Combat Commander Europe – After Action Report – Scenario #9 – Rush to Contact

Otherwise known as “the ballad of Lieutenant Esparza”.

It’s time for yet another tale from the Combat Commander ladder.

The ladder competition, run by the incredible Patrick Pence of Patrick’s Tactics & Tutorials fame, is the monthly Combat Commander competition where everybody on it plays a set scenario from the many scenarios that are included in Combat Commander and its many expansions.

Happily enough, there are 12 different groupings of scenarios to go with 12 different months!

I don’t know what he’s going to do if another expansion or something comes out.

Anyway, I didn’t play last June for personal reasons so this is the first scenario I played from the base Combat Commander: Europe game (though I have played all of them with my friend Michal).

This month’s scenario is from that base game, and it’s Scenario #9: Rush to Contact.

This is a strange scenario because it’s susceptible to a “gamey” situation where the Germans can try to win or lose very early if they decide they want to.

There’s a very small group of Germans on the map. If they exit off the board, they win!

If they’re eliminated, the Americans win!

However, a big set of German reinforcements are ready to enter the battlefield after the first Time trigger.

Yes, this month’s scenario is Rush to Contact.

My opponent was Joshua G (Americans-Green) and I was the Germans (again, as I played the Germans against Michal as well). The Germans are, of course, grey.

Joshua set up the Americans first and he set them up so running my sparse units off the board would be difficult.

(Reminder that you can click on all images to make them larger)

So I set my guys up in the forward Objective 4 position but left one Weapons Teams way in the back so I couldn’t be eliminated early.

The minefields are setup to cause as much trouble as possible, and I made them 7-power mines instead of 8-power so I could start with a Minefield card in my hand (I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t!). This is a scenario special rule.

How did it go?

Ugh.

Well, let’s take a look anyway.

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New to Me – May 2022

After a month of COVID and other things that kept me from playing any new to me games in April (which was mitigated by the fact that I didn’t post the March article until April was almost over), May was a time to make things better.

May only had 4 new to me games, but it was still a great month because I managed to play 18 games a total of 31 times.

That was amazing!

I have my lunchtime game companions at work to thank for that, along with my normal Sunday game buddies.

Oh, and a couple of quick and random Boardgame Arena games as well.

The Cult of the New to Me wasn’t the happiest group of people, however.

Too many 2021 games! And the oldest game is from 2019.

I was afraid there would be pitchforks and torches, but thankfully they got distracted by Bosch: Legacy streaming in May and I was able to get away.

What an awesome show…

Being a cult leader is hard sometimes.

So, without further ado (all of my ado was eaten by my neighbour’s pet dog anyway), let’s begin!

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Storm Above the Reich – After Action Report – Mission #19

Success is not something I’m used to.

Things don’t usually go so good for me.

But this 1943 Late season of Storm Above the Reich is actually going pretty well after two missions.

This is so unlike me! Is it possible that maybe I’m just good at something?

Ok, that’s probably good advice.

Anyway, we’re on Mission #19, the third mission in the 1943 Late season and I’m already at 18 VP! I need 40 VP to “not lose” and 60 VP to actually win the season, and there are still 8 missions left.

What do I do with this bounty?

Can it last?

Why don’t we jump into the mission and find out together, since I have no idea.

That happens sometimes.

I still haven’t tried any of the new stuff like rockets or the Ju-88 Stukas (aka Bullet Magnets). (Edit – Ok, not Stukas. Thanks to Alex for the correction of my brain fart! They’re still Bullet Magnets in my heart, though)

Instead I just stuck with the sturdy and reliable IAR-80 Romanian fighters that have really been pulling their weight around here.

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Review – Dog Lover

One of the better quick-filler games that can be played with almost anybody is Cat Lady, a quick card drafting game that can be explained in a couple of minutes and even your non-gamer cat lady grandma can pick up (as long as Fluffy doesn’t jump up on the table and keep distracting her).

But what about the other popular animal companion, man’s best friend and all of that?

Don’t worry. Designer David Short and Alderac Entertainment Group have you covered.

Yes, Dog Lover is the latest game in this card-drafting genre, but is a step up in the complexity department.

The game has artwork by Kali Fitzgerald and was published in 2021.

The game feels a lot like Cat Lady, but ramped up with some new mechanisms and card types.

Boardgame Geek says that it “reimplements” Cat Lady, but I would almost call it a progression than a reimplementation.

How does it compare, and does it succeed on its own merits?

Let’s take a look.

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Riftforce: Beyond – Coming From Capstone Games in August

One of the cool new 2-player games I bought during the pandemic lockdowns and brought to work once we came back to the office was Riftforce.

The game is designed by Carlo Bartolini with artwork by Miguel Coimbra. It was published by Capstone Games.

I first played it in February 2022 and fell in love with it (review coming!)

However, before I get the review done, there’s word of the expansion, Riftforce: Beyond!

This expansion adds a new solo mode and 3-4 player cooperative play.

Even if you want to keep to playing the 2-player duel, this expansion will be adding eight exciting new guilds to add to your options.

Pictures are from the Capstone Games site

These guilds will have some interesting capabilities that will change up your game a bit.

The artwork from Coimbra still looks amazing as well.

I’m really excited about this one and can’t wait to get it. The base game is great and this will just add more cool stuff to it (though I don’t know if I’ll get the cooperative mode played. But I might!)

It’s available for pre-order on the Capstone Games site and the scheduled retail release is August 9.

Though of course, with the global supply issues still going on, that could change.

Maybe I should get to my review of this game soon?

Anyway, let me know if you’re looking at this one, or at the base game. The base game is amazing.

And I’ll let you know how this plays as well, once I can get to it.

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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