We are back! It's time to celebrate!
It's been a long year and then some since everything went pear shaped. It feels like ages ago that I last sat down at one of our FLGS The Source Comics & Games. The last time I was there was with friends, Frick and Brent in a game of Hellenica: Story of Greece. Little did I know that would be the last time I'd game with First Minnesota for a long time or anyone f2f for that matter.
Though it wasn't all drudge as a lot of us at First Minnesota were able to gather on a Discord Game Channel and get a bunch of games played via Vassal and other platforms. But overall, nothing replaces sitting down at a table, pushing counters with your finger, chucking dice, and laughing your ass off. Personally, I miss walking around and seeing what other random games being played, and chatting after games.
Well, here is to starting again.
Though many more will be joining us in future sessions, this Friday Gordy, Alan, Sobhi, and Troy established the beachhead at the Game Zenter, formerly known as Fantasy Flight Game Center.
Opening at 11am, I was one of the first to enter. There is plenty of space and all the tables are more than adequetely spaced apart.
Fully vaccinated, the crew arrives:
We settle on Versailles 1919 and get things set up. Alan (French), Sobhi (English), Troy (Americans), and Gordy (Italy):
Of course, the Montenegro card gets placed right away on the board, making Alan very happy:
I make a fight of it for the Montenegro card, but France's intensity is too hard to beat:
Wheelin' and Dealin' is part of the game:
Fighting for control of the issues:
Maskin' it up:
Time for drinks and eats:
Really, for a game that doesn't have a lot of rules, there is a nice amount to think about and to strategize. It's not always about winning the issues, sometimes you have to settle an issue for someone else, give them the win, so then you have the say of what issue will be brought before the group to debate on. The random events also keep the game nice and spice-y. There is lots of interaction and rubbing elbows and take that(s) in this one.
America and Italy duke it out for the final issue:
It was a close game:
The first game back was a hoot. A great game to jumpstart First Minnesota Fridays. Hopefully, everything will continue keep going in the right direction and we'll be able to further expand our game nights. Alan and Troy stuck around after the game to (play?) Brotherhood & Unity.
Hopefully all of you out there can safely get back to f2f gaming.
A blog written by members of the 1st Minnesota Historical Gaming Group.
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It's been a tough year all around, but it's been a good decade for the First Minnesota Historical Wargaming Society. (In case you didn't know we've been around since 1982!!)
Take a look at the visual history of our club presented by Herr Dr (you may have to click on it a few times to blow it up sufficiently to see the details):
Here is hoping things get better and some of us can meet up f2f later this year.
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My game group, The First Minnesota, has been playing some Cataclysm the last few weeks via Vassal & Discord, and as always with my plays of this game, it has proved to be entertaining and produced another weird unique game experience.
The game started out normal enough with Japan getting to work in China, Germany building up, the French bolstering it's border defenses, the usual.
Then the game turned almost exclusively to the East. The Russian player began building up a massive force on the edges with Japan--almost to the point of only having one Russian army in the West, and Japan itself was trying to take everything it could, but it was a slog as American Aid poured into the Chinese forces and forced a lot of tough battles for the Japanese. Germany was struggling early on trying to ramp itself up, and France did an above average job of getting two fortresses out.
Russia was the one to start the festivities by attacking Poland, and soon continued West taking out Germany in East Prussia and Silesia. It was looking real bad for Germany as the Reds were at the gates of Berlin. The Russians had even penetrated into Yugoslavia and was even threatening Italy!!
Halfway through 39-40 this was the West:
But Germany came back. The beginning of the turn was just bad luck f or the Germans as the Russians had pulled every chit/piece they needed in the absolute correct order. Germany was close to falling. But then the Germans bounced back and pushed the Russians back and had attacked into Russia itself. By this time both Germany, Russia, and Japan were at Total War and the world is at Global War:
In the east, the Japanese were pounding the Russians, but the Soviets kept making their Stability Tests.
So what about the West? Where are the Democracies you say? You hear that? Do you? That's right you don't, it's all quiet in the West.
