ones upon a game

I am almost exclusively a solo gamer and look at the gaming scene seen through those eyes. I also literally like alliteration. TWITTER: @onesuponagame

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No Bones About It - CTG Customer Service Nails It!

Kevin L. Kitchens
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You may remember the issues discovered when I acquired a secondhand copy of Mechs vs. Minions and trying to get (nay BUY) a replacement set of cards from Riot Games (Caveat Emptor! Avoid Buying "Mechs vs. Minions" from a Third Party). A happy footnote to that story. The member I bought the game from saw that post and immediately contacted me, offered to get the replacement deck via the Riot Games obstacle course, and mail them to me. This he did and I greatly appreciate all his efforts! Thank you!

A few weeks ago, I picked up a copy of Too Many Bones in a BGG auction. All was great except that the encounter and tyrant cards all had a weird bend to them. They would not lay flat and as they are already slick PVC, they would not stack well either. The Loot cards of both varieties were just fine. I asked in the forums and some suggested heating them in the oven (!!!) with a weight on them and then letting them cool. While this would most likely work, I wasn't very keen on the process.

Fortunately designer Josh J. Carlson saw my plight and directed me to email Chip Theory Games support about it. I did and they immediately offered to replace cards, no questions asked (well except for a picture of the problem). Like Riot, they do like to verify the purchase, but had no issue sending the replacements directly to me. And not only were they sending the bad cards, but the entire set of cards from the game.

Well done CTG! Well done!

Since I'd already ordered the v2.0 Upgrade Kit and the three expansion Gearlocs, I was happy to find the replacement cards tucked into the shipping box when all arrived yesterday.

For those of you that may not yet know the second printing of TMB is now shipping (and selling out fast). For those of you, like me, who want to upgrade your 1.0 to 2.0, they are selling a nominally priced Upgrade Kit ($9). This kit includes errata for rules, chips, reference cards, cards as well as a replacement top tray and two nice tuck boxes for the cards.

As with all CTG games, the only way to get these new is via their online store (https://chiptheorygames.com/store). Which is a little bit of a shame. In terms of gameplay and component quality, this is hands down the game of the year for 2017 (barring something really great in the last four months). But the limited availability (quality over quantity) means fewer gamers get to experience this dice-based, puzzle, brain-bending RPG.

And all without resorting to a "magic" based theme!

Here's my unboxing of the v2 upgrade kit as well as a representative component view of one of the three expansions (Ghillie)...



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Thu Aug 10, 2017 6:40 pm
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Downgrades, Upgrades, and a Sidegrade...

Kevin L. Kitchens
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A long awaited Kickstarter arrived with the release of "upgraded" Nemo's War (second edition) from Victory Point Games. Like Dawn of the Zeds (Third edition), this one features their new "downgraded" style of die-cut counters. Unlike Zeds, these are more of a matte finish and much easier to play with. Nowhere near the quality of the excellent laser cut counters, but those beauties appear to be a thing of the past. Apparently many customers threatened to mutiny against VPG if they kept the laser cutter. Don't get me wrong... for die-cut, they are very nice and very thick -- on par with the best cardboard I've seen. And the game itself is very stylistic and I cannot wait to play it soon.

The classic John H. Butterfield WW2 game D-Day at Omaha Beach received a much needed "upgrade" with the addition of a mounted board. No more Plexiglas required! The "downgrade" is that for the counters they used the v1.0 artwork vs. the corrected v2.0 artwork, so several of the counters are in error. If you register your game at the Decision Games (I) site, they'll send you corrected counters at a (much) later date (toward the end of the year).

As for the "sidegrade", I finally tracked down a copy stateside of the V-Commandos: Secret Weapons expansion for V-Commandos by Triton Noir. This adds new missions and layouts to the base game as well as new characters and special enemies. Still hoping to find a copy of V-Commandos: Résistance at some point, though you cannot mix and match the expansions into the game together.

If you're interested in seeing what each of these looks like, check out the unboxing videos below.

Thanks!

Ones Upon a Game covers board games from a solitaire perspective.

Find us online at:
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Wed Jun 28, 2017 6:44 pm
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By Land and Air... Two Solo Friendly Wargames Arrive

Kevin L. Kitchens
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The stork known as the USPS delivered two highly expected bundles of joy yesterday -- though the carrier didn't bother to knock for the Registered Mail (signature required) package because... there were no cars in the driveway!!! Garages are apparently a new concept. Fortunately, my wife heard the mail truck and caught her outside. whistle

Anyhow, inside that nearly missed package was a copy of 2GM Tactics by Draco Ideas. This WW2 card game with a modular board features both solo and two-player competition and has beautiful comic-style artwork. A little worried because I think it involves wretched pre-game deck-construction, but we'll see.

