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Andrew Verticchio

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Go to the A Game of Thrones: The Board Game (2ed) page
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Go to the Axis & Allies Revised page
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Go to the Axis & Allies 1942 page
53 out of 60 gamers thought this was helpful

Axis & Allies Spring 1942 (A&A 1942) is the newest edition of Avalon Hill’s venerable World War II board game. Axis & Allies has gone through several revisions since its inception and the 1942 version hopes to present the most optimized and streamlined version to date.

So, is 1942 the best version yet? Or is it the same game with a new coat of paint? We shall see if investing in a new version of A&A is Worth It.

What You Get:

Axis & Allies 1942 encompassed the scale of World War II in its entirety so you get five nations to command; Germany, Japan, USA, UK, and USSR. There are 370 game pieces included to represent the various units of each nation. There is also a new version of the game board which features some fantastic new art. There are also mini set-up cards with the locations for the starting armies, a new combat strip, control tokens, a handful of dice, and a rulebook.

Playing the Game:

1942 plays like all other versions of Axis & Allies. If you have played any version before, you will right at home. Set up,combat, and the object of the game remain the same from A&A Revised. The game plays the same as its predecessors with just small rules tweeks and a few changes to the units.

The object of the game is to capture a set amount of Victory Cities. Each side starts the game with six VCs. The game is played in a series of rounds. In each round, each faction gets to take a turn. During your turn you train (purchase) new units, make combat moves, resolves combat, make non-combat moves, and place your newly trained units. Gameplay, at its core, is simple. But players can get bogged down in all the moves to make and battles to fight. The game continues until one side has captured enough VCs to claim victory.

Axis & Allies is the master of historical board games and is best played in two teams of two. Having a teammate to discuss strategy makes a big difference. Commanding the entirety of the Axis or Allies solo is a monumental task.

What Changed:

No Research – They got rid of Research. Really? The ability to research awesome new powers for your units was great and rolling that Research Die was often one of the most tense moments in the game. Except for Heavy Bombers. Everybody knows that Heavy Bombers broke the game and everybody house ruled that no Heavy Bombers could be researched. But to get rid of it all together? C’mon. Purchasing a Research Die was part of what made A&A so much fun.

Submarines Defend on a 1 – Another gripe with the new rules. Subs used to defend on a 2, respectable, not overpowered. Now, it’s a 1. Sure, they lowered the cost but who wants to buy subs when they cannot defend themselves. And considering how little Destroyers cost, there is no reason to waste money on an Attack 2, Defend 1 unit.

Transports Cannot Defend Themselves – This is strictly personal preference but the removal of Transport Ships ability to defend themselves is annoying. I completely understand that as a transport ship it is not designed to fight in naval battles but it takes away one the moments that made Axis & Allies so great…the ability for a lowly Transport to strike back at an overwhelming enemy force. It is a classic A&A scenario, the lone Transport attempting to run the blockage and it attacked by a huge naval force. But will the transport go down quietly, of course not! They get to roll a single die and will take an enemy ship down to Dave Jones’ locker with them! But not anymore. Now transports just die if a hostile plane or ship moves into the same zone. More realistic, sure. More fun,* no.

The Combat Strip – Instead of using the large, space consuming Combat Card we have a minimal Combat Strip. It is a great update to the game. It has all the information you need printed right on it and you no longer have to worry about where to find space for the battles.

Strategic Bombing Raids – The rules for Strategic Bombing have changed quite a bit and they may be the only rule change that makes sense. Instead of forcing your opponent to discard IPCs they Industrial Complex itself takes damage. That damage can be removed at the cost of one IPC per point of damage. If the damage reaches certain thresholds then the player cannot built any units until the Industrial Complex is repaired. This rule change brings more balance to Strategic Bombing and adds an interesting element to the game.

The Good:

The Game Board – It is a work of art. Each new version of A&A has featured a new and improved game board and this version takes the cake. The territories are wonderfully detailed and the addition of the ice caps across the top of the board is a cool way to make the edge of the map.

Built In IPC Chart – The game board now has the IPC chart built in. You no longer have to keep track of the money on a separate board which helps cut down on table clutter. This is just another reason to love the new game board.

New Model Sculpts – Axis and Allies has always entranced me with its detailed game pieces. 1942 sets the new standard for historical board game miniatures. Each nation now has historically accurate models for each unit that are cool and easy to recognize. There is also the addition of a new naval unit, Cruisers, which add more depth to the sea battles.

