Press release from Columbia Games – Victory in Europe – Designer’s Notes from Ron Draker


Press release from Columbia Games – Victory in Europe – Designer’s Notes from Ron Draker

Further news for you from Columbia Games on a game that I think will draw a lot of attention.

Designer Notes from Ron Draker

I have always enjoyed grand strategy games on WW II in Europe and spent many hours of my youth playing “Third Reich” and “Advanced Third Reich.” Some of you may remember SPI’s monster game on WW II with division-level units and spiral production charts. Oh those were the days when we had weekends to play. Now, however, I find I do not have the time or patience to learn 30 or 50 pages of rules with hundreds of exceptions. I prefer a game I can play in a long evening with minimal time looking up rules. I started thinking about designing my own WW II game back in 2002 and then learned that “Europe Engulfed” was in development.

Having discovered and fallen in love Columbia’s block games in the 1990s, I shelved my idea thinking there was no need since a playable block game was in development. When Europe Engulfed came out my friends and I played it practically non-stop and I still love the game, but I felt I still would like to see a game with less playing time and fewer exceptional rules. My goal was to take the things I liked most from Third Reich, EE, and other great WW II games and blend them into something new.

I started in earnest around 2005 and found my first design, while using fewer units, was still a monster game. I started with hexes, then went to areas, and then back to hexes. I had abstract concepts for managing the air war off map and intricate spiral production charts that would put SPI to shame, but the more cool things I thought I wanted in the game the longer the playing time became.

Through much trial and error and literally dozens of game mechanics and different maps, I feel I have finally succeeded in designing an enjoyable game that is playable in a long evening thanks to the help of Tom and Grant Dalgliesh at Columbia Games. To accomplish this goal of course, much of the chrome originally envisioned has fallen by the wayside. These are the trade-offs for the Holy Grail of a WW II grand strategy game playable in one sitting.

Setting the right victory conditions to make the game challenging for both sides is one of the harder aspects of designing a game. I decided to make conquest of Britain or the Soviet Union a game-ender to give the Axis player an incentive to go for the big win but there are many paths to victory. I hope you find the choices made acceptable and enjoy the game.


Sequence of Play / Rules Summary

Draw Cards
At game start draw two each, and five in 1940 and thereafter.

Play Commands
Players simultaneously play cards. High card is player 1. Axis win ties until the US invades continental Europe.

Weather: The first and last card play of a year are bad weather turns with reduced movement and combat. In addition the 2nd card play of a year is bad weather in Russia.


  • Player 1 moves all units up to their allowance and hexside limits. Each command allows one hex to be declared for attack.
  • One command allows a para drop; may be supported by one air unit if in range. Para drops are the only move that can pass over enemy areas to reach their destinations.
  • Two commands allow an infantry unit to make a sea invasion or attack across a strait.
  • One command allows a carrier raid (see naval combat).

Strategic Movement

Player 2 follows same sequence.

Land Combat

  • Two rounds of combat unless Blitzkrieg, Desert War, or Breakthrough event is played. Must fight one round of combat.
  • Reinforce: the victorious side in a battle may immediately reinforce the hex with units from adjacent hexes.

Naval Combat
Interception of sea invasion within same major sea as attacker. The side with highest total fleet and air steps after two rounds wins battle. Remaining losing forces must retreat.

Leader Phase
Player 1 makes leader moves followed by player 2. Each leader may initiate one new battle per normal combat rules.

Strategic Warfare
Resolve blockade battles with destroyers.
Resolve bombing raids.

Check supply status and remove unsupplied units. Apply supply losses for limited sea supply

Check captured VP cities and move influence levels. Roll for any country in shaded zone if influence changed this turn.

Production phase
Both sides simultaneously resolve production. Add captured resources.

Next Card Play
Follow above procedures until all cards are done for the year.

New Year
Add played cards back to player’s deck and add cards for the current year.

Press Release from Victory Point Games – THE FIGHT HAS BEGUN IN KNOCKOUT!


