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NORWAY 1940 FROM TRAFALGAR EDITIONS It's interesting that, following two famous Napoleonic battles, Trafalgar Editions turned t...


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

It's interesting that, following two famous Napoleonic battles, Trafalgar Editions turned to this seldom gamed battle from the early years of WWII.  Even more so, in that this represents a move towards a more familiar style of board wargame.  Gone, almost, are the measuring counters and miniatures-influenced systems of the previous two games and in comes more familiar area style movement and cardboard units.  I say almost, because there's still a single, simple measuring stick for air movement!
Just to prove it!
What also remains is the high standard of production.  I can't think of another game box where a simple, vivid white background has been used to better effect.  Unfortunately the camera cannot adequately reflect this or you wouldn't be able to see the picture!  It's complemented by three subtle grey images depicting the three military arms of air, land and sea.  But dominating in startling style is the use of dark maroon, grey and black to depict Norway while symbolising the ribbon against which the central iron cross stands out.

Inside the box, the superb double panel mapboard is equally stunning.  Though the use of a substantial part of the board area to display all the key charts has its definite uses, it does detract from the highly effective and striking map area.

Two of the main play aids that also act as screens for secret force allocation continue this standard of production.  They carry evocative scenes on the front and symbolic images on the two side panels.

Inside are printed reinforcement schedules and the displays [see below] that they screen provide information about the Naval Combat and Transports pts each side receives and a display of Task Forces for placing naval and land units on.

These displays are functional in simple black and white printing, but despite their seeming clarity, there are issues in understanding the information that they are meant to convey.  These problems I'll consider later, when I look at the rule book.

The final components are a fine range of units and markers in two sizes.  The die-cutting is first-rate, with every single one pressing out of the counter sheets perfectly.  All three military arms play their part in this game, with land and air units being substantially larger than the naval units.  In part, this is because the former two have more information to convey while naval units come in basic generic points that do not distinguish types of vessel.

Counters galore
The rule book is physically the best produced of Trafalgar Editions three games, but also the most complex and at times the most confusing.  It's a substantial design, partly because all three military arms are treated in equal depth and introduce some novel features.

A typical turn has five stages:

Weather Phase
Supply Phase
Naval Phase
Air Phase
Land Phase

The Weather Phase

A help to learning the rules is that not all of these Phases or some element of them occur from the very beginning of the game. For example, the Weather Phase is not needed until Turn 6.  From this point on a simple die roll with small modifications determines the weather in the three sea zones that run from north to south.  It's also important to mention that you need to be alert to the difference between a Turn and a Day.  Sometimes the rules will clearly state that something happens on a specific Turn [as Turn 6 above], but more often it will refer to a Day.  For example, the first German forces start on Day 7.  This refers to the actual date, in this case the 7th April, which is Turn 1 of the game.  So, be careful, it's easy to slip up as the Turn Track doesn't print the turn numbers, only the dates!

The Supply Phase too doesn't begin immediately, but only from Turn 7 when the Germans must start to check for land units being in supply and try to bring in supply by air or sea for units that are out of supply while the Allies simply trace to a city or port.  In contrast, air and naval units never need to check for supply.

The Naval Phase

It comes as no surprise that the Naval Phase is important right from the start, as the only units that form the Set Up are the Norwegian units most of which are land units with small numbers of naval units in the ports of Narvik, Trondheim, Bergen and Kristiandsand and a single German fleet of German naval combat points at sea transporting a single mountain regiment and a small quantity of supplies.

The essential Naval rules are fairly straightforward, but cover an interesting range of actions.  Features that I liked are that Task Force markers are used which have a detected and undetected side, as well as a number of Decoy Task Forces.  The first two turns' German Task Forces are predesignated with specific land units being transported by the accompanying Naval Combat points of ships and each task force has a pre-set destination port .  This is unusual, but the rules explain this simulates the historical fact that these early troops were transported by warship.

