shannon_a: (Default)
I played Steam on Thursday, the newest game in the Age of Steam/Railroad Tycoon family (which has unfortunately become increasingly mired in legal problems at every turn). We played the Basic version of the game, and it's quickly become my favorite in the series.

First up, Mayfair and Wallace have flat out improved the game. Just getting rid of the old cardstock sheets and incorporating the info onto the board was a huge win. However, beyond that every bit of polish was great. The cube-adding action is now not just genuinely useful, but downright desirable. The ability to choose to earn VPs or income each turn is a bit game-y, but also introduces a really nice feeling of momentum to the game that didn't exist previously. It also turns it into a more positive experience, because you don't feel like you have to fret as much about going into debt (though I was afraid that Mike B. was going to debt spiral himself out of existence, but that was mainly due to him running a few rounds at the start without making any deliveries).

Many folks will probably prefer the Advanced game, which has a few differences:

  • Auction for player order & roles (advanced) v. Role selection, which also determines order (basic)
  • Must take out loans at start (advanced) v. at any time (basic)

However, I much prefer the game without the auctions and much, much prefer it without the need to calculate your entire damned turn at the start.

I'll have a more complete review up at RPGnet in a week and a half.
shannon_a: (games)
Alright, one more Wallace game played: Waterloo.

I'm going to be writing a full review of this one, for publication in 13 days, but the short review is, "It's a wargame." The slightly longer review is, "It's a clever wargame."

I can certainly see the Wallacian influence in this one, because his like for accurate depiction of history has been taken and put through the roof. The different ways in which infantry and cavalry work is really great, especially if you're used to games where cavalry = infantry + faster.

There are a couple of other clever mechanics too, related to the uncertainty of how much time you'll get before your opponent can respond and the way in which wounded units are abstracted.

I think the game's biggest challenge is that a serious war game won't appeal to many Eurogamers (though I'll say I had a fine time; the game length of 3-4 hours would usually put it beyond my playing, but Joe & I talked about maybe playing it again in a month or so) while a war game with wooden meeples won't appeal to many war gamers. They're nicer than chits or blocks, mind you, I've just already seen a bit of grognardery about the meeples, both on the internet and in person.
shannon_a: (Default)
I finished up my Wallace-a-thon with the ending of 2008, but I've since played two of the games that I'd wanted to play and missed, so I thought I'd write about them a bit.

Age of Steam is at this point Wallace's best-known game. I've always found it a bit too mathy, and thus I've preferred Railroad Tycoon (and I suspect the upcoming Steam) for the fact that you can take out loans whenever you want, which just makes everything much simpler.

On the one hand, I find Age of Steam somewhat separate from Wallace's other designs. There's a lot of geography and blocking that you just don't see in most of his non-RR releases. Those elements create a totally new and nice tension in Age of Steam.

On the other hand, there are a few elements that are very recognizable Wallace design elements. What strikes me most is how similar the whole concept of taking out loans and then losing income in Age of Steam is to Brass. They're just done in totally different ways (and, generally, I find Brass more intuitive and less stressful).

I'm also struck by how much the core idea of these games matches. They're both about creating continuing economic systems. It seems clear (to me at least) that when you make a delivery in Age of Steam you're building a long-term route, just like you're building permanent partnerships in Brass.

I think it'd be fascinating to dig through Wallace's whole series of linked train games (and Brass) and see how ideas were polished from one release to the next.

(Unfortunately I've only played a few of the more recent railroad games, and thus can't comment on most of them myself.)

I said last year that I wanted to try Tempus again without all the expectations that surrounded it at its release (e.g., that it was a "Civ Lite" game). I did tonight, and I was quite pleasantly surprised.

As I watched the civilizations slowly spread out, then start moving faster and further, I realized that I wasn't watching "Civilization", but rather "The Game of Life". I was seeing ecosystems from 100 miles up, as they grew, spread, and contracted.

