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Liberty: The American Revolution 1775-83» Forums » Reviews

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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Erin go Bragh! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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Gaff: You've done a man's job, sir. I guess you're through, huh?

Deckard: Finished.

[Gaff throws Deckard his gun]

Gaff: It's too bad she won't live! But then again, who does?



Forgive me as I indulge two of the things I love in the world: Blade Runner and wargaming. I’m a sentimental person at heart, so doing this is actually sad and painful, which surprises me. It is only right though. Sometimes, I see how I feel on the inside on the face of a movie character. T.E. Lawrence and Chief Brody are two examples, depending on when I watch those films and where I was in my life. When you look at Deckard and see yourself though, it is time to change things. After all, isn’t that what Blade Runner ultimately is? A mature science fiction film with a Carpe Deim message? I am reminded of what Thomas Jefferson once said: “The earth belongs to the living, not to the dead.” Or as Led Zepplin would say:

“Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run
There's still time to change the road you're on”

Back in 2007 I started writing reviews for boardgamegeek. These reviews started off as small overviews, and over time grew a bit longer, with pictures and more nuanced opinions. It has been fun and I know many enjoy my reviews, but the time has come to call it quits. I feel the spark that once animated my reviews has grown dim and they feel increasingly like a chore. When that happens it is time to call it quits. I did the same thing with session reports. I used to love writing them. Then one day, I just stopped. I’ll be finishing up geeklists and writing some video game reviews, but as far as boardgame reviews go I am finished.

My early reviews were nothing special, but the one I wrote for Liberty proved to be a moderate success. So I’ve decided to return to this game, not just to update what I did before, but also because since buying this game in 2006, only a few months after Katrina had passed, it has remained one of my favorites. So before I bow out, let me give it the review it deserves from me.

Here is the old review:The Redcoats Are Coming!.

Here comes the last. However, before that, some credits

The game images used in this review were created by these users
Ben Vögel
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I've been on this site for 10 years now, and I'm far from sick of games, but I think I am, to some degree, sick of learning too many new games. I'm also tired of playing 4+ hr multiplayer games, but I'll still happily play really long games 2 player.
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Now, onto the show.

We’ve Come For Your Daughter Chuck!


Gameplay (70/70): Liberty features yearly turns depicting the war from 1775-1783. Like a CDG, each turn has players using cards as either supply or more commonly for points they use to move forces around or draw reinforcements. The cards though feature no events and the supply cards do not allow you to move forces. Combat is a rigid affair. Blocks fire by class, with A blocks going before B blocks, and the defender firing first in each class. This, along with the defender’s ability to retreat on the first round and the slow movement rates for the blocks, makes Liberty more about jockeying for position than blasting through your enemy. Those positions are important too. You need them not just for victory points, but also to give your men shelter when winter comes. While this makes for very quiet turns, a build up one turn leads to an explosion of action in another. In this way it is like a Beethoven symphony.

The forces are asymmetrical, but both start with their best troops off map and in need of construction. The British are more numerous and powerful at first, but they must draw non-Loyalist troops from the Atlantic box. Also, they have to occupy more ground, leading them to concentrate in the North. It also means they can get spread out, leading to American counterattacks. Also, the Americans are playing for time, because starting in 1776 the French can arrive. Although their units are not as good as the British, their navy is equal and they provide more units. An early French entry can put a damper on British plans, and while victory is still possible, the improbability means that even Columbia has made an official fix to this rule. The French are less likely now to appear in either 1776 or 1777.

Holding Boston While Shifting South


The units are varied. Both sides get weak militia forces and regulars, although the Americans have many more of the former. The British also have Indians, which as in the real war, are of only marginal use. The British also have Hessian units, who are mostly just weaker regulars. Still, this attention to fluff is welcome, and I love the inclusion of Ewald and his elite Jaegers. A wonderful unit is the leader. These improve your wintering conditions, and represent the power and logistics of a field army. each side gets three, although the Americans must wait to get Rochambeau. The units though are a finite resource. Lost blocks are considered to be captured, and only through a prisoner exchange will they return to play. Also, block steps are repaired only through supply cards or returning a unit to the draw pool. This can get frustrating since blocks are drawn randomly. At any rate, the rules for losses make battles more rare, which is an aspect I like.

