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Diesel Brothers: Truck Building Simulator By: Code Horizon & Playway  Diesel Brothers is a hit American series about a group ...

Diesel Brothers: Truck Bulding Simulator Diesel Brothers: Truck Bulding Simulator

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

Diesel Brothers: Truck Building Simulator
By: Code Horizon & Playway 







Diesel Brothers is a hit American series about a group of truckers who fix up vehicles and do stunts. The American series has aired over 5 seasons since premiering in 2016 to audiences. However, today we won't be focusing on the TV show. Diesel Brothers: Truck Building Simulator has recently been released and is a game to show the fans what it's like to fix up trucks or to see what it's like to be a part of the Diesel Brothers crew. This game is essentially the show, as the title says but as a simulator game. Simulator games have become quite popular in the last couple of years. With titles like Goat Simulator, House Flipper, and Farm Simulator still being popular to this day. However, I haven't heard of a TV show doing its own simulator game so that's definitely quite surprising. 



Character Menu
This simulator has a whole range of things you can do. From choosing a rundown truck, changing the tires on it, replacing all of the parts, spraying the truck and so much more. You can also buy and sell your trucks at auction which is how you make a big chunk of your money in this game. It all seems quite tactical, you need to think about what truck will bring you the most profit once you refurbish it, once you've figured out which are the best trucks to buy, the money should just keep coming in.

There are lots of handy video tutorials for everything in the game, whether it's just selecting a character or for the more technical things like changing parts in your truck, they've got you covered if you get confused. Without the tutorials, the game is quite confusing. I found myself watching quite a few of them as I didn't understand how things worked. So that's one thing I'd recommend if you're planning on playing the game, watch the tutorials.

A negative about these tutorials (even though they're useful) is that you have to go back to the computer in your garage to watch them. It would be a lot easier if they were just in the normal menu where you could access them at any point when you needed to.


Repairing The Truck

One of the most satisfying things in this game is when you get to paint your truck.  Each part can be a different colour and it's so much fun spraying each one. It is quite time consuming but completely worth it, to see what your truck turns out like in the end.


Getting Rid Of Rust On The Truck Hood
As I said before, you make money by repairing and upgrading trucks. You can do this through free play mode, which is my personal favourite because there are no rules and you are free to customize in whatever way you'd like to. Or, you can do it through quests. Quests are essentially like missions/commissions and this is how you get more money and fans. The more quests you do, the harder they quests get. They start off very simple, as this is the sort of game you really need to take your time with to understand each little section. They ask you at first, to just spray the trucks, then as you go on they get more complex, with some quests asking you to replace and upgrade basically the entire truck. There's a real sense of fulfillment when you finish a truck. Knowing that you made something that looked old and horrible into something modern and new again, It feels like a great accomplishment, and I love it when games make me feel like that.



Spraying Truck Hood


Completed Truck
Diesel Brothers Truck Building Simulator is a very impressive and well-thought-out game. Putting the player in the shoes of one of the Diesel Brothers. If you're a fan of the show, or just love simulator titles, this is definitely the game for you. 


Here is a quick summary of all the features in the game that I enjoyed:


  • Wide range of trucks to choose from, so gameplay never gets boring.
  • Lots of customization options for trucks. 
  • Many different areas to explore.
  • Realistic sounds when you're spraying a truck or removing one of the bolts. 
  • Feels like you're in a Diesel Brothers episode (Great for fans of the show).
  • You don't have to be a fan of the show to play the game.

Diesel Brothers Truck Simulator is available to buy now on Steam



Victory: World War II Second Edition by Columbia Games      This is another game where I am entering uncharted t...

Victory: World War II Second Edition by Columbia Games Victory: World War II Second Edition by Columbia Games

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

Victory: World War II Second Edition

by

Columbia Games



  




 This is another game where I am entering uncharted territory. I was a dedicated hex and counter gamer for many years. Within the last two years I have been shown the errors of my ways as far as block and area wargames. Now Columbia Games has sent me a huge bundle of the game and add-ons for their game Victory. Victory is not a historical wargame. I know I shuddered too when I realized it. Victory allows you to fight a sandbox World War II, and what a sandbox! Especially with the add on maps, you can create pretty much any type of map configuration you want. I haven't seen anything with this randomness except in computer games. Of course, I have to add that until this game I held my nose up over non-historical wargames. Guess what, once more I have had to adjust my thinking about wargames. Let us see what comes with the base game:

4 Geomorphic Maps
100 Wooden Blocks
Logistic markers
Game Rules
4 Dice

Add-ons I was sent:

Victory Blockset Orange
Victory Blockset WW2 German (Black)
Victory Blockset WW2 USA (Green)
Victory Blockset WW2 Soviet (Red)
Victory Dirty Dozen 12 Map Bundle (3-4, 7-16)

There are too many other add-ons to list that can be purchased to enhance the game. Here is the webpage:





