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Spring 2010 Editorial

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 articles published in, of all places, Woman’s World and USA Weekend magazines.

Woman’s World is not a publication I generally read (to be honest) and I’m certainly not their target audience but my wife likes it. And it just so happens that in the March 15, 2010 issue, some interesting information was printed that I wanted to share with GA REPORT readers. The piece was titled “Keeping it Simple!” and it went on to say:

“For a lot of us, belt tightening has meant getting back to basics, notes Christine Carter, Ph. D., author of Raising Happiness. That’s great news for families! Most kids surveyed said spending time together was essential for their happiness. In fact, 59% said they’d be thrilled with a family game night.”

So far so good. But the piece didn’t stop there. It continues:

“To increase your joy: Adults can benefit from more family time too. Just schedule a family movie night or play a board game together once a week.”

And that’s not all. In the March 12-14, 2010 issue of USA Weekend, a magazine insert found in newspapers across the country, the cover story is “Unplug & Reconnect: 10 Free (and decidedly non-digital) Ways To Enjoy Your Family and Friends, from the editors of Disney FamilyFun”. Look inside for the article and the very first suggestion is “Before Friday, explain that each family member must suggest a game…”

Hello? Is anybody listening? We’ve been saying this for years! But it’s nice to know that a Ph. D. and author and the good folks at Disney has come to the same conclusions.

So is anybody listening? That an article in a national publication has picked up on games as a positive, that a survey provides some empiric evidence that the suppositions are valid, that mass market, general publications share our beliefs and are reaching out to audiences that are, hopefully, ready and receptive to partake in all the fun and, yes I’ll say it, happiness that games can provide makes me think that maybe, just maybe, people are.

In this issue of GA REPORT, we are ready and receptive to get more fun and happiness from games. We experience the wealth and glory that was the trading empire of Portugal, hop aboard the murderous and mysterious Orient Express, put the pedal to the metal and patch things up. Meanwhile, Pevans give us a brief history, Chris Kovac finds chaos a thing of beauty, Joe Huber maps out a gem from Asia, Ben Baldanza hits the campaign trail, Al Newman thunders, Greg Schloesser is on fire and Ted Cheatham hits the deck! All the while, Andrea “Liga” Ligabue just wants to PLAY! And, of course, much more!

Until next time, Good Gaming!

Herb Levy, President

 


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Spring 2010 GA Report Articles

 

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 ...
Read More
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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