Victory is achieved through the capture of supply cities. Just as in Pacific Victory, accusations of bias abound. For one, the British must take 30 points worth of cities by 1783 to win. That is a tall order and even Columbia has addressed this issue. While that does show a lack of thoughtful playtesting, the speed with which they addressed is just one reason why I usually buy from Columbia Games.

Accessibility (10/10): As you would expect from Columbia Games, the rules are clean and straightforward, offering a great transition for players looking to upgrade from Quebec 1759 and War of 1812.

Components (9/10): The map is functional and works well, even if it is not particularly beautiful. The blocks and cards are also stripped down, so taken together the game actually maintains a kind of visual motif. The only reason I took off a point was the choice of commander names on the blocks featured some relatively minor figures, such as Dickinson and Peters, while more active fellows such as Benjamin Lincoln, Charles Lee, John Sullivan, and Barry St. Leger are represented in no way at all.

Slice of the Map


Historical Quality (7/10): Liberty is rightfully chided for its inaccuracies. Among the complaints is the lack of politics, the ease of French entry, and that the South generally sees little action. While each has merits, I think players are forgetting how much is abstracted into the design. While you may not feel like a revolutionary, I’d say the fact that the British must occupy most cities to hold them represents those political realities. At any rate, the random French entry alone makes me feel more like Washington or Clinton, a harried general hoping the diplomats can win over the court at Versailles. The South seeing little action goes with history. The armies operating below the Potomac were much smaller. Indeed, the bulk of both armies were situated in a stalemate at New York City. They sent smaller forces south to fight, which I find is often the case in Liberty.

That does not mean I do not have my problems. A session will rarely see a small American army setting up shop in western North Carolina and then being chased through the backwoods by Cornwallis. The game set-up supposes the Loyalists would be much stronger than they were in 1775. This means that 1775 will rarely be such a great year to be a Patriot. Also, I’d say the French navy is too strong. While the French fleet did well in this war, the British still won more battles. Lastly, the nerd I me hates to see Stark get beat up. He was among the best combat commanders of the war and deserves better than what he gets here.

Still, the game does a better job with history than the naysayers would have you think. Units only get steps through supply cards or going home, a good way to represent the logistical nightmare faced by both sides. The Americans avoid combat and try to remain opportunistic, and the British stay along the coast and seize the big port cities, using their naval power to devastating effect. The addition of the Caribbean theater, abstracted as it is, also works quite well and shows a part of the war woefully lacking in all other simulations. In general though, we could use both a game and a book that takes a more international perspective on one of the most influential events in history. Many of the French officers and soldiers, impressed with America. They saw that a society without a king or an aristocracy could exist. These men, including Lafayette, Rochambeau, and Lauzen would lead the French Revolution before the Brunswick Manifesto and the fall of Verdun brought about the Terror. Regardless of how you feel about that event of what happened in America, they both gave birth to the modern world and like all births it was painful, bloody, and messy.

Overall (96/100): There is a strange Chess like flow in Liberty that I find intoxicating. While hardly the exciting dice fest that is The Napoleonic Wars (Second Edition), the charms of Liberty lie in what the game rewards. It rewards forces that mix unit capabilities and players who know when fight and when to run. In short, it rewards diligence, prudence, and intelligence. If you want a rollicking good time, play Fortress America. If you want a game that more accurately reflects history, go for Wilderness War. If you want a game that plays fast and easy, and rewards the careful and the shrewd, go for Liberty.

So that wrap’s it up. If you read this far thank you. If you’ve read my other reviews, I feel honored. We do things both for ourselves and for others. I’m leaving the review business due to personal choices, but without everyone here, it would have been a pointless exercise. It was my fellow geeks who made it all worth it.