Also coming in from Legion Wargames LLC was Target for Today, the heir apparent to the crown of the classic B-17: Queen of the Skies. This SPO (single player only) game follows the exploits of a single aircraft and crew on bombing missions. Others games like The Hunters: German U-Boats at War, 1939-43 and Silent Victory: U.S. Submarines in the Pacific, 1941-45 credit B-17 as inspirational to their development. Hopefully that doesn't mean I won't since Hunters fell very flat for me and I never bothered to try Silent Victory (sold unplayed). But time will tell, right?

Anyway, I immediately filmed/video'd an unboxing of each of the games so you can see what's included. Hope you enjoy!



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Wed Jun 14, 2017 6:17 pm
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Make Time For Sergeants

Kevin L. Kitchens
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As noted in my previous post (Lost Battalion's Sergeants First Class Customer Service), the customer service at Lost Battalion Games is aces. But as I also noted, while the Sergeants Miniatures Game: Day of Days is awesome with all the pre-painted miniatures, the measuring and table space was just a bit cumbersome for my tastes.

So I sold that game, and bought the (even better) Sergeants D-Day "board game" version. It takes up 1/4 the table space (so you can easily play on larger maps, sacrifices the "squares or inches" hybrid for a more "hip to be square" method, and trades the painted miniatures for laser cut standees. But otherwise the game play is 99.99999% the same.

And it's great!

I recently did an unboxing of the awesome content (and you get a lot more) in the base set as well as a gameplay brief video showing the game in action.

Take a look and see if this WW2 tactical card driven game appeals to you. If it does, then pick up a copy of either version and spread the word.





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Find us online at:
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Web: https://onesuponagame.com
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/OnesUponaGameBlog
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Sun Jun 11, 2017 7:38 pm
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Heavy Heavy Fuel: High Frontier 3rd Edition Unboxing

Kevin L. Kitchens
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As promised, here's a quick look inside the contents of the newest edition of the Phil Eklund classic High Frontier (Third Edition).

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Sun Mar 12, 2017 2:01 pm
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Have a Frog in Your Throat or Did You Say Crokinole?

Kevin L. Kitchens
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Mayday Games Crokinole Board 2017

Mayday Games (yeah, the card sleeve folks) are no stranger to making Crokinole boards, having created three versions in the last five years. In December 2016, they ran a Kickstarter for their fourth design, one they feel is the best of all of them. This one features a mahogany finish playing surface, tournament size and dimensions, as well as a circular shape overall. While there are square and hexagonal boards (outer shape, the playing surface is always circular), a circular board is better because no matter where you are on your shooting line the edge of the board is always the same distance allowing you to rest your hand comfortably.

OK... so promises, promises. Did they deliver?

First it's hard for me to say since this is my first board. As I kid I loved the dexterity game Rebound and the strategy of getting your pucks close to the edge without going off. When curling started gaining public attention over the last few Winter Olympics, I found that to be a very "cool" sport to watch as well. But I'd never actually heard of Crokinole until a couple of years ago and was immediately fascinated. But a decent board could easily run in the $250-300 range which to me was just too much. So when Mayday offered theirs for $99 and the previews indicated it was a high-quality board, I was in.

The game arrived double-boxed and padded in a large 3'x3' package. If you want to see the board and what you get, click on the unboxing video below.




A Brief Review

So after that was shot and uploading, I played with the board some more and here are my general thoughts. I really like the board. Again, never played or touched another board, so I cannot say how it compares. Others who have received theirs still feel this is in the "value" range of boards and not heirloom quality. And that's fine. For the price of $99, I certainly could not have built my own, even with the help of a good friend and woodworker.

My particular copy has no real flaws on the surface, though others have mentioned noticeable areas of wood filler which disrupted the wood grain. Those spots were still smooth and stained and don't interfere with gameplay, but apparent nonetheless. Where the sector lines are painted on, some of the paint did get onto the area between the starting line and the ditch (the gutter area outside the playing field), so there is a slight reddish streak, but again nothing to interfere with the game.

The scoring lines DO appear to be true to the required dimensions except for the distance between the scoring line and the 5/10 line which is just fractionally wider than the four inch standard. The center hole to 10/15 line however is spot on in measure.

