Armageddon War from Flying Pig Games

Category Archives: Reviews

Classic Reviews – Empires of the Shining Sea

Bringing back another review, but if you’ve not read it, it’s new to you! ~

Brant Guillory, 10 May 2017

First Impressions: This is a meaty book… for some that’s good, others not so good. Thumbing through the book you find everything but a currency converter. Just out of curiosity, I went to the index to see if there was one I just missed, and, well, darn if the damn book didn’t have an index either. The maps are standard Forgotten Realms maps. Some people like the style, some people loathe the style. On the plus side, anyone who’s ever looked over a Forgotten Realms map before knows what they’re looking at on the map.

A Look Back at System 7 Napoleonics & Dragon Magazine

A stroll down memory lane to the days when wargaming and RPGs more comfortably co-existed ~

Jim Owczarski, 13 May 2017

I would have thought that after all these years the editors around this joint would have taken a liking to me.  I mean, come on, I’ve written reviews, previews, interviews, and even a travel journal or two, and have yet to get them sued for libel.  This is no small matter in our litigious day and age.

So why, then, does one of them torment me with this:

Classic Reviews – Revisiting “Secret of the Silver Blades”

Back to a classic Forgotten Realms setting ~

Avery Abernethy, 17 April 2017

Secret of the Silver Blades is the SSI Gold Box follow up to Pool of Radiance and Curse of the Azure Bonds. I recently replayed this on a modern computer and my thoughts are on playing this game in 2017, not 1990 when it was released.

I recently replayed this on a modern computer and my thoughts are on playing this game in 2017, not 1990 when it was released.

I enjoyed replaying Pool of Radiance and Curse of the Azure Bonds. Both had an interesting overall plot line that engaged me and kept me going through the long series of battles and leveling up my characters. Regretfully, Secret of the Silver Blades has such a poor plot that I could never really engage with it.

In Silver Blades your party (either imported from Azure Bonds or newly rolled-up) teleports naked to village. The village made a sacrifice to a teleporter and your group is hopefully the answer to the prayers of the village. The small town gives your group some pretty nifty equipment. They also heal, identify your magic goodies, and provide basic equipment for free every time you come back to town.

GrogHeads Reviews Appendix N

Review of “Appendix N: The Literary History of Dungeons and Dragons” from Jeffro Johnson ~

Avery Abernethy, 12 April 2017

Appendix N is the list of books in the first edition Dungeon Masters Guide that Gary Gygax referenced as primary influences on the development of Dungeons and Dragons. Jeffro Johnson secured these books and read them. Mr. Johnson had two goals for Appendix N. First, identifying how each novel inspired specific aspects of D&D and other early role playing games. Second, Jeffro’s observations on how each specific novel inspired an aspect of D&D and the enjoyment that a modern reader would have with these books which were published from the 1910s to the 1970s.

GrogHeads Reviews Order of Battle: Winter War

Airboy bundles up for a fight in the snow ~

Avery Abernethy, 1 April 2017

I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Finland. The Finns were one of the few who repaid their World War 1 debts to the United States. I’ve had three enjoyable trips to Helsinki in the last thirty-five years. The Finns have good beer and you can take a “beer trolley” tour of Helsinki. “Hello” in Finland is “Hey” – the same way Auburn fans say hello to each other.

WinterWar-1 - Scenario 1 Intro

GrogHeads Reviews The Political Machine 2016

Is politics just a war by other means? ~

Avery Abernethy, 25 March 2017

The Political Machine 2016 is a light simulation of the 2016 Campaign for President of the United States by Stardock. The Political Machine debuted in 2004 and an updated version has been released for every subsequent US Presidential Election. The review is based on the 2016 simulation and I’ve not played the previous versions.

The game starts by selecting your avatar for the Presidency. You can select one of nineteen Democratic candidates, one of twenty-six Republican candidates, or build your own candidate. This is a two candidate race with no third party candidates. The leftist third party options are included with the Democrats (think Jill Stein) and the libertarian candidates are included with the Republican options (think Gary Johnson).

PolMach-game setup

Commands & Colors: Napoleonics – EPIC!

Jim descends further into his Napoleonic madness with massive-scale gaming ~

Jim Owczarski, 18 March 2017

I have been waiting for this one for a long time.

It’s almost unreal to me that Battle Cry, the first of Richard Borg’s “Commands and Colors” series, was released in 2000.  I like the American Civil War well enough, but, from the beginning, I hoped that the simple, elegant system evident in the game could be elaborated into the best of all periods, Napoleonics.

In the years since, I’ve bought and happily played Memoir ’44 (2004), Commands and Colors: Ancients (2006), Battlelore (also 2006), not to mention the remarkable array of expansions, special editions, and the like for all these systems.  I gave Zvezda’s Samurai Battles a miss if only because it’s the only era covered that doesn’t appeal to me.

True Napoleonic wargamers are obsessed with scope, spectacle, and sweep.

And then it came out.  In 2010, GMT Games gave the waiting world Commands and Colors: Napoleonics.  Sure, it was wooden blocks not lovely figures.  Yes, it was the British, Spanish, and Portuguese versus the French.  And, yes, for reasons known only to the grim gods of game production, the Prussians were excluded from the included Waterloo scenario.  But it was Napoleonics and that, at first, was enough.

This was no longer the simplified rule set found in Battle Cry.  There was the forming of square; different grades of horse, foot, and guns; and even elegant rules to differentiate leaders and national troop characteristics.  In the latter case, French troops, and their famous columns, fight better in melee, while the British lines do real damage with ranged fire, &c.

After much fun was had, though, it was ultimately not enough.  True Napoleonic wargamers are obsessed with scope, spectacle, and sweep.  It is this that leads us to do really, really dumb things like this: Historicon 2010 Part V Wagram (Shako II) and Outro

For the record this is my shaky-cam — I’ve become better — but this game had run 14 hours before I had to leave with it far from finished.

Impressions of Strategic Command 3

And… a comparison with Strategic Command WW1 Breakthrough ~

Boggit, 23 February 2017

Developed by Fury Software, and Published by Slitherine

About three years ago I did a detailed review of Fury Software’s Strategic Command WW1: Breakthrough and ended up recommending it as “not only highly playable but also a very deep, subtle and immersive game.” What, I wonder, has Fury Software been doing since? Well, they’ve spent a couple of years working on their new WW2 game – Strategic Command WW2: War in Europe, and have changed their publisher.

So what’s it like?

The first thing to hit me between the eyes is the artwork. In comparison to SCWW1: Breakthrough, Strategic Command WW2 looks like a different game. Of course it is, but in comparison the artwork is stunning, and that includes the map, the counters, and the event notifications. It is a dramatic improvement.

 

The old style artwork…

The old style artwork…