The Bad:

No IPCs – Collecting and spending ICPs is a huge part of Axis & Allies, it’s the money of the game after all. Often the best player is the one who makes the best use of their precious IPCs. So why does this version not include a single IPC? The rulebook instructs you to just use a piece of paper to keep track of your money. Yeah, I don’t think so. We used the IPC’s from the previous version of the game. Of course, you could also use Monopoly Money…

No Victory City Tracker – Like I mentioned before, the object of the game is to capture a set amount of victory cities. So it would make sense if there was some kind of score card or tracker to use a quick reference to see how many VCs are controlled by each team. Makes sense right? That is why there is a VC Tracker in Axis & Allies Revised, so players know who is winning. So why is there no tracker in this version? Beats me. Of course, A&A 1942 also did not include IPCs so, I shouldn’t be all that surprised.

No Unit Reference Cards – Another item that A&A 1942 lacks. All previous versions of the game included wonderful reference cards that had all the information a player needed regarding the cost, the stats, and the abilities of each individual unit. This made sense because each unit on the table is different. There are tanks, fighters, bombers, infantry, artillery, cruisers, battleships, and many others. I do not have the stats memorized and i think it is unfair for a game to expect you to have the stats for each unit memorized but that is what 1942 wants the player to do. This is just another item that was stripped away from 1942 that creates a frustrating experience.

Not Enough Tokens – Just another component that 1942 lacks. There are barely enough tokens to finish basic set up and we constantly had to clutter the board with more unit models because we ran out of unit tokens. This could have been easily fixed but instead the game shipped with too few components.

Worth It?

Not at all. I figured that Axis & Allies Spring 1942 would be an improvement from A&A Revised, it’s not. Not even close. This version simply lacks the features needed for an enjoyable game experience. There is nothing to represent the game’s currency, there is no method to quickly track victory, there no convenient way to look up unit stats, there are barely enough tokens to set up the game. I constantly felt like I was playing an incomplete game. Before we had even finished setting up the game we broke open a copy of Axis & Allies Revised and grabbed the IPCs, the Victory Tracker, and unit tokens to use while we played. Here is my advice, use the board and the units from 1942 and everything else from Revised. That way you can have a complete, fun, game of Axis & Allies.

Not Worth It

Check out the full review on Cardboard Mountain:

59 out of 67 gamers thought this was helpful

As far as I am concerend, this is THE place to be if you are looking for excellent reviews and information on all things board gaming. Sure, BGG may be bigger and have more members but talk about a mess! I don’t know if there is a more cumbersome and difficult site to navigate.

Here though, a joy. is easy on the eyes and is fun to look around. The system set up for uses to rate, comment, and review game is simply wonderful. I have gone head first into the Questing experience and I am having a blast. There is just so much to do!

I am happy to call myself a member of this community and I look forward to adding more reviews, more comments, and more rating to the games I love to play.

Go to the Dust Tactics page

Dust Tactics

49 out of 55 gamers thought this was helpful

What You Get:

The Dust Tactics Core Set is a massive box filled with miniatures, map tiles, unit cards, and terrain. There are enough units to field two complete armies (one Axis and one Allies). Each side comes with two walkers, three infantry squads, and a hero. The walkers are without question the coolest part of the game. Imagine a World War II Sherman tank with legs, and you get two of them!

There is also the custom dice, rule books, unit cards, and the map and terrain tiles but all that stuff fades into the background as the wonderful miniatures take center stage.

Playing the Game:

Dust Tactics is the skirmish game genre at its finest. The game is straightforward and quick to play. The game mechanics ensure for a tense back and forth for the duration of the game.

A round of Dust Tactics begins with each player rolling for initiative. The player who wins the roll takes the first turn. On a player’s turn he activates unit and then completes two actions with that unit. Then it is the other players turn. Gameplay goes back and forth until all the units have been activated.

There is an immense amount of strategy in Dust Tactics. You are constantly attempting to outmaneuver your opponent or draw him into a trap in order to gain the tactical edge. Each unit can take two actions when activated; move or shoot. Of course you could do a double move, or a double shoot. Combat is absolutely merciless and it is common for entire units are wiped from the board in a single round of shooting! This constant danger means you will do whatever is possible to protect your own units while at the same time attempt to draw out your opponent. It is a challenging and fun game.

The Good:

Incredible Minis and Quality Components – FFG has always been able to push out games with the highest quality components. Dust Tactics is no different. The production quality on the miniatures is incredibly high. In just the Core Set you get over thirty of these highly detailed and ready to paint models. As far as other board games go, there is no equal.

Fast, Furious, Unforgiving – Dust Tactics plays quickly and aggressively. If you want to win then you are going to have to go out there and take victory from the hands of your opponent. The gameplay is tense and action packed with almost no downtime between players. Dust has a certain back and forth aspect to it that really makes the combat engaging and exciting.