From then on the German player uses a pool of Naval Combat Points and Naval Transport Points to create their own Task Forces and selecting which German land units are shipped aboard the transports and where they will be sent to.  I love the concept of this and the realistic and immersive feel, but here I encountered the main problem referred to earlier in that the rules leave far too much to be deduced and worked out from cross-referencing scanty rules and charts with too little information.  That said, Trafalgar Editions were excellent in answering my flurry of emails to help me make sense and arrive at the correct game play.

By contrast, the Allied Player has a much more prescribed and clear set of reinforcement details on their chart.  Though it is here that the care needed to distinguish "turns" from "days" mentioned earlier has to be born strongly in mind, as well as a careful reading of the rules.  Once the problems encountered in this area had been solved, it was into the joys of composing the make-up of the Task Forces, trying to avoid detection or achieve detection using both their ships and air reconnaissance, naval combat and landings.  Thrown into this mix is a small number of submarines and once again the rules were disappointingly unclear and needed the company's help to discover that they are a free asset that can be brought into play when desired!

The Air Phase

A final point to take care noting is that the Naval Phase precedes the Air Phase, though the rules present them in the opposite order. Each player receives a fixed number of Air Points each turn in three separate types [Fighter, Bomber and Recon], while only the German player also gets Air Transport points too.  Like most of the rules, there is a lot of small detail to absorb and often record, though the recording element of the game is easily carried out by markers on a few simple displays.  

The explanation of the different missions, airfields both on the Norwegian map and in boxes representing Great Britain, Denmark and Germany, German Parachutists and the many various limitations and restrictions take up three and half pages making this phase as detailed as both the preceding Naval Phase and the Land Phase to come.  
Added to this is the need to remember that bombers can be used to attack fleets, directly bomb land units to hinder their movement and
be used as land support to boost combat arms effects in the land phase.  It is a comprehensive array and matches the equally detailed set of naval rules, which are longer than even those for the Land Phase.

Land Phase

In fact, the rules for this phase are about the simplest in the whole game, except for two factors: the use of the less familiar flag system for showing unit size and a highly innovative combat system. The former has made its appearance in a small number of games over the years and in itself isn't hard to become accustomed to.  The only drawback is more for older eyes, as they are printed very small!

Combat, on the other hand, is a very unusual affair and one that I've not encountered before in 43 years of gaming!  Units do not have fixed combat factors.  Instead each unit possesses a die-roll modifier and rolls a separate die [either D6 or D3, depending on the size of the unit] to which the modifier is then added.  The results are then totalled, along with additional Combined Arms modifiers.  The differential between the two players final totals determines the losers losses.  This makes for some surprising results and makes any attack where the number and size of units is fairly equal a very uncertain and hazardous undertaking.  This is very strange, as the majority of games where the odds are more or less even tend to produce small losses to both sides, with no potential at all for massive losses.

For a game at this scale, it is most unusual to find a combat system where the winner of a combat suffers no losses at all and this is one aspect of the game that I would love to know the designer's intentions and whether there is something specific to this campaign intended to be modelled.

Overall, I've found the game intriguing.  I like the fact that air, sea and land all play their part.  For the Allied player I would say that the naval element is crucial to their possibilities for victory, while the German player dominates on land and his/her success depends on getting the bulk of those land units ashore.  So, in a way the naval battle too is crucial for the German!

In concepts and systems too the game has many pluses in the broad picture, but I find the many, many small points and exceptions make for a set of rules that are hard to encompass without fairly frequent rule checking.  If these were a set of rules that would be suitable to model a wide range of WWII battles, then eventual familiarity would be acquired.  But as they seem suited specifically to this one specific campaign in Norway, I can foresee the same learning curve needing  to be climbed in future outings. 
Norway defended - let battle commence.

Once again thanks to Trafalgar Editions both for the review copy and kind support. 

T ime for another gameplay video featuring some early game scenarios from the upcoming Fantasy General II ! You may...