Tempus is an amazingly tight game, and if you play with people who go quickly (as I did tonight), I think it's a pretty good one.

What also surprised me (sadly) was how vehement some of the people at BGG are about the game. They scream and shout about how its' garbage and who knows what else. You'd think Tempus killed their grandma or something, from how they go on. Though I can understand disappointment over the game's very high expectations, I can't understand that attitude.

Anyway, that was 2 more Wallace games. Much to my surprise today, I also got Waterloo in the mail, which I hadn't expected at all. A 2-player war game usually isn't my thing, but I know a few people at Endgame who be willing to give it a try so that I can review it.
shannon_a: (games)
According to my notes at BGG, here are the Wallace games I did play, in my approximate order of like (which doesn't necessarily match with how good of a game I think they are). Just for yucks, I've also listed the BGG rating.

  1. Brass (x1) -- BGG #15
  2. Liberte (x1) -- BGG #187
  3. Byzantium (x2) -- BGG #406
  4. Steel Driver (x2) -- BGG #315
  5. Rails of Europe (x2) -- BGG #??
  6. Princes of the Renaissance (x1) -- BGG #110
  7. After the Flood (x2) -- BGG #681
  8. Perikles (x1) -- BGG #212
  9. La Strada (x1) -- BGG #891
  10. Mordred (x2) -- BGG #1179
  11. Tinners' Trail (x2) -- BGG #137
  12. Pampas Railroads (x1) -- BGG #1052
  13. Tyros (x1) -- BGG #657
  14. Way Out West (x1) -- BGG #1302
  15. Toledo (x2) -- BGG #950

Based on comparison to BGG, I apparently severely underrates Tinners' Trail and Perikles, but overrate Byzantium and After the Flood. I'm the most convinced that I could be wrong on Perikles.

And that ends my year of Wallace postings. I plan at least two articles for BGN: one about Wallace's style of designing, in general, and one offering mini-reviews of all the games I've played. I'll link those posts in to this tag when I make them.
shannon_a: (games)
Here's some discussions of the games not played during my Wallace-a-Thon in 2008.

First, the games not played from my personal collection, which are the most damning omissions, since they'd have been easy to play:

Runebound: This adventure game is overall a very non-Wallacian release. I'd classify it with the light games that he designs for other publishers (like Toledo) if it weren't for the fact that it were so frickin' long (which is its biggest sin). It's got beautiful color and a fun ramping up of characters, but not only do you have long gameplay (45-60 minutes per player), but worse you have considerable downtime in between turns. Compare it to all those Warfrog releases where you get an action per turn, and it's obvious how slowly things go as you work through movement and skill rolls.

It's funny, because I respect this game in some ways, as a nice entrant to the adventure genre with some pretty fully featured game systems--but I can't imagine inflicting its 3-4 hour play during a game day, ever. (Playing it with my RPG group would be a whole different matter, but it'd be tough to offer it up in comparison to the superb Descent.)

Struggle of Empires / Conquest of the Empire: I'm absolutely certain that I would have gotten this to the table if I'd had the nice, compact release by Warfrog. However, the Eagle version, with its requirement for a huge game table and its (beautiful) plastic figures which sadly just muddle the gameplay is sufficiently overdone that it didn't enter consideration over the course of the year. If I played one more Wallace game in 2008, it'd nevertheless be thus.

Second, the Warfrog games, which I was making a concerted effort to play all of:

Age of Steam: It's ironic that I said that the overproduced Conquest of the Empire discouraged me from playing the Struggle of Empires system, since I didn't play Age of Steam, but I did play it's big-box cousin Railroad Tycoon. Mind you, this is partially because I got a review copy of Rails of Europe early in the year. I also like the fact that the Rails games are more forgiving and more colorful ... but I think I do personally like the components of the smaller box Age of Steam design.

In any case, I didn't see any need to play Age of Steam because Rails is sufficiently similar.