Once Russia became the focal point, Italy, Germany, and Japan did very little to provoke the West. I was playing U.S. and France, I think in 39-40 we got provoked once, which allowed the UK and France to finally form an alliance, a roll that we had botched three times the previous year. But the alliance does no good if you are not getting provoked. Russia was teetering on the edge of defeat and we could do nothing, because even once we finally got to Mobilization, we couldn't attack. We had no flags to do a DoW. Finally Britain, desperate to get into the action "attacked" German allied Denmark and set themselves up there for the next round:
France was ripe to attack Germany, I wanted to, but I had no flags to do a DoW. I tried to attack Benelux, just to do something, anything, but failed the roll to allow me to attack a neutral.
I had never had a game where the West was this cut out from the main action of the game, so strangled for flags. This was not poor play on the West, I have played Cataclysm a ton, it was just all the action was in the east, and when Germany does NOTHING to provoke you, what are you supposed to do?
Despite having absolutely NOTHING to do for so much of the game, I am still having a blast. As the Americans as well in this game, I have done everything you can to stay in the game, by giving aid to China, which really did slow down the Japanese and allowed me to get provoked quite a bit for the US player early in the game. I was able to break off trade with Japan very early in the game and got Lend Lease up and running.
Hopefully the West can finally strike Germany before it's too late.
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MY LIST: SLAM DUNK! (Patton55's Top 20 Played Solo Games of 2020
This is for the annual Top 200 Solo games of the year voting that takes place right now:
See the link above for more detail, but here is the list...
MY TOP 20 PLAYED SOLO GAMES OF 2020:
2.Terminator Genisys: Rise of the Resistance
3.Cthulhu Death May Die
5.Gloomhaven Jaws of the Lion
6.This War of Mine
8.Crowbar! (by Flying Pig Games)
9.Back to the Future: Back in Time (The Prospero Hall game)
10.Escape From Hades (by Hollanspiele Games)
12. Days of Ire
13.Stalingrad Inferno on the Volga
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First Minnesota Catwalks Cataclysm (or Extremely Fit German Foreign Exchange Students Head to Sweden For Spring Break)
22 Aug 2020
Well a gaggle of us gathered for some Friday Night fun. This time we played some of GMT's Cataclysm: A Second World War. This is a sandbox type of WW2 war-game or maybe what one could call the most complicated beer & pretzels game ever. It had been some time since Patrick & I played it, and it was the first time playing for some of the others.
Alan and Logan--Observing & Reporting for the League of Nations
And with cake and beer in our hands we got the ball rolling around 8pm.
The early turns usually go pretty quick for this one, but our first turn felt like it took half the night. And early on it was a no-show for the Germans, as France & Russia & Japan had upped their commitment and Russia started a massive build-up near Manchuria before Germany's first boots ever touched the Ruhr.
Things got bad for the Democracies in the 2nd turn as France and Britain tottered close to collapse and could get nothing done in terms of an Alliance as all the action centered in the east and no flags were provoked. America and England couldn't get out of Civilian commitment. But America was able to break the Japan/USA Trade agreement early on. Russian build up continued as the Trans-Siberian Orchestra helped build the railroads funnel more troops east and American aid to the Chinese poured into the coast as Japan slogged through some costly victories against the Chinese.
The situation in Europe:
Things will heat up dramatically the next time we play as Germany & Russia will begin mobilization and expect some surprises from the Japanese. The world is close to war, now we'll just see how takes the first shot.
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Well, First Minnesota members Sobhi, Michael, Patrick, and Gordy just wrapped up an epic game of Mark Herman's Pericles. In the middle of this pandemic, First Minnesota got a Covid cohort together to tackle Herman's biggest scenario from Pericles. The full ten turn game. If you're going to commit to such an awesome game you might as well go in for the whole experience.
Technically Michael, Sobhi, and I have been gaming since the beginning of April, playing a game of Falling Sky first. Then Patrick joined us for Pericles. So for about 6-7 weeks we played Pericles. Sobhi and Gordy as Athens VS. Michael and Patrick as the Spartans.
I wish I had the time and patience to give this a good turn by turn write up, but with 3 kids running around my house, I'll just give a quick recap of our epic game.
Sometimes you play the game and sometimes the game plays you. I think all of us in this game had those moments of "What the hell did I just do?" or "Why did I play that?" or "What the hell is going on?" Some turns were a comedy routine of errors. War is hell in Pericles, the best laid plans can be wrecked by the chaos of the war turns in this game. When you win your issues and then place them face down onto the map, it's great tension. You go around and around in turn order placing your face down action markers. Never knowing what your opponents are up to. Sometimes, you change your plan mid stream to counter what you "Think" your enemy might be doing.
