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EDITORIAL – WINTER 2005 – VOL. 2 NO. 13

The Thirteen Club

 

There seems to be a club for every interest. Stamps, coins, politics, you name it; the list goes on forever. Why should games be any different? If you’re reading this, you’re in the club, for you share an interest in games with the rest of us. And, if you’re reading this, you’re also in another club: The Thirteen Club.

Thirteen and superstitions connected to it have had a long and checkered history with both bad and good connotations. The first negative instance of it probably arose from the Last Supper when Christ and his 12 disciples dined together. The following day, Christ was crucified. This led to the belief that if 13 people sat down at a table, one would die within a year. On the positive side, 13 was considered a good and LUCKY number in the United States during the 1700s because of the original 13 colonies!

In the 1880s, Captain William Fowler started The Thirteen Club, a social club consisting of rationalists who devoted themselves to eradicating the belief in the unlucky 13. Not as many people as he hoped shared Fowler’s conviction. It took him over a year to find 13 people to join the club! But find them he did. The first dinner of the group took place at 8:13 PM on Friday, January 13, 1880 in Room 13 of the Knickerbocker Cottage.

Many famous people are known to have feared the number 13. Such examples include showman P.T. Barnum, author Victor Hugo and the infamous Adolph Hitler. On the other hand, other notables, such as the literary giants Oscar Wilde and Edgar Allan Poe and US president Woodrow Wilson, felt 13 to be a positive influence. Which brings us to the question you might be thinking: Why am I in The Thirteen Club? The answer is simple. Since we have gone online, this is the 13th issue of GAMERS ALLIANCE REPORT!

Although we’ve been around for quite awhile (this is our 19th consecutive year of publication!), it’s been a little over three years since we made our leap of faith into cyberspace and our faith has been rewarded. We’ve been even more successful in reaching more gamers of all levels and ages now that we can span the far reaches of the world so effortlessly. To celebrate the occasion, we’re serving up a lucky 13 feast: a baker’s dozen of reviews and features to whet your appetite for new gaming experiences as we kick off the new year.

In this issue, we span the ages of history, search for lost artifacts, drink beer, prospect for gold, keep our heads in the clouds and shout! Frank Branham does some travelling and Mark Delano exerts a little influence! We bring back one of our popular features: Game Classics! Plus, topping off the issue, something a little special: game designer and frequent GA contributor Al Newman offers insights into (and a little preview of) his Winds of Plunder game, currently listed on GMT’s P500 list. And, of course, much more!

Until next time, Good Gaming!

Herb Levy, President


 

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Winter 2005 GA Report Articles

 

Reviewed by Herb Levy (Australian Design Group, 2-7 players, ages 7 and up, 7 hours but variable depending on scenario; $70) World history has often been mirrored in the games we play with the rise and fall of civilizations being the focus. But covering history on a grand scale is a daunting task challenging the most adept game designers. There have been notable attempts over ...
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Reviewed by Frank Branham (Kosmos/Rio Grande, 3-6 Players, 60 Minutes; $37.95) "When you turn one of these up, do you get Shirley MacLaine?" - Steven Carlberg, first time Around the World in 80 Days player. The Kosmos box for Around the World in 80 Days is a little confusing as the little blurb right up at the top shows clearly that the game was designed ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Outset Media, 2-6 players, ages 12 and up, about 60 minutes; $29.99) One of the crimes of modern times is the theft of archeological treasures. In Artifact, you do something about it as part of an Artifact Recovery Team, winging your way around the world to recover these stolen goods. Artifact comes boxed with a mounted board depicting the world bordered ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Face to Face Games, 3-5 players, ages 10 and up, 30+ minutes; $22.95) There's something about the American Wild West that fascinates Europeans and the American west takes center stage in Boomtown, the new collaboration from Bruno Cathala and Bruno Faidutti. The premise of the game is simple: players are prospectors searching for gold during the gold rush, competing for mine ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Out-of-the-Box GAMES, 3- 6 players, ages 8 and up; 20-30 minutes; $12.99) Some games dare you to risk it all! This generally brings to mind wargames (when you commit your troops in a last ditch attempt to turn the tide of battle) or casino gambling (when you hope and pray that the right card or roulette number comes up). Yet, the ...
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[Al Newman has had a varied career as a game designer since he entered this arena in 1973. His work has appeared in early issues of GAMES Magazine, for example, and his considerable design credits include Super 3 (Milton Bradley), Babuschka (Ravensburger), Match 3 (Nathan), Wacky Wizard (Western) as well as many early computer designs such as Domination (which won the first First prize ever ...
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The Thirteen Club There seems to be a club for every interest. Stamps, coins, politics, you name it; the list goes on forever. Why should games be any different? If you're reading this, you're in the club, for you share an interest in games with the rest of us. And, if you're reading this, you're also in another club: The Thirteen Club. Thirteen and superstitions ...
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(Sometimes games that have gone out of print return to entertain a new set of game players. Sometimes, these games are "serious" simulations. But, more often than not, they are simply enjoyable games, easy for all ages to enjoy. This is what has happened with Cloud 9, a "lighter than air" diversion that has been given new life with a new edition from Out of ...
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[It's been awhile since we revisited great games from the past that have departed from the shelves of the marketplace. In past installments of our Game Classics series, we have featured an incredible assortment of brilliant designs: Astron, Bantu, Broker, Can't Stop, Daytona 500, Focus, Holiday, Kimbo, Mr. President, Ploy, Rich Uncle, Square Mile, Stock Market Game (by Gabriel), Summit, Troque/Troke, Trump: the Game (1989) ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Hanser/Rio Grande Games; 3-4 players, ages 12 and up, 60 minutes; $37.95) The festive atmosphere of Oktoberfest, of beer gardens and pretty waitresses, has combined with the business side of breweries in Goldbräu, the brainchild of Franz-Benno Delonge, best known for his Transamerica (featured in the Summer 2002 GA REPORT). Goldbräu comes with a mounted gameboard, 70 cards consisting of 24 ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Mind the Move, 2-5 players, ages 10 and up, about 60 minutes; about $30) Part of the thrill of tearing the shrink off new games is seeing if a gem lurks underneath. Such a thrill happened with Oltremare, one of the unexpected treats of this year's Essen Game Fair. Oltremare: Merchants of Venice, designed by Emanuelle Ornella, is one of those ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (R&D Games, 2-4 players, ages 9 and up, about 2 hours; about $100) Inspiration can come from many sources - even television! The evidence? It seems that a BBC television documentary on coral reefs and the lifestyles of the creatures inhabiting them was the inspiration for Reef Encounter, the latest offering from Richard Breese (whose Keythedral was featured last issue). Reef ...
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Reviewed by Mark Delano (Ystari Games, 3-4 players, ages 12 and up, about 90 minutes; about $50) Sometimes new games are eagerly anticipated months before their release. Others, like Ystari Game's Ys, seem to appear out of nowhere. Created by otherwise unknown designer Cyril Demaegd, it became one of the more popular new games at Essen this October. What interested me was not the theme, ...
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