Empires of the Ancient World: Eric and I tried to get this to the table a couple of time, but its long playing time kept us from doing so with some frequency, and on the few occasions when we felt we had enough time, we couldn't convince anyone else to join us, because it looked too wargamer-y. A pity, as I pretty much don't remember this from the one time I played.

Tempus: Eric and I tried to get this to the table two or three times, and again we couldn't convince anyone because there were enough players with bad memories of it. I don't know if that's because of disappointment over the (inaccurate) Civ-Lite label or just because they didn't like the gameplay. I'll acknowledge being disappointed in my two or three plays, but I was willing to give it another shot, hoping it was solely the inaccurate-label factor.

Having played through so much Wallace in 2008, I can now list a couple of games that I'd dearly love to get the Warfrog copies of: Struggle of Empires, Liberte. I'd also like to get Tempus, through probably not $60 like.
shannon_a: (games)
Today was my last gaming day of the year, and thus most likely my last chance to play a Martin Wallace game in 2008. I brought Princes of the Renaissance with me to EndGame, and Eric, Alex, and Dave were kind enough to indulge me.

Princes of the Renaissance is a pretty straight auction game. You can purchase city tiles with variable VP values and event tiles with set VP values. At the end, you want to have the most VPs.

It's got two interesting elements to it.

The first, and the thing that's the rarest in auction games, is that you can explicitly modify the value of the city tiles after you buy them. You do this by setting off wars which pit one city against another. If your city wins, it'll increase its status, which likely makes its tiles worth more VPs at the end of the game, conversely if it loses, the potential VPs decrease as well.

Thus, there's this whole subgame where you think about building up your military forces, to have a better chance of helping your own cities out.

The second interesting element is that there are two currencies: influence and gold*. You can gain tiles which give you each of these, over the course of the game. However one of the most intriguing elements is that there's a way to convert intrigue-to-gold. That's through the aforementioned city battles. You earn the right to be the condotierre for a city (and fight for it) using intrigue and they pay you gold to do so.

I quite like the idea of having to manage two different currencies, and having a way to change up between them.

Overall, a fun game.

Because of its heavy emphasis on auctions, Princes of the Renaissance feels a bit unusual for Wallace. I think of it more as a super-Ra or Amun-Re than in the same category as his more warlike games--even though there are battles at the center of the game.

However it has at least one very traditional Wallace element: fighting wars for entities that you don't actually control. Here, they're the cities of Italy. We see the same thing in Pericles where you're fighting for the cities of Greece. I also find After the Flood somewhat similar, since you're warring with an empire that you're soon going to lose, ditto Byzantium, where you're helping advance both the Arabs and Byzantines.

I expect I'll write some brief notes later this week on what I played and what I didn't Then I need to get some articles on my schedule for BGN to talk about Martin Wallace and his game designs.

I love games with multiple currencies. I always describe Reiner Knizia's Beowulf as a six-currency auction game, and I'm thrilled that his Money is coming back into print too, thanks to Fred Distribution.
shannon_a: (games)
I played the other new Martin Wallace game yesterday, which was Steel Driver. As I wrote previously, it's his newest iteration of the Prairie Railways system, and the only one that's been professionally produced (as opposed to the quasi-profession Winsome Game productions).

As with the other games in the series, it's a game of stock purchase and rail improvement. No one owns any individual railway line, but you're instead auctioning off who gets to buy the stock for each railway each turn. The most unique feature is probably the fact that the purchase price of the stock is what's then used to build the railway--which both provides for some interesting game tactics and also feels realistic.

I liked the main gameplay quite a lot, as we fought over the railways and then built them out, sometimes blocking other lines. Turn order is controlled by a "pass" mechanic which adds yet another decision point to the game.

I'm unconvinced if I like the end game, where you determine the final value of all the stock by picking up cubes off the board, because it's very chaotic. You can lock in some cubes, but after that it's all about order. I'll need another play to see what I think there.

