Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Boardgame Roundup

A few words on recent board gaming activity are in order today folks, I obviously do a lot of board gaming but tend to keep the blogs focus more on miniatures, still, I hope you won't mind the diversion.

Firstly I was pleased to receive the last of my Conan Strategy Game pledge this week, when the freshly minted Adventures in Hyboria expansion arrived.

Conan with Lightsaber, it appears...
 The expansion greatly increases the involvement and Influence of Conan in the game, as well as adding a new type of unit for the players - Spys.  I've yet to do more than scan the components, but they look to be of the promised high standard and will no doubt provide some interesting wrinkles to the base game.

I'm happy to report that I managed to get a game of 1812: The Invasion of Canada going in the last week.  Given the original cost of this game, I'd really like to get my money's-worth from it, but more than that, it's one of the best board wargames I've ever played.

The field at the end of play
It was only as a two player game on this occasion, but the game can accommodate up to five players; recommendations are that it works best with two or five players.  Head to head, I duelled with Ross' command of the British for five rounds; the Native Americans seized Detroit and the west whilst the British marched south from Montreal; things looked bleak for the Americans.  

Little did the British know that I had a forced march and a naval manoeuvre in hand and was able to sweep troops across Lake Erie and the Niagara.  Although the British had signed the Treaty of Ghent to end the game when they thought they were ahead, they suddenly found themselves on the back foot.  It was only by a paramount effort that they were able to pull the game back to a draw. 

As a light wargame, 1812 provides everything I could want from it; easy to learn and simple mechanics, but one's that provide for an enormous range of possibilities.  A game that is hard to master, and should vary every time.  Highly recommended.

Much of which can be said of Concordia too, except the wargame part.

What have the Romans Ever Done for Us?
Concordia is an archetypal 'Trading in the Mediterranean' Eurogame, a sneering cliché critics of European board games like to throw around; and sure, there is no fighting in the game, no dice rolling, no randomising element during game play to speak of.  But the game manages to address this with a semi random board set up and a card driven play mechanic that allows players to forge differing strategies for success.  

The game is only partly about the action on the board too, for all your efforts to establish trading outposts across the known world can be for naught if you don't acquire enough favours of the gods (cards) to maximise your efforts.

This would be a good Monopoly replacement for the more able family group, or for gamers looking for a mid weight game with plenty of re-playability.  Just ignore the dull as dishwater box cover, which really doesn't sell the game.

And on a final note for my British chums, if you've not already noticed, get yourself down to your local branch of The Works (or online) for they again have a batch of modern board games in stock, including for the military minded amongst you 'Sun Tzu', 'Chosun' and 'World of Tanks - Rush', as well as various others of a more varied nature; all seem well regarded by those I know who've picked them up, with perhaps 'Origin' 'Artificium' and 'Madame Ching' being the best reviewed:

For £10-12 each you really can't go wrong though, most of these games would've been £30-40 each.

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