Fantasy General II - First Look Gameplay (Video) Fantasy General II - First Look Gameplay (Video)

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

Time for another gameplay video featuring some early game scenarios from the upcoming Fantasy General II! You may remember the original Fantasy General from way back in the 90's, a spin-off of the genre launching Panzer General. The series is back and looking more three-dimensional than it once did. I was lucky enough to get an early build of the game and wanted to share it with you, so far it's looking pretty sharp!

- Joe Beard 

The newest DLC for Gladius is out, and it brings the Chaos Space Marines to the fray. I haven't had enough time with the game yet t...

Chaos Space Marines DLC for WH40K Gladius - Gameplay Video Chaos Space Marines DLC for WH40K Gladius - Gameplay Video

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

The newest DLC for Gladius is out, and it brings the Chaos Space Marines to the fray. I haven't had enough time with the game yet to give a full review, but I wanted to share some gameplay if you wanted to see how they handle in the early turns.

- Joe Beard

A Step To Victory by Quarterdeck International   Quarterdeck Games (1981-1988) was a company I had heard and read...

A Step To Victory by Quarterdeck International A Step To Victory by Quarterdeck International

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

A Step To Victory


Quarterdeck International

 Quarterdeck Games (1981-1988) was a company I had heard and read about for quite a while. To be honest, I didn't know about their revival until recently. I had seen some of the naval games that had been made down through the years by Jack Greene, but for one reason or another I never picked one up. So, I am very proud that Quarterdeck International sent me two games to review. This one is on the Campaign for Bougainville from 1943-45. The game is very small and comes with this:

36 Counters
One sheet with Terrain Effects and Combat Results

 The map is 11" x 17". The game needs a six-sided die to play.

 The sequence of play is:

Allied Player Turn
Reinforcement Phase
Movement Phase
Combat Phase
Japanese Player Turn
Reinforcement Phase
Movement Phase
Combat Phase

 The rulebook is only seven pages long. As you can guess,  there are not a lot of rules to try and remember. The game is only ten turns long. If the Allies do not control any of the Japanese bases at the end of the game, it is a decisive Japanese victory. Other than that, both sides can accumulate victory points in various ways. Both players can 'rest' all of their troops by declaring the turn a 'rest' one. The Japanese Player cannot rest his troops after turn six. This represents the Japanese units being cut off from any supplies, especially food.

 The other usual wargame rules are also represented: zones of control, stacking, and movement cost for the different terrain. Combat is resolved by the Combat Results Table. The game rules follow the arrival and departure of the three different Allied forces. First the US Marines land and then are removed and replaced by the US Army between turns three to five. On turn six, all of the US troops are removed and the Australians take over. 

 This is not a game about blitzkrieg. Like all of the islands in the South Pacific, trying to get troops from one part of the island to another is a nightmare. Bougainville has a spine of mountains and hills through the center of the island. The fighting here was as bad as that on New Guinea. Half of the battle is against nature. The only real thing I can ding the game for is that the map does not show 'Hellzapoppin' Ridge. This could be because the game map is bilingual in both Japanese and English. This is a great little game. Replay is somewhat limited because of the limited terrain, although the friction of war can make it a somewhat different game each time you play. Thank you Quarterdeck International for letting me review A Step To Victory.

Quarterdeck International:

A Step To Victory:


Field Commander Alexander by  Dan Verssen Games   A madman wears the crown, and everyone around him, courtier...

Field Commander Alexander by Dan Verssen Games Field Commander Alexander by Dan Verssen Games

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

Field Commander Alexander


Dan Verssen Games

 A madman wears the crown, and everyone around him, courtiers, generals, even concubines are not safe from his murderous drunken outbursts. He believed himself at one time to be the son of a God, but now he thinks himself a God. He is distrustful of the soldiers who won him the crown of the world. A besotted paranoid maniac; this is what Alexander has become. If someone didn't kill him out of self-preservation it would be amazing.