In any case, it's another fairly heavy economic game from Wallace, but a relatively short one at 60-90 minutes. There was some disagreement about whether the optimal player number was 5 or 6. There's also some opportunity for AP. I thought the decisions were pretty easy, but we had one player who really dragged them out.

As with After the Flood, I want one more play before I write my full review.
shannon_a: (games)
Played a first game of After the Flood today. I was not disappointed. I'd written that it looked to me like a more Warfrog sort of game with a lot of intricate, connected systems, and that was indeed the case. It wasn't as much of a brain burner as Brass or Byzantium, but there were a lot of things to think about and I think we all felt like we could play it better in a later game.

Basically, there are two major systems. On the one hand you have workers that you send out to try and gather and trade resources. On the other hand you have empires that you take control of each turn which rampage across the map and which can upset worker usage. Though the two sides of things feel a bit separate, they also create a tension between them.

I was surprised that the armies were as major a part of the game as they are, but they aren't the be-all and the end-all. I went heavy on armies throughout the game and lost by a couple of points to a player who did some work with armies (as everyone will), but paid much more attention to resources and trading them up.

(The game was very close; I don't remember the exact scores, but they were something like 114-111-111.)

I was also surprised by how tight the resources are. I wasn't expecting that when I read the rules, but you have a pretty limited set of resources to use each turn (about 4-8 I'd think) and you don't get any more, so you have to decide what to use for armies, what to use for worker placement and what to convert to victory points. I felt like I'd backed myself into a corner more than once, which means the game is pleasantly tight.

The game had some of the typical Wallace touches. It centers around a variety of actions that you can take each round of play. There's not exactly an economic system, but the system of resources and trades is pretty intricate. The ability to command different armies reminded me a tiny bit of Byzantium initially, but after playing it, I'd really say that element is more Vinci or History of the World.

I'll be writing a full review of the game after I've gotten to play it one more time (which will be slightly tricky, as it's a 3-player only game).
shannon_a: (games)
My Wallace-a-Thon for the year went way off the tracks in July when I got sick. I was still playing games, even when I was really not well, but I wasn't really pushing games, and I definitely wasn't rereading any more rules than I had too, so my noble goal of playing Wallace games ground to a halt.

Here's what I'd still like to play this year:

The Warfrog Games

Empires of the Ancient World (2000). Eric has a copy of this, and we've tried several times to entice other people to play, but there have been no takers, I think primarily because it's long and war-ish. A pity, as this is one that I barely remember from my one play.

Princes of the Renaissance (2002). This is one I own, so I'm pretty sure it'll get played, probably in December.

Struggle of Empires (2004). I'd prefer to play the original, because I like the Warfrog look and feel, but if not I can drag out the massive Eagle re-release (which I own). We'll see if I get time for this one or not.

Tempus (2006). If there was ever a game killed by pre-release overhype, it was this one. I wasn't too impressed at the time, but I'm eager to try it again now that I can play it with a less pre-judged eye. Unfortunately, a lot of other people were disappointed too. Eric has a copy, but it's another one that we've failed to get to the table.

The Treefrog Games

After the Flood (2008). One of the recent Essen releases, and the one I'm most excited about. This looks like an old-style Warfrog game, with lots of different actions used to manipulate your score in different ways. The rules remind me a tiny bit of Byzantium and a tiny bit of Brass.

Steel Driver (2008). This is a pretty neat release, because it's the newest iteration of Wallace's Prairie Rails series, except it's a nice production rather than the paper-thin Winsome Game productions of the rest of this series. Surprisingly, it fits right into the Treefrog line (or at least the Treefrog line as defined by the one previous release, Tinner's Trail), since it's a serious but short economic game with a relative single vision forward. I was also amused to see in the Designer's Notes of the game that Wallace intends to put out a railroad game from Treefrog each year. That's definitely keeping with his design history, which includes around a dozen railroad games.

(I received both of these in the mail today, and will try to get one to the table tomorrow.)


