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1998: Winter / Spring / SummerFall


2016

Winter 2016

(Volume 2, Number 57)

 

reviewed by Herb Levy Stronghold Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 12 and up, 30-120 minutes; $99.95 The art of designing games has been transformed into a science in this new release by Friedemann Friese. Scientists in the future, Friese postulates, have managed to construct alternate Earths, programming each of these worlds with their own specific sets of laws and rules. The essence of these ...
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NEW YEAR, NEW LOOK It is a time honored and well respected tradition that, with the dawning of a new year, people think long and hard and come up with New Year's Resolutions. Maybe it's time to quit smoking, maybe you'll take that leap into a new job or a new relationship, maybe you will just go on a diet and lose those unwanted pounds ...
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reviewed by Joe Huber Splotter Spellen, 2 to 5 players, ages 14 and up, 120-240 minutes; 75€/$124.99 I have been fortunate enough to meet, and become friends with, many game designers over the years. In general this is a great thing from my point of view, as it’s given me the opportunity to playtest hundreds of unpublished games, sometimes in the early stages ...
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reviewed by Herb Levy Mayfair Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 12 and up, 90 minutes; $60 There is a certain undeniable mystique surrounding upper scale hotels. Sometimes it is captured in the movies (vintage film buffs will recall the great classic film Grand Hotel charting the lives of guests portrayed by Greta Garbo, John and Lionel Barrymore, Joan Crawford and more in ...
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reviewed by Kevin Whitmore Quined Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 12 and up, 60-90 minutes; $79.99 Haspelknecht is the third release from author Thomas Spitzer, and his third game in a trilogy of games about coal production in the Ruhr region of Germany. His prior two games, Ruhrschifffahrt and Kohle & Kolonie, have both received some acclaim, so I was eager to try ...
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reviewed by Pevans eggertspiele (in Germany) and R&R Games (in the US). 2-4 players, aged 12+, 2-3 hours to play (officially 75-150 minutes); $49.99 Mombasa caught my eye twice at Spiel ’15: at eggertspiele’s stand, they being the German publisher, and again with R&R Games, who are publishing it in the US. It was Frank DiLorenzo, main man at R&R, who persuaded me (it didn’t ...
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reviewed by Herb Levy Tasty Minstrel Games/dlp Games, 2 to 5 players, ages 12 and up, 90 minutes; $59.95 Last year, Orleans hit the gaming tables to considerable acclaim. This year, a new Deluxe Edition of the game has made it to market and not a moment too soon. (more…) ...
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reviewed by Greg J. Schloesser Z-Man Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 13 and up, 45 minutes; $69.99 NOTE: A familiarity with Pandemic is assumed in this review. The threat of horrifying diseases for which we have no known treatment ravaging the Earth remains an all-too-real possibility. Indeed, the recent outbreak of Ebola raised public consciousness of this possibility. (more…) ...
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reviewed by Herb Levy Kosmos, 2 to 4 players, ages 12 and up, 90 minutes; $59.95 Rudiger Dorn is back with a new game - and it's about time! Actually, I mean that literally. In this game postulating an alternate history, the year is 1899 and reports of unexplained time bending phenomena at ancient sites such as Stonehenge and the Pyramids have resulted in the ...
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reviewed by Herb Levy Edited and with an Introduction by Otto Penzler (A Vintage Crime/Black Lizard Original, 816 pages, ISBN: 978-1-101-97281-1), Hardcover $40, Softcover $25) Where do game designers get their inspirations? For many over the last 100 or so years, the inspiration came from the adventures of the world's first consulting detective and arguably, the most famous and successful detective of all time: Sherlock ...
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reviewed by Chris Kovac GMT Games, 2-3 players, ages 12 and up, 4-6 hours; $89 Triumph and Tragedy, as designed by Craig Besinque, is a three player strategic war game of World War II in the Western theater using card management and block wargaming elements. In the game, you will play one of three factions (more…) ...
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reviewed by Herb Levy Mayday Games/Hobby World, 1 to 4 players, ages 12 and up, 45-60 minutes; $34.99 In the fantasy Berserk universe, power is paramount and in Viceroy, designed by Yuri Zhuravlev, up to four players, immersed in that universe, compete by constructing a "power pyramid", (more…) ...
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reviewed by Andrea "Liga" Ligabue Demoela Project, 2 to 5 players, ages 12 and up, 45-90 minutes; $54.99 Zena 1814 is one of the 2015 Essen's releases that most impressed me. (more…) ...
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2015

 

Fall 2015
(Volume 2, Number 56)

 

Reviewed by: Kevin Whitmore (Numbskull Games, 3 to 5 players, ages 10 and up, 120 minutes; $49.99) California Gold is a 2015 release from author Patrick Stevens and published by his company, Numbskull Games. But don’t let the title fool you; California Gold is about “Orange Ranching, the second gold rush” as the slogan on the top of the box clarifies. The game supports 3 ...
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Reviewed by: Larry Levy (Czech Games Edition, 2 to 12 players, ages 14 and up, 15 minutes; $20) Many of us may tend to think of game designers as having specialties—things like card games, children's games, and the like. But while that's occasionally true, most designers are pretty versatile. Obviously, it's to their benefit to have more than one arrow in their quiver. That's certainly ...
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Reviewed by: Pevans (Ragnar Brothers, 1 to 4 players, ages 14 and up, 120 minutes; about $70) That’s “Democratic Republic of…” The first thing to get straight about this game is its title. It is not, as many people think (all right, I thought) on first sight, Doctor Congo… It is the latest heavyweight strategy game from the Ragnar Brothers. It is definitely a complex ...
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Quick Quiz For gamers around the world, playing games is a learning experience. First, you need to learn the rules to play the game correctly. Sometimes, this means poring over the rulebook. Sometimes, it means absorbing the rules from someone who has played the game before. Once the game is in action, you learn something about your opponents in how they handle the challenges inherent ...
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Reviewed by: Frank Branham [Back in 2004, Hasbro released a spectacular new game with a fantasy theme, wonderful graphic design and lots of beautiful miniatures. The game was Heroscape. The game caught on with critics and players alike and became a success spawning lots of expansions for players to add to that gaming universe. But nothing lasts forever so, after a rather long run, Heroscape ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Lookout Games/Mayfair Games, 2 to 5 players, ages 10 and up, 30-60 minutes; $37) The isle of Skye is a small island located in the English Channel. Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King, as designed by Andreas Pelikan and Alexander Pfister, uses that setting to challenge players to develop their own "clan territory" in such a way as to achieve ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Wizards of the Coast/Hasbro Games, 2 to 5 players, ages 10 and up, 60 minutes; $29.99) Over 20 years ago, Magic, the Gathering burst onto the scene and the reaction was, to put it mildly, PHENOMENAL! The game flew off the shelves! More importantly, that Richard Garfield design put a small company, Wizards of the Coast, on the map and created ...
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Reviewed by: Greg J. Schloesser (Blue Orange Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 8 and up, 45-60 minutes; $49.99) Blue Orange has been publishing games for over a dozen years. They predominately produce lighter family and party games, although there have been a few that require a bit more strategy (Gobblet comes to mind). Perhaps their most popular game is Spot It!, a fast-paced party ...
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Reviewed by: Andrea "Liga" Ligabue (Fantasy Flight Games, 2 players, ages 14 and up, 120 minutes; $99.95) I've always been fascinated by the Star Wars universe and related games. I played a lot with the old West End Games RPG and I really love Star Wars: X-Wings. When FFG announced the release of Star Wars: Armada, I was thrilled. Someone could think Armada is the ...
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[With our 30th year celebration launched, we have to admit that we wouldn't be here if there was nothing to discuss! For that, we have to be thankful for the talented game designers that have managed to create so many thought provoking, challenging and entertaining games over the last three decades. So, as with our Top 30 Games poll, we contacted everybody we could find ...
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[In celebrating our 30th year, we thought about the thousands (tens of thousands? hundreds of thousands?) of games that have appeared on the scene over the last three decades. So we contacted everybody we could find who had ever contributed to Gamers Alliance Report since our beginning as well as our worldwide membership and asked them: In YOUR opinion, what are the BEST games published, ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Lookout Games/Mayfair Games, 2 players, ages 8 and up, 30-40 minutes; $21) Some topics command more than their fair share of attention when it comes to trains. One of those topics is, without question, trains. Russian Railroads (featured in the Spring 2014 Gamers Alliance Report), for example, used trains as a springboard for an excellent worker placement game. Now, Helmut Ohley, ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Stonemaier Games, 2 to 6 players, ages 13 and up, 45-90 minutes; $60) Wine is often thought of as "the nectar of the gods" being a source of inspiration for centuries, its virtues extolled through literature of all sorts (even poetry). So it is no surprise that this inspiration has spilled over into games. Wine making, its pleasures and perils, have ...
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Summer 2015
(Volume 2, Number 55)

 

Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Eagle/Gryphon Games, 1-4 players, ages 8 and up, 45-60 minutes; $39.99; Deluxe Edition $64.99) Let's start this review by being perfectly frank. I'm a baseball purist. I like the game the way it is played; I still can't get used to the Designated Hitter. So you can imagine my reaction when I heard about a baseball game set in the future ...
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Reviewed by: Greg J. Schloesser (Tasty Minstrel Games, 3 to 5 players, ages 13 and up, 120-150 minutes; $69.95) Generally, I am not fond of economic games, tending to find them fairly dry and business-like. I am a businessman by profession, so playing a game that is about a business strays a bit too close to what I do for a living. I want my ...
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Reviewed by Andrea "Liga" Ligabue (Asmodee/Ludonaute, 2 to 6 players, ages 10 and up, less than 60 minutes; $39.99) The Old West is always fascinating, at least for us Europeans looking at the wide spaces of the US with a mix of awe and astonishment. Gunslingers, Indians, coaches, saloons and shoot-outs are powerful tools in the hands of expert designers. Bang!, Carson City, Dice Town, ...
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Imitation is... "...the sincerest form of flattery", at least according to Oscar Wilde. But you know what else imitation is? BORING! When your "lofty goal" is to copy, as closely as possible, something successful (we're talking about games here but this applies to almost everything), you are doomed to fail. When your new version of something is just about the same as the old version, ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Space Cowboys/Asmodee, 2 to 4 players, ages 14 and up, 60 minutes; $59.99) Ambition is a powerful force. When you are a human being, it can be the drive that moves you up the corporate ladder or shoots you to the top in political circles. But when you are a demigod with designs on claiming a spot on Mount Olympus, you ...
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Reviewed by: Chris Kovac (Z-Man Games,1-2 players, ages 14 and up, 120 minutes; $79.99) Fields of Arle is a two player game of resource collecting and management by Uwe Rosenberg following his games like Agricola, Le Harve and Caverna in scope and style. The object of the game is to have the most points after nine turns. (more…) ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Renegade Game Studios/Foxtrot Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 8 and up, 30 minutes; $34.99) Just when you think you've seen all the possible permutations of tile laying games, you discover something new. In Lanterns: The Harvest Festival, designed by Christopher Chung, tile laying is deftly combined with card play in a game where the setting is China and players are ...
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[In our issues, we generally focus on the newest and best games on the market today (when we're not highlighting some great classic game no longer in print). This piece, however, is an exception. James Davis is a big fan of Memoir 44, a well received game of World War II action originally featured in the Summer 2004 issue of GA Report. With over a ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Queen Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 8 and up, 45 minutes; $49.99) The smell of success is in the air for the player who can concoct the more desirable perfumes and sell them to the illustrious clientele who desire them in the latest game from the design team of Marco Ruskowski and Marcel Sobelbeck: Parfum. (more…) ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Asmadi Games, 2 to 5 players, ages 14 and up, 45-60 minutes; $59.99) In the late 19th-early 20th century, the glue that held the masses together, keeping them in touch with the events of the day and each other, were the newspapers. These publications ran the gamut from high toned conveyers of the news to flamboyant and sensational journalism, commonly known ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Griggling Games Inc., 2 to 6 players, ages 13 and up, 90 minutes; $49.95) For the longest time, there has been a disconnect between wargames and Euro strategy games. Whether the trauma of World War II was simply too much to allow Europeans to revisit such a destructive conflict or differing cultural influences are to account for this, I'll leave to ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (R & R Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 14 and up, 25 minutes; $19.95) Did you ever wonder how rival Mages settle their disputes? Well, it's not by sharing their feelings. In Spellcaster, a new game designed by Aaron Weissblum and Norman Woods, we discover that such disagreements are settled the only way they could be: through magical combat Read More
Reviewed by: Pevans (Quined Games, 2-4 players, ages 12 and up, 60-90 minutes; $59.99) It’s Earth, Jim, but not as we know it. I first played The Golden Ages, designed by Luigi Ferrini, at Dutch publisher Quined’s stand at Spiel ‘14 and was immediately taken with it. It’s a civilisation development game that takes familiar features and puts them together in a different way – ...
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Reviewed by: Joe Huber (Z-Man Games/Hans im Glűck, 2 to 4 players, ages 12 and up, 40-100 minutes; $59.99) For me, the question of the most consistent publisher is a fairly easy one. Other than the single designer publishers, I’ve found no publisher who finds as consistently interesting designs as Hans im Glück. Whether classic games such as El Grande, Euphrat & Tigris, and Goa, ...
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Reviewed by: Joe Huber (Asmodee Editions/Ystari, 4 players, ages 13 and up, 10 minutes; $39.99) Every year, after Essen, I participate in a few gatherings to play through the new games. Over the course of a few weekends, I’ll typically end up playing 30 or more new games – most of which I’ll never come back to again. I really enjoy playing new (and new-to-me) ...
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Spring 2015
(Volume 2, Number 54)

 

Everyone who has ever seen a magician perform has more than likely seen a disappearing act. In a blink of an eye, a coin, a bird, a beautiful assistant vanishes before your eyes. This is a magical staple that has thrilled audiences for decades. But, as we gamers know, sometimes disappearances fail to garner applause when it's a quality game that has vanished from the ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Bezier Games, 1 to 4 players, ages 13 and up, 90 minutes; $59.99) Back in 1864, King Ludwig ascended to the throne of Bavaria. Rather than concerning himself with affairs of state as might reasonably be expected, Ludwig became fascinated with medieval castles and commissioned the construction of no less than three, spending his considerable fortune of over 30 million marks ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Pearl Games/Asmodee, 2 to 4 players, ages 14 and up, 60-90 minutes; $59.99) Ever since the aptly named Civilization was released by Hartland Trefoil (and later published by Avalon Hill) to critical acclaim, the rise and development of civilizations has been a frequent topic explored at the gaming table. Different approaches have been tried, some more successful than others but game ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (North Star Games, 2 to 6 players, ages 10 and up, 60 minutes; $54.99) Man was not the first animal to inhabit Earth. Long before man appeared, dinosaurs were the dominant species on this planet. Those days return as dinosaurs try to adapt to a changing environment and survive hostile creatures as they travel the road of Evolution. Evolution, a reworking ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (US Games Systems, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 30 minutes; $19.95) Sometimes, if you're very fortunate, you get hold of a winning formula and it pays dividends. For Mike Fitzgerald, that formula is the Mystery Rummy franchise. For over a decade, starting with Mystery Rummy: Jack the Ripper (featured in the Fall 1998 Gamers Alliance Report and written up by ...
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Reviewed by: Pevans (Treefrog Games/Asmodee, 2 to 4 players, ages 13 and up, 60 minutes; $49.99) Back in 2011, Martin Wallace and Treefrog Games published a very clever wargame, A Few Acres of Snow (featured in the Fall 2011 issue of Gamers Alliance Report). This is a two-player game of British and French conflict in North America through the first half of the eighteenth century ...
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Reviewed by: Chris Kovac (Treefrog/Asmodee, 2 to 5 players, ages 13 and up, 90-120 minutes; $49.99) Onward to Venus (the full name being Dr. Grordbort's Onward to Venus) is a two to five player light area control gamers' game designed by veteran game designer Martin Wallace and put out by Treefrog Games. The game has a steam punk fantasy theme based on Greg Broadmores fantasy ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Alderac Entertainment Group/Pegasus Spiele, 2 players, ages 10 and up, 30-45 minutes; $29.99) Ancient China has proven to be a fertile ground for game themes. But rather than farming or raising livestock or ancient warfare, the theme this time around is construction as two people compete to win the Emperor's favor in the game that bears the name of the structures ...
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Reviewed by: Eric Brosius (Rio Grande Games, 2-5 players, ages 10 and up, 45 minutes; $59.95) Roll for the Galaxy is a game about space exploration, expansion and economic activity and is designed by Wei-Hwa Huang and Tom Lehmann. This game clearly draws its inspiration, and even some of its artwork, from Tom’s earlier game Race for the Galaxy (featured in the Winter 2008 Gamers ...
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Sally Field and Me Back in 1985, Sally Field, an actress best known for her light TV work (after all, she was "The Flying Nun" early in her career), won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in 1984's Places of the Heart. In accepting her Oscar, Sally said, "I haven't had an orthodox career, and I've wanted more than anything to have ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Gamewright, 2 to 5 players, ages 8 and up, 15 minutes; $11.99) 7 Wonders is a game that appeared several years ago (and featured in the Winter 2011 issue of Gamers Alliance Report) to garner rave reviews and a slew of awards. Justifiably so. At the core of its design was the game mechanism of card drafting, i.e. having a bunch ...
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Reviewed by: Andrea "Liga" Ligabue (Gamelyn Games, 2 to 5 players, ages 13 and up, 30 minutes; $26.99) One of the things gamers are looking for is a great, perfect and engaging epic fantasy game. From the time of Battlemist (and the renewed edition of Rune Quest), several titles have tried and failed to hit the heart of epic fantasy lovers. Another dream of most ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Alderac Entertainment Group, 2-4 players, ages 14 and up, 45 minutes; $19.99) When archeologists searched the sands of Egypt, they uncovered, in the Valley of the Kings, the site where the pharaohs of that ancient civilization built pyramids that would become their tombs. Now contemporary players assume the role of pharaohs and plan for their eventual demise by entombing into their ...
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Winter 2015
(Volume 2, Number 53)

 

Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Space Cowboys/Asmodee, 3 to 4 players, ages 8 and up, 60 minutes, $59.99) The governor's daughter has been captured! Rescuing her requires skill, courage - and lots of doubloons to pay her ransom! It's off to the sea to gather the necessary funds through trade - and pirating - as players command their fleet of ships to victory in the latest ...
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Come One Come All: A Comparative Review of Three Multiplayer-Solitaire Games: Neos, Doodle City and Rolling Japan by Joe Huber Oftentimes, games are described as multiplayer-solitaire – sometimes derisively, sometimes with praise – when players take their actions completely or nearly completely independent of other players. But most of the time, the tag is, if not misguided, at least overly aggressive. Race for the Galaxy, ...
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Reviewed by: Eric Brosius (I Was Game, 2 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, 30 minutes; 500¥) Dungeon of Mandom is a game that casts the players as heroes who plan to enter a nearby dungeon and fight whatever assortment of monsters lurk inside. In many monster-fighting games, the heroes work together as a team—or at least pretend to—but such a cooperative attitude will ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Mucke Spiele, 2 to 6 players, ages 8 and up, 15 minutes, €14.90) There is a segment of the gaming world consisting of games requiring you to think fast because time is running out. It's almost as if there was a bomb in the room and you need to get things done before the bomb explodes! In Fuse (aka Lunte in ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Yemaia/Asterion Press/Asmodee, 2 to 6 players, ages 14 and up, about 20 minutes per player, $99.99) Mythic realms offer myriad possibilities and, as such, often act as the springboard for games of depth. Such is the case with the new game from Andrea Chiarvesio and Pierluca Zizzi: Hyperborea. According to the game's mythology, Hyperborea was a realm once ruled by an ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Alea/Ravensburger, 2 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, 60 minutes, $39.99) Exploring the unknown has always been a crowd pleaser for gamers whether it's a dungeon crawling roleplaying experience or a science fiction odyssey to the furthest reaches of outer space. In La Isla, the latest offering from Stefan Feld (and number 10 in Ravensburger's line of Alea small box ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Alderac Entertainment Group, 2 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, 20 minutes, $11.95) Winning the love of a beautiful princess is the stuff that fairy tales are made of. It is also the theme for a very clever game, part of a series of games set in the fantasy world of Tempest published by the Alderac Entertainment Group: Love Letter ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Mayfair Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, 60-75 minutes; $60) Murano is a series of islands linked by bridges in the Venetian lagoon of northern Italy. This is where players will find themselves, paving roads, placing shops, palaces, special buildings and glass factories, all with an eye towards gathering prestige - and the resulting Victory Points, in this ...
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Reviewed by: Greg J. Schloesser (Z-Man Games, 2 to 5 players, ages 8 and up, 30-45 minutes, $49.99) Pandemic by designer Matt Leacock was first published back in 2007 and it was a huge hit. The cooperative game challenged players to find cures for four deadly diseases that were threatening humanity. Pandemic eventually made its way to the shelves of such mainstream stores as Target ...
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Reviewed by: Chris Kovac (Deinko Games, 2-4 players, ages 12 and up, 120 minutes, $60) Patchistory is a 2-4 player tile laying civilization building game played over three eras. The object is to have the most culture points by the end of the game. The game is designed by two new Korean game designers: Jun Hyap Kim and Yeon-Min Jung. My review covers the second ...
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Reviewed by: Andrea "Liga" Ligabue (District Games, 3 to 8 players, ages 12 and up, 60 minutes, about €30) 2014 was a “golden year” for designer Andrea Chiarvesio with 4 games released: Hyperborea, Kingsport Festival, Drizzit and Richard I. The clamour around Hyperborea (published by Asmodee/Asterion/Yemaia and featured this issue) and Kingsport Festival (Giochi Uniti/Kosmos) was great. Drizzit found a huge fan base as well ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Pegasus Spiele/eggertspiele, 2 to 5 players, ages 12 and up, 90 minutes; about $55) The court of Louis XV of France was one of opulence. Royalty knew how to live and, judging from this gaming experience, certainly how to dress. Players, as the heads of fashion designer concerns, compete to create the most alluring dresses (and men's outfits too) as well ...
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Reviewed by: Derek Croxton (Alderac Entertainment Group, 3-4 players, ages 12 and up, 60 minutes, $19.99) Sail to India, designed by Hisashi Hayashi, is what you would probably call a micro-game: it is inexpensive, has few components, and is playable in under an hour. Some people like micro-games, some don't. I will admit up front that I have always liked them and I find them ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Ravensburger, 2 to 4 players, ages 8 and up, 45 minutes, $39.99) The palace at Sanssouci is simply stunning and one of its stunning qualities is the beautiful gardens that frame the impressive edifice. In the new game from Michael Kiesling, players are the powers behind the gardens as they individually create them along with constructing the various accessories that appear ...
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Reviewed by: Peter Sbirakos (Steve Hawkins, 1 player, ages 14 and up, 300 minutes, Print & Play, http://bit.ly/10MOOal) I am drawn to military science fiction/horror novels and very much enjoy themes of destruction, bleak and desperate situations, and thrilling accounts of protagonists doing their utmost to survive in dire circumstances. But can these plot lines and themes be designed into solitaire style board ...
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GAMES GONE WRONG We are living in a Golden Age of Gaming. There is just no debating this. Never has there been so many high quality, beautifully produced and satisfying games to play as we are seeing right now. We can discuss the reasons for this and that, in and of itself, is something worth doing. But, just as you rarely see good news headlines ...
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2014

Fall 2014
(Volume 2, Number 52)

 

Reviewed by: Kevin Whitmore (Numbskull Games, 3 to 6 players, ages 8 and up, 1-2 hours; $59.99) Numbskull Games latest offering is C.C. Higgins Rail Pass. This is a game for railroad fans. The show piece of the game is the large and detailed railroad map of North America. As a railroading game fan, I have seen a lot of railroad maps. But this map ...
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Reviewed by: Marty Goldberger (Rio Grande Games, 2 to 5 players, ages 12 and up, 100+ minutes; $64.95) It is said that "All roads lead to Rome". In Concordia, the latest design from Mac Gerdts (creator of such gems as Imperial and Navegedor), the roads lead FROM Rome. In this game, an excellent melding of deck-building and production/territory acquisition, players are vying to score the ...
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Reviewed by: Chris Kovac (The Game Master, 1 to 6 players, ages 12 and up, 30 minutes; $39.99) Countdown: Special Ops is a 1-6 player co-operative game designed by Dutch game designers, Hans Van Tol and Gertjan Oomis, where players are members of a counter terrorist team performing various missions which need to be accomplished before time runs out. To set up the game, you ...
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Reviewed by: Greg J. Schloesser (Noris Spiele, 2 to 4 players, ages 8 and up, 20 minutes; €22.99) I've always wanted to write a short, concise review that encapsulates a game in just one short sentence. With Cuatro, I think I can do just that: Connect 4 meets Yahtzee. There you have it. OK. You know I cannot stop there; I am far too verbose ...
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Face (book) Forward Face it. The world is getting smaller. You can credit (or blame, depending on your point of view) technology for that. Scientific advances used to create the internet, smart phones, Skype, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook have made it happen. While technology may not always be our friend, there's no denying its impact. So, Gamers Alliance is once again facing forward - and ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Days of Wonder, 2 to 4 players, ages 13 and up, 40-80 minutes; $60) There is something rather romantic - and exciting - about the lands and times of the Arabian Nights. Game designers have been well aware of that as many games have that time and locale as their setting. The latest game to make use of that venue comes ...
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Reviewed by: Al Newman (Czech Games Edition, 1-4 players, ages 8 to adult, about 30 minutes; $4.99) They say in space, no one can hear you scream. But they may hear you laugh. A lot. Particularly if you're playing Czech Games brand new iPad app Galaxy Trucker ($4.99 for a limited time). This is a faithful representation of the board game with one wonderful exception ...
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Reviewed by: Andrea "Liga" Ligabue (Portal Publishing, 1 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, 20 minutes per player; $55.99) There is no doubt I'm a fan of Ignacy Trzewiczek productions: Stronghold, Pret-a-Porter, Robinson Crusoe and the 51st State series. So, I was really intrigued reading about Imperial Settlers, an empire building card game that inherits some core mechanics from 51st State. What I really ...
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Reviewed by: Peter Sbirakos [In this issue, we say "G'day" to Australian Peter Sbirakos as we welcome him to our pages. Like many of us, Peter started his gaming early. He says: "I purchased my first game in 1979 at the tender age of 12 from the supermarket which was Attack Force by the TSR company. Over the next few years in the early 1980s ...
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Reviewed by: Pevans (Asmadi Games, 2 to 6 players, ages 13 and up, 15-20 minutes per player; $30) “The impulse is an only child, he’s waiting in the park…” I don’t know what it is, but the title of this game starts Duran Duran’s “The Reflex” running through my head… just me, then. I’d better tell you about the game. Impulse is designed by Carl ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Mayfair Games/Lookout Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, 60-90 minutes; $35) The exotic city of Johari nestled in Jaipur is the hub for gems, jewelry and jewel sales. Players, as gem merchants in that far off locale, compete in selling valuable gems (as well as fakes) in order to gain the most prestige in this new game by ...
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Reviewed by: Frank Hamrick (IDW Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 8 and up, 30 minutes; about $24) Machi Koro was one of the real hits at Essen 2013. This Japanese game designed by Masao Suganuma was in great demand, in part because there were relatively few copies available in English (a few more in Japanese). In addition, the beautiful artwork and simple, yet engaging ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Hurrican Games/Asmodee, 2 to 4 players, ages 8 and up, 30-45 minutes; $39.99) The 19th century was a time when pirates sailed the seas and, during that turbulent time, Madame Ching was one of the fiercest. As one of the few female pirates, Madame Ching roamed the China Sea commanding at the height of her career about 2000 ships and 50,000 ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy ( R&R Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 12 and up, 60 minutes; $39.99) It's exciting to explore unknown lands and claim them for king and country. It's quite another thing to solidify that hold on the land by colonizing it! This was not an easy task for those brave souls in the New World but that is the challenge players ...
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Reviewed by: James Davis The themes of these games of ours are as varied as we are. We have games about virtually every war and event in history. There are games about space travel, science, fantasy, trains and even theme-less abstracts. And we have at least a couple hundred games just about trading during the Italian Renaissance. That is one of the things I like ...
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Reviewed by: Joe Huber (Taikikennai Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, 10 minutes; about $24 plus shipping) Back in 2000, Stephan Riedel created a new genre of game. Old Town is often classified as a deduction game, but it’s not – players have no information to deduce. Instead, they make plays in order to try to prove information, scoring for doing so ...
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Summer 2014
(Volume 2, Number 51)

