Boardgaming in 2019!


Feeling pretty personally attacked, right now.


Oh geez, you’re not Rob Daviau are you? Now I feel terrible! Wait, that was the other thread…


To bring a couple earlier conversations back around, I got to play New Frontier last night. 5-player game, first time for all of us, though most of us were familiar with the series in its various incarnations. We played with the ‘simple’ rules (basic developments, no objectives). It was a hit. It’s a lot closer to Roll… than Race…., which suited me just fine. Really, it just felt a lot like Roll… but with less luck. If you already have that in your collection I’m not sure this brings a whole lot new to the table.

And then we played High Society. Man, I hadn’t played that in over a decade. This game is goddamn hilarious and amazing.


There’s no luck in Roll. You roll and arrange your dice behind a shield…


Yes. This has even less luck than that. EDIT to add: about like Puerto Rico now I think about it. Huh.


Oh no. So I didn’t get it as a gift for my friend, but he went ahead and bought it himself after Christmas! I tried to warn him.

So I sat through with him for a game. WOW you’re right those rules are terrible. I can’t believe the initial print doesn’t tell you when to redraw cards. You have to download the clarified rules to learn this!


It’s literally a crime against games. I’ll have a review up somewhere next wk.


Ha ha, oh my god this rulebook is the worst. To the point that it’s like a hilarious “spot the error” back of a Highlights for Children magazine.

It’s 30-50 pages (including Playbook) for something that BGG was able to condense down to a much clearer 3 pages.

The Index for terms in the rulebook are on the back page of the Play Book, not the rulebook. They put the rules index on the back of the book that isn’t the rulebook!!! You have to look up the index terms, then switch books to actually find it!

As you said, it is a card driven game that does not ever explain the minor detail of when you draw cards!!!

So many “if”, “except”, and “unless” exceptions.

The Event deck is a total mess. It’s a pile of 30-40 upgrade cards you can “purchase” at any time. You can purchase any one you want and both players have their own deck. Imagine the table mess if you spread out every deck in Quartermaster General face up and looked through them all every time you want to buy one. You’re either settling for massive AP, or you’ve both played so much that you’ve memorized every single card (who the hell would stick with this game that long?). Plus so many of them are terrible I can’t imagine ever getting them. Why wouldn’t people just keep buying the same half dozen best ones?

The rules for fleets and sea control are an unintuitive mess. You must “attack” an empty neutral sea space to take control of it. You do battle with your opponent attacking an empty neutral space the same as if it was an enemy controlled space. You do not need a fleet there to attack. You may build a fleet in an enemy controlled space; this does not trigger a battle. A fleet does not control its space. Being the only one to control an adjacent land area gives you a bonus die for both attacking and defending, not to be confused with land battles which give a bonus die to having MORE adjacent territories, but only for the attacker. guuuuuh

Here’s how the pitch for Hitler’s Reich went:

“You want Quartermaster General, but with some dice thrown into the combat?”
“Hmmm sure that might add a needed element of ch-”


So after playing each scenario 3-4 times in Arkham Horror 3, I think we’re done with it for now. Enjoyed it, but it’s getting shelved until an expansion. We’ll be going back to Eldritch Horror.

We knew Eldritch Horror obsoleted Arkham Horror the very first time we played it. AH3 most definitely does not obsolete anything (except maybe the card game if you’re not that into deck building or the ongoing campaign aspect).


A good Vassal module can do just that. There are several Board Wargames that I wish had paired apps with PACs and interactive tracks and functions available in the Vassal module that I could use in FTF play.


Any quartermaster general fans? I recently played the newest flavor, The Cold War. This is the first game in the series to have 3 teams instead of 2: “the West,” the Soviets, and the Non-Aligned nations. A bloc wins if it has more than 20 points than the last place bloc after a scoring round, but only after the 2nd place player spots the loser points until the deficit is 19 or less provided he does not drop below 20. Hence, if you are in second place the last thing you want to do is cost the last place player more points. Players are required to balance the game, and 3 player dynamics seem made for this.

This is almost certainly the most complicated game in the series so far, by using everything else from the series so far. It has the Air step from the Air Marshall expansion, the prep step from Victory or Death (now called espionage), and the same action step from every game. Except there is a new card type: WMD’s. You can think of these as face up response cards with a VP cost. However, players will also keep track of “escalation” in this game. I just call this threat. Every time you attack another bloc, be it an air raid, a battle, or most WMD, you are creating threat with that player. The greater the threat, the bigger the discount that player gets when using WMD on you. And some of those WMD can cause more than 10 VP’s worth of damage.

So, the 3-way non-zero sum nature of this game, combined with the “push your luck” accumulation of threat, gives this game the feel of a very different conflict. Yeah, it can turn hot very easily. Maybe the US builds into China to the detriment of the Non-Aligned player, but then the Soviets have an easier path to victory. Ditto for a hot war in Europe, except watch the world say no to super powers.

