it is A.I. management and gaming the system. This one feels like none of that. The A.I. is logical in its hit and run attacks, and as I have learned, quite lethal.

The bad part of this game is the rules. Simply put, they suck. More eloquently, they are 15 of the most poorly laid, difficult to decipher, even more difficult to reference rules ever put to paper. It’s tough enough that the system is so unique you have to learn a brand new system, but to not be able to reference it or struggle to grasp it? Not cool.

One of the BGG users has a comment that the game is too easy. Yeah…whatever. He’s playing it incorrectly, and frankly, I understand how he could do that. I played it incorrectly every time until this time. I thought the enemy was stupid but was balanced out by the Special Forces camps being too easy to overrun. No and no.

After my previous experience with the game, I re-wrote the rulebook from start to finish. I laid them out sequentially and used generous graphics to demonstrate the point. This time I used that rulebook and cut my game playing in half. You will be surprised how often you put your nose in the rulebook to look stuff up and when you can’t understand it or find it, it adds on to the time.

This game is an oldie: a 1986 game from Wargamer magazine. If you can find it, I would HIGHLY recommend it, but if you do, don’t waste your time with those rules. Go to the “Files” section on the page for this game and download mine. Then sit back and experience the awesome.


18 
 Thumb up
2.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
7. Board Game: In Magnificent Style [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:3015]
Judd Vance
United States
Wichita
Kansas
flag msg tools
Every Man a (K-State) Wildcat!
badge
"Just get that sucka to the designated place at the designated time and I will gladly designate his ass...for dismemberment!" - Sho Nuff.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
November 7

Game: In Magnificent Stlye
Publisher: Victory Point Games (2012)
Designer: Mike Josyln
Edition: 1st (boxed)

Past Experience with game: This one is less than a year old. I got it for Christmas last year. I played it within a month. Then after my daughter and I visited Gettysburg over Labor Day, I played nearly every one of my Gettysburg games, including this one. I tend to focus on designers, especially when one has more than one great game. Hermann Luttman is that designer.


Game Play: This is a good old "chuck the dice and press your luck" game. You are in command of Longstreet's 3 divisions (Pettigrew, Pickett, and Trimble), each represented by 3 brigades. Each turn, you select a brigade and roll 2d6 and consult a chart. Chances are you will either advance or take some hits and you might draw a chit: They are double-sided: blue (sucks to be you) or gray (yay, me!). The die roll tells you which to consult. If you take two bad hits (1/4th chance with the 2d6), you have to go back the point where you started the turn (your rally marker). So either you end your movement for that regiment and pull your rally marker up to your current position. If you can get across the board within 5 turns, then you melee with Union infantry.

There is quite a bit more to it than that, including the effect of generals as well as obstacles in your path and routs, and such, but that's kind of the gist of it.

Game Summary:

Turn 1: Pettigrew's division was the living embodiment of the Rebel Yell. Land's Brigade pushed all the way into the 3rd zone without a single casualty and the Union position had been completely blown away by bombardment.

Trimble's Division was off to a slow start. Lowrance's Brigade couldn't even get out of the starting gate. Fry's Brigade was still stuck in the first zone.

Pickett's Division had moderate results, as Armistead's Brigade had pulled up to the front edge of the 2nd zone and Kemper's Brigade had got to the same zone.




Turn 2: Pettigrew's Division was still making like gangbusters with all 3 brigades in red zone and two of them preparing to take Union positions.

Trimble's Division was struggling: one brigade was in each of the three zones with the two farthest back having suffered 70% casualties.

Pickett's Division was cut to shreds with two of the three divisions destroyed and the third preparing to assault the Union position after taking heavy casualties.




Turn 3: Seeing desperation, General Longstreet himself rode out to command Pettigrew's Division, reorganizing some of Land's forces over to Breckinbrough's Brigade. Both broke through and captured the Union lines while Davis' Brigade struggled to push forward, stuck in front of an obstacle under withering fire.

Trimble's Division had two of its Brigade's advance to the Union position to prepare to melee while the third brigade was routed and ran all the way across the battlefield before Fry was able to rally them.

Pickett's Division was completely destroyed.

Then, in the most non-triumphant turn of events, a Yankee sharpshooter killed General Longstreet! Most Heinous!




Turn 4: Seeing a chance at a breakthrough, Marse Robert himself rode out on Traveler to encourage the troops to push forward.

On Pettigrew's side, Lang managed to push forward to the edge of the Union position, though he was down to 20% strength.

On Trimble's side, Marshall's Brigade overpowered the Union forces at the angle. Lowrance's Brigade pushed up to the edge of the Yankee position with 30% of his starting force. Fry's Brigade was destroyed.




Turn 5: The Yankees crushed the remains of the final Trimble's last Brigade and repulsed the last one of Pettigrew's.

Seeing no chance of a breakthrough, Marse Robert signaled the retreat. The casualties were horrific. What would have been a historical tragic defeat was turned into a severe defeat through the loss of Longstreet. Marse Robert tendered his resignation, but after much consideration, Jeff Davis refused it.

We can only hope Vicksburg turned out better than we did.


Conclusion: Give me a pair of dice and tell me to press my luck and I'm there. Give it a Civil War theme, and where can I sign up?

This is a crazy fun game. I figured I was playing it incorrectly the first two times because I was victorious and yes, I was. I was misplaying the hit markers on the Union position badly.

As far as this game, when I drew chits, it seemed like the Union knew right where to hit me. It is a random draw, so you might see bombardment in a zone where there are no brigades, but this time, the fire and placement was right where it needed to be. That is why Pickett's Division was taken out so quickly.

Something else I love is when you draw a gray chit and it says, "God is a Yankee" and it instructs you to draw a blue chit instead. Arrrghh! I find it amusing and just the twist of fate you don't see coming. There's a reverse chit of the same type in there, also.

It is a great design with an original feel, and it's not very difficult. I have four games by Hermann Luttman (Dawn of the Zeds, Dead Reckoning, and Stonewall's Sword). All of the games are different from each other. Three of them are original and the fourth takes an established system (State of Siege) to new heights. He's a talented guy and one I keep my eye on.

19 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
8. Board Game: Ottoman Sunset [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:1681] [Average Rating:7.45 Unranked]
Judd Vance
United States
Wichita
Kansas
flag msg tools
Every Man a (K-State) Wildcat!
badge
"Just get that sucka to the designated place at the designated time and I will gladly designate his ass...for dismemberment!" - Sho Nuff.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
November 8

Game: Ottoman Sunset
Publisher: Victory Point Games (2010)
Designer: Darin A. Leviloff
Edition: 2nd (boxed)

Past Experience with game: I got this one back in 2015 in a Pay it Forward. I played it 4 times, winning 3 and only losing at the last Barteus Con.

I upgraded to the Gold Banner edition this summer and traded my 2nd copy for Airborne in my Pocket, in a Math Trade. This was my first play with it.


Game Play: It's a State of Siege game, meaning you have armies pushing on tracks toward a center location. You receive actions that you can use to push back and you are trying to get through the deck.

What makes these games enjoyable for me are the additions they add to the base system. In this case, you resolve off-map battles, since what went with the other Central Powers affected what happened here. You sum those victories vs. defeats and positions that the enemy forces possess on the tracks to calculate National Will. If it falls to -5, you automatically lose.

Additionally, there is a chance that the British navy will attempt to run the guns to Constantinople. You can spend actions to build up your defenses and stop them or you can hope to pull the German U-Boats card which prevents the British attempt.

You have a marker you can move to off-map countries to aid in a DRM for causing a coup in them. It costs 2 actions to move it and you hope that country comes up next in the deck.

Finally, you can purchase German reserve tokens for 2 actions. You can assign them to off-battle fronts to aid in winning those battles (and helping your national will) or use them for a single extra action.


Game Summary:

What can I say? I got a knack for this game. I succeeded with 2 of the 3 coups, and I had my marker in the right place each time.

I had all 3 epochs shuffled in early. The net result is that the Caucasus Front was removed early and stayed out of the game.

I had all of the German reserves out early and as a result, I won all but 2 off-map battles (one draw, one defeat). I did this by letting Caucasus get to the "1" spot many times and then pushing them back, but using the extra actions to get those reserves. That way, if I had bad rolls, I could always use the Germans to push them back. Since it didn't happen, they greatly aided me.

The Sinai front never got past Gaza-Beersheba until the last card. It took them most of the game to get past my fortress.

It did get rougher once Lawrence of Arabia got into the game. He, the Mesopotamian Front, and the Salonika Front all pressed in on me, but only Salonika and Lawrence got to the "1" space.

The biggest run of luck was that I won all 6 Kaiserschlacht battles in successive order.

The only waste I had was that I completely built up the defenses for the British navy and then pulled the U-Boat card.

I had 37 victory points for an International Victory.


Conclusion: I went back to re-read the rules to see if I missed something, but I didn't. I have won 80% of my games. It's just a game I have a knack for.

Still, it is one of the better State of Siege games and my favorite of the three Darin Leviloff games that I own.

The gold banner edition looks sharp. The difference is not as noticeable as it was for Zulus on the Ramparts!, but still sharp enough that I'm glad that I upgraded my copy.

17 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
9. Board Game: Hapsburg Eclipse [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:2941] [Average Rating:7.27 Unranked]
Judd Vance
United States
Wichita
Kansas
flag msg tools
Every Man a (K-State) Wildcat!
badge
"Just get that sucka to the designated place at the designated time and I will gladly designate his ass...for dismemberment!" - Sho Nuff.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
November 9

Game: Hapsburg Eclipse
Publisher: Victory Point Games (2014)
Designer: Darin A. Leviloff
Edition: 1st (boxed)

Past Experience with game: I traded for it this summer, giving up my sweet PnP copy of Corsair Leader for it. Corsair, as well as Hornet Leader, were in the last Barteus Con, but I'm just not really into the DVG Leader games, which is why you won't see them in this year's edition. (The GMT Apache/Thunderbolt is a different story).

I figured State of Siege games are always a safe bet and this is unique in that it links with Ottoman Sunset to form a cooperative game (or a double-sized/double-map/double-decked solitaire game).

I played it by itself this summer and lost badly. Now it was time to play it again. I wanted to link it up, so last night, I played Ottoman Sunset by itself, just to get re-acquainted with Kaiserschlacht, off-map battles, national will, and such that are used in both games.


