Reviews

Stars and Stripes Forever — Review

Posted on Updated on

Stars and Stripes ForeverThe folks over at Test of Battle Games have released a new expansion for their WW2 miniature rules Test of Battle (aka Command Decision 4). Stars and Stripes Forever covers U.S. forces in the Mediterranean and European theaters from the Torch landings until the fall of Germany. SaSF is a 52 page, soft cover, black and white book. Unlike a lot of game expansion products that feature new rules and units and other game items, SaSF has a very focused purpose. It simply provides the historical TO&E (Tables of Organization and Equipment) for all U.S. forces. This includes great details such as a listing of all infantry and armor divisions and where they served along with detailed ToB-formatted force organizations. Also included are great notes on doctrine as well as a full equipment table with all game information. It also does have one page of additional rules for U.S. reconnaissance troops, armored infantry, and artillery battalion FDCs. Moreover, the book is sprinkled with historical posters from the period often seen on the home front such as “Buy War Bonds” and “Your metal is their might”.

While Stars and Stripes Forever is intended for use with Test of Battle it is an excellent resource for any company/battalion level game and is also a great reference for anyone interested in the U.S. Army during World War Two. Recommended.

Band of Heroes — Review

Posted on Updated on

Band of HeroesLock ‘n Load’s Band of Heroes is a board wargame on World War Two squad-level combat. It has been out over a year now but with new expansions on the way I thought this would be a good time to look back at the original game. The Wargamer has an excellent review of Band of Heroes. I agree with the reviewer’s comments especially those on the rulebook. It works OK for reading through but is terrible as a resource for looking up rules during the game. Also the terrain identification issue has been solved with the Terrain Chart Supplement. The map boards are very well done but they have a very garish hex grid superimposed on them that is very distracting and also makes determining the hex, especially hexside, terrain type tough at times. This hex treatment came under considerable fire after the game’s initial release and LnL released a pack of ‘haloless maps‘ with a much toned down pattern. The maps in the Not One Step Back expansion are of this same haloless design and Swift and Bold does not have any maps. Boardgame Geek has an excellent BoH reference sheet. Version three of the LnL rules are currently in playtest.

The new Line of Fire magazine includes BoH information. LnL also has an excellent 32-page demo of BoH. It includes printable map, counters, reference cards, a scenario, and most of the rulebook so you can try the game out for yourself.

Overall Band of Heroes is an excellent WW2 tactical wargame and with its ongoing expansion is more complete and much easier to digest than even the Advanced Squad Leader Starter Kits and unlike Combat Commander includes vehicles. Recommended.

Line of Fire — Review

Posted on Updated on

Line of FireLock ‘N Load Games just released a new house magazine, Line of Fire. What is interesting is that it is a PDF only publication. Unlike Mongoose Publishings’ Signs & Portents online magazine, Rackham’s recently announced electronic conversion of Cry Havoc, the fan produced Firebase, or even Games Workshop’s Black Gobbo, LNL is selling Line of Fire for $16.99. Whether gamers think what they get is worth the money remains to be seen, but it is nice to have some support for LNL’s games. LNL says it hopes to produce the publication quarterly. Read the rest of this entry »

Federation Commander: Battleships Attack — Review

Posted on Updated on

FedCom Battleships AttackFederation Commander: Battleships Attack is ADB’s latest expansion for Federation Commander. Similar to the previous expansions, it includes a couple of new map panels, asteroids in this case, some new ship cards and counters, and a handful of new rules and scenarios. What makes Battleships Attack unique is that ship cards are included for all of the races, including ones not seen in FC yet (such as the Lyrans and Hydrans). Moreover, the cards are also full 8 1/2″ x 11″ in size. Considering table clutter, normally bigger would not necessarily be better, but with the huge number of weapons, systems, and shields on the various battleships it is a very welcome change. Read the rest of this entry »