 Like the rest of Columbia Games, it is a deceptively easy game to begin playing. The rules are only nine pages long, and that includes a page of Advanced Rules. Let us look at the sequence of play:


[1] INITIATIVE: Each player rolls 2d6. Highest total becomes Player Turn 1 for this Game Turn. Roll again to break ties for highest roll. 
 [2] MOVE PHASE: All players move, starting with Player-1, then clockwise in sequence.In turn, a player may move any/all unpinned units, but must make Strategic Moves (5.9) first. Hex control changes immediately
 [3] COMBAT PHASE: Each battle where Player-1 is the Attacker is fought to a conclusion in any sequence chosen by Player-1. Then resolve all battles where Player-2 is the Attacker, and so on. Reveal blocks only when a battle is fought. Aircraft involved in a battle, land after their battle ends.
 [4] SUPPLY & VICTORY CHECK: (Simultaneous)Check Supply of your units (See 7.0). Unsupplied Ground/Air Units immediately lose 1 step. Naval units ignore supply.• Determine if the game has been won by any player. Otherwise go to step [5].
[5] PRODUCTION PHASE (Simultaneous)Build with available PPs in supplied cities. 




Add on German, Soviet, and USA Stickers


 The game is one where both sides have exactly the same units and unit values (except for some of the historical units). I haven't played a game like this since Tactics II in the 1960s. I will tell you this, I had completely forgotten how tense and fun Tactics II really was. I always looked back at it as a quaint way to get into real wargaming. How wrong I was. The fact that you do not have a panzer unit with a strength of twenty-four or have to worry about your opponent having one puts an entirely new spin on wargaming. Oh sure, you could try to put all your tanks together, but that leaves the other player the chance to attack at numerous other points and possibly cut off your tanks. It is like a boxing match where both of the boxers have the same punch and strengths. So you are forced to play as well as you possibly can. I have included a link for the games FB page. There you can find user made scenarios, and some of them are historical in nature. As usual with a Columbia Block Game, the blocks have their different strength steps printed out on the block. This way you just turn the piece instead of looking for another counter. You can also handicap each player if needed by starting some of their units at a lower or higher strength.The built in fog of war that block games have is present as usual, although I have had no problem playing any of their games solo so far. 


 These are some of the unit markers used in the Advanced Rules:

Factories
Storms
Destruction Markers for destroyed bridges and canals
Airfields
Mulberries




Logistic markers


 This is the second edition of Victory: World War II. The 'elite' units, which have been tweaked and modified, are now included with the main game. I am a bit confused as to why there are not more reviews of this game, and not much postings or talk about the game either. It doesn't have many votes, but is very highly rated on BGG. As I mentioned, I had forgotten how much fun a sandbox game can actually be. Thank you, Columbia Games, for letting me review Victory, and for reminding me of my wargaming roots.



One of the Add On Maps You Can Buy

 This is a neat idea to take your Victory battles to a lower level:



Have an climatic battle taking place in Victory? Use Combat Infantry, Columbia Games’ tactical World War 2 wargame to play that battle out at squad level!




 
 This is the link for Columbia Games:

http://columbiagames.com/

 This is the link for the game:

http://columbiagames.com/victory/ 

This is a link to the Victory FB page where you can find user created scenarios:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/346333536011986/


 

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… the thriving Empire of Lazax dominated the universe from their capital on Mecatol Rex, the ce...

Twilight Imperium 4th Edition Twilight Imperium 4th Edition

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!


A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… the thriving Empire of Lazax dominated the universe from their capital on Mecatol Rex, the centre of the galaxy. A great number of different races were part of their Empire, where trades and technology developments were flourishing under the peaceful rule of the Lazax.  As time passed, greed and apathy grew in the heart of the people which thrust the entire galaxy into a state of war.  The once mighty Lazax Empire was no more and the Lazax Emperor and his people were wiped out thrusting the entire galaxy into a war of succession, the Dark Years. The conflict raged and caused many civilisations to collapse and dwindle into a shadow of their former selves. Years later, as hope and pride started to return, the surviving races began to again aspire to the throne of Mecatol Rex and impose their rule upon the entire galaxy.

You are the leader of one of these races and you're competing to elevate your power and influence upon the entire galaxy and to occupy Mecatol Rex as Emperor once more.

You can watch my poor attempt at an unboxing video below:


Gameplay

The main objective of the game is to be the first player to 10 victory points.  'Just 10 !', I hear you say...well that paltry amount will still take the best part of 10+ glorious hours. These VPs come by fulfiling a variety of objective cards as the game progresses.  At the beginning of the game, public objectives are randomly selected and just two are revealed for the first round.  Each game will have five Stage I objectives (worth 1 VP) and five Stage II objectives (2 VP each). One more objective is revealed at the end of each round.
Ready to go...this game is a table-hog.
Each round has four phases, the Strategy phase, the Action phase, the Status phase, and in this case, the best has very much been saved till last, the Agenda phase.