Though I've called it a Wallace-a-Thon, my main focus has been on the Warfrog games, which IMO are Wallace's best. Runebound is really the only non-Warfrog game I might try (beyond the couple I've ever played), as it's sitting on my shelf, but it's generally been too long for what it returns.

Maybe I could get folks at Endgame to play the Sands supplement some evening ...
shannon_a: (games)
Thursday night I continued my run of Martin Wallace games by playing La Strada.

I usually classify this as one of his "lesser" games, because it's just a little 30-minute thing, but it's actually quite a good game. Though it's (of course) considerably shallower than his long games, it's pretty interesting for its time period.

You're building roads to connect up various towns, and at the end of the game, you get points for how many towns you connected. Here's the main things I like:

1.) The road building system is essentially an action point system in disguise. You can build 1.5-3 roads a turn, depending on whether you build across plains, forests, or hills. You can also save up some of your action points from round to round.

2.) The board is quite tight, and I think the evolving road system is both beautiful and a source of tension.

3.) The scoring is quite innovative: the more people who got to a town, the less valuable it is for everyone.

The biggest problem I have with the game is that the first player seems to be really helped and the last player really hurt. In our Thursday game, the points decreased from the 1st player to the 4th, and I know that's now the first time that happened. I think really good initial (blocking) placement by the 2nd-4th players could hurt the first player, but players shouldn't have to know to do that sort of thing. Absent that there should be lesser action points available for the first players or something, and it's a sad thing the game doesn't have it.

Nonetheless I can't get too upset if a 30-minute game is unbalanced.

Next Up: I'm now more than halfway through the year and it's instructive to note what I haven't played yet. Of my own games, Princes of the Renaissance, Conquest of the Empire, and Runebound remain unloved. Of those I'd prefer Struggle of Empires over CotE and I'm not sure about Runebound but Princes will definitely get played. Eric has Tempus and Empires of the Ancient World, two other games I haven't played yet this year. It looks like After the Flood may appear this year too. That should get me through all his most notable Warfrog games.
shannon_a: (games)
I've fallen off my Wallace-a-Thon in the last month, but when a shiny new copy of Tinners' Trail showed up in my mailbox on Tuesday, I was happy to dive right back in.

I was at first leery of Tinners' Trail because it's the first of Martin Wallace's new TreeFrog games, which are supposed to be lighter and simpler. Generally I've found that his super-light games like La Strada and Toledo are OK, but not as enthralling as his deeper stuff. I was afraid this would be more of the same.

I'm happy to be proven wrong. My interest in Tinners' Trail first perked up when I head the setting: mining in Cornwall. I always really appreciate the authenticity of Wallace's deeper games, and this one looked like it would fit in right next to Brass.

Beyond that, I've now played the game twice, and I'm happy to see that it's got the serious gameplay of one of his heavier games, and still comes out at 60-90 minutes. There's not as much depth, but it's a compromise that I think falls on the right side of things.

Overall it's a pretty pure economic game. You build mines, you develop them, and you mine. The object is to manage your money and your turns more effectively than the other players. Wallace is pretty serious about his economic simulations, as witnessed in games like Age of Steam and Brass, and this hits that straight on. It doesn't have some of the other Wallace specialties, such as alternate victory conditions, nor does it feature any warfare (although warfare among the mines of Cornwall certainly sounds like a fun game), though one presumes that this is all part of the fact that it's intended to be a more accessible game.

I need to write a review of this one, as Mr. Wallace was kind enough to send it to me. I think it's going to rate a "4" out of "5" at RPGnet: well above average (and exceeding my hopes for the TreeFrog line).

Edit: The benefit of the TreeFrog line is that Wallace is now planning to put out 3+ games a year, rather than one. The next is called After the Flood and it's due in just a month. It looks terrific:
shannon_a: (games)
Aaron was kind enough to bring in Way Out West today, so I got to play a Martin Wallace game that I really wasn't expecting to get to play this year.

