Archive for October, 2010


October 31, 2010

I recently listed a number of games being released at the Essen SPIEL festival.  I opined on why I might be interested in getting them.  I have largely dismissed them, with a couple of exceptions.  Here’s my current thinking:

 1860: Railways on the Isle of Wight – I took the plunge on this one.  After so many years of being enticed by this one, I couldn’t say no.

The Great Fire of London 1666 – Remarks offered on this game have ranged from pretty good to very good.  But mostly I sense it isn’t the strong game I was thinking, and the component issues are a turn off.

Hansa Teutonica – East Expansion – I may still get this.  But I am feeling that HT is winding down at the club.

London – I still want this one.  But if I get a chance to play it first I could change my mind.

Mali Powstancy – Nah – Seems like a whim, which I will resist.

Memoir ’44: Winter Wars – I have a complete set (2x).  Automatic buy.

Mord im Arosa – Another whim.  I might still go for this one, maybe not.

Na Grunwald: rycerze króla Jagiełły – Another whim, no.

Poseidon – I will wait for some discussion.  Maybe.

Power Grid: Russia and Japan – Probably not.

Railroad Barons – No.

a la carte – the dessert expansion – Probably, but I am not going to import this.  If it shows up domestically I will order (and for you, Rob).

Hinkel & Stein – No, interesting to read about it, but I will pass.

String Railroad – Sounds fun, and innovative.  I am unwilling to import from Japan, so it is also a maybe -if the chance to buy domestically appears.


and if time allows… METEO

October 25, 2010


We;re scheduled to finish our Agricola/Farmers of the Moor game tonight.  I think that will go quickly, and I am hoping the boys will go for METEO.  What is METEO, you ask?

Well, it is a game about the weather!  Finally a solution to the often posed rant:  “Everyone complains about the weather, but no one does anything it.”  Well tonight – we take action!

Found at Essen

October 21, 2010


(Sorry, I took the photo down, due to file limits on this account.)

We’ve played a LOT of Chili Spiele’s games Neue Heimat and The Climbers.  Although Cobra was a non-starter.  I’ve heard ZERO about Hinkel & Stein so far.


October 18, 2010

The annual Essen game fair is due to start very soon.  I had the pleasure of attending this festival back in 2004.  While a highlight of my trip to Germany, I have a relatively low interest in returning to the SPIEL festival.  Instead, I enjoy reading about the new games and scanning for a few that may call my name.  The upside to this is that it is far cheaper to buy a few games than to fly to Germany.

1860: Railways on the Isle of Wight – I’m undecided on this.  It’s not like we really need another 18xx game around here.  It’s long-term rarity, and the comparisons to 1825 do cause some interest.

The Great Fire of London 1666 – Seems like a great theme.  I will likely get this based on the theme, the high regard I am reading for it, and the fact that it is by JKLM – sort of.  While I would never pre-order a game from JKLM, I do find their editorial judgement is a good fit for my tastes.

Hansa Teutonica – East Expansion – While I do weary of expansions, this one is appealing.  I tend to like the “new map” sort of expansions.  Hansa Teutonica is turning out to be my personal game of 2010.  So a new map would be fun.

London – The new Martin Wallace Treefrog game.  Several folks, whose opinions I respect seem excited by this one.  I am highly likely to get this one.

Mali Powstancy – Translates to “Little Insurgents”.  Obscure route-running game with a quirky theme.  Players are resistance message runners in Warsaw dodging the Nazis.  I would like to try this one before buying, which is likely impossible.

Memoir ’44: Winter Wars – Another Memoir ’44 expansion?  Sold!

Mord im Arosa – Yet another clever Zoch game.  Seems like a “cube tower mystery”.  I can’t quite make out if this is a deduction game or more of a press your luck sort of game.  I am tempted by this one.

Na Grunwald: rycerze króla Jagiełły – Another Polish game.  May or may not be worthy.  I doubt I go for this one, as supplies seem very tight.

Poseidon – A variation on 18xx, set in ancient Greece, using sea routes.  Supposedly a 2 hour game… Color m interested.

Power Grid: Russia and Japan – Maybe.  We don’t play Power Grid the way we used to.

Railroad Barons – 18xx the cardgame, for 2 players.  While provocative, I will likely pass on this one.  I never play 2 player games, it seems.  And if I did, I cannot imagine I’d ask for a cardgame.

a la carte – the dessert expansion – Adds the materials to allow 5 to play, and a few extras.  I will probably cave and get this.

We’ll see what I really do.  I have pre-ordered nothing.  It’s not like I need any new games…

New Game Store for Albuquerque!

October 12, 2010

Ares Wargames Grand Opening, Ribbon Cutting & Open House Saturday, October 16th from 11AM 3301 Menaul NE, Suite 18 Albuquerque, NM 87107

Ares Wargames, 3301 Menaul Boulevard NE, combines the most comprehensive inventory of historical, sci-fi and fantasy gaming in New Mexico with a professional atmosphere, 4,000 square foot of gaming space, and exceptional customer service. Games are delivered on a variety of platforms including panoramic Eye-finity video-game consoles and PCs; in addition, board games, table-top miniatures, role-playing simulation games and collectible card games provide options for both the casual and advanced gamer.
The Ares experience makes gaming social in a museum-like atmosphere. Customize your visit with a private game room reservation for your board game or role-playing scenario; sign up for one of the many classes or guest lecture events at Ares; join the VIP Latinum Club, the Member club, or the free beverage club for discounts.

