App Review – Oceans

I love science.

I love science even more when it’s in the name of a boardgame that’s talking about science.

That’s why I really like Evolution.

But wait, this isn’t about Evolution! Though it does have a pretty kick-ass app.

No, this review is about its…sequel, maybe? Where Evolution took place on land and involved evolving your land creatures into bastard predators or maybe some cute, huge dinosaur type creature that likes to eat all of the plants so other species die out (the prick), Oceans takes place in the…well, ocean (gee, I guess that’s where they got the name!) where you are evolving your sea creatures in much the same way.

Thus there isn’t even any science in the name.

Harumph.

Anyway, Oceans is a game designed by Nick Bentley, Dominic Crapuchettes, Ben Goldman and Brian O’Neill. The artwork is by Guillaume Ducos and Catherine Hamilton. Both the game itself and the app are published by North Star Games.

How does the game work?

Let’s take a look.

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Storm Above the Reich – After Action Report – Mission #3

It’s time for another exciting (well, I think so) After Action Report for the Staffel Roy (a Luftwaffe squadron) as it tries to defend the Reich from American bombing.

The first two missions can be found here, and that’s also where I explain how most of the game works. Go there if you want to see that, then come back here for more.

This is, however, the first time I had to face Escort fighters, so I will explain that here.

Mission #3 seemed like it would start off very well. I had four Operation Points so I chose three pilots from my Staffel and equipped them all with Cannons!

Cannons just means that when you do damage to a bomber, you draw two damage chits and get to choose the one you want to apply.

I could have chosen Rockets (which allows you a one-time blast while you’re still waiting to approach the bomber formation), and may do that next time, as this time didn’t quite satisfy me.

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Combat Commander Europe – #12 Misty Mountain

The final scenario in the 8-month marathon of playing all 12 scenarios in Combat Commander: Europe! This was definitely a nail-biter. For a while there, I didn’t think the Time triggers could come fast enough. But I prevailed!

Michal will be doing a post analyzing all 12 scenarios and I’ll be reblogging that when he does it.

Just want to thank Michal again for these great reports (his pictures are much better than mine could ever be) and for being my guide through the game!

We’ve moved on to Combat Commander: Pacific (Scenario A already in the books) and I’m sure reports for those will be coming soon as well.

The Boardgames Chronicle

Incredible! We did it – we played with Dave the whole Combat Commander Europe Base Game in slightly over 8 months! This was asynchronous gaming, using the Discord for file exchange and interruptions as well as VASSAL to do the actual playing. That was such a joy and fun – organised approach, scenario by scenario, was also very welcome. To the extent that Dave started to play in CCE Ladder! I will provide today the session report from our game, but there will be one more post, summarizing the whole campaign, richly saturated with statistics!


Other Combat Commander scenarios in our camping with Dave:#1 FatLipki#2 Hedgroves and HandGrenades#3 Bonfire of theNKVD#4 Closed forRenovation#5 Cold Front#6 Paralyzed from the West Down#7 Bessarabian Nights#8 Breakoutdance#9 Rush tocontact#10 CommandoSchools#11 Hold theLine


#12 Misty Mountain is a large scenario – you would expect…

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Review – The Rival Networks

I have always loved The Networks, ever since the beginning. It was one of my first Kickstarter games and it’s solidly in my Top 10 games of all time.

So when I heard that a 2-player version of the game, The Rival Networks, was coming to Kickstarter, you knew I had to back it.

I’ve never tried the 2-player variant for the original game, so I thought this would be a cool thing to have.

It arrived during the Summer of COVID 2021 and so I didn’t get a chance to play it until I got back to work in September.

The game is designed by Gil Hova with artwork by Heiko Günther and Travis Kinchy. It’s published by Hova’s Formal Ferret Games.

While it is a fun game, I was left feeling a little “blah” about the whole thing. It does make me want to see how the 2-player version of the original game is.

How does it work?

Let’s take a look.

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Storm Above the Reich – After Action Report – Missions #1 & #2

Storm Above the Reich is a solo game (it can be played 2-players cooperatively, but why would you?) where you are leading a squadron of German Luftwaffe fighters against B-24 bombers who are attempting to bomb their targets. In the 1943 seasons, this is in the Mediterranean theater of operations while 1944 will have you over Germany.

The game was designed by Jeremy White and Mark Aasted with artwork by Antonis Karidis, Mark Simonitch and Jeremy White. It was published in 2021 by GMT Games.

The game is played over one or more seasons as part of a campaign. You are the leader of a German Air Force (Luftwaffe) squadron (staffel) who are defending Germany (or somewhere in the Mediterranean Theater to start with) against the relentless American bombing with B-24 bombers making their runs over German territory.

Your staffel consists of 18 pilots and for each mission, you will be choosing a number of your pilots (in addition to any support fighters) to go and try to shoot down as many bombers as you can.

This is current. Spoiler, Ehlers died!

You can play a mini-campaign of only one season (6-10 missions depending on the season) or you can an even longer campaign (though I think, if you don’t make the “don’t lose” victory point level at the end of the season, it ends anyway?).