 This game shows the campaigns of Alexander in four scenarios, from the earliest battles when he had just gotten the crown, to his conquest of much of the known world. From Chaeronea to his hardest battle at the Hydaspes, his battles and campaigns are here. I want to thank DVG for adding in the siege of Tyre. Sieges, if represented at all in games, are usually just a die roll. The game is a solitaire one where you fill the shoes of the half mortal Alexander. This is what comes with the game:

4 11"x17" Campaign Maps
1 Counter Sheet
1 Six-sided die
1 Player Log sheet

The four Campaigns are

Granicus - 338 BC to 334 BC
Issus - 333 BC to 332 BC
Tyre - 332 BC
Gaugamela - 331 BC to 323 BC

First Counter Sheet

 This is the sequence of play:

  Advance Turn Counter
  Refit ( -2 Gold per Refit )
  Enemy Orders
  Enemy Operations
  Scouting Roll
   ( If roll > Forces suffer hits
   if roll < Forces lose Gold)
   Move Army
   Battle / Intimidate
    Gain Glory
    Raze or Govern
  May Repeat
  Gain Gold
  Spend Gold and Glory

Granicus Map

 This is the newest reprinting of the game, although there doesn't seem to be many changes between the versions. The main game mechanic is for you, playing as Alexander, to win gold and glory. In each campaign these can be used to continue your conquering ways. Glory points can be especially helpful because they allow you to buy Insight Counters and Advisor Counters. These are some of them:

Insight Counters
Anticipation - Play before the enemy 
 draws Battle Plans. Enemy does not 
 Draw any Battle Plans for this battle.
Courtesans - May play after seeing an
  intimidation roll. Add 4 to the roll.

Advisor Counters
Aristander (Seer) - After seeing each 
 Enemy Orders for roll, you may add 1
 to the roll.
Parmenion (General) - The enemy 
 receives 3 fewer Battle Plans in battle.

Issus Map

 Another major game mechanic is to accept or shun a prophecy when you move into an area that has an oracle. You must decide to accept or shun it before turning over the counter to see the actual prophecy. The number on the Prophecy counter is how many turns you have to complete the prophecy. Completing it on time means that your Alexander gains 1 Glorification, and just a smidgen more madness. Failing to complete it means that you have to drop 1 level of Glorification or remove an advisor for the rest of the game. If you cannot do either, you lose the game. There are 1- 8 Alexander counters. Each one measures his Glorification level, one being the lowest and 8 representing full blown psychosis. Just ask Kassander.


Player Log/Battle Board

 The game comes with one player log that you can copy to use over if you want to keep track of different campaigns you wage. The player log also has information about Battle Plans etc. At the bottom of the Player Log is the battlefield, which is more like a battle board. You line up yourself and your enemy's forces in two lines. "Arrange them from left to right in order of the highest to lowest speed". Both Alexander and his enemies have Battle Plans they can use. Depending upon the situation and the Alexander player's use of gold etc, this will determine the amount of Battle Plans both sides have. You resolve any Pre-Battle plans first, and then get down to business. The battles are set up so that the two heroic leaders (if an enemy leader is present) will have a go at each other. The only slightly strange rule is that only the Alexander unit in his army can attack the enemy leader. The enemy leader unit can attack other units in Alexander's force. Once the leaders have begun to attack each other, they must continue to attack each other until the end of the battle. As Alexander you can choose to retreat from battle (to your everlasting shame). However, unlike in history, this does not necessarily mean it is the end of the war.

Tyre Map

 This marks my sixth review of a DVG solitaire game. Just like the others, the components are very well done, as are the rules. Field Commander Alexander seems to have more immersion than the others I have played. You as the player want to win, but you are also pitting yourself against the Great One's record. As almost any general before you since 323 BC, your victories and pace of conquest is measured against Alexander. Hopefully you don't also get a good dose of megalomania in the bargain. Thank you DVG Games for letting me review another great game.

Dan Verssen Games:

Field Commander Alexander:


Rule the Waves II by Naval Warfare Simulations      So the first thing you need to know is that you only have ...

