November Gaming

November was a good month of gaming, even with missing my final week’s game day and it being harder to get games in at work.

Thanks to BG Stats for these images!

I’ll of course talk about the “new to me” games in this month’s post (probably next week) but I wanted to touch on some of the highlights of the month.

I was amazed that I played 26 different games last month, though a convention and a 7-game Sunday Game Day definitely helped on that front.

Here’s 25 of them!

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Empire’s End from John D. Clair – on Kickstarter now!

I’m kind of backing off some on the Kickstarter gravy train.

While I did back Halls of Hegra a couple of months ago after some amazing video footage from my good friends Zilla Blitz and The Players’ Aid, I have come to the conclusion that I don’t really need all of this stuff. At least not as huge and overpriced as typical Kickstarter games are.

My only exceptions to that will be Garphill Games and the South Tigris trilogy games (and future trilogy games as well).

I was pretty comfortable with that decision!

Until I got an email from Brotherwise Games about John D. Clair’s new Kickstarter project, called Empire’s End.

Of course, I’ve been a Clair fan for a while now.

I had heard a little something about it, maybe a few weeks ago, and how it uses a No Thanks mechanism in a new and unique way.

I went and watched the Before You Play video (linked on the Kickstarter page) and was blown away.

This looks amazing!

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Review – Viscounts of the West Kingdom

Anybody who follows this blog even a little bit knows that I am a big Shem Phillips/Sam MacDonald fan.

I was first introduced to Shem with Raiders of the North Sea (a game that has fallen a bit in my estimation but I still really enjoy) and their first collaboration (Architects of the West Kingdom) is in my Top 10 games played of all time.

Paladins of the West Kingdom I definitely enjoy, but its length plus the fact that my fellow players didn’t really care for it means I haven’t played it enough to really get a feel for it.

The third in the West Kingdom series, Viscounts of the West Kingdom has many fans who think it’s better than Architects.

Would I agree?

I’m not sure yet, but let’s take a look.

Viscounts of the West Kingdom is once again designed by Shem and Sam with art by The Mico. It’s published by both Garphill Games (where I got it from on the Kickstarter) and Renegade Game Studios.

It was published in 2020 and plays 1-4 players. This review is only for the 2-4 player mode as I have not tried it solo yet.

Shem and Sam both really love playing with game mechanisms, making each game in a series have a unique feel even when some of the iconography and artwork is the same.

Viscounts is no different as this one does deckbuilding but adds a unique spin to it.

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Excellent Game Storage From Rails on Boards (Cube4Me)

My good friend Michal from the great gaming blog The Boardgames Chronicle turned me on to a great series of storage solutions for some of my games (mainly wargames).

Rails on Boards has created a series of game trays and card trays that really looked cool when I saw others talk about them as well (like the Players Aid and Zilla Blitz).

Having a few of the games that they offer storage for, I had to check them out!

I have bought Commands & Colors: Ancients, Commands & Colors: Samurai Battles, Time of Crisis, Imperial Struggle, Versailles 1919, Almoravid, and Fields of Fire 2 but so far have only done the two Commands & Colors ones.

But what a difference they make!

Here is my Commands & Colors: Ancients box, before and after.

There is very little lid lift! (Say that three times fast). There is a little bit, but not much. It’s more noticeable if you have it standing on end rather than lying flat.

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Combat Commander Europe – After Action Report – Scenario #41 – The Commissar House

What’s this?

A Combat Commander ladder after action report that’s not on the last day of the month?

Alert the media!

Yes, it’s November and it’s time for another adventure from the Combat Commander ladder, the chance to have a monthly play of one of my favourite games.

The ladder is run by the magnanimous Patrick Pence, of Patrick’s Tactics & Tutorials fame (you gotta go check that channel out!).

This month’s game is from the Stalingrad battle pack and unlike last year’s outing, actually takes place in Stalingrad and thus has the Stalingrad rules!

That came back to bite me a couple of times.

I’ve been on a losing streak the last few months.

Would I be able to end it?

This month’s opponent was new, Greg L. He mentioned that he’s played the game a few times over the years but he’s not an expert. I’m not sure if he’s new to the ladder or not.

Anyway, Scenario #41, The Commisar House, has the Soviets (brown – Me) facing off against a massive German (grey – Greg) assault trying to take an impregnable stronghold.

I say impregnable because so far nobody’s been able to actually take it.

Here’s the setup.

The red-circled building is the Commisar House. It’s worth a massive 20-point swing (it’s worth 10 points).

The trick is, though, by scenario special rule the Germans can only enter any hex in the house through the front door or through a rubble hex, essentially meaning that they have to rubble the entire building (or eliminate all Soviet units and just enter one hex).

It seems that the house is kind of bait that the Germans maybe should try to ignore, instead either going for a Surrender victory (killing 10 Soviet units) or exiting a bunch of units off the edge of the map.

Another scenario special rule (which I kept forgetting about) is that if a Soviet squad in the building would break, they can break a support weapon they are holding instead.

Hence all of the molotov cocktails in there!

A special Stalingrad rule is that satchel charges or infantry guns can possibly rubble a building hex with firepower. For satchel charges, that’s if they roll an 8 on their firepower roll (which would give 20 firepower barring any other modifiers).

So with that setup, what do you think happened?

Let’s take a look.

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Expansion Review – Smash Up Micro-Expansion – Penguins

Welcome to the second in a series (of four…that’s a series, right?) of Smash Up micro-expansion reviews for one of my favourite games from Alderac Entertainment Group.