There are eight different strategy cards in the game which are available every round to the players.  During the Strategy phase, players choose their strategy card and receive its benefits for the remainder of the round.  Each strategy card has an initiative number, and a unique primary and secondary ability. The initiative number of the card determines the turn order for the round and like many other games cards that weren't chosen has a bonus, in this case, a trade good placed on it for the next round.  I really like this mechanism as at some point those low initiative strategy cards are too tempting to turn down.  Adding a bonus onto unplayed cards also reminds me of one of my favourite gateway games that I introduce new players to 'modern' Euros - Puerto Rico.
All the strategy (cards) ...
There are many different types of objectives in this game and the gameplay between experienced players reflects which objective cards have been revealed.  I did find that during the first few rounds of my first game, I completely ignored the public objectives to my detriment.  When the revealed objectives require technology boosts or aren't combative, then you may wrongly surmise that most players will remain peaceful during the turn and try to improve their tech or other aspects of their civilisation to meet those objectives. However, players are also given one secret objective at the start of the game which score VPs in exactly the same manner as public objectives.  

The two main reasons I no longer play Puerto Rico with experienced players, is first I normally lose, but second, you can largely work out what your opponents will do by the board state, Puerto Rico is too prescriptive. The same definitely cannot be said here, there is no way, for me at least, to work out or even in some instances, understand what my opponents were doing.
The Winnu claim Mecatol Rex
During the Action phase, players take turns to do either a tactical, strategic or component action. A tactical action player activates a system (hex shaped tile) and moves their units into it. If there are enemy forces, a battle will ensue. If the battle is won by the invading force then their ground forces will start a ground battle on the planets which is a particularly bloody affair, ending only when one side is eliminated. 

A space dock in the system will allow you to produce units there.  When a system is activated by a player, they must place their command token on that system.  This prevents you from activating the same system later in the round. This mechanism is also found in Star Wars Rebellion and provide a measure of inter-turn strategy that must be considered when moving your forces around the galaxy. You can generally only move a unit only once in the round. 

Command tokens are used to do pretty much everything in this game and like all FFG games, this one comes with the standard plethora of tokens, only much more so!   However, these are a limited supply and you'll soon be crying out for more command tokens - using the secondary ability on other players strategy cards, that will be one command token please; want to increase the fleet size in a system, one command token.  You get the idea, give me more command tokens!
Space Lions player board.
During the Strategic action, the player plays their strategy card and uses its primary ability. Alongside the initiative numbers, the main purpose of choosing a particular strategy card is to get its primary ability.  For example, Strategy Card 2 (Diplomacy) prevents other players from attacking one of your systems and lets you re-use those planet’s resources again in the same round. After you’ve used the primary ability of your strategy card then all other players are given a choice if they want to use its secondary ability.  They must spend one command token and can revive two planes which they have previously spent on its resources. 

The Learn-to-Play book has a very handy chart in the back for new players to match up the best strategy card with their immediate tactics. Want to research more technology? choose Card 7.  Do you occupy Mecatol Rex? Card 8 should definitely be your choice. Every time I picked a strategy card my mind was doing gymnastics trying to work out the convoluted permutations of the secondary abilities for each other player. i.e. trying to minimise their bonuses effect to my empire.  I love the hard decision space this game gives you which is quite unlike any other I have tried.  Although I wouldn't recommend playing this with AP-prone players, for obvious reasons.
Rules, Learn to Play and the Lore Compendium. 
A Component Action is an action in which you can play an action permitted by the components (cards) in front of you. This may also be a race-specific ability.  This is a kind of an optional action and can be used to (smash your opponents) delay using your pass (ending your entire round) manipulating the player order and having the advantage of moving last in the round.  I really like games that allow you to manipulate the turn order to either move early and strike first, or react to your opponents moves. Whenever I manage to pull off such a move in any game; TI4, Empire of the Sun or any of the COIN games spring to mind, I get a huge sense of accomplishment. Although it is usually shortlived because I forgot to anticipate my opponents' next move.

After all players have passed in the Action Phase, players score up to one public and one secret objective, if possible in the Status phase.  One public objective is newly revealed, and players draw some action cards, collect and redistribute their command tokens on the command sheet etc. etc. Basically, you're getting the game board in a fit state for the next round. However, if someone occupies Mecatol Rec, then the Agenda Phase follows.
The battle for Mecatol Rex rages on.
If you've played Diplomacy you'll almost know what to expect in the Agenda Phase, blackmailing,  bribing, lying just like politics today...  The Galactic Council sits in session, chaired by the current speaker and each race is represented to discuss important issues in the galaxy. If you've seen Star Wars I, it's that, but much more interesting... An Agenda Card is drawn, and players vote Yay or Nay using their influences generated by their planets. There are many different agendas in the game, some seemingly irrelevant and some utterly devastating, easily changing the game.  Which is why the debate over and around the table can get so animated, especially when one player is struggling to get their 10th VP. The Ministry of Peace agenda, for example, allows a player to cancel their opponent’s aggression in their system one time.   Even if you are playing a weak race (not all races are created equal), or your planets are not very rich, you could still win the game by manipulating the vote in the Agenda phase. 

