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 in the paper, the topic of conversation often slips to the darker side of things. This editorial is no different.
GAMES magazine, in the form we have known for decades, has ceased publication.
GAMES has had a long and, often troubled, existence. In the beginning, its publisher was Playboy Enterprises (yes, that Playboy) and was an offshoot of the vogue that boardgames enjoyed in the 70s in the wake of the Bobby Fischer- Boris Spassky chess competition and the surge of backgammon as the “cool game”, popularized in part by Hugh Hefner himself. But Playboy ended up selling the magazine (no centerfold?) to PSC Limited in 1987 who ended up suspending publication only three years later in 1990. The magazine reappeared about a year after that, now published by Bits and Pieces, who later sold the magazine in 1996 to Kappa Publishing, known for their puzzle publications. The magazine continued to be published until 2014 when the December 2014 issue featuring the Games 100, the annual list of the best in games, was cancelled. In a sense, GAMES is not really gone as Kappa has revamped and renamed the magazine (now called GAMES World of Puzzles), doing a good job in presenting an entertaining magazine well worth buying. But now puzzles takes top billing with boardgames a distant, a very distant, second cousin in page appearances. So where did GAMES go wrong?
There are probably a host of reasons for the checkered career of GAMES but, to me, the problem had always been emphasis. Despite the GAMES 100 and its very name, GAMES magazine was always more about puzzles than games. What they did with games was fine – it just wasn’t enough, nowhere near enough for the thousands of people who live, breathe and truly enjoy games. That segment, that large and growing segment, just didn’t find a voice (or, at least, a very loud voice) in the pages of GAMES. And that to me, is where GAMES went wrong.
With Gamers Alliance, the focus here has always been and will always be the art, craft, design and joy of the games we play. Our worldwide audience shares that passion which is why Gamers Alliance Report is the longest running, continuously published, English language gaming magazine in the world! It’s also, the way I see it, games done right!
In this issue we get right back at it as we right our ships, construct palace gardens, explore an exotic island and a mythical realm – and find love! Chris Kovacs does some patchwork, Greg J. Schloesser finds a cure for dice rolling, Derek Croxton sets sail for India, Joe Huber invites one and all. Meanwhile, Eric Brosius brags about dungeon crawling, Peter Sbirakos solos into space and Andrea “Liga” Ligabue demonstrates the heart of a lion! And, of course, much more. Until next time, Good Gaming!
Herb Levy, President
Winter 2015 GA Report Articles
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 ...Read More
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, ...Read More
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 ...Read More
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 ...Read More
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 ...Read More
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 ...Read More
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 ...Read More
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 ...Read More
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 ...Read More
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 ...Read More
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 ...Read More
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 ...Read More
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 ...Read More
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 ...Read More
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 ...Read More
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 ...Read More