 

Reviewed by: Greg J. Schloesser (Z-Man Games/Pearl Games, 2-5 players, ages 13 and up; 90-120 minutes; $64.99) Brussels in the late 19th century was an exciting place, as the city was a hub for an artistic and architectural revolution. The "Art Nouveau" style was born here, and many outstanding buildings were constructed and are still a marvel today. It was apparently quite the scene and ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (R & R Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, 60-75 minutes, $44.95) For admirers of the Euro/German style of gaming, the German city of Essen is the epicenter of the universe for its gaming convention held there annually. But Essen has more to its history than games. It is also the site of coal mines that powered industrialization ...
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Reviewed by: Chris Kovac (Stronghold Games, 2 to 5 players, ages 10 and up, 90 minutes; $44.95) Core Worlds is a two to five player deck building game by Andrew Parks. I played the second edition by Stronghold games. The theme of the game is that players are space barbarians conquering a dying galactic empire from its fringes to its “core” worlds (hence the title) ...
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[Sherlock Holmes is no stranger to readers of literature, film fans and TV viewers nor is he unknown to gamers around the world. For over a hundred years, Holmes has been the cornerstone of gaming adventures. In this issue, we feature I Say, Holmes!, a new card game that has been inspired by an older one, the one published by Gibsons Games in 1991. For ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Eagle Games/Kayal Games, 3 to 5 players, ages 14 and up, 120 minutes; $79.99) Sailing the Spanish Main, trading for goods but also trolling for treasure while attacking forts, raiding towns and grappling with Spanish Galleons is the stuff that movies and historical novels are made of. And also, it seems games. For, in the new game from Peter Hawes, sea ...
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Reviewed by: Andrea "Liga" Ligabue (Ares Games, 1 to 5 players, ages 14 and up, 120 minutes; $89.99) Welcome soldier! If you are reading this review, it means that your physical or mental capabilities are excellent and our planet needs you! You are joining a secret agency responsible for detecting and stopping alien activity on Earth... keep reading, if you dare, but keep in ...
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Reviewed by: Pevans (Z-Man Games/Hans im Glück, 2 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, 60 minutes; $64.99) Helios, designed by Martin Kallenborn and Matthias Smith, is the latest from Hans im Glück (Z-Man is doing the English language edition) and stood out for me at the Gathering because of its bright cover – with lots of yellow to match its sunny theme. Let’s take ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Victory Point Games, 3 to 8 players, ages 13 and up, 30 minutes per player; $35) Sherlock Holmes lives! Could there be any doubt? Not only are the Sherlock Holmes stories still in print (have they ever gone out?), the Great Detective can also be found in other media, most notably in the current television series that place the master sleuth ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Pegasus Spiele, 2 to 5 players, ages 10 and up, 40-60 minutes; $49.99) Buying and selling, wheeling and dealing, have often been the basis for games. Rűdiger Dorn must agree as he takes those basics and transports game players into an exotic locale, the exciting Middle Eastern city that gives the game its name: Istanbul. Although categorized as a board game, ...
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Reviewed by: Joe Huber (Asmodee/Ludonaute, 1 to 5 players, ages 14 and up, 120 minutes; $49.99) I’ve always been interested in history, particularly United States history, but it’s only more recently that I’ve had the opportunity to really explore it. The Lewis and Clark expedition has always been of interest but I’ve only started to learn about it. My first real introduction started in Idaho ...
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Reviewed by: Derek Croxton I like the problem-solving aspect of games but I have to admit that my patience is limited and I sometimes wish other players would not take so long. Perhaps this is because I don't have the patience to take 5 minutes figuring out the best move, or perhaps it's because I don't think it's worth investing that much time in a ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Space Cowboys/Asmodee, 2 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, 30 minutes; $39.99) A beautiful woman and medieval merchant lurk in the background but your eyes remained transfixed on the shimmering stone you hold in your hands. You are hypnotized by the splendor of the stone - and you will have to be - for Splendor, the new game designed by ...
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Don't Throw Dirt on My Grave Just Yet Although a dyed in the wool city person, I do have a fondness for good country music. Over the last two television seasons, I have also developed a fondness for Nashville, the series that centers on life in the Country Music Capital of the World. Without going into too many details, one of the storylines is about ...
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Spring 2014
(Volume 2, Number 50)

 

Reviewed by: Eric Brosius (LMN+B, Ltd., 2-8 players, ages 12 and up, 4 to 6 hours; £75.00) East Anglia is a region that is a bit of a backwater, known more for farms and fishing villages than for industry. As a result, the history of railway companies in the region is marked with turbulence and distress. Many small companies jostled for advantage with more or ...
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Reviewed by: Pevans (Treefrog Games, 2-5 players, ages 13 and up, 90-120 minutes; about $79.99) I guess I should start this review by explaining the title. It is, of course, a play on the first Sherlock Holmes novel, A Study in Scarlet – the BBC’s Sherlock had “A Study in Pink” as its first episode. The original A Study in Emerald is a short story ...
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Reviewed by: Chris Kovac (GMT Games, 1-4 players, ages 12 and up, 3 to 5 hours; $75) Andean Abyss, designed by Volko Ruhnke, is a strongly thematic, action planning gamers game, the first of three of GMT’s COIN games. COIN stands for Counter Insurgency and in this game, the theme is about the fighting in Columbia in the 1990’s and 2000’s between the government, FARC ...
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[Back in the Fall 2010 issue of Gamers Alliance Report, frequent contributor K-ban, both a serious game player and baseball fan, launched a series of articles on the evolution of baseball simulations. With his fifth article finished, he figured he was done. He figured wrong! Once more, a few new simulations have emerged and, once more, K-ban offers his thoughts and insights, just in time ...
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Reviewed by: Greg J. Schloesser (Lookout Games/Mayfair Games, 1-7 players, ages 12 and up, 30 minutes per player; $89.99) Have you played Agricola, the game many consider to be designer Uwe Rosenberg's masterpiece? If you have, then Caverna will seem very familiar. There are mouths to feed, crops to grow, animals to raise and structures to build. All of this must be done with limited ...
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Reviewed by: Andrea "Liga" Ligabue (Stonemaier Games, 2-6 players, ages 13 and up, 60 minutes; $70) Are more than 4500 backers and more than $300,000 pledged enough to say that Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia, designed by Jamey Stegmaier and Alan Stone, a good game? I got Jamey Stegmaier's Viticulture and I was well impressed by its core mechanics but not satisfied about balancing so ...
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Reviewed: Herb Levy (Academy Games, 1-4 players, ages 10 and up, 90 minutes; $69.99) Of all the topics serving as the basis for a game, the American Civil War has to rank near the top. Countless games have dealt with the conflict that, for awhile, split the United States in half. But most of those titles, understandably, have focused on the military aspects. Many games ...
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Reviewed by: Derek Croxton (Tasty Minstrel Games, 2 players, ages 10 and up, 15 minutes; $19.95) The attractive cover of Jab: Realtime Boxing proclaims its contents "a revolution in real-time card games." This pulled me immediately in two different directions. Any game that claims to be revolutionary sets off my skeptical sensors; yet I am intrigued by novel systems, especially for so challenging a problem ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Lautapelit.fi/Asmodee, 1 to 5 players, ages 14 and up, 40 minutes per player, $99.99) The story of humanity's growth and development is, in a word, fascinating. From our species' earliest beginnings, the cultural, scientific and political advancements over hundreds of years make for a compelling story. This story has attracted many game designers, drawn to the challenge of recreating and simulating ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Paizo Publishing, 1-4 players, age 13 and up, 90 minutes; $59.99) Roleplaying was put on the map decades ago with the incredible success of Dungeons & Dragons. Using pen and paper, some polyhedral dice and lots of imagination made for a new genre of game play. From that moment on, there have been attempts to translate that experience into a board ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Ystari Games/Asmodee, 2-4 players, age 13 and up, 60 minutes; $49.99) The struggle to balance a safe and healthy environment while meeting increasing demands for polluting power sources is one that all of us living in the 21st Century face. That struggle translates into challenging game play as players seek to deal with it - and come out on top - ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Z-Man Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 13 and up, 120 minutes; $59.99 ) There is something that quickens the pulse among gamers when it comes to games about trains. There is just something in that theme undeniably appealing - and that's not a new thing. Avalon Hill, in its early years, put out Dispatcher in 1958. More recently, Ticket to ...
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Following the Golden Rule As people, our lives are shaped by rules, customs, laws. As our civilizations have developed, so, too, have our codes of conduct. One of the basic rules in the whole process is commonly referred to as the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. As simple as it is, it's a good rule and, as ...
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Winter 2014
(Volume 2, Number 49)

 

Reviewed by: Chris Kovac (What's Your Game?, 2 to 4 players, ages 12 and up, 60-120 minutes, $50) Asgard is a four player worker placement game designed by Pierluca Zizzi with a theme of Nordic gods battling it out for control of the seven worlds. The goal of the game is to have the most points (by building temples, winning battles during normal rounds of ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (USAopoly, 2 to 4 players, ages 8 and up, 15-30 minutes, $24.95) With the success of Telestrations (featured in the Spring 2011 issue of Gamers Alliance Report), it seems that USAopoly has decided that the mass market for games is a market worth exploring. And so they have with two new releases (both featured this issue). This review focuses on one ...
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[With Jeff Feuer casting an eye on Star Realms and drawing some comparisons between it and Ascention: Chronicle of the Godslayer as both was done by the same designer, we thought it would be a good idea and useful to our readers to "flashback" to Jeff's initial look at Ascension in his review as it first appeared in the Fall 2010 issue of GA Report.] ...
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[One of our popular semi-regular features has been Game Classics, a look back at some great games that, for various reasons, no longer populate the shelves of game stores or online retailers. We haven't done one of these since 2010 when we featured Star Reporter by Parker Brothers. Now, several years later, in this, our latest installment, we take a look at another Parker game ...
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Reviewed by: Pevans (Feuerland/Z-Man Games, 1 to 4 players, ages 13 and up, 80 minutes, $64.99) After making a big impact with their first game, Terra Mystica, in 2012, I was intrigued to see what Feuerland Spiele would come up with for 2013. The answer is a new game from Uwe Rosenberg, Die Glasstrasse. Z-Man Games publishes the English language edition, Glass Road, and I ...
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Reviewed by: Kevin Whitmore (Fantasy Flight Games, 1 to 4 players, ages 14 and up, 120-240 minutes, $79.99) Merchant of Venus was originally released in 1988 by Avalon Hill. Designed by Richard Hamblen, players explore a forgotten wing of deep space. With the demise of Monarch/Avalon Hill in 1998, copies of this game gradually disappeared, eventually turning this game into a "grail" game. For awhile, ...
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Reviewed by: Joe Huber (Kosmos, 2 to 4 players, ages 12 and up, 90+ minutes, $69.99) Wolfgang Kramer is one of the most notable game designers around, nearly four decades after his first published design and three decades after his first Spiel des Jahres award. It’s interesting to note how his career shifted, over time, from designing almost exclusively on his own to designing most ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Victory Point Games, 2-4 players, ages 13 and up, 20-30 minutes; $21.99) Hundreds of years ago, when explorers from Europe set out to explore the New World of the Americas, little did they realize that their adventures would become the sources of inspiration for game designers everywhere. But exploration is the theme in Old World, New World, the new game designed ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Days of Wonder, 2 to 5 players, ages 10 and up, 40-80 minutes, $60) Intrepid explorers, delving into the mysteries of ancient ruins and temples to recover valuable artifacts, are the roles facing players in Relic Runers, the latest release from Days of Wonder, designed by Matthew Dunstan. Relic Runners comes in the typical Days of Wonder big square box which, ...
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Reviewed by: Greg J. Schloesser (Ludonaute, 1 to 5 players, ages 8 and up, 30 minutes, about $29) Solitaire (also known as Patience and Klondike, which has some minor variations) must be one of the most universally played card games. Its origin is not known with exact certainty, but is widely attributed to Lady Adelaide Cadogan, whose book Games of Patience contained the solitaire card ...
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Reviewed by: Jeff Feuer (White Wizard Games, 2 to 6 players, ages 12 and up, 20 minutes, $14.95) Star Realms is a deck-building card game for any number of players (each copy of the game lets you add up to 2 more players) by designers Robert Doughtery (co-designer of Ascension and it’s expansions) and Darwin Kastle (co-designer with Doughtery on Battleground: Fantasy Warfare). The designers ...
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Reviewed by: Andrea "Liga" Ligabue (Cranio Creations, 2 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, 60 minutes; $34.99) What really makes the difference between a success and an average game is sometimes something not really well defined that deals with the great mystery of what is fun. To me, what really makes a game fun is a mix of good rules, entertainment, challenges, theme, graphics ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (USAopoly, 2 to 8 players, ages 8 and up, 10-20 minutes, $19.95) Another one in the recent spate of mass market offerings from USAopoly is a word game category game twist which is described as a Touch Activate Press & Play Letter Eliminator or, for short, Tapple. As a category game, Tapple derives its inspiration from the original German word game ...
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A Piece of the Antidote Sometimes listening to the news can be demoralizing and just plain sad. As I'm writing this, we have marked the one year anniversary of the tragedy at Newtown Connecticut when one truly disturbed gunman took the lives of 26 people including 20 children in a burst of gunfire. At the same time, another troubled teen entered a school with weapons ...
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2013

Fall 2013
(Volume 2, Number 48)

 

Reviewed by: Eric Brosius (Academy Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, 1 to 2 hours, $65) In 1775, tensions that had been simmering between Great Britain and its North American colonies for years finally came to a head. A British force left Boston with orders to seize munitions from the Massachusetts militia —a mission they could not complete after they encountered opposition ...
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Reviewed by: Chris Kovac (Zoch Verlag, 3-5 players, ages 12 and up, about 90 minutes, $54.99) Aquileia is a five player worker placement with a light ancient Rome theme designed by Cielo D’Oro and produced by Zoch. The object of the game is to have the most victory points after six rounds of play. To start, each player gets in his/her color five worker markers, ...
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Reviewed by: Derek Croxton (Tasty Minstrel Games, 1 to 4 players, ages 8 and up, 15-30 minutes, $19.95) Dungeon Roll is my first Kickstarter game. I seem to have a weakness for dice games, so I pledged this one with little more to go on than the subject. It turned out to be a heavily-promoted game that was at the top of BoardGameGeek's "Hotness" list ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Red Raven Games, 2 to 5 players, ages 13 and up, 8+ minutes; $25) Packing a lot into a small box is something usually reserved for diamonds or other expensive bits of jewelry. In games, it's not quite so easy. So it is a pleasant surprise to discover Eight-Minute Empire, a new game designed by Ryan Laukat, which packs quite a ...
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Getting a Kick out of Kickstarter When it comes to getting games to market, one of the recent intriguing developments is the emergence of Kickstarter. Now Kickstarter is not limited to games (it has been used to fund a whole variety of items) but, as it pertains to games, it basically involves pledging money for a proposed game that appeals to you. For your advanced ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Looney Labs, 2-4 players, ages 8 and up, 15-30 minutes, $30) It seems the trend in gaming is to come up with a successful boardgame, let's say Game X (easier said than done, of course), and, building upon that success, spin off Game X into Game X: The Dice Game and Game X: The Card Game. But when has designer Andrew ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Hurrican Games, 3 to 5 players, ages 8 and up, about 30 minutes, $42.99) The time is Victorian England and noted explorer Henry Morton Stanley (of Stanley and Livingstone fame), who has sailed into London on his ship Lady Alice, has suddenly disappeared. In circumstances such as these, it is only natural to call upon the finest analytical mind to solve ...
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[In this issue, we welcome James Davis to our pages. As James says about James: "James is of “that age” where he was a gamer before gaming became cool and hip. (Do they say “hip” anymore? Probably not.) Being a colossal nerd, he played many of the old Avalon Hill wargames and the original D & D before it got weird(er). He still likes many ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Schmidt Spiele, 2 to 4 players, ages 8 and up, about 30 minutes, $42.95) Reiner Knizia has earned himself an enviable reputation for quality game design. Over the last several years, the trend in his design preferences has been to move away from the heavy, gamers' games style with the shift being towards quality games conceived to appeal to more general ...
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Reviewed by: Joe Huber (Ystari/Asmodee, 2 to 5 players, ages 13 and up, 60 minutes, $34.99) For me, one of the unexpected aspects of becoming more heavily involved in the boardgaming hobby has been the opportunity to spend time with and become friends with a lot of game designers. But, as enjoyable as that has been particularly in discussing game design with them, there's another ...
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Reviewed by: Pevans (Beziar Games, 2-4 players, ages 8 and up, about 90 minutes, $59.99) It’s taken me a while to get to Suburbia as Bezier Games sold out at Spiel ’12 – good news for designer and publisher Ted Alspach, but bad news for me. Mind you, it was my own fault as it wasn’t until the Sunday that I got to Bezier’s stand ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Victory Point Games, 1 player, ages 12 and up, about 40 minutes; $29.95) It seems that every four years, timed to coincide with the real life election for President of the United States, election games miraculously appear, some good, some bad, some too horrible to be named. This election year runs true to form. Most election games (and I am tempted ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Mayfair Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, 45-90 minutes, $35) Klaus-Jürgen Wrede is probably best known for Carcasonne, the wildly popular tile laying game (featured in the Summer 2001 GA Report) that has gone on to spawn a host of spin-offs. But this designer's portfolio is more than a single game. Nearly a decade ago, Wrede found his ...
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Reviewed by: Andrea "Liga" Ligabue (FunForge, 2 to 5 players, ages 8 and up, 45 minutes, $39.99) Antoine Bauza shines like a new star in the Olympus of game designers. In just 3 years, he has been able to win Spiel des Jahres, Kennerspiel des Jahres, DSP, International Gamers Award and an endless amount of other awards. Of course most of his fame is due ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Kayal/Eagle Games, 2 to 6 players, ages 8 and up, 90-120 minutes, $74.99) Dinosaurs live! At least they reappear here as players seek to grow their single herd of dinos into the dominant force on prehistoric Earth in Peter Hawes' new game: Triassic Terror. Triassic Terror is played on a large board depicting four environments: Swamp, Desert, Forest and Mountains. Each ...
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Summer 2013
(Volume 2, Number 47)

 

Reviewed by: Kevin Whitmore (Rio Grande Games, 2 to 5 players, ages 8 and up, 30 minutes, $34.99) The year is 2097, the world is swathed in ice. Civilization has been swept aside, leaving few survivors who must band together for mutual defense and the quest for food. Tribes compete for limited resources, and only the biggest tribe will reign… It’s a bleak future that ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Hurrican, 2 to 6 players, ages 8 and up; about 30 minutes; $39.99) With the death of Julius Caesar, Octavius, his adopted son, rose to power. In 27 BC, Octavius was awarded the title of Augustus and soon became the first Roman Emperor: Augustus Caesar. Players, in the role of representatives of the Emperor, compete to gather Senators to their side, ...
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Reviewed by: Greg J. Schloesser (Alea/Ravensburger, 2 to 4 players, ages 12 and up, 90+ minutes; $59.99) Stefan Feld has developed quite the reputation for designing highly intricate games that contain a multitude of mechanisms, many of which are original and very clever. His designs are typically aimed at the strategy gamer rather than the family market. As such, dedicated gamers usually eagerly anticipate his ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Ravensburger, 2 to 4 players, ages 8 and up, 30-45 minutes; $39.99) Subtitled "a Strategic Construction Game", Casa Grande lives up to its name as players compete to build as many structures as they can in a relatively small area where the sky is the limit! Casa Grande, a Günter Burkhardt design, comes with building blocks, building platforms and player markers ...
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Reviewed by: Chris Kovac (Rio Grande Games, 2-5 players, ages 13 and up, 60 minutes; $54.95) Cinque Terre is a "pick up and deliver" game, designed by Chris Handy, challenging players to pick up and deliver produce to five scenic villages on the Italian Coast. The person who has generated the most points by the end of the game wins. Each player starts with a ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Mayfair Games, 3-5 players, ages 12 and up, 75-100 minutes; $35) In the mid 19th Century era of power politics in New York City, the Five Points area of Manhattan was known for crime, gangs and political corruption. Against this background, Andreas Steding has designed a game placing players into the heart of the struggle, competing to control neighborhoods and install ...
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[This issue features an analytic look at Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar by Joe Huber. To better understand Joe's "balancing act", it might be a good idea to refresh your memory of how the game works. Towards that end, we've "flashbacked" to the review of the game as it appeared in the Winter 2013 issue of Gamers Alliance Report.] Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Czech Games Edition/Rio ...
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[In this issue, we welcome Derek Croxton. Derek remembers when putting "dice" in a game title was only done sarcastically, as when referring to Avalon Hill's War at Sea game as "Dice at Sea". He got into the hobby via Dungeons & Dragons but quickly moved on to Titan and wargames. Like many gamers of a certain age, he has found his time too limited ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (R&R Games, 2 to 6 players, ages 14 and up, 60 minutes; $29.99) It's back to the track with the latest entry in the stable of horse racing games: Homestretch, designed by Frank DiLorenzo. This game allows players to enjoy two sides of horseracing: ownership and betting. Each player begins with his own set of Bet tokens and a player token ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Nürnberger-Spielkarten-Verlag, 2 to 5 players, ages 8 and up, about 15 minutes; about $10) Dice are one of those game components that are game constants; you see them almost everywhere. But after years and years of taking them for granted, the attraction that gamers have for dice can wane until dice can often be, well, boring. And that's why, when a ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Pegasus Spiele, 2 to 5 players, ages 10 and up, 45-60 minutes; $49.95) The beautiful city of Venice provides the setting as players, in the role of Venetian nobles, compete to exert influence while constructing bridges and gondolas to become the "eminence grise" of Venice in the new Stefan Feld design, Rialto. Rialto comes with player boards for each participant, councilmen ...
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Reviewed by: Andrea "Liga" Ligabue (Matagot/Asmodee, 1-6 players, ages 13 and up, 30-45 minutes; $34.99) As probably you already know from reading my reviews, I'm not a great fan of collaborative games. What is collaborative in the intent often degrades into a solo experience where one player drives the game for all. Throughout the years, designers have cleverly opted for different tricks to avoid this ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Out of the Box Games, 3 to 10 players, ages 10 and up, 20-30 minutes; $19.99) In the Old West, travelling salesmen often attempted to convince the local populace of the benefits of whatever elixir they had with them. The elixir, of dubious quality at best, was commonly and contemptuously called "snake oil". But whether that concoction had any value was ...
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The 3 R's Meet the 3 E's Growing up and going to school, all of us were inculcated with the three Rs - reading, writing and 'rithmatic. And those 3 Rs have served us well. Not only in our regular everyday lives but in our lives when it comes to gaming. Reading has been put to good use in pouring over hundreds (thousands) of rules ...
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Reviewed by: Pevans (Feuerland Spiele/Z-Man Games, 2-5 players, ages 12 and up, 90+ minutes; $79.99) I came to Terra Mystica late. I missed it at Spiel ’12, but noticed when several people mentioned it as one of their favourite games of last year. I somehow got the impression it was a card game, a notion that was rapidly dispelled when I saw the deep box ...
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[Throughout the years, Gamers Alliance has been fortunate in attracting to our pages some of the finest talent in the World of Games. One of those talents is Joe Huber. Not only is Joe knowledgeable about games from a design standpoint (after all, he is the author of several successful published games - with his Starship Merchants - co-designed with Tom Lehmann - recently featured ...
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Spring 2013
(Volume 2, Number 46)

 

Reviewed by: Andrea "Liga" Ligabue (Yemaia, 2 to 5 players, ages 13 and up, about 100 minutes; 65€) Sometimes it looks like we have reached the limit of new companies/designers and it is always great to see someone still interested in trying to make a mark in the boardgames market. Yemaia's target is clear from their web site - “We decided to produce the games ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (AEG, 2 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, 60 minutes; $34.99) The City-State of Tempest is the place for adventure in a roleplaying world created by the folks at Alderac Entertainment Group. And it is Tempest that will serve as the setting for a whole series of boardgames from AEG. With Courtier from designer Phillip duBarry, the first entry in ...
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(In this issue, we review I'm the Boss!: The Card Game, a card game based on the Sid Sackson boardgame with the title Kohle, Kie$ & Knete that later appeared, in an English language edition, as I'm the Boss!. So, we thought it might be interesting to "FLASHBACK" to the feature treatment Steve Kurzban gave to the English language edition when it first appeared, back ...
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(In this issue, we review I'm the Boss!: The Card Game, a card game linked to the Sid Sackson design that first appeared in the marketplace as a boardgame with the title Kohle, Kie$ & Knete. So, we thought it might be interesting to "FLASHBACK" to the feature treatment Steve Kurzban gave to the original game way back when in the Summer 1997 issue of ...
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Reviewed by: Greg J. Schloesser (Tasty Minstrel Games, 2 to 6 players, ages 12 and up, 2-3 hours; $59.95) Some subjects are just too boring for board games. While there might be lots of intricacies and fascinating options in real life, the subject matter just seems bland or boring. For me, business is one such topic. I have been a businessman for nearly twenty-nine years, ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (AEG, 2 to 4 players, ages 12 and up, 30 minutes; $29.95) During the so-called Dark Ages, unless of noble birth or mired in serfdom, much of the population worked in groups known as guilds. In the game created by designer Hope S. Hwang, the society of this time is shaped by six professions. Using the members of these professions to ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy I'M THE BOSS!: THE CARD GAME (Gryphon Games, 3 to 6 players, ages 9 and up, 30-60 minutes; $25.99) & PIECE OF THE ACTION (Expansion Set, Gryphon Games) Once upon a time, Sid Sackson created a game that went on to be published in Germany as Kohle, Kne$, Knete (reviewed in the Summer 1997 GA REPORT) and later, in English, as ...
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Reviewed by: Pevans (Mind the Move, 1 to 4 players, age 10 and up, about 90 minutes; $69.99) A new game from Emanuele Ornella and Mind the Move is something of an event. I still have fond memories of discovering Oltre Mare (Winter 2005 GA Report) over pizza in central Essen a few Octobers ago. I was thus pleased to find Mind the Move back ...
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Reviewed by: Chris Kovac (Flying Frog Productions, 2 to 6 players, age 12 and up, 60-90 minutes; $49.99) If you like to watch The Walking Dead or like zombie horror as a whole, this zombie themed cooperative game for up to six people is for you. This game is by Jason C. Hill and produced by the quirky game company Flying Frog Productions. This game ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Upper Deck Entertainment, 1 to 5 players, ages 14 and up, 30-60 minutes; $59.99) Like many great games, Dominion (featured in the Winter 2009 Gamers Alliance Report) has sparked a slew of successors using its core mechanism: deck building. While Dominion had only the slightest hint of theme, many games that followed added real flavor to the game mechanic. Think of ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (R&R Games/Eggertspiele, 2 to 4 players, ages 8 and up, 20-30 minutes; $39.95) In QIN, a new Reiner Knizia design, players colonize the outreaches of China, founding provinces and absorbing remote villages into their growing empires, building pagodas to mark their claims. But not everything is as peaceful as this sounds because other players can conquer your provinces and villages, replacing ...
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Reviewed by: Herb Levy (Ravensburger, 2 to 5 players, ages 10 and up, 30-75 minutes; $34.99) Inka and Marcus Brand have carved out an enviable reputation as game designers, most recently capturing the Spiel des Jahres - Kennerspiel award with their game, Village (featured in the Summer 2012 GA Report). Village was a rather involved representation of life in a small medieval village; in Saint ...
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Not Just Something to Chew On I've always been told that gaming is a niche - and a slim one at that, a small narrow "slice of life" that will never become "mainstream". While I can see why people think that, I have seen signs throughout the years that make me think differently. We've seen boardgames situated in the background of TV shows and, more ...
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Winter 2013
(Volume 2, Number 45)

