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Winter 2010 Editorial

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 the shelves of those stores.

Of course, there have been exceptions. I’m old enough to remember seeing pre-Hasbro Avalon Hill games in Toys R Us back in the 1970s and 1980s. But their presence there was short-lived. As I recall, the problem was that Avalon Hill could not produce enough games to meet potential demand. (Avalon Hill would publish games in the thousands while Toys R Us were looking for games produced in the tens of thousands.)

A little while ago, I was thumbing through advertisements tucked within the Sunday newspapers and found, much to my amazement, ads from Target, a mass market department store best known for selling clothing and electronics, for two quality, Euro games: Blokus (featured in the Fall 2002 GA REPORT) and Qwirkle (Spring 2007 GA REPORT). Unusual games to be found in such a place. Even better, both games were priced at low, mass market, prices. What a pleasant surprise.

For years, European gamers could find quality games of great variety at their local mass market retailers. Exposure to games beyond the typical and conventional was close at hand. But Americans were reduced to hunting for games of this type either by patronizing their local Brick and Mortar specialty game stores or surfing through the internet. This only worked, of course, if you knew where to look. The serendipitous nature of stumbling across something was lost. But now, maybe that can be found.

Target has dabbled in Euro style gaming before. Hasbro/Avalon Hill games such as Vegas Showdown and Cosmic Encounter made a (brief) appearance in their toy and game aisles where interested parties could have seen Knizia’s Lord of the Rings game as well. But these were brief blips on the gaming radar. Until, maybe, now?

It now appears Target is ready, willing and able to take a deeper plunge. By highlighting two games that are colorful, easy to learn and well suited to fit quite comfortably into the “gateway” notch of gaming, the possibility appears that people who never dreamed games like this existed will now be exposed to a whole new world of games. The way I see it, this is a gateway to a brand new pool of customers who, once they discover life beyond basic games, will seek out the kinds of games that Gamers Alliance readers know and love so well. For Target, this is an experiment and they’re setting their sights on selling these games to a wider audience. As far as I can see, they’re right on target!

In this issue of GA REPORT, we target more quality games. We get our feet wet, watch empires rise (and fall) and stop and smell the roses. Meanwhile, Frank Hamrick endeavors to find a great game of civilization but it’s all Greek for Greg Schloesser. Joe Huber rolls up his sleeves for some factory work, Pevans takes to the sea and Chris Kovac climbs every mountain! Also, in this issue, we welcome game designer – and first time contributor – Ted Cheatham who is feeling vexed and hexed. And, of course, much more!

Until next time, Good Gaming!

Herb Levy, President

 


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Winter 2010 GA Report Articles

 

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 ...
Read More
[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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