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Category Archives: First Impressions

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.

Victory and Glory: Napoleon – First Impressions!

Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever. – Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of the French ~

Boggit, 30 April 2016

Developed by Electric Games, and Published by Matrix/Slitherine

Victory and Glory: Napoleon is a strategic level game covering the Napoleonic Wars. It offers six start points during the Napoleonic Wars, each preceding one of the major campaigns in the wars, with the player cast in the role of Napoleon. To win the player must either make peace – or survive as an individual from becoming a prisoner or battle casualty, and make it to the scenario end turn. If you get that far, your performance throughout the game is qualitatively assessed in terms of victory or defeat.

A very pretty menu screen. Here’s hoping the rest of the game is too.

A very pretty menu screen. Here’s hoping the rest of the game is too.

First Impressions!
Order of Battle Pacific: Morning Sun

Airboy dives into the continental side of WWII’s PTO ~

Avery Abernethy, 5 March 2016

Click images to enlarge

OOBMS - Campaign Start

Morning Sun is an expansion to Order of Battle: Pacific requiring the base game to play. Morning Sun adds a single long Japanese Campaign where you command a core force plus auxiliaries in an attempt to conquer China. The Sino-Japanese War was the longest campaign in World War 2 and has received relatively little attention from war game designers.

OOBMS - A Briefing Screen

GrogHeads Previews
Tom Clancy’s The Division

So with a first look inside the new Clancy-branded shooter, what does our guest author find? ~

Guest Contributor John J. Szucs, 25 February 2016

Like many of you here on GrogHeads, I have been a long-time fan of Tom Clancy’s work. His second book, Red Storm Rising, was a milestone in my life, taking me from an early-teenaged “Rambo is cool” level to life-long serious study of the art and science of warfare that helped shaped my career and given me some extraordinary experiences working side-by-side with our warfighters in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere. While the books in Tom Clancy franchise went through a period of dilution and exploitation with ghost writers, UbiSoft has generally done right by the video game side of the franchise and looks to be on track to put out three very solid titles in the 2015-2016 gaming season. The recently-released Rainbow Six Shield is the deepest and most innovative tactical shooter of the past twelve months and Ghost Recon: Wildlands looks very promising.

The third title in this line-up is Tom Clancy’s The Division, an open-world, massively multi-player online (MMO), third-person tactical role-playing game. The game recently had a closed Beta test period and just completed an open Beta period that ran from Friday, February 19 through Monday, February 22, 2016. Xbox One players, like myself, had a one-day exclusive on the open Beta, starting on Thursday, February 18.


First Impressions of NWS’s Rule the Waves

Developed and published by NWS

Reviewed by Boggit, 26 September 2015

“They [the Sea Lords] must cease to say ‘This is the ideal plan; How can we get enough money to carry it out?’ They must say instead ‘Here is a sovereign; How much can we squeeze out of it that will really count for victory in a naval war?’” Lord Selborne, First Lord of the Admiralty. (Selborne to the Admiralty Permanent Secretary (16th February 1903) in “Distribution of Business 1904”, Adm. 1/7737 P.R.O.). (The quote refers to Selborne’s concern of impending financial crisis arising from the continued construction of modern warships in the numbers and varieties required to protect all of Britain’s maritime interests.)

The British Grand Fleet in WW1 (Courtesy: British Library)

The British Grand Fleet in WW1 (Courtesy: British Library)

Rule the Waves is the latest game presentation from NWS covering the naval arms race period of 1900-1925. The campaign map covers the entire world, portrayed as areas representing the spheres of influence of the Great Powers of the time. The scale of the game is in monthly turns, and your units range from little minesweepers to massive dreadnoughts. Working with a limited budget you face Lord Selborne’s dilemma of creating and maintaining a navy that will win a naval war.

First Impressions of Marvel Dice Masters: Avengers vs. X-Men

Slinging dice?  Awwww, yeaaaaaah!

Michael Eckenfels, 5 September 2015

The Dice Masters phenomenon has been going on for a while now, starting with Quarriors! and blowing up into several different themes, including Dungeons and Dragons, Yu-Gi-Oh, and too many others for me to even want to wrap my head around. It’s bad enough that I already have been collecting two of these damnable things, though I’ve slowed my purchases of them greatly in the last few months (mostly to spend it on X-Wing Miniatures stuff, but more articles on that later).

For those curious, the Avengers vs. X-Men Dice Masters game is one of the more popular iterations of this system (because hey, Marvel), but is relatively easy to find in hobby stores or online. And this isn’t necessarily a good thing. If you’re addicted to something bad, is having it readily available a good thing, necessarily?

Dice are the new crack.

Dice are the new crack.

Quick & Dirty! First Impressions of Battle Academy 2: Battle of Kursk Expansion

We’ve got a full review coming later, but we wanted to tease you with some first impressions from Slitherine’s new Battle Academy expansion.

Vance Strickland, 8 April 2015

The newest offering for Slitherine’s Battle Academy 2 is an expansion pack containing 2 new campaigns.

Each campaign takes place during the Battle for Kursk in July 1943. Players take on the role of the German attackers in the northern fighting and the Russian defenders in the southern pincer fighting.

Germans fight in the north.

Germans fight in the north.