If there is a downside to play, is it seems a player who gets a strong card combination going is going to do run ahead on scoring unless the other powers can drag him back down. However, that requires the right card combinations or suboptimal play. On the other hand, 2v1 will eventually catch up.

I look forward to playing it more, so another captivating entrance into the series.

PS) Another downside is the game says it is for 3-6 players. This is achieved by splitting a bloc’s deck, and then players discuss what cards they will play from their seperate hands for each phase of the game. This is such a clunky work around that I have no desire to try it. I just say this is a 3 player game. If I have more than that… I have more Quartermaster General games!


Just for context: this game has been in playtest FOR YEARS.


If my fam are smart enough to grasp Terraforming Mars without too much difficulty, will they be able to pick up Pax Pamir without undue pain and suffering?


Not really. They’re not on the same level. Terraforming Mars is a mainstream economic engine boardgame with theming that has a wide appeal. Pax Pamir is a Phil Eklund design with a very narrow and even esoteric historical appeal. If you want to try what Pax Pamir is selling, the guy who made it applied a lot of what he learned to Root. You might want to consider taking your family in that direction. Alternatively, Pax Rennaissance is a more developed version of the Pamir design adapted to a less esoteric corner of history.



Im curious what you would suggest that falls into the same vein? or euro style with theming that has wide appeal?


I’m sorry, I just wanted to add some clarifying remarks. Cole Wehrle is the desinger of Pax Pamir. Pamir is probably the best graphicly designed member of the Pax series. There is such a colossal difference in the layout of a Pax Porfiriana card and Pax Pamir card It is absolutely mind boggling. Cole has also cleaned up a the gameplay a bit and I think some of those contributions found thier way into Renaissance.

Pedantic, I know but I just wanted to point out that Cole is a very different designer than Phil. He’s also been hard at work on his second edition of Pax Pamir so there are even more refinements to look forward to in there

And, just a quick reminder Cole’s other Sierra Madre game, John Company has been one of my absolute favorites.

With my admiration for the designer I still think it’s kind of amazing that I still haven’t managed to play Root.


Similar to Terraforming Mars? I would say Powergrid and Viticulture have similar rules complexity and depth of theming (though neither plays similar to TM, nor to each other.) Inis is another possibility: it has card drafting and area control, just like TM.


Oh god, not Powergrid! Don’t listen to @Matt_W! So much math, so dry, so brain-burnery!

As for games similar to Terraforming Mars, that’s a pretty broad net to cast. I just wanted to wave Hal9000 off the Phil Eklund style games that get way down in the weeds with historical detail, finicky rules, and obscure nooks of history. But if you’re looking for middleweight economic engine games, just throw a meeple and you’ll hit one!

The ones I like encourage interaction among the players like Terraforming Mars (with drafting, of course). I’d include Le Havre as an old classic that holds up, but it’s on the heavier side. I’ve recently been playing one on the lighter side called Villages of Valeria, super snappy, super accessible, very nearly a palate cleanser game. Scythe is about the same weight as Terraforming Mars and it’s got wide appeal and a ton of player interaction. In fact, there’s so much player interaction some folks might not even notice it’s an economic engine game.

If you’re willing to get into worker placement, Euphoria and Energy Empire are both aces.

Sure, but it’s still a “Phil Eklund design” in that it’s a direct offshoot of Pax Porfiriana. So as I explained, anyone looking in that direction for something along the same lines as Terraforming Mars would be better off checking out Cole Wehrle’s Root. Please tell me you didn’t think I thought Phil Eklund made Root…



I know you know which games Phil has made and which games Cole has. What I was trying to get at with Pamir was just how much Cole had done to really rework that system and turn it into something elegant and understandable. It is, of course, a direct offshoot but I think Cole is better game designer overall. At least, he is a better UI designer and rules author for games. Renaissance is actually pretty understandable for an Eklund rulebook but God help you if you read any of the Bios series and try to visualize any of what’s going on. Of course, High Frontier was that way too. Ultimately those games do have some understandable mechanics but they do not do themselves any favors with the terminology and the presentation. Pax Porfiriana suffered from that and when Cole did Pamir I think it was exactly what that series needed. I haven’t seen the latest, Pax Emancipation, but I plan on trying to obtain Pax Transhumanity. I have no idea if they will be anything close to Pamir or Renaissance.


Thanks. That’s what I was worrying about. I find the history fascinating (although perhaps Díaz is overall more interesting), but I think that I’m the only one. I think it’ll be Root for “us” and Pamir for me as soon as I make new friends.

@Tom_Mc thanks for the 2E link. I didn’t know about it or the Kickstarter.