Game Play: As I mentioned above, it has many similarities to Ottoman Sunset. It lacks the Running the Narrows, coups, and the Sinai pipeline. It does offer a political unrest meter for three ethnic groups in the Austrian-Hungary empire (the Czechs, Croats, and Hungarians). If it pushes all the way to the lower edge of its meter, that group goes into revolt, which gives a negative DRM to certain fronts on the map. If all three are in revolt, you lose instantly. I admit it feels like the resources you manage in We Must Tell the Emperor only you get no bonus for being all the way to the upper edge of the meter.

The best, most original idea to the game by itself is the Przemysl fortress. It is a 4-step fortress and as long as it is on the map, you receive a positive DRM against that front. If the front ends a turn past Przyemysl, the fortress loses a step of strength. You can spend actions to build it back up. If it is destroyed, you can re-build it, but you have to push that army past Przemysl on the map.

For the rest of the game, look at my previous entry (Ottoman Sunset).

So how do the games link? Well, if the Balkan front remains past Skopje, you can transfer resources between the two sites. As the Ottoman, you transfer the resource, and the Hapsburg player would then use it. You can also spend two actions to take a single action on the other player's map. For Kaiserschlacht, you go back and forth between the players in sequential order until all 6 are fought and then continue with each player on his turn.

An interesting twist is that some of the off map battles for a map are actually on the other player's map. A chart tells you which space on the map it is located and if the army front is not on that location then you get a DRM (+ or -) based on how many spaces it is behind or ahead of that spot that combines with the DRM you get from other sources, such as the German reserves.


Game Summary:

Both sides started building up reserves when they had 2+ actions. The Ottomans also built up their narrows defenses with odd numbered actions. They didn't pay attention to coups and two showed up and both failed.

The Hapsburgs got into trouble quickly because the Czechs went into Revolt. It takes a 5-6 die roll to get them out of it and I wasn't rolling well. The Croats quickly joined them. Suddenly, I have +1 DRM on the Carpathian, Polish, and Italian fronts and those are the only three on the board.

To make it worse, the Hapsburgs have too many 1-2 action cards, so they can't spend time getting the revolts under control. They use Radio Intercepts to keep fronts out of Vienna. Meanwhile, the Ottomans are shoving resources their way to keep them afloat.

The British fail to run the guns. Both sides are having great success in the off-map wars, so the National Wills are doing well. But the Ottomans are suffering on the fronts because of the Hapsburgs.

Too many times, I have to let a front go on the 1 space and hope the next card doesn't do them in. Finally, midway through the game, back-to-back cards end both sides hopes, as the Carpathians and the Caucasus fronts break through to Vienna and Constantinople.


Conclusion: I'm not sure what to think of Hapsburg. It appears to be a rough game. There is no bonus for having the unrest meters all the way to the right, so you kind of let them fall and float them between 0 and 1 on the meter. The biggest reason why is that the cards have so few of actions on them that you simply cannot afford to move them up and if you tried, the Czechs are very hard to move. If you fail, you probably are NOT using the action on the corresponding front (Polish/Carpathian).

Once the Carpathians get moving and the Czechs/Hungarians are in revolt, the fortress doesn't last too long.

Maybe I'm wrong, but it doesn't feel like I have any control to have a chance. The Ottomans were well on their way to a victory or a near victory if not for giving their resources away and trying to keep the Hapsburgs afloat.

I do admit, mechanically, it was fascinating to play the games linked together. Without Ottoman, I probably wouldn't play Hapsburg much, but I need to play it more to try and get stronger, so I have a better chance with the Ottomans, although it seems odd that the Ottomans are the stronger side in this game, as I got the impression that they were the "sick man" and struggling to hold on to a crumbling empire even before the war.

15 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
10. Board Game: Field Commander: Alexander [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:1740]
Judd Vance
United States
Wichita
Kansas
flag msg tools
Every Man a (K-State) Wildcat!
badge
"Just get that sucka to the designated place at the designated time and I will gladly designate his ass...for dismemberment!" - Sho Nuff.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
November 10

Game: Field Commander: Alexander
Publisher: DVG (2009)
Designer: Dan Verssen
Edition: 1st (only)

Past Experience with game: I got Field Commander: Rommel back in 2012. I was impressed with the chit-pull and the A.I. system in the game and it got me interested in more. I got this one about 8 months later and then the Napoleon game down the road. I played Alexander at the last Barteus Con and its a favorite for taking on the road when my company sends me on business.


Game Play: The game comes with 4 mounted boards, each covering a different campaign of Alexander. The board will tell you your starting units, gold, advisors, as well as enemy units, etc, and goals and such.

On a game turn, you start with a player option of by paying gold to flip reduced units to full strength.

Next, you have a stack of inverted enemy counters called "Enemy orders." You reveal the top counter. It will probably say to add a number of forces. If you draw 2 forces, that means draw 2 enemy forces from the chit cup and put them in the holding box with the enemy orders. Each counter has a gold cost that you can spend to cancel it. Once you flip the "Go" counter, you follow the instructions on the map. For the scenario I played (Granicus) you place the accumulated forces in Halicarnassus.

Next you roll for each enemy stronghold on the map, taking the number of areas between it and your army and adding it to d6 and consulting a chart.

Then you start the conquest segment that you continue until you give up (usually because you are short on forces or money). First, you declare an area you want to move your army into. You then roll a die for resistance. If the roll is higher than the number of forces (counters) in your army, that many will take hits (flipped to reduced side or eliminated). Then, you have to feed your army, so you check your foraging success. You roll d6 to show how many counters you can feed. If you have more forces than the roll, you pay the difference in gold or take more hits or you refuse to move in the area (after you already took hits from the earlier step).

Assuming you moved in, you then battle or intimidate an enemy force in the region. Units have a "speed" rating, similar to A-B-C in block games (who fires first) and a "to hit" number. Your side selects "battle plans" based on Alexander's rating (there are 5 different Alexander counters used in the game, based on performance and scenario) and the enemy battle plans are drawn for a cup. These provide battle advantage and tactics, such as getting an extra hit or ignoring a hit.

If you win, you score "Glory" counters for winning and killing the enemy leader and you later score gold for the enemy units that you destroyed in combat this turn.

For intimidation, you spend Glory counters and look at the size of your force over the enemy force and roll against a d6 and check a chart to see if they surrender without a fight.

If you conquer a stronghold, you have to decide whether to raze the city for a 1 time boost of 15 Gold or Govern it for a steady 5 Gold at the end of every turn.

There are a few more things, but that's the gist of it.

You then move on to another area and conquer, or you stop and move on to the last part of the turn which consists of collecting your gold (for dead bodies and governed cities) and then spend gold for new units and spend glory for more advisors (they give you bonuses).

One other thing is that if an area has a prophesy marker, you can choose to try it, but once you flip it and read it, you must take on the challenge or you will reap the consequences. I took one on in my game and I had to have 15 Gold in the treasury at one time. Succeeding allowed me to upgrade my Alexander counter 1 level, which allows me to draw one more battle plan each battle and give me a combat hit bonus.


Game Summary: I had an easy time. I moved down and conquered Chaeronia quickly. Then when I went back to Macedon, I took up the prophesy challenge. I paused to regroup and when I received my gold from my governor at Chaeronia, My prophesy challenge was met.

I then moved into Sestus and then my boats and moved into Ilum, and moved into Granicus, where I clobbered the biggest force I ran into. I then quickly moved into Sardis and burned the place to the ground, which allowed me to move rapidly into Caria.

I regrouped and bought some siege engines and then moved into Lycia and took it quickly and placed a governor there. Then, I got a lot of cheap units to make a big force, moved into Halicarnassus, spent my glory and easily passed my intimidation roll. The "enemy orders" did not have enough time to get to "Go" so the force there was weak. I had enough gold to move back into Lycia to end the game.

Since I won on the 3rd turn, I scored 25 VPs. I also had a couple of temples built for 35 VPs. Huge victory.


Conclusion: I enjoy the game. It's my favorite of the three Field Commander games that I owned. I avoided Nimitz based on bad comments I read on it. I think most folks prefer Napoleon. The topic was not as interesting to me and although it had the best battle system of the three games I own, I traded it. However, Alexander and Rommel will always remain in my collection. Alexander is just a blast.

This one went extremely well because I rolled really well for foraging. My force was big enough that I wasn't threatened by resistance, but I did have to feed the force.

I like the built in balancing mechanisms that keep you from building up an unstoppable juggernaut.

13 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
11. Board Game: Airborne Commander [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:3184]
Judd Vance
United States
Wichita
Kansas
flag msg tools
Every Man a (K-State) Wildcat!
badge
"Just get that sucka to the designated place at the designated time and I will gladly designate his ass...for dismemberment!" - Sho Nuff.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
November 11

Game: Airborne Commander
Publisher: StrataMax (2015)
Designer: Aaron Lauster
Edition: 1st (only)

Past Experience with game: This was an example of effective advertising. I saw a banner on BGG and looked into it. I was weary because of Up Front and I had never heard of this company. The game had blown through a BUNCH of stretch goals and in the end, I decided $33 was a pretty low amount to risk, so I backed it. Unlike just about every other Kickstarter game, StrataMax delivered this one exactly when they said they would, which happened to be during the last Barteus-Con. I played it for the first time then and it has been a go-to filler game for me, since.


Game Play: It's a deck builder.

To see how to play this game, watch my video.




Game Summary: I had a rough time. The better recruitable cards did not show up until later, so I was purchasing low cost cards and sacrificing them. I got close to losing twice, as the enemy had 3 static forces built up and I had to draw to fill my 3 other locations.

I got through the deck and ended up with 4.5 victory points of destroyed enemy units (shown below) with 4 disorganized cards. This amounted to half a victory point and a "Victory medal" victory. Basically, it's the lowest level and amounted to "you survived. Congrats."


Conclusion: The theme is thin. It barely has more theme than Airborne in my Pocket. It follows the basic tenets of deck-building.

But the artwork is stunning and the game is quick and fun, so it is a mainstay for me. There is a 10 card expansion on Kickstarter. I backed it and can't wait to try it.

13 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
12. Board Game: Cruel Necessity [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:1527]
Judd Vance
United States
Wichita
Kansas
flag msg tools
Every Man a (K-State) Wildcat!
badge
"Just get that sucka to the designated place at the designated time and I will gladly designate his ass...for dismemberment!" - Sho Nuff.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
November 12

Game: Cruel Necessity
Publisher: Victory Point Games (2013)
Designer: John Walsh
Edition: 1st (only)

Past Experience with game: I got this at the VPG fall sale back in 2015 a few weeks before the last Barteus Con and tried it out then. I've played it a few times through the years and have always enjoyed it. I got it because I have liked almost all of the State of Siege games I have played and because I found the topic really interesting.