It's one of his earlier works, and it was OK, but I generally wasn't as impressed as I am with some of his newer stuff. The game's got some nice economic modeling, with your trying to take advantage of what other players are doing, there's even a pretty clever setup for this: you build buildings that only accrue VPs based on what other people have built.

However, it's also random. Very, very random. Even for a Martin Wallace game.

I actually might not have minded the randomness as much if it weren't really drawn out. There are gunfights that just go on and on with dice being rolled again and again until someone is wiped out (or flees). I much prefer the system in Byzantium, where you only do one round of combat, and then determine a winner based on remaining troops afterward. There's still some chance for upset, but not as much, and it doesn't take nearly as much time.

And I have to ask, how can you have a western game with 6 different building types where none of the buildings are a saloon or a cathouse? OK, maybe I can understand the lack of a cathouse if you're trying to make a family-friendly game, but ... no saloon!?

In any case, it was great to try this out, not just a new Wallace for the year, but a totally new to me game.
shannon_a: (games)
Over the last week I've played two new-to-me Wallace games.

Byzantium. This got played last Saturday after my normal RPG on Saturday fell through. The core conceit is pretty neat: there's a war going on between the Byzantines and the Arabs, and you simultaneously control armies on both sides, trying to (somewhat) balance your points between them. It was quite a good game; I'm glad I picked it up even after a general non-committal response from the board game world. To a large extent, it's a pure game of efficiency: you try and get the optimal points per turn. It's also got a decent amount of fighting, but in some interestingly constrained ways.

Among the elements I liked: the trademark Wallace alternative victory condition (here, a special Arab win if Constantinople falls); a very strategic resource management system, involving cubes and coins; and a fun combat system that let you empire build across the map.

I'm hoping to play it again relatively soon to get a better feel for it.

Tyros. Eric has been bringing this to Endgame for a while, and we finally got it to the table today. It's a trading and card management game as you build cities in trading empires, struggling for majorities in the most valuable empires.

I didn't have any problem with it, but I wasn't wildly excited either. This may partly be because we had a somewhat unbalanced game, involving (among other things) the other two players fighting, to my pure advantage. I asked Eric afterward what he liked about the game, and he said that it was a pretty unique Wallace German/abstract and that he liked how the game developed (meaning empires expanding and cities getting built, I expect).

This was published through Kosmos, not Warfrog, and it's the Warfrog games that I've liked best.
shannon_a: (games)
Tonight I played Brass, which is what really got me onto the Wallace kick, but which I hadn't played since late last year, so it hadn't appeared as part of my "year of Wallace".

At the time I considered it a very typical Wallace game, because it's heavy on economics, but I've since seen that it doesn't have another very common Wallace feature: alternative ways to end the game.

This is the first time I've played Brass since I wrote my article, Brass Tacks, and I did my best to apply my strategies from there, particularly by pushing on the high VP stuff late in the game, and ignoring coal and iron opportunities even when they looked very tasty. (Though I'll comment that I could only do this thanks to building a great economic engine early in the game.)

The results were satisfying: a 202-point win in a 3-player game.

At this point, I think Brass is my second favorite Wallace game, eclipsed only by Liberte, and that may well be because I've only played the latter just once.

Next up will probably be Byzantium, since I bought a copy a week or two ago.
shannon_a: (games)
I've now played Martin Wallace's newest game, Toledo, twice. I'll be writing a review of it for next Wednesday, but I figured that I'd record my more off-the-cuff thoughts here.

It's a very light game. You place businesses, and then move pieces along them, both trying to collect resources from the businesses and to get to the end of the movement track. A lot of the pre-release info suggested it was Martin Wallace's Caylus. I'd be more inclined to call it Martin Wallace's Backgammon. Don't get me wrong: it's got some nice tactics and some fun systems, but it's by no means a deep game.