I'll leave you with one of my favorite paintings. It depicts the Battle off the Virginia Capes, where the French Navy turned back the British fleet and America was born.

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Steven Goodknecht
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Sean,
Great review! Sorry to hear that you are quitting, I've always enjoyed reading your game reviews.
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Brandon Pennington
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I really enjoy this game.
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Jon
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Hey Sean.

Thanks for the great review and for helping to make a game that I had not previously seen as interesting appear......well .... interesting to me!

And I am sorry to read that you are hanging up the reviewer hat. I always made a point of checking out what you had to say about a game and will sorely miss that experience in this format. Your insight is always poignant and you have a knack for noting something about a game I had not previously considered. I may not have always agreed with you on some points, but your arguments were always clear and thought provoking.

Maybe some day down the road you will come across a game that really excites you and the "itch" will return? One can only hope...



Thanks for the great reads.

EDIT: Oh and I agree with you on this point....Bladerunner rocks!
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Peter Putnam
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Nice re-review. Great timing. I'm heading to Prezcon in few weeks and I'm planning on playing in the Liberty tournment. It's been a few years since I played Liberty so I pulled out the rule book to brush up and I was thinking "boy this is a great game."
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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Erin go Bragh! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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No Expectations wrote:
Sean,
Great review! Sorry to hear that you are quitting, I've always enjoyed reading your game reviews.


Not quitting, just moving to new things, one of which will be game design. The days of boardgame reviews are over though.
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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Erin go Bragh! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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Capt_S wrote:
Hey Sean.

Thanks for the great review and for helping to make a game that I had not previously seen as interesting appear......well .... interesting to me!

And I am sorry to read that you are hanging up the reviewer hat. I always made a point of checking out what you had to say about a game and will sorely miss that experience in this format. Your insight is always poignant and you have a knack for noting something about a game I had not previously considered. I may not have always agreed with you on some points, but your arguments were always clear and thought provoking.

Maybe some day down the road you will come across a game that really excites you and the "itch" will return? One can only hope...


First, thanks, your one of the best on here.

As to doing my boardgame reviews, I'm not sure. Maybe a call to arms style review like I did for Lincoln's War, but otherwise probably not. There are just so many new things I'd like to do with my writing, which through practice, has really improved on BGG.
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Andreas Hellwig
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Thanks for the great review Sean !!! thumbsup
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Sam I Am
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gittes wrote:
No Expectations wrote:
Sean,
Great review! Sorry to hear that you are quitting, I've always enjoyed reading your game reviews.


Not quitting, just moving to new things, one of which will be game design.


Sorry to hear about you hanging up the reviewer hat, as you are one of my favorite reviewers here on BGG. I'll be looking forward to hearing about your game designs though.
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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Erin go Bragh! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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sxmpxr wrote:
gittes wrote:
No Expectations wrote:
Sean,
Great review! Sorry to hear that you are quitting, I've always enjoyed reading your game reviews.


Not quitting, just moving to new things, one of which will be game design.


Sorry to hear about you hanging up the reviewer hat, as you are one of my favorite reviewers here on BGG. I'll be looking forward to hearing about your game designs though.


Thanks Sam. I just hope my later work is as good as some of the reviews I've written over the years. I started writing them 5 years ago. It has been a long and fun ride.
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jeff miller
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Let me add my thanks as well Sean. I've always enjoyed your reviews and insight into games, several of which I've acquired based on your opinion. Wish you all the best in your future endeavers.
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Ben Vögel
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I've been on this site for 10 years now, and I'm far from sick of games, but I think I am, to some degree, sick of learning too many new games. I'm also tired of playing 4+ hr multiplayer games, but I'll still happily play really long games 2 player.
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Sean,

If life is just and fortune smiles, one day you and I will share a game of Liberty across the table.