 

Reviewed by Kevin Whitmore (Stronghold Games, 2-4 players, ages 13 and up, 90 minutes; $69.95) I have enjoyed playing the game, McMulti a number of times. So it caught my attention when Stronghold Games announced that they had tracked down the long lost author of McMulti and obtained his permission to release an authorized 3rd edition of his game. For you see, there is a ...
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The Search for Intelligent Life As a kid, I was fascinated by the stars. Back in those days (when dinosaurs roamed the earth!), a city kid could actually see the stars in the sky before pollution made that impossible. And the stars held such possibilities. More planets for sure and possibly different forms of life. Hopefully, life from an advanced civilization could bring great hope ...
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[In our Spring 2012 issue, we featured a cool game set in the wastelands of Siberia. With this issue featuring the card game spin off to that boardgame, we thought it might be useful to "flashback" to the original review of the game that sparked the new addition: Siberia.] (dlp Games, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 60 minutes minutes; $70) When Cole Porter was ...
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[This issue features Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar. In that review, comparisons were made between it and Stefan Feld's award winning game, Trajan. To provide a better picture to our readers, we've flashbacked to the review of Trajan contributed by Joe Huber as it appeared in the Spring 2012 issue of Gamers Alliance Report.] Reviewed by Joe Huber (Ammonit Spiele, 2-4 players, ages 12 and up, ...
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Reviewed by Pevans (R&D Games, 2 to 6 players, ages 12 and up, 90 minutes; $59.99) This was one of my must-buys at Spiel ’12. I’ve been a fan of Richard Breese’s games – and the Key… series in particular – since he launched the magnificent Keywood and his imprint, R&D Games, back in 1995. Keyflower is a bit different, though, as it is co-designed ...
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(Asmodee, 2 to 6 players, ages 14 and up, 30-60 minutes; $49.99) Pirates and treasure - what could be more exciting? Well, how about divvying up the treasure? Now that's where interesting things happen. And that is the setting - and the challenge - of Libertalia, the new game by Paolo Maori, as players command equal bands of pirates while trying to be a little ...
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Reviewed by Greg J. Schloesser (White Goblin, 2 – 5 Players, 2 – 2 ½ hours; $59.99) It is sometimes difficult to believe that what is now the exceedingly crowded and congested island of Manhattan was once a virtually uninhabited wilderness. In the early 17th century, this wilderness was deemed by the Dutch as an ideal area for settlement, as it offered easy access to ...
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Reviewed by Andrea "Liga" Ligabue (Asmodee, 2 to 4 players, ages 14 and up, 60 minutes; $49.99) It is unusual nowadays to read game rules and say “Wow! This is really new! I have to check to see if it really works!” But this happened to me reading the rules to Seasons. The designer, Régis Bonessée, is already known for at least two games: Himalaya, ...
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(dlp Games, 2-4 players, ages 9 and up, 20 minutes; 14,90 €) You know how hit movies often spin off sequels (or prequels or "behind the scenes" documentaries)? And you know how often those sequels (or prequels or "behind the scenes" documentaries) are simply awful? Well, generally speaking, the same holds true for games. So it is a very pleasant surprise to find a welcome ...
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Reviewed by Frank Hamrick (Surprised Stare Games, 1 to 5 players, ages 10 and up, 30-90 minutes; $59.99) Snowdonia is a 2012 release from Surprised Stare games. Designed by Tony Boydell, this game flew under my radar entering Essen 2012. However, several good reviews and ratings by attendees caught my attention in the days following Essen. In Snowdonia, players are building a railroad track from ...
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Reviewed by Chris Kovac (Gale Force 9, 3 to 4 players, ages 17 and up, 150 minutes; $39.99) Living in ancient Rome meant living in a time when death, danger and intrigue was a way of life. The Starz TV series Spartacus brought this world back to life and, in turn, Sean Sweigart and Aaron Dill have brought that life to the gaming table with ...
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Reviewed by Ted Cheatham (Clever Mojo Games , 2 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, 60 minutes, $49.99) It all started in a one room town hall. How could the city founders foster and grow a thriving metropolis and what would they call it? As the coldness of night approached the warmth of morning and the sun rose in the east, the city ...
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Reviewed by Joe Huber (Japon Brand / OKAZU Brand, 2 to 4 players, ages 12 and up, 45 minutes; $49.99) What is it about trains which make them the most popular means of transportation to use as a game theme? Oh, there are plenty of games about other means of transportation. There are lots of games focusing on cars, though most of them are focused ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Czech Games Edition/Rio Grande Games, 2-4 players, ages 13 and up, 90 minutes; $59.95) If you're reading this, then the Mayan prophecy of the end of the world back in December has failed to pass. Fortunately. For now you can sit back and delve into the workings of Mayan civilization at your leisure as the ruler of a Mayan tribe and ...
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2012

 

Fall 2012
(Volume 2, Number 44)

 

Reviewed by Herb Levy (Academy Games, 2 to 5 players, ages 10 and up, 1-2 hours; $69.99) In the early 19th Century, powerful nations in Europe were competing for dominance and that competition led to war. With war in Europe raging between England and its allies and the French forces led by Napoleon, the United States felt the squeeze between these two powerful European juggernauts, ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Mayfair Games, 3 to 5 players, ages 14 and up, 120+ minutes; $50) Martin Wallace has a thing for travel. It's not so much that HE is infected with a severs case of wanderlust but more that he's apparently fascinated by the intricacies of the means of getting from one place to another. Already established as a premier designer of rail ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (INI, LLC, www.DabbleGame.com, 2 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, 30-60 minutes; $24.95) Word games are one of the staples of gaming. There is, of course, Scrabble which leads the way in this category but there has always been a contest to create the next big word game. Along the way, there has been the ever popular Boggle and Sid ...
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Reviewed by Andrea "Liga" Ligabue (Czech Board Games/Z-Man Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 13 and up, 90-120 minutes; $64.99) After the great success of Dungeon Lords, it would have been a real shame not to exploit the atmosphere of the dungeons and the neighboring village. It has taken two years to prepare the Dungeon Lords expansion (to be released this year in Essen) but ...
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The Greatest Game Throughout my years with Gamers Alliance and through my interactions with people in all walks of life who know of my love of games, I have always been asked lots of questions. But the one question that seems to appear most is this one: "What do you think is the GREATEST game?" When I first heard this question, I would be (and ...
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Reviewed by Greg. J. Schloesser EMPIRE EXPRESS (Mayfair Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, 60-90 minutes; $30) [Reviewing a crayon rail game is a bit of a challenge, as all of the games in the series use very similar mechanisms. Usually, there are only minor rules changes, with the major difference being the geographical setting. As such, most of the description of ...
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Reviewed by Chris Kovac (Andre Bonnet, 2 to 6 players, ages 13 and up, 90 minutes; 65€ in the EU, 77€ outside the EU) Grand Prix Expert is a detailed five player resource management/racing game with the theme of managing and developing a Formula 1 Racing team for 1-3 seasons of racing. The game is self published by Andre Bonnet of France. The game comes ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy INFILTRATION (Fantasy Flight Games, 2 to 6 players, ages 14 and up, 30-45 minutes; $34.95) The time is the future and this future world is a very dangerous place. It is the Android Universe (a dystopian future world postulated by Android, a previous release by Fantasy Flight), a world run by immense corporations involved in android technology. CyberSolutions Inc., one such ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Mayfair Games, 3 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, about 75-90 minutes; $55) Very often in games we see style over substance, particularly when it comes to licensed properties. Generally, the belief is that the license will sell the merchandise no matter what so what you usually get is a picture slapped on a box containing assorted cardboard with very ...
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[In this issue, we welcome Eric Brosius to our pages. Eric Brosius has been a gamer as long as he can remember. When his sister asked him to play Chutes and Ladders, he resisted because there were no meaningful decisions. At the age of 6, he received a copy of Avalon Hill's D-Day from a neighbor family who bought a copy at a local department ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Huch! & Friends, 2 to 3 players, ages 8 and up, 30+ minutes; about $25) Talat is the Arabic word for "Three" and three is the core of the game play here in this abstract game designed by Bruce Whitehill. There are three boards, three sets of game pieces and, while rules are provided for two, Talat is at its best ...
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Reviewed by Pevans (Krok nik Douil/Huch! & Friends, 3 to 5 players, ages 12 and up, 1½ to 2 hours, $59.99) Vanuatu rather snuck up on me – I missed it at Spiel last year, so I was pleased to make its acquaintance when it arrived on the table. The title is, of course, the name of an island nation in the Pacific. Vanuatu, designed ...
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Summer 2012
(Volume 2, Number 43)

 

Reviewed by Andrea "Liga" Ligaue (Asmodee, 2 to 6 players, ages 12 and up, 120+ minutes; $99.99) “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away …”, gamers were looking for a perfect science fiction 4X game (that is, a game of "eXplore, eXpand, eXploit and eXterminate". It was a time when Avalon Hill releases were eagerly awaited, Stellar Conquest by Metagaming was a ...
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BANDWAGON One of the most pleasurable things I do concerning my involvement with Gamers Alliance is to play games. Love it! Love it! Love it! But with so many games to play, there is the dark side to that pleasure: going through the miles and miles of rules to games so as to learn and lead them correctly. If only there was a way to ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Takamagahara, for 2 to 4 players, ages 12 and up, 90 minutes; about $40) When we are immersed in our game time, enjoying old favorites or new offerings, we sometimes forget that games are also designed outside the borders of America and Europe. As if to remind us of this fact comes Guild, a rather unique card game from Japan by ...
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Reviewed by Joe Huber (Rio Grande Games, 2-5 players, ages 13 and up, 75+ minutes; $39.95 ) One of my favorite activities is playtesting. There are many reasons for this. First and foremost, it’s an opportunity to play games, and usually new-to-me games at that, an experience I really enjoy. But unlike playing a published game, there’s often an opportunity to influence the game design, ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Queen Games, 2 to 5 players, ages 10 and up, 45-60 minutes; $64.95) King Henry V, the new ruler of England in 1413, was determined to unite England and defeat France. Players, as leaders of their own noble family, compete to gain the most favor with the King. While the growth of power is not a unique goal in gaming, the ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy LORDS OF WATERDEEP (Wizards of the Coast, 2 to 5 players, ages 12 and up, 60 minutes; $49.99) For decades, Dungeons & Dragons has been synonymous with fantasy roleplaying. So it is all the more interesting when the RPG world of D&D enters the genre of Euro style strategy - and it does in Lords of Waterdeep by the design team ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Ascora Games, 2-6 players, ages 13 and up, 30 minutes; $35) In the genre of science fiction, one of the personalities we love to hate is the "mad scientist". Many of us tend to be fascinated by the visions of the insane inventions such a creative madman strives to bring to life. In recognition of these volatile visionaries, Donald X ...
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WINNING AT WATERLOO - A BATTLE OF TWO HALVES The fifteenth and final scenario in Commands & Colors: Napoleonics is the battle of Waterloo. Or at least the early part of it (11 am - 3 pm), well before the arrival of the Prussians. In this scenario, the brown blocks represent Dutch-Belgian troops rather than Portuguese. A lot of the different types of unit are ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Portal, 2 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, 90 minutes; $64.99) This game has an interesting back story. Good games are always fun to play but the best of them always have the serendipitous effect of educating the participants in some way. Apparently, this quality was recognized by the people who run the National Bank of Poland. It seems that ...
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Reviewed by Chris Kovac (Scorpion Masque/Asmodee, 2 to 5 players, ages 13 and up, 90-120 minutes; $59.99) Québec is a five player worker placement medium gamers game with a very light theme of building Quebec City from its founding in 1608 to its 400th anniversary in 2008. The game is designed by the French Canadian game designers Philippe Beaudoir and Pierre Puissant-Marquis. The goal to ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Indie Boards and Cards, 5 to 10 players, ages 13 and up, 30 minutes; $19.99) In a future world, life, as we know it today, has radically changed. It seems that the government in this future is both powerful and corrupt and the people have decided to fight against it by launching a series of missions designed to bring the government ...
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Reviewed by Greg J. Schloesser (Eggertspiele/Pegasus Spiele, 2 to 4 players, ages 12 and up, 90-120 minutes; $54.90) It takes a village … or does it? Well, let's not discuss the merits of American politician Hillary Clinton's book or theories. Instead, let's discuss the board game Village: As Life Plays Out by designers Inka & Markus Brand. Published by Eggertspiel and Pegasus, Village is another ...
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Spring 2012
(Volume 2, Number 42)

 

[In this issue we welcome Kevin Whitmore, a long time gamer from New Mexico. Kevin has hosted a game night that meets every week since 1999. Kevin plays many different styles of games, including wargames, card games, word games, abstracts, Euros and train games. Kevin admits he isn't the sharpest 18xx player in his local games community, but this just keeps him coming back for ...
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Reviewed by Andrea "Liga" Ligabue (Z-Man Games, 2-4 players, ages 12 and up, 47-120 minutes; $54.95) Sci-fi is one of the great gold veins where designers and publishers dig out endless games. In the last years I was impressed by many good titles. Eclipse, Race for the Galaxy, Battlestar Galactica, Earth Reborn, Claustrophobia, Galaxy Trucker, Alien Frontiers are all in the BGG top 100 joined ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Tasty Minstrel Games, 2-5 players, ages 13 to adult, 90-120 minutes; $59.95) It seems that even fantasy lands have to deal with the bungling of bureaucracies. In this particular kingdom, it turns out there has been an "error" by the powers that be in doling out the job of constructing the castle of Belfort, the veritable jewel in the crown of ...
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Reviewed by Chris Kovac (Sierra Madre Games, 1-4 players, ages 12 and up, 180+ minutes; $72) Bios Megafauna is a fairly complex gamer's game with a strong theme of evolution designed by Phil Eklund. This is an updated and streamlined version of Mr. Eklund’s earlier game called American Megafauna with better pieces and faster game play. The object of the game is to have the ...
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Right Jobs Steve Jobs, the guy who put the "i" in genius and then applied it to us (in the form of such well received items as the iPhone, iPad, iPod, iTouch etc.) said: "People don't know what they want until you show it to them." That was his job and he did it well, getting those ideas from the mind onto the drawing board ...
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Reviewed by Jeff Feuer (Tasty Minstrel Games, 2-4 players, ages 12 and up, 45-60 minutes; $39.95) Eminent Domain is a deck-building card game by designer Seth Jaffee but, while a deck-building game like Dominion (Winter 2009 Gamers Alliance Report) which pioneered the genre, it has little in common with it. You do start with a set of 10 cards, which are shuffled and then you ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Indie Boards & Cards, 2-6 players, ages 10 and up, 45 minutes; $39.99) Even as a child, I always had respect for those among us who had the incredible courage to not only face danger but put themselves in harm's way to save others. Firefighters are part of that select group. Instead of running from a burning building, they run towards ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Minion Games, 2-4 players, ages 12 and up, 60-90 minutes; $49.99) In the annals of Biblical history, King Solomon occupies a special place. As a king fabled for his wisdom, he ruled over the land known as Israel and presided over a time of peace and prosperity. Players, as governors serving the king, compete to increase that prosperity by constructing buildings, ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Educational Insights, 2 players, ages 8 to adult, 10 minutes; $19.99) There are a lot of games out there competing for your attention and leisure spending dollars so it helps if you can make your game stand out. Nowhere to Go, a Hank Atkins design, certainly achieves that goal with its eye-catching hexagonal box and its striking orange and black motif ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Mayfair Games/FunFair, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 30-60 minutes; $15) Pick up and deliver games are a well received genre in gaming. Basically, they are what they sound like. You pick up a cargo in one place (whatever it may be from wherever it may be) and deliver it someplace else. Usually, the idea is to get the stuff to ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Columbia Games, 2 players, ages 12 and up, 2 to 3 hours; $59.99) With the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War upon us, it is no surprise that there has been an uptick in the number of games exploring this already popular subject. Shenandoah: Jackson's Valley Campaign is one of these with the game centering on the campaign waged between ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (dlp Games, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 60 minutes minutes; $70) When Cole Porter was writing the score for Silk Stockings, the musical that centered on a beautiful Russian commissar (played by the stunning Cyd Charisse in the film) being wooed by a charismatic Westerner (none other than the incomparable Fred Astaire in the movie) who seduces her to the ...
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Reviewed by Greg J. Schloesser (Pearl Games/Z-Man Games, 2-4 players, ages 12 and up, 60-90 minutes; $44.99) In baseball terms, designer Xavier Georges is batting around five hundred for me. In baseball, that is a terrific average that has never been obtained over the course of a career, let alone a season. As a game designer, that average is, well, average. His first breakout design ...
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Reviewed by Joe Huber (Ammonit Spiele, 2-4 players, ages 12 and up, 90-120 minutes; about $70) Over the past few years, Stefan Feld has firmly established his reputation as a designer of gamer's games and, as the most published designer in Alea's noteworthy catalog. His string of successes - from Notre Dame to In the Year of the Dragon (featured in the Spring 2008 Gamers ...
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Reviewed by Pevans (Giochix, 2-4 players, ages 13 and up, 120+ minutes; $49.95) I was intrigued by Upon a Salty Ocean when I first saw it at Spiel ’11. The initial attraction was the good-looking artwork depicting the principal buildings of the French city of Rouen, on the banks of the river Seine, in the 16th century. When I was told it was about developing ...
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Winter 2012
(Volume 2, Number 41)

 

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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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, ...
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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 ...
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2011

 

Fall 2011
(Volume 2, Number 40)

 

Reviewed by Frank Hamrick (Treefrog/Mayfair Games, 2 players, ages 12 to adult, 60-90 minutes; $55) Two hundred and fifty years after Voltaire said it, it became a game! The British and French struggled for control of North America from the early 1700s until the final battle of Quebec in 1760. That final battle ended the long French and Indian War and led to Voltaire's supposed ...
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Reviewed by Andrea "Liga" Ligabue (Lo Scarabeo, 3-5 players, ages 10 to adult, 45 minutes; $59.99) Arcanum, from Lo Scarabeo, is the new game from Andrea Chiavesio and Pierluca Zizzi, released in Essen 2011. I really like Andrea's designs starting from Kingsburg, one of the greatest dice games ever (and featured in the Spring 2008 Gamers Alliance Report), down to last year's release Olympus. This ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Alea/Ravensburger, 2-4 players, ages 9 to adult, about 60 minutes; $34.95) One of the most romantic eras in human history is the Age of Knights and Chivalry. Novels and films abound that are set in that time. Games have also found this time to be a fertile area to explore as knighthood has served as the theme for many of them ...
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Baseball on the Table-top - Part IV Games of the 1980's and 90's by K-ban If the 70’s were the time for table-top baseball game designers to explore, in new and different ways, the confrontation between pitcher and batter (see Part #3 of this series in the Spring 2011 GA Report), the next generation of statistical baseball games to hit the market sought to add ...
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Reviewed by Chris Kovac (Wizards of the Coast/Hasbro, 2 to 4 players, ages 13 and up, 120 minutes; $65) One of the popular games of my childhood back in the 70's was the game Battleship where you and your opponent placed ships on hidden grids and then took turns calling out row and column coordinates to try to find and sink the enemy's hidden ships ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Gamewright Games, 2 teams or players, ages 8 to adult, 15 minutes; $19.99) When you have two successful games, it seems inevitable that someone will think "why not combine them?" The two games in question are the vintage game of Cathedral (whose spin-off Cathedral World was reviewed in the Spring 2004 GA Report) and the relatively recent and very successful FITS ...
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Betty Grable, Legs and Feet Betty Grable had legs - and man, what legs! For those of you who may not recognize the name, the lovely Betty was Queen of the Pin-ups during World War II. Her image in that famous photo (reproduced here) decorated hundreds (thousands? hundreds of thousands?) of soldiers' barracks as well as the fuselages of their fighter planes. If lonely and ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Gigamic distributed by Back Alley Traders, 2 players, ages 8 to adult, 10-20 minutes; $30) Back in 1985, Claude Leroy (for Swiss Games) came up with an idea for a rather clever abstract game and clever it was. Still, despite its originality, the game soon vanished from gaming stores making it hard to find. But Gigamic has solved that problem and ...
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Reviewed by Ted Cheatham (Queen Games, 2-5 players, ages 8 to adult, 45-60 minutes; $54.95) Ugh, must go to hunt Mammut. Me big cave man! And that leads us to the premise of the game of Mammut, designed by Kristian Amundsen Ostby. In Mammut, cave people are off to hunt for mammoths and forage. After the big day, there are all kinds of booty that ...
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Reviewed by Pevans (Ystari/Rio Grande Games, 3-5 players, ages 13 to adult, 75+ minutes; $54.95) Ye gods! French publisher Ystari has a fine track record and Olympos is the latest addition to the line (Rio Grande is publishing the English language version). The game’s designer is well known, too: Philippe Keyaerts is the man behind Vinci (and thus Small World) and Evo. As soon as ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Columbia Games, 2-6 players, ages 8 to adult, 30-60 minutes; $24.99) If this game seems familiar, that shouldn't be too surprising as it has had a long history. Slapshot is credited to Tom Dalgliesh and Lance Gutteridge. Dalgliesh may be best known for his wargame designing efforts for Columbia Games collaborating on such games as Hammer of the Scots (Winter 2003 ...
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THE GAMER'S BOOKSHELF: THE KOBOLD GUIDE TO BOARD GAME DESIGN by Mike Selinker (Kobold Quarterly/Open Design, 138 pages, $19.99 print/$9.99 pdf) It seems like everyone who has ever played a game thinks to themselves, "Hey, I can make a game too!". Well maybe you can and maybe you can't. But it's always good to draw some insight and inspiration from those who actually have had ...
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Reviewed by Greg J. Schloesser (What's Your Game?, 2-4 players, ages 12 to adult, 2 to 3 hours; $65.99) For years, the subject of wine-making was a sorely overlooked theme in the gaming industry. There have been a few games utilizing the theme but, for such a popular and intricate industry, the overlooking of this theme was baffling. This was corrected in a major way ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Gryphon Games, 2 players, ages 10 to adult, 45-60 minutes; $29.99) Several decades ago, in the early 1970s, game designer Phil Orbanes decided to start his own game company. The result was Gamut of Games. Although a relatively short-lived enterprise, the company published many games of note including Cartel and Infinity (both by Orbanes) and two word games - Montage and ...
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Summer 2011
(Volume 2, Number 39)

 

[Jeff Feuer is relatively new to the World of Games but that hasn't stopped him from voicing a knowledgeable opinion. In real life, Jeff is a professor of mathematics and he brings that analytical nature to his game playing and reviews. Jeff first appeared in the Summer 2007 Gamers Alliance Report with his review of Age of Empires III. Now he's back and, with his ...
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[David Rapp started out gaming with the Long Island Gamers and was a stalwart at our weekly gaming sessions for a number of years. An early contributor to the pages of Gamers Alliance Report, Dave made his GAR debut in the Fall 1999 issue with a review of Brawl from Cheapass Games. Dave would continue to be a steady contributor over the next several years ...
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[We are very pleased to have Larry Levy as part of our 100th issue celebration. We've said this before - and it's worth saying again - that Larry is one of the best known voices on gaming, sharing his expertise and insight throughout the world via his internet postings and writings for many game review publications. And more! Larry helped open up our 25th year ...
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[Gamers Alliance is international in scope, both in readership and contributors. Andrea "Liga" Ligabue is one of our valued international contributors hailing from Italy. Liga's first contribution to Gamers Alliance Report was in the Winter 2008 issue with his review of Race for the Galaxy. In this, his 11th review for GA Report, Liga races back to the galaxy to explore new (alien) frontiers.] (Clever ...
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[Games designed by Friedemann Friese have often found a place in the pages of Gamers Alliance Report. This review marks the 5th game designed by him to appear here - and my 691st (!) review for GA Report. - Herb Levy] BLACK FRIDAY (Kosmos/Rio Grande Games, 2-5 players, ages 13 and up, about 60 minutes; $44.95) Reviewed by Herb Levy The Long Island Gamers, my ...
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[Numbskull Games is a relative newcomer to the gaming scene. Their first appearance in these pages came with Last of the Independents in the Fall 2010 issue. This is the second appearance for the company here - and my 692nd review for GA Report. - Herb Levy] (Numbskull Games, 2-6 players, ages 12 and up, 90-180 minutes; $49.99) Reviewed by Herb Levy 2011 marks the ...
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[Joe Huber is one of the few: a recognized voice in the worldwide gaming community as well as a published game designer whose credits include Ice Cream, Scream Machine and Burger Joint (the latter receiving an International Gamers Award nomination for best 2 player game of the year and cited as "Best In Category" for family games in the December 2010 issue of GAMES Magazine) ...
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A Tale of Two Cities for This Century One of the most famous novels by Charles Dickens, legendary 19th century author, was A Tale of Two Cities. The two cities of the title were London and Paris. A best seller when published, required reading in schools across the country, even a pick for Oprah's Book Club over a hundred years after its initial appearance, all ...
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[As one of today's leading game designers, Michael Schacht games have often appeared in Gamers Alliance Report. This is the 13th time that a game designed (or co-designed) by Schacht has been reviewed - and review number 693 for me. - Herb Levy] (Matagot, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 60-90 minutes; $49.99) Reviewed by Herb Levy Michael Schacht must love cats. How else to ...
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[No Gamers Alliance celebration would be complete without something from Sid Sackson. Sid was a valued contributor to these pages for over 9 years. So, to mark our 100th issue, we are going back into the files to reprint a review Sid did of a quality abstract game - still available - in which he not only discusses the game but, in typical Sackson fashion, ...
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[Another one of our international contributors is Chris Kovac. Chris, a Canadian, has been a part of Gamers Alliance for years, doing his first review (of Byzantium designed by Martin Wallace) in the Spring 2006 issue. With this, his 24th review, Chris shares his view of a game by another successful designer, Stefan Feld, who is evidently a little "moonstruck".] (Z-Man Games, 1-4 players, ages ...
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[Marty Goldberger is no stranger to these pages having contributed reviews over our two and a half decades. Marty's reviews are an example of quality over quantity. First appearing in the Summer 1997 issue, he last graced our pages with his 5th review in the Winter 2010 issue with his review of Back to the Future: The Card Game when he helped kick off our ...
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[I've written this before but it's worth repeating: Few people enjoy a better - or more well deserved - reputation than Greg J. Schloesser. Starting and developing a readership as one of the most respected reviewers on the internet, Greg has spread the good word on gaming by being the driving force behind TWO gaming groups (the Westbank Gamers of New Orleans and the East ...
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[Looney Labs can always be counted on for a freewheeling gaming experience, particularly when it comes to cards. And so it is with Seven Dragons. Seven dragons for them, 694 reviews for me. - - Herb Levy] (Looney Labs, 2-5 players, ages 6 and up, 10 to 30 minutes; $15) Reviewed by Herb Levy Looney Labs has been around for over a decade now and ...
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[The Settlers of Catan was first reviewed in Gamers Alliance Report a decade and a half ago, in the Fall 1996 Gamers Alliance Report. Since then, it has blossomed into a sort of cottage industry unto itself. Here, we take a look at the latest addition to the line in review #695 for me. - - Herb Levy] (Mayfair Games, 2-4 players, ages 10 and ...
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Spring 2011
(Volume 2, Number 38)

 

