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Category Archives: First Impressions

First Impressions: World War II in Europe

Published by Schwerpunkt

Michael Eckenfels, 20 December 2014

Click images to enlarge, in some cases, a LOT…

If you want to look for a ‘labor of love’ wargame, look no further than the massive, latest game by Schwerpunkt: World War II Europe (hereafter referred to as WW2E). The game, including graphics, engine, scenarios, and documentation, were all put together by two individuals (Ron Dockal and KC). In the true spirit of a “ma and pa” organization (as Schwerpunkt itself puts it on their own website), this game has been a long time coming and has been greatly anticipated. As it has just been released in recent weeks, GrogHeads is pleased to give you this “first impression” of the game; a full review, and quite possibly some AARs, will be forthcoming.

The Help file looks incredibly wordy, but it walks you step-by-step through how the game works.

The Help file looks incredibly wordy, but it walks you step-by-step through how the game works.

 

Since the release of AGW (Anglo-German War) about ten years ago, Schwerpunkt put itself on the radar of many grog-minded gamers, and WW2E looks like much more of the same, at least at an initial glance. The game covers tons of scenarios across the entire scope of World War II in Europe, with a promised upcoming ‘Grand Campaign’ that will allow one to battle across the entire map of Europe. In the meantime, there are dozens of scenarios to wade around in.

Take your pick of scenarios – though some are still forthcoming and not complete yet.

Take your pick of scenarios – though some are still forthcoming and not complete yet.

First Impressions of Pike and Shot

By Boggit, 1 November 2014

Developed by Byzantine Games and published by Matrix/Slitherine

O Lord, Thou knowest how busy I must be this day. If I forget Thee, do not forget me.” It was immediately followed with the order -“March on, boys!”(The Royalist General, Lord Jacob Astley’s battlefield prayer, Edgehill 1642)

Pike and Shot is a battalion/regimental level wargame set during the Renaissance era. It features three conflicts: the Thirty Years War, the English Civil War, and the Italian Wars. It also offers a tutorial campaign, a quick-play skirmish mode, multi-player, and a game editor to allow users to design their own scenarios.

Pike and Shot’s opening screen showing all the main options

Pike and Shot’s opening screen showing all the main options

It is described by Slitherine as being heavily influenced by the Field of Glory series, and as a very keen digital Field of Glory player I was enthusiastic about checking it out by way of comparison. It is, however, quite a different game in many subtle respects, and to draw too much comparison with digital Field of Glory can lead to some disappointment if you are expecting a Renaissance clone of that game – since it has a different feel to its play, as I am told by Richard Bodley Scott (the lead designer) that it is based upon the table top game, which for a Grog is a massive bonus for this type of game. If you can dissociate the two games, and play Pike and Shot on its own merits, it is an interesting and absorbing game. The maps and unit blocks all look very clear and nice, giving a good 17th Century impression with the visuals. I’d have liked to have been able to zoom closer to see more of my unit detail than is currently allowed with the system, but that is a minor gripe, with what are essentially nice game graphics. One thing immediately apparent is that generally there are fewer elements in play compared to your average digital Field of Glory game, which may or may not be a good thing depending on your point of view.

First Impressions: To End All Wars

First Impressions by Boggit, 4 October 2014

Developed by and published by AGEOD/Slitherine

“After the ‘War to end War’, they seem to have been in Paris at making the ‘Peace to end Peace'” – Field Marshal Archibald Wavell (speaking of the Paris Peace Conference, 1919)

To End All Wars is the latest game from AGEOD/Slitherine covering the First World War. It covers in detail the Western, Eastern and Middle East fronts, but also features map boxes where conflict can occur elsewhere in the world. The scope of the game is truly global.

The victory conditions (which are the same for each side) are frighteningly ominous as to the scale of destruction required.

The victory conditions (which are the same for each side) are frighteningly ominous as to the scale of destruction required.

It is a strategic/operational level game with the principal maneuver units consisting of armies, corps, and fleets. Smaller units can be used independently if a player wishes, but while this gives flexibility it also carries the risk of being overwhelmed by a larger force.

