Alle Beiträge von Moritz

Influential Game Companies of the Past, Part 3: SPI

Transcript of the podcast published on June 2nd, 2010.

SPI, or Simulations Publications Incorporated, was to Avalon Hill what Marvel was and is to DC Comics: the former new kid on the block, which then went on to become a bit louder, a bit more in your face, a bit more bang for your bucks than its competitor.
For ca. 15 years the rivalry between SPI and Avalon Hill was something that incredibly enriched the wargame hobby, because both companies had their unique strengths and weaknesses, and competition meant that both their games became better and better.
SPI started small – founder Jim Dunnigan took over small wargame magazine Strategy and Tactics (S&T) and quickly realized that wargaming was a new and exciting hobby that was quickly growing.
He began to pursue the policy of publishing one complete wargame in each magazine of S&T. These were simple affairs consisting of a game map, a counter sheet and rules while the rest of the magazine was devoted to military and strategic articles. Another magazine, “Moves”, quickly followed, in which there was more talk about the design of games.
The first SPI game of note was most certainly the now famous “Napoleon at Waterloo”, a simple introductory wargame that could be taught to anyone in minutes, but which proved to be almost chess-like in its myriads of applicable strategies. In an early and wildly successful marketing coup this little game was actually distributed for free to attract new gamers to the hobby. It proved incredibly popular, and the game is played even today, belonging to the most-played wargames ever. Hey, even Tom Vasel would play it, as a typical game only lasts an hour!
The early SPI output of games basically went through three phases. In long questionnaires usually published in “Moves” or “S&T” gamers where asked in detail what kind of design they would like to see and what themes would interest them. According to this data games were created, usually with one general rules set that could be adapted to several scenarios of a given period. Single games were then often published either in S&T or in flimsy plastic trays that had a shelf life of a few months before falling apart. Wargamers will immediately recognize the early SPI games, with the plastic trays usually brown with age, but they will also have fond memories of the games themselves. Later they went on to produce cardboard boxes, but even these were incredibly flimsy.
It was also popular to combine games into quadrilogies, different games using the same rules-set. Most famous is probably the quad-game “Napoleon’s Last Battles” by Kevin Zucker, which broke up the famous Waterloo battle into 4 single battles that could be combined into one large monster game if wished for. All of SPI’s Napoleonic period games had common features for example, so that it was easy for anybody that had played one of them to play other games of the series practically out of the box.
Monster games in particular quickly became a staple of SPI – most infamous is probably “Campaigns for North Africa”, a game so overblown, detailed and complicated that it even contained a rule for the influence of spaghetti cooking on the water supply of Italian troops in North Africa in WWII. The game had been developed for years but never been playtested in full because it took so darn long to actually play it; it therefore must count as the only game in existence that has never actually been fully played from beginning to end.
But other monster games like “War in the East” proved more playable and SPI quickly gained a reputation for producing hugely thematic and long games with actually not too unwieldy rules. For a while they ruled supreme and were hugely influential, especially because of their trademark graphic design that was pioneered by the wonderful Redmond A. Simonson and which still fascinates because of its relative simplicity and clarity compared to the often garish and overproduced art of today.
Like Avalon Hill SPI quickly branched out into other markets – they quickly adapted the fantasy fad and produced innovative games with Tolkien themes, but also excellent Science Fiction Games like the highly interesting “Freedom in the Galaxy”. This was also the time when they began producing the fantastic game magazine “Ares” which had only fantasy and SF themed games and must still count as the most interesting magazine-with-game-included publication ever done, containing also short stories by highly renowned SF and fantasy authors.
SPI’s own fantasy roleplaying game “DragonQuest” was actually more successful than Avalon Hill’s roleplaying attempts for a while, but SPI also landed a huge flop with the “Dallas” the TV series roleplaying game, for which they had paid a lot in royalties.
For 13 years SPI was the industry’s work-horse, producing an incredible number of games in a short space of time. But exactly this overstretching also produced its downfall – earlier than Avalon Hill SPI went bankrupt and was taken over by TSR, the roleplaying company that became a giant through Dungeons and Dragons. But TSR was already also not in their prime anymore, and the SPI games by TSR where shoddier and less playtested than their predecessors. In addition the new management alienated many of the former game designers working for SPI, who then went on to work for their biggest former rival, Avalon Hill, by creating their new game line “Victory Games”, which had its moment of glory for a while. The experiment TSR/SPI didn’t last for long, and also TSR was later gobbled up by Wizards of the Coast. The SPI era – short but influential – had come to a sudden end.
But not quite – small company Decision Games managed to acquire the rights to many of SPI’s titles, including S&T, and by reducing print runs, using P-500 like schemes and careful pricing managed to keep the glory of this magazine up to today, as well as producing new versions of many of SPI’s games. In many ways they have tried to keep the old SPI spirit successfully alive, so if you are interested in this fascinating wargame period the Decision Games website is a good place to start. You might also want to check out their new solitaire wargames like D-Day Omaha Beach and RAF, by the way.

