April 2023 Gaming

After a robust March of gaming, April took a bit of a downturn.

The lack of a convention along with missing a Sunday game day and being off for a week so there were no lunch time games that week, all of that combined to get a lackluster month of gaming.

But they were still fun and there were still some highlights!

Thanks to Boardgame Stats once again for the app that collects all of this stuff.

In April, I played 13 games a total of 19 times, and only two new to me games!

That post is going to be a bit short.

Anyway, here are those games shown in a grid format.

What were some of the highlights?

Let’s take a look.

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Friday Night Shots – How Do You Learn a Game?

We’ve come a long way in this hobby (especially wargames, since that’s what I used to play in my youth) since the days where there were very few games coming out each year so everybody who was interested in gaming actually was playing those same few games.

In those days, most players had the game, scanned through the rulebook, and just made do. I actually don’t recall how I learned to play things like Squad Leader, War & Peace, or the like.

I know I played with my brother, but I don’t remember how I learned them.

I was a kid. That was 40+ years ago. The memory fades.

Nowadays, though, there are plenty of ways to learn a game, and it varies by the player!

This came to mind today when I sat down at lunch at my office and read through the rulebook for Skies Above Britain from GMT. I’ve been doing that for a few lunches now, going through the introductory scenarios as suggested in the rulebook, learning the dogfight mechanic, the attacking bombers mechanic, and today was the Intercept Phase.

I like this programmed instruction method, though the game is still boggling my mind a bit.

But back then, we didn’t have that!

Somebody usually has to read the rulebook, though not always.

This is where the quality of the rulebook can be an issue. Hopefully the rulebook is good enough that it can help.

I actually taught Wayfarers of the South Tigris after having read the rulebook twice and nothing else.

I didn’t even get the game out and look at it on the table at all.

When I taught the game, I used the same teaching order as the rulebook is, doing the concepts and then how a turn goes, etc.

That’s how I learned the game, and it seemed to work pretty well.

In the future, I may modify it slightly, telling people how a turn works before backtracking and detailing what those various actions mean.

But it was just the rulebook.

Nothing else.

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Shards of Infinity: Saga Collection Coming Soon from Stone Blade

(Edit: 5/2/23) – Received an update in the emails that has a bit more information. And a picture!

Looks like the trackers will be updated (thank God!) along with new card art, all promos and all expansions. Will have to see if there’s any actual new material in the game, though.

That being said, I never bought the Shadow of Salvation expansion, so my decision will be a little harder.

And the box looks to be now a standard game-sized box, which isn’t bad.

Now back to the original post!

One of the more exciting deck building card games that I’ve played is Shards of Infinity (and its two expansions).

There’s just something about the game that’s attractive. It’s not hugely bloated with expansions, but the expansions it does have are very useful (including fixing one of my main problems with the base game).

Now Stone Blade Entertainment has announced something really cool, or at least the idea of it is cool.

The Shards of Infinity: Saga Collection will be coming to Kickstarter sometime in the near future.

There is literally nothing else announced about it, other than the fact that it will contain new promo cards, “added gameplay” (whatever that means) and “improved components.”

I found this really amusing after my mini-rant about Big Box games last Friday, considering this is, in a sense, a big box.

However, depending on the announcement, there are a few reasons why I might consider this one, or at least an “upgrade pack” if they offer one.

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Friday Night Shots – Big Boxes, Are They Worth It?

It’s Friday, so you know what time it is, right?

The whiskey along with me looking at Boardgame Geek is making me think about Big Boxes and Collectors boxes and games, which makes for a perfect Friday Night Shots post.

Are they worth it?

First, I have to say that I’m excluding Garphill Games from this discussion because all of their Collectors Boxes are well worth investing in (even if the inserts suck, but Folded Space has our backs!). They actually are the size of a normal Ticket to Ride box at most, so their “collectors boxes” are “normal” size for a lot of games.

These boxes are still easy to cart around to game night without giving yourself a hernia.

As long as you get a good insert for them! (Have I said how much the inserts that come with them actually suck?).

But what about normal big boxes?

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Combat Commander After Action Report – Scenario LoM #8 – Codes in the Sunrise

It’s weird, but I feel funny not having posted about a GMT game in almost 6 days.

But here I go again!

It’s time for another adventure from the Combat Commander ladder. The ladder is a monthly tournament run by the supreme Patrick Pence, he of Patrick’s Tactics & Tutorials fame. Check out the channel not just for the monthly Combat Commander games, but also all of the Commands & Colors goodness!

Don’t get a big head, Patrick.

(But he’s rocking that shirt…)

Anyway, this month’s scenario comes from the Leader of Men battle pack of tournament scenarios.

Codes in the Sunrise tells the story of a team of British commandos, just after the Fall of France, doing reconnaissance and collecting information from German units.

This unit was scouting a local hotel seeking to capture prisoners.

My opponent this month was Matthew V, who was playing the British. I had the German defenders.

One bonus for the Germans in this scenario is that the British are in Recon posture, which means they only get 5 cards and not the attacking 6 cards in their hand.

(Don’t forget that you can click on a picture to blow it up)

Objectives 3 & 4 (circled) are worth 2 points each. Otherwise, points just come from killing units and exiting your own off the board. And the German secret objective, of course.

The Germans (grey) set up first and can start up to 9 hexes from the right side of the board. The British set up last and start up to 2 hexes from the left side of the board.

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Twilight Struggle: South Asian Monsoon Coming From GMT in 2024

(Edit: 4/18/23) This was not announced in this month’s newsletter, so I’m assuming it will be in the May one. Interesting that it’s already on BGG and a blogger is talking about it, though (not me, the blogger that GMT RT’d)

Lots of GMT Games news this weekend!