Game Play: It's a State of Siege game, meaning you have armies pushing on tracks (or in this case, map areas) toward a center location. You receive actions that you can use to push back and you are trying to get through the deck.

This one offers a LOT over the other State of Siege games. Outside of Dawn of the Zeds, this probably departs from the norm more than any others.

This one offers fortresses. Each one gives you an action (zeal) point each turn. If they fall, you get less each turn. Each has a series of ratings (your marker rotates, revealing the current strength). If the enemy front marker is behind the fortress area (farther away), you can spend actions adding strength to it. When the front marker arrives in the area, it stops and each time it is supposed to move, you make a pair of siege rolls against the fortress. If a roll exceeds the rating, you lower the rating of the fortress. Once the fortress level is dropped to zero, it changes sides sides. This is one of the best parts of the game.

The game also offers achievement cards: 3 across the top of the board. If you meet the conditions, you can spend the action points to claim it, get its immediate benefits, and its associated victory points at the end (should you survive). Once the top three slots fills up, each one that is drawn either fills up an empty slot or you have to discard one to place the new one.

Many of these games have tracks on the side to manage. This has 6 of them, 3 topics opposing each other (ex: Monarchy/Parliament, Protestantism/Catholicism). The farther they move toward the end of the scale, the harder it is to move it. Some events will push it them toward parity, and if you get a meter to an extreme end, good or bad stuff will happen (combat bonuses, extra actions, etc) and where the meters sit at the end of the game add or subtract victory points.

The game also comes with 3 decks of event cards, similar to the 3 epochs in any state of siege game, except you don't shuffle the 2nd and 3rd into the deck: you play through them sequentially. Each deck is a scenario, so you can play the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd Civil War or link them all together. Each short scenario takes about 2 hours to play.

You lose by losing the London fortress or by having 4 of the 6 tracks get to the worst possible level.

Finally, the combat system is WAY different, and this is the where the game shines. Granted, you do push back on front markers, like all such games, but many events will require to fight a field battle before proceeding through the card. Your success or failure could make that particular front harder or easier to push back. When a battle happens, you move to a side board and draw cavalry units from a cup (square) and musket & pike (rectangular) and put them on the battle board:



If your unit says "Event" you draw a battle event card and follow the directions: it may be good or bad or one you hold on to until the time is right.

You resolve the battles by rolling a die for the units lined up across from each other: 1 first, then 2, 3, and 4, the latter ones being a PAIR of units grouped together. You add your die roll to your strength. If you win by 2+, you put your unit in the victory box (not shown). If you lose by 2+, you put it in the defeat box. For -1, 0, or 1 difference, you put it in the "Draw" box. After the 4 dice rolls are resolved, you count the box with the most units, and that is the result (ties are draws).

If you lose the battle, then the front in question gains a temporary +1 to its strength and you lose an action point. If you draw, you lose an action point and if you win with 4, 5, or 6 units in the victory box, you get 1-3 points, respectively, to "spend" such as gaining extra actions or to put a temporary "-1" or "-2" marker to the front.

At that point, you THEN move the armies and do the rest of the information on the card.


Game Summary: I don't get this game to the table nearly as much as I want to -- ain't that the way it is with all of my games? So my primary goal was to get through the deck. I was able to do that. I only got 3 victory points: a minor victory. I only claimed one achievement card (on the last turn) and did not focus hard on half of the meters. I was keeping the armies at bay.

I did manage to successfully lay siege to Oxford: the one fortress loyal to the king. I had to wait for him to call the forces to his royal banner (some fancy term: I'm not hip to British historical details). I did pretty well in the battles. I mostly drew. I lost one and won a couple. I did manage to kill Prince Ruppert, which was pretty big (he has a powerful cavalry). At the very end, I got Cromwell's Cavalry available at the end, but didn't get to try him out in combat. He's very powerful: if he wins his battle, he adds +3 to the musket/pike tandom next to him.


Conclusion: Every time I play this game, I want to play it more. The good thing is that I have played it enough that I could pretty much play it off of the player aid card without having to consult the rulebook a lot.

It has great components (super counters once you wipe off the soot) and a lot of decisions in the game play. It has a stronger thematic connection than many of its brothers. And keep in mind, there is a lot more to the game than what I mention. I covered the high points. This is a really rich game and one of the three best in the series.

Unlike most of the games in the series, even the Gold Banner reprints, this and Dawn of the Zeds are fairly expensive: about twice as much as the others, but if you like the topic, there is a lot of replayability in the package: you'll get your money's worth.

19 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
13. Board Game: Struggle for the Galactic Empire [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:3831]
Judd Vance
United States
Wichita
Kansas
flag msg tools
Every Man a (K-State) Wildcat!
badge
"Just get that sucka to the designated place at the designated time and I will gladly designate his ass...for dismemberment!" - Sho Nuff.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
November 13

Game: Struggle for the Galactic Empire
Publisher: Decision Games (2009)
Designer: Joseph Miranda
Edition: 1st

Past Experience with game: This is sad, but the reason I have always been interested in this game was because of the cover. It looks like a Vorlon ship from Babylon 5, the greatest TV show in history:



I got it in a Pay it Forward about 19 months ago, giving up Liberty: The American Revolution 1775-83 and have been looking forward to trying it out ever since.

Game Play: The game is very procedural. You are in charge of a Galactic Empire. Random threats and events will pop up and like whack-a-mole, you try to put out all of the fires. Your systems generate income and your forces cost money to build and maintain.

Meanwhile, you might have a powerful force in a sector, only to see it go rogue or join a usurper who will then try to conquer your empire, or they may form an Independent Empire to compete with you for surrounding systems.

The game has a variety of units and all have two combat values: one is a traditional firepower combat value and the other is more rooted in psionics. You can blow planets and ships to oblivion or woo them to your side.

The game has a "chaos" meter that increases or decreases and represents the state of chaos in the galaxy. Losing forces drives it up and winning them drives it down. Other things can do this as well. The higher the number, the higher the number of event chits you draw at the start of the turn. Most of them are bad but some of them are good.

You then roll dice for each type of force to determine what they do and how well they recruit and if they battle or not. You then generate money from your planets, pay your upkeep, recruit new units, move them and try to squash the rebels and upstarts.


Game Summary: Being my first game, I played the first scenario, which is pretty easy. You start with the galaxy at its largest and try to keep it from crumbling.

I had a lot of good fortune: a very powerful independent empire popped up and started recruiting units. They were close to my power base, so I was able to move in and take it out quickly.

An Alien Messiah popped up on the first turn, along with a powerful Alien psi-powered mutant/usurper. He spread peace through his sector (the nerve!) so no combat (either type) could be performed there. The only way to take him out was to send a leader on an assassination job, but I had none.

Each turn, that peace-loving hippie was spreading his message of love to surrounding sectors and expanding his sphere of influence. The Mutant was riding behind the wave of peace, so I couldn't attack him, and he moved toward the center of my empire, ready to take it over.

I finally got some galactic heroes. I sent a couple to deal with the "Messiah" and another to core, along with a powerful force to wait on the Mutant.

Just as the Messiah was ready to arrive, I finally capped the Messiah and the Usurper was forced to fight my powerful force, which quickly put him down, though it was a hard fought battle.

Then, my military nearly mutinied over pay, but fortunately, their talk was mostly cheap: I anticipated 30% of them defecting, but it was only a handful, and they were quickly brought back in the fold.

By the 6th turn, I had drove the chaos level down from 80 to 30 and then it started snowalling. With less chaos each turn, it was easier to keep things under control. Something would pop up and I would put it down. I did have to destroy a couple of planets and their rebellions, but I quickly re-colonized the sector.

At the end, I had every system under my control and the universe was free from threats. I had the chaos level down to 12, so I had 45 out of 46 possible victory points. 45+ was the highest level of victory and I achieved it.


Conclusion: I tried this last Monday, and I got so angry, I took the game down and tried to sell it. The rulebook is clear, but the layout sucks. It is really hard to find specific stuff in it. It's laid out topically, rather than sequentially.

I got on my computer, and re-laid out the sequence of play with all of the details in each section. It wasn't the entire rulebook: I had notes to reference the rulebook, but at least I could do the entire sequence.

Being my first game, I might have missed a couple of things. Victory seemed easy and I do admit this is the easiest of the many scenarios in the game. I have heard it is not a difficult scenario but is geared to familiarize you with system.

I want to re-read the rulebook to see if I have it and if I am so inclined, I may release my super expanded sequence of play. It is only useful for the first time through. Once you understand the game, it is really easy to work through.

The game's AI is really good. It simulates chaos. It works better as a single player game because I think a human couldn't do random chaos as well.

The game has a lot of scenarios, so there is plenty of play in it and even if you play the same scenario twice it is going to be different.

The game has a lot of good ideas baked into the random event chits (including humans undergoing genetic experiments and have evolved to another level). The game at its heart is whac-a-mole, but it has a lot of moving levers -- even more when you use the optional rules, which you should.

Joe Miranda designed it: I have two other games this month by him (Empires in America and Zulus on the Ramparts!. When he's on, he's got a lot of great ideas. Sometimes, I find his games a bit underdeveloped, but this one is not.

Definitely a keeper and one I look forward to playing more.

19 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
14. Board Game: Astra Titanus [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:3057]
Judd Vance
United States
Wichita
Kansas
flag msg tools
Every Man a (K-State) Wildcat!
badge
"Just get that sucka to the designated place at the designated time and I will gladly designate his ass...for dismemberment!" - Sho Nuff.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
November 14

Game: Astra Titanus
Publisher: Victory Point Games (2010)
Designer: Chris Taylor
Edition: 1st (only)

Past Experience with game: I got this in a Pay it Forward nearly 3 years ago. I played it at the last Barteus Con. It's a mainstay at any solo event.

I got the game before I knew who Chris Taylor was. I got to know him on the Game Box and he's a cool dude, but once I put the avatar with the name, I started noticing that the guy makes a lot of really good games. You may know him more for Nemo's War.

Game Play: Take Ogre and make it better: much better. Add a solitaire component for the Ogre. Put it in outer space. Give it a graphical upgrade (at least from the old Metagaming and Steve Jackson black box versions) and you have an idea.