A Tale of Two Resorts Pevans compares Key West and Sun, Sea & Sand KEY WEST (Spiele-Idee, 3 to 5 players, ages 12 and up, 60 minutes; about $35) SUN, SEA & SAND (Cwali, 2 to 5 players, ages 10 and up, 60 minutes; $46.99) A couple of months ago I realised that I had two games in my bag with a similar theme. Both ...
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Reviewed by Andrea "Liga" Ligabue ASARA (Ravensburger/Rio Grande Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 9 and up, 45-60 minutes; $59.95) I’ve not always been a Ravensburger fan. Several of their recent releases haven't pleased me so I was not particularly attracted to Asara. On the other hand, sometimes Ravensburger does publish really top-level hits and Asara is, after all, a Wolfgang Kramer-Michael Kiesling design. Kramer ...
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Baseball on the Table-top - Part III Games of the 70's by K-ban The annual rite of Baseball’s Spring Training is a period where hope springs eternal. Looking in the rear view mirror, we know how last season went for the home team. Is it time for the GM to tinker and make minor changes/improvements to the roster (trades, free agents, bringing players up from ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy CARGO NOIR (Days of Wonder, 2-5 players, ages 8 and up, 60 minutes; $50) Cargo noir is the French term for contraband and it's contraband that players will be attempting to collect in Cargo Noir, the new, big box game from Days of Wonder, designed by Serge Laget. The board is created by placing Macao (the centerpiece) on the table and ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy CHARON INC. (Gryphon Games, 2-5 players, ages 13 and up, 60 minutes; $39.99) The possibilities of outer space reach farther than the probabilities of alien life forms residing there. There are also the possibilities of rich resources ready to be claimed for the skillful and adventurous. That is the premise of Charon Inc. as players are heads of mega-corporations seeking to ...
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(Reality) Check, Please Now bear with me on this.... In a recent survey conducted by Siena College of 801 residents of my home state of New York, those asked to name the greatest athlete in New York State history named... (drum roll please)... Derek Jeter! Jeter outpolled Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Joe Namath (who all came in tied at third) and outdistanced Babe Ruth ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy EXTRA! (Schmidt Spiele, 1-6 players, ages 8 and up, about 10 minutes; about $15) Dice have always been a staple of gaming. "Roll and move" is one of the earliest game mechanisms to appear. But, as readers of GA Report have long come to realize, dice rolls need not be limited to such a prosaic role in games. To illustrate that ...
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Reviewed by Joe Huber FAMIGLIA (2-F Spiele/Rio Grande Games, 2 players, ages 10 and up, 30 minutes; $11.95) Essen 2010 was a very good time for Friedemann Friese, as it saw the release of more than a half dozen games Friese designed. But while this is an impressive accomplishment – particularly as nearly all of the games were picked up by outside publishers – it ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy FÜRSTENFELD (Rio Grande Games, 2-5 players, ages 13 and up, 60 minutes; $59.95) The World of Games is filled with colorful characters. Friedemann Friese is one of those characters - and his color is green. You can easily spot him in a crowd; he's the guy with the green hair! You can generally spot one of this game designs too as ...
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Reviewed by Chris Kovac INNOVATION (Asmadi Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 12 and up, 30 minutes; $25) Innovation is a civilization building themed card game, designed by Carl Chudyk (of Glory to Rome fame). The game is a medium length gamer's game which plays in about 30 minutes to an hour depending upon the draw of the cards and the skill of the players ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy NAVEGADOR (PD-Verlag/Rio Grande Games, 2-5 players, ages 12 and up, about 90 minutes; $59.95) Although he himself never journeyed on unknown seas, Prince Henry of Portugal inspired and encouraged his nation to sail outward to increase its prestige, power and riches. Because of this support, he earned the nickname "The Navigator" and both his portrait and his sobriquet are appropriated for ...
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EXCERPTS FROM THE SPRING 2001 GA REPORT Reviewed by Herb Levy SAN MARCO (Ravensburger; $35) Alan Moon has found a great deal of success in revisiting games, giving them a twist , and making them his own. Inspired by Sid Sackson's Acquire, Moon came up with Airlines which he then again reworked into Union Pacific. Wolfgang (and Ursula) Kramer's Wildlife Adventureserved to inspire Moon's Santa ...
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Reviewed by Nick Sauer SOBEK (GameWorks/Asmodee, 2-4 players, ages 8 and up, 40 minutes; $24.99) Sobek, a card game by Bruno Cathala and published by GameWorks, takes us back to ancient Egypt where players take on the role of merchants trying to profit from the new temple being built to the crocodile deity of the same name. While I am a fan of Egyptian themed ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy TELESTRATIONS (USAopoly, 4-8 players, ages 12 and up, less than 60 minutes; $29.99) When you were a kid, and if you were like me, then you probably played a game called "Telephone". You remember how it went, right? You would start out with a phrase, whisper it into the ear of the person next to you who, in turn, would whisper ...
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Reviewed by Greg J. Schloesser TIKAL II: THE LOST TEMPLE (GameWorks, 2 to 4 players, ages 12 and up, 90 minutes; $59.99) As I’ve mentioned many times previously, I am a big fan of most of the designs of Wolfgang Kramer. I particularly enjoy the results of the collaborations between Kramer and Michael Kiesling. When they endeavor to produce a deeper strategy game, the result ...
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Winter 2011
(Volume 2, Number 37)

 

Reviewed by Herb Levy (Repos Production/Asmodee, 3-7 players, ages 10 and up, about 30 minutes; $49.99) For many years now, creating a satisfying civilization building game for multiple players with a reasonable playing time has been one of the Holy Grails of gaming. Many have tried and, it seems, none have quite crossed that elusive threshold of success. Until now. 7 Wonders, designed by Antoine ...
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Reviewed by Joe Huber (Adlung-Spiele, 2 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, 30-45 minutes; about $10) There is perhaps no publisher with a more clearly defined niche than Adlung. While the company started by publishing boardgames, for around fifteen years they have published nothing but small box card games. None have been enormous hits, but Meuterer, Verräter (featured in the Winter 1999 GA Report), ...
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Baseball on the Table-top Part II: Comparing Baseball Boardgames by K-ban Everyone remembers their first one. Anticipation for Spring Training, roster cuts, exhibition games and then the marathon of a full Major League Baseball season begins. For me, it was 1961 and the only team in New York at the time, the Yankees. I was heartbroken by Mazeroski’s walk-off 7th game World Series HR that ...
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Reviewed by Andrea "Liga" Ligabue (NG International, 3 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, 60-120 minutes; $59.90) The events of the Old West and the struggle between Cowboys and Indians is a subject of endless fascination and relevance which can be read and interpreted at various levels. The advancing white civilization conquering the prairies bringing wealth and prosperity is faced with the great Indian ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Hans im Gluck/Rio Grande Games, 2-4 players, ages 12 and up, 90 minutes; $39.95) Reiner Knizia has carved out an enviable reputation as a top tier game designer. A recurrent theme in many of his better known games including such designs as Amun-Re (Summer 2003 GA Report), Ra (Summer 1999 GA Report) and Tutankhamen (Spring 1997 GA Report) is ancient Egypt ...
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[Style over substance is a hallmark of modern day society. This is often true for games as well. But when you manage to combine style AND substance in a game by the well respected and award winning designer Reiner Knizia, you should be able to come up with a hit, right? Except it didn't work out that way. We recognized the value of this particular ...
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Reviewed by Greg J. Schloesser (Eggertspiele, 2-5 players, ages 12 and up, 90-120 minutes; $60) There aren't many wine-themed games. This is something of a surprise as wine is imbibed and enjoyed throughout the world and is a major industry generating billions of dollars of sales each year. Well, this dearth of wine-themed games ended at this year's International Game Days in Essen when at ...
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Reviewed by Pevans (Sierra Madre Games, 2-5 players (a solitaire scenario is also provided), ages 12 and up, 2-3 hours; $44; High Frontier Expansion $20) In space, no-one can hear you manufacture. The latest game from Phil Eklund and Sierra Madre Games, High Frontier, is a stunning piece of work. Phil really is a rocket scientist and the game reflects his expert knowledge. High Frontier ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Z-Man Games, 3-6 players, ages 10 and up, 45-60 minutes; $39.99) Running a hotel can be challenging. How challenging it can be will be discovered in Hotel Samoa, designed by Kristian R. A. Ostby, as players compete to both improve their hotel properties and attract tourists to their hotels to get the big bucks! Each player begins with a Hotel Board, ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Treefrog Games/Mayfair Games, 2-4 players, ages 13 and up, 90 minutes; $55) From the fires that decimated the city in the 17th century, London has risen from those ashes to become one of the great cities of the world. From this phoenix-like background, Martin Wallace has found the inspiration for his latest game - London - in which players attempt to ...
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Reviewed by Chris Kovac (Fantasy Flight Games, 1-6 players, ages 13 and up, 30 minutes; $24.95) Space Hulk - Death Angel the Card Game is a co-operative card game designed for 1-6 players published by Fantasy Flight Games as part of their small box Silver Line Games. The game is designed by Corey Konieczka of Runewars and Battlestar Galactica (featured in the Summer 2009 GA ...
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Y-Essen No There are certain times of year when people who enjoy games have their attention peaked. Game fanatics (and let's face it, we are ALL in that group) thrill to the onslaught of new and exciting titles set to be unleashed on the awaiting legions of gamers. More great games, more quality, more, more, more. If Charles Dickens was writing today, his Great Expectations ...
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2010

 

Fall 2010
(Volume 2, Number 36)

 

[Jeff Feuer is an active member of the Long Island Gamers, one of the longest continually running gaming groups in the United States, and, in real life, a mathematics professor. As he says, "I've been computer gaming since the Atari days (including having played many of the incarnations of Civilization as well as some Railroad Tycoon and the Age of Empire series) but, except for ...
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[Gaming transcends geographical boundaries and, recognizing this, Gamers Alliance is international in scope. Andrea "Liga" Ligabue is one of our valued contributors from outside the borders of the United States. He is an active participant in gaming in his native Italy, being closely involved with Club TreEmme, and a driving force, serving as Coordinator and Head of Program behind Italy's large gaming convention: Play: The ...
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[When it comes to games, Marty Goldberger has an impressive resume. He worked for SPI games in its heyday, designing Inkerman and serving as a developer on many SPI titles including the legendary Campaign for North Africa "monster" game. Marty is a Mensa member and adventurer, diving with dolphins as well as plunging into depths of over 800 feet in a submarine. Marty first appeared ...
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[K-ban, aka Steve Kurzban, has been an active gamer for decades. Always a fan of sports games (with a strong affinity for baseball and race car simulations), K-ban has always been a strong influence in spreading the joy of gaming, from running backgammon and Strat-O-Matic Baseball leagues in the 1970s and early 1980s, to reporting on the New York International Toy Fair for GA Report, ...
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[In those days before the internet, information about games was relatively hard to find. Game publications were few and far between and those that existed were either specialty publications limiting themselves to a specific genre or company or too short-lived to satisfy the need to know. So, with the supreme confidence of someone who doesn't know any better, I embarked on a journey to fill ...
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[Frank Hamrick and games crossed paths at a very early age. From the time he was 7 years old - and taught Monopoly by his grandmother, the seed was sown and has since blossomed. From Monopoly, Frank graduated to wargames and, when looking for something lighter and shorter, discovered The Settlers of Catan and his fascination with Euros began. And then he went to the ...
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The 47th Element This has been a long time coming. It takes many elements to put together an editorial, an issue, an organization. First of all is a love for the subject. From this love comes determination and dedication, additional and necessary elements in making the whole thing work. You also need an element of, for want of a better phrase, "reckless abandon". You can ...
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[In the estimation of many people (and I include myself in that group), Sid Sackson was one of the greatest game designers of all time. If he had only designed Acquire, that would have been sufficient to grant him legendary status. But Sid didn't stop there. His list of quality designs are staggering: Bazaar, BuyWord (named GAMES Magazine's Game of the Year), Holiday, Kohle, Kies ...
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[Joe Huber is one of those guys who grew up with games. As he says, "I grew up playing Acquire and Civilization, and still enjoy both games today - if few of the wargames I also played back then. In 1995, I got back into gaming, discovering both German games (particularly Settlers of Catan and Auf Achse), 18xx (particularly 1830 and 2038), and TimJim/Prism games ...
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[In our years of publication, games from Queen have frequently appeared. The first time was actually a "double dose". In the Winter 1999 issue, two Queen games were featured: Schnappchen Jagd (designed by Uwe Rosenberg who would go on to even greater success with IGA winner Agricola) and Showmanager (still my favorite design by award winning game creator Dirk Henn). This is the 12th time ...
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[I first played this game at The Gathering of Friends and liked it enough to make this review number 677! - - - - - - - Herb Levy] (Alea/Rio Grande Games, 2 to 5 players, ages 10 and up, about 60 minutes; about $35) Reviewed by Herb Levy The bonnie green fields of Scotland provide the color of the box and the setting for ...
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[Block wargames from Columbia Games have often been reviewed in Gamers Alliance Report. Ironically, the first Columbia Game to appear in GA Report was a collectible war-related CARD game - Dixie - in the Spring 1995 issue. This review is the 9th for Columbia Games and the 678th for me! - - - - - - - Herb Levy] (Columbia Games, 2 players, ages 12 ...
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[Few people enjoy a better - or more well deserved - reputation than Greg J. Schloesser. Greg is a formidable force in the world of games. Starting and developing a readership as one of the most respected reviewers on the internet, Greg has spread the good word on gaming by being the driving force behind TWO gaming groups (the Westbank Gamers of New Orleans and ...
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Reviewed by Nick Sauer (Mayfair Games, 2-4 players, ages 12 and up, 60-90 minutes; $45 ) In Lord$ of Vega$, players enter the glitzy world of Las Vegas by building and fighting for control of casinos on the strip. The game is designed by James Earnest and Mike Selinker and published by Mayfair Games. The game's Las Vegas casino building theme may remind one of ...
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[Expect a spirited conversation when you talk with Ben Baldanza. That may be because, in real life, he is the CEO and President of Spirit Airlines. But even successful business executives need to relax and Ben has been playing and collecting games since playing card games with his family as a child. Ben plays regularly with gamers, formerly in the Washington, DC area and now ...
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[Tasty Minstrel Games is a newcomer to the gaming scene. Their first appearance in these pages came with Homesteaders in the previous issue (Summer 2010). This makes it two in a row for the company and my 679th(!) review for GA Report. - Herb Levy] (Tasty Minstrel Games, 2 to 5 players, ages 10 and up, 45-90 minutes; about $35) Reviewed by Herb Levy If ...
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[Throughout our years of publication, we have been fortunate in attracting a diverse group of quality and insightful gamers from all around the world. One such person is Chris Kovac. As Chris, a Canadian, has said: "I have been a gamer since my University days in the 1980's. Initially a wargamer, I was converted over to Euro Games by a friend when he introduced me ...
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[Game design is like magic: if you do it right, it looks easy. The reality is that a lot of hard work and dedication goes into making a game work. No one knows this better than Al Newman. Al started designing games back in 1973 and his credits include Super 3 by Milton Bradley, Babushka (Ravensburger), Match 3 (Nathan), Wacky Wizards (Western) as well as ...
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[Larry Levy is one of the best known voices on gaming. His internet posts always attract attention for his insightful commentary and he has written for many game review publications. Not only that, Larry also conducts unofficial "game of the year" award tabulations, attracting voters and interest from around the world, with his highly entertaining - and thought provoking - The Meeple's Choice Awards. There's ...
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[Few people have had such a broad experience in the world of games as Pevans. Pevans is the pen name of Paul Evans (well, a Paul Evans – hence the pseudonym). This Paul Evans is a British gamer who has been writing about games for well over 20 years. He was the founding editor of Games Games Games magazine and edited it for 12 years ...
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Summer 2010
(Volume 2, Number 35)

 

Reviewed by Andrea "Liga" Ligabue (Edicta Edizioni, 2 to 5 players, ages 8 and up, about 30 minutes; 12 Euros) In the year 1099, construction started on the Modena Cathedral, the new home for Saint Geminianus, archbishop and patron saint of the town. Contributing to the construction was the architect Lanfranco and the sculptor Wiligelmo and, later, the Campionesi Magisters. In 1997, Modena Cathedral was ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Treefrog Games/distributed in the USA by Mayfair Games, 2 to 5 players, ages 13 and up, 2 hours, about $60) Age of Industry is from prolific game designer Martin Wallace and the first game to appear under the new Treefrog Games label (the imprint replacing the more aggressive sounding Warfrog name). In this release, Wallace continues to explore the railroad game ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Z-Man Games, 3 to 5 players, ages 12 and up, 20-30 minutes; $10) Chaos is a clever and aptly named little card game designed by the Valentyne Brothers. Be warned, right from the start, the game packs a lot of action and your sense of order will be shattered! The 58 cards in the deck consist of colored cards (known as ...
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Reviewed by Joe Huber (Edition Perlhuhn, 2 players, ages 8 and up, 15-20 minutes; about 40 Euros) Are games art? This subject sparks occasional debate, and unusually very little in the way of common ground. Many, but by no means all, designers view their work as an artistic expression. But few designers have taken the concept as far as Reinhold Wittig. In 1976, Wittig founded ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Gamewright, 2 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, about 30 minutes; $15.99) Treasure? Danger? Racing against time? These are the ingredients to be found in Forbidden Island, a cooperative game as up to four players explore a mysterious island in search of four treasures, combine their resources to capture those treasures and then attempt to escape from the island before ...
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[Our Game Classics series is a popular one and has been around for decades beginning with our first installment back in the Spring 1989 issue! With this entry, 26th in the continuing series, we revisit one of the great Parker Brothers games from the 1930s that remained popular for decades through several different editions. The game? Boake Carter's Game Star Reporter.] (Parker Brothers, 1937, 1952, ...
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Reviewed by Greg J. Schloesser (Tasty Minstrel Games, 3 to 4 players, ages 13 and up, 90 minutes; $39.95) Alex Rockwell has developed the reputation on board game internet forums as quite the analytical thinker. He will often conduct an in-depth study of a game, producing lengthy posts or even tomes on a plethora of strategies and tactics that can be implemented. Perhaps his most ...
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Reviewed by Ted Cheatham (Hans im Gluck/Rio Grande Games, 2 to 5 players, ages 8 and up, 30-45 minutes; $34.95) What does a copper kettle company that caters to witches and wizards for a multitude of spell ingredients have in common with the wonderful people of Polynesia, the Maori? The answer? Gunter Burkhardt. On playing Maori, I was readily reminded of Gunter's 2002 Kritikerpreis, Spiele ...
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Reviewed by Chris Kovac Naval warfare has been a theme in war gaming since the earliest days of hobby gaming. One popular sub genre of this is the Naval Card Game. In this article, I am comparing three of the more interesting games in this genre namely Naval War by Avalon Hill (1979), the Modern Naval Battles series by 3W Games (1989-1990) and Dan Verssen ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Gamewright, 4 to 8 players, ages 10 and up, about 30 minutes; $19.99) In the world we live in, it seems that everyone has an opinion and they are never shy about offering advice. Those truisms are the basis for this new party game from Gamewright: Sounds Like a Plan. Sounds Like a Plan is designed by Colleen McCarthy-Evans and Joyce ...
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The Jury Does (NOT) Do It Again If you follow such matters, then you probably know that Dixit has been awarded the Spiel des Jahres (German Game of the Year0 Award this year. Congratulations to all involved with this game. As for the SdJ jury, well, it seems that they have (not) done it again! When I first discovered Euro style strategy games, I was ...
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THE GAMER'S BOOKSHELF FAMILY GAMES: THE 100 BEST / HOBBY GAMES: THE 100 BEST both volumes edited by James Lowder (Green Ronin Press, 380 pages each, $24.95 each) Reviewed by Herb Levy Anytime you attempt to list the "best" of anything, you are bound to get an argument. Rather than being deterred by such a prospect, James Lowder has embraced it, serving as editor for ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Z-Man Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 13 and up, 180 minutes; $70) Some periods of history captivate the imagination more than others and one such period undergoing a resurgence of interest is England's War of the Roses. This was a time of bitter Civil War between the Houses of Lancaster and York lasting 40 years as these two powerful factions ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Out of the Box Games, 2 to 8 players, ages 12 and up, 20-30 minutes; $24.99) Word games are a challenge. I don't mean playing them (although, of course, there's that). I mean making a word game that is not some clone of Scrabble or Boggle. But Out of the Box has managed to do just that by building on an ...
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Spring 2010
(Volume 2, Number 34)

 

Reviewed by Pevans (Ragnar Brothers, 3 to 6 players, ages 14 and up, 30 minutes per player; $59.95) Calling this latest version of the Ragnar Brothers’ terrific game “A Brief History” is both a neat piece of marketing and quite appropriate. The Ragnars’ explicit aim in developing this edition was to produce a game that plays more quickly and smoothly than the earlier versions. It ...
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Reviewed by Greg J. Schloesser (Mayfair Games, 1 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, 45 minutes; $20) I first experienced Ablaze! designed by Henrich Glumpler in its original version, when it was known as Feurio. I played it at the SPIEL in Essen many years ago, and it was one of my favorite games from the convention. I played it many times, but as ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Cepia Games, 1-4 players, ages 5 and up, less than an hour; 57 piece set $40, 30 piece starter set $26) Ever since Lance Armstrong captured the attention of the world (and especially American audiences) with his victories in the Tour de France, bicycle racing has attracted new fans. In BiSikle, bicycling comes racing out of Canada in this latest tabletop ...
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Reviewed by Ben Baldanza (Z-Man Games, 2 players, ages 13 and up, 45 minutes; $29.99) Campaign Manager 2008, designed by Christian Leonhard and Jason Matthews, is set in the post George W. Bush era US Presidential race that pitted the tired and somewhat confrontational war veteran John McCain against Barack Obama, a young and vibrant orator who was long on vision but short on management ...
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Reviewed by Chris Kovac (Fantasy Flight Games, 3 to 4 players, ages 13 and up, 1-2 hours; $59.95) Chaos in the Old World by Eric M. Lang is a gamers game of area control through the use of cards and figures with a theme of battling Demon Lords based on the Warhammer Universe from Gamers Workshop. Do not let the heavy fantasy theme turn you ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Goliath, 2 to 6 players, ages 7 and up, about 20 minutes; $29.95) Ever since Blokus (featured in the Fall 2002 GAMERS ALLIANCE REPORT) made a splash on the gaming scene, there seems to have been a surge in colorful geometrically shaped abstract games. Goliath, a Dutch company with aspirations towards expansion into the American market, offers yet another one: Exago ...
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Reviewed by Joe Huber (Takamagahara, 3-4 players, ages 12 and up, 90 minutes; 38 Euros) Once, fifteen years ago, it wasn't easy to get many of the beset games in the United States. There were a limited number of importers and even learning of them took some doing. There were a number of American companies such as Avalon Hill and Mayfair producing various designs - ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Alea/Ravensburger/Rio Grande Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 12 and up, 60-100 minutes; $44.95) It seems the historical significance of exploration by Portugal has suddenly become a hot topic. The exploits of Vasco da Gama served to inspire the game of the same name (featured this issue). Not to be outdone, Stefan Feld has focused on the jewel in the crown ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Days of Wonder, 3 to 5 players, ages 12 and up, 60-90 minutes; $50) I love mysteries. If you are a fan of the genre as I am, you will recognize certain themes. Perhaps you prefer the dark world of hardboiled detectives, dangerous dames and film noir. Maybe the adventures of super sleuths grab your attention. Then again, exotic locales with ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Knightweaver Games, LLC, 2-5 players, ages 5 and up, 15+ minutes; $19.99) Two-sided cards have been a gaming oddity over the years. There have been several attempts to use their unique properties in games. Few have worked. At the 2010 New York International Toy Fair, however, a game on display used two sided cards very successfully. With Patchwork, designed by Daniel ...
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A Report by Andrea "Liga" Ligabue Once upon a time I was just a gamer, a great and lucky gamer, who used to attend conventions and events with the only aim being to play as many games as possible, win as many tournaments as possible, and have fun. I won the RoboRally Italian National Tournament 5 times in 6 years, 2 Ave Caesar Italian National ...
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Reviewed by Ted Cheatham (Czech Games Edition/Rio Grande Games, 2-4 players, ages 11 and up, 60-120 minutes; $59.95) The morning dew glistens in rainbow colors as the sun slowly wipes the sleep from its eyes. You feel the wet grass tickle your bare feet as you……………………who are you kidding? This is Shipyard. Not some fairy tale fantasy adventure! This is shored up braces of metal ...
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Hello? Is Anybody Listening? We've been doing this (and by "this", I mean publishing GAMERS ALLIANCE REPORT) for several decades now with our first issue appearing in 1986. Sometimes, it seems that we're a voice in the wilderness, echoes of our thoughts dying out amid the great vast - and deaf - wasteland. And then something happens that offers hope. Take, for instance, a few ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Eggertspiele, 2-5 players, ages 8 and up, about 45 minutes; about $30) In the early 20th Century, Germany's harbor of Hamburg was a cornerstone of world trade. In the center of that thriving harbor was a district of warehouses known as the Speicherstadt. Against this backdrop, players will be competing to load warehouses, fulfill contracts and avoid damage by fire in ...
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Reviewed by Al Newman (Alderac Entertainment Group, 2 to 5 players, ages 12 and up, 60 minutes; $39.99) After the phenomenal success of Dominion (featured in the Winter 2009 issue of GAMERS ALLIANCE REPORT), it was inevitable that card games with the same mechanics would appear. Although detractors might term Thunderstone a "knock-off," the theme and mechanics of designer Mike Elliott's game are sufficiently distinct ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (What's Your Game?/Rio Grande Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 12 and up, 60-120 minutes; $59.95) If you remember your world history, you will recall the name of Vasco da Gama. Da Gama was one of the early European explorers who, flying under the flag of Portugal, sought to find a water route to the riches of the Far East. And ...
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Winter 2010
(Volume 2, Number 33)

 

Reviewed by Herb Levy (Ystari Games/Rio Grande Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 12 and up, 45-90 minutes; $59.95) In the latest game from Ystari, a new empire is about to emerge in the north of Mesopotamia. Players, as chiefs of nomadic tribes, travel through desert sands to garner prestige through the building of wells and ziggurats in the desolate land. Ystari, continuing its custom ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Amigo/Mayfair Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, 30 minutes; $35) The legendary continent of Atlantis is the setting for Atlantis, a new game by Leo Colovini, where players are compelled to flee to safety before Atlantis sinks into the sea. Atlantis is a board game only in the sense that you create a pathway of tiles linking sinking ...
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Reviewed by Frank Hamrick (Z-Man Games/Hobby Japan/Lookout Games/White Goblin Games, Ystari Games, 3 to 5 players, ages 12 and up, 90 minutes; $49.99) Endeavor is “a game of world exploration and empire building” for 3-5 players, designed by Carl De Visser and Jarratt Gray. Each player represents a European empire that is attempting to open shipping in six other regions of the world and earn ...
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Reviewed by Chris Kovac (Sierra Madre Games, 2 to 5 players, ages 10 and up, 30-45 minutes; $15) Erosion is a short, take that!, filler card game designed by Dr. John Douglass, Professor of Geomorphology (Erosion) of the Paradise Valley Community College in Arizona. This game has the interesting theme of building and eroding mountains. The game consists of three types of cards with a ...
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Reviewed by Pevans (Argentum Verlag, 2 to 5 players, ages 12 and up, 45-90 minutes; $52.95) Like Andreas Steding’s earlier Kogge, Hansa Teutonica is about the medieval trading alliance of northern European cities, the Hanseatic League. While Kogge centres on the Baltic Sea, Hansa Teutonica is set on land. The board shows the network of roads and cities in what is now Northern Germany and ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Eggertspiel/Rio Grande Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, 30 minutes; $35) One of the hits of recent gaming seasons was the intricate and intriguing game of Cuba (Winter 2008 GA REPORT). That game by Michael Rieneck and Stefan Stadler did well enough to inspire an expansion (Cuba-El Presidente). Now, the line swells into a sort of trilogy with ...
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Reviewed by Greg J. Schloesser (Iron Games, 1 to 5 players, ages 10 and up, 15-75 minutes; 28 Euros) Civilization-building games have proven to be very popular amongst a large segment of dedicated gamers. For many, the biggest drawback of these games is the length of time it takes to play, which can often be multiple hours. The granddaddy of all civilization style games is ...
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Reviewed by Joe Huber (Rio Grande Games, 2 to 5 players, ages 12 and up, 60 minutes; $44.95) Friedemann Friese first gained attention with his game Wucherer, later re-released as Landlord, which first appeared at Essen in 1992. While his other release from that Essen - Dimension - was doomed to obscurity, Wucherer sold well enough to catch the attention of Abacus and to allow ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Columbia Games, 2 players, ages 12 and up, 1-3 hours; $59.99) When it comes to history, certain historical eras seem to generate more than their share of interest. In English history, one of those times involves the conflict between the Houses of Lancaster (symbolized by the red rose) and York (symbolized by the white rose) as these powerful rivals fought for ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Phalanx Games/Mayfair Games, 2 to 5 players, ages 12 and up, 180 minutes; $55) Charting the course of civilization over a few thousand years is a heavy topic. Rise of Empires certainly responds. After all, the first thing to strike you about this new Martin Wallace game (besides the eye-catching box cover art) is its heft. The game weighs a ton! ...
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On Target It has always been a failing, at least in my eyes, for mass market stores here in the United States to ignore games. Oh, I know, these stores stock the evergreens and glorious chestnuts that we are all familiar with such as Monopoly, Scrabble and the like. But the kinds of games that populate our pages have, by and large, been absent from ...
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[In this issue, we welcome first time contributor Ted Cheatham, a well known and well respected member of the gaming community. Ted is an avid gamer who helped start two game conventions, Gulf Games and Charcon. You can still see or listen to some of his older audio and video reviews on Boardgamegeek and Boardgamenews or even check out some of his convention coverage for ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Kosmos/Mayfair Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 12 and up, 90-120 minutes; $49) It's been 200 years since Prior Phillip oversaw the construction of the great cathedral whose name became both the title of a successful novel and a successful game: Pillars of the Earth (featured in the Summer 2007 issue of Gamers Alliance Report). Now, in a sequel to the ...
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2009