Combat is a surprisingly simple affair, you roll one 10-sided die for each ship in the space combat and if you roll greater than the ships combat value (shown on the faction sheet) it's a hit. Each hit kills an enemy ship which is chosen by the other player.  The big ships, dreadnoughts, flagships, and war-suns have the ability to sustain damage meaning they'll take two hits. However, you've got to destroy all of the fighters and frigates defending them before you get a chance to actually hit/destroy the big ships. It is very important to have many cheap fighters as fodder to protect big ships - again, this was not appreciated by yours truly in the first few rounds of the first game.  There are some nuances to this combat, for example, if the enemy has a lot of destroyers, your fighters may be wiped out in an anti-fighter barrage before the combat round begins, leaving your dreadnaught defenceless and an easy target. 
Everybody wants some.
In order to occupy planets, you'll need to bring ground forces with your vulnerable carriers. They are not powerful units (combat value: 9) but can be the most important in your fleet. If you win the space combat, you can land ground forces on the planet.  If the enemy has a planetary defence system (PDS) then they get shoot your troops before they land.  However, if you're Dreadnaught or War Sun have survived the space combat they can bombard the enemies ground troops beforehand.  These variable abilities require you to strategise over every move/destroyed unit and it provides a lot of fun, and also added intrigue in the Agenda Phase.  'You want to deal and you attacked me last turn! That's going to cost you, buddy!'.  Great fun.


Components

This game is a monster. Its box is rather bulky and contains tons of miniatures, cards, system tiles, various tokens and so on but the box is well designed and deserves the space it takes up.  The organiser is well thought out and functional, which is rarely a thing I say about FFG games. However, I really feel that this game is a beloved property of  Christian Petersen (FFG CEO) and it really shows in the fourth edition. A lot of care and attention has been paid to every single component. If you want to see an excellent making-of documentary check out Shut Up and Sit Down's Space Lions documentary.  If each player knows what they're doing setup can be completed inside 20 minutes, although you could argue that building the galaxy is an integral part of the game and not really setup.
It is done...
Each race has a Faction Sheet showing each unit’s parameters, race-specific abilities, and history of the race on the back. In the box, there is a lore guide which can be treated as a piece of Science Fiction in its own right.  This history was very well written and I enjoyed reading through it all.  The detail that has gone into the history shows the amazingly high level of production in this game. FFG normally have stellar production values and they've even surpassed those in this game.

You can (or you should) role-play during the game after reading the history and unique capacities of your chosen race. The seventeen races in the game are all unique and have strength and weaknesses.  For example, the space fish...are physically weak but very intellectual. They suffer -1 drm in combat, but develop technologies rapidly. Then there are the Hacan (space lions) who are purely motivated by trade. and gain trade goods (which is a kind of currency) easily, giving them the ability to build large fleets from the early stage of the game.  Trade goods are power.
The big box is full.
Each kind of shop has a distinctive miniature and the sculpts are excellent. There are fighters, destroyers, cruisers, carriers, dreadnoughts, a flagship, and war-suns. Their combat abilities are all listed on your Faction Sheet. Researching technology can improve units which permits you to place a tech card onto your faction sheet. This is a really effective way to see at-a-glance how powerful (or not) your fleet is.

Apart from unit upgrades, there are 4 categories of technology in the game, Biotic, Warfare, Propulsion, and Cybernetic. There are 4 levels of technology in each and you must research them in order.  One game takes on average 6 to 7 rounds and you will not be able to fully explore the tech tree in one game.  Planning my upgrades and deploying my fleets according is a great game which I enjoyed immensely, but so often ruined by my opponents. Developing Propulsion first and then upgrading your carrier so that it can move 2 hexes is a nice ability to move your troops out into the galaxy, or you may want to concentrate on Warfare techs and try to build a War-Sun early in the game with the ability to literally annihilate an opposing fleet.



Criticisms

The only criticism I can think of this game is that it takes a very long time to play.  It is difficult to find 3 or more opponents who don’t mind committing 6 or 7 hours in one go, but this game has such a reputation in the hobby that almost all gamers want to try it, at least once. But let me reassure you that those hours pass very quickly it is so much fun to play this game.  Afterwards, you will be exhausted but you will have created an amazing experience with your friends I guarantee will have built a stronger bond for sharing this experience.  Look for opponents, and go for it!