Rule the Waves II by Naval Warfare Simulations Rule the Waves II by Naval Warfare Simulations

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


Naval Warfare Simulations


 So the first thing you need to know is that you only have two scenarios to pick from, 1900 and 1920. The second thing you need to know is this is a sandbox game from beginning to end. This is so sandboxy that you might need to empty your sneakers out when done playing. This is not a bad thing, just something you should know up front. There are no built in World War I or World War II scenarios in the game. You are dropped into the shoes of your country's Naval Chief of Staff. Everything, absolutely everything, is in your control. The other part of the job is that if you screw up, there goes the job and game. You can build any force you want, within restraints, but if it doesn't function in the battles you will need to fight, then off with your head. 

 For those of us who stare at spreadsheets Monday through Friday, this may seem like a strange game for us to pick. You will be looking at spreadsheets, a lot of them. Just like in the real world, the biggest constraint to your naval dominance is cash, cold hard cash. Without it you cannot build a minesweeper, let alone a super-battleship. So let us say you want to build that 80,000 ton behemoth. Well the first catch is that your dock size only accommodates 40,000. So you had better start building, but of course construction costs money. Next up, you want to have it carry 20" guns; great, but your country only has researched up to 16". Then you have to research 17" through 19" before you even start  researching 20" ones. Hopefully you see where I am going with this.


 Before you get the wrong impression, I really like the game. Yes, it is a study in office politics, negotiations, and those dreaded spreadsheets. However, once you have the screens under your belt the actual game story starts to flow. Remember this is your Navy, not King's or Yamamoto's, yours. You have every reason to be proud of all of the ships that you have rolled off the docks (or not, if they are all duds). What do you do when you are in that Admiral's chair? Do you go for big guns, or do you throw the dice only on air power? If I haven't made it clear yet, it is all up to you. It is possible to let your computer subordinates help you in many ways, such as designing ships etc. but where is the fun in that?

Country Selection Screen

 Some countries, such as Britain, Japan, and the United States, have deeper pockets and give you a better starting position out of the gate than say Austro-Hungary. That is not to say you can't win with other countries, but your vision for your Navy can be visualized much quicker with some nations.

New Game or Saved Game Screen

 As you can see, the player can have nine saved games at the same time. You can however, write over any of them at any point in time. I might as well bring up the dreaded DRM of the game right now. Yes, it does have an ET phone home part of the process to it. It is incredibly easy to use the process and I had no problems whatsoever. It does not phone home (like another naval game that shall not be mentioned) every thirty seconds or so.

Main/Ship Screen

 This screen is what you will call home for a lot of the game. It is also the screen where you can view your new super-dreadnoughts or your rusty old scows. This is also the screen where money juggling will become an art. Why exactly do you have twenty year old ships still in your fleet? Is it worthwhile to upgrade them in any way, or do you simply scrap them for there steel? If you do scrap too many your government might ask some questions. You will also have to keep track of your tonnage in different areas of the world. Don't forget that you have to have your flag flying in many different ports. Gunboat Diplomacy may be derided now, but in the game's time it was one of the main reasons for your fleet to be in existence. 

 On the right of the above screen you will see how your country is doing diplomatically with the other countries in the game. You can see that I have five countries in the green, which is where you want them.The baby 'blank' color (why oh why that color!) is where you will be heading toward a confrontation. Many things could happen along the way though.

Ship Design Screen

  To many players this is the heart of the game and why they bought it in the first place. Is your next design a war winner or the next Vasa? Ship design can also be constrained by following the rules of the different naval treaties that were in force during the game's time frame.


 In the screen above you can see that I am at war with France. Once that happens, windows will pop up to see if you want to battle it out with the enemy's force. In this case I have two light cruisers and the enemy has a battle cruiser and two light cruisers with six destroyers. If you decline battle the enemy is automatically given the specified amount of Victory Points. Although, as in this case, "discretion is the better part of valor".