Combat Commander

Transcript of the podcast published on May 24th, 2010.

GMT’s hugely successful tactical WWII combat game “Combat Commander” is an interesting case. It proves that game design and rules design play an important part in the success of a game, perhaps even more so than a theme.
And let’s be honest: WWII tactical combat has been done already. A lot.

But for me Combat Commander really is the best of the bunch. It has already spawned 2 big box expansions, Combat Commander Mediterranean and Combat Commander Pacific, as well as various scenario packs. In scope and possibility for endless expansions it probably comes close to ASL, but CC makes an interesting decision to not go “all the way” like ASL did when it was developed past the original Squad Leader, the original game that many wargamers still miss for its relative simplicity compared to the Juggernaut that is ASL.

Let’s go through all the factors that make Chad Jensen’s wonderful game such a hit, and we will find that it is a hit simply because it succeeds on many levels not only one.

Factor 1: The Rulebook

Let’s start with the most obvious point: CC’s rulebook is simply a thing of beauty. It is perfectly organized, clear and to the point, well written and interspersed with interesting quotes to break the monotony of paragraphed wargame rules. And yes, it isn’t even difficult to understand, and a joy to read. Even though it has been slightly improved in later editions of the game the very first edition already was so good that there was little to complain about. For me it belongs to the best rulebooks GMT has ever published, up there with the equally excellent “Here I Stand” and “Pursuit of Glory” rulebooks. In a market where most rulebooks are obtuse, confusing or riddled with mistakes and inconsistencies it is really a joy to hold such a polished product in your hands.

Factor 2: Elegance of Design

Hardcore Anti-Euro Wargamers have to face a difficult realization with CC:
Without Eurogames there would be no CC, as Chad Jensen has taken many elements in which Euro Game designs shine to heart and applied them to the wargame world. First of all this means: no exceptions and no tables. CC completely lives from the info presented on either the counters or the status sheet where players track various things important for the game. The whole game hinges on opposed rolls: Single counters attack alone or in fire groups, perhaps the most important tactical element in CC. Defending counters also roll, trying to oppose the attack roll. There are no „to-hit”-charts or complicated accumulated modifiers.

When you attack you create a Fire Attack Strength based on your combat values printed on the counters and a 2 dice die roll which is not actually rolled but looked up on a card. This attack roll is only modified through one single factor, and that is hindrance through intervening terrain or terrain features, like smoke. The defender opposes this roll with a roll based on the defending units Morale value to which “cover” through certain terrain like walls or boscage is added.

Even though the difference between hindrance and cover is unusual at first, it really is everything that you need to understand about combat. Everything else is on the counters.

Combat itself is elegant and easy, and as basically everything comes down to a defense roll based on your unit’s morale it is easy to resolve various situations in the game, because they always follow the same, easy-to-understand logic.