Press Release from Victory Point Games – THE FIGHT HAS BEGUN IN KNOCKOUT!

As the newest pug on the block, you’re ready to sock the next lug to enter the ring with you. The wise heads have finally let you challenge the champ and it’s up to you to prove that you can sing that sweet chin music with the best.

This is a knock-down, drag-out slugfest from designer Fréderic Moyersoen that only one fighter can win; the last man standing takes home the dough and the dames.
Maybe once you’ve beaten back the roundheels in the one-off brawls, you can go on to fight in the bigger tournaments…
Click here for all the details on Knockout.

Press release from Columbia Games – Bobby Lee update


Press release from Columbia Games – Bobby Lee update

The 3rd edition of Bobby Lee is now in production. The new large map and leader artwork are among the highlights.

Kickstarter deluxe copies are expected to ship before the end of month.

If you did not preorder via Kickstarter, you can still get the game normally from Columbia Games.

Click here.

BobbyLeeupdate  bobbylee-photo


Press release from Columbia Games – Victory in Europe


Columbia Games next wargame release will be Victory in Europe, designed by Ron Draker.  This amazing block game captures the entire war in Europe in fast-paced experience. The game begins in late 1939 and ends up to six years later with five (5) game turns each year. Game time is 4-6 hours.

The game is played on a large round map of Europe that spans the continent from the Spain to the Caspian Sea and from North Africa to Norway. The game employs many of the proven mechanics in other Columbia block games with innovative leader rules and a card deck that elegantly handles history of the whole war.
VIE map   VIE counters

The cards are the heart of the game and subtly pack a lot of historical feel into the game without heavy rules. Each side has its own deck of cards sorted by year from 1939 to 1945. At the start of a year players add the next year’s cards to their draw pile, shuffle, and deal five cards each. The Axis start the war with more powerful cards than the Allies but, as the war goes on, the Axis draw pile is diluted with weaker cards, while the Allied draw pile grows stronger.

VIE card 1

A Kickstarter campaign is planned to begin soon and release is targeted for V. E. Day  (May 8th, 2014)

Get excited!



Review – Circus Train Second Edition from Victory Point Games


Review – Circus Train Second Edition from Victory Point Games

Designer – Tom Decker

Art – Vinh Ha

Many thanks to VPG Games for providing a review copy of this game

Guest Reviewer – Alan Hatcher

Circus Train is a strategy game for 1 to 4 players, ages 13 and up.

Thanks to Mark for giving me the chance to review this game which for me is a very appealing blend of good euro mechanics and theme. I particularly like the art work that ties to the theme perfectly and the scoring mechanism. Everything from the first edition and it’s expansion is presented here in the second for your enjoyment, so let’s take  look.


The second edition of Circus Train is in the VPGs boxed edition format. you get a red pizza style box with a slip over full colour sleeve.

In the box you will find components for a single player, basic and more advanced game:

A jigsaw style board in five pieces that shows the north of the USA and the border with Canada, with routes between the major cities for you to ride your train. It also has a VIP track and round tracker shown across six months of the year.

Circus Train Map 1 v0-5

A number of laser cut thick card counters to depict performers for hire, local news counters, train standees and a number of in game counters.







Action cards, destination cards and event cards.






Circus Train is set in 1920s, 30s prohibition America and was inspired by the book Water for Elephants by Sarah Green. It is both a set collection game and railroading game as you travel the county with your circus trying to meet the demand of the cities you visit, or hire performers on your way. At the end of the six months the person with the most VIPs wins. Easy as that, or so it would seem, but it is the cunning scoring mechanism in this game that requires clever play and as with all good euro games, resources and actions are tight and you are always on the edge of not having quite enough to do everything you want.

To give you a general feel for game play, the game is played over a number of rounds which are weeks. the heart of the game is centered around action selection chosen from your hand of cards. The number of cards will vary depending on whether you play the basic or advanced game and the number of players. In the basic game you have eight cards and the actions on the cards allow you to travel around a number of spaces, hire performers, perform or a combination of the above. There is also one card that requires you to move and then pay your performers and once you have played all your cards you pick them all up and start again. So you need to have a basic game plan in your head and hope someone doesn’t get there first.