Aircraft Type Screen

 You can fight real battles or even take your fleet out on exercises. Speaking of which, this is one place where I will knock the game. Of course it could be me, but I have never been able to cancel a fleet exercise once it has started. By the way, fleet exercises cost money also. 

 So is the game a boring dud or a direct hit from a 16" shell? It is a direct hit as long as you take the time to put some effort into it. This is not a game that you can play halfheartedly while watching the Bears (I am a Packers fan but when Football teams' names come up, I can never forget SNL's "da Bears"). Take your time and slowly get into the cold water of the North Atlantic or wherever you have chosen to run roughshod over your country's naval history from this moment on. Some players tinker for hours on end on the ship design screen. Others let the computer take up that task to get into the thick of battle. Who cares, as long as it is fun for you, and this game can definitely be fun, as long as you let it.

Rule The Waves I review:

For more info on the tactical side of the game please see these reviews:

Steam and Iron The Russo-Japanese War

Steam and Iron The Great War With the Campaign Expansion 


Great naval Battles of the Ancient Greek World by Owen Rees   Once again I am proud to review a Pen & Sword r...

Great Naval Battles of the Ancient Greek World by Owen Rees Great Naval Battles of the Ancient Greek World by Owen Rees

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


 Once again I am proud to review a Pen & Sword release. The book shows us thirteen naval battles from The Battle of Lade in 494 BC to The Battle of Cnidus in 394 BC. The author has picked a very interesting group of battles to depict. There were, in actuality, so many to choose from that he mentions he chose only the ones that have the most information available to historians.

 The author's introduction is unusual in that he does not just explain why he wrote the book, but gives the reader a grounding in Grecian naval warfare. It is a short, but very informative lesson. What exactly was a trireme, how were the rowers set up, and what was each bank of them called? These and more are answered in the introduction. He also dips our toes in the water of their tactics. Even the earliest battles show how sophisticated the Greeks had become in naval warfare. More than 1500 years later some European naval battles were no more than a land battle at sea, with ships lashed together to make to make a pseudo island to fight on.

 The battles start at the Persian Wars, where Persia was invading Greece. They continue through the Archidamian and Ionian  (usually called the Decelean War by scholars, but the author points out that all of the action took place in Ionia)Wars. The familiar names are all here: Conon, Lysander, and of course Alcibiades. The Greek strategy and tactics of the period are still studied today. Many of the famous ancient historians are quoted in the book. The author attempts (I think successfully) to make sense of these military actions from the sometime very skimpy sources.

 The duel between Alcibiades and Lysander are the most interesting parts of the book in my opinion. The author shows that Persian money was the only reason that Sparta was able to keep fighting at the end of the Peloponnesian War.

 All in all, this is a great book to add to your collection. The maps, which are a little Spartan (sorry), do help. It would have been nice to see more of them. Mr. Rees, soon to be Dr. Rees, does an excellent job of sweeping away the cobwebs of 2500 years. Thank you Casemate Publishers for allowing me to review this book.


Author: Owen Rees
Publisher: Pen & Sword
Distributor: Casemate Publishers

Metaverse Keeper By Sparks Games  Metaverse Keeper is a dungeon crawler/rogue indie game developed and published by Sparks Games...

Metaverse Keeper Metaverse Keeper

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

Metaverse Keeper

By Sparks Games 

Metaverse Keeper is a dungeon crawler/rogue indie game developed and published by Sparks Games. In the game, you play as a group of heroes (who have previously saved many different worlds) who come together to save the universe. The games art style is very cartoon like and reminds me of Nintendo's Paper Mario series. 

I always like to mention tutorials in my reviews as a real pet-peeve of mine is when games leave it up to you to figure out what's going on and what the controls are. Metaverse Keeper, fortunately, comes with a handy set of tutorials at the start of the game, covering things from basic controls to using items and powerups. 