Factor 3: The Cards

Not only Euro Games have been an influence on CC, also card-driven games have played a part in the shape of its design. In CC everything is resolved through multifunctional cards, an idea that goes back to old designs like “Empires of the Middle Ages” or “Gunslinger”. Each card can be many things:
an order, a special action, an event, a designated hex and a die roll as well as a time trigger. This makes planning your turns very interesting: you could use a certain card for a special action, but perhaps you need the order later on? Especially the “Fire” cards which let you – well, you guessed it – fire against other units, are much rarer than you wish for, and you also want to have “Fire” cards in your hand to create reaction fire when your opponent moves. “Ambush” cards are extremely powerful in skirmish combat, but also fill up your hand when holding them. CC involves everything that a good card-driven game has: bluffing elements, hand management and also an element that is often underrated in card-driven-games: conscious reduction of choices to avoid analysis paralysis and endless pondering. Even
better: each faction has its own set of cards, so it becomes a really unique experience to play the Russians instead of the Germans for example, as many things that tactically work for one faction don’t work for the other. This is especially remarkable, as most other games only can manage this kind of distinction through complicated info on counters or exception rules.

Factor 4: Story Elements

CC comes close to a role playing game in the management of your forces.
Individual leaders and heroes really have their moments, which is a cue most certainly taken from ASL which attempts similar things. But the heart of the game is the various events, some of them common like Snipers, some of them really rare. One can literally play dozens of games of CC before a certain event happens, and one never knows what will happen next, as there is no set turn-order – each player decides himself when and how to play his cards and can stop playing anytime, replenishing his hand. Sometimes several turns go by with each player simply preparing his hand for the next decisive attack, and just like on a real battlefield sometimes also a lot happens in a short time. For me this is the main improvement on ASL, which always follows the same strict and highly complicated turn order – in CC one never really can be sure of anything. The victory point system allows for wild swings – I have seen games with fantastic comebacks of the losing side for example.
Still it is also not completely random – CC is less about doggedly following a pre-determined know-all strategy (which would also be ridiculous in a Squad Level situation – every real-life soldier knows that), but more about constantly adapting your play to the situation at hand and working with what you got. One can never be sure of anything. And that creates tension!

Factor 5: Scale

The element that CC is mostly criticized for: In contrast to ASL CC makes a conscious decision to concentrate on the grunt, the common soldier, instead of machinery. The scale of CC is roughly half that of ASL, which means that group counters are always half-squads, and that individuals play a bigger role. Hexes are large to allow uncluttered management of weapon and other special counters, but this also means that there are no tanks, as a tank could simply move from one end of the game map to the other in one single movement action at this scale. Everything else is there – detailed weaponry with huge differences of various nations, artillery, smoke grenades, assault fire, but players who absolutely have to have tanks will be at a loss. But this is one of the reasons why CC is so elegant – tanks would simply be to much. Still, there might be an attempt to translate CC’s concepts to a larger scale at some point, and the result might very well be a new “Panzer Leader” game.

Factor 6: Length

Combat Commander is not an endless game – a scenario will probably take you about 2-3 hours, and even though the scenarios can often be wildly different or even linked campaigns, they never outstay their welcome. Game length itself is handled by the “Time Trigger” mechanic – games can be shorter or longer than one expects, but also this creates a welcome change to other games, where both players boringly know that a particular scenario ends on turn 7 and always exactly know, when and where reinforcements appear. CC lacks any scriptedness, and that is a huge advantage, also for replayability.

Factor 7: Scenarios

Like with ASL, there is already a huge range of CC scenarios on the market, each of them using different maps. But even better according to many are the completely random scenarios, where both players create forces and victory conditions on the fly, often these scenarios are the most fun, as nobody knows what they can expect!

Hidden victory point info is a decisive element to the game – both players will always know more about the victory point value of certain areas than their opponent, which creates interesting situations on the map. Any new player to the CC universe will know for sure that the game never ends – even if you have mastered the impossible task of playing all known CC scenarios playing them for a second time would be such a different experience that it would be worthwhile doing so. And the random scenarios literally last forever.

As you can tell I am a big fan of this game, and can only heartily recommend to you playing it. For me it is the number one tactical WWII game, and I have never looked back to other games with that theme that I have played. CC surpasses other games simply because it works on several levels – the casual player will enjoy it as well as the history buff, and even Euro Gamers could find it an experience that they will like, in contrast to many other wargames. This concludes my first little feature for this show – I hope you enjoyed it!