 

Fall 2009
(Volume 2, Number 32)

 

Reviewed by Andrea "Liga" Ligabue ALEA IACTA EST (Alea/Rio Grande Games, 2 to 5 players, ages 9 and up, 60 minutes; $39.95) Following the way showed by To Court the King and Kingsburg (Spring 2008 GA REPORT), side by side with Roll Through the Ages (Spring 2009 GA REPORT), Alea Iacta Est, from Bernd Eisenstein and Jeffrey D. Allers, is more than a simple dice ...
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Reviewed by Greg J. Schloesser AUTOMOBILE (Warfrog/Treefrog Games, 3 to 5 players, ages 13 and up, 2 to 3 hours; about $70) While I often bemoan the reuse – over and over again – of similar themes in board game design, I am occasionally impressed by an original theme that I had either previously never considered, or thought would be far too boring a subject ...
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When You're Right, You're Right! By now, it's not news that Dominion has won the prestigious 2009 Spiel des Jahres as Game of the Year. I make it my business to know and play as many new releases as possible so the best (and the brightest) of them can appear in our pages. When I first encountered Dominion, however, I wasn't convinced. My initial experience ...
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(One of the "Holy Grails" of gaming over the last few decades is a brilliant game of adventure set in the exotic locales of the Middle East. Rumors of its resurrection continually circulated and, in fact, a German language reissue of the game did appear in the 1990s. Now, with a new English language edition of this game finally released [and reviewed in this issue], ...
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Reviewed by Joe Huber GIANTS (Asmodee Editions/Editions du Matagot, 3 to 5 players, ages 10 and up, 60 minutes; $69.99) Setting up as a new publisher in the boardgame world is a tricky business. It’s certainly more accessible than setting up in some other industries – imagine the cost to set up as a new car manufacturer, for instance – but until a publisher has ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy LOOTING LONDON (Gryphon Games, 2 to 5 players, ages 10 and up, 30 minutes; $24.95) London is under attack by criminal elements as no less than five rare treasures have been looted in a single night. But not to worry, the best sleuths (notice the familiar figure on the box cover?) are on the case, attempting to solve these dastardly crimes ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy MARTIAN FLUXX (Looney Labs, 2-6 players, ages 8 and up, 5-30 minutes; $16) The appropriately named Looney Labs often manages to come up with clever games with a humorous twist. Perhaps its most famous game is Fluxx, a wildly chaotic game of rules making and rules breaking (featured over a decade ago in the Summer 1998 GA REPORT). The game's success ...
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Reviewed by Chris Kovac RED NOVEMBER (Fantasy Flight Games, 2-8 players, ages 12 and up, 1-2 hours; $24.95) Red November is a humorous 2-8 player cooperative designed by Bruno Faidutti and Jeff Contier. This small box game is published by Fantasy Flight games as part of their Silver Line series of light gamer games. This game is set in a world ruled by gnomes who ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy REVOLUTION! (Steve Jackson Games, 3 to 4 players, ages 13 to adult, 60 minutes; $39.95) Throughout history, we've seen government change happen in different ways. Sometimes, a new leader brings a change through a landslide election. Perhaps the death of a royal ruler causes a change in governance. But sometimes, the political pot boils over as dissatisfied factions gather together and ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy STEAM: RAILS TO RICHES (Mayfair Games, 3 to 6 players, ages 12 to adult, 90+ minutes; $55) Martin Wallace has established himself as a name to be reckoned with in game design. Perhaps the most lauded game under his byline would be Age of Steam (featured in the Winter 2003 GA REPORT) which, for many aficionados of the genre, sets the ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy TALES OF THE ARABIAN NIGHTS (Z-Man Games, 2 to 6 players, ages 12 and up, 120+ minutes; $59.99) Some games appear, shine brightly for awhile and then disappear into limbo, never to seen again. In some cases, they remain highly regarded and some even assume the status of a "Holy Grail" as knowledgeable gamers seek to obtain this gaming treasure. Such ...
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Reviewed by Pevans TULIPMANIA 1637 (JKLM Games, 3 to 5 players, ages 10 to adult, 60 minutes; $28) The subject matter of the game is, of course, the first financial bubble—the runaway speculation in tulip bulbs in Holland in 1637, a phenomenon that has been repeated several times in the intervening centuries with other products and in other markets. However, before I get into the ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy VALDORA (Abacusspiele, 3 to 5 players, ages 10 to adult, 60 minutes; about $60) Exotic locations have long been used as settings for boardgames. But when you add to the locale the possibility of great riches to be found in gems, you've got the premise of Valdora, the latest design from Michael Schacht. Valdora comes with a mounted game board, 78 ...
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Summer 2009
(Volume 2, Number 31)

 

Reviewed by Greg J. Schloesser A CASTLE FOR ALL SEASONS (Eggertspiele/Rio Grande Games, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 45-60 minutes; $54.95 ) Are you ready to assume the role of a builder charged with constructing a mighty castle? OK, so the theme of A Castle for All Seasons is nothing new. Indeed, it has probably reached the point where it can be considered overused ...
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Reviewed by Andrea "Liga" Ligabue BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (Fantasy Flight Games, 3-6 players, ages 10 and up, 2 to 3 hours; $49.95 ) Battlestar Galactica designed by Corey Konieczka is, for sure, a great hit, thanks to the tremendous background offered by the Battlestar Galactica saga and the great value in graphics and materials offered by FFG production. But to be this successful, there has to ...
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Reviewed by Chris Kovac BIG POINTS (Schmidt Spiele, 2-5 players, ages 8 and up, 30-45 minutes; about $20) Big Points is a quick playing abstract game designed by Bridget and Wolfgang Ditt from Schmidt games (part of their easy play games series). The object of the game is collecting colored disks which are worth variable points by the end of the game. The game comes ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy BONNIE AND CLYDE (Abacusspiele/Rio Grande Games, 2-4 players, ages 8 and up, 45 minutes, $24.95) Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were two gun-toting outlaws who ran wild in the American heartland during the early 1930s. The duo received additional notoriety as the subjects of a very successful film in 1967 which helped makes stars of Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty in ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy DAY & NIGHT (Mystics.nl, 2 players, ages 10 and up, 45 minutes; $53 including shipping from www.dn-boardgame.com) After thousands of years, Lady Day and Lady Night have grown tired of their tasks of bringing light and dark to the world and seek to retire to a beautiful palace. Unfortunately, there is only room for one of them. But which one? To ...
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Summer of '69 It's hard to realize but it's been 40 years since the monumental Summer of 1969. Some of us have read about it; some of us have lived through it. Either way, the Summer of '69 stands as a special season. Packed within those warm months were some pretty significant events. For example... In July of 1969, dreams of all the people, past ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy FINCA (Hans im Glück/Rio Grande Games, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 45 minutes; $34.95 ) So what's a finca anyway? In this game, at least, it turns out that a finca is a large windmill. It also happens to be the driving force of Finca, a new game designed by Ralf zur Linde and Wolfgang Senter, as players ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy FITS (Ravensburger, 1-4 players, ages 8 and up, 30-45 minutes; $32.95 ) The computer game Tetris was a huge hit several decades ago. It even spawned a boardgame version way back when, a version good enough to attract our attention and earn feature treatment in a review written by Sid Sackson in the Fall 1990 issue of Gamers Alliance Report ...
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[It seems that around this time every year, we check our collection for great games that, for one reason or another, have disappeared from the shelves of gaming establishments. This time around, we revisit one of the most beautifully produced games of the 1990s done by a great award-winning designer who created the game in homage to another great award-winning designer. The game? Big Boss] ...
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[Last issue, we gave a close look to the first five games in the new line of bookshelf games published by Gryphon Games. In this issue, Chris Kovac looks at number 9 in the series: Masters Gallery.] Reviewed by Chris Kovac MASTERS GALLERY/MODERN ART: THE CARD GAME (Gryphon Games, 2-5 players, ages 8 and up; 20-30 minutes; $15.95/$24.95) Modern Art the Card Game is ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy MASTERS OF VENICE (RnR Games, 2-5 players, ages 15 and up, 30 minutes per player; $34.95) As anyone who has access to a newspaper or television knows, we are living in tumultuous economic times. Stock prices and the prices of oil and other resources seem to change at a moment's notice. But this is nothing new. These conditions have been experienced ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy ROYAL PALACE (Hans im Glück/Rio Grande Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 12 and up, 60-90 minutes; $39.95) The Royal Court is a strange and wonderful thing. So much privilege can be granted if only one manages to capture the ear and hold the attention of the aristocrats therein. And that is the challenge for players in the new game designed ...
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Reviewed by Frank Hamrick SMALL WORLD (Days of Wonder, 2-5 players, ages 8 and up, 40-80 minutes; $50) If you like “slaughter,” you should enjoy this game. If Small World is anything, it is a game of combat – but as the graphic design so ingeniously hints, it is hilarious slaughter! “It’s a world of Slaughter, after all,” the box art declares, in a spoof ...
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Reviewed by Ben Baldanza SUPERNOVA (Valley Games, 3-5 players, ages 10 and up, 90 to 180 minutes; $69.95) Supernova, designed by Oliver Harrison and Mike Roy, is the third game in Valley Games' "Modern Line". Valley has an interesting publishing strategy, with games like this being new and a parallel line of classic reprints, such as Die Macher and Titan. The reprints will certainly be ...
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Spring 2009
(Volume 2, Number 30)

 

Reviewed by Pevans CONFUCIUS (Surprised Stare Games, 3-5 players, ages 12 and up, about 2 hours; about $65) Confucius, the latest board game from Surprised Stare Games, is still fascinating me. The game, designed by Alan Paull, is set in China during the Ming dynasty. The players represent families trying to better themselves within the Confucian system espoused by the Imperial government and court. In ...
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It's Pretty but is it ART...? Everyone is familiar with the age old question: Which came first, the chicken or the egg? An interesting debate no doubt and one that can keep you scratching your head for the answer. But when it comes to games, the question morphs into another puzzler: which comes first, the art or the game play? Art is an intrinsic and ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy FOR SALE (Gryphon Games, 3-6 players, ages 8 and up, 20-30 minutes; $24.95) For Sale by Stefan Dorra is yet another reissue of a classic game from Gryphon Games. Long time readers of Gamers Alliance Report know For Sale well. It was originally featured over 10 years ago, back in the Fall 1997 issue. Then, when Uberplay re-issued the game with ...
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Reviewed by Andrea "Liga" Ligabue FORMULA D (Asmodee, 2-10 players, ages 10 and up, 60+ minutes; $59.99) Formula D, designed by Eric Randall and Laurent Lavaur, is a new edition of the great Formula Dè, published in 1991, with some small improvements and really great packaging. I'm not in agreement with people neglecting graphics, materials and arts in a game considering these not relevant for ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy GEM DEALER (Gryphon Games, 3-5 players, ages 8 and up, 30-45 minutes; $24.99) Reiner Knizia has carved out for himself an enviable reputation. Not only has he established himself as an acknowledged master of game design, but he has also become the "recycling king". Knizia has shown an uncanny knack for being able to repackage and resell many of his earlier ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy HEADS OF STATE (Eggertspiele/Z-Man Games, 3-5 players, ages 10 and up, 90-120 minutes; $70) Uneasy is the head that wears the crown. No truer words have been spoken and you can see why in Heads of State, the new game designed by Peter Hawes, that places players in the roles of heads of noble houses trying to populate Western Europe with ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy HIGH SOCIETY (Gryphon Games, 3-5 players, ages 10 and up, 30-45 minutes; $24.99) Think of yourself as someone in 19th century America who has become wealthy from the booming growth and expansion of these, still young, United States. But money itself is not enough. What you really crave is social distinction and that, you perceive, can be yours if you manage ...
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Reviewed by Greg J. Schloesser JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH (Kosmos/Mayfair Games, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 60-75 minutes; $49) The science fiction novel Journey to the Center of the Earth by the legendary Jules Verne is a recognized literary classic. Originally penned in 1864, it has been in constant print since, and has spawned no less than five film versions and ...
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(Gryphon Games has released a new string of "bookshelf" games. The new game in the bunch - Roll Through the Ages - is featured this issue. But the line also includes reissues of classic games too. One of them is Money by Reiner Knizia. The only difference between the reissue and the original release is graphic: Gryphon has improved the size of the cards, making ...
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Reviewed by Joe Huber PLANET STEAM (LudoArt, 2-5 players, ages 12 and up, 2+ hours; about $100) Computer games tend to have a short lifespan – not much different from most boardgames, actually, but with the added pressure of changing hardware. For a computer game to survive (albeit mostly as a cherished memory) for a quarter of a decade is therefore an incredible accomplishment. But ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy ROLL THROUGH THE AGES (Gryphon Games, 1-4 players, ages 8 and up, 30-45 minutes; $29.95) Second in the new line of Gryphon Bookshelf Games, Roll Through the Ages by Matt Leacock is the only new design among the original five. Since it is sandwiched between games by such formidable designers as Reiner Knizia and Stefan Dorra, you would be forgiven for ...
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Reviewed by Chris Kovac SNOW TAILS (Fragor Games, 2-5 players, ages 10 and up, 45 minutes; about $70) Snow Tails is a fun, quick 2-5 player dog sled racing game. This game by the Lamont Brothers, the quirky Scottish game designers, of Shear Panic (Spring 2006 GA REPORT) and Antler Island fame. The game has fairly good components though the track pieces are a little ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy TELEPATHY (LMD Enterprises, 2-4 players, ages 12 and up, 15-25 minutes; $24.95) If you look at the box, you might think that this is a game about reading minds or transferring thoughts. If you take a closer look you would notice that statement on the box that Telepathy is "a strategy game combining logic, deduction and more". Although this may sound ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy TEXAS GLORY (Columbia Games, 2 players, ages 12 and up, 1-2 hours; $49.99) Thanks to the efforts of Fess Parker and Walt Disney, kids growing up in the 1950s learned a lot about Texas history watching Davy Crockett battle at the Alamo. Now as adults, they (and other historically minded simulation gamers) can expand their experience with Texas Glory, designed by ...
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Winter 2009
(Volume 2, Number 29)


Reviewed by Jeff Feuer DOMINION (Rio Grande Games, 2-4 players, ages 8 and up, 30 minutes; $44.95) Dominion is a card game by Donald X. Vacarrino. This is his first released game after designing several games for home use with his friends. After prodding by gamer friends (and many years of playtesting), he finally agreed to release it to the public and got Rio Grande ...
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Renewable Resources We're living in a green age. The drive for an ecologically friendly world is in high gear. President Obama has promised to do much in the fight against global warming, in growing ecologically friendly jobs and in the search for renewable resources. Now, the president has talked about all sorts of renewable resources: wind, solar, geo-thermal etc. etc. But the one renewable resource ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy HERO: IMMORTAL KING (Asmodee Editions LLC, 1-2 players, ages 9 and up, 30 minutes; $22.99 each) Once upon a time, the dungeon crawl was king of fantasy game playing. Exploring the depths of dungeons brought gamers face to face with monsters, necromancers and all sorts of nefarious creatures ready to stand between them and their quest for gold and glory. Tapping ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy HOLLYWOOD DOMINO (Hasbro Games/Parker Brothers, 2-8 players, ages 12 and up, about an hour; $32.99) Some games are classics whose popularity lasts for generations, sometimes even hundreds of years. Such a game is dominoes and, in maintaining its popularity, dominoes has undergone many variations through the years. The latest domino variation to hit the gaming tables comes under the Hasbro Games/Parker ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy ILIUM (Playroom Entertainment, 2-4 players, ages 8 to adult, 35 minutes; $40) Playroom Entertainment has begun to make a splash in the Euro games market in America. They have published Euro style card games for some time now but only relatively recently have they ventured to test the waters for a line of Euro style boardgames. Their first release was Portobello ...
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Reviewed by Pevans JET SET (Wattsalpoag Games, 2-6 players, ages 12 and up, 90-120 minutes; $30) Jet Set is the fourth game from Kris Gould and the Wattsalpoag team and I think it’s the best so far (though I’m still a big fan of Nomads of Arabia and its moving board). It comes in the chunky square box that has become a trademark of Wattsalpoag ...
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Reviewed by Joe Huber LE HAVRE (Lookout Games, 1-5 players, ages 12 and up, 100-200 minutes; $59.95) Having seen Agricola (featured in the Winter 2008 Gamers Alliance Report) rise to the top of the BoardGameGeek rankings soon after its English release, Uwe Rosenberg returns with another big, weighty board game with Le Havre. Le Havre isn’t shooting through the rankings quite so quickly – in ...
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Reviewed by Chris Kovac LEADER 1 (Ghenos Games/Rio Grande Games, 2-10 players, ages 14 and up; 60 minutes; $59.95) Leader 1 is a bicycle racing game by Alain Ollier and Christophe Leclercg simulating the stages of the Tour De France Bicycle races. This can be played with up to ten players using one bicycle per person but seems to work best with four when you ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy MUNICIPIUM (Valley Games, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 60 minutes; $54.95) Nearly five years ago at The Gathering of Friends, I sat down to play an as of yet unpublished game. I was intrigued because the designer of this particular prototype was no less than Reiner Knizia. The game involved superheroes and was called The Adventure League. I enjoyed it ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy STROZZI (Abacusspiele/Rio Grande Games, 3-6 players, ages 10 and up, 60 minutes; $34.95) Some games work so well that they set a higher standard. When it comes to auction games, Reiner Knizia takes second place to no one in his adept use of this game technique. Perhaps his greatest auction game is Medici (featured in the Fall 1998 GA REPORT) where ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy SYLLA (Ystari Games/Rio Grande Games, 3-4 players, ages 12 and up, 60-90 minutes; $44.95) It is 70 BC and Sylla, the ruler of Rome, is about to abdicate. Who is to fill the impending power vacuum? That's where YOU come in as players in Sylla take on the roles of leaders of various factions and endeavor to build a strong enough ...
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2008

 

Fall 2008
(Volume 2, Number 28)

 

Reviewed by Herb Levy BLOX (Ravensburger, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 45 minutes; about $40) In our modern urban world, the rise and destruction of skyscrapers is an ongoing process akin to the heartbeat of great metropolises. This urban pulse has been transferred to an abstract game from a trio of designers: Wolfgang Kramer, Hans Raggan and Jurgen P. Grunau. The game is Blox ...
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Reviewed by Chris Kovac CONFLICT OF HEROES (Elfinwerks/Academy Games, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 60-180 minutes; $75) Conflict of Heroes is a squad level wargame designed by Uwe Eickert depicting the epic battles between Germany and Russia on the Russian front between 194-1942. This game emphasizes speed and game play over level of detail and, for the most part, succeeds. The big advantage is ...
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Reiner, have you met Henry? By now, everyone who cares about gaming awards knows that Reiner Knizia has won the Spiel des Jahres for Keltis, a re-working of his two player Lost Cities game. It is a long overdue honor for Knizia, a game designer of many outstanding games. This situation reminded me of another one where the parallels are striking. I was thinking of ...
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(In this issue, we feature Keltis, this year's winner of the Spiel des Jahres, and a re-working of Lost Cities, the popular two player card game from the prolific designer Reiner Knizia. still in print and available So we thought a quick look at the inspiration for his SdJ winner was in order. So here, from the Summer 1999 issue of Gamers Alliance Report, ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy KELTIS (Kosmos, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 30 minutes; about $40) Reiner Knizia's Lost Cities, published nearly ten years ago (featured in GA REPORT back then and "flashbacked" this issue), is one of the most popular two player games from this prolific designer. So much so, that there had always been an undercurrent of support for a four player version ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy MARRAKECH (Gigamic/Fundex Games, 2-4 players, ages 6 and up, 10-20 minutes; $39.95) Against the exotic background of a marketplace in Morocco, Marrakech, by Dominique Ehrhard, puts players into the roles of competing carpet sellers with a dual goal: have the most rugs visible in Marrakech square and, of course, collect as much money as possible along the way. The square box ...
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Reviewed by Pevans MONASTERY (Ragnar Brothers, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 30-90 minutes; $52.99) The Ragnar Brothers have a track record of excellent historical games, but they’re usually on a grander scale than this. Monastery has the players developing a medieval monastery. The monastery starts with the abbey church and the players each have one monk (pawn) in the church. They also start with ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy NEFERTITI (Rio Grande Games, 2-4 players, ages 8 and up, 45 minutes; $49.95) Mel Brooks once said, "It's good to be king". And, in Nefertiti, the new game by Jacques Bariot, Thomas Cauet and Guillaume Montiage, you can see why. King Akhanaton has flexed his royal muscles and commanded members of the Egyptian nobility to bring rare and precious gifts to ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy PARASITES UNLEASHED (Zygote Games, 2-4 players, ages 8 and up, 20 minutes; $9.95) The world of creepy crawlie critters has a new representative in Parasites Unleashed, a colorful and light game about these denizens of the animal world and their life cycles. Parasites Unleashed, designed by James L. Cambias, comes in a small box to hold its deck of 55 cards ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy SAY ANYTHING (North Star Games, 3 to 8 players, ages 13 and up, about 35 minutes; $24.99) Ever since Trivial Pursuit exploded onto the scene, people have been convinced that a great adult party game will earn them millions. The potential is there, sure, and people have risen to that challenge. But the real challenge is to come up ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy SENJI (Asmodee, 3-6 players, ages 12 and up, 90 minutes; $69.99) All games offer something to the interested gamer. Sometimes a game will offer you a chance to flex your diplomatic abilities. Maybe you yearn to flex your muscles in a simulated conflict. Perhaps card play is what you seek. It is rare when a game has ALL of these elements ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy TIKI TOPPLE (Gamewright Games, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 20 minutes; $19.95) According to legend (as told by the good folks at Gamewright), tikis are carved statues representing supernatural and sacred forces in some Polynesian cultures. Taking that as his cue, Keith Meyers has come up with Tiki Topple, a charming game where players maneuver nine carved tikis to score ...
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Reviewed by Joe Huber TINNERS' TRAIL (Treefrog, 3-4 players, ages 13 and up, 60-90 minutes; about $75) For some years now, Martin Wallace has been known for his gamer-friendly designs. While Age of Steam (Winter 2003 GA REPORT) stands out as his most popular design, many of his other designs such as Princes of the Renaissance (Winter 2004 GA REPORT) have gained their own followings ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy VINETA (Immortal Eyes Games/Winning Moves, 2-6 players, ages teen to adult, 30 + minutes; $30.95) If stormy weather looms outside your window with rain pounding on the roof like it's the end of the world, you might be able to better empathize with the inhabitants of the Nordic city of Vineta. These unlucky denizens of the "Atlantis of the North" are ...
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Summer 2008
(Volume 2, Number 27)

 

reviewed by Herb Levy Kids are people too! And games can provide the same kind of entertainment and learning that we adults manage to take from our own gaming experiences. Here is a quick look at games kids can play with their friends or maybe even their parents! Remember: the kids that play games today are the adult gamers of tomorrow! BUZZWORD JUNIOR (Patch Products, ...
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reviewed by Joe Huber Queen Games/Rio Grande Games, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 45-60 minutes; $39.95 Andreas Seyfarth has designed some of the best regarded games around, with Puerto Rico (Spring 2002 GA REPORT) having topped the BoardGameGeek ranking for years and Thurn & Taxis (Fall 2006 GA REPORT) having won the Spiel des Jahres. This sets high expectations for his new designs. A ...
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The Pool This is the summer issue of Gamers Alliance Report so it's only fitting that we talk about some of the things people do during the steamy, sweltering summertime. Some of us stay indoors and crank up the air conditioning. Some of us take advantage of the hot weather and hit the golf greens or ball fields, both as active participants and avid spectators ...
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reviewed by Herb Levy [Being born and raised in Brooklyn, New York has given me fond memories of that wonderful place. So, it's a pleasure to present, in this installment of Game Classics, a game produced by Plan B Corporation, a company situated in that beautiful borough, and their intriguing game of force and direction: Vector] Plan B Corporation, 1970, 2-4 players, less than ...
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Reviewed by Chris Kovac (Eggertspiele/Rio Grande Games, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 45-60 minutes; $49.95) Guatemala Café, the new game from Inka and Markus Brand, is, unlike its title suggests, a resource based game about growing coffee in Guatemala. It is a 2-4 player resource development game which takes about 45 minutes to an hour to play depending on the experience of the players ...
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reviewed by Herb Levy Assura/GameWorks, 2-6 players, ages 8 and up, 30-60 minutes; about $50 In the colorful era of pirates and plunder, the notorious pirate Henry Morgan had managed to "change sides", becoming the Governor of Jamaica with the task of driving out pirates. Instead, Henry turned the island into a safe haven for his nautical brethren. To commemorate Henry's rise to Governor, ...
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reviewed by Herb Levy RSV Productions, Inc., 2 or more players, ages 8 and up, less than 30 minutes; $19.95 IiN Japanese, jishaku (pronounced jee-shah-koo) means "magnet". In Jishaku, the new game designed by Steve Velte, magnetism is the force that serves as the basis for a series of games. Jishaku comes with 18 magnetic stones (and a bag to hold them), an asymmetrical ...
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reviewed by Chris Kovac Ystari Games, 2-4 players, ages 8 and up, 50-60 minutes; $49.95 Metropolys is the latest game from Ystari Games and is designed by Sebastien Pauchon (best known as the designer of Yspahan, featured in the Winter 2007 GA REPORT). This is a light two to four player area control game which seems to works best with four. The game is ...
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reviewed by Herb Levy Hans im Glück/Rio Grande Games, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 60-90 minutes; $44.95 Early man faced myriad challenges in trying to carve out a sustainable life under trying conditions. This struggle serves as the theme for Stone Age, the latest offering from the pseudonymous Michael Tummelhofer, best known for Saint Petersburg (Summer 2004 GA REPORT). Stone Age comes ...
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reviewed by Herb Levy Hans im Glück/Rio Grande Games, 2-4 players, ages 8 and up, 30-45 minutes; $34.95 The Great Wonders of the Ancient World have served as elements in many games and, once again, a game design draws upon one of these wonders. This time, the theme centers on the fabled Hanging Gardens of Babylon, as players compete as landscape architects to ...
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reviewed by Herb Levy Days of Wonder, 2-4 players, ages 8 and up, 30 minutes; $25 One of the most successful games in recent years has been Alan Moon's Ticket to Ride (Spring 2004 GA REPORT). Not only did it garner a bunch of well deserved awards but this game also struck a responsive chord in the marketplace with lots and lots of copies sold ...
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reviewed by Herb Levy Mayfair Games, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 90-120 minutes; $49 The Emperor likes his swords. In Toledo, the new game from designer Martin Wallace, players attempt to satisfy that liking as they take on the roles of members of Spanish families renowned for their expert production of this weaponry. In order to make those swords, you need to combine steel ...
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reviewed by Al Newman Fantasy Flight Games, 2-5 players, ages 12 and up, 1-2 hours; $49.95 Karl-Heinz Schmiel is best known for Die Macher, a game about politics in different regions of Germany. The game is one of the top rated games of all time and has been popular for over a generation since publication in 1986, despite it's complexity and daunting length (approximately 4 ...
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reviewed by Herb Levy North Star Games, 4-20 players, ages 10 and up, 20-25 minutes; $29.99 Every since Trivial Pursuit rocketed to stardom as a money-making enterprise, there has been a veritable tidal wave of trivia games covering every conceivable - and inconceivable - subject. Some have been successful; more have fallen by the wayside and into obscurity. Regardless of successes and failures, the knock ...
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Spring 2008
(Volume 2, Number 26)

