Review – Keep up the Fire! by Victory Point Games

Review – Keep up the Fire! by Victory Point Games

Designer – John Welch

Art – Tim Allen

note – Thanks to Victory Point Games for providing a copy of this game for review

Ever see 55 Days at Peking with Charleton Heston and David Niven? Ava Gardner? Pretty cool right?

Well thats pretty much the extent of my knowledge about the Boxer Rebellion ” also called The Boxer Uprising by some historians or the Righteous Harmony Society Movement in northern China, was a proto-nationalist movement by the “Righteous Harmony Society” (義和團 – Yìhétuán), or “Righteous Fists of Harmony” or “Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists” (known as “Boxers” in English), in China between 1898 and 1901, opposing foreign imperialism and Christianity.” (source Wikipedia). Yeah, yeah, yeah…

Keep Up the Fire! puts you in command of a multi-national force that is surrounded in Peking by a Chinese hordes who are trying to their very best to come in and make mince meet out of you. Meanwhile, a relief force is desperately trying to force a passage through to Peking to save the day. Adapting Victory Point Games’ States of Siege system, John Welch puts you into a real pressure cooker as your force really is feeling the crunch.

The components are typical VPG standard, card map, cards and chits with nice artwork.very functional and nice to look at.

A new wrinkle in the system is that you have two areas of operations. The local Foreign Legation compound with all of the different military detachments manning the walls and the strategic map where you are struggling to move your relief force through enemy forces to reach Peking.

Gameplay

The structure of the game revolves around a set of cards which drives all the actions as well as the story narrative of the events of the siege.

Each turn starts with choosing a card which is usually split between actions or commands which can be taken at Peking by Legation forces against the Chinese forces (fire, movement, melee) and then additional actions that can be taken by the relieving force (combat, movement, build up logistics). Historical background gives you some basic information about the events that are taking place.

The Legation phase has you placing Chinese assault forces at the outer reaches of Peking taking actions to destroy them and moving them towards the city if they survive (start worrying…).

The Relief Column phase is where you try and force passage through to Peking. Pretty tough as you need to build up logistics to help or you will get nowhere. That and face assaults from Chinese forces.

The random element of the game is that success or failure is down to a die-roll in combat and Relief force progress. Typical for the States of Siege system and it works well. You have to take your decisions as to where you will take your actions to make the best impact on your progress and defense of Peking. However, the fortunes of war mean that nothing is ever certain except, your legation forces will dwindle. The success die roles are tough to make. In combat, firing means you have to hit first, and then make a good enough die roll to eliminate the enemy, or else, they will keep coming. And if you hit the enemy at Peking during a melee, you will also need to roll to damage them and guess what, you will receive the same die-worth of damage (modifiers could make this better or worse). All very harrowing. You will cringe as you watch your legations’ combat strength shrink. On top of that, you have a limited amount of commands you can take whether at Peking or for the relief force.You just can’t do everything or be everywhere you want to…

This is a game where you really feel like the deck is stacked against you. And you can’t just focus on Peking although you need to as if the enemy gets through the walls and to Fort Halladay, or if all of the Legations lose their troops, you are done. If you don’t move that relief force and get to Peking, you are done. And getting the right die rolls aren’t easy which means you need to take best advantage when the die rolls in your favor. Talk about tension!

The process works well and the game will be easily learned when if you have played other games in the series. New players will find it pretty easy to learn  and play.

Interestingly, although a solitaire game, you can play with 2 players with one player handling the Peking defense and the other handling the relief force.

Did it work for me?

I am a big fan of the State of Siege system to begin with and Keep up the Fire! is a great addition to the suite of games adapting the system for different sieges. In fact, the tension has been ratcheted up a notch as the tactical situation is extremely harrowing and the difficulty of getting the relief force through is enough to make you scream. But with delight and frustration at the same time as the tide swings for or against you. This game will definitely get more play. It is loads of fun, has an interesting theme, and loads of tension. I have got to find a way to beat the Chinese hordes!!! Due to the dual tactical and strategic challenges, I would say its one of the best solitaire games I’ve played.

Boardgames in Blighty rating – 9 out of 10

Family Friendly?

Not a family game.

For more information – http://victorypointgames.com/details.php?prodId=172

Advertisements

Review – The Alamo Remembered from Victory Point Games

Review – The Alamo Remembered from Victory Point Games

Designed by George Barna

Art by Tim Allen and Mike Smith

note – Thanks to Victory Point Games for providing a copy of this game for review

 

For 1-2 players age – 10+

Hey dude, got a 1/2 hour to re-fight the battle of the Alamo? What? Yeah man, I got this new game about the Alamo and it plays really quick. Oh really?