The Expansions – There are a lot. There are more walkers, more infantry, more heroes. ****, there is even a whole new ARMY that just came out and it has helicopters! That’s right, flying units. On top of all the new guys, there are new Campaign Expansions that bring new rules, new missions, new stories, and new battles. The Dust universe is ever expanding and FFG has shown no signs of slowing down.

The Bad:

The Cost – Make no mistake, Dust Tactics has wonderful models and components and you WILL want to acquire more troops for your army. Of course, this will cost you. Big time. Like all games that have minis at their core, Dust Tactics is expensive. Each new unit you add to your force will be between $15-30, which really is not too bad considering the price point of most other miniature games. But it will add up quickly. So, if you are not prepared to spend some serious cash, stay away.

2D Terrain – As I have stated before, the unit models are fantastic. Just gushing with little details and cool equipment. That being said, the terrain tiles SUCK. You and your opponent each have a massive force of beautiful 3D models prepared to do battle on a…2D game board. Weak. This game is begging for some 3D terrain that is just as good looking as the units. It is a shame how silly your troops look trying to maneuver around a flat wall or bunker.

Storage – Remember that huge box this game comes in? Well be prepared to try and hide that thing somewhere because there is no way you will want to carry your armies around in it. The game box offers no protection or convenient way to store the models. The game comes with so many gorgeous models and I am supposed to just throw them back in the box? I don’t think so. If you get this game you must get some proper containers to store your units.

LoS – This is a small nitpick but the line of sight rules in Dust Tactics are rubbish. Time and time again you will have to ask your opponent their opinion on who can see who and if you have a line of sight to your intended target. I’ve had to flip a coin on numerous occasions because we could not reach an agreement. I refuse to believe there is not an easier way.

Worth It?

Nope. Dust Tactics is a fine game comprised of the highest quality components. But that does not mean it is worth it. The game is ever expanding and if you are willing to lay down an ever expanding budget to keep up with the new releases, they it may be right for you.

Go to the Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 page
42 out of 49 gamers thought this was helpful

Magic the Gathering was the first and (still) is the greatest collectible card game ever made. The mechanics are so simple and yet the possible strategies are so deep that it offers a fantastic experience for both newcomers and veterans alike. Now we have the third digital iteration of the venerable card game and I must sa, the third time is the charm.

Now, let’s find out if MTG: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 was Worth It.

What You Get:

I downloaded my copy for PS3 from the PSN Store for $10. The game comes packed with more cards than either of the previous editions and the new decks are loaded with both new additions from the 2013 Core Set and some old fan favorites. The game includes: 10 new decks (each with 60 cards plus 30 unlockable cards), the new Planechase mode, new puzzle challenges, a new campaign, and multiplayer.

Duels 2013 comes with all the essential components that all MTG fans want. The new cards look great and it’s awesome they included some of the best cards from 2012. Now that each deck has 30 more cards to unlock, you will be playing this game for a long time.

Playing the Game:

If you have never played MTG before have no fear! The tutorial level is clear, concise, and voiced over. I played through it just as a refresher. There are also 3 difficulty levels for players new and old.

Magic the Gathering is, at its core, a simple game. The objective is to bring your opponents life points down to 0. You do that by dealing damage to them with creatures that you summon and spells that you cast. All of the creatures and spells are played from your hand and all cost Mana. Mana is your resource and you add Mana to your Mana Pool in order to cast more powerful spells. During the game each player will have an array of creatures, enchantments, and other spells out in front of them trying to maneuver around their opponent.

The turn is simple. First, draw a card. Second, play a Mana card if you are able. Third cast spells by paying the Mana Cost. Forth, attack your opponent. Then it is the other players turn. The game ends when one player has 0 life remaining.

It may sound easy, at it is, but there is more strategy involved than you may think. The game play is deep and each deck plays very differently.

The Good:

It’s MTG – Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 is a no frills port of the classic card game onto a digital platform, and it WORKS. The game is played in the exact same way as you would if it was the physical card game, just how I like it.

The Art – Because this is MTG after all, you know the art will be amazing. And, it is. From the cards to the loading screens, WotC used some the best looking cards out there.

Unlocking Cards – Each time you win a battle you unlock a new card for the deck you used. Each deck has 30 cards to unlock. This feature ensure that players will try out decks to get a feel for them and sick with one to unlock the best cards, it’s just like collecting. Also each deck can be customized to fit your style of play. So not only is each deck different you could play the same deck in two VERY different ways depending on your choice of cards.

A $10 CCG – Collectable Card Games are notorious for breaking the bank. Each pack for 15 MTG cards costs $3.99, for me, that adds up REAL quick. So being able to pay $10 for a game that includes all the aspects of collecting and customizing that I look for in a physical card game is a true winner.

