Insert generic podcast description here. Espana 1936, Alien Frontiers, Storm Over Stalingrad, Paths of Glory, Julius Caesar, Hearts and Minds, Historicon 2011, A Game of Thrones, Ann Coulter, Bernard Montgomery, card-driven games, the World Boardgaming Championships, Force on Force, Seven Wonders, Wrath of Arshadolon, Columbia Games, insert funny way to end podcast description here.
Enjoy, or not!
The Messy Gameroom Episode #6 is up. We talk about Kingmaker, Hammer of the Scots, and Cosmic Encounter.
In episode #20 the guys focus on GMT's latest release, Labyrinth, a somewhat controversial title.
Of course only two individuals as mature as Mike and Marshall could handle such a task with so much aplomb.
The Messy Game Room episode 15, featuring surprise interviews with some of boardgaming's legendary creators. Please be sure to visit our new sponsor.
Mike and Marshall give you their thoughts on a range of topics, including Here I Stand, E3, the beach, and some other stuff.http://www.messygameroom.libsyn.com/
For better or worse (but mostly worse). Episode 2 of The Messy Game Room is back up! Take a listen and enjoy!
After a discussion with friends that there are no moustaches in space, a challenge was set to find a calendar of men in sci-fi movies with moustaches. The criteria for entry is hard, as there must be no other hair on the face except for the upper lip (with occasional spreading), so no goatees, soul patches, full beards, etc. (which unfortunately disqualifies some great ones, such as Ming the Merciless).
Mr January: Lando Calrissian
Mr February: Moonpie
Mr March: Blaine
Mr April: Wikus
Mr May: Zed
Mr June: Art Land
Mr July: Doctor Yueh
Mr August: Lt Coffey
Mr September: Peter Martin
Mr October: Ray Arnold
Mr November: Shepherd Book
Mr December: Prince Barin
The original theory still holds though, as only 4 of the 12 are in space. There must be something about launch or re-entry that tends to rip the 'tache off your face.
A recent post on the discussion about the "meh" factor of Age of Conan got me thinking that alot of discussions tend to fall back into the same old classic Ameritrash games over and over. With a few exceptions, they are almost universally the classics that have been remarked on for decades as great games and are still played over and over. However, in the last few years, some newer games are beginning to be remarked in the same haughty tones. I guess the simple question is - What newer AT games (not remakes) will we still be playing 10+ years from now.
I'm a little disappointment to learn that I don't think there are that many. Of course, if I go back and pick a small period of the late 1970s or early 1980s, only a handful of great games came out in that small period as well.
War of the Ring - Popular Theme? Check. Innovative Mechanics? Check. Tight Gameplay? Check. If anyone ever played the 1970s SPI games after a few years, then this will remain popular for years to come.
Twilight Imperium 3 - Its such a big game and the expansion possibilities still exist. There are also a few rough edges so I suspect we will see a TI4 at some point. Hence, I'd suspect the gameplay would hold it up over the years, I think a new version would catapult this one to the back of the closet.
Battlestar Galactica - The choice I'm most comfortable with. Popular Theme? Check (excepting the final episode and I have several friends who refuse to play this as a result of that shit). Innovative Mechanics? Check. Tight Gameplay? Check.
Descent: Journeys in the Dark - At the end of the day, Descent is the current interpretation of Heroquest, Talisman, and every other dungeon crawl game thats ever been made. As it stands, its the biggest and most complete before you cross into actual roleplaying. [Of course, D&D4e and WFRP3e are moving closer and closer to its direction but thats a different discussion]. In that respect, I suspect that it will be hard for a publisher to make a heavier , close to roleplaying but not actually roleplaying game than Descent and as a result, it will be the touchpoint for that style of game for years to come.
Some good games came out but I stronly suspect that they won't last the test of time.
Betrayal of House on the Hill
Last Night on Earth
Essen for me and my friends is a way to try out as many new games as possible. Only three hours drive away, we have turned it into a three day holiday, leaving early on Friday, staying at a hotel somewhere outside town and spending the early part of Sunday in a roadside restaurant to play before heading home. In this way we managed to get a good feel of a lot of games just released at Essen. It may prove of some interest to you.
I will give Age of Conana blog of its own.