 

Reviewed by Ben Baldanza GMT Games, 2-4 players, ages 12 and up, 2 hours; $46 Polynesia is both a beautiful and rugged part of the planet. There are plenty of islands with a lot of water between them, and many of these have unique and interesting histories. Theories have been tested as to how the region was populated (from Asia, from South America, or from ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy AbacusSpiele/Rio Grande Games, 2-5 players, ages 12 and up, 60 minutes; $49.95 Not since the Boston Tea Party has tea been the focus of such interest as in the latest game from Günter Burkhardt: Darjeeling. In this game, players compete to harvest tea and ship it to market, gathering crates and making the most of customer demand to generate lots of ...
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On Any Given Sunday According to the National Football League, "on any given Sunday" so the saying goes, "any team can beat any other team". That saying was certainly proven by the 2008 Super Bowl when the New York Giants beat the impressive and seemingly invincible New England Patriots in what was certainly the most exciting football game I ever saw. I have ...
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Reviewed by Joe Huber Czech Games Edition/Rio Grande Games, 2-5 players, ages 10 and up, 60 minutes; $74.95 With the release of Through the Ages, (featured in the Fall 2007 GA REPORT), the arrival of Czech games and designer Vlaada Chvatil onto the scene was underway. While a few Czech games, such as Course de la Paix, had received some attention previously, and Chvatil’s ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy by the Editors of Klutz, Klutz Press, 36 pages, $24.95 Drawing upon the expertise of R. Wayne Schmittberger (editor of GAMES magazine) and Mark Jackson (described as someone "who specializes in playing board games"), The 15 Greatest Board Games in the World is the latest entry in the Klutz line-up of books. The rationale for selection of these games is straightforward: ...
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Reviewed by Pevans Eggertspiele/Rio Grande Games, 2-5 players, ages 12 and up, 75-90 minutes; $59.95 I don’t know what it is, but I’ve been having real trouble getting to grips with a couple of the big games I’ve been playing recently. One of these is Hamburgum, which really impressed me when I first played the prototype. (If you must know, the other is Martin ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy Udo Grebe Design, 2-4 players, ages 15 and up, 3-4 hours; $47 The rise and fall of the Roman Empire has filled the pages of many books, the screens of a vast amount of movies and television dramas and has, of course, been the focus of many games. The latest game to explore this fascinating topic comes from the German ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy Alea/Rio Grande Games, 2-5 players, ages 12 and up, 75-100 minutes; $44.95 "May you live in interesting times" is a Chinese curse that can send shudders down your spine. It could also serve as a good subtitle for the latest big box game from Alea (and Rio Grande Games): In the Year of the Dragon. This game, designed by Stefan Feld, ...
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Reviewed by Jeff Feuer Elfinwerks, 2-5 players, ages 10 and up, 90 minutes; $60 Kingsburg is a city building game for 2-5 players by Andrea Chiarvesio and Luca Iennaco. In it, players are Governors sent by the King to administer over frontier territories. The players influence advisors (using dice to mark the advisors influenced by each Governor) to get resources and soldiers. The resources ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy Hans im Glück/Rio Grande Games, 2-4 players, ages 8 and up, 45 minutes; $39.95 In pre-Civil War America, the west with its unexplored, untamed and unclaimed land beckoned those who hankered for a new beginning, a new start. Players answer that call in this new game, the first by Ase and Henrik Berg, as they build and populate the land ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy Amigo/Mayfair Games, 2-5 players, ages 10 and up, about 50 minutes; $35 It is the Middle Ages in Italy. Noble families of the time showed their power and influence by constructing tall structures, called "Patrician towers" in the cities. This is the setting for Patrician where each player takes on the role of a master builder, constructing towers in key cities ...
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Reviewed by Andrea "Liga" Ligabue Z-Man Games, 2-5 players, ages 12 and up, 3 hours; $39.99 Prophecy, designed by Vlaada Chvatil and published by Z-Man Games, is a really nice and solid game, with good mechanics and artwork and widely underestimated. Vlaada's talent in creating games, as everyone knows thanks to winning the IGA with Through the Ages (featured in the Fall 2007 GA ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy Parker Brothers/Hasbro Games, 2-6 players, ages 12 and up, about 90 minutes; $22.99 What do you do when you want to take one of the classics of American games - one of the pillars of the Parker Brothers game line for that matter - and, for want of a better term, "modernize it"? You do what the people at Parker/Hasbro have ...
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Winter 2008
(Volume 2, Number 25)

 

reviewed by Herb Levy (Z-Man Games, 2 players, ages 12 and up, 90 minutes; $49.99) With 2008 being a presidential election year, it is only natural that the marketplace will find itself swell with games seeking to simulate the event. But rather than looking at the upcoming election, 1960: The Making of the President looks back to one of the closest elections of the last ...
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Reviewed by Joe Huber (Lookout Games, 1-5 players, ages 12 to adult, 30 to 2 1/2 hours; about $70) The ranking system on BoardGameGeek is fairly good at keeping new games from rising too quickly in the ratings – unless a game is a runaway hit. In 2005, Caylus (Winter 2006 GA REPORT) rose to the top ten in short order. In 2006, it was ...
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reviewed by Herb Levy (Ystari Games, 2-4 players, ages 12 and up, 60-120 minutes; $55) Despite being a relatively new company, Ystari Games has, to its credit, released a remarkable series of very strong games. Ys (Winter 2005 GA REPORT), Caylus (Winter 2006 GA REPORT), Mykerinos (Summer 2006 GA REPORT), Yspahan (Winter 2007 GA REPORT) and Caylus: Magna Carta (Fall 2007 GA REPORT) read like ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Robot Martini Games, 3-4 players, about 20 minutes; $5.99) With 2008 being an election year in the United States, it is only natural that games with an election as a focal point would appear in the marketplace. And so it is with, Ballot Bots, a reworked version of a three player game called Treeo, published by Robot Martini Games (www.robotmartini.com) where ...
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Reviewed by Chris Kovac (Red Juggernaut Games, 2-4 players, ages 8 and up, 60-90; $49.99) Battue is a very thematic area conquest boardgame designed by Jim Long where you get to play competing barbarian hordes overrunning and looting a Roman city. The barbarian with the most loot (a combination of loot cards and controlling the high value building tiles) at the end of the game ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Eggertspiele/Rio Grande Games, 2-5 players, ages 12 and up, 75-120 minutes; $59.95) Suppose Puerto Rico (Spring 2002 GA REPORT) and San Juan (Spring 2004 GA REPORT) had a child. What do you suppose it would look like? Well, if the child was delivered by the design team of Michael Rieneck and Stefan Stadler, the same team who gave us Pillars of ...
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THE STRENGTH TO LEAD If you want to get sort of philosophical, it seems as though you can divide people into two basic groups: leaders and followers. Some people like to "go with the flow", following a trail already blazed, having full confidence that the direction to be taken is safe, secure and true. On the other hand, some people like to make the decisions, ...
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(Z-Man Games, 2-5 players, ages 10 and up, 60-120 minutes; $55) One of the great games that has flown under the radar in recent years is Tycoon, a candidate for the Spiel des Jahres that received feature treatment from us nearly 10 years ago in the Summer 1998 GA REPORT (and reprinted in this issue). This brilliant game by the design team of Wolfgang Kramer ...
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(With the release of El Capitan, a revised edition of Tycoon featured in this issue - we thought it would be interesting to see the reception Tycoon received when it made its debut. So, we've "flashbacked" to Kban's review of the game from the Summer 1998 issue of GA REPORT.) (Jumbo International, out of print) As designed by Wolfgang Kramer and Horst-Rainer Rösner, Tycoon is ...
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Reviewed by Jeff Feuer (R&D Games/Abacus Spiele/Rio Grande Games, 2-4 players, ages 8 and up, 60-90 minutes; $49.99) One of the things we love about Euro Games are those tiny little side rules and exceptions that go along with the basic rules. Some games are like Puerto Rico (Spring 2002 GA REPORT) and all the players need to know every last one of the rules ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy LEAGUE OF SIX (Czech Games Edition, 3-5 players, ages 12 and up, 60-90 minutes; about $50) The title sounds like a band of superheroes out to right the wrongs of villainous criminals. It's not. The title actually refers to six towns of the Holy Roman Empire that, in 1430 AD, joined together to preserve their commercial interests and protect their security ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (MOD Games/JKLM Games, 2 players, ages 12 and up, 45 minutes; $39.99) The time is England in the 5th century with Saxons and Celts clashing for control. In Macht & Ohnmacht (Power & Weakness), the struggle within the struggle is critical as not only knights but magicians too, operating in cycles, will determine which side will win. Macht & Ohnmacht (Power ...
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Reviewed by Al Newman (Adlung-Spiele, 3-5 players, ages 10 and up, 45-60 minutes; about $10) Adlung-Spiele makes nothing but inexpensive card games but over the last few years, several have emerged as genuine gems. Verrater (Winter 1999 GA REPORT) and Meuterer (2000), both designed by Marcel-André Casasola Merkle, have become revered as classics and are highly rated at Boardgamegeek.com. Quite a few others have turned ...
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[We welcome first time contribute Andrea "Liga" Ligabue, a well known gamer from Italy with a varied background, broad interests and a keen insight in gaming. As he says: "I was born in Modena in 1972 and since my childhood I really enjoyed playing and inventing games. My real "debut in society" was when I was 16 years old and I entered for the first ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Days of Wonder, 2-3 players, ages 8 and up, 30-60 minutes; $25) One of the most popular games in recent history has come from the talents of Alan Moon: Ticket to Ride (featured in the Spring 2004 GAMERS ALLIANCE REPORT). Not only has the game won many honors, it has also spawned a series of sequels in its wake including Ticket ...
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2007

 

Fall 2007
(Volume 2, Number 24)

 

Reviewed by Herb Levy (Ystari Games/Rio Grande Games, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 45-75 minutes; $29.95) Over the last few years, game designers who have managed to come up with a successful and challenging gamer's game have challenged themselves to come up with a slimmed down version of it without sacrificing the essence of the original. Andreas Seyfarth followed up his Puerto Rico (Spring ...
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Witchcraft As this editorial is being written, Halloween is just around the corner. I don't know about you, but Halloween always gets me to thinking about ghosts and goblins and all sorts of spooky things that go bump in the night. And witchcraft. Witchcraft. Bubbling cauldrons filled with unspeakable things, figures in dark robes mumbling mysterious incantations, unfamiliar scents mingled with blood curdling sounds. Witches ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Gamewright, 3-8 players, ages 10 and up, about 30 minutes; $19.99) The search for the ideal party game is never-ending. Each year, many pretenders to the throne of supreme party game/ice breaker appear. One of the newest and best of the current crop of candidates comes from the roster of games published by Gamewright: Hit or Miss. Hit or Miss, as ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Sunriver Games/Funagain Games, 3-8 players, ages 8 and up, 20 minutes; $19.95) A few years ago at the gaming convention commonly known as The Gathering of Friends, I played a game by Alan Moon and Bruno Faidutti called Diamant. The game involved entering mine shafts to uncover treasure, pressing your luck to bring back valuables before you encountered deadly dangers and ...
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Reviewed by Joe Huber (Queen Games/Rio Grande Games, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 45-60 minutes; $49.95) I do not think I shall ever forget my first game of Jenseits von Theben – the German title (which translates to “beyond Thebes”) of the original, small print-run edition of the game by Peter Prinz that has become Thebes. Dale Yu had caught my attention with his ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Playroom Entertainment, 2-6 players, ages 8 to adult, 30 minutes; $20) Some animals seem to lend themselves to gaming. Think of those lovable hedgehogs always appearing in the games from Doris und Frank. But lovability is not restricted to hedgehogs. How about sheep? Not too long ago, we did a feature on Wooly Bully (Fall 2003 GA REPORT). Sheep made another ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Portal, 2-4 players, ages 12 and up, 20 minutes; about 45 Euros) The world has grown smaller over the last few decades thanks largely to technological advances allowing communication between vast expanses to become both easier and quicker. Paradoxically, this "global shrinkage" has caused the World of Games to grow larger. Not only do quality games arise from such traditional areas ...
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Reviewed by Pevans (JKLM Games/Rio Grande Games, 2-5 players, ages 12 and up, 60-90 minutes; $49.95) It’s impressive how quickly Phoenicia has become popular at my gaming group since its launch – we’ve had three games on the go at once on some evenings. And it’s a well deserved popularity as this is a terrific game. I’d better declare my interest, though. Phoenicia is published ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Educational Insights, 2-4 players, ages 6 and up, about 30 minutes; $19.99) Over the last few years, Educational Insights has become a formidable presence in the game market. They distribute Blokus (featured in the Fall 2002 GA REPORT) and several Blokus spin-offs (Blokus Trigon, Travel Blokus) and have launched a series of strategy games under the title of StrataGems. One of ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Playroom Entertainment, 2-4 players, ages 8 to adult, 35 minutes; $38) Setting up stalls in the bustling Portobello Market of Victorian London is the setting for the aptly titled Portobello Market, the new game designed by Thomas Odenhoven, and distributed here in the Untied States by Playroom Entertainment. Portobello Market comes with a mounted board showing lanes that can handle anywhere ...
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Reviewed by Ben Baldanza (Z-Man Games, 3-4 players, ages 10 and up, 30 minutes; $24.99) Stack Market is a dexterity game designed by Susumu Kawasaki camouflaged as a business game. The primary component is set of 60 dice with side values ranging from zero to four. These dice are stacked onto each other to create up to four “businesses”, with the height of the business ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Czech Board Game Company, 2-4 players, ages 12 and up, 120 minutes +; about $150) Every once in a while, a game piques the interest of a small cadre of gamers and, like a herd of maddened bees, a buzz takes to the air. That phenomenon occurred with the release of Through the Ages, a new game out of the Czech ...
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Reviewed by Chris Kovac (Fantasy Flight Games, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 45-75 minutes; $79.95) If you miss the pleasure of playing with those green plastic soldiers of your childhood then Tide of Iron is for you. Tide of Iron is a World War II squad level miniature game by John Goodenough, Christian Peterson and Corey Koniecza. When you open the box you will ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Funagain Games, 2-5 players, ages 8 and up, 30-40 minutes; $24.99) Funagain Games has long been known as one of the leading Internet sites for buying games. Recently, Funagain has broadened its reach by publishing games as well. The latest offering under the Funagain label is Uptown designed by Kory Heath. Uptown is a tile-laying game played on a 9 x ...
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Reviewed by Frank Hamrick (Abacus Spiele/Rio Grande Games, 2-5 players, ages 8 and up, 45 minutes; $44.95) Spiel des Jahres. The coveted German game of the year award conveys several things to a consumer. The components are of good quality. The design is polished. The design is solid. The game will appeal to a broader family market. The game will probably not be a front-line ...
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Summer 2007
(Volume 2, Number 23)

 

[In this issue, we welcome Jeff Feuer to our pages. Jeff is a new reviewer for us and a relatively new member of the European style boardgaming fraternity. As Jeff explains: "I've been computer gaming since the Atari days (including having played many of the incarnations of Civilization as well as some Railroad Tycoon and the Age of Empire series) but, except for some ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Ravensburger/Rio Grande Games, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 45-60 minutes; $44.95) Arkadia (aka Die Baumeister von Arkadia in the Ravensburger edition) is the newest offering from designer Rüdiger Dorn, probably best known for Goa (Summer 2004 GA REPORT), putting players into competition as architects seeking to increase their prestige and influence as they construct a city and the castle at ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Days of Wonder, 3-5 players, ages 10 and up, 60-90 minutes; $50) Wolfgang Kramer is something unusual among the ranks of game designers. Not only has he created an impressive array of games on his own (Take 6, Big Boss, Expedition, Heimlich & Co., Midnight Party etc. ) but he has also found success in game design partnerships with lots of ...
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Travellin' Show In the "old days" (notably but not limited to the Old West of America and other areas outside of "The Big City"), there was something called a "travellin' show". Performers of all kinds would travel from town to town introducing culture (and not so cultural pursuits) to the outer reaches of the population while making a few bucks for themselves. Some big name ...
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Reviewed by Joe Huber (Cwali, 2-4 players, ages 11 and up, about 45 minutes; $41.95) Ever since the release of Isi in 1999, Corné van Moorsel has been recognized as a strong independent game designer and publisher. In addition to such popular games as Morisi/Netzwerk, ZooSim/O Zoo le Mio, and StreetSoccer, he has designed a number of clever small games such as Floriado. Even better, ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy FIRE & AXE (Asmodee Editions, 3 to 5 players, ages 12 and up, 90 minutes; $49.99) When you're renting a car and expecting a compact but end up with a luxury sedan, that's pretty nice. When you show up on a blind date and discover your date is a super model, well, that's pretty nice too. You see, EVERYBODY loves an ...
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(Gamers Alliance is always on the lookout for good games. Greg Schloesser spotted and wrote about one from Ragnar Brothers: Viking Fury. With Fire & Axe, its latest incarnation, featured in this issue, we thought it was the proper time to "flashback" and see what Greg had to say about the game. This review appeared in our Fall 2004 issue.) (The Ragnar Brothers, 3-5 ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Pywacket LLC, 2-4 players, ages 7 and up, about 30 minutes; $19.99) From the very earliest of times and from the earliest times of our lives, human beings tend to like sparkly things. Of all the sparkly things that surround our existence, gems rank pretty high and they continue to rank high and be the focus of our attention in Gemlok ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Gamewright, 2 players, ages 10 and up, about 15 minutes; $9.95) The game of Nim has been around for a long time despite the fact that there really isn't much game there. In essence, Nim is a game of "perfect information" where rows of objects are available and players alternate taking (generally) 1, 2 or 3 of those objects until one ...
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Reviewed by Pevans (Kosmos/Mayfair Games, 2-4 players, ages 12 and up, 2 hours; $49) Like other people, I was really taken with the way The Pillars of the Earth (known as Die Säulen der Erde in its European edition), designed by Michael Rieneck and Stefan Stadler, looks when I first saw it. This is due to the six wooden pieces that make up the cathedral ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Hans im Glück/Rio Grande Games, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 60 minutes; $24.95) As nice as it is to be winning the Spiel des Jahres (German Game of the Year Award), such accolades can cause problems. The biggest problem is, of course, how do you follow such a great success! The answer, for designers Karen & Andreas Seyfarth, seemed fairly ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Hans im Glück/Rio Grande Games, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, about 60 minutes; $34.95) It seems that Vikings are the flavor of the month. Last issue, there was Midgard. In this issue, we have featured Fire & Axe, the remake of Ragnor Brothers' Viking Fury. Now, rounding out this unplanned trilogy of sorts, comes Vikings, the new game from designer ...
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[Before you dive into this review of Winds of Plunder, a little disclaimer. If you look at the credits for Winds of Plunder, you'll find my name listed under playtesting. I had the pleasure of playing this game while it undertook its multi-year journey from idea to finished product.] Reviewed by Herb Levy (GMT Games, 3-5 players, ages 10 and up, 60-120 minutes; ...
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Spring 2007
(Volume 2, Number 22)

 

Reviewed by Frank Hamrick (Days of Wonder, 2 players or teams, ages 10 and up, 60 minutes; $70) The following review carries my name – but is actually a collaborative effort between me and my gaming friend – Scott Brooks. Scott is more of a hard core war gamer than me, while my preferences lie closer to typical Euro games (though I love conflict in ...
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Reviewed by Chris Kovac (Kosmos/Mayfair Games, 3-4 players, ages 10 and up, 90-120 minutes; $49) The first thing do be done in a turn is the starting player, who goes first in all phases, rolls the dice to determine what resources are generated this turn. Four resources are rolled each turn and the number has to be unique. If a seven is rolled, he gets ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Jax Ltd, 2-6 players, ages 6 to adult, about 30 minutes; $7.99) Games are generally categorized by genre and there are plenty of genres in the World of Games. You have your wargames, your sports simulations, abstract games of all kinds and, of course, this is merely scratching the surface. Somewhere, in this glut of genres, are dice games. But for ...
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BOOK TO MOVIE OR MOVIE TO BOOK It's interesting how this works. You go to the movies and see a film that captures your imagination, thrills you, excites you, gets those juices flowing. Do you leave that darkened theater to rush out to buy the book that served as the basis for that film? If you've just seen The Godfather or Harry Potter, you might ...
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GAME CLASSICS: TYCOON [Since our early days, we have enjoyed highlighting great games that, for one reason or another, only lasted for a relatively short time on the gaming stage despite exceptional qualities. In some cases, we've reached back decades to shed some light on great games but greatness is not the sole province of the distant past. Sometimes, it's much more recent - ...
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by Philip E. Orbanes (Da Capo Press, 262 pages with photos, $26) Reviewed by Herb Levy In the World of Games, no proprietary game has reached the pinnacle of success enjoyed by Monopoly. Which begs the question "Why?". Where did this phenomenon come from? Why did Monopoly, out of all the boardgames released into the marketplace, connect so strongly with generations of consumers? What accounts ...
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Reviewed by Pevans (Mind the Move/Rio Grande Games, 2-5 players, ages 12 and up, 90-120 minutes; $39.95) Like football (soccer), Hermagor is a game of two halves, as the saying is. Actually, it’s more a game of two parts since the two sections are anything but equal halves. The first part is a clever and highly competitive auction. The second a logistics/delivery challenge. Emanuele Ornella’s ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy HEROCARD: RISE OF THE SHOGUN (Tablestar Games, 2 players, ages 12 and up, 60 minutes; $24.95) Tablestar Games has come up with an intriguing concept: a series of games all using a battle/duel card game imbedded into a boardgame. Each game in this series use a different setting. In HeroCard: Rise of the Shogun, designed by Alexei Othenin-Girard, the setting is ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Temple Games, 3-7 players, ages 10 and up, about 40 minutes; $34.95) A decade ago, I reviewed the then new Cheapass Game of murderous intentions designed by James Ernest called Kill Doctor Lucky. In addition to the often interesting ideas to be found in the line, Cheapass Games were known for their, well, cheap presentation. Whatever the merits of their games, ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Z-Man Games, 3-5 players, ages 10 and up, 45-60 minutes; $39.99) You could make a convincing argument that the Vikings were the premier plunderers and pillagers of history. With a culture lauding battle and bravery, Viking warriors certainly impacted greatly on the shores of Europe. Those days of lusty combat are back as players become chiefs of various Viking clans vying ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (MindWare. 2- 4 players, ages 6 and up, 30-60 minutes; $25) A "gateway" game is one of those rare concoctions - a game able to introduce players with only the most glancing relationship to games to more challenging play while able to engage the more seasoned gamer. The desire for a definitive "gateway" game seems eternal and is certainly a ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Blue Orange Games, 2-4 players, ages 8 to adult, 20 minutes; $29.95) If you think you've been going around in circles, you may not be confused. You may simply have been playing Ringgz, the colorful abstract from Blue Orange Games. Ringgs is a pretty package, its large, square box filled with lots of wood: a sturdy wooden board, four sets of ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (SAS Games, 2 players, ages 8 and up, about 30 minutes; $29.99) The great philosopher Mary Poppins was quoted as saying, "A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down". Although Mary is better known for her childrearing skills, there is little doubt that these words of wisdom ring true. As though inspired by those words, we came across a game ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Hans im Glück/Rio Grande Games, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 45 minutes; $29.95) The exotic South Seas provides the setting for Taluva, the new game from Marcel-André Casasola Merkle. Taluva represents a volcanic island and players, through the placement of volcano tiles, will create the island and attempt to successfully expand their presence by creating and expanding settlements to win ...
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Winter 2007
(Volume 2, Number 21)

 

Reviewed by Ben Baldanza (Braun-Kohl Verlag, 2 players, ages 8 and up, 30-40 minutes; about $50) Affentennis, or "Monkey Tennis", was a curiosity game at Essen 2006. How on earth could a game with that name and funny little monkey characters holding racquets actually be a good game? It may not help the case to know that the game was originally designed as "Smurf Tennis", ...
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Reviewed by Joe Huber (Amigo, 3-5 players, ages 8 and up, 30 minutes; about $9) One of the most interesting challenges for a game designer is to design compelling "filler" - a game lasting less than 30 minutes for a typical group. Given a short duration, it can be very difficult to convey theme or other truly interesting decisions - what good is long term ...
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Mind Expansion Back in the psychedelic sixties, all sorts of new philosophies of life flowered on the popular landscape. Some good, some bad, some just, well, strange. One of these came from Dr. Timothy Leary who suggested a "Tune in, Turn On, Drop Out" approach to life that focused on mind expansion fueled by the use of a drug known as lysergic acid diethylamide. The ...
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Reviewed by Chris Kovac (Ravensburger/Rio Grande Games, 2-6 players, ages 10 and up, 60 minutes; $44.95) When the Goths started coming, the Romans starting fleeing to the safety of Africa. This is the basic theme for the game Gloria Mundi by James Ernest and Mike Selinker, essentially a racing game with lots of resource/card management. The goal of the game is to be the first ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Uberplay, 2-5 players, ages 10 and up, 45 minutes; $39.99) Of all the games created by Reiner Knizia, perhaps the one that most piqued the interest of gamers here in the United States was Traumfabrik. In this Knizia creation, players vicariously enjoyed the role of film producers as they strove to obtain actors and directors and other essential personnel to put ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Asmodee, 2-6 players, ages 10 and up, about 45 minutes; $21.99) The ancient battle between the Greeks and the Trojans over the city of Troy is the setting for Iliad, the new card game designed by Dominique Erhard, where players attempt to amass the most powerful army and win sieges against their opponents. Iliad comes with three victory tiles and 110 ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Eggertspiele/Rio Grande Games, 2-6 players, ages 12 and up, about 2-3 hours; $59.99) As the saying goes: "Borrow a dollar and the bank owns you, borrow a million dollars and you own the bank!" If you change "bank" to "nation", you'll have a pretty good idea of what is going on in Imperial, the newest design from Mac Gerdts. Imperial charts ...
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Reviewed by Frank Hamrick (Da Vinci Games/Mayfair Games, 2-5 players, ages 8 and up, 60-90 minutes; $45) Leonardo Da Vinci was one of the most anticipated games at the 2006 Essen Toy Fair and, in this reviewers opinion, it lived up to the hype – mostly! The idea of the game, as designed by Flaminia Brasini, Virginio Gigli, Stefano Luperto and Antonio Tinto (Acchittocca), is ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Abacus/Rio Grande Games, 2 players, ages 10 and up, 30-45 minutes; $22.95) If you created a matrix crisscrossing the long list of games designed by Reiner Knizia with the long list of games using auctions as a central part of their design, you can make a serious argument that the cream rising to the top would be Knizia's Medici (featured in ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Asmodee, 3-5 players, ages 10 and up, 60 minutes; $44.99) HG Wells wrote about it and Orson Welles took it to the air and terrified us. Still others followed and took it to the screen: an invasion from Mars! But now, the proverbial shoe is on the other foot. Rather than Martians appearing on Earth, Earthlings get a chance to rocket ...
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Reviewed by Ben Baldanza (JKLM/Rio Grande Games, 3-5 players, ages 7 and up, 90 minutes; $39.95) JKLM is a British company that has produced a nice lineup of games for each of the last few Essen fairs. Highlighting their output is the fact that they use varying themes and their games vary in depth. There is a decided transport bent to a subset of their ...
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Reviewed by Pevans (Warfrog/Fantasy Flight Games/Esvedium, 3-5 players, ages 12 and up, 3-5 hours; $49.99) Perikles is the 2006 production from the brain of Martin Wallace. The game is about warring city states in Ancient Greece specifically, the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta. Over three turns, the players command the forces of half a dozen cities in a series of battles. However, players first ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Z-Man Games, 3-6 players, ages 12 and up, about 90 minutes; $49.99) The "pick up and deliver" genre of gaming is nothing new, whether it's railroads across the country or trucks barreling down lanes of highway. In Silk Road, the new game by Ted Cheatham and Bruno Faidutti, the venue shifts to the exotic world of camels and caravans as players ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Days of Wonder, 2-5 players, ages 8 and up, 40 minutes; $15) With the success of the Ticket to Ride series of games which include Ticket to Ride (Spring 2004 GA REPORT), Ticket to Ride: Europe (Spring 2005 GA REPORT) and Ticket to Ride: Marklin Edition (Spring 2006 GA REPORT), you have to wonder how many times designer Alan Moon can ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Ystari Games/Rio Grande Games, 3-4 players, ages 8 and up, 45-60 minutes; $49.95) Every game company believes in their line. On some level, the powers that be within the company need to believe that every game is a winner. Unfortunately, as we all know, while hope may spring eternal, hope does not always translate into reality and far too often, companies ...
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2006