At Ares Wargames a clean and safe environment welcomes life-long gamers as well as newcomers. You’ll find products for your favorite games, special-order options and exciting events to combine hobby and community.

What to expect:
Comic Con Ladies (Models dressed as heroines from Comic Books/Feature Films)
Star Wars and Star Trek characters
Historical Re-enactors (WWII and US Civil War)
US Marine Corps Recruiters
Exciting gaming tournaments across all genres (science fiction, historical, and fantasy) and types of gaming (networked gaming, board games, miniatures, and collectible card games)

Some of the event highlights (each tournament entry fee is only $5)

Saturday,  Oct 16th

NCAA Football Console gaming all day
10am till Noon Counterstrike Tournament
11AM Ribbon Cutting
11am Flames of War Escalation League
11:30AM Warhammer Fantasy Battles Tournament 2500pts
Lord of the Rings Demo–Balin’s Tomb Scenario
12noon till 2pm Civilization 5 Tournament
2pm till 4pm Starcraft2 Tournament
4pm till 6pm Counterstrike Tournament
5pm Dead Lands RPG demo
6pm till 8pm Civilization 5 Tournament
8pm till 10pm Starcraft2 Tournament
Magic State “After-Party” Event

Sunday,  Oct 17 th

1pm Napoleons Battles:  Waterloo
Madden ’11 console gaming all day
10:10am till 8:30pm Warhammer 40k Tournament 2000pts
1pm till 3pm East Indian Company Tournament (Age of Sail, real-time strategy game)
4pm till 7pm Civilization 5 Tournament
5pm Death Dealers Battletech Campaign
L5R Tournament

Workshop of the World… needs work

October 11, 2010

A long time ago I played a game called History of the World.  It was long.  It was good.  Years later we still played History of the World, but Hasbro had put out a pretty newer edition with lots of plastic pieces.  Oooh – cool!  But Hasbro stopped making the pretty piece edition, and its value went way high.  I got greedy and sold my plastic piece edition for lots of money, and bought more games with my proceeds.  But I missed it, so I found an old copy of the first Avalon Hill edition with nice cardboard counters.  But I never played it.  The old timers didn’t want to play History of the World anymore, and the newer friends either wanted to play on the plastic piece edition, or just play something more modern.

Then the authors, with the provocative name of “the Ragnar Brothers” released “Fire and Axe“.  Fun game.  Complete with cool plastic pieces, Vikings running amok, and I was thrilled with this new game from the authors of History of the World.  So then I got curious, what else had they done?

Backpacks and BlistersKings and Castles – 1500 Gold.   I tried them, and while each had something interesting to offer, I began to realize the Ragnar’s were not golden.  Some of their games really appealed to me, while others let me cold.  One interesting feature of some of their older games was the tea towel.  Instead of a game board, several of their games feature a printed tea towel.  The Ragnars suggest tossing it in the wash if you spill your beer on the game!  And the towel does seem like a bit of inspiration.  Unfortunately I found the folded edges to never lay flat, so the plastic overlay was generally used.

Then we come to the modern era of Ragnar game releases.  Canal Mania was, I believe, their first effort of producing a modern Euro game that would match up to expected production standards.  They got an attractive box designed, a reasonably good map, and they lost the tea towel for a nice mounted board.  Tiles and cards were generally acceptable.  The game left me a bit cool, but it was reasonably well accepted by the hobby.  It seemed that the Ragnars had arrived!

Next up – Monastery.  A bit of a foul ball.  It’s sort of advanced Carcassonne.  But almost everyone seems deeply sick of Carcassonne.  The playing pieces tended to topple a bit too much, and the theme just wasn’t that enticing for many.

Next – ooh!  A revision to their master piece, now named “A Brief History of the World“.  The game was produced in China, and the cards especially seemed a bit substandard.  But the board was lovely and the box design was fine.  Oddly the rules seemed to be a bit under written, surprising for a game that has had three prior editions.

Now up – Workshop of the World – What happened here?  Several decisions were made in the production of this game that seem like rookie mistakes.  In this game you make in-the-fist bids with coins.  Surely including coins bigger than some players hands must have seemed like a poor decision to someone?  The graphic design of the board is VERY BLOCKY.  Lots of solid primary colors.  Player colors and non-player board colors have no reason to be the same, but they are.  The playing pieces must be placed on top of important game information marked on the board.  So players must constantly shift pieces to see game info.  Shifting the pieces is also dodgy, as the game employs tall cylinders, which are easy to knock over, and then they roll.

Workshop of the World does seem like a decent game.  But the production qualities are horrendous, and actually interfere with the gameplay.  If the Ragnars were releasing their first game, I would just chalk it up to inexperience.  But these guys have been releasing games on their own label for 20 years.  I don’t understand how they allowed these sorts of stupid errors to creep into a game.

I remain a Ragnar fan, but Workshop of the World is not their best effort.

Too Many Games?

October 3, 2010

Combined these two lists represent 42 unplayed or underplayed games I own.  That’s more games than the entire size of my collection back in 1987 when I moved to New Mexico.  Back then I owned about 2 dozen games, and boy – did they get played!

Now I own over 300 games, and as you’d expect, they just don’t all get played that much.  While I am a collector, I am more of a player.  Owning games does give me some joy.  I like reading the rules, inspecting the pieces, and preparing player aids.  But ultimately a game needs playing for me to truly appreciate it.

The shelves are getting full again, and I am beginning to consider what I will purge.