We managed to get in a few rounds of Battle Star Galacticajust before the show closed on Saturday. I was convinced by the feel, the story lines, differing character traits and the constant menace of the Cylons. There is enough for different types of players to go with. Tactical combat for the pilots and more strategic challenges for the military and political players. However, the game had already sold out, so I'll get it through my FNSLGS.
A promising game is Saladin, about the period of his rise to power and defense of his conquests against the 3rd Crusade. If you can find 5 people to play this baby over a weekend, don't hesitate. There are some inspiring features. Different styles of kings: defender of the faith, foreign policy statesman, able domestic ruler. These have effects on how their actions are being "judged by history". Major and minor goals. SPies that report on events before they happen, assassin. Many different troop types. In all, lots of detail and theme.
Another one of the positives for me was Giants. About building the giant statues on Easter Island. Good game. Easy to learn. Beautiful artwork and bits (particularly the Shaman figures!) and lots of interesting interaction between players.
Comrade Koba, a fun and fast card game alike but Much better than Guillotine. It is inspired by the Great Purges in Soviet Russia and exhibits the same cynical view of the world as the guy who lends his name to the game. Your favourites have to end the game near Stalin, but that is also the most dangerous place to be. I also bought another card game by the same author, Supermarket Psycho, but haven´t tried it yet.
Same goes for Dos de Mayo, the mini wargame on the Madrid Revolt in 1808 against Napoleon´s intervention in Spain. Avery fast and asymmetrical game that I want to try out soon. Further unplayed buys: Espana 1936, and With Sword and Shield.
Back to the played new releases: Le Havre, the follow up to Agricola, is quite a fine game in its genre and is different enough to offer an interesting experience. Not exactly earth shaking though.
Confuciusoffered an interesting new mechanism in ´gift giving´, which requires other players to vote in your favour in contests. This can only be undone by sacrificing an official or by returning the gift with an even more splendid one.
I was initially sold on the artwork of the new Polish game Wolsung, but the game drags on to long without any sense of climax or urgency. We suggested they should have a battle with the machines at the end.
Forgettables: Ad Astraby Faidutti, Wind River, Planet Steam(another euro hidden in steam punk art work, we didn´t even care to try). I had Duck Dealerexplained to me, but is a light euro in space game (build up a value enhancement chain).
A special mention is reserved for Heads of State, one of the most uninspired games to be released in the last years, offering very little news in terms of mechanisms and not a stir of life in theme or game play. Yes, this game sux big time. Just collecting cards in the right combinations to put a 'noble' on the map and then scoring for: having 'nobles' in all different countries, having a majority in one country, being number two in one country, being the first to have all different nobles on the table...
This makes a mockery of game design and all it stands for. It displays all the negative traits that give eurogames a bad name. We decided to halt the game halfway so as not to waste more time on it. Thank god I was able to dissuade an unsuspecting prospective buyer.
I also finally bought and played Last Night on Earth, played Galaxy Trucker.
All in all a productive and rewarding weekend.
Review of French Tanks of World War I(Osprey New Vanguard)
by Stephen Zaloga
When we think of WWI we sometimes forget that the French were bearing the brunt of the German onslaught and later of the battles to kick them out again. Similarly, when we think of WWI tanks, we see a British Mark IV tank. However, despite a slightly later start the French came up with their own tank designs, which were first deployed in April 1917 (ie 7 months after the Brits). It was a delirious failure, but the French learned and went back to the drawing table. They then put out thousands of smaller tanks by 1918 defining the future of tank design.
Zaloga's booklet is a fine introduction to development of tanks in France during WWI. The book takes a chronological approach, covering the saga from angles of technology, available resources, tactical considerations and political opposition. From a tactical viewpoint the French first got of the wrong start, building the heavy Schneider and St Chamond tanks, that were too slow, vulnerable and unable to lead the infantry through enemy trenches. Their deployment in the spring 1917 offensive was a disaster. The Renault FT was a much more promising approach, gaining speed and mass. However, competition for scarce strategic resources meant that until the fiasco of the Chemin de Dames the development of the FT was held back. Even then political opposition delayed the programm so that only by spring 1918 did the tank become available in serious numbers.