 

Fall 2006
(Volume 2, Number 20)

 

Reviewed by Herb Levy (Out of the Box Games, 4 players, ages 12 and up, 30-40 minutes; $14.99) When it comes to trick-taking games, Bridge is undoubtedly king of the castle. There are newspaper columns specializing in it, several high profile celebrities (Omar Sharif for example) devoted to it and thousands of card players spending hours on it. Despite this, the game remains a mystery ...
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Reviewed by Craig Massey (Ragnar Brothers, 3-5 players, ages teen to adult, about 90 minutes; about $50) The release of a Ragnar Brothers game is a highly anticipated event that comes along once every few years. Anticipation for Canal Mania started building back in the summer and fall of 2005 with information from session reports and sneak previews from the brothers themselves. When Essen 2005 ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Immortal Eyes/Winning Moves Games, 2-4 players, ages teen to adult, 90+ minutes; $40.95) Scientists theorize that, in the beginning, the Earth consisted of one large land mass that, over time, broke apart to create the continents we know today. In Conquest of Pangea, this idea is the crux of the gameplay as the super-continent of Pangea starts to split. It is ...
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Blackjack I've been to Las Vegas and I have to say that it strikes me as a fantasy land, truly as Disney World for adults. There's glitz and glamour all along the Vegas strip. I enjoy the top entertainment there and the whole atmosphere, from the pyramid marking the Luxor to the movie set-like setting of New York, New York to the gorgeous Bellagio and ...
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[In this issue of GA REPORT, we welcome first time contributor Joe Huber. Joe is a well known gamer and he writes: "I grew up playing Acquire and Civilization, and still enjoy both games today - if few of the wargames I also played back then. In 1995, I got back into gaming, discovering both German games (particularly Settlers of Catan and Auf Achse), ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Pywacket LLC, 2 to 6 players, ages 8 to adult, about 30-60 minutes; $24.99, Deluxe Edition $29.99) Word search puzzles have been quite popular over the last few years and building a board game upon that premise is nothing new. For example, Pressman issued a game, featured in the Spring 1988 issue of GA REPORT, called Wordsearch. Fast forward almost 20 ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Winning Moves, 3-5 players, ages teen to adult, 35-45 minutes; $25.95 ) Leonardo Da Vinci was a true genius, an intellect who excelled in many fields. Arguably his most famous contribution to the world is his masterpiece, the Mona Lisa, a painting that has captured the imagination of art lovers the world over for centuries. Part of the appeal comes from ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Immortal Eyes/Winning Moves Games, 2 players, ages teen to adult, 30 minutes; $23.95) Pecking Order, the first release from the Immortal Eyes imprint launched by Winning Moves, is a Richard Garfield design combining simplicity with a strong undercurrent of bluff and strategy. Pecking Order comes with a mounted board and two identical decks of cards. Each deck consists of 12 numbered ...
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Reviewed by Chris Kovac (Queen, 2-4 players, ages 8 and up, 30 minutes; $24.95 ) Robber Knights is one of the small box games released after Nuremburg earlier this year and is a tile laying strategy game for 2-4 players designed by Rudiger Dorn, probably best known for Goa (Summer 2004 GA REPORT) and Louis XIV (Summer 2005 GA REPORT). The object of the game ...
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[With this issue, we welcome new contributor Frank Hamrick. Frank says: My Grandmother taught me Monopoly when I was 7 years old and I became an addict! I played every game I could find from Monopoly to Parcheesi, Sorry, Commandos, and Dig. By the time I was in High School I decided that the world needed a good war game and started designing my ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Immortal Eyes/Winning Moves Games, 2-4 players, ages teen to adult, 45+ minutes; $30.95) Exploring a New World is always an exciting prospect. In Terra Nova. the third release from the Immortal Eyes imprint launched by Winning Moves, that sense of exploration is captured as two to four players compete to carve out their own niches in this beautifully produced game. Terra ...
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Reviewed by Pevans (Hans im Glück/Rio Grande Games, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 60 minutes; $32.95) Well, it’s just won the Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year) in Germany and there’s been quite a buzz about Thurn und Taxis since it first appeared: let’s see if it lives up to its reputation. Interestingly, the game’s author is given as Karen and Andreas Seyfarth ...
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Why Everyone Should Visit Essen (at least once) by Ben Baldanza A few years ago, I was in a meeting with some German businessmen. During small talk, I mentioned that I would be visiting their country in mid October. Happily, they asked where I would be going, and when I said "Essen" they had a most quizzical look. One finally said what they all were ...
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Summer 2006
(Volume 2, Number 19)

 

Reviewed by Ben Baldanza (Schmidt Spiel + Freizeit, 2-4 players, ages 8 and up, 30 minutes; about $30) Network games are a genre unto themselves, and the variety created over the years has given gamers a lot of good things to try. Santiago (Winter 2004 GA REPORT) emerged as an interesting four player but hugely strategic and nasty five-player game that still hits many game ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Kosmos/Fantasy Flight Games, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 60 minutes; about $40) Reiner Knizia has a reputation as one of the most prolific and adept modern game designers. He has also claimed not to play games designed by others, preferring to draw his ideas from within himself. True to his word and inspired by his own Blue Moon collectible card ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Days of Wonder, 3-5 players, ages 10 and up, about 60 minutes; $50) Although the title may win a prize for the longest game name in recent memory, the premise of Cleopatra and the Society of Architects is simple. In this design by Bruno Cathala and Ludovic Maublanc, Cleopatra yearns for a new palace. The players, assuming the persona of architects, ...
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Reviewed by Chris Kovac (Hidden City Games, 2 to 4 players or more, ages 8 to adult, 10 to 30+ minutes; 30 chip starter sets $14.95; 2 chip booster pack $2.50) Occasionally as a gamer one finds games a little off the beaten path. This is one of those games. Clout Fantasy, designed by Jesper Myfors and Paul Peterson, is sort of a cross between ...
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Strong & Stronger If you're reading this, you probably know game designer Sid Sackson and I were good friends for a number of years. We would meet with our wives on a regular basis to talk about and play games. And, from time to time, the subject of what was going to happen to Sid's unbelievable collection of games and related items in the (distant) ...
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[Pevans is the pen name of Paul Evans (well, a Paul Evans – hence the pseudonym). This Paul Evans is a British gamer who has been writing about games for well over 20 years. He was founding editor of Games Games Games magazine and edited it for 12 years. He has contributed to Games & Puzzles, Games International and Counter and is a regular ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy [So many games, so little time. It's no wonder so many great games have vanished from the market. Once again, it's time to resurrect one of these lost gems. In past issues, our Game Classics series has showcased some remarkable games including Astron, Bantu, Broker, Can't Stop, Daytona 500, Focus (aka Domination), The Game of Politics, The Godfather Game, Holiday, Kimbo, ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Abacus Spiele, 3-5 players, ages 8 and up; 15 minutes +; about $8) Joshua fought the battle of Jericho and the walls came tumbling down. From that biblical event springs the new and aptly named card game from Abacus, designed by Tom Lehmann: Jericho. The game consists of a deck of 110 cards divided into 75 wall cards (in denominations of ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Hans im Gluck/Rio Grande Games, 2-4 players, ages 8 and up, 45 minutes; $39.95) Medieval times has served as a background for many games and cities have often played a part in them, whether in grasping for power or scoring prestige. In Masons, the latest design from Leo Colovini, a new perspective on cities is presented as players become "master masons" ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Ystari Games, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 30-60 minutes; $29.95) Ystari Games has been making a name for itself with its maiden and subsequent releases. Ys (featured in the Winter 2005 GA REPORT and one of my favorite releases of that year) followed by Caylus (Winter 2006 GA REPORT) already established Ystari as a company to be reckoned with. With ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Front Porch Classics, 2-5 players, ages 8 and up, about 60 minutes; $50) The thrill of auto racing has been the subject of many tabletop simulations. One of the best looking of the bunch comes roaring down the pike from Front Porch Classics in their new release Raceway 57. Handling up to five players, this edition of the game comes in ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Avalon Hill, 3-5 players, ages 10 to adult, 45 minutes; $35) The time is the future and the place is Rocketville where a mayoralty race is heating up. Players are candidates vying for that office by campaigning throughout the different areas of the city in this newest Avalon Hill release, designed by Richard Garfield. Rocketville comes with a mounted board divided ...
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Spring 2006
(Volume 2, Number 18)

 

Reviewed by Herb Levy (TriKing Games/The History Channel, 2 players, less than 30 minutes; Starter packs - $12.99 each) Going back in time and playing "what if?" history is something that has appealed to people since forever! What if great warriors from the past met in combat against each other? A tantalizing question for which there is no definitive answer. But, in an unusual partnership ...
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(In our quest to find fresh and intelligent voices about games, we welcome Chris Kovac, a gamer from our neighbor to the north, Canada. Chris writes: "I have been a gamer since my University Days in the 1980's. Initially a wargamer, I was converted over to Euro Games by a friend when he introduced me to Homas Tour (The Bicycle Racing Game) in about 1992 ...
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Reviewed by Ben Baldanza (Abacus, 2-5 players, ages 10 and up, 60 minutes; about $30) Ah, to live in a mansion in sunny California! Everyone gets their shot at this dream in California, this new game from Michael Schacht. But the bad news is that the mansion needs a lot of work. Rooms must be renovated and furniture acquired and, of course, this means spending ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Hangman Games, 3-5 players, ages 12 and up, 90-120 minutes; $30) Alan Ernstein has presented us with several well received games over the last few years including Tahuantinsuyu (Summer 2004 GA REPORT) and Ars Mysteriorum (Summer 2005 GA REPORT). This time, Ernstein dips into his bag of tricks to bring out a "sparkling" game combining crystals and deal making in Crystal ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Warren, 2-6 players, adult, 30-60 minutes; $24.99) Whenever an intellectual property strikes a massively responsive chord in popular culture, you can be sure games based on that property will appear in its wake. We've seen this before with comic characters, TV shows and, certainly, with books turned to films (e.g. Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings). So it should be ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Lookout Games; 2-3 players, ages 12 and up, 60-90 minutes; about $50) Ancient Rome in general and the quest to become ruler of the Roman Empire in particular, have long been popular themes for games. In Das Ende des Triumvirats, designed by Johannes Ackva and Max Gabrian, that theme is tackled once again with some unique and challenging twists. Das Ende ...
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Weather? Whether or Not? In the aftermath of the 2006 New York International Toy Fair, I found myself faced with two questions: Whether? and Whether or Not? As the Fair opened this year, there was a lot of uncertainty as to its future. Some Fair participants had voiced a wish to move the Fair, which called New York City home for over 100 years, to ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Hans im Glück/Rio Grande Games; 2-4 players, ages 12 and up, about 45 minutes; $24.95) One of the most popular and respected creations of the prolific Reiner Knizia is Euphrat & Tigris, a true gamer's game that challenges the most hardened Euro style game player (and featured in the Spring 1998 GA REPORT). Euphrates & Tigris: Contest of Kings is Knizia's ...
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(With the Euphrat & Tigris: Contest of Kings card game getting feature treatment this issue, we though it would be a good idea to see how its parent game, Euphrat & Tigris, was received back when Kban gave it a good look in the Spring 1998 GA REPORT) EUPHRAT & TIGRIS (Hans im Glück, 3-4 players, 60-90 minutes) Reiner Knizia has been one of Germany's ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (MindtwisterUSA, 2 players, ages 6 and up, 3-30 minutes; $24.95) Some game conventions encourage you to sit down and play games. But the New York International Toy Fair doesn't quite work like that. While there are miles of aisles of displays and no shortage of people who will tell you how a game plays and demonstrate it for you, it's an ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Otero Games, 2-4 players, ages 10 to adult, about 30 minutes; $19.95) Abstract games are a genre of play that attracts devoted fans. One of the better new entries in this field is called Roundabout. As you might suspect from the name, the goal is to get your pieces around and about the board. Roundabout comes with four sets of game ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy SHEAR PANIC (Fragor Games, 3-4 players, ages 10 and up, about 45 minutes; about $50) I've written literally hundreds of reviews of games over the years consisting of a couple of million words. But I'm about to use a word that I have NEVER used in all those reviews over all that time. Adorable. The pieces used in Shear Panic are ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Days of Wonder, 2-5 players, ages 8 and up, 30-60 minutes; $39.95) Some companies have been fortunate in finding a game with the strength and popular acceptance to not only create a loyal following but serve as a springboard for variations on that game's popular theme. Mayfair has The Settlers of Catan (Fall 1996 GA REPORT), Rio Grande has Carcassonne (Summer ...
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Reviewed by Jon Waddington (GMT Games, 2 players, about 3 hours; $57) Nominally, Twilight Struggle is a wargame about the Cold War. For those too young or too distracted to remember, the Cold War was the conflict following World War II between the forces of capitalism (with the United States taking the lead for the West) and communism (with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics ...
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Winter 2006
(Volume 2, Number 17)

 

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 ...
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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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2005

 

Fall 2005
(Volume 2, Number 16)

 

20 Questions: AN INTERVIEW WITH AL NEWMAN by Herb Levy (Al Newman is a game designer with an impressive resume. He's done computer designs, board games, card games and more. He's even graced the pages of GA REPORT with his own brand of insightful game reviews. As part of our 20th anniversary celebration, I played 20 questions with Al to get some of his insights ...
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Reviewed by Frank Branham (Fantasy Flight Games, 1-8 players, ages 12 and up, 2-3 hours; $49.95 ) Fantasy Flight is on an interesting tack. Not only do they create their own totally non-Euro massive adventure games, but they have started on a journey to resurrect a lot of classic 80's and 90's adventure games. This is the sort of stuff that people are paying literally ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Avalon Hill/Wizards of the Coast, 2 players, ages 12 and up, 30-90 minutes; Starter set - $24.99; Booster Packs - $14.99 each) Back in the 1970s, Milton Bradley produced a few mass market wargames. (Anyone here remember Chopper Strike? Or Tank Battle?) Without a doubt, they are best remembered for their nicely molded plastic pieces. With the success of Memoir 44 ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Eagle Games, 2-6 players, ages 10 and up, 3-4 hours; $59.99) Over 20 years ago, Milton Bradley unveiled its GameMaster Series. These big beautiful games consisted of three titles: Axis & Allies (a game that has maintained a large following and spawned several spin-off editions), Broadsides & Boarding Parties (a game of pirates and plunder that did not find such great ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Patch Products, 2-4 players, ages 8 and up, about 30 minutes; $22.95) In our world, there are two kinds of people: those who play games and those who do not. The question for many of the first type is: How do you get the non-gamers over to our side? Despite the wealth of games out there, the push from non-gamer to ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Asmodée Editions, 2 players, ages 11 and up, 45 minutes; $29.99) I hate to admit this but I am one of those old enough to remember when Dungeons & Dragons was new. One of the pleasures of those old adventures was what became known as a "dungeon crawl" where a band of stalwart heroes (often accompanied by some of the less ...
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Reviewed by Kban (Jolly Roger Games, 2 players, ages 10 and up, 30-60 minutes; $21.95) If this were a court of law, I’d have to recuse myself for being friends with the author. Al Newman, along with GA President Herb Levy and I, are the heart and soul of LI Gamers, the playtesting arm of GAR. But truth be told, I hate playtesting any game ...
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20 and Counting It really is hard to believe. I mean, after all, where does the time go? Can it really be TWENTY YEARS since Gamers Alliance Report published its first issue? Yes, it can. I was always interested in games. Some of my earliest memories involve receiving a big Parker Brothers or Milton Bradley game as birthday presents. We played boardgames a lot in ...
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(In this issue, we feature Conquest of the Empire, a revised edition of the classic Milton Bradley GameMaster Series game. The edition features TWO versions of the game, one of which leans heavily on the game design of Struggle of Empires. Here is the game as we saw it in the Spring 2005 issue of GA REPORT.) Reviewed by Herb Levy (Warfrog, 2-7 players, ages ...
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FLASHBACK: TETRIS [No celebration of our 20th anniversary would be complete without acknowledging the contributions of legendary game designer Sid Sackson. Sid joined Gamers Alliance as a Contributing Editor quite early in our run and contributed regularly for years. (For more details, check out the GA Timeline.) His first column (titled "Sid Sackson Says") appeared in the Fall 1990 GA REPORT. Sid did THREE ...
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GAMERS ALLIANCE GAME CLASSICS Hall of Fame One of the popular features that appear in Gamers Alliance Report is our Game Classics series. In this series, we feature quality games that, for various reasons, sunk into relative obscurity. These games were deserving of a better fate. Here are the 20 games (listed in alphabetical order with publisher, dates of publication and GA REPORT issue in ...
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(Reiner Knizia has carved out a reputation for quality game designs and plenty of them. But not all of them have made a big splash in the marketplace as they missed out on the recognition some of us believe they deserve. In this installment of Game Classics, Larry Levy sets his sights on one of the lesser known Knizia card games: Ohio. ) OHIO (Jumbo, ...
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GAMERS ALLIANCE TIMELINE by Herb Levy 20 years is a long time to be publishing a magazine - ANY magazine. Given the track record of publications centering on games, in all modesty, 20 years is incredible! In looking back, we thought it would be interesting to see how we got from Point A to Point B. So, here is our timeline of events that have ...
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by Paul Sauberer I am not a game designer, publisher, or developer. Now, however, I am a “Game Historian”. What unlikely series of events led to the creation of this term, much less my actually becoming one? Let’s start by turning the clock back to circa 1979-1980. Disco is dying and polyester leisure suits are mercifully falling out of fashion. Yet amid this cultural upheaval, ...
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(In this issue, we are pleased to welcome Paul Sauberer to our pages. Paul grew up in Annapolis, Maryland and was a fan of Avalon Hill games back in the 1970s, when he first got 1776 at a local toy store. Once he got his drivers' license, he made frequent trips to the AH offices in Baltimore to buy games directly. Paul also played sports ...
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Reviewed by Greg. J. Schloesser (Goldsieber, 2-4 players, ages 11 and up, 45-60 minutes; about $30) Stefan Dorra may not be as prominent as more famous designers such as Reiner Knzia, Wolfgang Kramer or Klaus Teuber, but through the years, he has quietly been producing some wonderful games. Included amongst these titles are such games as Tonga Bonga, Medina, For Sale and Zum Kuckuck (aka ...
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Reviewed by Frank Branham (Avalon Hill/Wizards of the Coast, 2-4 players, ages 12 and up, 60-90 minutes; $45) "Sparkly!" That was how I greeted the demo kit Avalon Hill sent out at my local game haunt. In reply I received a forest of groans. When you look at the production of this hardcore s/f sort of mining colony outpost wargame is all looks quite...precious. The ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Tailten Games; 2 players, ages 9 and up, 30-45 minutes; about $40) Inspiration comes from many sources. For Murray Heasman, inspiration from Ireland's Celtic heritage and the patterns found in the Book of Kells has yielded Project Kells, a beauty of an abstract game. Project Kells comes with a board, 6 kings, 6 variant cards, an illustration sheet, a rules booklet ...
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(In this issue, we welcome Rob Schwartz to our pages. Rob enjoys gaming in general and "game breaking" in particular. Rob has the knack of finding the holes in the system that enable him to either show why a game doesn't work or romp to victory or BOTH! In his first contribution to GA REPORT, Rob rallies around this new release from the new ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Queen Games/Rio Grande Games; 2 players, ages 8 and up, 30-45 minutes; $24.95) For some reason, there has been a flood of two player games appearing lately. Whether this trend is just an anomaly or the start of something big, only time will tell. In the meantime, one of the more interesting entries in this recent deluge comes from Stefan Feld ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Rio Grande Games/ Ravensburger, 2-6 players, ages 8 and up, about 30 minutes, $29.95) Sometimes a game surprises you. That's Life (aka Verflixxt in its original Ravensburger edition in Europe) arrived as a dice game. But a dice game with only ONE die?!?! Seems strange. But in the talented hands of Wolfgang Kramer & Michael Kiesling, the game takes on more ...
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Summer 2005
(Volume 2, Number 15)

 

Reviewed by Greg J. Schloesser (Kosmos/Mayfair Games, 3-4 players, ages 10 and up, about 60 minutes; $49.99) I’ve had the great fortune to have traveled quite extensively throughout Europe and the United States. However, I’ve never had the pleasure of visiting South America, and I’ve always been fascinated by pictures of the rain forest and surrounding Amazon region. One day, I hope to visit the ...
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Reviewed by Greg J. Schloesser (Hangman Games, 3-5 players, 2 hours, ages 12 and up; $40) Last year, the major game highlight for me at the Gathering was Alan Ernstein’s Tahuantinsuyu (Summer 2004 GA REPORT). The game is excellent, and was one of my Top 3 games of 2004. I also thoroughly enjoyed Junkyard, his novel trick-taking game using tiles. So, I was eagerly anticipating ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Ravensburger/Rio Grande Games, 2-5 players, ages 10 and up, 60-90 minutes; $39.95) The Australian continent serves as the setting for the aptly named Australia, the latest offering from the design team of Wolfgang Kramer & Michael Kiesling whose formidable credits include Tikal (Spring 1999 GA REPORT) and Torres (Fall 1999 GA REPORT). The premise of the game is straightforward. With ecology ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Word Salt, Inc., 2 to 4 players, ages 8 to 108, less than an hour; $29.95) In today's world, writing seems to be a dying art. Baffle Gab seeks to restore that aspect of human communication in a game allowing parents AND children to sharpen their pencils and writing skills and still have a good time. Baffle Gab comes in a ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (James Miller, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 45 minutes; $9.99) What? Another trick-taking game? With all the trick-taking games out there, you'd think you'd have to be a nut to bring a new one to the market. Except James M. Miller, who definitely shows sign of sanity, is not a nut but a "control nut". He has created and self-published ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Schmidt Spiele, 3-8 players, ages 8 and up, about 20 minutes; about $40) Jewels buried deep within the earth lure players to the table with Diamant, the first collaborative design by Alan R. Moon and Bruno Faidutti. In this light and fast-paced game, players seek to remove jewels from mines all the while knowing that disaster may strike at any time! ...
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We Are NOT Alone In the vast reaches of the universe, we humans have always wondered if we are the only form of life in the cosmos. Outside of books and films and our imaginations, do aliens exist? Is there intelligent life out there? The definitive answer to that question has yet to be found. But when it comes to gaming, the answer has been ...
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(Back in the Fall 1997 issue of GA REPORT, Steve Kurzban took a look at a little game called For Sale. With the new version of this game hitting the marketplace, we thought we'd flashback to see what Kban said about this great little game 8 years ago! ) FOR SALE (Ravensburger; out of print) For Sale is a card game for 3-5 players (best ...
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(The Fall 1997 issue of GA REPORT featured a then new Reiner Knizia game we liked a great deal but, somehow, flew below the radar of many gamers. That game was Palmyra. Today, Überplay has revamped this release under the title Buy Low/Sell High, featured this issue. But here's what we thought of the original way back when.) PALMYRA (Editrice Giochi; out of print) Caravans ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Überplay, 3-6 players, ages 8 and up, 10-15 players; $19.99) Two awkward circumstances often arise during a typical game night with friends: 1) what to do before the rest of the crew arrives AND 2) what to do when the night draws to a close and your brain is too fried to deal with the heavy lifting required by some of ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Buffalo Games, 2-8 players, ages 8 and up, 75-100 minutes; about $30) Some people always like to get in the last word. In Buffalo Games' new adult party game, Last Word, that's the trait that can make you a winner! Last Word comes in a bookshelf style box which includes a playing board, 230 subject cards, 56 letter cards, 8 pawns, ...
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Reviewed by Larry Levy (Alea/Rio Grande Games, 2-4 players, ages 12 and up, 75-100 minutes; $29.95) Last issue, I reviewed Jambo and I mentioned that when it came out, I had really been looking forward to a game from one of my favorite new designers, Rüdiger Dorn, in one of my favorite game series, Kosmos’ Spiele für Zwei. Well, I really like that series, but ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Avalon Hill/Wizards of the Coast, 2-4 players, ages 12 and up, 90 minutes; $45) I love those old B-movies and I'm especially fond of those that feature strange monsters threatening mankind. Well, now these scary monsters have returned. But this time, the return is not on celluloid but on the gaming table - with the new release of Monsters Menace America ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Überplay, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 45-60 minutes; $29.99) Reiner Knizia's Palmyra is a terrific game that vanished from the gaming scene, swept under the surface in the flood of other Knizia releases. We featured it and liked it way back when. (The original review is reprinted in this issue.) The game deserved a better fate. Fortunately, Überplay has come ...
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Reviewed by Larry Levy (Zoch Verlag/Rio Grande Games, 2-6 players, ages 8 and up, 20 minutes; $24.95) Dice don’t have a very good reputation in gaming these days, primarily because a lot of us grew mighty sick of them due to our childhood exposure to designs like Monopoly and Risk. But I think that true dice games, where the gameplay revolves around judging probabilities and ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Columbia Games, 2 players, ages 12 and up, 3-8 hours; $59.99) About 20 years ago, Craig Besinque came up with an interesting and challenging design that zeroed in on the North African campaign of World War II. Long out of print, the game has now returned in a new edition, destined to warm the hearts of wargamers everywhere (just as the ...
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Reviewed by Frank Branham (Days of Wonder, 3-7 players, ages 10 and up, 60-80 minutes; $49.95) It has taken two weeks to try and figure out how to start this review decently WITHOUT using a reference to Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Perhaps I shouldn't bother, as Days of Wonder includes at least two references to the legendary movie inside the game itself. What ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Hans im Glück/Rio Grande Games, 3-5 players, ages 10 and up, about 45 minutes; $34.95) The seven wonders of the ancient world - and why the eighth wonder was never built - is the puzzle posed in yet another new design from the prolific Reiner Knizia: Tower of Babel. Tower of Babel comes bookshelf boxed with a mounted game board, 28 ...
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Spring 2005
(Volume 2, Number 14)

 