This is a whole lot of ships against an automated behemoth. Your ships jump around the board using FtL (Faster than Light) drives similar to the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica. Some fire beams and some fire beams and nuclear missiles. The Atlas (enemy) fires a whole lot of weapons. A deck of cards guides its movement and directs its fire.


Game Summary: I started kind of late (after 11:00 P.M.), so I kept it safe and went with the first scenario, where you have two bases and you are trying to protect them. Chances are, one will fall, but you can try your darnedest to stop it.

I organized my fleet and moved it into optimal firing position. I wanted to make sure my missile destroyers (DDMs) and Battleships (BB) got off both sets of missiles before engaging. They did. About half of the missiles got through the Hyperion's defenses and I got lucky with the rolls, doing some serious damage to the primary beam weapon. Meanwhile, my cruisers, frigates, and destroyers were nibbling away at its propulsion system.

I got really lucky by two ways: the first was that I rolled a lot of 5s and 6s with the destroyers and frigates. Second, the Hyperion (Atlas) strayed far from the Tau base. Once it gets even with Tau's hex row on the map, it is going to turn towards it. That made its path extremely predictable and allowed me to get all of my ships in position. They finished knocking out the weapons. They couldn't destroy the drive system in time, and it rammed through the Tau station. It turned for the Zeta station, but was extremely weakened and I finished it off.

Conclusion: The cards really keep you light on your feet. The best part of the mechanics are that you cannot move and fire in the same turn, so if you keep popping in front of the Atlas, you have to move away before it rams you.

The graphics are really neat in this game. The light ships have only one step, so the flip side shows it in its warping/FtL state. The capital ships are two steps/double-sided, so they have a FtL marker placed on top of them.

The game offers a LOT of ships: BB, BC, DD, DDM, CA, FF, which I can name off of the top of my head. There are various types of Atlas and a good number of scenarios. It's a lot of replays for the money.

14 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
15. Board Game: Intruder [Average Rating:6.59 Overall Rank:4250]
Judd Vance
United States
Wichita
Kansas
flag msg tools
Every Man a (K-State) Wildcat!
badge
"Just get that sucka to the designated place at the designated time and I will gladly designate his ass...for dismemberment!" - Sho Nuff.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
November 15

Game: Intruder
Publisher: Task Force Games (1980)
Designer: Dennis Sustare
Edition: 1st (only)

I reached the halfway point. Still going strong and way ahead of schedule (as far as getting tougher/longer games out of the way).

This is the oldest game I am playing this month: the granddaddy.

Past Experience with game: Back in the 1980s, when I wore a younger man's clothes (la-da-da-di-dah-dah...sorry, I digress), I was a big fan of Task Force Games. Star Fleet Battles was my gateway game and I dug games like Operation Pegasus, City States of Arklyrell, and Moon Base Clavius.

When I first joined BGG, I was into following publishers more than designers, so it was natural for me to seek out Task Force offerings. Couple that with the fact that my main local gamer in town is the king of Ameritrash and also loves the old pocket games, and a lack of discipline on my part, and back in 2009, I went crazy acquiring the old out of print games by Task Force, Metagaming, and TSR. This was one of those games.

I played all of the games I acquired and traded away most of them, but this is one I held on to and I'm glad I got it. It's a Barteus Con mainstay. When I posted the picture of my 30 games on the Facebook solitaire group, this was the game that was most talked about in the picture. It has a strong sense of nostalgia with folks.


Game Play: This is a board game version of the movie Alien. One guy told me it was not because it was too easy to win and he said he won about 75% of the time. I pointed out that Ellen Ripley won 100% of the time.

Yes, it is Alien. You are on board a small research station when an alien life form kills a scientist in the lab and gets away, creating a mess that frees a lot of other non-violent critters. Your small crew of nine have to locate and capture or kill the alien, all the while it is rapidly evolving.

The Alien and critters are inverted and shuffled with some dummy counters and placed in pre-set locations. They move randomly based on die rolls. If they move into a room with a crew member you flip over and settle it. If it's a critter: move on. If it's an Alien, you roll to see if it attacks. If it does, you randomly decide which crew member (if there are more than 1) it will attack. That crew member (or designated other) can attempt to fight back. If it loses, the Alien attacks: roll a die to see if the crew member dies.

If none of this happened, then you move your crew members. You get 3 movement points. It costs points to pick stuff up and there are limits to what you can carry. If the engineers are in a certain room, they can start working on electronic prods (takes 2 turns) or flame throwers (3 turns). There are tracks for each weapon they are building.

If they walk into a room with an inverted counter, you flip it and repeat the earlier process. If it's a critter, you can now attempt to catch it and cage it (if you have a cage). If you have take that cage back to the lab, you can put it in a sturdier, non-mobile cage. The reason this is important is because when the Alien kills a crew member, every crew member panics and runs back to the center of the ship to regroup. All of the critters + alien(s) get re-inverted, shuffled, and placed around the ship. You don't include caged critters and discovered dummy markers, so caging them makes it easier to find the Alien in the future.

Every turn, you roll a die to see if the Alien evolves. If it does, you place a "Power" marker in a pre-determined box. When the alien is discovered, before you start attacking, you then roll 2d6 for each power. These powers can be ones such as flame-resistant (flame throwers are useless), dart resistant (you can't drug it), vacuum resistant (so much for shoving it out an airlock, cloning (it multiplies!), or super strong (can't be caged). That is another reason it is important to cage critters and find that alien easier, so you can attack it before it evolves too many times.


Game Summary: In my case, the intruder evolved on each of its first two turns. That was good because you are not allowed to kill it until it reaches level 3. However, he kept rapidly evolving. By the time I found him, he was up to level 6, but I had captured every critter and found every dummy marker. Yes, he was the last one discovered.

When I found him, I had everybody in the room.



He lashed out and killed the engineer. But one of my crew members killed it with a blaster. However, since it had the clone power, that meant there 5 more were on the ship.

So I regrouped, placed 5 aliens -- no need to invert since that's all that was left -- and broke my remaining crew up in two groups (you only get 3 attacks max on it).

My first group isolated an intruder and killed it, but it got another engineer. My second group isolated and killed an intruder.

They regrouped and set out again and darn if it didn't evolve again, creating another clone. However, using the divide and conquer strategy got each one isolated and killed, but in 3 of the 4 subsequent attacks, I lost a crew member. Gas and blasters were weapons of choice, because it couldn't be frozen, suffocated, or caged. All darts would do was knock it out temporarily and it laughed at flame throwers.

So at the end of the day, I killed all 7 intruders, but lost 5 crew members. According to the score, I won with 19 points, but that is a Pyrrhic victory. No Intruders to study and a lot of dead bodies.

Conclusion: It's a throwback to a different time, but it a cool game dripping with theme. Some folks accuse it of being too easy, especially if the Alien is slow to evolve or doesn't get the cloning ability. But if you think it's easy, change the scoring system. It's solo, so you your opponent is going to care.

I'm a hard core thematic gamer, so a game has to connect on that level for me and this one does. So yeah, I hate losing 55% of my crew. And the game is very tense.

It can be had on the marketplace for less than $25 and I highly recommend it if you are a solo gamer. One thing though: since it was an early 80s game, there is some issues with the counters. Task Force was notorious for counters that weren't centered and bled color along the edges. Since the Alien is orange, if you see an inverted counter with orange on the edge, it gives it away. So you take a black sharpie and run around the edges of all of the orange (intruder) and black (critters & dummy) counters and your problem is solved.

Also, I said I collected a lot of the old Task Force Games. There is another solitaire game by them called Boarding Party. Forget about it, it's not nearly as good as this and Survival / The Barbarian is a complete waste of money. Stick with this one.

15 
 Thumb up
5.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
16. Board Game: Empires in America (second edition) [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:4806]
Judd Vance
United States
Wichita
Kansas
flag msg tools
Every Man a (K-State) Wildcat!
badge
"Just get that sucka to the designated place at the designated time and I will gladly designate his ass...for dismemberment!" - Sho Nuff.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
November 16-17

Game: Empires in America
Publisher: Victory Point Games (2009)
Designer: Joseph Miranda
Edition: 2nd (2016)

Past Experience with game: This has LONG been on my wishlist, due to the theme of the game. I finally got the first edition + expansion in a Pay it Forward in August of 2015 I played it twice and really enjoyed it. When I knew I was getting the updated Gold Banner edition for my birthday, I gave up my copy + expansion in a Pay it Forward 8 months later in exchange for Tigris & Euphrates. The recipient of my copy was Rob (Barteus) himself!

Game Play: It's a State of Siege game, meaning you have armies pushing on tracks toward a center location. You receive actions that you can use to push back and you are trying to get through the deck.

The biggest difference between this and other State of Siege games -- and the reason it is so good -- is that the various fronts are not represented with a counter with a number on it, where you spend an action and hope to roll higher than that number in order to push it back. No, in this case, the counter has no number and is attached to a leader's card. That card has a track showing battlefield honor/reputation level and another showing the number of attached regiments. Likewise, just like Zulus on the Ramparts!, you have a tableau. That tableau has leaders on it (with both reputation and regiment tracks) as well as cards for regiments, militia, and special future actions.

Each turn, you draw 4 cards or 6 cards (6 after the war breaks out in Europe). If the card is one of your leaders, you play it to the tableau. If it is one of the other cards I described above on your side, it goes to your hand, where it will cost an action to play to your tableau. If it is a British leader, you roll to place it on a certain track where it either takes over a leaderless army (Ohio Valley, Champlain Valley, Upper Maine, Great Lakes, or St. Lawrence) or will attempt to relieve an existing leader. If a leader is relieved, he goes to the "recycled" deck (explained later).

If the drawn card is a British event, you enact it and then put it in the discard pile. If you cannot enact it, you put it the recycled pile. If you draw a British provential card, or other such combat card (siege artillery, militia, Grenadiers, etc), you place it in the British tableau (that is all that is in the British tableau), where the card has instructions on when to use it (ex: next major battle, 2nd battle in a Wilderness location, etc).

If the drawn card is a World event, you implement it and remove it (trash) from the game. If it cannot be enacted, it goes to the discard pile.

The first epoch has a card for war breaking out in Europe. That signals the shuffling in of the remaining cards and any cards in the recycled deck. From then on, at the end of every turn, you shuffle in the recycled deck into the draw deck. That makes the game go on longer than other State of Siege games, as you see some cards many times.

