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Tuesday Screenshot – Medieval II Total War

4 November 2014


The Spanish forces of Sir Nogel had marshaled in the opening days of April and now early on a rain-washed morning they marched out to meet the French invaders. They arrived on the edge of a blossoming field, across which the French had made their camp. As both sides drew up for battle, the Spanish soldiers fidgeted nervously at the site of the vaunted French mounted knights.
Robed in their polished armor and adorned with the French colors, the knights instantly drew the attention of the Spanish foot soldiers. The Spanish nobles tried in vain to reassure their vassals that this was a battle that could be won and that their men’s lives would not be forfeit. After a brief skirmish between the two sides, the main lines of foot soldiers marched towards each other.
Then, whether out of bloodlust or foolish pride, the French knights charged the center of the Spanish line. Expecting this type of rashness from their enemies, the Spanish had instructed their men to immediately stop their advance at the site of a French cavalry charge. Quickly coming to a halt and forming ranks, the Spanish spears prepared to meet the enemy horses. Like waves against a rocky shore, the French knights broke upon the Spanish spear.
In a manner of minutes the remaining knights were fleeing the field of battle leaving their fallen brethren lying amongst the spring flowers at the feet of the Spanish.

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GrogHeads Advanced Research on Projects Advisory #50!

GARPA turns 50!  Can we get a “w00t! w00t!” ?  Last month it was all games that had already made the cut.  This month?  You gotta work for ’em…


G50-trumpetsNo Trumpets, No Drums (One Small Step Games)
Pre-order price of $44.95

New from OSS, No Trumpets, No Drums is a strategic- and high operational-level game of the Vietnam War from ’65-’75.  Picking up after the French have left, and running past the departure of most US ground troops, this expansive game covers the ground campaigns, with a heavy dose of the political machinations that ultimately decided the war.  It’s a hex-and-counter layout on your table, but the game plays on several levels and is conducive to team play, as well.

This is a remake of an earlier magazine game from the early 80s.  They are hoping to get it out by the end of the year, but only if they can get enough preorders in to make it into production, so get to their website and place your pre-order.  OSS makes some great games, from some cracking designers and developers.

Tuesday Screenshot – Rome II Total War

A Tuesday Screenshot in motion!

Click to enlarge



A bad day in Rome
Is still miles better than a
Good day at a desk


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GARPA 42 – GrogHeads Advanced Research on Projects Advisory

This week, GARPA dips into the pre-order troves of some wargame companies, as well as tiptoeing through Kickstarter, to find you some great upcoming games.


Huzzah! Four Battles of the American Civil War Vol. 1 (One Small Step)
$39.95 pre-order

Company-level actions in the ACW comes to your tabletop in a quad-game package with 4 small, but important, battles from the 1860s.  You get Grant’s first real battle, out in Missouri.  You’ll also get Burnside in North Carolina, and two other fights.  The colorful counters give you a solid period feel, and the maps a compact and get you into the fight in a hurry.  Check out the preorder page and load your muskets!




G42-KwaKawaguchi’s Gamble: Edson’s Ridge (MMP)
$33.00 pre-order

A gorgeous area-movement game of the Japanese attacks to over-run the USMC airfield on Guadalcanal, Kawaguchi’s Gamble is up on pre-order right now with MMP.  Outnumbered over 3-to-1, the Marines are holding Edson’s Ridge from Japanese attacks that include banzai charges and gas attacks.  Drop in on the pre-order page for the game and check out some playtest images and place your order.

GARPA 29 – GrogHeads Advanced Research on Projects Advisory

By Lloyd Sabin, Brant Guillory, Dan Pinkham, and Jim Zabek
October 11, 2013

The days are really starting to get shorter now. For gamers, that means fewer issues with sunlight reflecting off their monitors and maybe getting the kids to bed a little earlier to get some gaming going. As usual we have some great ideas to make that heavy wallet you’re lugging around a little less cumbersome.

Card Games

Oracle – Mystifying Playing Cards by Chris Ovdiyenko
$9,970 pledged of $20,000 goal, funding ends Friday, November 8

OracleIs there anything more appropriate to this time of year than a card deck based on Ouija boards, spirit photography and spiritualism? Probably, but I can’t think of what it is right now.

Spiritualism was a movement developed between the 1860s and the 1920s that centered on contacting the dead. Initially practiced by American Civil War widows, it gave people hope during the darkest times of their lives and eventually became popular enough and was taken seriously enough for the wealthy and powerful to practice, including a series of American Presidents and politicians. And luckily for printer Chris Ovdiyenko, spiritualism is loaded with instantly recognizable images, as you can see from these screen shots.

For this card deck, the suits will be the big differentiator. Each suit will be unique, with its own theme, whether it is a séance, automatic writing, or ectoplasm. The designs are created by Chris, who etches them onto wood plates with a laser and then applied to “museum quality artist paper.”

It’s a simple but quite interesting project, which is more appropriately shown with images than words. If you’re into the subtly creepy like me (after all, I work here), I think you will appreciate this Oracle card deck. The art is intricate, a bit disturbing and tells many good stories. And while playing cards, a good story can be even more valuable than a good hand. Oracle’s Kickstarter page can be found here.