Federation Commander — Review

Posted on Updated on

Federation Commander Klingon BorderThe Game
Federation Commander (FC) is a tactical space combat board and miniatures game by Amarillo Design Bureau (ADB). The game has been out a couple of years now but we have only recently played it. FC is essentially a lighter version of the venerable Star Fleet Battles (SFB) game that has been around, in various incarnations, since the late 1980s. While we played a lot of SFB in the old days it got far too complicated over time and we stopped playing. We obviously were not the only ones and thus ADB designed Federation Commander. Read the rest of this entry »

AT-43 Red Blok Army Book — Review

Posted on Updated on

Red Blok Army BookRackham’s new AT-43 Red Blok Army Book is now available. The quality and layout is the same as the U.N.A. and Therian Army Books. The book is 64 pages long and printed on high gloss paper in full color.

The book includes 14 pages of information on history of Collectivism and actions against the U.N.A. preceding the Trauma, but, like the other books, the majority of the book is dedicated to the Red Blok armies and begins with information on a number of Red Blok factions; The Arc, Frontline, and Supra. Like the other races, each faction has their own benefits and disadvantages. For example, The Arc are infantry heavy and can have large units but can only issue one combat drill at a time. The Frontline is the now familiar vehicle heavy unit. A few pages detail the heroes including Sergeant A. Tymofiyeva, Captain Pavel Vrachov, and Cols Odin O-1 and Manon O-2. Details on the various Red Blok weapons are also included. Read the rest of this entry »

Carriers at War — Review

Posted on Updated on

Matrix Games released Carriers at War a few weeks ago. It is a very well done remake of the original. Overall the game will require you to spend a bit of time with the game manual to learn a number of the game mechanics but it will be time well rewarded. If you enjoy WW2 carrier warfare it is a must get game.

The Wargamer has a nice Carriers at War review so we will not bother doing one ourselves. One note, the author of the review, Bill Trotter, has a relationship with Matrix Games, but nonetheless we agree with what he says about the game.

Do not forget to get the v1.02 update.

AT-43 Therian Army Book — Review

Posted on Updated on

Therian Army BookThe AT-43 Therian Army Book is now available. The quality and layout is the same as the U.N.A. Army Book. The book is 64 pages long and printed on high gloss paper in full color.

The book includes 14 pages of information on history and the factory-worlds but the majority of the book is dedicated to the Therians and begins with information on a number of Therian factions; Cyphers, Warriors, and Web Striders. Each faction has their own benefits and disadvantages. For example, the Warriors excel at close combat and can get an alpha level overseer for free but must engage in close combat if possible. A few pages detail the heroes including Atis-Astarte, Sigma Urash, and Omega Tiamet. Details on the various Therian weapons are also included. Read the rest of this entry »

AT-43 U.N.A. Army Book — Review

Posted on Updated on

UNA Army BookThe first AT-43 army book is for the U.N.A. The quality and layout is similar to the main rulebook but the cover seems a tad thicker. The book is 64 pages long. A small error slipped past and the company roster sheet at the end of the book is in French. You can get the English version off the website.

The book includes 16 pages of information on the U.N.A and the history of Ava but the majority of the book is dedicated to the White Stars and begins with information on a number of U.N.A factions: CENTCOM, M.Ind, and Union. Each faction has their own benefits and disadvantages. For example, M.Ind is a vehicle heavy faction but also collapses if all its vehicles are lost regardless of troop losses. A couple pages detail the various weapons, and heroes are included in more detail than in the main rulebook. Read the rest of this entry »

AT-43 The Rulebook — Review

Posted on Updated on

AT-43 RulebookWith the free rules preview having been out for a few months now you would not think the actual rulebook would hold any surprises. You would be wrong. The AT-43 rulebook is a 127 page, full-color, softbound book. The feel is more like a magazine because the paper, including the cover, is thin with high gloss. There is color on almost every page and the layout is well done. Overall the look is very professional.

In addition to pages 46-77 included in the free rules download, the full rulebook includes an introduction to the AT-43 universe, i.e. ‘fluff’, as well as an introduction to the four starter races, the White Stars, Therians, Red Blok, and Karmans. This section includes some really great full-color artwork, photos of the miniatures, as well as black and white concept sketches. Read the rest of this entry »