Category Archives: Reviews

A(nother) Review of Cruel Morning: Shiloh 1862

Cruel Morning SPLASH

Another look at Tiny Battle’s ACW game ~

Jim Werbaneth, 27 July 2018

Cruel Morning Cover Color

Cruel Morning Cover

The Battle of Shiloh was a harbinger of the bloodbath to come in the Civil War.  It also marked a turning point in the leadership of both sides.  Albert Sidney Johnston, one of the most highly-regarded Confederate generals at the start of the conflict, was mortally wounded, rendering him a “what if” in a theater characterized by rebel generals who were mediocre at best; how could the war have progressed had Johnston remained alive and in charge, in place of Braxton Bragg, Leonidas Polk, John Bell Hood or Joseph Johnston? On the Union side, Ulysses S. Grant prepared poorly, and was caught off guard by the Confederate onslaught. However, he recovered, and his Army of the Tennessee did not just survive, but with the aid of Don Carlos Buell’s Army of the Ohio, went on the offensive on the second day of battle. Despite heavy criticism of the early stages of the battle, a temporary sidelining afterward, Grant and his career survived, and he went on to become the premier, even definitive, military leader of the Civil War.

Cruel Morning is a brigade-scale treatment of Shiloh, on a time scale of daily turns.  The footprint is small, with an eleven by seventeen-inch unmounted map.  From its small size and relatively low unit count, one would expect it to be a fast-playing, easily-accessible game.  However, the final project ends up as something different.

click images to enlarge

Thunder in the East: A First-time Player’s Perspective

TITE first SPLASH1

Our guest author takes us to ConSimWorld Expo for a report on VPG’s upcoming east front mini-monster ~

Christian Snyder, 21 July 2018

I recently had the amazing opportunity to sit down with some good folks at ConsimWorld Expo’s Monster Conand play Frank Chadwick’s Thunder in the East for the first time; it was fantastic! Full disclosure: I am currently awaiting my Kickstarter copy of the game and had seen some Vassal play prior to arriving in Tempe, Arizona. Seeing the game on videos and reading the rulebook, however, are nothing compared to sitting down to play with the printer’s proof copy at the show. Since the game is not available, this is not a review, but a first impression focusing on what impressed me about seeing, playing, and meeting the development team for Frank Chadwick’s ETO Vol. I: Thunder in the East.

Frank Chadwicks ETO Vol I thunder in the east

Frank Chadwick’s ETO Vol I: Thunder in the East! Nice maps, charts and counters!

Thunder in the East is a dynamic, action packed game covering the entire Eastern Front of World War 2 in six scenarios starting with the German Operation Barbarossa and ending with the Soviet Operation Bagration. You can do each scenario singularly or start a full campaign from these points with incredible systems for morale, seasonal activities, economy and unit reorganization. My experience consisted of three playthroughs of Operation Barbarossa using the optional and campaign game rules. For each of our playthroughs, we were typically unconcerned with capturing Moscow. However, to capture Moscow, along with Stalin, would have been a scenario automatic victory.

GrogHeads Reviews Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition

Can the update & enhancement bring the game up to modern standards? ~

Avery Abernethy, 30 June 2018

Baldur’s Gate was originally released in December 1998.  It was a tremendous financial success selling more than a million copies worldwide.  It was also a critical success earning a GameRankings score of 92%.  I bought the game when it was first released and later the expansion Tales of the Sword Coast.  I ended up replaying the game many times.

Minsc also has many memorable dialogue options including “Butt-Kicking for Goodness.”

An Enhanced Edition of Baldur’s Gate was released in January of 2013 on Steam and www.gog.com.  The Original edition of Baldur’s Gate was removed from the market. Baldur’s Gate has one of the most memorable characters in computer RPG history, Minsc the Ranger with his companion Boo the hamster.  Minsc obtained Boo after a severe head injury, thinks Boo talks to him, and that Boo is a “space hamster.”  Minsc also has many memorable dialogue options including “Butt-Kicking for Goodness.”

GrogHeads First Impressions of Stars in Shadow

Screenshots of snake-people swashbuckling around the stars ~

Boggit, 26 May 2018

Developed by Ashdar Games Inc and published by Iceberg Interactive

I’ve been meaning to have a look at this game for some time now and finally have got around to it. Playing Emperor “Gritok the Devourer” of the Gremak Empire – an aristocratic race of four-eyed cobra alien slavers – I took to the stars in a huge Galaxy to try my luck as the mean and nasty imperialist snake people!

Here’s a collection of screenshots from my early expansion into the stars, which gives you an idea of how the game is presented, as well as the sort of options available to players. I liked the artwork, which unlike a lot of space games is nice, bright and colourful – and even a bit cartoony – which added to the fun. I liked what I saw with this game, which reminded me of the classic Master of Orion 2 in terms of gameplay. A big plus is that it is simple to play like Master of Orion 2, yet had sufficient depth to keep my attention.

 

So here we start at our home planet of Gremal. We’ve already made life a misery for the poor Enfi race that shares our planet having enslaved those centuries before. Now we have a chance to enslave other species to our will.

The Art of War & Field of Glory II

Boggit takes a look at Field of Glory 2’s units on parade ~

Boggit, 5 May 2018

One of my favourite games is Slitherine’s Field of Glory, which in Field of Glory 2 has seen a facelift in its graphics and a whole new game engine developed by Byzantine Games. Field of Glory 2 continues to use the Pike and Shot game system introduced a couple of years ago in Pike and Shot Campaigns, and subsequently Sengoku Jidai  – Shadow of the Shogun. It is not an exact clone of Pike and Shot, as several new rules and features have been added. Where it is truly different from Pike and Shot, and Sengoku Jidaiis in the map and unit graphics, which are totally different, and in my opinion very attractive.

Developed by Byzantine Games
Published by Matrix/Slitherine

Field of Glory 2as I mentioned is an upgraded version of the Pike and Shotgame system, and is in many ways very different from the older Field of Glory, which has different game mechanics, and a lot more units on the map. Field of Glory 2does come with a slight drawback on older machines compared to the original Field of Glory, and Pike and Shot/Sengoku Jidaiin that panning around the map and the speed of reaction to mouse commands is noticeably slower – most likely because of the vastly improved map and unit graphics, however, more modern graphics cards should cope easily with this issue.

I still enjoy playing the original Field of Glory as it has a very different feel to the gameplay of Field of Glory 2, which is something noticed by quite a few of my on-line opponents. This takes nothing away from Field of Glory 2, being just a matter of “apples and oranges”, as both are good in their own ways.