Conclusion

If I had to describe this game, I would say that it is seductive yet elusive. I want to play it more, I love the game, I want to try every single race, and experiment with every technology, but it's very difficult for me to get it to the table. I have a young family and losing 10 hours on a weekend so that I can move plastic and carboard counters across my kitchen table is not a position I can defend often. However, given the opportunity, the time and the right opponents, this game is always welcome at my table.  It tells a grand, epic story of battling races and powerful armies clashing across the stars. The mechanics are simple enough to grasp relatively quickly but the layers of strategy are very difficult to master. After 2.5 games (which represents over 24 hours of play time...) I feel that I understand the game well enough to be able to strategise but not effectively. There are so many racial combinations and variances from game to game that I'm relegated to a reactionary play style. 

This game won't be for everyone, but if you like wargames of any kind (if you're reading this blog then I can surmise you do) then you owe it to yourself to play one of the very few seminal games in this hobby. Track down a friend who owns it or plan a game at a convention, weekend gaming retreat (we all do that right?) You won't be disappointed.

Many game-stores will have a copy of this game in and you can use this link http://www.findyourgamestore.co.uk/ to find your nearest in the UK or support them using their online web stores if you can't make it in person.

I'd like to thank Asmodee for sending this game and permitting me to review it; if only I could play it some more.  I would also like to thank my war-gaming partner of many years for helping me write this review.

Publisher: FFG
Website: https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/twilight-imperium-4th-ed
Players: 3 - 6
Designers: Dane Beltrami, Corey Konieczka & Christian T. Petersen
Playing time:  Ha ha ha

INVASIONS: volume I I was delighted to learn of this new board game in the offing.  I was even more amazed and delighted when I disco...

INVASIONS: volume I INVASIONS: volume I

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

INVASIONS: volume I

I was delighted to learn of this new board game in the offing.  I was even more amazed and delighted when I discovered that its designer was no less a figure than Philippe Thibaut, renowned for Europa Universalis.

This awesome game first so light as a board game produced by Azure Wish and then in a computer adaptation that has now reached its IV incarnation.

Invasions: Volume I should prove to be an equally engrossing design and one that promises more to come.
To learn more about the game connect to the kick starter link here and to learn about AvalonDigital the company behind the game click here.

AUSTERLITZ 1805 from Trafalgar Editions Just a brief word Having seen the quality of Waterloo, great news is that Austerlitz is...

AUSTERLITZ 1805 in the pipeline AUSTERLITZ 1805 in the pipeline

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

AUSTERLITZ 1805
from Trafalgar Editions


Just a brief word

Having seen the quality of Waterloo, great news is that Austerlitz is next on the list for this game's system.  With the scope for wider-ranging  movement and hidden units, this is the perfect choice.

As a taste of what's come look no further than their Kickstarter video: Austerlitz 1805


WARFIGHTER PACIFIC from DVG It began with modern conflicts against drug cartels and insurgents across the globe and then moved...

WARFIGHTER PACIFIC WARFIGHTER PACIFIC

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

WARFIGHTER PACIFIC
from DVG


It began with modern conflicts against drug cartels and insurgents across the globe and then moved back to WWII, initially with the Americans coming up against the Germans.  Soon, single deck expansions reversed the roles allowing the player/s to field German units against the A.I. of American Hostiles.  In came Britain, Russia and Poland with different add-ons giving us more and morevaried equipment, units, actions events etc.

Still, the rules and principles of play remained very similar.  Then, there was talk of Warfighter taking to the future with a sci-fi variant, but for my part I'm glad to say that the latest incarnation has filled the glaring WWII gap and has given us Warfighter Pacific.

Inevitably, the rule book for the most part presents very little that we haven't seen before.  In fact the first 38 pages are well nigh identical, though I was very pleased to see that great care had been taken to consistently substitute different cards and examples in keeping with the Pacific theatre once again to copiously illustrate the rules.


Attention to details like that are what make DVG's products so appealing, as is the quality of all the components.  First class counters - five sheets worth - with rounded corners that press out with ease, combine with the series of decks of cards that both provide the combatants and drive the game functions so smoothly and finally there's the mounted playing board.



This latest one represents for me the best in the series.  Admittedly, still very similar to its predecessors, but once again the various card locations have been given a new set of images, just as the illustrations had been renewed in the rule book.  But best of all is the background scene.


The detail above on the right hand side of the board is very atmospheric, as can be seen in this closer view.



The few charts and deck locations have been streamlined to maximise the crucial space for where the terrain cards and hostiles will be placed, giving a very clean appearance to the whole. Yet again, an ensemble presentation.

For those unfamiliar with the system, I suggest a look at the link here to my original exploration of its processes, before returning to consider some of the specific points in the current Pacific theatre.



As always shed loads of lovely thick counters

As mentioned the bulk of the rule book covers the unchanged base rules; what I didn't expect would be the omission of the excellent final section which provided a play through of a complete 5 turn Mission.  For those new to the system I'm sorry that has not been included.  However, the main reason for that is a new section that covers the very different handling of Campaigns.