Reaper Miniatures Bones II: The Return Of Mr Bones!
$1,613,460 pledged of $30,000 goal, funding ends Saturday, October 26

GARPA-29-ReaperOnce or twice each year it seems like a game (or game-related concept) appears on Kickstarter and the internet goes supernova. Last year Reaper Miniatures had that happen to them. They served up a project, asked for a modest $30,000 or $40,000 (I forget exactly) and ended up with gamers literally throwing money at them. When it was all said and done they had well over a million bucks raised and their biggest problem was trying to figure out which building was large enough to hold their inventory until they got it distributed.

Well, lighting has struck twice.

Asking for a modest $30,000, gamers have responded with $1.6 million in pledges and the folks at Reaper are probably starting to consider wallpapering their offices in twenty dollar bills. Kickstarter-ish projects don’t always have a fairytale ending, but if past success is any indication of future results both Reaper and its gamer fan base have some crazy stuff to look forward to. And they lived happily ever after. Until next year, when Reaper will probably do it again. Reaper’s Kickstarter page can be found over here.

Mars Attacks – The Miniatures Game
$250,477 pledged of $50,000 goal, funding ending Saturday, November 10

GARPA-29-Mars-Attacks-MinisThe day before Halloween in 1938 Orson Wells made his famous broadcast that set half of the US East Coast running for the hills. What better time to celebrate a Martian invasion than over the Halloween holiday time? Mars Attacks appears to be (emphasis on “appears” – we have not investigated the issue in any depth) the legitimate representation in game form of the cult-classic movie of the same name.

And, similar to the Reaper Miniatures project above, it has already hit its funding goals and is merrily knocking off stretch goals as gamers toss money their way.

As with most miniature games the figures and scenery are supplied unpainted, but hey, we’re talking about a Martian invasion here. Let your imaginations run free! Unlocked bonuses seem to run the gamut, from additional earthling soldiers to flying saucers to flaming cattle (steak on the hoof for real!).

The designers behind Mars Attacks, Mantic Games, are not newcomers to miniatures gaming. I’ve not played any of their games, but I have seen them in a store and was intrigued. Mars Attacks might be the game to put them on the map and cause gamers to take a second look at all their offerings. In any case, with funding levels already achieved it looks like Mars is indeed going to invade the Earth, and if that sounds like a good time head on over to their Kickstarter page for a closer look.

GARPA 28 – GrogHeads Advanced Research on Projects Advisory

GARPA #28, Grogheads Staff

Fall is the best time of year…this is not even debatable, primarily because the heat of summer has been broken and the weather is cooler. But there is so much more that fall has to offer! Like fear. Fear brought to you by darkening days, the harvest possibly coming up short and the impending onset of winter…even if we don’t farm, there’s a natural connection to autumn that brings both excitement and a niggling sense of unease. All of this culminates in Halloween, The World’s Best Holiday.

You probably think we are going to bring you a series of planned board and PC games that intend to scare the crap out players. But would we be the GARPA guys if we were so obvious? Maybe. But that’s not what we’re doing in this installment…plenty of time for scares in the next few weeks. For now, enjoy the seasonally appropriate impending doom evident in the following planned projects!

Board Games

BattleAxeBattleAxe by Nick Ryan

$3,135 pledged of $110,000 goal, funding ends Wednesday, October 23

HTML: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/nickryan/battleaxe?ref=category

If you are 35 or older, you may remember an awesome game from the early 1980s called Crossbows & Catapults in which players literally hurled miniature projectiles at each other’s medieval strongholds in hopes of capturing their enemy’s keep. It was a violent but awesomely fun, basic game. BattleAxe appears to be in a similar vein, but hopes to be more advanced.

BattleAxe is set during the Dark Ages (I don’t care what people are calling it these days, they will always be the Dark Ages to me) and, like Crossbows & Catapults, players will assemble and command armies, build a keep, and attempt to kill the enemy king. Think chess but in three dimensions, using armored spearmen, axemen, swordsmen, and cavalry in your army and towers, walls, trenches, and fire for defense. An oversized battlefield map and custom dice are also included. The game takes a realistic angle and makes a point in not including fantasy elements of any kind…this is a game of Dark Age combat and tactics.

Nick Ryan, the developer of BattleAxe, assures potential players that the game itself is already 95% done and has been in play testing for two years, with “only funding” required at this point. That’s a big missing link, but if the game plays well tactically and strategically as promised, it will be worth investing in. Let’s hope BattleAxe can capture some of the magic that Crossbows & Catapults had for us older guys.

GARPA 28 - ReluctantPre-Order: Reluctant Enemies (MMP)

766 of 640 orders needed, Pre-order price of $39.00

Reluctant Enemies is designed as a ‘gateway’ game into the OCS series, but it also covers the rarely-gamed Middle Eastern ‘front’ in WWII, as the British sought to shore up their territories on the eastern edge of the Med.  The reluctant enemies in this fight are the Brits – with their Australian, Indian, and Free French allies – opposing the Vichy French seeking to make mischief in Lebanon and Iraq.  Once the Vichy French allowed German aircraft to overfly their airspace en route to an anti-British coup in Iraq, well… it was on!

