Combat Commander Europe – After Action Report – Scenario #119 – Sky Fall

It’s my one year anniversary on the Combat Commander ladder!

Yes, in May 2021, I played my first game on the ladder tournament where you play against another ladder participant and try to increase your ranking to the top spot.

The ladder tournament, led by the perspicacious Patrick Pence of the Patrick’s Tactics & Tutorials Youtube channel, is my conduit to actually getting a monthly game of one of my favourite games.

Since this is my first anniversary, this is the first “repeat” month in my time on the ladder. All that means is that each month, the scenario is taken from one of the many games, expansions, battle packs, or tournament scenarios that are out there.

In this month’s case, it’s a series of scenarios from the C3i magazines from various issues.

This month’s scenario is Sky Fall, from the #27 C3i listing on Boardgame Geek.

My May opponent was Andrei F, who happens to live in my neck of the woods (the Lower Mainland up here in British Columbia) so it was relatively easy to get a time set up for it.

Thankfully, I didn’t have COVID so I was actually fully aware of what I was doing in the game.

Would that make a difference?

Maybe!

In Sky Fall, the Allied forces are air-dropping containers of equipment to the French Partisans in July, 1944. The Germans (Andrei) are trying to prevent the Partisans from collecting the equipment containers while the Partisans (me) are trying to get them off the map.

Both sides are in “Attack” mode, which means all Defense cards are useless for both sides.

The Partisans set up in any Woods hex, then the Germans set up but they are constricted to pretty much the spaces shown on this map.

Once the pieces are set up, the containers (we used American Satchel Charges for them) are randomly placed on the map by drawing random hexes from both sides.

Here’s how everything ended up.

(Keep in mind that you can click on the images to expand them)

The Partisans are trying to get the containers off of the right side of the board while the Germans are trying to just destroy them. Thus, the containers cannot start in the rightmost three columns (that would be too easy).

The stream is a gully and there are no hills on this map, so everything is flat. The hill hexes are considered non-hills.

Let’s see how things went!

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Roll Player App Enters Early Access on Steam

One of my favourite games that I didn’t know I liked that much but the pandemic brought it more to my attention (I know that’s kind of a limited category) was Roll Player, the dice-placement game designed by Keith Matejka with artwork JJ Ariosa, Vincent Dutrait and Luis Francisco.

The game is ostensibly about rolling up an RPG character and getting points for doing it well.

I loved it so much that I did a review for it (and its two expansions).

One of my dreams was to see a digital implementation of it at some point.

And now it’s here!

Kind of.

All pics are from the Steam page

Today is the day that the digital implementation enters Early Access on Steam, but there are some parts that will be coming later.

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Storm Above the Reich – After Action Report – Mission #18

There’s something about campaigns that keeps bringing a game to the table. Especially if everybody involved is having fun.

In a solo game, the only person you need to worry about is yourself so it’s a lot easier.

And I’m enjoying the Staffel Roy campaign for GMT GamesStorm Above the Reich (as you can tell, since I’ve now played it 18 times!).

Mission #18 is the second mission in the 1943 Late season and I decided I wanted to try and get myself further ahead before I started experimenting with weird new things like rockets and the like.

I’m staying away from the Ju-88 auxiliary fighters because they seem like they would just attract trouble. They add +2 to the Lethal Level of the space they’re in! (+1 if they’re Evasive).

I lose enough auxiliaries when they aren’t bullet magnets.

But the IAR80 Romanian fighters have actually been pretty good. I’m enjoying having them on my team.

However, rockets are scary.

And loud.

The first mission in the season went really well. The season requires 40 VP to “not lose” and 60 VP to win, and I earned 8 VP! It’s a 10-mission season, so I am on an 80-point pace.

Now it’s time for Mission #18 and let’s see if we were able to keep up that pace.

Y’all lack confidence.

Let’s take a look at Mission #18 and see if we can prove this bastard wrong.

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Expansion Review – Architects of the West Kingdom – Age of Artisans

It’s no secret how much I love Architects of the West Kingdom.

Even with my top 4 games being GMT Games, Architects still managed to get into the Top 5 games played of all time for 2022.

With the Works of Wonder expansion just having reached here (one play so far and I enjoyed it!), I think it’s about time to review the first expansion, Age of Artisans because, after all of that COVID nonsense, I’ve finally played it enough to review it!

Age of Artisans was designed by S J MacDonald and Shem Phillips with art by Mihajlo Dimitrievski. It was published by Garphill Games and Renegade Game Studios back in 2020.

The Age of Artisans expansion adds a couple of things to the base Architects game, and both of them are good improvements.

What does it add?

Let’s take a look.

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App Expansion Review – Terraforming Mars: Hellas & Elysium Maps

The Terraforming Mars app has had an up and down history.

So much so that for a while, I wasn’t going to buy it (though I eventually succumbed).

And it has greatly improved over time, especially with the Prelude expansion.

However, one thing players have been clamouring for is the implementation of the two expansion maps for the game: Hellas & Elysium.

That day has finally arrived!

On Wednesday, May 10, Asmodee Digital released the digital version of those two maps and I, for one, am very thankful.

I was getting really bored with the basic (Tharsis) map.

How well do they play?

Let’s take a look.