Yep folks, another Alamo game is here, The Alamo Remembered  and the 2nd from Victory Point Games. The other is Blood Red Banner: The Alamo – ooohhh, I will have to play that one too and compare…

The Alamo Remembered  is a redesign of The Alamo from Dana Lombardy’s Conflict magazine and comes in the usual nifty VPG plastic pouch with a 4-page, color Game Rules booklet, an 8½” x 16½” game map and 54 double-sided 3/4” cardboard game chits. Yeah, yeah, VPG does things a bit old skool in terms of components and yet again, I will remind you dear readers that the quality of the card components is very good for what it is. That’s the VPG model so get over it. If you limit yourself to playing games with flashy components with the cost to go with it, you may be missing out. VPG produces a bunch of very good, fun and pleasing to the eye games and this is no exception.

Gameplay

A very simple game,  The Alamo Remembered gives you a quick playing, nicely themed experience that is definitely a challenge.

The Texian player sets up his units in the Alamo and they start unknown to the Mexican player. The Mexican forces assault different parts of the of the walls while the Texians fire cannon ballshot, grapeshot and rifles in the hope that they can stop them in their tracks and prevent the walls being breached. The surviving Mexicans can try and take out the Texian defenders. The problem, is that the Texians have very limited numbers including dummy units which are used to fool the Mexicans into firing at the wrong targets. Eventually, these are whittled down. The Last Stand takes place if the walls are breached during turns 1-3 or after turn 3 if no breach has occurred. All the while, the Mexicans are recycled and keep coming, except for their larger units which once destroyed, are out of the assault. So it may seem like a no hoper for the Texian player. In fact, you know that the Texians have no chance.

In the Last Stand phase, Jim Bowie may crawl out of his sick bed and get into the fray, the Texians fall back for one last stand, Mexicans come through the walls and overwhelm what’s left of the the beleaguered garrison. Remember the Alamo!

Boring? No replay value?

Uh… Here’s the thing…

The Mexican player has only 3 turns to breach the walls. And its not easy. Using a diceless combat system that is all about having higher combat strength than the enemy at the right place, things can be pretty tough going for Santa Anna’s Army. The sooner the walls are breached the better for the Mexicans as they have stronger forces to overwhelm the defenders. The longer it takes, the greater chance the Mexicans will have a less emphatic victory. For the Texian player, you will be overwhelmed so its all about how humiliating a victory is achieved by Santa Anna. Victory Point Games are determined to produce games that will stress you out, in a good way…

Did it work for me?

The Alamo Remembered is a nice little game. I get the VPG production model of less glamorous but nonetheless, good quality card components at a nice price. Yes, its not very detailed and is very light. Certainly less complex than their other games, but this game delivers as an easy to understand, fast playing game. The theme works well. It feels like an Alamo, no-hope experience against tremendous odds. The mechanics work very well and the situation is challenging for both sides. The artwork on the chits and map is nice and I guess the key for me is that as soon as I finished playing, I wanted another go, and again, and again and again… It really kept me coming back for more. It was great fun in a short space of time. A terrific introduction to war gaming. Easy to teach, tense, thematic and fun.

Boardgames in Blighty rating – 8 out of 10

Family friendly?

Its not a family game but a great entry into wargaming for an adult to teach to their child

For more information go to – http://victorypointgames.com/

Review – Yomi from Sirlin Games

Review – Yomi from Sirlin Games

Designed by David Sirlin

Art by – Concept Arthouse, Genzoman, Udon Crew, Long Vo

Review by Paco Jean and Posted with permission from  G*M*S Magazine

 

You’re holding the joystick so hard your knuckles go white. You press the button so hard it’s amazing they don’t scream at you in pain. Your fingers move so fast you don’t even see them going from one button to the next. Your mind so focussed on beating the machine in front of you, you look and see every little hint and clue of its next move in order to beat it. Your concentration so deep, if the building collapsed around you, you wouldn’t hear a thing.

And at the end of it all, the word “KO!” appears on the screen either to your delight or dismay. No middle ground here.

20 years ago, that was the world of games such as Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat. We used to spend lots of time in arcades and playing these fighting games was the highlight of the day (or even week!) and we miss those days. Or I do.

So why the nostalgia attack? Because Yomi is the card game that replicates, to a tee those games from the late 80s and early 90s, and boy what an experience that is!

Now, to the beginning. This is the blurb from Sirlin Games:

“Yomi is a card game that simulates a fighting game. It tests your ability to predict how your opponents will act and your ability to judge the relative value of cards from one situation to the next. Also, it lets you do fun combos and be a panda.