When it is your turn, you determine actions by the ratings of all of the leaders in your tableau. You spend those action points to utilize a leader's special power, play cards from your hand, place a fort or trading post on a track, replace a lost regiment on a leader's card (1 per trading post on the map), or launch an attack.

When you launch an attack, you first select a leader and then commit cards from your tableau to the battle. The non-leader cards will either go to the recycled deck or the discard deck based on conditions: always if you win or lose the battle. You then have to decide which side rolls first as there is no simultaneous combat. You add d6 to your leaders rating. If you are fighting in a wilderness location, you get +1 if you have a unit that provides that bonus (ex: Native Americans) or if it is in a fort/fortress location, the side controlling it receives a +1 bonus. You may receive a bonus based on your battlefield reputation. The winner of the dice-off goes first and rolls a d6 for each regiment on his leader card and the bonus for the committed cards from his tableau. You hit on 5+. Each hit lowers the number of regiments on the opposing leader's card by 1. If a leader's regiments are wiped out, the leader card goes to the discard pile.

Game Summary: The reason this is listed as 2 days, is because I botched the first game VERY BADLY. When I was 3 cards from "winning," I thought, "I HAD to have screwed this up. There is no way the French could have won the war this easily." Yep.

My buddy Dan (the Man) has a great motto about solitaire games, "If you screw it up, your opponent doesn't mind," but in this case, my opponent DID mind. He couldn't let that one slide. It was so egregious, it may as well not even been the same game, so I took it all down and played it again. Don't worry: I'll play two on another day (I already have 143 solitaire games of Star Realms played so far this month).

In the second game, I got in trouble really early. Bradstreet had moved up the Ohio Valley all the way to Montreal. I had got a fortress down there just in time and I whiffed with the dice. All he had to do was roll a 5 or 6 with 3 dice and the British win. He failed.

I then get Montcalm on the scene and he does his Montcalmy things and starts beating people back: driving the British all the way back from Quebec to Louisbourg and then crushing the Ohio Valley force (and killing Braddock) and then going down Champlain.

The British then get Wolfe on the scene. He is starting in the #5 spot on the map (Ohio Valley track) when the British pull the Ohio Valley card that advances them. Then they get "Pitt takes over" that move all British forces up another place. Wolfe is now sitting on the #3 space and his leader rating of 2 means he will advance into Montreal. I get the Balance of Power card that allows me to push him back one, so he comes up just short. Wolfe is supported by Washington and another card that gives him a LOT of dice for the entire turn, so I just want to fight one battle, win it, and get those cards out of the game. I do just that. Whew! In doing so, I used almost every card in my tableau, but I drive Wolfe down to 2 regiments.

Then Amhearst shows up with 9 more regiments in Champlain -- totally did NOT need that. Then the British Parliament add two regiments to all depleted forces, bringing Wolfe up to 4. The next turn, he advances into Montreal. I really needed him at 2 regiments, because I was pretty sure Montcalm's 8 regiments could score 2 hits (mathematically probable), destroy Wolfe, and then allow him to go after Amhearst. 4 would be tougher. I would probably have to attack him twice, which happens to be Montcalm's power.

But for now, I needed to stop his advance into Montreal. No problem: I have positive reputation and he has negative reputation (because Montcalm has won a lot of battles and Wolfe is 0-1 so far). That all but assures me initiative, which I win. I chuck my 8 dice and score...

0 hits.

Really?

Now Wolfe throws 4. If he scores a single hit (5 or 6), he wins the battle, and thus the war.

He succeeds.

Over just like that.

Them's the breaks. Curse the dice gods. I love wargaming!


Conclusion: Just an excellent, excellent game. Joe Miranda really knows how take some of the abstraction out of the State of Siege games and make it more "wargamey."

The "Big 4" of State of Siege are Dawn of the Zeds, Malta Besieged: 1940-1942, and Cruel Necessity. Malta is out of print and goes for a ton of money. The other two are more costly than this one. This one retails for around $30, making it the best bang for the buck in the family.

Not enough good things I can say about this. French and Indian War games are difficult to pull off, because the sides are asymmetrical and this one does it as well as any other, if not better.

17 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
17. Board Game: We Must Tell the Emperor [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:2806]
Judd Vance
United States
Wichita
Kansas
flag msg tools
Every Man a (K-State) Wildcat!
badge
"Just get that sucka to the designated place at the designated time and I will gladly designate his ass...for dismemberment!" - Sho Nuff.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
November 18

Game: We Must Tell the Emperor
Publisher: Victory Point Games (2010)
Designer: Steve Carey
Edition: 1st

Past Experience with game: I got this at the 2014 BGG Con Flea Market for the unbelievable price of $39. This and Malta Besieged are the holy grails of the State of Siege series. They are out of print and go for an arm and a leg, so I was lucky to get it. I played it at the last Barteus Con.


Game Play: It's a State of Siege game, meaning you have armies pushing on tracks toward a center location. You receive actions that you can use to push back and you are trying to get through the deck.

This one offers three additional tracks to manage: Army-Navy agreement, Prestige, and Oil. If all three drop to zero at any time, you automatically lose. If two of them end a turn at zero, you automatically lose.

The biggest difference in this and the others is that in this one you are playing for the long game. You are not going to lose in the first epoch. You probably are not going to lose in the second epoch. You ARE going to lose in the third, and every time I play it, it comes down to the last 5 cards (3 may be a better estimate). The reason for this is because the game is so historical. Japan started the early war as a juggernaut, then the tide started shifting. The Allies started nibbling into their gains in the mid-war, and then it all crumbled in the late war: their oil was choked off, they were surrounded, and firebombed into oblivion before the atomic bombs fell.

This one has another unique twist: Japan spent the early war getting by on their oil reserves. The United States had cut off their oil supply via embargo, to starve their war machine. That resulted in them trying to deliver a decisive knockout blow to the Americans at Pearl Harbor, hoping to take them out for 18 months, while they took over the Dutch East Indies and their rich oil supply and negotiate their gains with the United States. To simulate this, the Dutch East Indies have their own track, but it is not connected to the Japanese home islands. Their marker starts at "1" and you have to push it back to "5" and only then can you start making rolls on the "oil" track in order to increase that resource. Once the United States gets the submarines cards, you have a -1 DRM on all oil rolls. When the next submarines card appears, you have -2 DRM.

One more unique twist is that this game offers "Battle Tables" (shown on the left of the picture). When you flip over a one of nine cards, bad stuff happens because of a specific battle (Midway, Iwo Jima, Leyte Gulf, etc). When I say "bad stuff" I mean multiple resource tracks are going to decrease (I think oil is always going down), fronts are going to advance, and they are going to get negative DRMs for the turn. You may risk one of your designated actions for a die roll on this table. The battle could go better, worse, or the same as the historical result. Usually 1-2 is good, 3-4 is nothing, and 5-6 sucks (even more resources lost). It's a gamble.


Game Summary: To play well in these games often requires me rolling hotly, but since you play for the long game in this, a few bad rolls early do not hose you.

I played this game with the random distribution in the epochs, rather than the sequential order. It seemed to play in my favor, as I wasn't tempted to waste +1 DRMs on the British and Chinese, as they were often all the way back on their tracks, when these came up. Those positive DRMs are like catnip to me and take my focus off of the Nimitz, MacArthur, and resource tracks, which are often my doom.

I spent the early war keeping the army-navy agreement at the max, so I could get the +1 against fronts. My goal was that when Midway occurred, all of the fronts would be at their highest point. I wasn't going for knockout blows: I think that is a fool's mission. I did not quite succeed, as MacArthur was on Port Moresby and Nimitz was on Midway.

I had very little luck on the battle tables, only getting a positive result once. Most of the time, it was neutral. I did get the Solomon Islands fortress down, but it didn't take the Nimitz front long to overrun it.

By the end of the mid-war, I did have MacArthur pushed back to Port Moresby. Past experience says he and Nimitz are the two to watch. All of the fronts will flip to "4" in the late war, but those two are particularly tough. MacArthur has a fortress on the #2 location on his track, which gives him a -1 DRM (meaning you have to roll 6 to push him back), so it is good to get him far away from that. Nimitz seems to get more negative DRMs placed on him than any other front. I don't know if it is true, but if so, it makes sense historically.

At the end of Mid-War, I had the British and Chines fronts pushed all the way back to the #5 locations on their fronts.

In the late war, it came crumbling down quickly. Nimitz rushed forward, but I did get the islands fortress and got it on the #2 location of the track, and then got a couple of lucky rolls. The B-29 firebombing card reshuffles back into the draw deck if there are more than 4 cards left. This has been a back-breaker before. Like I said, this comes down to the last few cards, so seeing a card multiple times is brutal. Last time, I think I saw that card 3 times. This time, I only saw it twice.

Past experience with the game helped, as I knew the the Prestige track was a lost cause: firebombing automatically reduces it, and it re-appears in the deck, so I let it set at zero for the game and then focused on Army-Navy and oil. When one of them got to zero, I pushed it back up. Because Army-Navy is the easiest one to push up and maintain at this point, I focused on keeping it at "2" so I wouldn't auto-lose should it and oil both fall in the same card.

I used the Kamikazes for their DRM modifier to push Nimitz back, as he twice managed to get to the home islands.

On the last card of the game, the tracks were set and MacArthur had managed to get on the zero space. He overcame the home islands defense fortress and I had three rolls to get 5+. I rolled 2,2, and 5 for the win! This was as Pyrrhic of a victory as one can get, but I'll take it!


Conclusion: I love this game. To dig it means you have to be into the topic more than the State of Siege engine. I suppose State of Siege fans will dig the constant tension throughout the game that comes with instant loss. For example, at last Barteus-Con, I lost Soviet Dawn on the 3rd card of the game. Last night, I lost Empires in America unexpectedly when I whiffed a 33% chance on 8 dice.

Thematic connection is probably the most important aspect of gaming for me, and this one and Dawn of the Zeds have the strongest connection. Zeds is very granular, so it's easier to connect. This one is at such a high level, that there is a certain amount of abstraction, yet at the same time, there is a lot of historical detail captured in a brilliant manner: the biggest being the oil resource (conquering the Dutch East Indies, gaining bonuses for having track at 6 and penalized for having it at 0 and then fighting through the submarines).

This is the game for the WWII/Pacific junkie who wants to play a game in about 90 minutes, which eliminates about everything else, or wants to play a solo game with no hidden information, which eliminates just about everything except Victory in the Pacific, while this one offers much more historical detail than that one.

