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EDITORIAL – WINTER 2019 – VOL. 2 NO. 69

CHEF’S SURPRISE

 

Eating is one of those things all of us do. Some of us eat to live; others live to eat. And sometimes the activity of eating can be elevated into art!

There are a lot of cooking shows on television today, even a few entire networks, devoted to the magic that some talented and famous (and aspiring to be famous) chefs conjure up, all with the aim of concocting a delightful and tasty gourmet experience. 

In cooking, you can start with some basic ingredients and the master chef will take those basics and add something special, maybe something exotic, maybe something simple but something used in an unusual and original way. The goal is to present that dish as a flavorful delight, a “chef’s surprise” as it were, to the culinary senses! If you think about it, the World of Cooking is not that much different from the World of Games!

When it comes to games, the erstwhile inventor may start with some basic ingredients too: cards, dice, a board and maybe a good idea. But the master designers will use their skills and transcend the obvious, possibly combining them with some other elements, creating something not only different but engaging, challenging and exciting! Easy to say but not an easy thing to do. And while some game designers may inspire, all aspire to that goal. Unfortunately, not all of them nor their designs reach it! In some cases, game players like us are delighted with their versions of a “chef’s surprise”. Far too often, the “surprise” is on us after we’ve committed our hard earned cash and valuable time to what turns out to be a half-baked turkey! And that’s where WE come in!

After doing this (and by doing this, we mean playing, evaluating and reviewing games) for over 30 years (now in our 33rd year to be exact), you know that with Gamers Alliance Report, you will be able to distinguish between a gourmet gamer delight and a woeful failure which, like an underdone souffle, falls flat! 

In this issue of Gamers Alliance Report, more tasty items for the gaming palate as we ride the rails, travel the Andres, trade in Chile and visit the neighborhood speakeasy! Greg J. Schloesser feels fear, Joe Huber is uplifted and Kevin Whitmore becomes obsessed! Pevans, like a good chef,  adds some “seasoning” to this issue but Andrea “Liga” Ligabue spaces out. Chris Wray looks for just one, Selwyn Ward revisits Essen while Chris Kovac just tries to survive! And, of course, much more!

Until next time, Good Gaming!

Herb Levy, President


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Other Winter 2019 GA Report Articles

 

Reviewed by Herb Levy ALTIPLANO: THE TRAVELER (Renegade Games/dlp, 2 to 5 players, ages 12 and up, 60-120 minutes; $30) One of the best games released in 2017 was Altiplano designed by Reiner Stockhausen, a game set in the high mountains of the Andes as players traveled to different locations, ...
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Reviewed by Chris Kovac AUZTRALIA (Stronghold Games, 1 to 4 players, ages 13 and up, 30-120 minutes;  $69.95) Auztralia is an action planning game with some light wargame and resource management elements designed by Martin Wallace and the first release in Stronghold Games' "The Great Designer Series".  The theme of ...
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CHEF'S SURPRISE Eating is one of those things all of us do. Some of us eat to live; others live to eat. And sometimes the activity of eating can be elevated into art! There are a lot of cooking shows on television today, even a few entire networks, devoted to ...
Read More
EYES ON ESSEN: A LOOK AT GERMANY'S GIANT GAME CONVENTION by Selwyn Ward “Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space.” ...
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[Altiplano: The Traveler, an expansion for Altiplano, is featured in this issue.  For those not familiar with Altiplano itself, we "flashback" to how we saw it in the Spring 2018 issue of Gamers Alliance Report.]  Reviewed by Herb Levy FLASHBACK: ALTIPLANO (dlp Games/Renegade Games, 2 to 5 players, ages 12 and ...
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Reviewed by Greg J. Schloesser HALLOWEEN (Quined Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 12 and up, 60-90 minutes; $69.95) I have always been a fan of horror stories, novels and films.  For some reason, I enjoy the tense, impending doom atmosphere that they usually evoke, including the nervous "butterflies" in ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy HOLDING ON: THE TROUBLED LIFE OF BILLY KERR (Hub Games/Asmodee, 2 to 4 players, ages 14 and up, 45-60 minutes; $39.99) Just when you think you've seen every theme that could possibly serve as the basis for a game, along comes something that proves you wrong ...
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Reviewed by Chris Wray JUST ONE (Repos Production, 3 to 7 players, ages 8 and up, 20 minutes; about $20) Just One is a cooperative party game by Ludovic Roudy and Bruno Sautter for 3-7 players.  Released at Essen 2018, the game seemed to immediately catch fire among word game ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy KOI (Smirk & Dagger Games, 1 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, 40-60 minutes; $39.95) To relax, to feel tranquility wash over you like a wave over sand, what a wonderful feeling! Wonderful except when you are a koi fish seeking a delicious meal of ...
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Reviewed by Joe Huber LIFT OFF (Hans im Gluck/Z-Man Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 12 and up, 60-90 minutes; $59.99) For me, one of the joys of the board game hobby is looking through the new releases for Essen.  It’s really a unique pleasure – the only other convention ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy LINCOLN (PSC Games/Worthington Games, 2 players, ages 14 and up, 60-120 minutes; $45) One of the most popular historical themes for games is the American Civil War. This conflict split the United States of America in two with the Union forces of the North thrust into ...
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Reviewed by Kevin Whitmore OBSESSION (Kayenta Games, 1 to 4 players, ages 13 and up, 30-90 minutes; $54) Obsession is an enjoyable new game released in 2018 by first-time author Dan Hallagan and published by his own Kayenta Publishing company.  Obsession is a large boxed game, similar in size to ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy RAILROAD RIVALS (Forbidden Games, 1 to 5 players, ages 8 and up, 45-60 minutes; $49.99) One of the factors accounting for the tremendous growth of the United States during the 19th century was the rise of railroads. This method of transportation was crucial in developing the ...
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Reviewed by Pevans ROSENBERG TRILOGY: COTTAGE GARDEN, INDIAN SUMMER, SPRING MEADOW (Edition Spielwiese/Stronghold Games, 1 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, 60 or less minutes; $59.95 each) Somewhere along the way, I completely missed Uwe Rosenberg’s Patchwork. Probably because it’s a two-player game. I first became aware of it ...
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Reviewed by Andrea "Liga" Ligabue SCORPIUS FREIGHTER (Alderac Entertainment Group [AEG], 2 to 4 players, ages 14 and up, 45-75 minutes; $59.99) It’s been almost 100 years since the Scorpius system was settled. Sentients came from everywhere to start a new life, following their dreams of prosperity and adventure. The ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy SPEAKEASY BLUES (Artana Games, 2 to 4 players, ages 10 and up, 45-60 minutes; $60) The "Roaring Twenties" wasn't called that for nothing! In the 1920s when Prohibition was the law and folks were prevented from easily getting their favorite alcoholic beverages, many rebelled against this ...
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Reviewed by Herb Levy VALPARAISO (dlp Games, 2 to 5 players, ages 12 and up, 45-90 minutes; € 49.95) The lifeblood of all countries is trade. So it was with Chile when, in 1811, the Chilean Congress voted for free trade and, soon after, independence. As Chilean citizens of influence, ...
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