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Storm Above the Reich – After Action Report – Mission #17

After the disappointing end to the 1943 Mid season for the Staffel Roy campaign of Storm Above the Reich, it was time to regather ourselves, have a team meeting, maybe bake some cookies, and forge ahead into the 1943 Late season.

This season also consists of 10 missions, but there are a few changes.

First, I have access to some fairly cool stuff and some new auxiliary fighters. I don’t have to settle for Me-110s anymore. I can use the new IAR80 fighters (though only two of them per Operation Point (OP), not three). These are Romanian fighters and they are a bit better than the Me-110s, if only because they don’t automatically increase the Lethal Level of the space they’re in when in combat.

Is that historically accurate?

I have no idea.

But it sounds good.

Also the fact that you only get two of them for an OP, I think that means they must have been at least slightly better.

You also get access to a couple of other auxiliaries which I haven’t used yet. If I do, I’ll let you know.

You can also get Rockets! I may play around with those, but haven’t yet.

Anyway, the second major difference is that it now requires 40 VP to “not lose” and 60 VP to win. That could be difficult!

Then again, looking at the sheet, you do get more OPs than before.

It’s a cornucopia of OPs!

And all missions are on either Maps 7 or 8. No more of Maps 5 or 6, so that board has gone to the bottom of the box.

Let’s take a look at the first mission of the 1943 Late season, Mission #17 in the campaign.

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App Expansion Review – Wingspan: European Expansion

The Wingspan app published by Monster Couch Games has been a wonderful app since it came out in October 2020.

Online play oddities aside, the game has very few bugs that I’m aware of and it’s a brilliant digital adaptation of the boardgame designed by Elizabeth Hargrave and published by Stonemaier Games.

The app even has beautiful renditions of the amazing artwork!

You can see my review of the app here, where I explain the gameplay, so I’m not going to get into that here.

Instead, I want to talk about what Monster Couch released just last Thursday, May 5.

Yes, the Wingspan: European Expansion is now out in digital, and it is just as amazing as the app itself.

What does this add to an already wonderful game?

A bunch of birds.

Yes, there are a bunch of new birds in this expansion, with brand new powers that include blue (aqua, maybe? I don’t know) “end of round” powers as well as some other interesting ones.

What else?

Let’s take a look.

(You can consider this a review of the expansion as well as the app, though here I’m not going to be talking about things like component quality of the actual boardgame expansion. The rest of it is the same no matter where you are playing it)

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Wayfarers of the South Tigris – 5 Days to go for the Kickstarter!

I admit it.

I’m a Garphill Games fanboy.

I love almost everything they’ve produced (though I’m not a rabid one, as there are a few of their games that I’m not interested in, and I am not a big fan of Explorers of the North Sea).

All of this is to say that when they announced the first game in the “South Tigris” trilogy of games, Wayfarers of the South Tigris, I was there instantly.

The Kickstarter has 5 days left in it, so you can go back it today! Warning: there is no Pledge Manager or late pledging, so if you want it sooner than retail, you’d better get cracking.

Of course, you can wait for retail as there are no Kickstarter-only add-ons. But you won’t get it quite as fast.

I backed it the first day, but you know what made me think that this may turn out to be my favourite of this series of games designed by Shem Phillips and SJ Macdonald? Even beating out Architects of the West Kingdom?

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Storm Above the Reich – After Action Report – Mission #16

Here it is.

We’ve reached the final mission in the Mid-1943 season in the Staffel Roy campaign for Storm Above the Reich.

Yes, this is the game where you are running a German fighter squadron attempting to save the Fatherland from American bombing.

And things aren’t looking too badly!

After the last mission, we are only 3 VP away from actually winning the season! At the beginning, I was worried that we would even come close to the “not lose” VP level. And now we could win!

I think I’ve learned a few things, namely making sure the bombers are “inbound” as much as possible because that’s where the major points were.

But maybe that shouldn’t always be the case?

Maybe I’m messing things up?

I’m very capable of that.

Mission #16 is the last mission in the “1943 Mid” campaign season, and things are looking pretty good. I’m so optimistic! Three points away from winning the season.

What could go wrong?

Let’s take a look at the mission, because I don’t even remember. It’s been a while!

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Review – Storm Above the Reich

During the COVID lockdowns, I became very attached to solo games that you can play in an hour or so. I was working from home 5 days a week and it was a nice break from the work and also let me keep my passion for gaming going.

Even now, when we’re back to the office, I am working remotely two days a week so that is still there.

I bought a couple of the solo submarine games that GMT Games puts out, but the game that really caught my attention was Storm Above the Reich, a solo game where you are the head of a Staffel of German fighters (literally translated to “series”, but essentially an airbase and fighter group) who are fighting back against the ferocious American bombing of Germany.

Storm Above the Reich was designed by Jerry White and Mark Aasted with art by Antonis Karidis, Mark Simonitch and Jerry White. It was published in 2021 by GMT Games.

It’s the sequel game to Skies Above the Reich, about German fighter pilots facing off against B-17 bombers over Germany earlier in the war. The 2nd printing of that one is currently on the GMT Games P500 list and is in Art & Final Development. You can get your order in now like I did!

Anyway, if you follow this blog at all, then you’re probably already aware of how I feel about the game since I’ve been doing After-Action Reports for all of the missions (I’ve posted 15 so far).

If you want a feel for how the game plays, go to Mission 1&2 and go to town!

I’ll give you a bit of an overview of how the game goes before getting into the review.

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