A great game for your collection, but be ready to shell out the coin for it. I think $60 would be a bargain and you can probably expect $75 as a more realistic amount. My advice: wait. Play through your unplayed games. Don't lie: I know you got tons of them on the shelf! By the time you do that, this one will be picked up and published by somebody else: it's too good NOT to be.

15 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
18. Board Game: Malta Besieged: 1940-1942 [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:5177]
Judd Vance
United States
Wichita
Kansas
flag msg tools
Every Man a (K-State) Wildcat!
badge
"Just get that sucka to the designated place at the designated time and I will gladly designate his ass...for dismemberment!" - Sho Nuff.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
November 19

Game: Malta Besieged
Publisher: Victory Point Games (2011)
Designer: Steve Carey
Edition: 1st (only)

Past Experience with game: This is the other "grail game" in the State of Siege series: out of print and goes for a LOT of money. After I got We Must Tell the Emperor, I really wanted this one. I had to wait 15 months, but it popped up in a BGG auction. I had just sold Ambush! for $50 and had some game spending money.

I had two things going for me in this auction. The first was that the map and battles card were laminated. That would take off value for somebody who wanted the "collectors" value. I wanted it as a game, not a valueable collector's item. The second was that I was bidding against a pair of clowns. The opening bid was for $10. Another guy bid $11. You can tell with that kind of bidding that they want it as cheaply as possible and will go back and forth. That creates an addictive type of bidding that has you on the hook and bidding out of spite. I saw this as the grail game that it was. I was willing to drop the whole $50 on it. Heck, I was willing to go to $70 for it, although I really wanted $50, so it could be a straight up swap for Ambush. So I put down a bid that said, "I'm not playing." So I bid $30. I was letting them know that I want this badly, and I'm not out to get it cheaply. That made one of them drop out. A few days later, one of them bid $31. I immediately responded with $50. Boom. He dropped out. I got the prize. Totally worth it.


Game Play: It's a State of Siege game, meaning you have armies pushing on tracks toward a center location. You receive actions that you can use to push back and you are trying to get through the deck.

This covers the North African campaign. Before I bought it, I thought it covered the hypothetical Hercules invasion of Malta. Instead, this covers the harassment involved in supplying Malta, which was a thorn to Axis shipping and their supply of the North African front. At the same time, the North African front is a separate track on this as Rommel and the Afrika Korps push toward Cairo.

Like We Must Tell the Emperor, this one offers three additional tracks to manage: Military, Morale, and Supply. If all 3 fall to zero at the end of a turn, you lose. If Military or Supply fall to zero, you are limited to one attack against fronts. If Military falls to zero, you also cannot use an action to provide air power for convoys (explained later). If Morale falls to zero, your resource rolls are at an additional -1 DRM. If Morale or Military get to max, you get bonuses. I think Morale gets you a re-roll on certain rolls. I forget what Military does. I was nowhere near max on that, so it never entered into my game.

Where this game SHINES is in the convoys. There are 12(?) convoy shipments. When this happens, you look at every marker on a track leading to Malta. You roll a die and look at the track. If your roll is in the range shown, the convoy takes a "hit" and certain rolls can be "critical hits" resulting in 2 convoy hits.

You then take your actions, one of which can be adding air power to the convoy. Then you resolve the hits:



For each "hit," you roll a die. If you commit air power, there is a -1 DRM on each roll. You place no more than one die on each location. In the picture above, if you were resolving the last battle shown (3 supply points are involved), a roll of 1-2 would be no hit. A roll of 3 would cost you a supply point. A roll of 4 would cost you a supply point and a roll of 5-6 would cost you a supply point and you cannot place 2 dice on the same spot. So if you rolled 4 dice and got 2, 3, 4, and 6, you would lose all 3 supply points. If you had the -1 DRM from air support, it would be 1, 2, 3, and 5, costing you 2 supply points.

If ANY of the cargo gets through, you get +1 morale and a free action. If none of it gets through, you get -1 morale and no free action.

The other original idea is Ultra (the Allies breaking the Axis code). You have a "Holding Box" and an "Available Box." It costs an action to move the Ultra marker to the Available Box. It stays there until you use it. When you use it, it is a free action. You roll d6 and on a 1, you fail and it goes back to the Holding Box. On 2+ you get to use it. If you use it for convoys, it turns all rolled critical hits (2 hits each) into a regular hit. If you use it the other way, you get to look at the next card in the deck and then put a +1 DRM marker on a front. Either way, it goes back to the holding box.

There are Malta and Tobruk fortress markers. There are procedures for placing them and building them up to stronger levels. If Axis markers end the turn on Malta, you undergo Hercules, which is a detailed procedure. If it succeeds, you lose. If the North African front ends a turn in Alexandria, you lose. If it ever ends up in Cairo for any reason, you lose. If this never happens and you get through the deck, you win.

The game also abstracts the Desert Rats and their ability to raid the Afrika Korps supply. When you successfully roll for a raid, it pushes a meter between -2 and +2 in the positive direction. You apply this to die rolls against the Afrika Korps. When you succeed, the track automatically shifts one to the left.


Game Summary: Man, I had it rough! I have never rolled so many 1's in State of Siege game ever! Those are auto fails. The Italian units are weak (2 strength), I would get a +1 DRM marker on them and roll a 1. I rolled a lot of 1's trying to get the resources up. As a result, when convoy battles came up, the markers were always near Malta. It was then, I would roll 6s and I would have a lot of hits. Fortunately, I rolled low for those hits and with my air support, I never failed to get my morale up through success on these. One time, I had 3 different resources on the line with 5 hits and they whiffed on all of them!

However, when I got to the 2nd epoch, Rommel came in. He had already bypassed Tobruk and spent the 2nd epoch on the outskirts of Alexandria.

In the third epoch, he made his move. I got lucky and pushed him back. But then in consecutive cards, my military resource lost 1, taking me from 2 to zero. I had 3 supply left and 2 rolls. I had 1 chance to push Rommel back since Military was at zero. Whiff. I spent my next roll trying to get Military back up. Whiff. I had 3 supply left. You can trade them for actions. I traded 1 for a chance to push up military so I could get that 2nd attack on Rommel. Whiff. Game over.


Conclusion: I love this game!!! I really find the topic interesting and Steve Carey is a game designing genius! The way he works details into this format are amazing and so insanely fun. The convoys are the most entertaining mechanic in any State of Siege game. The detached track in North Africa and the raids -- it's just an epic game!

This and Zeds are the best games in the series. What I said about Emperor applies here: I believe it will get picked up by another publisher someday. But this one is so flipping amazing that I'd recommend foregoing the wait. If you can get it for $60 or less, you'll get your money's worth if you like the system, because it just buries all of the other historical offerings and if zombies aren't your thing, it stands head and shoulders above the rest. I've paid more money for games that aren't NEARLY this good. This one is a gem.

10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
19. Board Game: Constantinople [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:9064]
Judd Vance
United States
Wichita
Kansas
flag msg tools
Every Man a (K-State) Wildcat!
badge
"Just get that sucka to the designated place at the designated time and I will gladly designate his ass...for dismemberment!" - Sho Nuff.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
November 19

Game: Constantinople
Publisher: Self Published (2016)
Designer: Steve Ashing
Edition: Print and Play (Only)

Note: Because I fell behind after taking two days to resolve the Empires in America fiasco, I was forced to play two in one day. I picked today to do it. I never said I would play 1 per day, though it is a good pace, but rather 30 in 30.

Past Experience with game: Rob (Barteus) is a verified PnP wizard. One day, this shows up in my mailbox. He sent me a copy he made after playing it, saying it's pretty cool and I should try it. He was right. I believe this was entered in a PnP contest. I don't know if it won, but it should have done well. It is better than some of the established/published State of Siege games on the market.


Game Play: It's a State of Siege game, meaning you have armies pushing on tracks toward a center location. You receive actions that you can use to push back and you are trying to get through the deck.

This covers the 1000+ year reign of the Byzantine Empire (330 - 1453 AD) as they face challenges from forces such as the Persians, Goths, Vandals, Holy Roman Empire, and the Armenians.

The game offers its own interesting twist in how it handles sieges along with its administration board. This is a look at the latter:



Besides the military fronts, there are 6 additional tracks to manage, but managed differently than other State of Siege games. Those tracks are:

Walls: When a military force reaches Constantinople, a siege occurs. You roll against their strength (-1 DRM if the "Gunpowder" event has occurred). If you roll greater than their strength, you retreat them back to the #1 location on their track. Otherwise, reduce the wall strength by one and repeat until the wall is down to 0 (you lose) or the army is retreated.

Armies: Spend 1 to go gain +1 DRM on a die roll against a military force.

Monuments: If you can get through the deck, this track adds to your victory total. It's "strength" increases with every epoch (from 2 to 3 to 4). These never decrease and you cannot spend them.

Dynasty: Spend 1 to look at the next event.

Economy: Spend 1 to add +1 DRM to any roll on this board.

Religion: Spend 1 to take an extra action.

If any of these go to 0 (except Monuments), you lose.

It really is a neat mechanic.


Game Summary: Since this is my 2nd game and I lost the last time, I played the beginner game, where you add 1 to your starting developments tracks (Destiny, Religion, and Economy). I didn't think it would make that big of a difference, but it really does.

I also got lucky with the card distribution. There are cards that say if you have an army on it's last track, you can spend a specified development (Religion/Economy/Destiny) to "pacify" it, which removes it from the game and scores extra victory points. As a bonus, you don't have to worry about it attacking you, giving you a breather. The Arabs, the most powerful force, started on the #3 space. I drew an opportunity to pacify them, and I spent all of my actions and armies with each roll to push them back and then get them off of the board. That helped immensely. Most of the time when I drew these, I had a force pretty deep, so I was able to pacify 4 forces.

This game has an interesting mechanism on forces: it says "all slowest" and that means, you find out which force is the farthest from the center and ALL forces at that distance move one. I manipulated it, to make sure I never had two at the farthest distance. It is a lesson you learn once...maybe twice.

During the last Epoch, the enemy forces are more powerful and start closer. The Mongols started on #2 and they moved in with gunpowder and then were laying siege. With the -1 DRM that means I needed to roll a 6. I had my walls at maximum, but that meant I had 6 rolls to roll a 6 and then hope I can get them built back up quickly...and I rolled a 6 on the first roll! No wall damage.

