Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010 game purchases in review

I bought an unusually large number of new games in 2010 -- at least a baker's dozen -- and even more unusually, I played the majority of them! This is a welcome change from years past when i had high levels of purchases that didn;t make it to the table. Its been my experience that a game that doesn't make it to the table the first year I have it rarely make it later on.

In alphabetical order here are the complete new games I bought in 2010:

Arnhem: The Farthest Bridge - 0 plays. This is part of the new series of folio games published by Decision Games that are basically remakes of old SPI classics. The maneuver unit order of battle and map are identical to the old 1975 SPI Arnhem game, but there's a new game system with some significant rules changes. I bought this one in order to get a sense as to whether these represent enough of an improvement over the old game to warrant a purchase. I picked this one because I have more than a hundred games under my belt using the old game for comparison. I like how some of the new rules look but final evaluation depends on getting this rather old-school hex-and-counter game played.

Axis & Allies Europe 1940 - 3 plays. I've only played this in conjucntion with last year's A&A Pacific 1940 as part of the epic Global A&A 1940 scenario but I've had a blast. I think the global game is big enough to mitigate some of the gamier aspects of the A&A system and yet simple enough to be a viable gateway, club, convention and game store experience. I expect more plays in 2011.

Battle Above the Clouds - 0 plays. This is the latest interation of the Great Campaigns of the American Civil War series, moving to the Western theater. I'm not entirely sure I like the new graphics, but until I get a chance to play it I can't be sure. This game was gifted to me by the widow of my good friend Mark Perry who died late last year. He had pre-ordered this game and when it arrived his wife decidedto give it to me rather than send it back. I do hope I getthe chance to play this one this year.
Battle Cry 150th Anniversary Edition - 6 plays. This update of the original Commands & Colors system game is one of my favorites for the year. I think it hits a sweet spot for gaming with newer and more casual wargamers and is an excellent intorduction to the system. This will undoubtedly hit the table a lot over this coming year as we start moving into the 150th anniversary era.

Battles of Napoleon: The Eagle and the Lion - 2 plays. This is one of the interesting trio of Napoleonic battle games that game out this year. It's probably the most involved of the bunch and has a real miniatures feel to it. I expect to get more plays in with this one over the coming year, although probably not qite as much as Napoleon's War and Commands & Colors; Napoleonics due to the lengthier playing time.

Commands & Colors: Napoleonics - 4 plays. This highly anticipated Borg title was well worth the wait. There are a lot of interesting twists to the system and it's a blast to play. The rules for squares in particular are interesting. Guaranteed to see more plays this year.

Cthulhu Dice - 0 plays. This trivial filler game surprisingly hasn't hit the table yet because thematically it's a little problematical for family play or with some of the more casual game groups I play with. I do expect to get a play or two in but it probably won't be played as much as it might have with a less grim theme.

Fires of Midway - 0 plays. I'm also surprised I haven't gotten this played yet. The stars just haven't aligned right, I guess, although that would probably be a more appropriate excuse for Cthulhu Dice. Still, it's one of my favorite topics and seems fairly quick to play, so I think it will get played before too long.

Gettysburg - 4 plays. This might be the surprise hit of 2010, getting played four times on three different sessions. It's slightly more approachable than Martin Wallace's Waterloo, which is similar. I expect to play this again this year as well.

Heroscape Master Set - Battle for the Underdark - 5 plays. It's hard to believe, but Heroscape started off the year with a new master set, pumped out three new Dungeons & Dragons-themed expansions -- and then died! It's too bad, but there's enough Heroscape stuff in my closet to keep me busy for years, the D&D foray added some interesting new rules (treasure glyphs, shadow spaces and Uncommon Heros) and I'm not even convinced that Heroscape is gone for good.

King Philip's War - 2 plays. This game prompted an unusual amount of mainstream press attention for a standard wargame when a newspaper journalist ginned up a little controversy about the game's topic among New England Indian tribes. The game itself is a nice little design with some interesting strategic decisions for players and opening a window to view an important, if obscure, episode in U.S. history. I hope to play it a few more times this year as there are some strategic lines I'd like to explore.

Napoleon's War - The 100 Days - 5 plays. The first out of the gate among the 2010 crop of Napoleonic battle games, this one builds off the popular system used in Hold the Line and the Wars for America series. Similar in scale and playing time to C&C: N, it will be interesting to see if it can hold its own now that the Borg game is out. It does have an advantage in set-up time over CC:N with the pre-printed maps and some find Borg's card-based section-restricted command system too artificial. I expect to get some more plays of this in as well, although I have to admit that CC:N has the edge with me.

Persian Incursion - 0 plays. By far the most serious wargame I bought in 2010. Persian Incursion examines the possibility of an Israeli military strike against Iran's nuclear program. This arrived late in the year but I'm trying to get a couple of plays in soon. While a stand-alone game that doesn't require Harpoon 4 to play, it's still pretty involved and not just a casual sit-down game.

1 comment:

  1. Looking forward to your thoughts/comments on Fires of Midway as well as Persian Incursion. (Yeah, I was on the dev team for that one too...)