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Category Archives: Reviews

Arms & Ambition – Playtest Report

GrogHeads had a chance to check out a pre-release playtest of the new Arms & Ambition boardgame ~

Chris Caran, 15 November 2017

This weekend while attending the MACE convention in Charlotte, I had an opportunity to sit down with Brad Warren and play his new wargame, Arms and Ambition. The game is in development, but very polished so far – a beautiful vinyl mat, 3D printed pieces, and professionally printed cards. Only the rules and documentation are still in developmental mode.

In the game, you play one of eight noble families vying for the throne after the ruling dynasty collapses. Each family has starting territory and “family ambitions” – victory conditions specific to the player. The overall goal is to gain 100 victory points and declare yourself the new king. You have starting units and each territory you own (represented by a card) has an income value.

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Deep Thoughts on Field of Glory 2

Are the roots of FoG2 found in tabletop minis? ~

Jim Owczarski, 11 November 2017

There’s not an awful lot of point in doing a straight review of a game like “Field of Glory 2” (hereafter FoG2) in a venue like this one.  After all, we are a fairly aware lot and share information about the games we get, like, and dislike quickly.  By now, you have all likely heard the game is the best of its kind in this generation (it is) and that it surpasses its only real competition — Interactive Magic’s much-admired “Great Battles” series.  Were this the whole story I’d recommend slapping an “Order of the Hex” on the thing and moving on.

I think, though, many reviewers have missed the importance of FoG2’s roots in tabletop miniatures gaming, roots that have made this such a remarkably strong offering.  Therefore, I would like, in place of a proper review, to point out five things that FoG2 took from the world of little lead men that make it so very special.

GrogHeads Reviews War in the Wind: The Battle for Attu Island, May 1943

The obscure WWII PTO shootout gets the GrogHeads once-over ~

Michael Eckenfels, 14 October 2017

In June of 1942, as part of the Midway attack plan, Japanese troops landed on the Alaskan islands of Attu and Kiska. These two inhospitable, mountainous islands were home to little but cold weather and leg-breaking slopes. The Japanese thought it prudent to occupy for…well, the reasons depend on what source you read. Some think they thought occupying part of a U.S. State would cause a tremendous morale drop among Americans; others thought it was meant to help ‘shield’ their northern flank, because both islands were closer to Japan than Alaska. Regardless of the reasons, the Japanese arrived, found little resistance, and after bombing Dutch Harbor to the east a few times, settled in for a long occupation.

American troops didn’t arrive until May 11, 1943, and were woefully unprepared for it.

That occupation lasted nearly a year. American troops didn’t arrive until May 11, 1943, and were woefully unprepared for it. The troops earmarked for the invasion were training in southern California for operations in the south Pacific – not for operations in near-Arctic mountainous conditions. The powers-that-be thought the attack would be brief, only lasting a few days, whereas when all was said and done, it took nearly three weeks. It might have taken longer had the Japanese not executed one of the biggest banzai charges of the war, costing them half their casualties. The number of troops they lost came close to 2400, with only 28 prisoners taken. The Americans suffered about 550 killed, 1200 wounded, and another 1800 or so wounded due to exposure, frostbite, trenchfoot, gangrene, and a number of other nasty, debilitating conditions. It was by no means a cake walk, though the result was inevitable.

GrogHeads Reviews Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th Anniversary Edition

Revisiting a classic and telling new tales ~

Avery Abernethy, 4 October 2017

Gabriel Knight is a point and click adventure game. Gabriel attempts to solve the Voodoo Murders in New Orleans which are occurring in the early 90s. Psychological and physical horror abound. Gabriel is a slacker rogue who wrote several unsuccessful mystery novels and owns an almost bankrupt rare book store. Gabriel is also amazingly vain and attempts to seduce most young females crossing his path.   Gabriel is haunted by a terrible dream sequence which becomes more detailed with each passing day.

New Orleans itself is a main character. New Orleans history, geographical highpoints, and the history of voodoo are all worked into the story line. Gabriel visits the Voodoo Museum, Tulane University, Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral, St. Louis Cemetery #1, among other locations. All existed in the 1990s and most are relatively unchanged today. The idiot destroyers of history have not pulled down Andrew Jackson’s statue yet!

Alien vs Predator – First Look!

Michael digs into the sci-fi shootout game ~

Michael Eckenfels, 2 October 2017

Digging into a battle game with a pair of iconic sci-fi franchises facing off… again.

More coming on this one in the future…


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GrogHeads Reviews Table Battles

Hollandspiele’s new ‘abstract’ wargame hits the table ~

Doug Miller, 25 September 2017

I’m a hardcore grog. I like my games with hexes and chits. Fifty-page rule books don’t scare me, in fact they often appeal to me. I’m a lot more interested in the simulation value of most games than I am their playability. I’m interested in narrative and historical accuracy. I like maps. A lot.

All of which are reasons that I’m something of an odd choice as reviewer for Hollandspiel’s latest, Tom Russell’s Table Battles.

Table Battles bills itself as “a thinky filler, a light dice game that nevertheless will have you scratching your chin and agonizing over your decisions.” Tom himself posted in a Facebook discussion something to the effect that it might not be a wargame. There is no map. There isn’t any movement of pieces.

Video: Conflict of Heroes Guadalcanal – First Look!

Cracking the shrink on Academy’s PTO wargame ~

Michael Eckenfels, 21 September 2017

Michael takes a look inside the COH box from the gang over at Academy Games.

More coming on this one in the future…


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GrogHeads Reviews Burma Road for Order of Battle Pacific

A worthy new addition to the Order of the Hex ~

Avery Abernethy, 16 September 2017

Inducted for impressive modeling of a wide range of military missions: revolt suppression, irregular forces to large scale battles.

Like most Americans interested in World War Two in the Pacific, my reading has focused on the US Navy, Marines, and Army operations. However, Japan focused more than half of her resources and the majority of her Army and Air Force on land operations in China and SouthEast Asia. Although the Japanese Navy, Air Force and Merchant Marine were eventually destroyed by the United States’ military, Japan held onto most of her gains on mainland Asia to the end of World War 2.

Likewise, wargames have focused far more on Europe and to a lesser extent the conflict between Japan and the United States in the Pacific. Burma Road is the second addition to Order of Battle World War 2 focusing on land warfare in Asia. In Burma Road the player takes the role of commander of British Commonwealth forces in Singapore, Thailand, Burma and India. The scenarios reflect the huge contribution of Indian, Australian and New Zealand forces. Like earlier releases in the series, Burma Road is turn based IGO-UGO.