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EDITORIAL – SPRING 2008

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 a friend who is a big time sports fan and I was lucky enough to be invited to his home to watch the big game. But not just watch it. To experience it. You see, my friend is something of a media maniac. To fuel his passion, he had constructed a media room unlike any I’ve ever seen outside of a movie star’s palatial residence. Within the bowels of his home is a room fitted with a 12 FOOT screen, high definition reception and extremely comfortable theater seating. There is even a popcorn machine in the corner! I was about to say it was just like being at the event but no, it wasn’t. It was better!

New England was on the verge of history. They had managed to power through the regular football season and the postseason playoffs with a perfect record: 18 wins without a loss. Perfection was their goal with the season to be capped by a 19th victory: a Super Bowl win.  The Giants were considered underdogs and a team with a very slim chance to upset New England with the Patriots favored by 12 points according to those who are supposed to know these things. On paper, the Patriots were a given. On the field, it was a very different story. In the midst of a roomful of Giant fans, it was time to root for the home team. The game was incredible. What made it more incredible was the result. The unexpected happened. The formidable New England Patriots were upended by the New York Giants in a last minute 3 point victory. Unbelievable!

This is the sort of event that has a parallel to our world of gaming and this illustrates what makes our hobby so interesting. You can analyze, you can ponder. You can calculate, you can guess. You can take a chance or play it safe. But, whatever you do, whatever your style, you still have to play the game. And while it’s true that the more experienced player, the more astute player, the luckier player has an edge and will win more often than not, there is always the chance for the magical upset, that something will click with the underdog that will give him the upper hand. That, my friends, is what makes it fun – whatever and whenever you play. Knowing that there is always a chance, you can just have a good time, whether it’s a bunch of guys getting together on a Friday night for a gaming session or a couples game night on Saturday or just a circle of good friends gathering around the gaming table ON ANY GIVEN SUNDAY!

In this issue, we settle in the West, harvest tea, face disaster and take yet another risk. Meanwhile, Ben Baldanze finds paradise, Andrea “Liga” Ligabue gives a prophecy, Jeff Feuer serves up something dicey, Pevans gets religion and Joe Huber keeps on truckin’. Plus, the return of “The Gamer’s Bookshelf”.  And, of course, much more.

Until next time, Good Gaming!

Herb Levy, President


 

Spring 2008 Gamers Alliance Report

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 a ...
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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: they ...
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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 Wallace’s ...
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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 ...
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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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