The OCS series is known for its monster Case Blue-like games, but Reluctant Enemies is a one-map “son of OCS” specifically designed for players new to monster gaming’s premier system.

Get your pre-orders in before the price jumps.

GARPA 27 – GrogHeads Advanced Research on Projects Advisory

Starting the second year of GARPA – yes, this is episode 27 – we bring you an advance look as upcoming projects that have caught our wargaming eye, for both tabletop and computer.


Tabletop Gaming

Next Wave – Tide of Iron Starter Set & Stalingrad Expansion by 1A Games LLC
$6,183 pledged of a $30,000 goal funding ending October 17th

garpa27-toiTide of Iron, the successful squad based tactical World War II boardgame has come to Kickstarter.  Well, not the original but a quick start set and an expansion.  Now that Fantasy Flight has licensed 1A Games LLC to produce the Tide of Iron series we are seeing the first of their new editions that fall under the “Next Wave” moniker.  This crowd funding project has two main parts.  First is the Stalingrad expansion that you must own the TOI starter set in order to play.  If you don’t have the starter set the other half of the project is the TOI Starter Set “Next Wave” edition.  However, the Stalingrad expansion works best with the original TOI if you already own that.  This new “Next Wave” line of products is compatible with the original games and expansions.  They keep the same game system but provide quick start scenarios and present the rules in such a way that they are easy to learn and start playing.

The Stalingrad expansion contains the Soviet infantry and armor as well as the German armor needed to compliment the base game in order to recreate the brutal street fight of one of World War II most important battles.  In all it comes to “90 figures, bases and vehicles.”  In addition to the playing pieces this expansion comes with 12 double-sided urban terrain maps that include factories, streets, buildings and sewers that add another dimension to the game.  Eight new scenarios, introductory battles and four linked campaigns also ship with the game.

The “Next Wave” TOI starter set reprints the tokens, reference charts and core rules from the original game.  It also comes with double sided map boards, German and American infantry, tanks and half-tracks.  As we stated before all of this is compatible with all the previous editions and expansions of the TOI series.  This starter set reprint kicks off 1A Games plan for a full series of “Next Wave” expansions and games for TOI.

I highly recommend you head over and check out the projects Kickstarter page.  Not only are your standard reward levels included but as you go up the reward levels you unlock some very cool rewards that include limited edition game cards, 3d models of a German sIG 33 armored self-propelled howitzer, and laser cut wooden initiative cards.

GARPA 26 – GrogHeads Advanced Research on Projects Advisory

Authors: Dan Pinkham & Lloyd Sabin

Ahh…there is almost a chill in the air and the children are being herded back to school.  That means football season and fall must almost be here. Unfortunately that also means pumpkin in everything you can eat and drink but never fear: GARPA shall remain pumpkin free but still contain all the gaming nutrition you expect.

Board and Tabletop Games

A War of Kings –Playing Cards by Andy Fischer

$8,056 pledged of a $10,500 goal funding ending September 7th

1 War of KingsTo be honest I am getting off easy with this entry but it is too cool looking of a project not to feature here at GARPA. It is a deck of cards. That’s right, 54 playing cards.  However, “each suit is a distinctly different set of fantasy characters, featuring White and Dark Knights, Fire Mages and Barbarians.”  That’s the project, that’s all there is: a card deck with some sweet looking fantasy art. We’ll post some pictures here but make sure to check out their project page for even more art samples.

Fantasy Frontier by Gamelyn Games

$5,187 pledged of a $25,000 goal funding ending October 8th

There is something so very intriguing about airships. Perhaps it is the well-known disaster of the Hindenburg and the idea of what could have been had it not happened. Maybe it is just the notion of slowly drifting through the clouds in your very own dirigible. Whatever the case may be I thought most of us, if honest, find the idea at least interesting.

Since we can’t all go out and buy an airship, we have to keep dreaming and game with them. Fantasy Frontier is here to help with “a 2-4 player game of airships and exploration” that brings the airship fantasy alive on a tabletop.

3 Fantasy FrontierDesigned to be played in about 90 minutes this will make a great game for the coming winter months.  “Each player controls a unique airship with a crew of pioneers. Players manage the actions of these pioneers each turn in an effort to scout the land, gather resources, construct townships, and even battle it out in aerial combat.”

To create the game world over which the airships fly, players develop “geographic patterns via tile placement, the players will develop a new world each time they play.” Each turn players use their workers to perform seven actions: piloting the airship, R&D, scouting the land, gathering resources, constructing a township, aerial combat, or repairing ship damage.

The game comes with over 200 components and looks to be a very unique experience.  Combine the possible turn strategies with the geomorphic playing surface and players get lots of replayability options. If you want to see some cool game art, components, or an early gameplay video then make sure to check out the project’s Kickstarter page.