Review: War of the Ring

king of the bobbits, gothic seagulls, shut up and war of the ring
If you were looking for one game to rule them all, War of the Ring might be it. This magical game has more than 200 plastic miniatures, 40 pages of rules and a depth that most board games could only dream of.

But what will Matt and Quinns make of it? For one thing, this wouldn't be the first time that Lord of the Rings was accused of being too long.

Click play, and let their opinions seep into your very bones.


Review: Battle for Rokugan

reckless and relentless, a mighty interjection, YOU ARE LOOKING AT A SHOWER CURTAIN
Paul: I can’t remember the last time I angered so many people so quickly. The last time I broke so many promises, stepped on so many toes, turned on so many friends. Maybe I never have before. Maybe a board game has brought out the very worst in me. Maybe my ambition has finally overcome my morality.

Was it worth it? Was all the bloodshed, backstabbing and brutality justified in service to my thirst for cardboard conquest? Would I do it all again? I just might, so take a seat and let me tell you all about Battle for Rokugan.


Review: Necromunda: Underhive

in memoriam lyv, an itchy brain, a timid lover, a beloved lasgun, a two-part head
[We once again welcome SU&SD miniatures correspondent Eric Tonjes for a report from some far-flung warzone. If you've not yet caught up on his work for us, do so on the double!]

Eric: A few years ago I had the chance to revisit the grade school I attended as a child. It was a jarring afternoon. The huge hallways were suddenly kind of small. I could see over the bookshelves in the library where I used to get lost. The teachers... several of them were younger than me. I walked in the door feeling nostalgic; I left a bit unsettled.

I found myself remembering that visit as I got ready to open Games Workshop's new remake of Necromunda. A skirmish game set in the collapsing underbellies of hive cities in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, the original Necromunda one-upped the grim darkness of the 41st millenia by adding gangs, drugs, slavery, abject poverty and child soldiers. To a 15-year-old me, it was a thing of glorious joy. Yet I wondered, would this turn out to be just another narrow-halled school with five-foot bookshelves?


Review – Star Wars: Rebellion: Rise of the Empire

quinns' toothy heart, a sad birthday, 8 more complexity
Quinns: Matt, are you ready to review the Rise of the Empire expansion for Star Wars™: Rebellion? To bring everyone up to speed, Rebellion is a grand 2-4 player game set in the Star Wars universe, which I reviewed and said it was fun, but I couldn't quite recommend it.

What does the expansion add? Well, let me just quote the press materials: “Rise of the Empire isn't just inspired by Rogue One; it follows the movie's example, adding new depth and story to the Rebellion game experience just as seamlessly as Rogue One provided new insight into the Galactic Civil War presented in the original Star Wars trilogy.”

Matt: I just did a big vomit out of a window. In Real-World Terms™ it’s an expansion that adds quite a bunch of stuff: new leader characters, new cards, a whole new combat system, more unit types and plastic figures, and a brand new planet: EWOK-HOTH, HOME OF THE CHILLYBEARS.


Review: Cry Havoc

a dead prince, a drifting stick, a strong spine, steve holt
Quinns: Oh my god. Where do we start?

Maybe just gaze into the above image. Try and take it all in. Crystals! Robots! Colours! Cards! Three dozen unique kinds of token, each with a different shape, as if they were all so scared of this primary-coloured scrum that they started to collapse in on themselves.

This is Cry Havoc, one of 2016’s most striking and well-received war games, and if you take anything from its Shakespearean name it shouldn’t be wry sophistication, but that this design is as wild and energetic as a pack of dogs.

"Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears!" Let me tell you what I think of this grand box.

That was another quote from Julius Caesar, you see. I might even do another before we're done. Brace yourselves!


Review: Quartermaster General: 1914

oily eels, a kick in the rules-testicles, why is ireland even on the board, oh no
Quinns: It can be lonely reviewing games by yourself. Matt and Paul might be at the Game Developer’s Conference, but I have a solution!