You get to be a panda!!!!!! How freaking cool is that!?

Yomi is the Japanese for “reading”, but reading as in the mind of your opponent so you can pre-empt what he/she’s going to do. This is one of the key elements of playing Yomi and it makes it super fun to play.

yomi_contents1_web_grande[1]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Complete First Edition box comes with all the characters that have been released in a lovely box. Each character is a deck of cards of the Poker type – so much so that you can play Poker and other traditional card games with them. Each character has its strengths and weaknesses that work against other characters better than others. That makes exploring different fights a very enjoyable part of the game. The box also comes with great playing mats and four counters for the character’s hit points.

So what do you do with your character? The mechanics are extremely easy. These guys have re-invented Rock Paper Scissors and they’ve done it amazingly well. Players have four basic actions. Attack, Throw, Block and Dodge. Attack beats Throw. Throw beats Block or Dodges, and those two beat Attack. Depending on if you win or not, you get certain rewards.

Rewards can be things like getting an extra card, getting a card back to your hand, or beating your opponent to a pulp (which, I hasten to add, is VERY satisfying!). There are more things, but you need to buy the game to find out.

Each character gets a “power-up” grade. That means for every attack they manage to inflict on an enemy, they can keep adding cards to increase damage. To totally ridiculous levels, which is amazing.

The game is also very fast. With a fairly limited number of cards in each player’s hand, and only four moves, it is hardly a strain any anyone’s brain to decide what to do. Watching the enemy’s life counter getting lower and lower is a very, very satisfying experience (yes, I am gloating here… shoot me).

As you might have gathered, I love this game. However, there is one thing that did disappoint me. The rules are not very well written. It took a long time before I managed to understand the rules fully. For a game with such simple mechanics, the rules don’t leave everything clear enough to start playing right away. Lovingly laid-out as they are, they could be a lot simpler and more player friendly than they are.

Regardless, the game is so enjoyable that it’s worth going through the rules. Once you have, you’ll be playing in no time and every single game it’s terrific, so well worth buying. I would normally deduct some markings because of the rules, but this game is so excellent I will still give it a full 5 stars mark.

Source: G*M*S Magazine (http://s.tt/12Ufn)

Review Faux-Cabulary from Out-of-the-Box Games

Review Faux-Cabulary from Out-of-the-Box Games

Designed by Matthew Nuccio

Review by Paco Jean posted with permission from G*M*S Magazine

 

Fwaposaurus. Hypobushy. Bangoism… What would appear to be a keyboard gone mad or a writer gone drunk, it’s nothing else than the new nouns for new things you never thought needed a name. And what fun is to make them!

Faux-Cabulary is a party game for three to seven players by Out of the Box Games, orientated to the whole family and that can be learned in less than 5 minutes, and played by pretty much anyone.

The box contains a deck of cards with definitions or questions, 21 cubes with letters on each side and 7 covers to host the cubes once the players decide to use them. Also a rules manual, though I should call it a rules-sheet, it is an extremely rules-light game.

The premise of the game is extremely simple. Every round, a player acts as the “judge” for that round. The judge reads the definition in one of the cards the box comes with and the players have to come up with a word, in secret, out of three randomly chosen cubes. Once the players have decided what they want to give the judge, they put their words forward. The judge has to look away at this point, though. The reason being that he or she should remain impartial. Then the words are revealed and the one that the judge considers to be the most appropriate gets the point.

The component are as good as they need to be. The cubes are hollow and light, but solid enough to endure good play times. the cars are well laminated and rather thick, so they won’t get bent any time soon (unless you make an effort!). The plastic covers are a bit flimsy, but then, they don’t need to be the bees-knees of the gaming world either. They do the job, though they’re the most delicate part of the whole set.

After-play conclusion

We played a few times and we did get quite a few hilarious words that helped us keep going with it. The game is nothing profound or strategic and I doubt anyone will ever get hooked on it. However, as party games go, this is a pretty nifty on to have around.

One word of warning, though. Although the game is rated for the whole family, some of the words that can be formed with the cubes can sound offensive to some people. They are not, I hasten to add. All the words you can create are totally ridiculous and unrecognised by anyone else and there are no F words or C words to be found anywhere. Personally I rather hear children voicing words coming out from Faux-Cabulary than from most parent’s mouths! However if you’re sensitive about this subject, you might want to have a few goes at the game first before playing with your children.

Did I like this game? I sure did and so did my friends. I will be only so pleased and happy to get it out when I have family around. Quite honestly, I rather play this game than Charades any time of the day or night and I think this game will be absolutely perfect at Christmas when we’ve finished our meals and the TV is airing something none of us is interested in.