Let's talk about the characters. This is one of the most interesting and colourful games I've come across in quite a while, the cartoon style adds extra charm to these characters but their unique abilities and style on their own make them stand out as well. When you start the game you don't have the option of all the characters being playable yet, they unlock the once you do certain things within missions, It's a nice little challenge, however you can still view all of the characters when you're not on a misson. The character you start off within the tutorial is Wong. He seems the most normal of the four unlockable characters but that doesn't mean he's not fun to play as! Then there's Brooks, who looks like someone from an 80s metal band. He carries a guitar and rocks an awesome red bandana. Unfortunately Brooks does not keep his guitar as a weapon when you play as him during a level/mission, instead, he carries what seems to be a DIY gun/knife combo. A very interesting choice...
The other two characters are Zoe, she seems to be some sort of pilot and the only playable female character in the game, and then Howard, who seems to be some sort of robot, or possibly a man wearing a scuba diving suit. I'm not 100% sure but he looks brilliant.  

The game offers three different hardness settings for you to play. The first one is the standard 'Normal' mode. Then 'Hard' and then, 'Out Of Control'. The normal mode seems quite challenging enough but if you really want to go hardcore i'd recommend 'Out Of Control' as it's a lot of fun. Don't be deceived by the more 'cute' art style, this game isn't as easy as you think it is!

 There is also a local co-op mode and online co-op mode for you to play with your friends. I wasn't expecting these options as it seems like quite a story driven game. However, when I tried to find someone online to play with there was no one available at that time, so I didn't try that mode out. 

In the game, there are a lot of retro themes and items you can collect and see. For example, you can collect cassette tapes that you can use to buy new upgrades from the upgrade depot. The upgrades increase certain stats or help you. There are also items lying around your base that would give any video-games fan a smile of their face. A Dreamcast lies on the floor near where the characters stand. The Dreamcast was SEGAs last home console, quite an unusual choice to put in a game but I think it's brilliant. 

The soundtrack has a very Daft Punk, Electronica feel to it. Very 80s, which makes sense because of the cassette tapes and some of the characters have old-school looks.

Overall, Metaverse Keeper is a game that has created a very charming art style that I've not seen from many titles in this genre. The gameplay is smooth and you can really get ingrossed into this world. If you're a fan of dungeon crawlers, this is a game for you. 

Here's a summary of the features I really liked in the game:
- Interesting bosses for the dungeons
-A range of different weapons to use/pick up 
-Unique art style
- Little hidden objects for die-hard gaming fans (Dreamcast)

Metaverse Keeper is available to buy now on Steam .

If you're curious about  WarPlan the new strategic level WW2 game from Kraken Studios and Matrix Games, look no further than the v...

WarPlan - First Look at Beta (Video) WarPlan - First Look at Beta (Video)

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

If you're curious about WarPlan the new strategic level WW2 game from Kraken Studios and Matrix Games, look no further than the video below. I give the game a quick spin, going through the various menus and invading a bit of Poland. 

Please note that the game is still in beta!

- Joe Beard

Paths of Glory Deluxe Edition by  GMT Games   Paths of Glory started out as a book by Humphrey Cobb. It was then ...

Paths of Glory deluxe Edition by GMT Games Paths of Glory deluxe Edition by GMT Games

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

Paths of Glory Deluxe Edition


 GMT Games

  Paths of Glory started out as a book by Humphrey Cobb. It was then turned into a movie, by none other than Stanley Kubrick. Both in their own right are hailed as one of the best anti-war pieces in their own milieu. Here is a quote from the book: "the paths of glory lead but to the grave". World War I saw the advent of killing in Western Europe on an unprecedented scale. Machine guns, terror bombings, the chemical warfare, to name just a few, come during the years 1914-1918. So it would seem a little incongruent for one of the best games on World War I to use the same name. I must digress for a moment about wargamers and our hobby. We seem to be painted with a brush that condemns us as warmongering geeks. The actual reality is as far from that as possible. In our reading and playing, we get to glimpse the worst and best side of man. We emulate battles as a mental game, much as Chess was in its infancy. I will now return the soapbox to its proper place. The First World War led directly to the Second and helped transform our world into what it is today.