Matt's head made from papier-mâché: that’s because you're great quinns

Quinns: Ha ha, you flatter me! Let’s get down to business, Matt.

Matt's head made from papier-mâché: i love business

Quinns: Today we’re reviewing Quartermaster General 1914, the third (and most highly-rated) entry in the Quartermaster General series. Like Memoir ‘44, these games might look like stodgy wargames, but don’t be fooled! 1914 is a tricky, playful card game that lets you get stuck into the drama and anxiety of WAR without having to measure any distances or frown at charts.

Now, our site has said over and over again that there aren’t enough team-based board games -

Matt's head made from papier-mâché: oh goodness no, nowhere near enough

Quinns: Don't speak, you're getting flakes of glue on the table. So team play is exactly what the Quartermaster General series is all about. In our case, 1914 is a five player game where three frail players take on two wealthy ones. It’s a tremendously exciting hook, and we're just getting started.


Review: Inis

tittering tricksters, twirling triskels, and you, (and maybe your friends)
Gather close to the fire pit, everybody. Paul and Quinns want to tell you about the last of our favourite games from Gen Con 2016. This one's called Inis, it's the third game in the series that brought us Cyclades and Kemet and, frankly, it's a little bit perfect. Not only is Inis the best game of plastic soldiers running around a map that we've played all year, it manages that with a 5 minute rules explanation and - look ma! - no dice.

The only problem is that Inis isn't out yet. English-language distributors don't always get a lot of Matagot's stock in, either, so pre-order at your local retailer to avoid disappointment. And have a fantastic weekend!


Review: Captain Sonar

satan really is very rude, million-dollar acetate, dolphins kissing
In honour of the Rio Olympics Games, Quinns has done a review about diving! Just like in the Olympic Games, Captain Sonar is a contest where two teams dive beneath the seas and try and destroy one another with high explosives, drawing one another's movements on sheets of acetate.

If you regularly play games with a group of six-plus feisty men and women then you've got to watch this video. Captain Sonar isn't just fun, it's like nothing else you've ever played. And even if you can't get those numbers together, Captain Sonar will do backflips to accommodate you. Literally.

Have a fantastic weekend, everybody.

Captain Sonar should be arriving in shops any day now. Pre-order at your local retailer to avoid disappointment!


Review: Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear

a cartoon buzzing, a non-existent bear, a wet firewalker, a nonsense
Thrower: Why don't you play wargames? Why, after all I've forced SU&SD to publish about them at gunpoint, have you not pressed the nuclear button on this this amazing corner of our hobby? There's lots of reasons I can think of. Possibly it's their rumoured rules complexity. Maybe the focus on simulating men being sad in some mud. Or perhaps it's the drab art and thin components?

WELL, I've got a game for you with none of that! It's called Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear (a series you might remember from my primer on wargames or my article on the best introductory wargames) and Academy Games made it just for you. Yes, you. The publisher even said so on its sister game, Storms of Steel. "The historical wargame that Eurogamers love to play," was the actual marketing copy!

You can smell the difference between CoH and typical wargames the second you open the lid. It's the faint scent of solvents from the decadent, multi-coloured printing used on the mounted boards and fat counters. Oddly-named German tanks rumble around in the box. You can even see a flamethrower doing what flamethrowers do in slightly more detail than you probably want. Alas, in spite of the name, there are no actual bears.


How To Play Memoir ‘44!

bang, ping, ww1 jokes, errant candles, rmble rmble rmble
In some ways, Memoir '44 is the game that birthed SU&SD. Paul and Quinns were playing a long campaign of this definitive game of toy soldiers when they decided to create a board game web series. Historians can find our ye olde review of Memoir right here (timestamp 15:01), filmed on a borrowed camcorder on a sweltering summer's evening.

A more recent Memoir video we did is our Operation Overlord Let's Play. While Memoir's campaign books make it a longer game and the Breakthrough rules are there if you want to make it more tactical, Overlord is what you get if you want an epic experience.

If only all games could be tailored to the same extent! What a world that would be.