Well, yet another month seems to have flown by – are we already into June and nearly half way through the year? Wowzers!
I am not sure if I’m just getting old, but April and May this year seem to have whizzed by. As mentioned last time, April is traditionally a busy month for me, anyway, but May has proved a bit busy, too, not least because I’ve started on the layout and design of the next issue of The SPIRIT magazine… Here’s a sneak peek and exclusive look at the cover of issue #5 (yes, we’re officially a year old already – wtf!?), and one of the spreads below, in which I reviewed two more books aimed at boardgamers: both are pretty good, but Matt Thrower’s Tabletop Gaming Manual comes particularly recommended, given I read it in one sitting (albeit with a single night’s sleep in between) and genuinely did not want to put it down. Incidentally, Owen Duffy’s The Board Game Book was the only Kickstarter thing that came through for me in May, and it did so on May 31st, no less. Handily enough, this means my current record of having something KS-related land on my doorstep in every month of 2019 has been maintained — yes, truly, it has!
Actually, the absence of much in the way of gaming throughout May has allowed me to do quite a bit of reading (as well as catch-up on a few Netflix shows and watch the final season of Game of Thrones, o’course!) and one of the things I’ve been spending my time on is researching stuff for yet another game design I’m working on… A few, actually.
Speaking of which, since I’m now an avid devotee of many things GMT-related (the GMT Games company, that is), I have been exploring the world of online and offline wargames these last few months, too, and picked up a copy of Gary Graber’s quite brilliant Panzer Digest magazine almost on a whim — am very glad I did so, however, because the latest issue (#14 – Summer 2019) included no less than THREE P’n’P-style wargames: Viking Fury, Battle Over Europe, and North Cape. The counter sheets and maps are included, and all you need to play them are a couple of dice and a standard deck of playing cards, which is kinda cool, tbh. At time of writing I haven’t yet got any of these to the table, but am very keen to do so, and it’s tempted me to explore previous issues, too. You can find out more on the Minden Games website HERE, although it’s not the easiest to navigate, so consider yourself warned!
As mentioned above, games have been few and far between this month, although I have been playing Pandemic: Fall of Rome and The Ancient World (2nd Ed) a fair bit, and both games have shot to the top of my ‘love playing this’-list for this year. I am planning to review The Ancient World (2nd Ed) shortly, but heads-up: I really like this, and it’s gorgeous to look at, too. I did get to try Teotihuacan: City of Gods and Race for the Galaxy this month, and The Island of El Dorado. That last one, incidentally, a KS game I backed, was particularly disappointing — it’s supposed to be a game of exploration and conflict, but in the two games I have played of this so far, both came down to which player would reveal the final Shrine tile (in the Cave) to determine the win, and since this is literally just a case of moving off a tile and drawing the next one… Well, you can guess the rest. I need to play it again, I think, because I don’t generally enjoy reviewing games I consider outright ‘bad’, but this one will be receiving some harsh words soon, I suspect…