See you next time, when the Noise before defeat is making itself heard.

“Influential Game Companies of the Past” Part 2: Avalon Hill

Transcript of the podcast published 13 May 2010:

How can we not talk about one of the greatest game companies ever when following up last week’s segment about 3M: and that company was called Avalon Hill!

Now many of you will say: “but why, Avalon Hill still exists, aren’t they the publishers of Axis and Allies?” And I will say: “You Heathens! How dare you compare the monstrous Hasbro corporate monster who bought the sad remains of a once proud company in 1998, when I had just bought a subscription to the “General”, and which are now defiling the holy name of Avalon Hill by branding a game with it which wasn’t even an original Avalon Hill game, how can you compare all this… with the best game company ever?”.

Ok, many of you, used to the sleek and slim designs of today, might wonder why Avalon Hill, with it’s trademark unwieldy rulebooks in boring black and white print which often read like lawyer’s notes and were ordered in their trademark paragraphs, and with their sometimes incredibly complex games like Advanced Squad Leader or Magic Realm should be so great when compared to eye candy like Fantasy Flight’s games.

And I tell you why: because Avalon Hill was the most pioneering, daring and varied game company ever, with a backlog of games that still are considered all-time classics after being around for decades.

Taking the cue from 3M-games Avalon Hill was the first gamer’s game-company, a company that from the beginning on tried to address a market of specialist gamers, even though they sometimes dabbled in simpler family games and even notoriously published “Dr. Ruth’s Game Of Good Sex” and a “Witchcraft Kit” for young girls.

A short history is in order: In 1954 the company was started a small enterprise by the now fondly remembered Charles S. Roberts, the grandfather of wargaming as we know it. Roberts can be credited as the inventor of the modern wargame, and had some moderate success with games like Tactics I and Tactics II, which were still quite abstract wargames, but already a first step into the direction of the historical simulations we play today. He followed this up with a line of more historically oriented games like “Stalingrad” or “U-Boat”, which seemed to find a target audience with teenage boys who grew up with the war stories of their fathers. One of the major inventions of the then new Avalon Hill game company was the use of the hex-grid as a means to simplify movement and to be able to transport some concepts of miniature wargaming – a trend that developed at the same time – to a game board.

But also from early on Avalon Hill sought non-wargaming themes, Roberts’s own favourite design was a game called “Management” which was far from being a wargame.

In 1962 the company became a subsidiary of Monarch Printing Company, and from then on began to act similarly like 3M games in the context of a larger, non-game company. With the new owner came heightened popularity and improved distribution, and for a long time, at least the 70’s and 80’s, Avalon Hill was the absolute market leader in the realm of everything related to gaming. They continued to use the ingenious bookcase format for most of their games, and their graphic design set new standards.

Wargaming was probably the main fundament for the company, and the list of classic games in this field is immense. During their great years they boasted a staff of excellent game designers like Richard Hamblen or Don Greenwood, and had a fantastic development team that really enjoyed what they were doing. Many inhouse-game designs of AH became classics, but they also had – at least most of the time – a good knack for buying game designs from independent game companies or designers, like the classic “Dune” (by EON) or the legendary “Titan” (privately published by two friends as a game to sell at conventions), or “Civilization” by Francis Tresham and Hartland Trefoil, which today can be considered three of the greatest games of all time.

AH games were never facile, and often astonishingly deep and rich in detail, sometimes to the effect that the games became nearly unplayable except for people with lots of patience and a high IQ, but that was rarer the case than with some designs from their big competitor, SPI.

In general most Avalon Hill games fulfilled a high standard of rules organisation and quality, rarely did they do cheap one-shot games. Avalon Hill also went with the times – for a certain time they were actually a sales leader in computer games, publishing a huge number of either conversions of their own games (sometimes bizarrely bad like the computer version of “Diplomacy”, another Avalon Hill hit), but from a certain point on they just couldn’t compete with the new kids on the block, console and graphics-intensive games with huge development budgets.