The early part of this game was all Athens, as we moved and attacked and raided with aggression. But somewhere in the midpoint of the game things changed and it became a Spartan playground, as Sobhi and I lost our footing and our way.
The end of the game and if you are Athens this is not what you want to see (damn the Persian Gold!):
Michael, who was in last place most of the game, ended up winning the game:
Playing the "big boy pants" game of Pericles was a great time. This truly is one of those rare gaming moments that could really only happen during a time like this and on Vassal, as the big scenario would be hard to accomplish on a normal game night. Definitely a monumental First Minnesota moment.
Well done, folks. I had a great time.
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You can't stop First Minnesota. Even though we have scattered to the four corners, gaming continues nonetheless. We may have denied our Mecca to play games in (The Source Comics & Games), but many have have gotten creative in setting up games. Some have turned to Table Top Simulator something I haven't used but I hear is pretty good to play games. Steam also has some games like Twilight Struggle and Labyrinth to play as well. But Michael, Sobhi, and I used the old stand-by Vassal to play some Falling Sky. Craig would have joined us but he was a late scratch due to not feeling good--hope you're doing better now my friend!
Even though there was only 3 of us we had the A.I. bot play the blue guys, the Adeui. It worked out well. Michael played the Averni, Sobhi the yellow ones (the Belgea), and I took on the evil empire, no not the Yankees, The Romans. The game at the moment we stopped:
We didn't finish as it was Sobhi's first time playing and it had been awhile for Michael, and even though I'm a veteran it is just a crunchy deep game to grasp. Now it's not on the level of Pendragon: The Fall of Roman Britain but it's hard. It's a deceiving game because the board is just as big as Cuba Libre's board, but don't the actions are all a little bit different than other COIN games.
Michael and Sobhi did quite well. I played the Romans too conservatively. Sure I was roaming around with the equivalent of the Death Star, destroying all things in my path. I didn't spread out, so at the point in the game we stopped, the board is quite yellow and green and blue.
It was a great game. We'll continue on with the game hopefully soon.
Playing Falling Sky reminded me of a few years ago when Volko was in town and had First Minnesota do a couple playtest sessions, one of them that took place at 6am in the morning!
and reminded me of all the COIN games we have done in the past:
So, let's keep the community of gaming going. Couple of the other First Minnesota LET'S GAME THREADS (you all are welcome to pop in and set up a game if you want):
and this one:
Here is to more happy gaming opportunities. Here is to not letting the crap get you down too much. Enjoy everyone and take care.
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First Minnesota Friday Night Gaming: Hellenica, 18xx, Enemy Action, Dungeon Degenerates, and Much More
10 Mar 2020
The First Minnesota once again gathered at The Source Comics & Games for some gaming this last Friday.
Things got going at 10am as Alan and Jim with some Enemy Action--sounded like Alan had a tough time, but he'll chime in later with his notes on that. When I got there they were setting up for some Victory in the Pacific:
Gordy, Brent, and Dan played some Hellenica:
Black Sox Dave showed up for a little bit:
Brent played Sparta, Gordy had Athens, and Dan took Corinth. We all got the arms race going early and built up for a large part of the game. Dan never went to war with anyone, Gordy and Brent clashed mainly on the seas. It was close in the end, both Athens and Sparta got the victory conditions, but Gordy got the tie breaker for the win. Hellenica is a great 4x style game, lots of great decisions to make, great chaos events to spice things up.
Who the hell are these guys and what do they think they're doing? Don't they know they're not allowed in these parts?
Oh, that's Brian and Michael playing some Combat Commander! You know, you remember, Combat Commander, right?
The 18xx Mafia, of course, was at it again. And other gaming:
Who do I spot here? It's Bill, our treasurer! And in the background that's Logan sporting a hell of a mustache! He'll be staring in the next Starsky & Hutch.
Brent continued with Dungeon Degenerates with Doug & Co.
And that folks, is how First Minnesota rolls on a Friday Night.
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Welcome to my list of best light Wargames of 2019.
I haven't actually made it out to F2F gaming a ton this year. But SOLO, I got a crap ton of gaming done this year and as usual bought a "few" games along the way. So, in a way, this is a combination of games I have played and games I bought this year and games I think you should look into.