If not my favourite, it’s certainly one of my most-played, mainly due to the variety of expansions and the multitude of possible faction combinations.

Last time I reviewed the Goblins, so let’s look at the Penguins this time!

These micro-expansions are available from the Alderac store for $10 plus shipping.

Is this one worth it?

Let’s take a look.

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Allied Bombers over Germany have been in short supply recently (i.e. I haven’t been able to play Storm Above the Reich lately and thus the campaign has been stalled), but they suddenly appeared one day and the brave pilots of Staffel Roy scrambled to be up to the challenge! (i.e. I finally was able to get it to the table again a couple of weeks ago).

Yes, this is another episode in the continuing saga of Staffel Roy and its pilots for this awesome solitaire wargame.

We are 5 missions into the Late 1943 campaign with 5 to go and doing really well on victory points!

Sadly, I could still lose this campaign very quickly, even with enough victory points!

Each campaign requires a player to have a certain number of pilots available. They don’t have to all go on a mission, but they have to be available (meaning not wounded). Of course, as you’ve seen, once a pilot is replaced, if that same lettered pilot is killed, you can’t replace them again. I have a few missing letters because of that.

For Late 1943, that limit is 10 pilots.

How many available, unwounded pilots do I currently have?


That’s assuming nobody comes back from the hospital at the beginning of this mission.

Did any come back?

Of course not!

I guess that’s a spoiler for after the break.

Can I manage to average 4 points each over the next 5 missions?

I think that’s more of a possibility!

Let’s take a look to see what happened.

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New to Me – October 2022

October started out really kind of warm and ended really cold and rainy.

Welcome to the Pacific Northwest!

But it was a good month for gaming.

I already told you about the month in general, though, so let’s stick to the stuff that you came to this post for: the new to me games!

You’ve probably played these already, but let me have my time in the spotlight, will ya?

Thank you.

Anyway, only five new to me games were played in October, and three of them were at SHUX during the first weekend of the month.

Thankfully, our Sunday game days introduced me to two more, and I even got one of those played twice!

That is very unusual.

There are some older games in this list, including Finca which originally came out a long time ago but I played the 2018 reprint, so my fellow New to Me cult members didn’t actually raise too much of a fuss.

They didn’t know about the reprint status, otherwise I think I would have had an insurrection on my hands.

But that’s neither here nor there (where the hell did that phrase come from, anyway? It’s gotta be somewhere!).

So without further ado (all of my ado was used to build a kelp farm anyway), let’s begin!

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October Gaming

October was a pretty good month for gaming for me, better than September anyway.

Thanks to the great BG Stats app for this picture!

The five “new to me” games (marked with an asterisk) will be talked about in my monthly post for October, but I just wanted to show you all what I’ve been up to this month.

Here are the top 16 out of the 17 played, in picture form!

A number of games came from the last two days of SHUX 2022, but even without that, I had a fair number of plays both at work and on Sunday game days.

The only reason there aren’t more is because a number of the games I played were longer (Ark Nova and Underwater Cities, anyone?) so nothing else was played that day.

I’m very happy I got Prodigals Club to the table again, though. It’s one of my favourite games and I have now played it twice in two months. That was after not playing it for almost 4 years.

There were, of course, the obligatory Jump Drive and Smash Up games as well. Those will probably be here every month (though maybe not Smash Up if we play something else at work).

We also finished the Night of the Zealot campaign (the Core Box campaign) for Arkham Horror: the Card Game. We’re now ready to start the Dunwich Legacy campaign!

Once I get new decks built.

All in all, it was a great month and November’s looking good too with this weekend’s Bottoscon convention. I know one new game I will be playing there!

But this is about October. You’ll find out about November next month.

What did you play this month?

Let me know in the comments.


Two months in a row my Combat Commander ladder post about this month’s scenario is going to go out on the last day of the month.

Though this time it’s partially because we didn’t play it until the 25th.

This is another tale from the Combat Commander ladder run by the irreplaceable Patrick Pence of Youtube’s Patrick’s Tactics & Tutorials (if you haven’t checked the channel out, you should).

This is my monthly Combat Commander fix and it’s one I greatly enjoy, even though I’m on a terrible losing streak!

October’s game was yet another rematch, this time from last October (so we played another game from the Combat Commander: Pacific New Guinea battle pack). My opponent was Vlad M and this month’s scenario was a wild one, Templeton’s Crossing. This has a meeting between the Australian forces (me – Tan) attacking while the Japanese (Vlad – White) were retreating to concentrate on Guadalcanal.

This is a tale of courage and perseverance, fortitude and grit…and outright stupidity, but hell, you can’t have everything!

(Don’t forget that you can click on an image to blow it up)

Here’s our setup. The circled Sighting markers became very important. By scenario special rule, the Japanese cannot bring any more units into the game using Infiltration orders.

However, they can “teleport” any stack of Japanese units on the board onto one of the Sighting markers (removing the Sighting marker so it’s no longer available). Since that order does not activate them, they can then do other bad things.

You will see what I mean…

Also, all of that light green stuff littering the map?

That’s actually all Jungle (just like the dark green stuff), which blocks line of sight for units on the same level and creates blind hexes behind for those units that are up higher.

Sight lines are terrible in this scenario!

Thankfully the Australians have a Scout, so the mortars don’t have to be in line of sight.

How’d we do?

Let’s take a look.

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