Oh, I’ll also get this game out after 2 or 3 beers. And if you’ve had three beers, please stop drinking… you won’t benefit from this game (or from life) if you’re drunk.

A success for a silly game that makes you sound even sillier! 3 Stars!

Source: G*M*S Magazine (http://s.tt/12V5C)

 

 

Victory Point Games Press Release – The Young Republics Pair released!

Victory Point Games Press Release – The Young Republics Pair released!

From Robespierre to Aaron Burr

http://victorypointgames.com/details.php?prodId=176

From designers John Welch and Robert Leonhard, VPG is bringing you the Young Republics Pair! Bundling the pre-released Hero of Weehawken with Levee en Masse and the Levee en Masse expansion kit, these solitaire games are sure to delight!

Note: Hero of Weehawken is not available for individual copy sales yet; it will be officially released on September 8th.

Click here for all the details and to order The Young Republics Pair!

2010 CSR Charles S. Roberts Award Nominees Announced

2010 CSR Charles S. Roberts Award Nominees Announced

Best Ancient to Napoleonic Era Board Wargame

The Coming Storm (by Kevin Zucker), Operational Studies Group (OSG)

Commands & Colors: Napoleonics (by Richard Borg), GMT Games LLC

Julius Caesar (by Grant Dalgliesh, Justin Thompson) Columbia Games

King Philip’s War (by John Poniske), Multi Man Publications, Inc. (MMP)

Washington’s War (by Mark Herman), GMT Games LLC

Best Post-Nap. to Pre-WW 2 Era Board Wargame

The Lost Cause (by Hans von Stockhausen), Victory Point Games

Ottoman Sunset (by Darin Leviloff), Victory Point Games

The Spanish Civil War: 1936-1939 (by Javier Romero), GMT Games LLC

The Tide at Sunrise: Russo-Japanese War (by Yukihiro Kuroda, Adam Starkweather), Multi Man Publications, Inc.

White October: The Last Assault on Red Petrograd (by David Beaudlet), Battles #5

Best World War 2 Era Board Wargame

Barbarossa: Crimea (by Vance von Borries), GMT Games LLC

Beda Fomm (re-issue) (by Frank Chadwick), Consim Press

Steel Wolves (by Brien Miller, Stephen Jackson), Compass Games

Normandy ’44 (by Mark Simonitch), GMT Games LLC

We Must Tell the Emperor (by Steve Carey), Victory Point Games

Best Post-WW2 Era Board Wargame
Hearts and Minds: Vietnam 1965-1975 (by John Poniske), Worthington Games

Labyrinth: The War on Terror    (by Volko Ruhnke), GMT Games LLC

A Week in Hell: The Battle of Hue (by Laurent Guenette),Battles, #3

World at War: The Untold Stories (by Mark H Walker), Lock ‘n Load Publishing

Yalu (2nd edition) (by John Hill), Compass Games

Best Pre-20th Century Era Computer Wargame

Ancient Wars: Greek Wars (HPS)

Campaign Jena-Auerstedt (HPS)

Civilization V (Firaxis)

Greek Wars (HPS)

Napoleon Total War (Creative Assembly)

Best 20th Century Era – Modern Computer Wargame

Battlefield Bad Company 2 (EA)

Call of Duty: Black Ops (Activision)

Command Ops: Battles from the Bulge (Panther Games/Matrix)

First World War Campaigns: France ’14 (HPS)

Gary Grigsby’s War in the East (2by3 Games/ Matrix)

Revolution Under Siege (Sep REDS/Matrix)

Best Science-Fiction or Fantasy Board Wargame

All Things Zombie (by Ed Teixeira, Mark H Walker), Lock ‘n Load Publishing

Dungeon & Dragons – Castle Ravenloft Board Game (by Rob Heinsoo, Peter Lee, Mike Mearls, Bill Slavicsek), Hasbro

High Frontier (by Phil Eklund), Sierra Madre Games

Runewars (by Corey Konieczka), Fantasy Flight Games

Space Hulk: Death Angel (by Corey Konieczka), Fantasy Flight Games

War of the Ring Collector’s Edition (by Roberto di Meglio, Marco Maggi, Francesco Nepitello), Fantasy Flight Games

Best Science-Fiction or Fantasy Computer Wargame

Armada 2526 (Matrix Games)

Distant Worlds (Matrix Games)

Fall Out New Vegas (Bethesda Softworks)

Mass Effect 2 (EA)

Best Magazine Game

Buffalo Wings (by John D. Webster), Against the Odds #29

Fury in the East (by Ginichiro Suzuki) (MMP)