They also tried out RolePlaying, by buying the rights to “Runequest” and also later creating a “James Bond Role Playing Game” with their sibling-company “Victory Games” (where also the legendary “Ambush” was published), which was created when they bought a part of the SPI-design team when SPI was bought by TSR (which was later gobbled up by Wizards of the Coast, then Hasbro – strange how the gaming scene somehow reminds us of a game of PacMan, isn’t it?).

The “General”, AH’s inhouse magazine, can be considered as one of the most influential game magazines ever, even though many complain about that it was quite boring to read, consisting mainly of deep analytical discussions and replays of complex strategy games and dry historical articles.

Sadly the good times couldn’t last forever. When Monarch got into legal trouble in the late 90’s the effect on AH was disastrous. The company had already struggled in the years before that – after the big wargaming and sportsgaming (another staple of AH) boom of the 70’s and 80’s had died out, it found it was increasingly difficult to compete with Real Time Strategy computer games and other computer games, which had become the new dominant hobby. One can also argue that the Eurogame boom of the 90’s did also play a great role in the downfall of AH, because they could not switch quickly enough the new elegant and more simple designs that suddenly came from Europe. Still, the AH design team tried to change things, and the last games of AH actually contain many gems, like the still excellent card game “Titan: The Arena”, which was simply a Don Greenwood conversion of an older Eurogame by Reiner Knizia. We can only speculate what might have become of AH if they had had more luck with money and management in the last years, I personally like to think they would still rule and bring countless hours of enjoyment to gamers all around the world, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be.

09.11.2006: Italia bei Moritz und Andrea

“Italia” by Phalanx- tried out with Hans and Andrea, 9.11.2006

Andreas Steding has added a lot of chrome to the “Britannia” game system here, but avoiding some overly complicated mechanics that made “Hispania” very long to play. Still, this “Britannia” on steroids – the decision making is much more difficult as there are lots of things large nations can do on each turn: raiding, naval moves, building cities, campaigning. The latter mechanic simulates the long campaigns of Hannibal and the like, something like a mini game in the game as other players can react to the ongoing campaign moves, also something that has not been seen yet in “Britannia”.
Where the game shines is in it's 3-player scenario (or rather “game” – as the 3-player version is completely different from the 4-player version), which is the first time this has been done right, with basically two sides representing the nations oppressed by the Romans that constantly struggle among themselves, and the third player representing mostly the Romans in their struggle to dominate the peninsula.
Game material is top notch, although there are some strange omissions (like a historical reference or an overview over when all nations/armies appear). THe rules are not for the faint-of-the-heart – even Britannia veterans will have some new concepts to struggle with, although they still will feel at home. Recommended, but not for the casual gamer.

21.10.2005: Essen 2005 Take Two – Spuiratzn


Sadly the new Frank Nestel game disappoints on many levels. The quite head-bending placement rules for the animal cards (which are similar confusing at first as “Zoff im Zoo”) hide the fact that this is a pure “you-are-played” game, especially when played with more than 3 players. Before you can actually start to develop any card management strategy the rain cards end the game and everything is simply down to the luck of your card draw. There are also very few possibilities where you can actually “act” in this game, and while the other players ponder their move you simply sit there and correct their mistakes. I still give this game 5 points for some very nice drawings by Doris Matthäus, but it will be a disappointing experience for most gamers and too confusing for normalos. “Zoff im Zoo” remains the superior game, as there you actually are the player, not the played-one.

Alexander the Great

This looks like a wargame, but it ain't. In fact in this game players ALL represent the armies of Alexander, simply trying to get the best of the spoils of conquest. The rules are relatively simple but the game can be very fiddly, as after the secret cube placement is revealed your move can be calculated, which can take quite a long while when playing with uber-geeks. Still, there are no obvious faults with this game, and the mechanics themselves are logical and interesting, without being amazingly new. The map, large as it is, still creates a lot of fiddling around with your pawns that constantly hide the temple and city symbols. Interestingly only a small part of the map is ever used at one time. Not a game for the grognard but for the Euro gamer who wants some VERY light historic flair, but basically this could have been a game about many things. Still, a better than average game, as one would expect from Phalanx.