The game ships with a wooden box for holding the discs and pegs. Drilled into the lid are two scoring tracks and extra pegs are included for those. Oddly there is no marking on the tracks for the actual score. Each section is two columns of 10 holes each (so 20 per side). At the very least increasing the spacing between the 5th and 6th/15th and 16th holes would have given a visual cue to quickly tell the score. A "0" hole would have been nice as well for starting the game. Overall though, while this is part of the package, it's not crucial to playing the game itself.

However as crucial as the board are the discs and this bundle from Midway included 28 of them in black and tan. The discs have a nice gloss finish and seem to be within the tolerances of official Crokinole rules. While only 12 per side are used in a game, two extra are included of each color. The discs are nicely and very slightly convex on one side and concave on the other. This allows you to use one side for faster shots (less friction) or the other for a more controlled shot. You can tell which is which by giving the disc a flat spin on the board.

The union of disc and board appears to be a happy one as they slide very easy across the surface. The pegs for the board are made of hardwood and slip into the pre-drilled holes just fine. Some felt theirs were a bit loose but mine while not 100% identical in tightness certainly don't seem wobbly.

Overall, I feel this is an excellent game board that will easily give me my money's worth in gameplay and even social interaction. With the popularity of Corn Hole in my part of the world, I think people would definitely take to playing Crokinole. I look forward to introducing it at church events and family gatherings.


Optional Add-ons

Mayday added the ability to add on extra items to the order at a great cost, but the ultimate usability of these for me is currently in question.

First they designed a very cool clock insert that attaches to the board face in the peg holes. So if you're storing your board on the wall (highly recommended if not kept flat), it becomes very cool looking and functional. Unfortunately, my clock did not arrive with the board, so I cannot say for sure.

What did arrive were my three extra sets of discs (Blue, Yellow, and Green) as well as a set of screw in pegs (simply 8 square drive screws) with rubber bumpers (tubing you cut to size and sleeve the screws).

The extra discs are not the same quality or size as the included discs. The new ones are smaller in diameter and thinner in height. The weight difference means you cannot mix and match the sets in a single game. So naturally this was more than a little disappointing.

I'm sure the screws to replace the pins are fine, however if you want to use the clock, removing the posts is a little more time consuming. I'm also concerned that once I thread the holes for screws, I'm widening the post holes making the regular posts more loose. These screws do appear to be a standard option however across other Crokinole boards, so it may not be so big a deal as I think. Perhaps I just have a screw loose.


Getting Hung Up on Details

Mayday preinstalled eye hooks on the back of the board in the recess for hanging the board on the wall. This is an awesome touch because getting those hooks in would have been a pain. To hang my board, I took heavy duty picture wire and threaded it between the two hooks and wrapped it so the wire was reasonable taut and stay within the recess as well (to not scratch the table).



Picture wire, a few simple measurments, and a hook are all it takes to hang.


Next I measured distance between the edge of the board and the wire when pulled towards that edge (simulating the stretch when hanging). On my wall where I wanted the board, I measured down from where I wanted the top of the board to be to that same distance and made a mark at that height. Then simply where I wanted the center of the board to be I marked the intersection of those two distances. That's where hook would go. The board is 30.5" total in diameter, so I needed at least 15.25" clearance from a cupboard to the right.

Using an ingenious heavy duty "EZ Push Shield hanger" from OOK, I just poked it through the drywall at the marked spot and rotated it into position. After that, hanging the board from the wire was a piece of cake -- and since there is only one hook, it was self centering and leveling.


Eat your heart out Captain America!



Now the Bad News...

While this is a great board and an excellent value, Mayday only made a limited supply of them. This first wave just shipped to backers and there are two more to go in April-May of this year. They did make some extras to go to store, but those will be limited in supply and distribution. Hopefully you'll be able to locate one if you're interested. But at the very least, perhaps this has exposed this fascinating game to you and you'll be on the lookout for opportunities to play and/or acquire a board for yourself.
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Fri Feb 17, 2017 6:45 pm
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AEIOU (Sometimes Y) -- But Really Just "AEO" For Lock 'N Load Solo

Kevin L. Kitchens
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Nearly 18 months ago, the fine folks at Academy Games, Inc. revolutionized solitaire wargaming with the release of the Conflict of Heroes: Eastern Front – Solo Expansion. Using a deck of cards to control the AI through 10 included missions (plus countless ones you could design with the additional Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear – Firefight Generator), Academy created a solo experience that was very similar to playing a human opponent -- but without all that overhead of annoying socializing .

