Dueling with rules in Tank Duel (@gmtgames, 2019) while making sense of Agents of Mayhem (@Academy_Games, 2019) and still learning from an older rebellion in 1775 – Rebellion (Academy Games, 2013) #wargame #boardgame

There were plenty of new wargame/boardgame arrivals this week in the RockyMountainNavy house. Almost makes me think I am becoming a “heavy” gamer!

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I love big gaming boxes….

Two boxes came in on Friday weighing a whopping 24 lbs combined weight. That immediately signaled to me that this was going to be a gaming-while-learning weekend.

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Tank Duel (GMT Games, 2019)

The smaller box, weighing in at “only” 7 lbs, held the newly released Tank Duel: Enemy in the Crosshairs from GMT Games (2019). This “fast action card game of WWII tank battles” focuses on the Eastern Front and has players playing individual tank commanders. There is no mapboard; the battle is fought abstractly.

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Tank Duel contents (courtesy GMT Games)

Since Tank Duel plays up to eight players I wanted to try and get this to the table for our “Saturday Night Fight” but alas, after running through the rules and playing solo once, I was still learning and was not confident enough to teach it to the RockyMountainNavy Boys. Maybe next week….

The second box, weighing in at 17 lbs shipping, may be the largest and heaviest game box I ever had delivered. It had only one game inside it – Agents of Mayhem: Pride of Babylon (Apollo Games/Academy Games, 2019).

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Agents of Mayhem – Fortune’s Big Score Kickstarter fulfillment

The box was actually my Kickstarter fulfillment meaning I got not only the base game but four expansions (I backed at the Early Bird Special – Fortune’s Big Score level). Now, I’m no video game fan. I supported this game mostly because I really like Academy Games and, as I wrote before, I heard (on a podcast interview?) that Agents of Mayhem is based on a Battle of Fallujah game that Academy Games developed for the USMC. The buildable/destructible nature of the game is an intriguing aspect that I know the RockyMountainNavy Boys and myself will enjoy. Heck, I may even get the oldest RockyMountainNavy Boy to play (once he comes off his 60 hours-a-week shifts).

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Courtesy Academy Games

Since I wasn’t quite ready to teach either of these games to the RockyMountainNavy Boys for our Saturday Night Fight we fell back on an older classic game. The boys also wanted a shorter game because everybody was feeling a bit under the weather and the cold medicine was kicking in. So an old standby, 1775 – Rebellion: The American Revolution (Academy Games, 2013), landed on the table.

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Courtesy Academy Games

The RMN Boys, playing the American Continentals and Patriots, wanted a shorter game so they wasted no time in punishing me. Their first card play was a French invasion of Savannah. As the British player, I was forced into a Middle Colony Strategy as I held New York City, New Jersey, and Delaware. The boys played swiftly, and both of their Treaty cards were out in Round 3 meaning Round 4 was end-game. All I had to do was hold for a tie.

Not so fast.

After playing this game for something like 3 years the RockyMountainNavy Boys “discovered” a rule that has been staring us in the face all along. All this time, we totally missed that Quebec is connected to the Atlantic and therefore a legitimate invasion target using water movement. Never one to miss a trick, the RMN Boys proceeded to invade Quebec and contest control of that province. In Round 4, I went from a close 5-4 deficit to a 7-2 loss.

There still is Sunday and the holiday Monday to play games this weekend. Sometimes “in with the new” means “out with the old” but as I realized this weekend new and old can mix well. A good winter of gaming is ahead.

#Wargame Unboxing – Conflict of Heroes: Storms of Steel, Kursk 1943 3rd Edition (@Academy_Games, 2019)

I was fortunate enough to see Academy Games owner and designer Uwe Eickert in person this past week and pick up my pre-ordered copy of Conflict of Heroes: Storms of Steel, Kursk 1943 (3rd Edition). From top to bottom it is a beautiful game.

Contents unpacked

I can’t show you the heft to the box but suffice it to say it is more substantial than I expected. This is due to the many good boards and plentiful counter-stock used throughout the game.

CoH: SoS 3e Mapboards

The mapboards took a long time to produce. Uwe posted a video a while back detailing lots of their production challenges. I am glad to see them overcoming these issues.

Wie Gehts, Uwe on Component Quality

Beyond the long production time, the game rules are not without controversy. the major change to the rules in 3rd Edition is the Spent Die Check.

Rule 2.5 Making a Spent Check

The refrain I hear most often is something to the effect that players “hate the die” and they much prefer the expenditure of Action Points found in the 2nd Edition rules. All I will say is try the 3rd Edition rules; it doesn’t play any slower and statistically the results are not really any different. Sure, with a streak of good luck a unit can maybe go on for a bit. However, a unit is not very likely to go on too long given rules 2.5 Making Spent Check and 2.6 Stress where units add a +1 Stress Penalty to its Action Cost if took any Action in a previous player’s turn (and passed its Spent Check).

Box back

The RockyMountainNavy Boys are looking forward to getting Storms of Steel to the game table soon. We have Awakening the Bear (2nd Edition) and can download the new 3rd Edition Rule Book, Mission Books, and Summary Sheets online for any play we want.

#Scythe Unboxing

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Courtesy BoardGameGeek

The RockyMountainNavy boys and I were in the FLGS a few weeks back and saw Scythe (Stonemaier Games, 2016) sitting on the shelf. This game had come to my attention recently (hattip to the Heavy Cardboard podcast) and it looked interesting. As much as I want to support my FLGS I had a hard time pulling the trigger on what I saw as an expensive game and instead ordered it online. This weekend I got around to unboxing the game.

OMG!

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Courtesy BoardGameGeek

Components – Stunning is too weak a description. The box is huge and all the components are of top quality. Love the plastic leaders and mechs, the wooden bits, the cards, the indents for tokens on the player tableau, and so much more.

Learning – In this Age of the Internet there are not only many reviews but also an abundance of How-to-Play and Actual Play videos available. With a game like Scythe it only makes sense to take advantage of them. It certainly has helped me grok the core mechanic of the game faster and will assist in me teaching others.

Gameplay – I really like the thought of mixing factions with production cards in numerous different ways. Adding in the factory card makes even more combinations possible and is sure to repeatedly challenge those who try to maximize every combination. After setting up the game and pushing pieces around I can’t wait to get this onto the table for a full play.

Scythe has certainly raised the bar of production standards across the board gaming community. For this price – which even at full retail is still a bargain for all that one gets – the game components exceed reasonable expectations. Layer on top of that outstanding gameplay and the value skyrockets. Can someone say “expansions?”

P.S. To Jamey Stegmaier – a part of me feels SOOO sorry that I bought this at a discount price online and saved my money instead of rewarding you fully. Scythe is an incredibly beautiful game and well worth the money. You should be rewarded properly.

* OK…sorry but not sorry – a family guy has gotta save money somewhere….