I was watching a commercial on TV promoting a cable service. The pitch? That here was a service offering television viewing with a better picture and lots and lots of channels. To convince you just how wonderful this deal was, a family was shown enjoying the services provided, sitting together on the coach, laughing uproariously at whatever they were (supposedly) watching. An idyllic picture designed to warm the heart and free up those purse strings so you spring for the service. Still, a couple of things occurred to me.
1. What modern family ranging from parents to teenage girl to younger male siblings would be watching the SAME show at the SAME time and laughing at the SAME things? (I don’t know the answer to that one either!)
2. More to the point, how is family togetherness emphasized or developed when NONE of the family is actually looking at or interacting with each other? (You got me there too!)
Now, I enjoy TV as much as the next guy. I consider myself a TV baby with a voluminous knowledge and (I admit it) love of vintage television and many of today’s television shows but …
NEVER equate television watching with bringing families together. The two are completely different activities and more often than not mutually exclusive. But if bringing the family together is the goal – and an immensely valuable goal, especially in today’s world when we have watched modern technology, with all its wonderful advances, bring with it the unforeseen consequence of minimizing the humanity of us all, let me suggest a viable and enjoyable alternative to sitting on the couch and watching watching watching endless streams of video. (And if you’re reading this, you know the alternative already). Play games!
Playing games is one of the few activities where different ages can meet and interact and have fun TOGETHER! An amazing concept for sure but one that is absolutely true as anyone who has sat at a gaming table will gladly attest.
We’re kicking off a new year with this issue, and each year brings forth a new slew of games to enjoy. Whether they appear at the New York International Toy Fair or at Origins, Gencon, Essen or Nuremberg or at a number of other venues, they will always present new opportunities to increase interaction over no action. The possibilities are endless and exciting. And, as the year unfolds and the new releases appear, we will be watching!
In this issue of GA REPORT, we have watched and we have seen as we explore the science fiction world of Terry Pratchett, take new risks and don our trenchcoat to become Spymasters during the Cold War. Meanwhile, Pevans goes “card crazy”, Andrea “Liga” Ligabue finds where there’s a will there’s a way, Greg J. Schloesser explores his dark side and Frank Hamrick builds his kingdom! We welcome K-ban with the latest installment in his Baseball Games series plus here comes another entry for The Gamer’s Bookshelf. And, of course, much more.
Until next time, Good Gaming!
Herb Levy, President
Winter 2012 GA Report Articles
Reviewed by Herb Levy
(Living Worlds Games, LLC, 2 players, ages 14 and up, about 30 minutes; $24.99) In 1955, the world was a very different place. In the fifties, two major superpowers were locked in a Cold War. Now, two players can relive those days of political struggle in a tug of war, competing to exert influence against each other in a quest for ...Read More
A CORNUCOPIA OF CARD GAMES: PEVANS LOOKS AT NEW CARD GAMES I seem to have picked up quite a few card games while I was in Essen last October. Well, they’re so much easier to carry when you’re flying. And easier on the budget, too. This article is thus a brief review of each of them. They’re in alphabetical order of title, as I can’t ...Read More
What's New at the OLD Ballgame? Reviewed by by K-ban
The two most successful table-top baseball games, APBA and Strat-O-Matic have already celebrated their 50th anniversaries. Those who embraced this hobby in their youth are now mostly in their 60’s and 70’s and either nearing or in retirement. Today’s youth are enamored with computers, 3D graphics and stats being accumulated for them. Since the demand ...Read More
Reviewed by Greg J. Schloesser
(Z-Man Games, 3-5 players, ages 10 and up, 45-60 minutes; $39.99) The darkness has been evident on the horizon for many months. Evil was stirring and growing, and it was only a matter of time before the dark minions poured forth, threatening every town and village in the realm. Nay, "threatening" does not begin to describe the horrors in store ...Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (Treefrog/Mayfair Games, 2-4 players, ages 11 and up, about 60 minutes; $49)
Judging from its title, you might think this game has something to do with an Egyptian pig farm but you would be wrong. It is the fantasy world found in the novels of Terry Pratchett that serve as the background and inspiration here. It seems that Ankh-Morpork, a major ...Read More
Watching I was watching a commercial on TV promoting a cable service. The pitch? That here was a service offering television viewing with a better picture and lots and lots of channels. To convince you just how wonderful this deal was, a family was shown enjoying the services provided, sitting together on the coach, laughing uproariously at whatever they were (supposedly) watching. An idyllic picture ...Read More
Reviewed by Frank Hamrick
(Queen Games, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 45-60 minutes; $59.95) Kingdom Builder grabbed my attention in the pre-Essen reports I read. I’ve always been enchanted with castles, kingdoms, and knights. Add to this exciting prospect that name of designer Donald X. Vaccarino of Dominion fame and I could hardly wait! Then I heard it was barely more than a filler ...Read More
Reviewed by Andrea "Liga" Ligabue
(Czech Games Edition/Rio Grande Games, 2-5 players, ages 11 and up, 60-90 minutes; $49.95) I'm becoming a real fan of Czech designers. In the beginning it was only Vlaada Chavitl with his great designs but, starting from 2007, Vladimir Suchy is also getting good releases. League of Six (Winter 2008 Gamers Alliance Report) was a nice game, Shipyard (Spring 2010 ...Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (Alderac Entertainment Group [AEG], 2-4 players, ages 13 and up, about 60 minutes; $49.99)
The Legend of the Five Rings is a roleplaying adventure game published by Alderac Entertainment Group that has been around for over a decade now. (We featured the game back in the Summer 1996 issue of Gamers Alliance Report.) That game has spawned a host of others ...Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy
(Parker Brothers/Hasbro, 3-5 players, ages 13 and up, about 60 minutes; $70) Some games seem to have been around forever and the folks at Hasbro are fortunate enough or shrewd enough to have many of them in their line-up. Monopoly, Sorry, Clue, The Game of Life are just a few of the titles that are, without question, lurking in closets throughout ...Read More
Reviewed by Chris Kovac
(WizKids Games, 2-4 players, ages 14 and up, 60 minutes; $49.99) What do you get when you mix a top Euro game designer - Reiner Knizia - with a major motion picture/TV franchise - “The New Star Trek” and the Wiz Kids Hero Clix game system? Well you might get the game Star Trek: Expeditions or at least a game real ...Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy
(Blackrock Editions, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 20-60 minutes; about $20) It's the 1930s and crime is rampant, spreading from city to city like the plague. Players, as the heads of criminal organizations, seek to spread their influence in cities across the country in this Alain Ollier design: The Boss. The Boss comes in a small package and within it, ...Read More
THE GAMER'S BOOKSHELF: THE BRAIN WORKS: 20 MINUTE WHILE-YOU-WAIT CROSSWORD PUZZLES by Matt Gaffney (Sellers Publishing, Inc., 288 pages each, $9.95 each)
The main focus of Gamers Alliance is, as the name implies, games. Yet, while today's world may be getting smaller due to improvements in the means of communication, the World of Games seems to be getting larger as it continues to encompass many ...Read More