2013 in Review: Greatredwarrior says, "Play More Games!"
Larz Welo
United States
Las Cruces
New Mexico
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So, in 2012 my first child was born (Elias). After a conference in Thailand in January, I returned to the USA until April when my visa was approved to return to Indonesian Borneo. For a variety of reasons, my visa troubles were far from over and I ended up having to go to Singapore with the family three times in order to get paperwork done.

Suffice to say, that between having an energetic toddler, moving back to Indonesia from the USA, moving into a new home, purchasing all the furniture for that home, and getting projects started out in the villages, I haven't had as much time for gaming as I would like. However, I did get a lot of good games played, many of them new.

I decided to take a short walk down memory lane and recall the new games that I played in 2013 and my take aways from the end of the year.
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1. Board Game: Pizza Theory [Average Rating:6.16 Overall Rank:4389]
Larz Welo
United States
Las Cruces
New Mexico
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No more stones. No more spears. No more slings. No more swords. No more weapons! NO MORE SYSTEMS!
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You can fire your arrows from the Tower of Babel, but you can never strike God!
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Melody Vasal pointed it out to me and a friend got it for me as a gift in Christmas 2012. I have gotten to play it a few times and it is a fun basic math/geometry game that you can play with kids or adults. Quick, easy to explain, and works great as either edutainment with the kids or a filler with the adults
 
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2. Board Game: Elder Sign [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:463]
Larz Welo
United States
Las Cruces
New Mexico
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No more stones. No more spears. No more slings. No more swords. No more weapons! NO MORE SYSTEMS!
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You can fire your arrows from the Tower of Babel, but you can never strike God!
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I played this at a weekend game day at New Mexico State University (NMSU). Aside from another nail in the coffin of my enjoyment of Lovecraft crap, this game was totally forgettable. I don't know if I won or lost, or any of the mechanics. Rated it a 7 so the game is at least solid. Maybe I'll give it another go if offered to me.
 
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3. Board Game: The Republic of Rome [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:337]
Larz Welo
United States
Las Cruces
New Mexico
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No more stones. No more spears. No more slings. No more swords. No more weapons! NO MORE SYSTEMS!
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You can fire your arrows from the Tower of Babel, but you can never strike God!
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I played most of a game of this with 3 other guys at the same NMSU gameday.

I would categorize this as Ameritrash: bloated, confusing, convoluted, with a billion different actions, most of which don't seem to matter but ultimately can be the difference between victory and defeat.

I would either want to never play it again, or to be able to spend a whole day with a group two or three times at least and play from beginning to end. First game would be a throw-away learning game...which is a big sacrifice for a game that I'm not to sure of anyway.

It is big and if you think Agricola is a big game you'll want to skip this.
 
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4. Board Game: Shadow Hunters [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:721]
Larz Welo
United States
Las Cruces
New Mexico
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I really like this. A great game with variable hidden roles and powers where factions are competing against each other. Basically has completely replaced Bang! in my gaming world. A fun multiplayer filler that is great either to wind down from a bigger game or while waiting to start something meatier.
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5. Board Game: Fury in the West [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:5596]
Larz Welo
United States
Las Cruces
New Mexico
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You can fire your arrows from the Tower of Babel, but you can never strike God!
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For as old of a game as it is...this really stuck with me.

I was considering it in a trade and Grognard Dave offered to let me "play before I trade", so I took it home and set it up and pushed some counters around by myself.

I now really want to get a copy of this game. Access here in the jungles is difficult, but this one seems to be awesome to me. The early Confederate advantage begins to erode as stragglers increase and when the Union counter attacks they needs to make some serious gains.

Movement and combat systems were great. I also felt like I was AS Johnston and/or Grant trying to make decisions about how to best attack, whether to wait, or push forward despite the risks. Great tension.

My only real complaint was that the victory conditions weren't really intriguing enough to make me feel like I was really trying to achieve anything. Of course, maybe historically AJ wasn't really trying to achieve much except the destruction of Grant's forces, but still, could have been worked on.
 
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6. Board Game: Jaipur [Average Rating:7.53 Overall Rank:106]
Larz Welo
United States
Las Cruces
New Mexico
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No more stones. No more spears. No more slings. No more swords. No more weapons! NO MORE SYSTEMS!
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A fun quick playing 2-player trading game. My wife and I like it because it plays real quick even if you go for the best of 3.

"Those are nice gems! Would you like to trade them for some camels?" Akbar asked the just arrived merchant.

"Why would I make such a stupid trade?" asked the merchant, affronted by Akbar's offer.

"If you don't, Ali will break your knee-caps!" and with that simple response the deal was made and the Sultan was pleased!
 