Online – Planeswalkers features some robust AI and many different challenges against the computer but the game shines when you venture online to test your will against another player. It is always reward to use your favorite cards to grind someone into the dust and it is fascinating to see the strategies that other’s have come up with. Also, 2v2 team battles are the best part of the game. You must coordinate strategy and work with your teammate to ensure victory in the vicious online games.

The Bad:

Planechase – The new gamemode, Planechase is a bust. It’s bizarre and includes an “event deck” of strange game modifies that effect all players. Planechase is won on luck more than skill and it is a waste of time.

The Controls – Like the other two versions of Duels, the controls are cumbersome and finicky. Why you cannot use the D-Pad to select cards I will never know. Luckily this is not bad to the point of breaking the game but it sure is annoying when bad controls force you to miss-select a card and make a bad play.

Not True Customization – Although you have a lot of options when customizing your deck it would be fantastic if the game offered a deeper experience. The ability to choose how many Mana cards to include in the deck for one and the option to trade cards from one deck to another would add a whole new level of pre-game strategy.

Worth It?

Defiantly. The amount of money I saved by buying this game instead of physical cards is tremendous. Simply put, Duels allows me to get my CCG fix by spending $10 once a year instead of $30 a month. The savings are astronomical. Also, it’s a perfectly implemented digital version of the most well known and best loved CCG ever made. And with future DLC releases there is no doubt that MTG: Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 was…

Worth It.

Go to the Castle Panic page

Castle Panic

113 out of 125 gamers thought this was helpful

What You Get:

Castle Panic comes with a well-illustrated game board that is divided into three colored arcs (Green, Red, and Blue). Each arc is then subdivided into four zones (Forest, Archer, Knight, and Swordsmen). The monsters are represented on Monster Tokens that range from the mighty Troll Mage to the pathetic Goblin. The players use the Castle Cards to attack the approaching monsters. Finally, there is the Castle itself, made up of six walls and six towers. All of the components are high quality, built to last, and well designed.

Playing the Game:

What you have here is tower defense game. But unlike most tower defense games, Castle Panic is cooperative. All players will share the victory or anguish in defeat.

In each game round the active player draws cards, can trade a card with another player (thus making each player more effective at defending the castle), and then plays their Castle Cards on the approaching monsters. In this manner the player can deal damage and defeat the monsters. All defeated monsters are removed from the game.

However, any monster left standing after a player’s turn will advance one zone forward and get closer to the castle. At the end of each and every player turn two more monster tokens are added to the board. This causes more panic for the defenders. If the monsters are able to knock down all six of the castle towers, the players loose. If the players manage to defeat all of the monster tokens, then they have beaten the game and reign victorious.

The Good:

Coop – This is my favorite part of the game and the reason why I like it so much, either all the players win or all the players loose. There are few board games that bring the player together to defeat a common foe. Caslte Panic is one of these rare gems and the sensation of defeating the game with your team mates is great.

Real Castle Walls and Towers – This may seem silly but having a real, standing, castle to defend adds a lot to the game. It feels horrible when as you watch your towers fall to the ground and feels great to be able to rebuild walls at critical moments.

Hold the Line! – Because more monsters are added each and every turn there is a real sense of urgency during the game. It certainly seems like the monsters will never stop rushing out of the Forest and there is a consent sense of dread looming over the players. Of course this feeling only makes victory all the greater.

Once More, With Me! – Castle Panic will beat you time and time again. But, because the game is so fast to play and victory always seems possible, you will never want to walk away from this game defeated. After a tough lose you will look around the table at your teammates and decide immediately to reset, retool, and try again. And this time, those **** orcs and trolls will not destroy our home!

More Ways to Play – The rule book includes extra rules for either an easier or more difficult experience. One such rules has the players begin the game with no castle walls (good luck with that one). Also there are rules for Overlord play where one player takes control of the monster horde and faces off against a team of defenders. This tends to heighten the tension, knowing there is a method behind the monster invasion instead of just random waves of enemies.

The Bad:

Limited Replay – This is a big one. Eventhough Castle Panic is a joy to play, once you have tasted victory it is simply not as fun or excited the next time. Each successful defense of the Castle results in a smaller desire to play again. Luckily, the game is difficult, very difficult and it will require many attempts before you achieve the elusive win.

Worth It?

Yes. I rate Castle Panic as Worth It for under $25. The game’s ability to pull you back in for another go is extraordinary. The high quality components ensure the game will last through many sessions and the game’s unique cooperative gameplay allows for the glory of a shared victory.

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