That was as close as I got to losing...well, I did have armies and religion down to "1" a couple of times and was hoping I wouldn't flip over a card that reduced them.

On the last card, I had 3 actions, and no need to push anybody back, so I spent 3 rolls on monuments with a +1 from economy and scored 2 more. At the end, I believe I had 73 points (?), but it was the highest range: crushing victory.

If not for my starting position, I wouldn't have been able to pacify a couple of armies, and that probably would have tilted the balance against me.


Conclusion: It's a good game. I had it in my top 10 State of Siege games on my Top 10 lists Geeklist. It is better than some of the established games. It only has 30 cards, hence it has small tracks. With the few cards, sometimes, it takes the AI time to swap an army, so it doesn't seem like they move as much as they should, allowing me to pour actions into building up my developments.

In other words, it may need a touch more development. These games are supposed to be really tough to win. Maybe knocking it down a notch would do just that, but then again, my starting position did help me win.

It's a worthwhile game. If you can do the PnP thing, you should look at it, especially if you like these type of games. It really does need a publisher.

11 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
20. Board Game: Don't Tread On Me: The American Revolution Solitaire Board Game [Average Rating:8.05 Overall Rank:4808]
Judd Vance
United States
Wichita
Kansas
flag msg tools
Every Man a (K-State) Wildcat!
badge
"Just get that sucka to the designated place at the designated time and I will gladly designate his ass...for dismemberment!" - Sho Nuff.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
November 20

Game: Don't Tread On Me
Publisher: White Dog Games (2014)
Designer: Ben Madison
Edition: First Edition (Only)

Past Experience with game: I got this at BGG Con 2014. I knew it existed and when I saw it at a booth for $25 -- a solitaire game on my favorite topic? Yeah, I couldn't pass it up.

I played this at the last Barteus Con and won.


Game Play: It is based on the Vietnam Solitaire system. You are the British. America is broken into 5 regions, each with 4 subsections ("counties"). Outside of each one is a sea zone. Each turn, smugglers may be randomly placed there. You receive money each turn that you use to purchased units from your force pool, attack smugglers, perform naval transport, or attempt to buy loyalty.

The rebels receive units from smugglers and through militia that pop up on the board, as well as campaigns. Your goal is to control 3 regions (that means no rebels in any any county), with one region having to be a pre-selected "target" at the start of the turn, according to a chart. If you fail, the Liberty meter goes up 1. If it reaches 9, you lose.

Note: I used Chris Dorrell's alternate map, available here and the 2nd version of the rules available for download on White Dog's website.

The game is kind of like whac-a-mole: you try to enact your plan, but the rebels pull off a lucky victory or a well-timed major campaign to screw you up.


Game Summary: Last time I played, I pulled a huge upset at the Battle of Concord, which set me up to EASILY control the early target region (New England). This time, the feisty rebels destroyed me and jumped out to a quick 2 point move with Liberty.

But once Lord North decided New York was the key, I moved in and did a good job of securing the mid-Atlantic region. The New Englanders moved down to New York for a fight, and I shipped in a few divisions of red coats to secure New England and then when they pulled some of their New York forces for an ill-fated attack on Quebec, I cleaned up what was left in New York. I had a stranglehold on New England, New York, and the Mid-Atlantic, thus, slowing the march of liberty to a crawl.

However, the rebels were massing their forces in Virginia and the Carolinas. George Washington then planned a bold attack on the New York wilderness and won a decisive victory. Lord North decided the war should shift south, however, the American cavalry (Light Horse Harry Lee, father of Robert E.) would not let me force march: he harassed my troops moving south. The Americans secured the coastline, and I could not get in. Liberty started its march and I could not stop it.

To compound the problems, wars in India, Gibraltar, and the Caribbean were pulling my forces away. Finally, I tried to move on to Virginia and took a crushing defeat and as a last ditch effort, finally got a toe hold on Carolina, before Washington and his cursed French Allies destroyed my forces down there, and pushed liberty beyond the point of no return.


Conclusion: I am torn on this game. Mechanically and historically, it is fabulous. It so buries Vietnam: Solitaire, that I traded that game away. It seems like a watered-down version of this, even though it came first.

This game captures more history than any other game on the topic, including my beloved Washington's War. This is accomplished through headline events and random events along with numerous mechanics in the game. The overall battle strategy is very abstract.

The weakness of the game is that it is LONG. I spend about 6 hours on this. Part of it, was re-learning the game, but the rules are clear and smooth. The game is very procedural, so after a couple of turns, you are quickly moving along. You follow the expanded sequence of play player card and it is tough to mess up. It doesn't drag, by any means, but it is LONG! And when you play, it feels like you have played a long time. It is very fun and it is a brilliant design, but it's one I don't get to the table often because I often don't feel like it.

The other thing, and this is just me, is that when I re-read the rules, it gets my blood boiling. This is my favorite topic. The rules are great. The designer notes (in pink boxes) are not. I swore the designer was a British homer, but he's not. I wonder how a person could hate his own country so much or maybe he's just trolling (if so, well done). It's not a matter of a difference of opinion, it is out-right propaganda and fallacy, especially the sections about the poor British POWs, the ungrateful colonists who didn't want to pay their fair share, and the supposed duplicitous nature of the Franco-American treaty. Keep in mind, none of this affects game play in the slightest, it just really pisses me off. His recommended reading left something to be desired, as well.

But not so much that I'm not going to say it's not a fabulous and brilliant design.

14 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
21. Board Game: D-Day at Omaha Beach [Average Rating:8.26 Overall Rank:464]
Judd Vance
United States
Wichita
Kansas
flag msg tools
Every Man a (K-State) Wildcat!
badge
"Just get that sucka to the designated place at the designated time and I will gladly designate his ass...for dismemberment!" - Sho Nuff.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
November 21

Game: D-Day at Omaha Beach
Publisher: Decision Games (2009)
Designer: John Butterfield
Edition: First Edition (2009)

Past Experience with game: Back in 2011, this was HOT. It was out of print and the price shot up. DG had a few games in the warehouse and I jumped in and bought one. It took me about 18 months to get to the table, but this was my 5th time. The last time was the previous Barteus Con.


Game Play: This game does not use dice. Each turn you get a limited amount of actions. When enemy units fire, it is based on if there are one or two counters on the location, what color it is, and what color and type of marker is in your hex. If you are color blind, stay far away from this game.

Beyond that, it is hard to describe. Probably best to watch a review video.

Game Summary: Last time I played this, I found out I messed up a couple of rules, so I reviewed that. I played through and won. I pushed up the middle and got lucky that the Germans green units weren't firing until I overran them. I pushed right up that spot and took the main road, while avoiding the gun placements on the right.

Pretty sure I played it wrong, but didn't really care.


Conclusion: This game is a something of a modern day solitaire masterpiece. The thing is, I don't like it. The more I play it, the less I like it. The epiphany was tonight. I understand the basics and those basics don't really do it for me. I don't care to study it in detail and I don't care to study the extended game. There's not enough fun factor to entice me. That may also have to do with not being a big fan of the topic. The only other D-Day game I have is D-Day Dice which is really Yahtzee with a light D-Day theme. I guess I'd rather play a Memoir scenario, or something like Breakout: Normandy where D-Day is a single impulse or two.

This is the #4 ranked wargame on BGG, but it's not the first highly ranked game I have not liked: Combat Commander: Europe, Twilight Struggle, No Retreat! The Russian Front, and COIN games all fit the bill. I guess I march to my own drummer or I'm one of those pretentious hipsters that doesn't like what the crowd does: that doesn't bode well for the copy of Here I Stand I have coming in the mail.

Butterfield is a master of solitaire, but not for me. I much prefer his 2-player Hell's Highway. Last Barteus Con, I realized Ambush! (another Butterfield solitaire masterpiece) wasn't for me and I put it on the trading block. This time it was this game. I'll either trade it or put it up in a pay it forward and it will make somebody else happy, so all's well that ends well.

Just weird coincidences, but tonight was a really unfulfilling experience.

12 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
22. Board Game: Levée en Masse [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:4077]
Judd Vance
United States
Wichita
Kansas
flag msg tools
Every Man a (K-State) Wildcat!
badge
"Just get that sucka to the designated place at the designated time and I will gladly designate his ass...for dismemberment!" - Sho Nuff.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
November 22

Game: Levee en Masse
Publisher: Victory Point Games (2010)
Designer: John Welch
Edition: First Edition (2010)

Past Experience with game: Last year (2016), I traded for the 1st edition of Zulus on the Ramparts! and the expansion. It was cool, so I acquired the Gold Banner edition in the BGG Con Math Trade. That made my other copy expendable, so when I saw this pop up in a Pay it Forward, I jumped on it, and traded away my 1st edition of Zulus. Interesting tidbit: my copy came from Barteus, the founder of this convention.


Game Play: It's a State of Siege game, meaning you have armies pushing on tracks toward a center location. You receive actions that you can use to push back and you are trying to get through the deck.

This is very basic application of the system, but it has a couple of good ideas. One is the political track: it has Monarchy, Despotism, and Republicanism. The first two are bad and the last is good. If the good one is ahead of the others, you get +1 DRM on your attempts to push back enemy fronts on land (not at sea). The fronts go from -1 to 4. The number you need to best in your die roll to move the track (up or down) is NOT on the marker, but rather, it is the number on the track where the marker resides, so if it is on the "2" space, you need to roll 3+, and like all State of Siege games, "1" is a failure, even if the marker is on -1 or 0. Like many of these games with tracks, cards push them up and down. Some cards say "Reaction" and that means if one track (and only one) is higher than the others, it goes down 1 and if one track (and only one) is lower that the others, it raises one. If you have a tie for best or worst, the tied tracks don't move.

Many of the cards force you to place an unrest marker on Paris. The marker has a "2" value on it. You spend an action and roll greater than it to remove it. If you don't at the end of the turn, Republicanism falls 1 point. However, if Republicanism is on 3 or 4, you can spend the action and forego the die roll to remove the marker.

Each time an enemy army enters Paris, you get one free action to roll against it to push it back.

The other good idea is on the British track: you can make attacks at sea with your navy. You must roll 5 or 6 to succeed. The 4th location is "at sea," but if the British army is in the 1 and 2 location can be pushed back normally, or you can try a naval attack to cut their supply and if you succeed, it retreats 2 locations.

You also have liberty markers that act like fortresses in many other State of Siege games. You roll to place it and it can potentially stop an advancing army.