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Friday Night Shots – Are Boardgame Playthroughs Boring? Or Awesome?

It’s Friday and the vodka is flowing yet again.

What does that mean?

That my liver will be complaining for a while?

That is true, but it also means it’s time for another edition of Friday Night Shots!

I wasn’t actually sure what I would write about tonight, but then I got handed a topic on a platter.

The title is quite provocative!

As many people on Twitter pointed out.

Of course, they have changed the title since Rodney and others mentioned that this kind of negative labelling was not very helpful in fostering discussion about the topic.

I have to say, I haven’t watched the video so I’m not going to address the points actually made in the video.

Instead, I’m going to just give my own opinion on the topic.

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App Review – Neuroshima Hex by Portal Games

The Neuroshima Hex app has been around for quite a while. Big Daddy Creations originally did it and it was actually not bad. But it became buggy as hell and the multiplayer (at least asynchronous) became virtually unusable.

I enjoyed playing it but finally it just subsided and went away as playing it with friends became more of a chore than an enjoyable time.

So when Portal Games announced that not only had they taken over the app, but that it would be coming out in September 2021, a lot of people cheered like never before.

But there was still some trepidation.

Portal hasn’t been brilliant at asynchronous multiplayer, including the Tides of Time app that almost called for it.

I was heartened when they said that not only would it have asynchronous play, but that those who owned the original app would get it as a free upgrade.

In addition, even though only the four base game factions would be available at start, if you owned the expansion factions, they would be free when they were implemented too!

Holy shit!

Talk about looking after your customers, especially when they’re not technically yours! (if we bought the Big Daddy version).

That was amazing news.

So the base game app came out. It’s available on iOS and Android.

How is it?

Let’s take a look.

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Hanamikoji: Geisha’s Road & More Coming to Kickstarter in October

Just saw this on Boardgame Geek over the weekend and since I loved Hanamikoji, I am definitely interested in the new sequel game called Hanamikoji: Geisha’s Road.

Designed by Jerry Chiang and Eros Lin with art by Maisherly, the game will be published by Emperor S4 Games.

In this game, you’re not trying to attract the most prestigious geishas to your establishment.

Instead, you are trying to support a few geishas on their journey from apprentice (maiko) to full geisha (artist), and maybe even have them become owner of their own establishment!

At the end of the game, whoever provided the most support to each geisha is recognized and will score for that one.

Even better, it’s been confirmed that the original game will be available during the Kickstarter (it’s out of print and currently going for major bucks) as well as the seven mini-expansions that I had never even seen before.

I will definitely be checking this out!

What do you think of this game? Interested in Geisha Road? Or even just Hanamikoji, which is amazing all by itself?

I’m in for the mini-expansions for the original as well as this one.

It sounds like it will be very neat.

Of course, we’ll have to see what the Kickstarter says. Right now, we don’t know a lot about it.

Come late October, I will be there!

Friday Night Shots – Score Sheets for Games

Welcome to the first of what could be a series of posts, or might just be a one-shot.

Basically, it’s Friday night, I’ve had a couple of drinks, and maybe it’s time to visit a pressing issue in the boardgame industry.

Or maybe I just need to get something off my chest.

Consider this kind of “guerilla blogging,” as while I am editing it to make sure it makes some kind of sense, I’m basically posting it as is.

What’s the first issue I want to talk about?

Scoresheets (or lack thereof) in boardgames.

This came to mind with most of my favourite Garphill Games entries, but also with a few other games as well.

You’ve just bought a game. It’s a relatively standard Euro game where you total up a lot of points through a bunch of different means.

And the game board doesn’t have a score track for some reason. Instead, you just have to do all the math in your head.

What????

Or, you know, grab a piece of paper and write things down.

But it’s still annoying.

Even my favourite games have had this problem.

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The Fox in the Forest Goes Electronic From Dire Wolf Digital

A rare double post day, but when you discover some news right after your scheduled post for the day goes out, you have to do it!

Dire Wolf Digital announced today that on Monday, October 18, they are releasing the really great 2-player trick-taking game, The Fox in the Forest to PC, phones and tablets!

How is that not a good thing?

I reviewed the card game so hearing this news just made my mouth water.

Dire Wolf already has a great history with apps, from Raiders of the North Sea to Root to Sagrada and so many others.

This is taken from the news page.

If you’re curious, you can see how to play by clicking on my review. It is an excellent 2-player game, though. I love how you’re trying to take a bunch of tricks but not too many. If you get greedy and take them all, you won’t score anything.

Will it have asynchronous play?

It’s Dire Wolf, so probably.

Does it need it?

It’s nice to have the option, as always. I will love it if it’s in there.

But it’s a quick game and logging into the app just to play one card (and maybe two if you win the trick) does seem like it might get tedious.

But people do it!

Hell, I do it, and probably will with this one too.

Very cool that Dire Wolf Digital is doing this one.

You can wishlist it on Steam (Edit: it appears to be $6.99) and pre-order it on iOS right now ($4.99 US) and it will be available on both platforms and Android on Monday, October 18.

What do you think of this one? Are you excited?

Let me know in the comments.