Up to now you, the player, have created your own Campaigns by choosing a selection of Mission cards and Objective cards to play out in sequence.  Now Warfighter: Pacific gives you a series of historical Campaigns, covering Wake Island, Makin Island, Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Buna Station and Iwo Jima and two that take us back to the European Theatre, namely: Dunkirk and Market-Garden.

It also introduces the concept of Offensive and Defensive campaigns. Only one of the Pacific Campaigns is "Defensive" and only one Campaign features the Japanese as the Soldier Player.  Both of the European Theatre Campaigns, however, are Defensive.  Especially, with my personal interest- I've recently read Antony Beevor's "Arnhem" - Market-Garden is likely to be an early experience.

The following are the major new elements.  Each Campaign Display sheet has a map with Start Points indicated.  Offensive Campaigns list a series of Starting Location and Objective Cards to be used, while Defensive Campaigns list Starting Location and Mission Cards.    With Offensive Campaigns, a random Location card is drawn which is placed on the main game board in the first spot where a Mission card would normally have been placed and then a D10 roll on a chart gives you both the number of turns and the Location spot where you place the Objective card.

Defensive Campaigns work almost in reverse to the normal expectations.  A random Mission card is drawn and placed in its normal first spot on the game board, but the Starting Location card is placed where the Objective card used to be placed.  Your units are then placed on the Starting Location card and the objective is always to fight your way back to the Mission card! 

As with the first Warfighter WWII game, where you could play only as the American Soldiers versus German Hostiles, in Warfighter Pacific, you can only play as the American Soldiers versus Japanese Hostiles.  These Americans destined for the Pacific theatre of operations differ very little from their European comrades, except that many have the Hardy Hot ability.  For those of you unfamiliar with the overall games, this was a feature introduced through cards in some of the earlier expansion packs - except that then the ability was Hardy Cold to suit Campaigns fought on the Eastern Front.

As before, not all your soldiers will have this ability and so will struggle even more than their fellows to cope.  Incorporating fewer soldiers with the Hardy Hot ability is one way of making your game a tougher prospect!!  To match this many of the new Location cards feature … what else, but JUNGLE.  In fact, Hot/Moist/Light/ Heavy and Warm Jungle - oh and just Jungle too.

Lovely jubbly JUNGLE
Pitted against them are decks of Elite and Frontline Hostiles - for the toughest experience just use the Elite deck, for a moderately tough experience combine the decks.  Personally, I find Frontline units quite tough enough!  Once again as the initial Warfighter WWII did, even the single Campaign where you can play as the Japanese soldiers will only be possible by buying Expansion Deck 15 which contains the necessary cards for playing as the Japanese.

Fortunately with my review copy of the core game came a stack of many more expansions and so, if nothing else, I would recommend adding at the very least Expansion 15 to your collection, the contents of which can be seen below.  
However, among the other Expansions there are some that I feel I cannot conclude without a mention.  They are my personal favourites, plus ONE that isn't -  but which I suspect will be a favourite for many!!

For me Expansion #24 US Airborne, Expansion #36 Vehicle Pack and Expansion #43 Shore Invasions are a must have, especially the latter with cards appropriate both to the European and Pacific theatre of operations.  So, what's the one I really can live without, but many of you will immediately want?  Any guesses?

Expansion #42 UNDEAD

As they say "chacun a son gout" and I'm dead [sorry!] sure that it will definitely be to the taste of the majority.  So, kit yourself up and set off on your mission to take on even worse foes.

As always many, many thanks to DVG for supplying the review copies 







Armored Brigade, the real-time tactical sandbox which covers a vast swath of Cold War gone hot possibilities, has received its first add on...

Armored Brigade - Italy-Yugoslavia Pack + Campaign Generator Armored Brigade - Italy-Yugoslavia Pack + Campaign Generator

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!


Armored Brigade, the real-time tactical sandbox which covers a vast swath of Cold War gone hot possibilities, has received its first add on content. It's called Nation Pack: Italy-Yugoslavia, and as the name suggests, it adds two unique new nations to the game. I won't go too far into describing the base game, since Robert did a good job of that here. Suffice to say, this a 2D RTS that will feel familiar to anyone who has played Close Combat or Combat Mission. 



What really sets the game apart is its vast scope. The game covers theoretical war in Europe between the years of 1965 and 1991. Accurate army rosters are available for 7 different nations in the base game, with this add-on increasing the count to 9. The other significant feature of the game is how it generates battlefields. Rather than having hand crafted maps or randomly generated ones, the game ships with several gigantic, accurate maps of various interesting locales in Europe. Individual maps are then generated from this by simply drawing a box of your desired size on that big map, and there you go, a new place to fight over. Combat can scale from company sized skirmishes to brigade sized brawls. This is the beauty of the game, it can be stretched and squeezed to give you exactly the sort of battle you want. 


