Archive for July, 2011

Wargaming Again?

July 27, 2011

Monday night I played Avalon Hill’s Civil War.  This was quite enjoyable, and you can read my comments about the session through the link above.  I also find myself with Panzergruppe Guderian set up in the spare room, and I’m contemplating getting a couple other wargames.

Further, I ordered A Few Acres of Snow, a new Martin Wallace game about the French and Indian War.  It hasn’t arrived yet.  But I am enjoying reading all the commentary about it on BGG.  Apparently lots of folks like it, and it seems to be a blend of wargame and Dominion.  I wouldn’t have guessed I would be interested in this one, as I’ve only played Dominion once (ok, nothing all that motivating either way), and had a rough experience with Martin Wallace’s Waterloo (prior 2p wargame effort).

But indeed, the theme enticed, and the idea of porting a Dominion type game mechanism over to a proper board game did catch my interest.  Also, it’s Martin Wallace, and even if I don’t end up loving his new games, they are almost always worth a few plays for me.






Guderian alone

July 23, 2011

Today I cleaned our front room.  It’s the room in our home that tends to accrue clutter.  It was too hot outside to do much, so I opted to be productive inside after a brief hour of yard work, which was finished by 9 a.m.

By noon I had put the room to rights, and after a trip to Good Will to dispose of some of the clutter, and a stop at Subway for a sandwich, I had the afternoon gloriously open before me.  With a date to meet friends at the baseball game this evening, it didn’t seem auspicious for getting friends to come by for a game.  But with the newly cleaned room available, I set up a card table and laid out Panzergruppe Guderian.

I have played Panzergruppe Guderian once.  But that was at least 3 years ago, and my opponent who taught the game wasn’t around today.  So I took it slow, reading the rules carefully.  Although Avalon Hill rates this as an introductory wargame (4 on their 1-10 complexity scale), I found some of the concepts hard to fully comprehend.  Fortunately I could draw on my prior game experience.  Even so, I made myself a couple of player aids – the turn sequence, and some reminders on supply and overruns.

I only completed 2 of the 12 turns.  But I have left the game set up, and anticipate playing more tomorrow.  Since this room is largely unused by us otherwise, I can likely leave it set up for an extended period of time if I wish.  Panzergruppe Guderian uses  untried strength for the Soviet forces.  So this makes it quite appropriate for solitaire gaming.

I have not been playing many wargames of late.  But I still like them, and suspect playing Panzergruppe Guderian solitaire may be quite fun.

Memoir ’44 Online

July 17, 2011

Recently I’ve been playing the online implementation of Memoir ’44.  And I gotta say that I’m enjoying it!  Despite our annual game of Memoir ’44 over Labor Day weekend, I have generally spent much more effort collecting this game set rather than playing it.

So it is nice to actually get to play some of these scenarios.  The implementation is very good, and the people I’ve had as opponents have ranged from friendly to polite.  I suspect I will keep playing this for a while.  If you decide to check it out I have the clever user name of  “kevin_whitmore”.  Look me up and we’ll have a match!

“B&O”ne Headed

July 14, 2011

Tuesday night Chester brought B&O back for another play at the game club.  I was pleased to get into the game, as I had missed it the other time he brought it.  I then proceeded to make a bone-headed first play.  So entirely stupid that I basically threw the game away.  I tried to be a good sport and just played to improve my position.  Which I did, but still finished a distant 5th in our game.  I’d be interested in trying again, but I sensed enthusiasm for this game has waned quickly.

In other news, I enjoyed my 10 minute game of Meander on Tuesday night.  I owned Meander back in 2001 thru 2004, but eventually removed it from my collection.  Seven years later I realized I missed it, so I now own it again.  I intend to hang on to it from now on.  It’s a remarkable game, for its chunky pieces, and that you end the game with a gravity test!  Check it out on BGG if you’ve never seen this one.

A second play of 18NEB

July 4, 2011

Chester and Alex came over today for a game of 18NEB, an 18xx game set in Nebraska.  As I have written before, 18xx games currently command the top spot in my gaming preferences these days.  But these games tend to be long, too long for a typical weeknight game session.  So I look forward to these occasional weekend sessions.

Chester and I had played 18NEB earlier this year with a visitor from out-of-state.  While I had won that game, I did not kid myself.  I had no strong recollection of being especially creative in that victory.  Indeed, Chester told me today he felt he had screwed the other player late in the game, which handed me that victory.

One nice feature of 18NEB is that is a compact 18xx game.  Generally speaking I seem to have some of the bigger and longer titles in the series.  We had holiday celebrations to conduct later in the day, so a shorter game of 18NEB fit our needs nicely.

Another feature of 18NEB is the brutal use of tokens.  I was the first to do this, but certainly not the last.  In this game small villages upgrade into single slot green cities.  I was operating the Misouri Pacific, which was stuffed away in a corner of the board.  To break out, I jumped on a small town stop of the Union Pacific’s route, upgrading it to green, and placing a token to ensure I had some additional liberties.  But this also meant I bisected the UP’s route, which I am sure did not please Alex.

The game has room for stock shenanigans, although we saw little of that.  The incremental capitalization of the railroads means everyone can easily launch a company.  I chose to launch 2 right from the start.  (I’m not sure that was the best decision, though.)  Despite the 2D stock market, I still found myself feeling this was much more of a route-planning game.  I like that aspect of the game.  With the more 1825-like tile upgrades for small towns, I feel there is a lot of room for creativity in the board-play.

I look forward to playing this nice title again!

A re-visit to Liberté

July 3, 2011

I played Liberté for the first time back in 2004.  I didn’t much care for it, and I never got back to it.  I traded my copy away, and pursued other games.  As it happened, Liberté went out of print, but the author, Martin Wallace, began to build quite the oeuvre of games noted for their flavorsome themes, integrated mechanics and deep strategic replay values.  Liberté began to take on the status of a “grail game”.  (A game many people wanted but could not afford or find.)

Simultaneously I had developed an esteem for the games of Martin Wallace.  And with the passage of time, I realized my tastes in games had significantly shifted from where I was in 2004 when I had last tried Liberté.  So earlier this year, I was able to trade for a copy of this game.  As it turns out I ended up getting a first edition, which pleased me.  Apparently a second edition had come out, suddenly making this game no longer quite so valuable.  Whatever the circumstance, I was happy to get the Warfrog edition, as their spartan graphic style appeals to me.

So we played this game last week.  We struggled a bit to absorb the rules, but as is so often the case, we found the play of the game easier than expected.  Not surprisingly we did muff a couple of rules, but the game was largely played as intended, and if we play again I think we can correct our understanding of the rules going forward.

My original assessment was the game was a sea of color, and too much to process.  There are three faction colors and up to 6 player colors.  In our game we had just 4 players, which cut back on the amount to process.  For whatever reason, this time I was able to read the board much more easily.  So my chief complaint from before was not bothering me so much.  And thus I felt I was able to better assess what the game was trying to do.

My sense is that you are trying to ride a surfboard.  You want to be the chief backer of whichever political party is going to lead the government.  If that seems impossible, then you want to be the second honcho of the ruling party, or the head honcho of the opposition.  Seeing which party is likely to be on top means you have to assess the board.  Stacks of faction blocks topped with player markers quickly fill the board, creating a swath of color to decipher.  I would totally understand if a player declared they would not care to do this.

But I actually enjoyed myself a fair bit with this game, and hope to play again relatively soon to cement my understanding of how to play.