Some of the ones below are new to 2019, some are just new to me in 2019, and others are just damn good games that got played--and when you have hundreds of games, and it actually gets to the table, that's saying something.
1. 1759 Siege of Quebec. Super light wargame, mainly a solo game, but plays well probably as a 2-player filler.
2. Freedom!. Greek war of independence. Twilight Struggle meets Stronghold. Plays in about 90 minutes. Good game.
3. Armageddon War: Platoon Level Combat in the End War. Two player (with solo rules) near future chit pull medium war-game. I love me some dice chucking chit pull games!
4. Stalingrad: Inferno on the Volga. Solo block wargame. Light game, takes 60 minutes to play. Love it. This is my kind of game now--I don't have time to play Enemy Action: Ardennes anymore, so this is the kind of wargame that will get to the table nowadays.
5. Crowbar! The Rangers at Pointe Du Hoc. Storming the beaches of Normandy. Solo light dice chucking wargame, though it probably takes 3-4 hours to play the main scenario. It's epic! I love it.
6. Nights of Fire: Battle for Budapest. Solo and 2-player. Great light thinky wargame. Brian Train co-designer. As the good guys you're not trying to win, as you will get your ass kicked, you're just trying to survive long enough. Great card play and theme for this one.
7. The Devil's to Pay! The First Day at Gettysburg. Herman Luttman wargame, hell yes! And it's chit-pull, what else could you ask for? It's great. Fairly easy, though a 4 hour game to be sure. Recreates the first day of Gettysburg, fun, fun, fun! Lots of chaos in this one.
8. Redvers' Reverse: The Battle of Colenso, 1899. Solo wargame, fairly simple. I love giving orders to my units and not knowing it they will follow them!
9. All Bridges Burning: Red Revolt and White Guard in Finland, 1917-1918. 3-player COIN game set in a lesser known historical period. It's great. You won't get to play it for a few more months, but I playtested the s--- out of this.
10. Gandhi: The Decolonization of British India, 1917 – 1947. 4 player game set in India. Very different COIN, very fresh, great design--I also playtested the s--- out of this. Would like to actually get a 4-player game played. The non-violent factions work and they work well.
11. Star Wars: Rebellion. Damn right, like War of the Ring, Rebellion tells a great story, and has a ton of dice chucking in it. It's pure fun. If you haven't played it, shame on you.
12. Pericles: The Peloponnesian Wars. This game doesn't get enough love. FANTASTIC 4 player game AND FANTASTIC solo game as well. The solo rules in this one are better than the Churchill bots.
13. 7: The Defense of Lwów. Picked this up when I was in Poland this summer--great filler, what, 2o minutes at most?
14. Comanchería: The Rise and Fall of the Comanche Empire. No list would be complete without one of the best solo games out there.
Honorable Mention: Black Orchestra. Great Co-op game. Wargame? who cares! You're trying to assassinate Hitler, close enough!! You have to play this game. SO MUCH FUN.
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First Minnesota Friday Night Gaming (12/27/19): Nuclear War, Freedom, Gloomhaven, The Expanse, 18xx, and So Much More!
28 Dec 2019
First Minnesota was out in force to close out the 2019 season. We got into the swing of things early and often at our local hangout The Source Comics & games. We had a good time...You know...ten hours of gaming, eating bad food, laughing, chucking dice, victory yelps, slapping backs, and shooting the shit...the usual First Minnesota fanfare.
Let's get started.
First up, was Bill's Youth Wargame Class was back in action with some Nuclear War:
and some VAST was played and some 1822 appeared on a table:
My friend Craig and I played some FREEDOM! a two player game about the Greek War of Independence, kind of like Twilight Struggle a little with the manner of card play, plus a siege of a city as the main center of action. This was a great medium/light wargame, with plenty of dice chucking action and tension. I give it a thumbs up. Lots of fun.
After Freedom, Alan sauntered by, and Craig, myself, and Alan played THE EXPANSE. Again, this has become a sleeper hit I think here at FM with some of us. Easy to learn, fast to play, no more than two hours, very streamlined area control, take that, sharp elbows type of game.
Some other gaming was bustling around us:
Some Gloomhaven with Doug, Classy, and others:
Brent stepped in later on and we played some Cthulhu Death May Die, a great action pack romp:
The 18xx Mafia working it hard:
The game room all filled up:
And that's how we do it at First Minnesota! Great night of gaming.
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