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7. Board Game: Wizard's Quest [Average Rating:6.17 Overall Rank:2936]
Larz Welo
United States
Las Cruces
New Mexico
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No more stones. No more spears. No more slings. No more swords. No more weapons! NO MORE SYSTEMS!
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You can fire your arrows from the Tower of Babel, but you can never strike God!
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Got it from my Thrifty Santa and had seen it hundreds of times while prowling the Geek. I'd read reviews, and figured I didn't want it so I passed it over when it was at my local thrift shop. But, Santa got it for me and I wanted to give it a try because I respect Santa's opinion. I got my brothers together (after we finished our full campaign of Risk Legacy) for family game night and we busted this out. It was awesome fun! Lots of stupidity, orcs breeding, dragons bouncing, randomness and funnily enough, a story. I liked it so much we played it less than a month later just because I know I couldn't take it (weight for weight the mounted board was too much to justify). If you find this kicking around and you want to spend 2-3 hours with some pseudo-gamers, this is the money!
 
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8. Board Game: Divine Right [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:2484]
Larz Welo
United States
Las Cruces
New Mexico
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No more stones. No more spears. No more slings. No more swords. No more weapons! NO MORE SYSTEMS!
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You can fire your arrows from the Tower of Babel, but you can never strike God!
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I had a chance to dig this out of Gordon's attic and had heard good things about this.

This game was so awesome it completely sucked. I played it twice. Both times were lame, but were almost incredible. Long for what it is, and requires a good number of players to really be worth it. The game was one of those liars. The entire game I felt like "now the fun is going to start", and it just never did. Maybe we needed to play with all the extra bling rules to make it good, but it just wasn't enough. I was torn about where to put this on this list because in many ways it is the most disappointing because when I was finished I wasn't just disappointed at a reviewer who said it was cool when it wasn't, but rather at the game itself, which was almost cool but instead was a flat-footed lame-O. But, I feel like there is still a chance, somewhere out there, maybe I'll play it again with the right group and everything will happen good! It does tell a fun story, but the amount of time and energy needed to get to that story is too much.
 
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9. Board Game: Barbarossa: Kiev to Rostov, 1941 [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:2976]
Larz Welo
United States
Las Cruces
New Mexico
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No more stones. No more spears. No more slings. No more swords. No more weapons! NO MORE SYSTEMS!
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You can fire your arrows from the Tower of Babel, but you can never strike God!
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I played this twice with Micah. Definitely the best way to get into GMT's East Front Series, but not sure I can recommend it. The sequence of play has like 100 points (not an exaggeration...there are almost that many total steps, many get skipped from turn to turn, but still) which very effectively breaks down the game into steps that can be marched through without constantly wondering what to do next. Still...the size and required time to really get a decent play this this in is a bit too staggering for me to consider.

I liked it and rated it an 8, because it is a good game. Maybe I'll try more later, but my ultimate take-away was to cancel my pre-orders for Army Group North and Army Group South from GMT because there is more game in the box right now than I can enjoy so I don't need to own more of a good game I'm not playing.
 
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10. Board Game: Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:61] [Average Rating:7.83 Unranked]
Larz Welo
United States
Las Cruces
New Mexico
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No more stones. No more spears. No more slings. No more swords. No more weapons! NO MORE SYSTEMS!
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You can fire your arrows from the Tower of Babel, but you can never strike God!
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A two-dimensional, quick, fun, and easy way to fly around and blow up TIE-Fighters. A nice gift from Secret Santa 2012 and I enjoyed it! The expandability is what really appeals to me, but once again the Jungle interferes with my brilliant plans!

I ultimately didn't get a ton of plays of this in because of the model limitation, but enough to know I like the system and would like to get more models and play more in the future.

This will be one I play with Elias when he is older for sure!
 
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11. Board Game: Kutuzov [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:3898]
Larz Welo
United States
Las Cruces
New Mexico
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No more stones. No more spears. No more slings. No more swords. No more weapons! NO MORE SYSTEMS!
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You can fire your arrows from the Tower of Babel, but you can never strike God!
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This game is a beast. We had a group of 4 guys playing a solid 6 hours on this one and we were not even halfway through the game. In terms of ease of these games:
1) Wellington
2) The Napoleonic Wars
3) Kutuzov

This is the heaviest and most demanding rules-wise and even the strategies are dense and require serious forward planning. I left it in the USA for now because I knew I would get very few chances to play it here and would rather go with something different for as much time as it took.
 