First Impressions of Combat Mission Red Thunder

Grumpy Grog Says:  “Combat Mission Red Thunder is more impressive than a Katyusha barrage. Uurrraaaah!”

Developed and Published by Battlefront Inc.

First Impressions by Boggit

Red Thunder is the newest arrival in the Combat Mission series on the Eastern Front. It focuses on the battles during and just after the great Soviet offensive – Operation Bagration – from June to September 1944, covering the area of modern day Belarus, to the gates of Warsaw in Poland. The developers chose this period because, in terms of experience, the Red Army was generally able to match the German Army, thus in principle creating a more balanced game.

Advancing through woods, we make contact!

Advancing through woods, we make contact!

Since this is a first impressions piece, I haven’t spent as much time in actual gameplay as I usually put in with my full Combat Mission reviews. The article is based upon a couple of the new scenarios, half a dozen quick battles, and with some useful feedback from Steve Grammont of Battlefront regarding the changes to the game engine from the V3.0 upgrade.

Cards of Cthulhu – First Look!

Vance Strickland cracks open his fresh-outta-the-mail copy of Cards of Cthulhu and shares the guts with us.

 

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Home of the Wargamers Report: “Clear and Present Gaming!”

Distant Worlds Universe and Other Imminent Matrix/Slitherine Releases meet Grogheads

An overview by Boggit

Following on from Home of Wargamers 2014, there has been a flurry of activity from Matrix/Slitherine regarding their new releases. Distant Worlds has only just released on 27th May, and is to be closely followed by Pandora First Contact: Return of the Messeri Expansion, Close Combat: Road to Caen, and Qvadriga on Steam.

 

Distant Worlds Universe

 

You can start straight away with a pre-set human campaign, or mix things up with a custom game

You can start straight away with a pre-set human campaign, or mix things up with a custom game

For those players who haven’t got Distant Worlds, it is a massively scoped game that conventionally focuses on making broad policy decisions to guide your race to success. Essentially, you represent “the state”, but much of the game is heavily reliant on your private citizens. These private citizens trade, colonise, and exploit much of the universe’s resource potential. Distant Worlds Universe can be an incredibly deep 4X game (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate) – if you want it to be. You can micromanage as much, or as little as you wish, although micromanaging carries the risk of your head exploding given the multitude of activities you can engage in!

ANZAC Attack – First Look!

Lock’n’Load re-released the original Forgotten Heroes expansion along with the new reprint, and Vance Strickland takes a look at what’s in the box.  Bring the Aussies to the fight as you expand the battles of the Vietnam War on your tabletop with ANZAC Attack.

by Vance Strickland, 9 April 2014

Click images to enlarge

The new second addition of ANZAC Attack comes in the same sized box as Forgotten heroes so now you have twice the room for all Vietnam goodness.

The new second addition of ANZAC Attack comes in the same sized box as Forgotten heroes so now you have twice the room for all Vietnam goodness.

 

 

ANZAC Attacks comes with rules/scenario booklet, new counters, 2 new maps, more dice and another player aid card.

ANZAC Attacks comes with rules/scenario booklet, new counters, 2 new maps, more dice and another player aid card.

 

Forgotten Heroes 2 – First Look!

Lock’n’Load’s long-expected reprint of the original Forgotten Heroes has landed, and Vance Strickland gives us a quick visual tour of what’s in the box.  Refight the tactical battles of the Vietnam War over your tabletop with Mark H. Walker’s original Lock’n’Load game.

by Vance Strickland, 26 March 2014

Click images to enlarge

New printing of Forgotten Heroes Second Edition from LnLP. Standard bookshelf size but only 1.5" deep. Still plenty of room for contents.

New printing of Forgotten Heroes Second Edition from LnLP. Standard bookshelf size but only 1.5″ deep. Still plenty of room for contents.

 

All this gaming greatness. Latest rules, maps, player aid, counters, scenario cards, skill cards and dice.

All this gaming greatness. Latest rules, maps, player aid, counters, scenario cards, skill cards and dice.