This game assumes you will fail, as the French did historically, but you score the level of failure based on how negative your score. You get points for placing liberty markers farther away on a track and getting Republicanism up high and Despotism and Monarchy down low and keeping the unrest marker out of Paris and keeping the armies on the 3+ locations.

Game Summary: Early on, it was easy-peasy. I go all out to inactivate Prussia and that keeps them out most of the game. I place my "3" liberty marker on the "4" space of Prussia hoping they'll stay out for a long time. Fortunately, they stay out until the last epoch and then the front does a good job of keeping them from advancing.

I placed the weaker "2" liberty marker on the "3" location of Austria. It rarely keeps the Austrians at bay, but I manage to keep pushing them back and then when I get a card that will take them out of the game, I go all out to push them back and succeed.

Most of the game was spent with the other three armies in the "1" location and me making sure Republicanism is out in front. I figure Despotism is going to make a mad push at the end because of Napoleon, but when it starts at 0, it simply cannot take the lead.

At the start of the 3rd epoch, I figure I am going to lose: all 3 armies move into Paris and Despotism (3) pushes ahead of Republicanism (2) and I have disorder in Paris. My free rolls all succeed and I spend my rolls getting Republicanism back on top. I held my breath and dodged the bullet, but then got on top of things. I hit some hot rolls to keep the armies at bay and spend extra rolls keeping Monarchy and Despotism tied and extremely low (tied, so a "Reactionary" card wouldn't move them).

Then on the last few cards, I had the tracks maxed out to the extremes and pounded the British and forced the armies back and coasted to victory. +31 VPs when +1 is considered victory. Viva le France!

Napoleon went back home to play catch with Uncle Rico and become Pedro's Vice President.


Conclusion: I like the game. It is by the same designer who made Cruel Necessity and he understands how to apply the system to make good history. This is one of the easier games in the system but clever enough to stand out.

I got real fortunate with the card distribution and the die rolls: hitting them when I needed. I can see this one being a real challenge as I lost the last time I played it.

12 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
23. Board Game: A.D. 30 [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:4982]
Judd Vance
United States
Wichita
Kansas
flag msg tools
Every Man a (K-State) Wildcat!
badge
"Just get that sucka to the designated place at the designated time and I will gladly designate his ass...for dismemberment!" - Sho Nuff.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
November 23

Game: A.D. 30
Publisher: Victory Point Games (2012)
Designer: Tom Decker
Edition: First (boxed)

Past Experience with game: I got this in 2013. The topic put it on my radar. It's tough to pull off the topic and make it fun and not sacrilegious. I did my research. (Pastor) Joel Toppen's video pushed it ahead. I play it pretty much every Thanksgiving -- what better game, right? I've played it in the church lobby from time to time while my kids were at choir practice.


Game Play: It's not "officially" a State of Siege game, probably because you are not under siege (ya think?) but the DNA is all over the game. A card moves units on a track toward impending doom: in this case it is Pilate, Herod, and Caiaphas and they are moving toward Jerusalem on a track numbered 1 through 6. If you aren't familiar with them, it's too long for me to explain, but grab a Bible and point it toward the book of John and you'll see them. If any of these three chaps end a turn in Jerusalem, the game ends.

Next on the card is a certain number of actions to take and finally it may or may not force the Jesus marker toward Jerusalem. The locations on this track are The River Jordan, the Desert, Galilee, Bethany, and Gethsemane. The actions you are allowed to take are determined by your location. Those actions are:

Pray: This pushes a piety marker up or down a track between 0 and 6. If it gets to 0, you lose. To advance it, you must roll higher than the number it is on. When the Jesus marker enters the desert, this moves down two on the track. Certain event cards will have you make a check to see if it goes up or down. If the Piety marker is on 5 or 6, you flip the Jesus marker to the "3" side. If it is lower than 5, you flip it to the "4" side.

Recruit: There are 12 inverted markers (or in my case, I threw them all in a cup), each with an apostle's name on it along with 4 "Followers" markers. When you take this action, you draw two and select the one you want. If it is an apostle, you place it in the "Recruited Apostles" box, where they can do good stuff, and score you VPs in the end (gotta have em all!). If you select a "Follower" marker, you remove it from play. This action can only be taken at the River Jordan space: the last space on the track.

Teach: Similar to recruit, except you must roll for success against the number on the Jesus marker, and if you succeed, you draw only one marker. That is why it is good to get rid of those "Follower" markers when you recruit. It's hard enough to succeed here without drawing one of those duds (you don't have to dice to Recruit).

Wander: Don't like where Jesus is at on the track? Dice against the number on his marker to move to the left (away from Jerusalem).

Reduce Threat: This is how you keep Pilate, Caiaphas, and Pilate out of Jerusalem. Pick a threat (dude) and roll a die and if it exceeds the number on his counter, you move it up one space.

Send out apostles: Place an apostle counter on one of the threatening dudes. When that dude is instructed to advance (via the event card), first, roll a die. If the number is less than or equal to the rating on the apostle, he doesn't move. If it is greater than the number on the apostle's counter, he still doesn't move, but you roll again: if it is 1, the apostle is killed and removed from play. Anything else, and he goes back to the "Recruited Apostles" box. If the apostle's number is "1", it gives you +1 DRM when you try the "Reduce Threat" action. If you perform enough "reduce threat" actions to push that threat up to one of the two farthest spaces on the track from Jerusalem and you automatically move the apostle back over to the "Recruited Apostles" box.

Perform Miracles: This is a kind of 3-card monty type of mechanic. There are 9 inverted markers. When you take this action, you flip over two and leave them showing. Whenever two match, you have the option of removing the pair of markers and gaining the bonus. You then grab a pair of "No match" markers from off-board place them with the remaining 7, invert them all, and shuffle them. The bonuses will place Barrabas is Jerusalem (needed for victory) or flips one of the three threat markers to a reduced level (for instance, it flips Pilate from his "5" side to his "3" side, making it much easier to reduce that threat).

When the Judas Iscariot apostle is recruited, he goes on his own track and is moved toward Jerusalem.

Whenever you perform the pray, teach, or wander action, if you fail the die roll, you place a "+1" DRM marker down. If you fail a 2nd roll, you flip it to the "Automatic success" side where you spend the action and don't roll. (Note: this does not work for moving the Pilate, Caiaphas, and Herod markers.

If the Jesus marker is in Gethsemane, only the Pray and Wander action can be taken, but they are automatically successful (ergo, praying in the Garden of Gethsemane).

Once Jesus or one of the threats ends up in Jerusalem, the game ends immediately. There is a procedure at that point that can advance other markers, but basically, to pull it off right, you need the Barabbas marker there (through the "Perform Miracles" section), Judas Iscariot (Recruit or Teach) and the bad guys moving down the threat meter. If memory serves, you need Pilate there for sure and maybe Caiaphas.

Your victory points are "Renown" points and you score them for having certain folks in Jerusalem and then you score them for the value on the apostle's marker in the "recruit apostles" box and the value of the piety meter. You add these up and look at what conditions exist and what your Renown value was and that shows you the level of victory, with the historical value being the max score. The only way to instantly lose is to have the Piety meter go to 0.

So instead of "holding out to the last card in the deck" like most state of siege games, you are really just trying to time thing just so and that can happen before the deck runs out. You could end the game before the deck runs out and score an epic victory and you could get through the deck and perform poorly.

Also, where State of Siege games always have a blurb on the bottom of the cards explaining the history behind the headline event -- and this is why I play so many of these games (for the history lesson), this one has a Bible verse on each card.


Result: Fortunately for the world, salvation does not rest with me.

I always thought this was the easiest of all State of Siege-ish games. I pulled off many epic wins and never really lost. Hey, that's cool. When you play a Jesus game, you like to feel good, right?

Well, um... I've been making a few mistakes, but like Dan says, "If you mess up, your opponent doesn't care." Last Barteus Con, I played 9 State of Siege-ish games with many being the 1st or 2nd time. This time, I have played 11 (so far), many being ones I have played multiple times. You start to see trends and understand decision trees. So when I went through the rules, I immediately had about three "a ha!" moments and saw how this could be much tougher. For instance, keep a better eye on which actions can be performed in which location -- there's a chart on the game board. Another was a rule that said when the Jesus piece enters the desert space, piety goes down two automatically. Woah! That limits the wander action to the River Jordan!

Add in that I played with all of the optional rules and the random deck distribution and I set myself up for failure, actually WANTING to fail (to see that the game is indeed difficult) and fail I did. Epic fail. 12 renown points. The game ended early when Caiaphas moved into Jerusalem. I had 3 actions. I spent the first sending out James the Greater (rating 1) on him to get the +1 DRM (Caiaphas' rating is 3) and I spend the last two actions trying to reduced the threat level on Caiaphas and roll a pair of 2's.


Conclusion: I LOVE this game.

First, the elephant in the room. This game bugs some folks and I get it. No, I don't think I'm Jesus Christ. I'm not very good at being Chester Nimitz or Hannibal Barca, let alone trying to be Jesus. Having the piety marker go to 0 means Jesus fell to temptation, and this bugs people, and understandably so. The way I look at this is like that old line from SNL, "I'm Chevy Chase and you're not." In other words, "Oh you screwed up the salvation of the world? You're no Jesus." You got the piety meter to 0? You should have prayed more. Your priorities were out of whack. Go read your Bible and see how much he prayed. Try again.

In other words, it's a lesson on how everything happened JUST SO to get the historical result. I have an appreciation of the plan because trying to re-create it is difficult.

Obviously, if the topic has no special meaning to you, you won't appreciate it as much as a good slug fest in New France or Roarke's Drift, but if it does have special meaning, and you see it as a lesson in trying to re-create history, there is a real gem here. I give kuddos to the designer for pulling off the theme in an entertaining and extremely challenging way and VPG deserves credit for putting out the game knowing it's going to have limited appeal for different reasons. One other thing to point out: very reasonably priced: I got the boxed version from NWS Online for $21 (regularly priced).

Big ups to my man Chris Taylor (he of Astra Titanus, Imperial Stars II, and Nemo's War fame) who developed the game and is credited on BGG with the artwork: one of which I had in my bedroom growing up! (OK, there's a joke there: see the game board in the picture below).

I jokingly refer to this as "My Jesus wargame" if for no other reason, to see folks' response, but it is one of the most daring and unique games in my collection and now that I know how darned difficult it is to win, I'll be busting it out even more.

9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.