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Go to the Combat Commander: Europe page

Combat Commander: Europe

19 out of 20 gamers thought this was helpful

I first got Combat Commander about a year ago. By that time it was considered and older game. Although not my first Game by the publishing company GMT games it most certainly opened my eyes into what war gaming is all about. You see I have and play Memoir 44 which my wife loves but I don’t feel that I am playing a war game. It just does not drive my interest to read on the battle or get involved emotionally with my units on the map… This is where I think lays the big difference between this game and other lighter tactical war games. To my review :).

Game Components: Combat Commander is at its heart designed after war games of the past. Chits will represent your leaders, squads and information that needs to be remembered. Alot more information can be represented on these cardboard counters which allow for a more in depth look at how these men were equipped for the war. Important stats will include movement, firepower, range and troop morale, leaders have command radius which helps you activate many units under one command hence replicating real life decisions.

All scenarios which come with Combat Commander Europe will play out on nice quality paper maps. Each map will depict all the scenario terrain which is very appealing to look at. Each hex has significant space to fit counters side by side.

Two player aids and 3 Order of Battle card stock sheets will come in the box. The player aids will give you easy to follow tables when it comes to the various stages of play. The order of battle sheets help with reinforcements during the game and on the flip side can be used when designing your own scenarios. Overall very nicely done.

At its heart Combat Commander is a Card Driven game. All actions and rolls of the dice are done trough the cards. Therefore if an event has happened a card must be drawn and the results will be applied. During a game you will not see everything that can happen during which is a very nice thing. In some cases you might not have a blaze break out in a game for quite a few games.

Each Faction will have its own deck and the basic three are Americans, Germans and Russians. The cards are made of thicker material and I find them hard on my hands to shuffle unless you sleeve them. Overall the photos on the cards give a strong theme to the game and immerses you into the 1940’s.

Component Score 8/10

Rules and Application: The rule book is written in the basic war game style using a numeral system. I have grown used to using this system and GMT and company have done a wonderful job on this rule book. During play if I need to find anything I can easily locate its answer in the book. Pleasantly represented I found this book a joy to read.

The playbook has all the scenarios needed to play the game plus a section on how to make your own scenarios. The DIY section alone is awesome and with give you unlimited play ability with this game.

Learning the rules can be a challenge if you are used to a nice color rules manual with lots of pictures, Take you time and read through it a few times the game is worth it.

Rulebook 9/10

Play Experience: Truly this game will have you remembering key moments of intense action weeks after you play it. This is a big strength to a game like this and is a path for someone to discover what these war gamers feel as they let the game tell a story. During the game you will play cards to give commands to your troops in hopes of securing your victory conditions. Most of the time this is capturing and holding certain objective spots on the map.

As you command your troops you have to hope that your enemy is preoccupied or is told to hold fire as you advance across barren terrain. Events such as sniper fire, Blazes,Fog,Wind,Interrogation,Jammed guns, and much more.

Players will play cards from their hand to do these actions but may have no choice but to waste their turn and discard. Careful though as if your deck runs out the scenario defender will get a victory point.

There is so much more to explain here so I have just touched the surface. It really is not that difficult game rules wise but is strategic depth its is leagues deep.

Overall I love this game and have had some great experiences with it and have made some good friends while playing it. 10/10 for me.

Give yourself at least three plays before you discard it aside. I hope more gamers can bust this game wide open and enjoy all its nooks and cranny’s.



Go to the Space Empires: 4X page

Space Empires: 4X

22 out of 22 gamers thought this was helpful

So you picked up GMT’s Space Empires designed by Jim Krohn and hope to dive into this most excellent game.. Good, I am here to let you know about my experiences with this box of 4x fun.

COMPONENT REVIEW: GMT always makes excellently cut counters and has great printing quality.The Board is Mounted, the player aids are of thick cardstock and the counters are a perfect thickness. ( KEEP IN MIND THE 2ND PRINTING HAD THICKER CUT COUNTERS DUE TO COMPLAINTS ON THE FIRST PRINT RUN). Each player color has their own ship graphic designs on the counters which lends to the space exploration/combat theme. Space Empires also comes with a pad of paper which each player will track their expenditures as well as ship upgrades and technologies researched on. 8/10 score.

RULEBOOK AND LEARNING CURVE : The rules are laid out nicely in a full color rules manual and a separate book called the play book houses the various scenarios and also gives you several solo game options which are quite fun on their own right. Learning curve gradually builds as you play the game adding various optional rules at you disposal. 8/10 rules.

GAMEPLAY : Space Empires gives me the feel of an older computer style RTS game. You start the game with a small fleet of Scout ships and a ship yard to start your small civilizations. Slowly you explore the uncharted star systems in you own safer quadrant of space. Once you start to populate your nice starting area you can begin to expand into the more dangerous Deep Space.

The beginning of the game is exciting with everyone exploring and creating what they think will be the ultimate space fleet, all counters are flipped face down to simulate fog of war. As the game progresses you will send you ships out closer to other player zones and things will come close to the brink of war. Minerals will become sought after and enemies other than the players will appear. You choices of technology will begin to matter as things escalate into chaos.

Combat is a simple rolling of ten sided dice which are then modified by ship upgrades of the attacker and defender. This game can have some massive combats involving many many ships. All players have a good time watching the outcomes of these massive battles and hope both players take many casualties.

Your empire will record all tech’s on a sheet hidden from all players and you will surprise those enemies with how you have built your ships when it comes to battle.

Depending on how players approach this type of game can have an impact on length. What I like about it is whoever kills the first home planet of any player is the WINNER. That being said a player who turtles his empire may just as well lose due to the fact that the neighbor to him was very aggressive and did not need to worry about the defensive player.

I must say this game is heavy on bookeeping, writing you funds, checking off technologies, keeping track of what ships have the newer ship up grades ect. Those that I played with did not seem to mind this and is a different approach to games we normally play. Just think of it like Eclipse without the fiddly cube/disc movement. 9/10 gameplay.

FINAL THOUGHTS : Ok so I feel this game gives some of the most nail biting and tense moments in a 4x game. Why you ask? I think it is because of the hidden information mostly. I like the fact that I have no idea what kind of ships my opponent has in that stack of chits. If I do know then what kind of up grades does he have? Should I send my killer stack of ships in not knowing that he has space mines there?

There is a great feel of Exploration here and there is enough variety to give that feeling of excitement and dread every time when exploring.

Game is great with 1,2 and 4 players. With three the game can drag in length a little bit but is still ok.

I like the economic engine in ECLIPSE, the political intrigue in TWILIGHT IMPERIUM 3RD EDITION and I love the empire book keeping and straight up dice rolling combat in SPACE EMPIRES, a great game to own and fun to play. 9/10 game score.



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