This is a very light tile-laying game that can be explained in under 5 minutes and played in 30. Basically you always have a choice of destroying the buildings of other players or furthering your own, although sometimes the choice can be made for you by the luck of your draw. Very tactical with 2 players, a luck-fest with 6, but still an enjoyable little game. The art is very good looking and the egyptian theme is well realized. Might be a very good game to play with children as well, for geeks it will work as a light filler game.

Il Principe

Emanuela Ornella doesn't disappoint with his new game – I actually liked it a bit more than Oltre Mare even, but that could be a matter of taste. Game mechanics are very clever (with some getting used to necessary), and the end result might also have to do a lot with the draw of the cards, but still this is a very interactive game (and the interaction is on several levels: auctioning, counter placement, competition for role cards). All these elements combine to form a complex whole that can at no moment be exactly pinned down (for example who is REALLY leading in VP's). Might be a bit dry for non-geeks, but gamers will have a lot of food for thought here.

Moritz Eggert

07.03.2005: Bei Hans im Glück (in English)

Der Turmbau zu Babel
We played the nearly finished version yesterday (March 7, 2005)at “Hans im Glück”:
This is is an incredibly solid offering bei Reiner Knizia, with all the good and bad things that come with it. It certainly is a flawless and elegant design, with an interesting mechanic at it's core (completing wonders by collecting cards offered by other players) and the game play is fast and keeps your interest. But one should also note that this is yet another “majority-in-an-area/VP track” game. Perhaps we have become a bit jaded- 5 years ago this would have been considered an exceptional design, but one slightly wonders if something apart from this basic game idea wouldn't be something that could be explored by the highly talented Knizia in the future. At least one would hope so.
Still, another winning entry for the high-quality line of games that “Hans-im-Glück” produces.

Edel, Stein & Reich
Unusually random and light fare from Alea, plays more like a family game than a real challenge for geeks. The basic mechanics are perhaps more fully realized in other games, and the draw of event cards introduces a high luck element that can either lead to incredible gains or totally useless cards. The trading phase is the most interesting aspect of the game (when two players have played the same action, they have to negotiate who is actually going to do it). Not a bad game at all, but not a GREAT one, as one has come to expect of Alea.

A wonderful offering of Kramer and Kiesling, that has many things going for it. The rules are logical and concise, and the use of the different characters and the order of victory point scoring is handled very cleverly. The visual design is simply stunning, rarely has their been a game of equally flawless designwork. And it is an interesting game full of nail-biting decisions, with even an element of travel planning thrown in for good measure. Beneath it all it is another German abstract majority-in-an-area scoring game, but it rarely gets better than this.

25.2.2005 (Spuiratzn): Coloretto – Amazonas, Australia, Viking Fury

Coloretto: Amazonas
The main question that arises after playing this boring and totally luck-of-the card-draw driven game is: Why did they bother? “Coloretto” is a wonderful light, quick and anything-but-dumb game, so if you want to profit from it's name, why invent a game that a) has nothing to do with coloretto except vague similarities in card scoring b) is reminiscent of the most basic rummy-like card games one remembers from your misspent youth? Players draw cards and put them in collecting rows, if you don't have anything that furthers your collection you play a card in an opponent so he loses cards. That's about all the strategy involved in this game. The cards are nice though, and kids up to 10 might like this game because you have to look for cute animals.

This game does to Australia what “Africa” did for Africa. Which means – nothing at all, at least regarding the slapped on theme. This is a quite cerebral exercise of area enclosure and scoring, certainly not without it's charm, but with little to none theme flavour. The system is very elegant and unfussy and the game is quickly under way, but the more geeky the players are the slower the pace. Choosing your actions carefully is the main brain teaser in this game, and there are many scores to calculate and decisions to make before you do the “perfect” turn. But undeniably this is a game that works well and for that it can't be really faulted.

