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Classic Reviews – Warrior Knights 2nd Ed.

Another throwback to the classic review days of years gone by under another moniker ~

Brant Guillory, 03 January 2017

INTRODUCTION

Warrior Knights is a board game of diplomacy, commerce, and, of course, warfare, in the Middle Ages. It is published by Fantasy Flight Games and available now. The game covers a hypothetical kingdom in Europe, with real-world territories along the edge of the map, such as Ceylon, Alexandria, and Syracuse.

The knights and barons involved are also hypothetical, but have names evocative of the kingdoms of the Middle Ages: Baron Raoul d’Emerande is Spanish, Baron Mieczyslaw Niebieski is Polish (or perhaps Czech). In all, there are 6 Barons, each with 4 subordinate nobles. Although the names are aligned by nationality, there is no real attempt to have them reflect any real personalities from history.

The original Warrior Knights was designed by Derek Carver and published in the mid-1980s by GDW. The current version is described by Fantasy Flight Games as being reinvented for a new generation while paying homage to the original. It does not appear that Mr. Carver was involved in the design of the current incarnation.

 

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Classic Reviews: Cactus Throne

Against the Odds Magazine

Against the Odds Magazine

An early game from Against The Odds Magazine that looks at what was going on while we were recovering from the US Civil War / War Between The States / War of Northern Aggression / “The Wahr” ~

Brant Guillory, 5 October 2016

INTRODUCTION

Cactus Throne is an operational/strategic-level game that covers the war in Mexico between the Republican Mexican government forces, and the Imperial forces of France, Britain, Spain, Austria, and their Mexican allies. The war was originally fought between 1862-1867.

Although there were significant political machinations that affected the campaign, especially in Europe, the game focuses on the allocation of forces within Mexico, and control of the important areas of country.

Some of the political events are included as random events. Additionally, there are events that could have happened, but did not, such as the appearance of both Union and Confederate forces from the American Civil War. Cactus Throne does include some elements of seapower, but only to the extent that it affected the land battles. Ship-to-ship combat is not simulated.

Tracer Rounds: The Best Damn Songwriting You Never Appreciated

Can we finally give Guns ‘n Roses their due ~

Brant, 19 September 2016

Things have been a little too heavy lately, and we need to talk about something completely different…  So can we just take a step back and spend a few minutes admiring what totally bad-ass, criminally-under-rated, and never-appreciated songwriters the guys from Guns’n Roses were?  Sure, we all know the ‘hits’ – Welcome to the Jungle, November Rain, Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door, You Could Be Mine, and Sweet Child o’ Mine – and the ‘scandal’ songs like Used to Love Her, or It’s So Easy.  But once you get beyond the radio tunes (or heck, even with the radio tunes) the quality of songwriting you get from the band so far exceeds their contemporaries that they’re not even in the same galaxy.tr-gnr

Back in the late-80s, the popular talk was comparing GnR to The Rolling Stones, under the premise that supposedly no other band had conquered the rock and roll world on their own terms to the degree that GnR did.  That was typical rock journalist hyperbole, of course.  But honestly, the depth of songwriting, quality of musicianship, and production was blowing most other acts at the time out of the water – even GnR’s supposed contemporaries.  Motley Crue didn’t figure out how to write a song until their 4th album; Poison never quite did.  Ratt’s riffs were impeccable, but aside from the one-off lyrical curiosity like Wanted Man, they didn’t keep up.  Great White?  Slaughter?  Bulletboys?  XYZ?  Rough Cutt?  Firehouse?  Please.  Don’t embarrass yourself suggesting them.

GrogHeads Advanced Research on Projects Advisory #96

GARPA comes back with a couple of new pre-order offerings for you ~

GrogHeads Staff, 16 September 2016

 

HOLDFAST: ATLANTIC and HOLDFAST: PACIFIC (Worthington Games)
$33500 of $10k, ends 24 SEP 2016

Worthington takes their popular block-based Holdfast series from big land wars (Korea, Russia) and heads to sea, as WWII comes back to life on your tabletop with this new pair of games.  The influence of the classics War at Sea and Victory in the Pacific is obvious, but with the fog of war that block games can give you.  Big region-based maps, and low-complexity gameplay get gamers into the action as fast as possible, and let armchair admirals focus on the war and not the rulebook.  Steam over to their pledge page and fire your salvo at their Kickstarter campaign.

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Tracer Rounds: When Positives Become Negatives

Possibly the most raw column I’ve ever written ~

Brant, 05 September 2016

Some of these columns are a lot easier to write than others.  Some days I feel like I’m forcing it.  Some days I honestly feel like I’m mailing it in (see the column about professional sports from last Spring).  Some days the column just flows and before I know it, I’m at 2800 words and feel like there’s a lot left to say.

Some days, there’s a lot I want to say, and just not sure how.  Many of those turn out to be kind of personal, like the column about the Imposter Syndrome.  Today is one of those days, and it’s going to be hard for make this as coherent as it deserves to be, particular since I’m not quite ready to name names and potentially ruin lives.  But I also said back when I first started this whole endeavor that I was going to do this without a net (i.e., no editor), so you’re getting an unfiltered look at the insanity that ping-pongs around my head as I write these things.

Explorers of the North Sea – First Look!

Hexes, sir!  Off the starboard bow! ~

Brant Guillory, 31 August 2016

Every now and then, everyone takes the plunge on a straight-up impulse buy.  Sometimes, it’s an impulse pledge on Kickstarter.  I give to you Explorers of the North Sea.  Haven’t played it yet, but here’s what it looks like!

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That right there is a bad-ass cover

Mare Nostrum Empires (Academy Games) – First Look!

Picked up over the summer at Origins ~

Brant Guillory, 30 August 2016

Following a massively successful Kickstarter, and some shipping delays as the manufacture of components needed some tweaking, Academy’s reprint of Mare Nostrum, along with the expansions, finally started to get delivered.  Folks who attended Origins were able to pick them up there.  Hot damn!

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This gallery includes both the base game Empires (on the right) and the Atlas expansion (left)

Tracer Rounds: The C2E2

Revisiting an older concept to reinvigorate the re-conversation ~

Brant, 29 August 2016

So, about 5-6 years ago, I started playing with an idea for a game/system.  The idea was a basic unified set of rules for current events conflicts, with regularly-released updates that would provide unit information and updated map details for the current world situation.  This would allow any player to just grab the current update, and “play forward” from there, to see how the various conflicts might shape up over the next few months or years.  When the next update rolled around, the players would have the option to either reset to the current world situation, or adapt the update to their own ongoing conflicts and continue an “alternate future” using the update components.

It’s not like I was breaking any really new ground with the idea, but I had a pretty high-minded concept for how I wanted it to happen, but got quite bogged down in the actual execution of it all.

What I’d like to do here is reopen the discussion and attempt to reinvigorate the participation in the development of the rules and current updates, in the hopes that many minds are smarter than mine, and we can collaboratively move forward on an open-source set of rules and initial process for putting these kinds of tools in the hands of gamers with an interest in current events.