Infantry squad knocks out a T-55 after losing their ride into town.
This new nation pack extends that sandbox even further by giving you two new nations to play with and a new map that covers 61 square kilometers of the Italian-Yugoslavian border. The two nations combined add over 250 new units to the game. That's a lot of new toys to play with! Now, I'm no aficionado of the Italian and Yugoslavian military makeup in this era (or any, really), so I'll link to the official description here which has a nice summary of the strategic thinking in those nations during the Cold War. The short version is, these nations were not the titans of the world, fielding first rate tanks and elite infantry. These are the oddballs, nations that had no desire to fight WW3 to begin with, nor did they have the resources to match the big boys if they wanted to. I've loved playing these sorts of secondary powers in every wargame since I got Combat Mission: Barbarossa to Berlin as a kid. It's always fascinating to dig around in the OOB and see what kinds of units are available, and then figuring out how to fight a battle with what you've got. Here I was especially interested in some of the earliest formations, which include plenty of WW2 leftovers. I know lots of people are clamoring for the game to be expanded into a full on WW2 game, but here you can at least get a taste. 



Now, let's look at the new map a bit, as it offers a great variety of terrain to fight over. There are constricting mountain valleys, wide open plains, urban zones, coastal areas, and lots of rivers to cross. I have not fully explored the map yet, of course, but every battle so far has been on a tactically interesting battlefield. Where the map really shines is when you combine it with the new campaign generator.

The one great shortcoming of Armored Brigade (besides the lack of multiplayer) is that the game does not come with any campaigns and only a handful of scenarios. Those scenarios are mostly tutorials, and after playing around with them you are left with only one-off battles that you generate. While the battles you can generate are excellent, and created exactly the way you want, they are still just one off battles with no narrative or larger stakes to consider. That has all be changed with the free update launching alongside this nation pack, which adds a dynamic campaign generator to Armored Brigade, even if you don't have the DLC. 


Each green box represents a potential battlefield for the campaign. It can be much shorter, of course, or feature much larger battlefields.
This campaign generator is analogous to the single battle generator in that it is very flexible and easy to use. You just click on the map to indicate the general track you want the campaign to take, tweak the settings and scope as you please, and away you go. Each campaign starts off with a meeting engagement, and then the winner will advance and the loser retreat. As the battle moves towards one end of the campaign track or the other, the defender will be able to get more supply points and be able to build fixed defenses like pillboxes and such. If the momentum of the battle shifts and the fighting passes back over old ground, the destruction of the previous fights will be evident. This can change the landscape of a battlefield that is fought over several times, creating an immersive narrative for the player. Losses also carry over from one battle to the next. The player will receive a certain amount of supply points after each battle, and these can be used to repair and refit units lost in the fighting. 



This is a feature that the game desperately needed, and I'm happy to see it added as a free update. Really the only thing that I didn't like about the base game was that the battles never felt like they carried much weight, since they were just randomly generated one-off affairs. Now you can have a narrative arc, with real consequences for your losses and poor (or brilliant) decisions in battle. I haven't had enough time with the game to play out any epic campaigns just yet, but I imagine many players will be firing up a titanic US vs USSR campaign that spans the length of the Germany map. The especially cool thing is that everyone's campaign will be unique!

So, if you have been enjoying Armored Brigade so far, this is an easy recommendation. The two new nations add some extra variety to what is available in the base game, and the new map is excellent. If you were on the fence about Armored Brigade, the free update including the campaign generator has given it a lot more value, and I suggest that you take another look. I imagine we will be seeing several nation packs similar to this one over the next couple of years, and I look forward to trying them out. In a sandbox of a game like this, you can never have too many toys or too much sand.

Armored Brigade and the Italy-Yugoslavia Nation Pack are available directly from Matrix/Slitherine.

- Joe Beard






Dunkirk by Worthington Publishing  Operation Dynamo was an outstanding success, carried out under the Ge...

Dunkirk by Worthington Publishing Dunkirk by Worthington Publishing

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

Dunkirk

by

Worthington Publishing







 Operation Dynamo was an outstanding success, carried out under the German noses. Was it helped by Hitler's private thoughts about England, or his memories of Flanders, we will never know. The game itself is not just about the Battle of Dunkirk, but about the entire German invasion of France in 1940. Let us see what comes with the game:


  • Hard mounted game board
  • Wooden blocks with labels for German and Allied armies
  • Deck of 55 game cards
  • 6 German strategy cards (larger than standard game cards)
  • Rules
  • Dice





 When you open the game it seems a little sparse, but many times good things come in small packages so I kept an open mind. The map is on the smaller side, but adequately shows the area of Northeast France that is needed for gameplay. The hexes are large, which really helps with block games, especially when you can have more than one block per hex. The other components are likewise, more workman like than artsy. I wouldn't say they were Spartan, but they show the player everything he needs to know without extra glitter. The game also comes with cards for both the German and Allied player. 