- Ben
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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Erin go Bragh! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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jeff miller wrote:
Let me add my thanks as well Sean. I've always enjoyed your reviews and insight into games, several of which I've acquired based on your opinion. Wish you all the best in your future endeavers.


Thank you Jeff. I am always excited about the future...

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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Erin go Bragh! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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KingPut wrote:
Nice re-review. Great timing. I'm heading to Prezcon in few weeks and I'm planning on playing in the Liberty tournment. It's been a few years since I played Liberty so I pulled out the rule book to brush up and I was thinking "boy this is a great game."


Those were my thoughts as I read through rules in preparation for this review!
 
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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Erin go Bragh! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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shaveandahaircut wrote:
Sean,

If life is just and fortune smiles, one day you and I will share a game of Liberty across the table.

- Ben


Perhaps we shall.

First, I need a better job. laugh
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Judd Vance
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Great review, Sean!

I always love your historical commentary. I'd love to play a game of this with you.
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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Erin go Bragh! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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airjudden wrote:
Great review, Sean!

I always love your historical commentary. I'd love to play a game of this with you.


Maybe if I ever make the convention rounds. Do you do that, or just online gaming Judd?
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Bill Wood
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Let's hope you get the urge to write player guides and earn some money doing this.

Your style, structure, narrative and research are simply outstanding.

Going to miss those reviews....I always look for them and have read them all, bought games and avoided others based a lot on your efforts.
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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Erin go Bragh! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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Wilhammer wrote:
Let's hope you get the urge to write player guides and earn some money doing this.

Your style, structure, narrative and research are simply outstanding.

Going to miss those reviews....I always look for them and have read them all, bought games and avoided others based a lot on your efforts.


I feel gracious. Thank you Bill.

So how does one get player guides published?
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Bill Wood
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Heck, I would just contact the boys at GMT and see.

You have a great portfolio -

Have also heard that some folks are doing rather well on Amazon with self published e-Books.

Master Dorosh is published - he did some ASL stuff using an online self publishing service out of North Carolina whose name escapes me.
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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Erin go Bragh! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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Wilhammer wrote:
Heck, I would just contact the boys at GMT and see.

You have a great portfolio -

Have also heard that some folks are doing rather well on Amazon with self published e-Books.

Master Dorosh is published - he did some ASL stuff using an online self publishing service out of North Carolina whose name escapes me.


Or Perhaps I should send this to them: Across Four Oceans?

Or maybe some of my variants. It is a good idea Bill. So, who would I contact at GMT?
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Judd Vance
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Congratulations to Kansas State University football coach Bill Snyder for being inducted into the college football hall of fame.
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gittes wrote:
airjudden wrote:
Great review, Sean!

I always love your historical commentary. I'd love to play a game of this with you.


Maybe if I ever make the convention rounds. Do you do that, or just online gaming Judd?


I think I can make BGGCon this year.
 
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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Erin go Bragh! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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airjudden wrote:
gittes wrote:
airjudden wrote:
Great review, Sean!

I always love your historical commentary. I'd love to play a game of this with you.


Maybe if I ever make the convention rounds. Do you do that, or just online gaming Judd?


I think I can make BGGCon this year.


I probably can't, but in the not too distant future, maybe.
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Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Erin go Bragh! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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Wilhammer wrote:
Heck, I would just contact the boys at GMT and see.

You have a great portfolio -

Have also heard that some folks are doing rather well on Amazon with self published e-Books.

Master Dorosh is published - he did some ASL stuff using an online self publishing service out of North Carolina whose name escapes me.


I gave it a go and heard nothing back from GMT.

For now I'm in contact with Against All Odds.
 
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Gordon Stewart
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Speaking of game design,
the P-N-P expansion for Liberty "Bourbon"
expansion we posted in the files section
now has rules here too:
Expansion rules can be found at:
Filename: GALVEZruleUPDATE2015.pdf
BOURBON expansion for Liberty RULES TEXT
 
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