Gamers Alliance Magazine Free Back Issues

Gamers Alliance, which bills itself as the “longest running, continuously published English language game review publication” has a large selection of their previously published board game reviews available online. I’ve found it useful in looking for some older board games to purchase to add to my collection.

Fury of Dracula 3rd Edition Mini Review

I recently punched a copy of Fury of Dracula third edition that had been sitting on my shelf for several years for a Horror Themed game night. This particular version is out of print, thanks to the Fantasy Flight – Games Workshop divorce, but the good news is that Game Workshop recently married Wiz Kids, and a new edition is on the agenda.

I actually have a copy of the original Fury of Dracula from 1987, along with the special miniatures that came with the game then. The third edition comes with some nice plastic miniatures, which look to be about 20mm, size-wise. I’m going to paint them in the near future.

Fury of Dracula third edition is easy to learn, with my group of two adults and three teens figuring it out in short order. Dracula’s movement is hidden, and tracked by location cards placed upside down on one end of the board. On their turn, the Vampire Hunters visit cities across Europe, travelling by road and rail to find clues as to Dracula’s whereabouts. When they happen across one of the locations that Dracula has previously visited, the card is revealed and actions resolved. Revealing these cards lets the Vampire Hunters begin to deduce Dracula’s path and converge on possible locations.

The Fantasy Flight third edition is a better game than the original, with a neat card track (shown in the photo above) that Dracula uses to play/record his movement. In the original, there was a separate board with a screen. I also like the card based combat. With day and night phases, the hunters can act twice per turn, while Dracula can activate only at night.

The game is tense, and oozes theme. Deep strategy it is not. A Euro it is not. It does, however, build a good story. In our first game, Dracula was cornered and eliminated in the nick of time. In the second, the Vampire Hunters knew where he had to be, but were unable to corner him before he spread his influence and horror all over Europe.

Assuming that Wiz Kids doesn’t mess this up, I recommend this game.

Book Review: Wargame 1066 and Wargame Wars of the Roses

books-together

Casemate Publishers recently sent two of their books of paper soldiers for review: Wargame: 1066 and Wargame: The Wars of the Roses. They are part of a Battle for Britain series, which also includes books for the Roman Invasion of AD 43 – 84, the English Civil War, and the Spanish Armada.

The books each contain around thirty pages of beautifully illustrated, full-color paper models representing all of the troop types necessary to recreate battles of the period on the tabletop. The figures are approximately 30mm from top of helmet to base. Paper models of buildings, trees and other battlefield accessories are included. Finally, the books contain instructions for assembly, as well as simple sets of rules by Andy Callan.

To build your armies, first photocopy the pages with the desired troop types. Then simply cut and paste. In this fashion, you can create as many stands of figures as desired. Don’t need Flemish spearmen? Don’t copy them. Want extra billmen in livery? Copy away.

In the example below, I made a copy of a page of cavalry on plain paper with my printer at regular resolution. The copy came out looking pretty good, but if I were doing this to build an army, I’d use heavier inkjet paper and a higher print resolution.

pages-inside

After printing, I followed the instructions in the book: scoring the line, gluing, then cutting. I did a quick job with a lousy pair of school scissors, but I still like the overall effect. With the investment of a little more time and some decent scissors, the paper models would look just first rate — especially in ranks, as designed.

cutouts-small

The figures have paper bases for mounting, but I’d suggest gluing those bases to thicker pieces of wood or plastic for easy movement. I also wonder if there isn’t some sort of sealer that would stiffen the figures without making the colors run. Mod Podge, for example, or an artist’s spray sealer.

The Battle For Britain series looks like a great way to quickly build playable, good looking armies for the tabletop. Priced between $20 and $30 on Amazon, they are reasonably affordable, even when taking into account the price of the paper and ink. And based on my experience in quickly cutting out a stand of cavalry, I think you could build an impressive army very quickly.

I am definitely going to build a War of the Roses army. I may even get the English Civil War book. I have long wanted to have armies for both those conflicts.