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EDITORIAL – FALL 2002 – VOL. 2 NO. 4

American Idol

 

For those of you who live outside the United States (or under a rock, as the case may be), summer television here in the States was rocked by a cultural phenomenon called American Idol. Based upon a successful British show, American Idol targeted the American music market audience. The premise: conduct a nationwide search for the next big singing talent who would be crowned the “American Idol” and get a one million dollar recording contract! It really was something to see.

Open auditions were announced and thousands of young performers appeared to audition. Three judges (record producer Randy Jackson, singer Paula Abdul and record company executive Simon Cowell) were chosen to determine which of the thousands of hopefuls would make the cuts. Viewers were taken step by step along the way in the search. Some of the hopefuls were excellent and were told “You’re going to Hollywood”. Some of the hopefuls were so abysmal that they became cannon fodder for Simon who skewered them with vitriolic comments (e.g. “Do you have a singing teacher? Do you have a lawyer? Sue your singing teacher!) The show really become “Must See TV”.

To make a long story short, the thousands were whittled down to 30 and the 30 down to 10. At that point, viewers were able to vote for their favorite performers until finally, the thousands of contestants boiled down to one winner: Kelly Clarkson. Ms. Clarkson currently is enjoying a hit record on the air as a direct result of the win, the 10 finalists (including Ms. Clarkson) are on a national concert tour and American Idol is gearing up for a second season and another series of competitions.

While American Idol was heavy into glitter and glamour, at its core, it was about business: finding and marketing a viable, commercial, musical talent. If you think about it, every issue of GA REPORT is a gaming version of American Idol.

Every time we prepare a GA REPORT issue, we find ourselves faced with, if not thousands, certainly many, games that seek to find their way into the spotlight. Game creators and companies strive to separate themselves from the pack of lesser offerings. They want to hit the right notes and capture the favor of the crowd. And we’re rooting for them.

Great games are our passion. We enjoy playing them and writing about them. If GA REPORT can give a boost to a game that’s well deserving, that’s just a bonus for everyone concerned: the game creator, the game company and, most importantly, we gamers who actively seek and support the very best in gaming. In each issue, you’ll find our “idols”: the winners who have made the cuts – and this issue is no different.

In this issue of GA REPORT, people go to war – and so do sheep!! We go exploring and discover a new version of a Sid Sackson classic that we can’t stop playing. Greg Schloesser finds himself involved in the Thirty Years War and, if that’s not enough, becomes embroiled in epic duels! Plus, K-ban’s Korner and Game Classics return! And, of course, much more.

Until next time, Good Gaming!

Herb Levy, President


 

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Fall 2002 GA Report Articles

 

Reviewed by Herb Levy CAN'T STOP THE TURTLES (Winning Moves; 2-4 players; about 30 minutes; $10) Although it may be hard to believe, Sid Sackson's best selling game (at least, according to Sid) is not Acquire, not Bazaar, not Kohle, Kies & Knete, not Venture nor any of the games from the fabled 3M line. Sid's bestseller is a clever little dice game called Can't ...
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American Idol For those of you who live outside the United States (or under a rock, as the case may be), summer television here in the States was rocked by a cultural phenomenon called American Idol. Based upon a successful British show, American Idol targeted the American music market audience. The premise: conduct a nationwide search for the next big singing talent who would be ...
Read More
[From time to time, we like to revisit great games that are, alas, no longer with us. In the past installments of our Game Classics series, we have featured Bantu, 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, the Stock Market gets our attention once again with a ...
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K-BAN'S KORNER Blokus BLOKUS (Sekkoia, 2-4 players, 20-30 minutes; about $30) Abstracts? I don’t review no stinkin’ abstracts! Why not? Let me count the ways: 1) Most of them are 2-player, with the more skilled player winning almost all the time. 2) They are intensely serious – planning ahead by several moves doesn’t encourage lively banter or laughter. 3) The time required to develop mastery ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy PIZARRO & CO. (Hans im Glück/Rio Grande Games, 3 to 6 players, about 45 minutes; $24.95) Tom Lehmann is no stranger to Gamers Alliance. As one of the forces that comprised TimJim/Prism Games, Tom had his hand in a number of interesting designs. The last time his name appeared in one of our features was in the Winter 1996 GA REPORT ...
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Reviewed by Greg J. Schloesser STAR WARS: EPIC DUELS (Hasbro, 2-6 players, 30-45 minutes; $19.95) Star Wars: Epic Duels has been getting quite a bit of discussion on various internet gaming forums and the reaction has been mostly positive. The designers of the game are Craig Van Ness and Rob Daviau, the two folks responsible for most of the new Avalon Hill releases, as well ...
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Reviewed by Greg J. Schloesser WALLENSTEIN (Queen Games, 3-5 players, 1½ to 2 hours; about $45) Games with a "war" theme are few and far between in Germany due, presumably, to the country's militaristic past. Even games that have combat as a mechanism usually only represent this in a very abstract manner. Thus, when I heard that Queen was going to be releasing a design ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy WAR & SHEEP (Eurogames/Descartes USA, Inc.; 2 players, about 15 minutes; $14.95) Mutton mayhem in the meadow sets the scene for War & Sheep, one of the initial releases in the new 2 player series of games recently unveiled by Eurogames. War & Sheep is designed by Bruno Cathala and comes in a small box which holds a game board, 38 ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy WAR!: AGE OF IMPERIALISM (Eagle Games, 2 to 6 players, 2-3 hours; $49.99) The late 19th and early 20th Century was a time of vast expansion as major powers sought to increase their influence and holdings throughout the world. In War! Age of Imperialism, that world comes to life as players compete to build the largest empire in the world. War! ...
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