#Coronapocalypse #Wargame Month-in-Review (March 15 – April 15, 2020)

HERE IN THE COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA the DECLARATION OF A STATE OF EMERGENCY DUE TO NOVEL CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) was issued on March 12, 2020. For me the real Coronapocalypse started on March 15, the day before I started my new job. The onboarding was surreal; rushed to get people out soonest, walking into a deserted office, then being told to go home and telework when I don’t even have an office account. Although the teleworking eventually worked out, I still found myself at home more than expected. Looking to fill my time, gaming has been a part of my therapy to avoid going stir-crazy.

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In the first 30 days of my Coronapocalypse, I played 19 different games a total of 38 times. Looking at the list, I think many will be surprised to see Elena of Avalor: Flight of the Jaquins (Wonder Forge, 2017) as one of the top-played games. This of course is because we were helping our friends with taking care of their kids while they were working. Fortunately, it is not a bad game – for kids – and was an unexpected discovery (especially given that we purchased our copy for less than $5).

I am very happy that I got in multiple plays of Red Storm: The Air War Over Central Germany, 1987 (GMT Games, 2019). Getting time to do multiple plays allowed me to get deeper into the design and enjoyment. The same can be said about Enemy Coast Ahead: The Doolittle Raid (GMT Games, 2017) which had the bonus of being a dedicated solitaire design that was perfect for Coronapocalypse gaming. This multi-play approach also enabled me to rediscover Squadron Strike: Traveller (Ad Astra, 2018), a game which I had under-appreciated.

Given I am stuck working at home, I tried to find ways to mix my wargaming into “professional training.” So it came to be that Next War: Korea 2nd Editions (GMT Games, 2019) landed on the table. I also ordered a copy of the game poster from C3i Ops Center for my new office but, alas, the California shutdown stopped it from being sent just after the label was created.

As disruptive as the Coronapocalypse is, here in the RockyMountainNavy home we tried to keep some semblance of order. This included our Saturday Boardgaming Night with Azul: Summer Pavilion (Next Move Games, 2019), 878 Vikings (Academy Games, 2017), Enemies of Rome (Worthington Publishing, 2017), and Firefly: The Game (Gale Force Nine, 2013).

This month I also explored a few more solitaire gaming titles in my collection. I continue to insist that AuZtralia (Stronghold Games, 2018) is one of the best ‘waro’ games out there. I also got Mrs. Thatcher’s War: The Falklands, 1982 (White Dog Games, 2017) to the table right around the time the historical conflict started. Late in the month, my copy of Amerika Bomber: Evil Queen of the Skies (Compass Games, 2020) arrived. First impressions will be forthcoming.

Coronapocalypse also gave me the chance to play more one-on-one with the RockyMountainNavy Boys. RockyMountainNavy T continued his punishing win streak by besting me, again, in two plays of Hold the Line: The American Civil War (Worthington Publishing, 2019).

The game of the month was actually the last one I played. I pulled Patchwork (Mayfair Games, 2014) out to play with one of Mrs. RockyMountainNavy’s students. The box was still on the table later that night and I asked Mrs. RMN if she wanted to play. She said yes. You have to understand that Mrs. RMN is a strong advocate of gaming but she rarely plays herself. So we set up an played. She beat me handily (I actually had a negative score). I hope this is a harbinger of future gaming, especially with a title like Azul: Summer Pavilion.

How has your Coronapocalypse lock-down gaming gone?


Feature image courtesy laughingsquid.com

#Coronapocalypse #Boardgaming #FirstImpression – Summer starts early with Azul: Summer Pavilion (nextmovegames.com, 2019)

I guess I got lucky in that I got an order from Miniatures Market in before the #Coronapocalypse shutdown kicked in really hard. Although I am a Grognard wargamer, I also want to play family boardgames. As much as the RockyMountainNavy family plays games, Mrs. RMN is a reluctant gamer. Sure, she encourages others to play, but she is reluctant to play herself. So I decided to try a new game that would (hopefully) attract her to the table.

The game I settled upon is Azul: Summer Pavilion (Next Move Games, 2019). Why Azul? Well, it aligns well with her (limited) gaming interests:

  • It’s colorful
  • It’s an abstract game (Qwirkle is a favorite)
  • It’s easy to learn.

To date I have had limited success. I have yet to get Mrs. RMN to play even though we are now being detained ordered by the Governor to Stay at Home. However, the RMN Boys and I have played a few times. Our general reaction is that the game is more “thinky” than we expected. If your fellow gamers are prone to Analysis Paralysis this may NOT be the game to bring to the table if time is essential to you. I mean, the game is not hard to learn (the rules are rather simple) but the choices to make can be challenging. If you are really into puzzle games then Azul: Summer Pavilion will be right up your alley.

I have not given up yet on Mrs. RMN. I think that once she plays she will enjoy the game. Even if she doesn’t, the game is a good candidate for her older students. The ease of learning in many ways makes this a gateway game, however the strategy challenges makes it a lite-medium weight game.

Regardless of Mrs RMN plays, Azul: Summer Pavilion will stay on the gaming shelf (and table) in our Medium Gateway category.