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EDITORIAL – WINTER 2006 – VOL 2 NO. 17

RESOLUTE RESOLUTIONS

 

As this issue kicks off another new year, thoughts of improving upon the old one come to mind. After all, one of the staples of New Year celebrations are New Year’s resolutions. So, turning towards games, I have a few resolutions to make.

I play games virtually all the time. I game with a regular group of friends and it’s a great kick to play the new releases as they come. We also have “retro” nights when we dig out those not-so-recent great games that come to the table far less frequently than we’d like. (So many games, so little time!) Now that’s the good news. The bad news appears when schizoid personalities inhabit my gaming realm, sometimes appearing at my own table! (This is particularly annoying if these personalities emerge from ME!) My resolution is to avoid these personalities, specifically:

1. The Over Analyzer – Mr. OA not only views every game as a struggle to the death but EVERY TURN as a struggle to the death! He (or she) will deliberate, tentatively lean over the board, draw back, lean over again, study cards held in his/her hand, stare fixedly at a point on the board (or in space!) before, finally, committing to a move. I can understand this practice to a certain extent in an involved, demanding, multi-level game of strategy. But for Mr. OA, it doesn’t matter. Candyland gets the same treatment! The response? I’m trying to win. My response? I’m trying to have a good time. While Mr. OA is transfixed, the fun of the game is being sucked into another dimension. It’s certainly nowhere to be found at the table.

2. Perry Mason – I’ve read lots of the Erle Stanley Gardner novels and grew up on the wonderful TV series with Raymond Burr portraying the brilliant defense attorney. It’s exciting watching Perry defend the innocent and bring evildoers to justice. That’s what a defense lawyer does. But when RULES lawyers debate and argue minute facets of game rules, a game comes to a screeching halt and fun, as we know it, ceases to exist. (What do you call 1000 rules lawyers at the bottom of the ocean? A good start!)

3. Love Birds – Challenging yourself to do your best is part of a game’s appeal. It’s bad enough when other players outplay you. What’s worse is when their (or your) significant other demands special treatment. “If you love me, you won’t do that” is a cry that is a rough, gaming, equivalent to chalk on a blackboard. Now, where’s the fun in that?

Winning is great. Hall of Fame football coach Vince Lombardi was quoted as saying, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing!”. But that’s how he made his living. When I get together with friends, I’m not playing for money or tournament prizes. Winning comes in second to the fun and laughs and general good times to be had by all. With that in mind, I resolutely resolve to not allow Mr. OA, Perry Mason or any Love Birds to manifest themselves within my reach. I strongly recommend, fellow gamers, that you resolutely resolve to remove these personalities from your gaming universe too.

In this issue of GA REPORT, we follow the King and act like a Prince, go wild in Las Vegas, and film in Hollywood. Greg Schloesser takes a trip down Catan way while Ben Baldanza visits ancient civilizations. Plus an exclusive interview with game designer Richard Garfield! And, of course, much more.

Until next time, Good Gaming!

Herb Levy, President


 

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Winter 2006 GA Report Articles

 

Reviewed by Ben Baldanza ANTIKE (Eggertspiele, 2-6 players, ages 12 and up, 2-3 hours; about $65) Antike, designed by Mac Gerdts, is a heavy game with a lot of good design ideas that is easy to play but difficult to win. Up to six players take the role of an ancient civilization and in this role produce goods, gain knowledge, build temples, and deploy legions ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Ystari Games/Rio Grande Games, 2-5 players, ages 12 and up, about 60-150 minutes; $49.95) The French company, Ystari Games, has only been around a short time. Still, it created quite a stir with its initial release, Ys (Winter 2005 GA REPORT), an impressive game of partially hidden knowledge and influence. Beginner's luck? Apparently not as Caylus, the second release from this ...
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RESOLUTE RESOLUTIONS As this issue kicks off another new year, thoughts of improving upon the old one come to mind. After all, one of the staples of New Year celebrations are New Year's resolutions. So, turning towards games, I have a few resolutions to make. I play games virtually all the time. I game with a regular group of friends and it's a great kick ...
Read More
Reviewed by Greg J. Schloesser (Kosmos/Mayfair Games, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 2 hours; $49) I wasn’t too enamored with Klaus Teuber's Candamir: The First Settlers, so the release of Elasund: The First City, the second in this new series, didn’t pique my interest much. A reading of the rules, however, began to kindle a flame of interest, and my first playing ignited it ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Amarillo Design Bureau, Inc., 2 or more players, ages 10 and up, 40 minutes on up; $59.99) Star Trek lives! And, in case you were wondering, is in good health under the auspices of Stephen V. Cole, designer of Star Fleet Battles, in his latest foray into the Star Trek Universe with Federation Commander: Klingon Border. Federation Commander comes in a ...
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(With the release of Railroad Tycoon, based on/inspired by Martin Wallace's Age of Steam - and featured in this issue - we thought it would be interesting to see the reception AoS received when it made its debut. So, we've "flashbacked" to Greg Schloesser's review from the Winter 2003 GA REPORT!) AGE OF STEAM (Warfrog; 3 – 6 players, 2 – 3 hours; $44.95) I ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Sunriver Games, 2-6 players, ages 10 and up, 60-90 minutes; $18.95) It's a curious thing how poker, a card game that's been around for such a long time, has suddenly become so big! But it has taken KC Humphrey to take the salient parts of that classic card game and wrap them in a historical theme with a few nice touches ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Fantasy Flight Games, 3 or 4 players, ages 8 and up, 15-20 minutes; $6.95) More than just a geographic location, Hollywood has become synonymous with movies. And movies have international appeal which may account for two European game designers, Bruno Faidutti and Michael Schacht, teaming up to create a clever offering aptly titled The Hollywood Card Game. This card game consists ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Mind the Move/Z-Man Games, 2-5 players, ages 10 and up, 60-90 minutes; $34.99 ) If recent releases are any indication, the age of the small game company is dawning. One of the harbingers of this new age is Mind the Move Games. Its first release, Oltremare, designed by Emanuele Ornella, was an instant hit last year, meriting feature treatment in the ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (JKLM Games, 3-5 players, ages 8 and up, about 90 minutes; about $50) Henry VIII remains one of the most dynamic monarchs in history. It's only to be expected that members of his Royal Court would compete to enjoy the fruits of his favor. And so it goes in King's Progress, a Steve Kingsbury design, as players follow the Kingfrom castle ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Eagle Games, 2-6 players, ages 10 and up, about 2 hours; $59.99) If size truly doesn't matter, someone should tell Glenn Drover. For, in his newest release, Railroad Tycoon, Drover thinks big, REALLY BIG, both in style and substance. Railroad Tycoon comes in a huge box, heavily laden with a host of quality components. There are lots of tiles for laying ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Avalon Hill, 3-5 players, ages 12 to adult, about 75 minutes; $49.95) If you discount the numerous Axis & Allies and Risk spin-offs, the new Avalon Hill has offered a dizzying line of all different types of games. There is the throwback to older style American gaming with Sword & Skull (Spring 2005 GA REPORT), reworkings of past games including Monsters ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy Out of the Box Games, 2 players, ages 7 to adult, about 5 minutes; $19.95) Stacking games are nothing new and there is no denying their popularity. People seem to enjoy putting pieces on top of pieces until something falls down. But Wallamoppi, designed by Garrett J. Donner and Michael S. Steer, adds a factor not usually seen in this equation ...
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