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12. Board Game: Libertalia [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:297]
Larz Welo
United States
Las Cruces
New Mexico
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No more stones. No more spears. No more slings. No more swords. No more weapons! NO MORE SYSTEMS!
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You can fire your arrows from the Tower of Babel, but you can never strike God!
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Tom Vasal put me onto this one...and he screwed me too. But at least other people like it so I gifted it away and made my brother quite happy.

It's like Citadels, but longer, a lot dumber, and much less interesting. Instead of there being one set of characters that everyone is choosing from, you all have all the exact same characters and the only thing that matters is in which order you play them. The first time I played I felt like something was missing, and figured during the second time I'd do better. During the second play I realized that what was missing was the fun.
 
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13. Board Game: Harry Potter Hogwarts [Average Rating:6.01 Overall Rank:5227]
Larz Welo
United States
Las Cruces
New Mexico
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No more stones. No more spears. No more slings. No more swords. No more weapons! NO MORE SYSTEMS!
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You can fire your arrows from the Tower of Babel, but you can never strike God!
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This was just plain sad. As you roll and move around, the floor tiles move around with you on them and you try and collect the 4 pieces of junk to finally let you stop playing the game.
But, despite my complaints I still own it...because it is a cool lego set! just the way the floor is built is cool and could be used in different games that aren't just roll and move/collect the junk games.
 
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14. Board Game: Struggle of Empires [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:329]
Larz Welo
United States
Las Cruces
New Mexico
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No more stones. No more spears. No more slings. No more swords. No more weapons! NO MORE SYSTEMS!
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You can fire your arrows from the Tower of Babel, but you can never strike God!
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This is one of those Wallace designs that demand multiple plays to be able to play with any kind of intelligence and therefore require multiple plays to really understand and be able to rate. Suffice to say, our one late night session of this was not enough. I still own it though and will play it again one day.
 
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15. Board Game: Scrabble Alphabet Scoop [Average Rating:4.71 Unranked]
Larz Welo
United States
Las Cruces
New Mexico
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No more stones. No more spears. No more slings. No more swords. No more weapons! NO MORE SYSTEMS!
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You can fire your arrows from the Tower of Babel, but you can never strike God!
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Apparently I played this. Must be forgettable...
 
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16. Board Game: Mr. Madison's War: The Incredible War of 1812 [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:3043]
Larz Welo
United States
Las Cruces
New Mexico
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No more stones. No more spears. No more slings. No more swords. No more weapons! NO MORE SYSTEMS!
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You can fire your arrows from the Tower of Babel, but you can never strike God!
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This game in many ways has a lot of flaws, but works well. The rulebook is kind of messy, but the game itself isn't too complicated so the rulebook can be overlooked. The actual gameplay is sluggish to say the least. Much like the real war, small gains are the only gains. It is difficult to achieve much of a victory mostly because of the lack of mobility of the forces available as well as the limited firepower of those forces. If you can advance just a bit into the opponents territory it goes a long way towards counting big. The naval aspect is also well managed I felt. The one piece of advice I'd give is that the American player doesn't need to think that he has to make all his gains before the big British surge in 1814. He can still push and make progress in the west because the British newcomers are all in the East. So, don't feel you have to fall on your sword just because not everything has gone your way in 1812.
 
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17. Board Game: Wallenstein (second edition) [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:800]
Larz Welo
United States
Las Cruces
New Mexico
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No more stones. No more spears. No more slings. No more swords. No more weapons! NO MORE SYSTEMS!
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You can fire your arrows from the Tower of Babel, but you can never strike God!
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The first game I played when I got back to Indonesia. Got in a game with Dani and Affendi.

The game is solid, but I think I like Shogun better as it fits the theme better. There just isn't enough killing and burning for this game system to be about the 30-years war. Just my opinion. Also, the bland sameness of the factions (mandatory in Euros) really makes little sense with as diversified as these combatants were. The theme, nature of the conflict, sameness of the factions, and even the purpose of the game is much more friendly in the Japanese Shogunate setting...IMHO.
 
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18. Board Game: Hedbanz for Adults! [Average Rating:5.40 Overall Rank:14553]
Larz Welo
United States
Las Cruces
New Mexico
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No more stones. No more spears. No more slings. No more swords. No more weapons! NO MORE SYSTEMS!
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You can fire your arrows from the Tower of Babel, but you can never strike God!
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Zani fun with stupidity ensuing. Played with a bunch of kids who remember the cards better. Definitely fun.
 