Julian (by Joseph Miranda), S&T (Decision Games)

Race for Berlin (by Francois-Xavier Euzet), Battles #4

Tarleton’s Quarter! (by Mike Joslyn), Against the Odds #28

A Week in Hell (by Laurent Guenette), Battles

Best Desktop Published, Print & Play, Postcard Game

The Barbarossa Campaign (by Gary Graber, Alan Emrich, Carl Paradis),Victory Point Games

Levee en Masse (by John Welch), Victory Point Games

Ottoman Sunset (by Darin Leviloff ), Victory Point Games

Paying the Peiper (by Paul Rohrbaugh), Against the Odds magazine

We Must Tell the Emperor (by Steve Carey), Victory Point Games

Best Expansion or Supplement for an Existing Game

ASL Action Pack #6: A Decade of War (by Charles Fortenberry, Charles Kibler, Bob MacNamara), Multi Man Publications, Inc. Combat

Commander: Battle Pack #3 – Normandy (by John Foley), GMT Games LLC

Conflict of Heroes: Price of Honour – Poland 1939 (by Uwe Eickert, Michał Ozon),Academy Games

Imperial Japanese Navy (Silent War series) (by Brien Miller), Compass Games

World at War: Operation Garbo (by Nils Idemalm, Mark H Walker), Lock ‘n Load Publishing

Best Board Game Graphics

Conflict of Heroes: Price of Honour (Academy Games)

King Philip’s War (Multi-Man Publishing)

Labyrinth: The war on Terror (GMT Games LLC)

Normandy ’44 (GMT Games LLC)

Steel Wolves (Compass)

A Week in Hell (Battles)

Best Computer Game Graphics

Decisive Campaigns: The Blitzkrieg from Warsaw to Paris (Matrix Games)

Gary Grigsby’s War in the East: The German-Soviet War 1941-1945 (2by3 Games/ Matrix)

MapMod-alternate graphics packages (France ’14, Kharkov’ ’43)

Napoleon Total War (Creative Assembly)

Revolution Under Siege (Matrix Games)

Best Professional Game Magazine Against the Odds, ATO

Against the Odds, ATO

Battles, Battles

Battles, Battles C3i Magazine, RBM Publications

Strategy & Tactics, Decision Games

World at War, Decision Games

Best Amateur Game Magazine
Alea (Ludopress)

Le Franc-Tireur (Le Franc Tireur)

Line of Departure (Jim Werbaneth)

No Turkeys (Valgame)

Simulacrum (John Kula)

Best Historical/Scenario Article

50 Years War – A scenario for Warriors of God (Operations SI#3) by Terry Lee Coleman

Brewster Buffalo in WW2, by J.D. Webster, ATO #29

History of the Peloponnesian War, by Joel Toppen, (C3i Magazine #24)

How Not To Do It: Dieppe 1942 by Brian Train (S&T 265)

Wagram, by Frédéric Bey, (ATO #28)

Best Game Review or Analysis Article

Asia Engulfed by John Foley, (C3i Magazine #24)

Getting more Beda out of your Fomm, by Alan Murphy (Operations SI#3)

Nothing Gained But Glory by Richard G. Simon, (Battles #4)

Sleeping with the Enemy: Pro German Bias in WW2 Wargaming by David Hughes (Battles)

Washington’s War, Art of asymetrical Strategy by Mark Herman, (C3i Magazine #24)

 

James F. Dunnigan Design Elegance Award

Julius Caesar (Columbia Games)

Labyrinth: The War on Terror (GMT Games LLC)

Napoleonic20 Series (Victory Point Games)

Normandy ‘ 44 (GMT Games LLC)

States of Siege solitaire games (Victory Point Games)

 


http://charlesrobertsawards.com/results.php?theYear=2010

 

VPG Press Release – The Alamo Remembered released!

VPG Press Release – The Alamo Remembered released!

 

Dana Lombardy presents: The Alamo Remembered

http://victorypointgames.com/details.php?prodId=170

The Alamo Remembered
, a redesign of The Alamo from Conflict magazine, is a quick, 1-2 player, historical game covering those dramatic minutes when legends were made at the Alamo. In this game of bluff and counter-bluff, command the Texian or Mexican units, defending or attacking the walls of the Alamo.

With no dice rolling, rules to cover many variable conditions during this historic assault, and a “Last Stand” climax to the game, the birth of Texas is yours to relive. As the Texians, can you hold out at the Alamo to the last, or as the Mexicans quickly breach walls for glory? Find out in The Alamo Remembered!

Click here for all the details and to order The Alamo Remembered!