 Even though there are cards for both players, they are not the process that runs the the game. To quote the designer, "The game is not card driven, but card enhanced. The game is chit driven". The most interesting part of the design is the 'German strategy cards'. These give the game a lot of longevity and replayability. Sure, the German player could try the 'sickle cut' maneuver, but he could lose nine out of ten times depending on what strategy card he chose at the start of the game. The Allied player is put on the horns of a dilemma, which strategy card did the German player pick. So one of the the things the designer notes suggests is for the German player to make moves to head toward different cities etc. to keep the Allied player guessing. The rulebook is only twelve pages long, and three of them are taken up by designer notes, etc. However, unlike the other Worthington games I have played, the rules are a lot more  in depth. The other games were simpler, but still good games. The rules are deeper than you would assume for the game. This is the sequence of play:

1) Add or Remove Command Chits per the Turn Record Chart.
2) Deal each player a card(s) as indicated on the Turn Record Chart.
3) Seed the opaque container with the Command Chits indicated on the Turn Record Chart.
4) One player (does not matter which) draws a Command Chit from the container. That Formation is now the Active Formation.
5) FHQ (Formation Headquarters) ACTIVATION: The owner of the Active Formation reveals to the opponent the location of the FHQ (in order to prove the FHQ's Command Range).
6A) FORMATION MOVEMENT PHASE: In-Command blocks of the Active Formation may move to their full Movement Rating, limited only by terrain and enemy blocks.
6A) POSSIBLE SHQ (Strategic Headquarters) STRATEGIC MOVEMENT: The owner of the Active Formation may, if desired, spend a SHQ step(s) to perform a Strategic Move with a block(s) of the Active Formation. This may be done concurrent with the Movement described in 6a above, BUT NO BLOCK MAY USE BOTH Formation Movement and SHQ Movement during the same Activation.
7) POSSIBLE SHQ OUT OF COMMAND MOVEMENT: The owner of the Active Formation may, if desired, spend a SHQ step(s) to perform Out of Command movement with a block(s) of the Active Formation.
8) combat phase: Battles exist in any hex containing enemy blocks and at least one block of the Active Formation. Owner of the Active Formation selects the sequence in which battles will be resolved. 
8A) BATTLE CARD PLAY: Each player may place ONE (1) Cattle Card per battle, if desired. Players simultaneously declare (show) a Battle Card if they wish to play one.
8B) BATTLE ROUNDS: Each battle lasts for one round of combat. A second round may be purchased BY THE ATTACKER ONLY using SHQ steps or possibly) a card play. No battle may have more than two Rounds per Activation. A side may NOT play a Battle Card in the second round of battle, if that side played a Battle Card in the first round.
9) Repeat steps 4 through 8b until no Command Chits remain in the opaque container.
10) REINFORCEMENTS & RESERVES PHASE: Players may play ONE Reinforcement card, adding steps per the Reinforcement rules. Players may ALSO spend SHQ steps to conduct a SHQ Reserves action, returning an Eliminated block(s) to play, per the Reserve rules. Players also add one free SHQ step to their SHQ block (Note: there is no Reinforcements/Reserves phase at the end on Turn 6.
11) Start the next turn with step 1 above. At the end of Turn 6, calculate Victory Points to determine the winner of the game based on the German Strategy Card selected.





 

 As you can see, any game (no matter what German Strategy Card is used) lasts only six turns. Airstrikes/Artillery strikes take place when a player uses the correct Battle Card for them. Airstrikes/Artillery strikes cannot eliminate an enemy block. 






 I think it's a good game with a little bit more added  to the rules than most block games. The rules are spelled out plainly for the players. There are also some optional rules that can be added to balance out the play between two players. You can "dial down" certain blocks to make it easier for the opponent. You could also remove certain powerful cards from one player's deck, among a few other things, to make the game more balanced. I have reviewed quite a few block wargames now, and have had a complete change of heart. I used to look down my nose at them as some kind of 'Stratego' game made into a wargame. The block wargames are just as good, and play just as well as hex and counter games. This is another good and relatively quick game that Worthington Publishing has added to their stable of growing games. You will be playing as either von Bock or von Rundstedt, or the Allies in no time flat. Thank you, Worthington Publishing, for letting me review this game.

Link to Worthington Games:
https://www.worthingtonpublishing.com/

Link to Dunkirk:
https://www.worthingtonpublishing.com/collection/dunkirk-france-1940

Worthington Publishing's newest kickstarter 'Napoleon Returns 1815':
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1456271622/napoleon-returns-1815?ref=dkeeld

Grant's Gamble review:
https://www.awargamersneedfulthings.co.uk/2017/11/grants-gamble-game-by-worthington-games.html



Robert

PixelPLaybox.co.uk