Last year it was announced that Lock 'n Load Publishing, LLC. had licensed this system from Academy and would be releasing in 2017 Lock 'n Load Tactical: Solo. But this system was going to be even more ambitious. Using a similar deck of cards (albeit larger in size), wargamers would be able to play nearly any existing mission in the updated Lock 'n Load Tactical series (and perhaps even older editions? - Confirmed) against an intelligent AI deck that could control EITHER side.

Well I'm happy to say that my preview/proof copy of this expansion has arrived and at first glance it looks pretty darn good. You get a deck of 55 oversized cards to control the "AEO" (Automated Enemy Opponent), five flowcharts for helping you resolve the AEO decisions, and a quick and easy 12 page rulebook to show how the AEO works and how to adapt it to your existing Lock 'N Load Tactical content.

This expansion works with games for both the Lock 'n Load Tactical: World War II Era Core Rules Manual v4.1 and the Lock 'n Load Tactical: Modern Era Core Rules. The deck is customized to account for the posture of the AEO, be it offensive or defensive, but otherwise is not adjusted for the nationality. However, like the CoH version, there is always the allowance for "Rule 42" aka Common Sense to allow the player to override the AEO as logic dictates.

Obviously some scenarios with hidden units will be a little harder to adapt, but given the large number of scenarios in each box, the ability for the AEO to play either side, and the obvious random factors inherent in all good wargames, the replayability this expansion brings is going to be very high. Factor in scenarios created with the Battle Generator kits and it becomes unlimited.

One concern I had when playing Lock 'N Load before was the 2P solo being a little more difficult. This should remedy that completely! (My Review of Lock 'n Load Tactical: Heroes of Normandy: We Can Be Heroes, Just for One Day - A Ones Upon a Game Review)

See my unboxing video below for more details of what comes in the box. The only difference in this preview version is that the cards I received are not on standard playing card stock, otherwise I've been assured it's 100% identical to the soon to be shipping retail version.

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Tue Jan 31, 2017 3:21 pm
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All We Are Saying Is Give Pigs a Chance

Kevin L. Kitchens
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1965.

Before even I was born (barely).

Designer Mark H. Walker and his company Flying Pig Games have released their newest title '65: Squad-Level Combat in the Jungles of Vietnam. Obviously set during the Vietnam War, '65 takes the card-driven/card-resolved system of last year's Night of Man and puts in on a more familiar wargame setting.

But this is not just a reskin as the board has shifted from grid to hexes (yay!) and the counters, while still oversized are not all OVERsized.

My package full of goodies arrived yesterday and I quickly set about recording the contents for those interested.

Below are four videos for the series. The first is the base game. Following is the unboxing of the solo system which adds a few new counters, cards, and solo scenarios (you don't play the base game with the solo AI). Also included are two other expansions: a Hue City mounted map and force expansion with the United States Marines and ANZAC troops. These also include custom scenarios for each expansion.

Hope you enjoy!

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Fri Jan 27, 2017 3:06 pm
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Unboxing in the Ozarks, Sickles stirs a Revolution and more...

Kevin L. Kitchens
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Unboxed the newest from Revolution Games (II), the second release in Hermann Luttmann's Blind Swords series: Thunder in the Ozarks: Battle for Pea Ridge, March 1862. This follows the excellent Stonewall's Sword: The Battle of Cedar Mountain and precedes the forthcoming Longstreet Attacks: The Second Day at Gettysburg (newly shifted to Revolution from GMT Games and renamed "Longstreet Attacks").

Watch the first video to see what's inside.

Watch the second to see how you might get a copy of your own.



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Tue Nov 22, 2016 3:34 am
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Games Outside the Box: Guadalcanal, Stalingrad, Night of Man, and Elevenses for One

Kevin L. Kitchens
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Some recent unboxing videos for some very cool looking games.

First up the Pacific theatre gets the Conflict of Heroes treatment with Academy Games, Inc.' Conflict of Heroes: Guadalcanal – The Pacific 1942. Then a pair from Flying Pig Games: the Old School Tactical: Stalingrad expansion for Old School Tactical and the humans vs. Aliens wargame Night of Man.

I'm a bit partial to my counter-based version, but the Eagle-Gryphon Games combo Elevenses for One (with Bowling Solitaire) arrived and what you get is revealed.

Videos below. Thanks!

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Wed Jul 13, 2016 8:04 pm
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