Viking Fury
Super new game by the legendary Ragnar Brothers. Epic in scope with astonishingly short playing time, this game recreates the life of the Vikings in a strangely entertaining way. Many interesting game mechanics (finding the best possible move with limited actions is a lot of fun), the only aspect of the game which might turn off some is the immense power of some rune cards. Our solution is to simply leave away some of the more harmful cards, which is easily done.

17.02.2005: Betrayal at House on the Hill, Paladin, Windschatten

Betrayal at House on the Hill

This game works relatively well as a traditional exploration/character advancement game, but really kicks into gear when it comes to the second part, where one player will be the evil traitor and the other players fight together to overcome one of 50 totally different evil scenarios. Some of them play like little wargames, others demand deduction and skill. Great fun for everybody involved, as the game really depicts the theme well, and the scenarios have been lovingly crafted to represent every imagineable haunted house story/cliché.The replay value is high, as the endgame is always different, but the exploration stays a bit samey. The game would profit from expansions, which could easily be integrated. Great design with wonderful atmosphere, easy to pick up, relatively short playing time – what doth the geek wanteth more?

WPG ranking: Basti: 8, Andrea: 9, Moritz: 9, Aaron: 8


What might have been a mildly interesting game is ruined by the fact that the paladin cards are drawn at random, and that there is no game mechanic that can overcome the malady of drawing low cards. Imagine playing “Corruption” (a similar, much superior game) with randomly drawn money cards instead of equal hands for each player. Players place their cards trying to overcome adventures, but this is handeld in a totally abstract and uninspired way. What is essentially a very boring game is not saved by the fact that it is also very simple and easy to explain.

WPG ranking: Basti: 3, Andrea: 3, Moritz: 3, Aaron: 3


Amazingly good as an advertising game (that came free with a certain brand of mineral water), but if you had bought it you probably wouldn't have been wowed. This is a solid racing game design that takes elements from many similar games and weaves them together to form a relatively satisfying little game. But don't expect anything radically new here. Might lure some health freaks to become gamer geeks.

WPG ranking: Basti: 4, Andrea: 4, Moritz: 5, Aaron: 5

06.12.2004: Ys, Medici, Oltre Mare, Fugger, Zoff im Zoo, Kohle, Kies & Knete, Titan-The Arena

Außerdem wurden gestern beim äußerst netten Abend bei “Hans im Glück” von Günther und mir gespielt:

1) YS
Bewertung: Moritz 7, Günther 7, Michael 8, Henning 8
(Günther abgeschlagen hinten (!), Moritz sehr knapper Sieg vor Henning – Super Spiel!

2) Medici (Knizia)
Bewertung: Moritz 7, Günther 8, Dieter 8, Michael 8
(Günther wieder untypisch weit hinten, Sieger Michael knapp vor Moritz)

3) Oltremare
Bewertung: Moritz 7 (etwas abgewertet), Günther —, Michael 7, Dieter 4
(Wieder Michael Sieger, gefolgt von Günther, Moritz vollkommen abgeschlagen auf dem letzten Platz mit einer “Piratenstrategie”: möglichst viele Minuspunkte mit Piraten gesammelt! Das Spiel war zwar nach wie vor gut, seltsamerweise war das Handeln aber im Gegensatz zu uns total öd – es wurden keine Karten verschenkt, und irgendwie kam das Spiel nie richtig in die Gänge, hängt anscheinend doch sehr von den Leuten ab…)

Loredana/Peter haben meines Wissens folgende Spiele gespielt:
“Zoff im Zoo”
“Kohle, Kies und Knete” (erstaunlicherweise gab es weder eine Schlägerei noch wurde es jemals an dem Tisch laut, so weit ich beurteilen konnte. Das ist fast unheimlich! Am Ende gewann wohl souverän Loredana)
“Titan – The Arena”
Vielleicht kann er ja noch ergänzen
“Hans im Glück” – recommended!
Ergänzung von Peter:

Also, wir spielten
– Fugger (ganz gut)
– Zoff im Zoo (göttlich)
– Kohle, Kies und Knete (wir haben überhaupt nicht gestritten, aber das Spiel ist nicht gut)
– Titan – The Arena
und an mehr kann ich mich nicht mehr erinnern