 The games name notwithstanding, it has been one of the most popular WWI games since its release in 1999. This review is of the deluxe edition released by GMT Games in 2018. Here is list of what comes with this edition:

  • One 22" x 34" double-sided mounted mapboard (Classic Simonitch Map and the new Historical Scenario map by Terry Leeds.)
  • 316 full-color die cut counters including the optional counters first released in the POG Player’s Guide in 2002.
  • Updated 2017 Edition Rule Book incorporating prior rulings and errata.
  • 110 Core Strategy Cards & 20 Optional Cards from the POG Player’s Guide.
  • Updated Two Player Aid Cards
  • Two six-sided dice 

This pic includes the old map

 The game uses point-to-point mechanics for movement. Each game turn represents three months. As was listed, this edition comes with a two-sided mounted map. There is a new map for this edition by Terry Leads, and the reverse has the classic map by Mark Simonitch. The new map represents players' inputs through the different editions. The Rule Book is thirty-nine pages long. It is in color and has an adequate amount of illustrations of game play. This being the sixth edition of the game, the rule book has red diamond markings on new rules or significant changes. There are four scenarios that are available to the player. The Introductory Scenario ends after three turns. The next is the Limited War scenario that ends at turn 10, or the end of the 1916 summer turn. The Campaign Game ends at the end of 1919. Of course, there are many ways of winning an automatic victory in all of those. The Historical Scenario is described as "Refined over hundreds of playings, the historical scenario is a finely balanced match suitable for competitive and organized matches. The new 'Deluxe' map uses the historical scenario conditions and these rules are aligned with the historical scenario used in tournaments." The player is free to try the Schlieffen Plan (the plan and its authorship is now in debate by historians), or turn Germany's attention to Russia. 

New Map

 The game is played through the Strategy Cards the players receive. To quote the rule book "In Paths of Glory, the Strategy Cards are the heart of the game. The players initiate all actions, including movement and combat, through the play of Strategy Cards." The cards are all based on actual events, or strategies etc. that occurred in WWI. This is the sequence of play:

A. Mandated Offensive Phase
B. Action Phase
C. Attrition Phase
D. Siege Phase
E. War Status Phase
  E.1. Check the Victory Point Table
  E.2. Determine if Automatic Victory has occurred.
  E.3. Determine if Armistice has been declared.
  E.4. Check War Commitment Levels (not on Turn 1).
F. Replacement Phase
  F.1. Allied Powers Segment
  F.2. Central Powers Segment
G. Draw Strategy Card Phase
H. End of Turns

 The counters used in the the game are either Corps or Armies. Corps units are 1/2" sized, while Army units are 5/8" sized. As in most games the front of the counter represents full strength while it's obverse is reduced strength. 

 War Status is one of the innovative concepts that is in the game. The three different War Statuses are Mobilization, Limited War, Total War. This mechanic shows how the different nations moved from what they thought was going to happen in the war to the reality they were presented with. All of Europe headed down the rabbit hole and didn't look back. The War Status mechanic gives the player more strategies to use, but it is a double-edged sword. The higher the War Status the more cards, etc. your opponent can use to block your moves and make his own path to winning. The players are also able to add optional cards to the game. These cards are numbers 56-65. Some of these are:

The Sixtus Affair
Paris Taxis
Prince Max
Stavka Timidity

 From when it burst on the scene in 1999 and won a Charles S. Roberts award, this game has only gone from strength to strength. Many people consider it their favorite Wargame and now I know why. Its pull is not just on gamers who like WWI, gamers who are just looking for one of the best wargames are pulled into its orbit. It is certainly not the flashiest of wargames, but it works visually very well. As far as gameplay, you would be hard pressed to find a better designed game. This is why it is so popular in tournament play. GMT also has the 'Paths of Glory Player's Guide' for sale. This is a treasure trove of information acquired by players after many games. It also has new scenario setups for each year designed by Ted Racier, the game's designer. I will list some links for the reader below. Thank you GMT Games for letting me review this classic/new game.