As I was looking up yesterday’s Time of Crisis post on Twitter, I saw another tweet that GMT RT’d talking about a new Twilight Struggle game coming out in 2024.

Probably not the actual cover…

Twilight Struggle: South Asian Monsoon is another game designed by Jason Carr and Jason Matthews that will make Twilight Struggle fans catch their breath.

Unlike the recently-released Twilight Struggle: Red Sea, though, this is not a lunchtime game!

It’s kind of in the middle.

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Time of Crisis from GMT Getting a Deluxe Edition & Mini-Expansion

Even though I haven’t been able to get it to the table for quite a long time, GMT’s Time of Crisis (designed by Brad Johnson and Wray Ferrell) is still one of my favourite games.

I was just browsing Boardgame Geek this morning when I saw somebody post the exciting news that the game is getting a new Deluxe Edition with a mini-expansion to boot!

I’m assuming this will be officially announced in GMT’s April newsletter, so I’m sure I will be mentioning it again, but I wanted to do a quick post on it.

The deluxe edition will contain a consolidated rulebook which includes the expansion rules, as well as any known errata and a few minor rules changes as well.

It will also include updated Amphitheater tokens and Foederati cards (I’m not sure what that update would be, though I guess that could be one of the minor rules changes).

What’s really exciting is that there’s also going to be a new mini-expansion that includes 3 new types of improvements that you can build in your provinces.

(Sadly there are no pictures of the updated stuff yet)

So far there’s the Limes (slows down barbarian invasions), the Amphitheater (prevents Mobs in the province) and the Basilica (roll one extra die for each province you govern when you you’re attempting to place a governor in Italia).

What could these three new ones be and what strategies will they aid?

I can’t wait to find out!

In typical GMT fashion, they are looking after their customers.

For those of you (like me) who already have the game and both expansions, there will be an upgrade pack available on the P500 which will include the mini-expansion, updated rules, and updated counters/cards.

Every time I hear about this game, I want to get it to the table again.

I should look at doing that in the next few weeks.

It’s time to become emperor again!

Friday Night Shots – My Take on Game Storage Solutions

(Edit: 4/15/23) – I completely forgot one of my big annoyances regarding storage solutions: never being sure if the game’s going to get an expansion that makes the solution obsolete! Right now, my Dune Imperium box has a hodgepodge of baggies and stuff in it from both expansions. So far, however, the Folded Space insert appears to be only made for the first expansion. If I had bought that before Immortality came out, my storage solution would be out of date. Thankfully, wargames don’t generally get many expansions, so the Cube4Me ones don’t really have this problem, at least not as much

Now back to the original post)

I’ve done a few posts on game storage solutions and I’m a big fan of them.

I’ve even created a couple of sets for Cube4Me.

The Folded Space inserts that I’ve bought have also made setting up those games so much easier.

I’ve even bought and used a few inserts from Insert Here, a great site which makes each insert by hand and then ships them to you, already put together!

Finally, I did invest in some GMT counter trays in their last P500 customer sale. Just for those games that need function but don’t really need beauty.

The full function of a game insert that makes a gamer’s life easier is just so great.

But looking at some of the newer offerings out there on the various sites made me stop and think a moment.

Does every game need an insert?

What type of games do I think need one, and which ones don’t?

Keep in mind, of course, that this is just my opinion. This isn’t an attack on anybody who wants to buy these inserts, or even on the sellers for creating them.

It’s just my take.

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Earth – Card Game Review

(I put “card game” review in the title so you don’t think it’s a review of the planet we live on, or maybe a good gardening company)

Nature seems to be the in thing for games right now. If I had a penny for every nature-based game that has come out in the last couple of years, I’d have…nothing…because pennies don’t exist anymore!

At least in Canada, anyway.

What was I saying?

Oh yeah, nature-based games.

One of my most-beloved nature-based games is Wingspan, a card game where you are playing bird cards to your bird sanctuary board.

I do really enjoy it.

When I heard about the new nature-based card game from Inside Up Games, Earth, I was really enthused.

Earth was designed by Maxime Tardif with artwork by M81 Studio, Conor McGoey, Yulia Sozonik and Kenneth Spond. It plays 1-5 players, though I haven’t tried the solo mode.

It’s a tableau-building card game combining many different elements from some great games.

It reminds me most of Wingspan, but there’s also the Terraforming Mars icon extravaganza as well as the Puerto Rico “one player takes an action and each other player takes a lesser version of that action” mechanic.

How does this thing work?

And how it is it so phenomenal?

Let’s take a look.

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Firefly – 10th Anniversary Collector’s Edition Coming from Gale Force Nine

I’m on vacation this week, so posting was going to be sparse this week anyway (hush, you in the back…), but I had to post about this when I saw it.

I’m a big fan of the Firefly game from Gale Force Nine, though I haven’t played it in a while.

When you’ve registered 25 plays of a game that can take quite a while and take up your whole table and then some, that’s dedication!

The game has been very hard to find recently and some posters on BGG have said that inquiries to Gale Force Nine have received vague replies about a reprint.

Could it be because of this?


Yes, Gale Force Nine is producing a 10th Anniversary Collector’s Edition that will be coming to Gamefound sometime soon.

No word on when exactly or what is all going to be in it, besides…

And maybe more to boot!

The rotating picture on Gamefound does say “everything and more,” so who knows what that will be?

More cards to shop for?

More ships?

More leaders?

The sky’s the limit!

Or at least GF9’s imagination.

Anyway, I will be keeping my eye on this one to see just what all will be in there.

I’ll update this post when it launches, but you can follow it on Gamefound too so you can see for yourself.

Are you excited about this?

Let me know in the comments.