Reviewed by Frank Branham (Splotter Spellen, 2-4 players, ages 14 and up, 3-4 hours; about $130) I just spent $130.00 on a game. This is not even close to the first time this has happened for me, any miniatures game, collectible game, or mega-deluxe wooden game costs. Antiquity, however, has none of this -- it is pretty much die-cut cardboard. A LOT of diecut cardboard ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Eagle Games/Rebel Forge, 2-6 players, ages 12 to adult, 3-4 hours; $49.99) Just when New York is enjoying hard earned accolades as the safest large city in the United States (a trend, as a New Yorker, I hope to see continue), Eagle Games, teaming up with the design team at Rebel Forge, releases a game with a totally different perception of ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Eagle Games/SDR Games, 3-6 players, ages 12 to adult, 30-60 minutes; $39.99) The Roaring 20s didn't get its name by accident. It truly was a wild time in the United States, partly attributable to Prohibition. With liquor banned, the demand for the illegal elixir rose rapidly. As is so often the case, when the law-abiding part of society cannot or will ...
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Reviewed by Greg. J. Schloesser (Hans im Glück/Rio Grande Games; 2-4 players, ages 12 and up, 1 hour; $49.99) What’s that old cliché? Something like: “Keep riding the horse that brought you!” I guess designer Klaus-Jurgen Wrede and Hans im Glück have found their horse, and its name is Carcassonne (Summer 2001 GA REPORT). Since the release of the original a few years back, we ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Winning Moves, 2 to 4 players, about 15 minutes, ages 8 to adult; about $10) To Conceal your secret code, Outguess your opponent, Deduce the solution and Amaze your foes is the object of Coda, the new code-breaking game from Winning Moves. Coda comes small boxed to hold its 26 numbered tiles - a set of 13 black andCoda a set ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Out of the Box Games, 2-4 players, ages 8 to adult, 20-30 minutes; $14.95) Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I was a kid discovering card games, I played a lot of something called Steal the Old Man's Bundle. This was a variant of Casino where players not only collected matching cards to make sets, they were able to swipe ...
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The Shadow Knows "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!" Those words, uttered by several radio actors including the legendary Orson Welles, followed by mysterious, blood chilling laughter, heralded the beginning of a new adventure of The Shadow, famed crimefighter with the ability to cloud men's minds. During the 1930s and 40s, The Shadow was one of the top ...
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Reviewed by Al Newman (Yuhodo, Inc., 2-5 players, ages 8 and up. about 30-60 minutes; about $25) Fairy Tale is a card game by Satoshi Nakamura that is for 2 to 5 players said to last up to an hour but will typically take less than a half-hour to play. The principal mechanic is identical to "Booster Draft" used in many Magic: The Gathering tournaments ...
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(In this issue, we feature Ticket to Ride Europe, the sequel to Ticket to Ride, the acclaimed railroad game of laying track across the United States. TTR Europe bears some strong resemblances to its predecessor so we thought a quick look at the original game was in order. Here, from the Spring 2004 issue of Gamers Alliance Report, is our look at the 2004 ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Winning Moves Games, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 35-60 minutes; $7.95) Phil Orbanes has a game design resume about as broad as you can get. He designed the first wargame on Vietnam (Vietnam by Gamescience back in 1965), the brilliant business game Cartel (by Gamut of Games) as well as lighter fare such as the very successful Trumpet (International Games ...
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[Sometimes an idea takes hold, enjoys success and spawns a deluge of imitations. This maxim holds true for all sorts of media, games included. Often, in the wake of a hit, a host of games sharing a similar theme will flood the market. In this issue of GA REPORT, "hit" takes on a whole new meaning as we've become immersed in a mob of games ...
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Reviewed by Larry Levy (Kosmos/Rio Grande, 2 players, ages 10 and up, about 30 minutes, $22.95) Remember that commercial for peanut butter cups that aired a while back? The tag line was something like, “two great tastes in one candy!”. That was the kind of anticipation I felt when Jambo was announced. Not only was the game going to be part of one of my ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Gamewright, 2-8 players, ages 10 and up, about 20 minutes; $9.99) Originally released back in 1992 as Pirat and later reissued as Korsar, Loot is yet the third incarnation of Reiner Knizia's card game of plundering pirates. Loot comes in a small box containing a deck of 78 cards (consisting of merchant ships, pirate ships, pirate captains and an Admiral) and ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Playroom Entertainment, 2-4 players, ages 10 to adult, about 20 minutes; $9.95) One of the most prolific and successful game designers in today's marketplace is Maureen Hiron. Among her many successful designs are 77, Duo (both featured in the Winter 1995 GA REPORT) and Quadwrangle (Winter 1998 GA REPORT). One of her latest releases is a charming card game suitable for ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Warfrog, 2-7 players, ages 13 and up, 3-4 hours; $59.95) Struggle of Empires is the latest design from Martin Wallace, creator of such varied releases as Age of Steam (Winter 2003 GA REPORT) and Election USA (Fall 2004 GA REPORT) but the game bears a stronger resemblance to another of Wallace's works: Princes of the Renaissance (Winter 2004 GA REPORT). In ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Avalon Hill, 2-5 players, ages 10 and up, about 60 minutes; $45) The resurrected Avalon Hill has come up with several engaging titles in its relatively brief life. These include older classics such as Acquire (Spring 2000 GA REPORT) and new fare such as Battle Cry (Summer 2000 GA REPORT). In the first of the latest burst of releases, Avalon Hill ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Days of Wonder; 2-5 players, ages 8 and up, 30-60 minutes; $39.95) It's happened a million times. There's a hit, be it a TV show or a film, and the urge to continue that success proves overwhelming. So there are sequels. Rarely are the sequels as good as the original. A notable exception that comes to mind is The Godfather. That ...
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by Mark Delano It is easy to denigrate categories of games that you rarely play. It is much harder to come up with a valid reason for this disdain. A little over a year ago I found I had developed an attitude toward two player games that was quite dismissive. The primary objection was based on the lack of shifting interactions between players you get ...
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Winter 2005
(Volume 2, Number 13)

 

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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2004

 

Fall 2004
(Volume 2, Number 12)

 

Reviewed by Herb Levy (Avalon Hill, 2-5 players, ages 12 and up, 2 hours or more; $45) Had you been a game player with an interest in war strategy games and active about 20 years ago, chances are you would have had on your game shelf at least one of the games in the Milton Bradley Gamemaster Series. These games covered such diverse topics as ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Avalon Hill, 2-3 players, ages 12 and up, about two hours; $49.95) On June 6, 2004, the 60th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Europe was celebrated. Timed to that celebration was the release of Axis & Allies: D-Day, another member of the Axis & Allies family (which includes Axis & Allies: Europe [Summer 2000 GA REPORT] and Axis & Allies: ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Face 2 Face Games; 1-4 players, ages 8 and up, 30 minutes; $24.95) A Sid Sackson game is always something special. But when a NEW Sid Sackson game hits the shelves, then there really is something to talk about. That is precisely the case with BuyWord, the new Sid Sackson word game produced by Face 2 Face Games. BuyWord comes in ...
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Guilty Pleasures Let's face it. Sometimes, we enjoy things we shouldn't. At least, we THINK we shouldn't. And maybe that "forbidden" aspect is what makes the thing so much fun. You know what I mean: swiping the last piece of chocolate cake, watching Gilligan Island reruns, calling in sick to work when you're really going to the ball game. We've all been guilty of one ...
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[In kicking off our 19th year, we're pleased to welcome a new voice to our pages but no stranger to the gaming scene: Ben Baldanza. Ben has been playing and collecting games since playing card games with his family as a child. Ben plays regularly with gamers in the Washington, DC area, and also teaches introductory board game classes through local adult education programs in ...
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(In this issue, Ben Baldanza eyes Election USA, an English take on the US Presidential election. In our series of Game Classics, we've highlighted some great games that have brought the race for president to the gaming table. As the 2004 election approaches, it seems appropriate to "flashback" to TWO election games from that series: The Game of Politics and Mr. President. This is how ...
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(Sometimes it seems as if virtually every game company has taken a crack at reproducing the United States presidential election for our gaming pleasure. Some attempts were more successful than others. One of the most successful was done by Parker Brothers. The result? Another classic game: The Game of Politics. In our Summer 2000 entry in our Game Classics series, we took a look at ...
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AMERICANOPOLY: A VIEW OF AMERICA THROUGH ITS GAMES by Bruce Whitehill (Swiss Museum of Games, 132 pages in English, French and German, 8.25" square, over 110 color photos, $24) Reviewed by Herb Levy Don't let the name fool you. Although no book on American games would be complete without some mention of it, this is NOT a book on Monopoly. It is something much more ...
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Reviewed by Frank Branham (Hasbro, 2 or more players, ages 8 and up, playing time varies with scenario; $39.99) I miss plastic. After a torrid affair with German games and all of their prettily painted wooden bits, I have sensed a curious longing for massively overproduced Marvin Glass games in glistening plastic. Somehow the bright colors and that funky petrochemical smell bring back my childhood ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Pro Ludo, 2-5 players, ages 8 and up, 60-90 minutes; $49.95) Richard Breese seems obsessed with finding the key to unlocking great gameplay. As evidence of this, just look at the string of games he has designed and published under his own, privately printed label: Keywood, Keytown, Keydom (re-issued as Aladdin's Dragons and Morgenland), and Keythedral. Now, following in the footsteps ...
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Reviewed by Larry Levy (2F-Spiele/Rio Grande, 2-6 players, ages 12 and up, 90-120 minutes; $44.95) Everybody knows the story of the ugly duckling that grows up to be a swan. But how many times have you wished it could be true of a game? The game may play well, but is hard on the eyes and offends the aesthetic sensibilities. Sadly, games don’t grow up ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Face 2 Face Games; 3-7 players, ages 10 and up, 30 minutes (or more); $16.95) In the long list of games designed by the legendary Sid Sackson, games of deduction hold an honored place. Sid designed Ellery Queen: Case of the Elusive Assassin for Ideal back in 1967. Sid then streamlined the play of that game to come up with Sleuth ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Parker Brothers, 2-4 players, ages 6 and up, about 30 minutes; $24.95) Parker Brothers has been quite adept at taking an evergreen and branching out. Take Monopoly, for example. Not satisfied with seeming to occupy a spot in everyone's home, that perennial has sprouted a ton of offspring including Rich Uncle (a vintage gem dating back to 1946 - and featured ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Parker Brothers, 3-4 adult players, about 60 minutes, $24.99) If we're talking about guilty pleasures, reality television should enter into the conversation. Watching people embarrass and humiliate themselves for money and prizes is something that people really shouldn't enjoy. Yet, judging from the TV ratings, it seems we all do. Oscar Wilde said "Nothing exceeds like excess" and reality TV proves ...
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Reviewed by Greg J. Schloesser (The Ragnar Brothers, 3-5 players, ages 12 and up, 2-2.5 hours; about $50) A new game from the Ragnar Brothers, creators of such games as History of the World (featured in the Winter 1994 GA REPORT and Fall 2001 GA REPORT) and Kings & Castles … and the game carries a Viking theme. The result? A must-buy. After just one ...
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Reviewed by Mark Delano (Fantasy Flight Games, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 20 + minutes; $29.95) When I first heard about Wings of War - Famous Aces, I was skeptical. It was described to me as a card based game of World War I dogfighting. Part of my skepticism arose because I thought that I had my two games of aerial combat, and the ...
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Summer 2004
(Volume 2, Number 11)

 

Reviewed by Herb Levy (Eurogames/Descartes Editeur, 2 players, ages 12 and up, 30 minutes; $19.95) In the days of my misspent youth, I would love to play pinball. I'm not talking about the video game simulations of pinball games. I'm talking about those man-sized, garish machines that flashed and clanged and assaulted the senses as a big silver ball bearing careened around bumpers and bounced ...
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Shedding Light in the Dark Continent In the 19th century, Africa was considered a mysterious continent, "dark" and unknown. Africa's mysteries were intriguing for many and many explorers ventured into the uncharted jungles to uncover her secrets. European countries including England and France carved out empires while exploring. "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" was the phrase that made reporter Stanley famous as he tracked down the ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Kosmos, 1-4 players, ages 10 and up, 30-60 minutes; $39.95) People do not always view games the same way and sometimes, gaming "attitudes" do not mesh well. You have your "serious" gamers (who look upon games as intellectual challenges and "serious business"), casual gamers (who play for "fun" with winning purely a secondary consideration) and non-gamers (those unfortunate few who wouldn't ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Hans im Glück/Rio Grande Games; 2-4 players, ages 12 and up, 90 minutes; $32.95) Rüdigor Dorn, best known for Traders of Genoa and Gargon (Winter 2002 GA REPORT), has outdone himself with his latest offering: Goa. Subtitled "Destination: Spice Islands", Dorn puts players into the roles of Portuguese merchants who must grow their businesses to become the most successfulmerchant of them ...
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Reviewed by Greg J. Schloesser (Mayfair Games/Kosmos, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, about 30 minutes; $36) I must admit that I wasn’t very enamored by designer Martin Wallace’s early efforts. Games such as Mordred, Sixteen Thirty Something and Der Weisse Lotus didn’t do much for me. Over the past few years, however, I’ve become increasingly appreciative of his efforts, with Libertè, Volldampf, Age of ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Phalanx Games/Rio Grande Games, 2-5 players, ages 12 and up, about 90 minutes; $44.95) Maharaja, marketed as Raja in Europe, is the latest game from the design team of Wolfgang Kramer and Michael Kiesling who gave us Tikal (Spring 1999 GA REPORT) and Torres (Fall 1999 GA REPORT) to name a few. In this offering, K&K take you to 16th Century ...
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Reviewed by Frank Branham (Days of Wonder; 2 players, ages 8 and up, 30-60 minutes; $49.95) Many years ago, Richard Borg had an idea to create a very unique simple wargaming system called Command and Colors. A few of us very lucky folks got to play the original game for a year or two before Hasbro/Avalon Hill published the civil war game as Battle Cry ...
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PARTY HEARTY! by Herb Levy [Getting together with friends is a great way to spend some time. And a good party game can be the catalyst in making a good time great! What works best can vary from group to group, from eye strain to brain strain to stunts and more. So, here are a few party games for your consideration as we cover a ...
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[In this issue of GA REPORT, we welcome another new voice: Mark Delano. Mark is no stranger to the gaming scene as he tells us in his bio: Descended from a long line of cardplayers, I've been playing games as long as I can remember. Introduced to wargames and rpgs by my older brothers, I went to college an avid player of both. There I ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Clementoni/Überplay, 2-4 players, ages 8 and up, about 60 minutes; $39.95) Sunken City, the second game from the Wolfgang Kramer/Michael Kiesling design team to grace this issue, allows players to go treasure hunting in an ancient submerged city while trying to avoid the wrath of Neptune. The large box of Sunken City holds a large game board, 12 plastic buildings (numbered ...
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Reviewed by Larry Levy (Hangman Games, 3-4 players, 3 hours; $29) You would think, with the Internet and the current massive coverage of games, that the days of the sleeper hit would be over. But games are coming from more and more varied places these days, so it's still possible to be caught unawares. Sure enough, at this year's Gathering of Friends, there was a ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Eurogames/Descartes Editeur, 2 players, ages 12 and up, about 30 minutes; $34.95) I have a certain fondness for election games. Tyrus, the new release from Eurogames, combines an election theme concerning two warring factions competing for control of an ancient city with the simple mechanics of "rock-paper-scissors" to create an intriguing game of bluff and counterbluff. Tyrus is the creation of ...
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Spring 2004
(Volume 2, Number 10)

 

Reviewed by Larry Levy (Fantasy Flight Games, 3-5 players, 2-3 hours; $49.95) There are two basic approaches to game design. The American school emphasizes theme and believes in tying the mechanics tightly to that theme, even if the gameplay suffers. The German school, on the other hand, centers around mechanics and gameplay and will often paste the theme on at the last minute. (Obviously, these ...
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ABSTRACT HEAVEN by Herb Levy Some gamers like everything. But for some, certain genres of play hold a special place in their hearts. For those gamers partial to pure strategy devoid of theme, abstract games are IT. Filling that niche nicely are some recent releases of above average quality, creating an abstract heaven for abstract lovers. Four of them well worth your attention are Cathedral ...
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A Beautiful Thing What a difference a day makes! It seems that only yesterday (actually, it was last issue) that we bemoaned the state of gaming and how new releases did not seem to reach the mark that we've come to expect. And that was just the latest in a series of disappointments. European style games were slow in making an appearance on this side ...
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(In the booming 1980s, Donald Trump became a celebrity due to his high profile real estate success. It seemed that "The Donald" could do no wrong. It was not a surprise to see Milton Bradley try to capitalize on his fame and fortune with a high quality financial game. The game was, surprisingly, quite good! But, even more surprising, it failed! Why? A backlash against ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Überplay, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 60 minutes; $29.95) In 14th century Europe, the Hanseatic League was a center of trade. To become Master of the Hanseatic city-states during this time is the goal of players in Hansa, the new creation by Michael Schacht. The components of Hansa are basic: a mapboard showing the Baltic Sea area highlighting 9 Hanseatic ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Z-Man Games, 2 to 5 players, 1-2 hours, ages 12 and up; $24.95) Armed forces clashing to control territory is a familiar theme used as the basis for many games. But the twist in Ideology, the new game designed by Andrew Parks, is that IDEAS are at war as powerful political philosophies of the 20th century compete for control and global ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Rio Grande Games, 2-4 players, ages 12 and up, 60-75 minutes; $37.95) It's 2500 years ago, the time when Greek traders traveled to southern Italy to settle and develop the area. You, as a Greek trader, are intimately involved as you seek to colonize, develop markets and capture the attention of the oracles. This is the world of Magna Grecia, the ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Überplay Games, 3-5 players, ages 10 and up, 45-60 minutes; $34.95) The Great Mongolian Desert is the setting as players, acting as heads of rival families, vie to become the most powerful by claiming various lands and raising camel caravans in Oasis, the newest Alan Moon/Aaron Weissblum release. Oasis comes with 100 wooden camels (20 each in red, blue, green, yellow ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Überplay, 3-5 players, ages 8 and up, 30 minutes; $19.95) Although many gamers adore games that are pure, totally stripped of theme (check out Abstract Heaven in this issue, for examples), there is no question that sometimes a theme can rescue a game from oblivion and grant it new life. The most recent example that proves the rule is Relationship Tightrope ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Rio Grande Games/Alea, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 45-60 minutes; $24.95) Unlike other game authors, Andreas Seyfarth has not designed a truckload of games. But what he has created is impressive. He won German Game of the Year honors with Manhattan (Winter 1997 GA REPORT) and created the stellar "gamer's game", Puerto Rico (Spring 2002 GA REPORT). Now, he's revisited ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Days of Wonder, 2-5 players, ages 8 and up, 30-60 minutes; $39.95) Alan Moon has earned lots of recognition for his game designs. His Elfenland, for example, won German Game of the Year honors back in 1998. But Moon really shines at game development, in taking game ideas, mixing them together and adding that "something extra" to create a game greater ...
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Reviewed by Greg J. Schloesser (Überplay, 3-6 players, ages 10 and up, 45 minutes; $24.95) This is another of the multitude of new Überplay releases that have hit the shores of the United States this year. The designer is Thomas Rauscher and from all appearances, this is his first published game. The game is set in 300 A.D., with the Polynesians setting sail to explore ...
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Winter 2004
(Volume 2, Number 9)

 

Reviewed by K-ban ATTIKA (Hans im Glück/Rio Grande Games, 2-4 players, ages 10 and up; about 60 minutes; $32.95) Marcel-Andre’ Casasola Merkle is best known for authoring unique card games for German publisher Adlung. His 2 best Adlung designs, Verrater (see our Flashback this issue) and Meuterer, made novel use of a single deck of cards, as both played more like a board game costing ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy CHINA MOON (Eurogames/Descartes Editeur, 3-5 players, about 30 minutes, ages 12 and up; $19.95) It is a paradox often found in games from Europe that games offering critical thinking challenging for adults often come embodied with incredulous themes. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. Take, for instance, China Moon, the latest creation from Bruno Faidutti. As you might suspect from ...
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Raising the RED Flag Since our beginnings back in 1986, we have always been on the lookout for the best games on the market. The idea has always been to spotlight those quality games so that our members could get the most out of their leisure time and money. Throughout the years, we've played, literally, THOUSANDS of games for thousands of days for tens of ...
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Reviewed by Greg J. Schloesser FEURIO! (Edition Erlkönig, 3-4 players, ages 10 and up, 30 minutes; about $20) One of the joys of attending the Spiele Faire in Essen is discovering a game that flies under the radar. In other words, a game that is not being released by one of the major game manufacturers and isn’t receiving much fanfare, yet turns out to be ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy FISH EAT FISH (Out of the Box Games, 2-5 players, ages 8 to adult, 20-30 minutes; $19.99) Inspiration is found in many places. In Fish Eat Fish, Reiner Knizia takes a little bit of Sid Sackson's Focus (featured as our Game Classic this issue) and adds a twist or two to create something light and fluffy. Fish Eat Fish comes square ...
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[This issue features Attika, the new game by Marcel Casola Merkle. But this is not the first time Merkle's work has appeared in GA REPORT. Back in the Winter 1999 issue, we uncovered a wonderfully intricate CARD game that had all the heft of a boardgame. Here, from that issue, is a FLASHBACK to that game: Verrater.] VERRÄTER (Adlung Spiele, 3-4 players, ages 12 and ...
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[In this issue, we feature Industria, the latest creation by Michael Schacht who first appeared in our pages with his Web of Power game four years ago! Here, from our Summer 2000 issue, is our look at that classic game of political power in Europe, as seen by Kban] WEB OF POWER (Rio Grande Games, 3-5 players, ages 12 and up, 30-45 minutes; out of ...
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[Once again, it's time to revisit great games that are, alas, no longer with us. In the past installments of our Game Classics series, we have featured an incredible assortment of brilliant designs: Astron, Bantu, Broker, Can't Stop, Daytona 500, Holiday, Kimbo, Mr. President, Ploy, Rich Uncle, Square Mile, Stock Market Game (by Gabriel), Summit, Troque/Troke and Wildcatter. This time around, we focus our attention ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy INDUSTRIA (Queen Games/Uberplay, 3-4 players, ages 10 and up, about 1 hour; about $30) Michael Schacht, best known for Web of Power (Summer 2000 GA REPORT) where he delved into political growth and expansion, turns to exploring industrial growth and expansion in his new offering: Industria. Industria comes with a mounted gameboard, 60 industry tiles, 4 sets of color coded markers, ...
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Reviewed by Greg J. Schloesser PRINCES OF THE RENAISSANCE (Warfrog, 3-6 players, about 2 hours; $44.95) Martin Wallace is gradually becoming one of my favorite designers … but this took a bit of time. I wasn’t overly enthused by his earlier creations, but his previous two designs released under the Warfrog label – Liberté and Age of Steam (Winter 2003 GA REPORT) – are outstanding ...
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[In the first installment of our new feature, we're offering capsule commentary on THREE games that had so much going for it but failed to make the grade for us. You make your own decisions but remember: you've been warned!] ANNO 1503 (Kosmos, 2-4 players, ages 11 and up, about an hour; about $45) This seemed like a dream title. Klaus Teuber who gave us ...
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In this issue, we welcome Larry Levy. Larry's gaming experience is extensive. Larry was wondering if the world was ready for TWO Levys. The only response is to quote from Mae West: "Too much of a good thing can be wonderful!". Larry writes: "I've been entranced with games of all sorts for most of my life. However, when I discovered the world of German gaming ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy (Parker Brothers, 2 or more players or team, ages 13 and up, about 45 minutes; Disc 1, 2, 3 and 4; $19.99 each) Success breeds success. Think about TV series like Law and Order and CSI and the flood of spin-offs that flowed from those sources. In gaming, a recent big success was the marriage of movies, DVDs and game play ...
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2003

 

Fall 2003
(Volume 2, Number 8)

 

Reviewed by Herb Levy AGE OF MYTHOLOGY (Eagle Games, 2-4 players, 2-3 hours; $45) Eagle Games has made a name for itself with its lavishly produced line of conflict games including American Civil War (Spring 2002 GA REPORT) and War! Age of Imperialism (Fall 2002 GA REPORT). With Age of Mythology, their latest release, Eagle has matched the quality of their components with quality game ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy BATTLEBALL (Milton Bradley/Hasbro; 2 players, ages 8 and up, about 1 hour; $19.99) At the annual Hasbro Game Day earlier this year, I saw some of the latest crop of games bearing the Milton Bradley, Parker Brothers and Hasbro logos. It was an eclectic and incomplete sampling (for example, the Mission Command Series was NOT on display). But one game there ...
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Themes like Old Times I like Shania Twain. I like her upbeat music, her vitality - and it sure doesn't hurt that she's very easy on the eyes. So, the other evening, when I was able to score some complimentary tickets to her Madison Square Garden concert in the heart of New York City, nobody had to ask me twice. I was there! This was ...
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(In this issue, we feature Steve Kurzban's take on I'm the Boss, a new version of Kohle, Kie$ & Knete. So, we thought it might be interesting to "FLASHBACK" at the feature treatment Steve gave to the original game in the Summer 1997 issue of GA REPORT) KOHLE, KIE$ & KNETE (Schmidt Spiele, 3-6 players, about 60 minutes, 1994; out of print) It's a shame ...
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(In this issue, Frank Branham examines the three Modern Command games from Hasbro. One of that trio, the Air game, rose from the ashes of a previous release: Screaming Eagles, featured back in the Summer 1988 GA REPORT. In another "FLASHBACK", here is the way we saw that game when it first arrived on the gaming scene.) SCREAMING EAGLES (Milton Bradley, 2-4 players, ages 10 ...
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Reviewed by Nick Sauer FORMULA DE - MINI (Eurogames/Descartes, 2-8 players, 30+ minutes; $26.95) When Eurogames first published Formula De, it was released at roughly the same time as Mississippi Queen (Winter 1998 GA REPORT) by Rio Grande. Since both were race games, I inevitably started comparing the two in my mind. While Mississippi Queen struck me as more of an abstract race game, Formula ...
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Reviewed by Steve Kurzban I’M THE BOSS! (Face 2 Face Games, 4-6 players, ages 12-88, 60 minutes; $35) I’m the Boss! is the initial release in Face 2 Face Games' Sid Sackson Signature Series, which will highlight both out of print (OOP) classics and unpublished prototypes from the “greatest game designer in the world” (according to Wolfgang Kramer). Kohle Kie$ & Knete was originally published ...
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Reviewed by Greg J. Schloesser LAWLESS! (Euro Games, 3-6 players, 1-1½ hours; $17.95) Lawless!, a card game designed by Bruno Cathalla, is the latest in the Euro Games “Blue Box” series of games. It is also, in my opinion, quite likely the best. Although several other titles in the series have been enjoyable (Dragon’s Gold [Spring 2002 GA REPORT] and Castle [Summer 2000 GA REPORT] ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy LIBERTY (Columbia Games, 2 players, ages 12 and up, 2-3 hours; $49.99) Columbia Games is well known for their wood block wargame simulations. Liberty, the latest in the line, focuses on the military events of the American Revolution from 1775 to 1783 as American, British, French and Native American forces clash to decide the question of colonial independence. Liberty, a Tom ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy MERCHANTS OF EMPIRE (Hexagames; 2 to 4 players, about 1 hour; Free) There seems to be no end to the treasures you can find on the Internet. And we found one right here in a self-published game of trade and power called Merchants of Empire (Marchands d'empire). Merchants of Empire is a Régis Bonnessée design. Unlike the games we regularly feature ...
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Reviewed by Frank Branham MISSION COMMAND SERIES: AIR, LAND AND SEA (Hasbro/Milton Bradley, 2 to 4 players for Air, 2 players for Land and Sea, ages 8 and up, about 1 hour playing time; about $20 each) When I came across the first pictures of Hasbro's new Mission Command series, I immediately rattled off three game names in my head: Tank Battle, Carrier Strike, and ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy QUEST FOR THE DRAGONLORDS (Dragonlords, Inc., 2-4 players, ages 10 and up, 3+ hours; $49.99) If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, than Parker Brothers' Risk, must be truly flattered. So many games have been inspired by that world conquest classic that gaming shelves all over must be sagging from the load. However, one of the more interesting entries in ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy SHIPWRECKED (Out of the Box Games, 2-4 players, ages 12 to adult, 20-40 minutes; $19.99) [Several years ago, we came across a charming little game called Shipwrecked from Out of the Box Games. Now, Out of the Box has redone this little gem. Subtitled "The Wild Game of Bidding, Bluffing and Survival", Shipwrecked is one of the those games that is ...
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Reviewed by Greg J. Schloesser TOM TUBE (Krönberger Spiele, 2 Players; 30 minutes; about $20) I had never heard of this Krönberger Spiele release until it was brought to my attention by a few folks on the International Gamers Awards committee. They were enthusiastic about the game, so I sought out the opportunity to play it while attending the Gulf Games convention in Williamsburg, Virginia ...
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