The German spring offensives then disturbed the training of tank crews and subsequently forced their premature deployment in localised counterattacks, rather than the big breakthrough that the French tank theorist Estienne had envisaged. Nevertheless, on a few occassions in July and September the French were able to deploy close to 400 tanks in one attack. This was not only a triumph of industrial production, but also of battlefield logistics.
However, Zaloga claims the prime determinant of tank success seems to have been training of tank-infantry co-operation. Well trained infantry could achieve excellent results with the Schneider and St Chamond at Malmaison, while infantry needed experience with the Renault to really explore its potential.
On the other hand the ample supply of tanks was of great psychological benefit to the troops. The French high command was very conscious of this after the 1917 mutinies and tried to ensure that as many attacks went in with tank support.
Mechanically, many technical imperfections remained even in the later models so that the operational armoured breakthrough never became a realistic goal. Breakdown rates still ensured half of the forces involved would be hors de combat at the end of the first day and no infrastructure was available to sustain attacks over long distances.
All in all a very readable book with ample illustrations. Zaloga obviously knows his tank stuff. Personal peeve is that most images of the Renault FT are of the American Expeditionary Force, which probably does no harm to the tank types used, but feels a bit strange as the vast majority of tanks was used by the French.
One question that also goes unanswered is how the tank development affected French operational theory. From Verdun on the idea was that artillery conquered terrain and the infantry occupied. Tank tactics must have had an effect on this.
You have no credibility unless you have at least one of each of the following:
1. A game that has had food or liquor spilled on it.
2. A game that you rescued from your parents' basement, attic, or garage.
3. One euro that you still play.
4. One war game that you still play.
5. One AT game that you still play.
6. A game that someone who has never visited BGG knows how to play, and that you still play.
7. A game that is missing pieces that you still play.
8. A game that you gave away to a friend/nephew/niece/charity/etc., and then subsequently replaced.
9. A game that you adore even though the BGG and F:AT communities hate it.
10. A game that you play because everyone you know loves it, even though you hate it.
TRPMGSMT is a mega tournament for Real People cards. Here are the brackets, subject to change:
Each of the games will be video-taped and posted.
There may or may not be a prize.
1. Introduction, Draw
2. Disease O'er The Holy
3. A Future Looks
4. Eat, Sand, Repeat
5. Nasal Neon
1. Year 1, Spring
2. Year 1, Summer of Destruction
3. Year 1, Autumn Pink
4. Year 2, Junior's Spring
5. Year 2, Summer of Sonny
6. Year 2, The Autumn of Betty Crocker
This is the first Real People Multi-Game Solitaire Mega Tournament game that was filmed.
1. Character Draw
2. Big Men Don't Get Paid
3. Void In Control
To be continued in Ideology: The War of Ideas and, then, Labyrinth: The War On Terror, 2001-?
Two out of three with colons ain't bad.
Brushing up the aftermath of Middle-Earth Quest prior to procession to the Hapsburg Leg final.
1. Breaking of the Fellowship
2. With Sinking Feet
3. The Truth About Dingo Jake
5. Battle of the Brain
6. Settle Slowly, Gentle Moon
1. Light A Candle In The Dark
2. Candles In The Wind
3. Wax Bubbles Shifting From The Dark
4. Smoke From A Hole
5. Down Til Dark
6. Timber Wolf
7. Short Stubs
8. Got A Match
9. Wheater Antlervelde And Der Diamond Orb's Hearlight
10. Water Under A Bridge
11. The Scurvy Flagellant
12. Quarter In The Slot
13. Prayer For Aqualad's Mooney
14. Fortune Favors Everyone
15. Up and Out
The competition for who gets to control the Hapsburgs in Here I Stand continues. The results of this game, along with the results of Middle-Earth Quest will decide the standings in a large combined game of Return of the Heroes, Under the Shadow of the Dragon, and Helden in der Unterwelt.
1. Draw and Turn
2. Tattered Film and Real Estate
3. Pay To Park
Although not the first part of the tournament to be played and filmed, it seems an appropriate place to start.
1. Draw and Palm
1. The Beginning of the Beginning is the Beginning of the End
2. Long Ago Lived France
3. Robot Will
4. Gesundheit, The Whistle-Stop War
5. Portraits In Ultra-Violet
6. A Swiftly Darkening Sky
7. Before Time Is Gone
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