There is then a roustabout phase to replenish demand counters, which will advanced in difficulty every other month, advance the round counter and score if at the end of the month.

It is the scoring that is very clever in Circus Train. You have two scoring markers. As you advance through the game and perform in different cities you will earn money for your show and you will earn victory point based on the extent to which you meet the demand shown on the demand counter. The counter will have a base points value and may ask for clowns, lion tamers and acrobats for example and give the number of points awarded for each one. You tally your point and move ahead your best performance marker to that value but only if it exceeds your previous best. So if your marker is at 30 and your do a performance that tallies up to 35, you move ahead to 35. If it tallied to 25 then you stay where you are, but will still get paid no matter what. It is only at the end of the month that you use the second VIP marker that scores your actual VIPs. At the end of month you score VIPs for highest best performer and for most performers, as long as you have at least two and aren’t tied, in each of the seven types. There is a final scoring at the end of the final month and there you have it.

There is an advanced game that makes some modifications and some extra optional rules that adds special characters and event cards. I especially liked the event cards that are very thematic and modify game play for each month.

Did it work for me?

I really did like this game. It just had a great feel about it. I like economic VIP race games but this is a little more subtle. The trick is to stay just ahead in best performance to get the VIPs but not to neglect other routes to gaining VIPs, from performers or on the game board.

I like the little thematic touches; you start the game in Canada for example because historically the circuses would stock up on alcohol before coming into the USA. Most of the information you need is on the board but not in your face, it blends into the art work and adds to the whole feel of the game. The game is tight and well balanced requiring your to play strategically but having to respond tactically as the board changes around you. The game is set in the Depression and sometimes you feel it; you just can’t get the performers,  if you do you don’t have the money to pay them so they run off and if you play with the event cards then it just gets worse. Very enjoyable.

Boardgames in Blighty rating – 8.5 out of 10

Family Friendly?

With older children who enjoy gaming.

For more information go to –

Press release from Victory Point Games – Cuba: The Splendid Little War now available


Press release from VictoryPoint Games – Cuba: The Splendid Little War now available

Cuba: The Splendid Little War, from designer Javier Garcia de Gabiola, is a two-player simulation of the third War of Cuban Independence (1895-1898). One player controls the forces of the Spanish colonial government, fighting to retain Cuba; the other player controls the Cuban rebels fighting for their independence. Gameplay represents the main insurgency and counterinsurgency operations that took place, and players must make key strategic decisions to achieve their objectives while balancing their resources and preventing their opponent from doing the same.
There are event cards that help and hinder both players; disease, ambushes, assassinations, and the reactions of the American press and government. Steamships, railroads, telegraphs were all common, but there were no radios, almost no automobiles, and no airplanes. Newspapers and magazines were the cutting edge of media, so print was “king.”
As the Spanish player, can you maintain control of the island, keep the economy going (based on sugarcane plantations) and keep the U.S. out of the fight? Or, as the Cubans, can you stop the Spanish efforts and gain your independence.? Play Cuba: The Splendid Little War and find out!
Click here for all the details on Cuba: The Splendid Little War.

Press release from Victory Point Games – Paul Koenig’s The Bulge: 6th Panzer Army now available


Press release from Victory Point Games – Paul Koenig’s The Bulge: 6th Panzer Army

Paul Koenig’s The Bulge: 6th Panzer Army is a system comprised of two small-format, competitive introductory level wargames covering the first 3½ days of the German 1944 winter offensive known as “The Battle of the Bulge.” As a player, you must command your German or Allied forces so as to capture the objectives on the board while keeping your casualties down (and your opponent’s casualties high). The design of these games is loosely based upon Paul Koenig’s D-Day and Market-Garden game systems.
Click here for all the details on Paul Koenig’s The Bulge: 6th Panzer Army.