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19. Board Game: 1812: The Invasion of Canada [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:626]
Larz Welo
United States
Las Cruces
New Mexico
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No more stones. No more spears. No more slings. No more swords. No more weapons! NO MORE SYSTEMS!
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You can fire your arrows from the Tower of Babel, but you can never strike God!
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I watched the review, and Marco said it was cool. I figured it wasn't my type of game and put it out of my mind. But I was staying at Dani's one of my times in Jakarta and he busted it out. Dani is notorious for two things among the gamers here in Indonesia. 1) He will garble up any kind of complicated rulebook. 2) He loves "light" wargames. Neither of these things are that bad because Dani is a cool guy. But, it does mean that you should read the rulebook rather than let him teach you and that you can't expect either a nice euro nor a true wargame. Instead, you end up in this kind of "no man's land". This one is just a clunker. Area movement with big areas, no naval issues, uncoordinated offensives by allied sides, wacky combat, and just plain boring gameplay. Not recommended unless you like standing around in some kind of no-where saying "yeah...I can feel the artillery coming in now!"
 
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20. Board Game: Loopin' Louie [Average Rating:6.85 Overall Rank:683]
Larz Welo
United States
Las Cruces
New Mexico
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No more stones. No more spears. No more slings. No more swords. No more weapons! NO MORE SYSTEMS!
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You can fire your arrows from the Tower of Babel, but you can never strike God!
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A great way to divert a group of younger kids for 20 minutes. Anything longer than that results in tears and slapping and I just cannot tolerate that. Games should be fun, not result in time-outs and tears.
 
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21. Board Game: Field Commander: Napoleon [Average Rating:7.74 Overall Rank:1199]
Larz Welo
United States
Las Cruces
New Mexico
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No more stones. No more spears. No more slings. No more swords. No more weapons! NO MORE SYSTEMS!
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I set it up and pushed it around a few times. I played a learning game, then the Italian Campaign of 1796. Then I tried to go to Egypt and just got frustrated.

It is a solitaire wargame from DVG and I enjoyed my games of it. One of the games I hope to play at least 10 times in 2014. We'll see if I can make it, but the individual sessions are not too long and so if I am pretty committed it shouldn't be too difficult to do so. However, I will not be playing chronologically again unless I am trying to play the Campaign.
 
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22. Board Game: 1989: Dawn of Freedom [Average Rating:7.86 Overall Rank:398]
Larz Welo
United States
Las Cruces
New Mexico
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No more stones. No more spears. No more slings. No more swords. No more weapons! NO MORE SYSTEMS!
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You can fire your arrows from the Tower of Babel, but you can never strike God!
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Not as good as Twilight Struggle. I got two games of this in with Nugi while I was in Jakarta for a health check-up (Jungle Medicine not endorsed by Greatredwarrior).

It is fun, and definitely a different kind of game than Twilight Struggle. TS feels like an area control game where things move slowly. 1989 was definitely more confrontational and direct and that wasn't a bad thing. The theme, and general lack of tension made this game less appealing to me.

I think my ultimate take-away was that this was subtly beautiful...but not my style. Would love to play it again but not looking to acquire it ever.
 
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23. Board Game: Commands & Colors: Ancients [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:98]
Larz Welo
United States
Las Cruces
New Mexico
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No more stones. No more spears. No more slings. No more swords. No more weapons! NO MORE SYSTEMS!
badge
You can fire your arrows from the Tower of Babel, but you can never strike God!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I got to play through all the base game scenarios with Grognard Dave via VASSAL. God bless PBEM! Poor Dave was unlucky with cards and unlucky with dice and my Carthaginian hordes easily swept all before them. I even killed Scipio Africanus twice! Definitely my favorite game of the entire system. The limited command and control of the ancient period makes a lot of sense, and the slightly higher rules density than either Memoir '44 or Battle Cry made a lot of great additions. Looking forward to playing some of the expansions with him as well.
 
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24. Board Game: Onirim [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:936]
Larz Welo
United States
Las Cruces
New Mexico
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No more stones. No more spears. No more slings. No more swords. No more weapons! NO MORE SYSTEMS!
badge
You can fire your arrows from the Tower of Babel, but you can never strike God!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I finally got this to the table for a quick solo card play. I had fun. I cannot remember if I won or lost, or even too much about how to play, but this definitely made my list for 10 games in 2014.

Thanks for this Thrifty Santa 2011! You are awesome!
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25. Board Game: Perry Rhodan: The Cosmic League [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:1319]
Larz Welo
United States
Las Cruces
New Mexico
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No more stones. No more spears. No more slings. No more swords. No more weapons! NO MORE SYSTEMS!
badge
You can fire your arrows from the Tower of Babel, but you can never strike God!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
A fun and easy pick-up-n-deliver space trading game that my wife and I have had a lot of fun playing. It feels like it would play wonderfully about 6 times a year. Good stuff and worth trying out.
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