Whether it's a long game is another question. Both of my games have taken about an hour. Yet people on BGG whine about it ending in 20 minutes. Ironically, this is the same problem that Caylus has: the game length can dramatically telescope based on players. In this particular case, I suspect that people ending the game quickly are most often playing it badly. You can rush for the end, but you'd better make darned sure you're ahead when you do. Also, this is a feature that shows up in other Wallace games: I've rushed Mordred (unsuccessfully, and I'd call it bad play to have done so), and I've also rushed Perikles (and got away with it by the skin of my teeth).

I don't like this light Wallace fare as much as I like his heavier stuff. La Strada was kind of fun, but it hasn't hit the table in over a year (maybe two?). I don't object to Mordred, but I don't really adore it either. Wallace's strength is his weighty game.
shannon_a: (games)
I've now 5 or so years into my play of Eurogames, and I've slowly come to better appreciate the longer, more intricate games. Now last year, when I was really realizing how much I enjoyed Knizia, I set myself a goal: a Knizia game a week. This year I'm doing something similar. I'm trying to play as many of Martin Wallace's games as I can.

This is the first of what will be a few posts on the subject, mainly because I want to remember how I felt about the games so that I can write a BGN post about them all at the end of the year.

Liberte. An old game that I got to play for the first time this year, and I loved it. A really terrific look at majority control that's a serious brainburner, but worth the effort. Also has alternative victory conditions, as Wallace seems to enjoy. It's a damned shame that the colors got messed up, as it makes the game much less playable. I hear Valley Games is reprinting it, but that's not actually a very reliable marker of whether we'll ever see the game again or not.

Mordred. One of just two Wallace games which has gotten multiple (2) plays. Herein you build various structures to hold England against Mordred. It fits the Wallace standard in that it has wacky alternative victory conditions that leave you constantly wondering which way the game is going to go and that it has a heavy economic basis.

It hasn't thrilled yet, but it's so short (at 30-45 minutes) that it doesn't particularly offend me either. I think the economic system is a bit heavy for the length and weight of the game. It doesn't hurt my brain, it just feels like an odd combination.

Of course this was (re)released at a very high price as some type of charity benefit, so it's not out there that much.

Pampas Railroads. It's hard to be excited about yet another Wallace railroad game when he's done so many of them. This one has already mostly fled my head. It had stock, it had earnings, it had drawing lines and trying to work together with other players to your own benefit. Maybe it would have been more memorable if it weren't marred by the typically atrocious components from Winsome Games.

Perikles. A wacky pseudo-wargame that reminds me of one part Princes of the Renaissance and one part Liberte. On the one hand you have a changing ownership of various areas that are being fought over and on the other you have pseudo-partial control of those interests. It doesn't have alternative victory conditions like Liberte and Mordred does, but it does have sudden-endgame conditions, which I managed to use to secure a 1-point win in my last game. (After winning Athens, I then let it go down in defeat while using Athens forces to siege other cities, confident that my earnings in the first round would carry me to victory. They did, barely.)

Rails of Europe. I'm not sure that it counts as a Wallace game, as he had nothing to do with the supplement, but it's a new map for his Age of Steam-derived Railroad Tycoon game. It was also, IMO, the best iteration of the system, simpler than Age of Steam and tighter and faster than Railroad Tycoon. My Other Wallace game with multiple (2) plays.

I haven't yet played most of the games that I actually have on my shelf yet this year. Brass and Princes of the Renaissance should be exciting additions. La Strada is entirely innocuous, while I'm not sure I'm going to be willing to donate the time to Runebound. I also just got Toledo in the mail today. Meanwhile, Eric V. has promised to bring around Tyros and Empires of the Middle Ages next week. So, all told that's another seven possibilities.

Looking at the listings, Tinner's Trail, Tempus, Byzantium, Struggle of Empires (or its Eagle Games alternative, which I actually have too), and Way Out West should all get played too. I'm less sure about his pre-1999 stuff and his stuff from other publishers.

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