Boardgaming in 2019!


I played Axis & Allies & Zombies twice, but with two important caveats: 1. We only played with two players, 2. It was the first Axis & Allies for both of us. That said, my friend really hated the massive amount of randomness which led him to lose his attacking army (which doubled mine) on a massive raid on Moscow, leaving behind a next to defenseless Germany and a whole lot of zombies in the russian Capital. I really liked that event from a narrative view, and it’s not as it was an uncalculable risk, as I stocked Moscow with only infantry just for that purpose (only infantry units turn to zombies, and zombies attack attacker twice as often as defenders), but we’ll continue to play Twilight Struggle to quench our thirst for world domination. The long time it took to put all the units on the board at the start of the game didn’t help, but that was of course a detriment due to not playing with five players.

For a more objective criticism,the rules are not as clear or complete as I would have liked (as written, troops can’t be attacked by zombies when they are in areas belonging to one of their allies), and there are some production mistakes (spelling errors on the map, one card presumably missing (cards spawn zombies in every country except for the Balkans).


Finally received my kickstarter of 18Lilliput in the mail. Haven’t played it yet, but have read through the rules. It basically streamlines the 18xx experience down to its bare minimum, without crossing over into Chicago Express or North American Rails levels of abstraction. I’ve read that it is a bit heavy for non-18xx players and too streamlined for 18xx players, and I’m curious how it will be received by our game group. Hopefully, it will be a good introduction into 18xx for people who don’t want to spend a whole day trying it.


Did you retain control of Moscow or lose it to the zombies? Also I am surprised that the outcome is really that random given how many dice get rolled on a large combat.

Surely on the ally’s turn the zombies would attack everyone in that region?


Slow week for new games:


I’ve had my eye on Gugong for a while. The theme is interesting. The reviews from Dice Tower, Rahdo, Man Vs Meeple all make it sound like a clever and enjoyable game. It seems quite open too.

The deluxe edition that came with the Kickstarter is beautiful. I’m nearly sorry I hadn’t heard about it during the campaign and didn’t back it. Though it’s saved me money. :)


I have it. I really like Gugong. It’s a mid-weight to light Euro with just enough meat fro everyone. It’s definitely in my top 10 of 2018. I have the KS version and the components are some of the best I’ve ever seen (I back a lot of projects). It’s definitely worth checking out.


Yeah, it’s next on my list too.


This has compelled me to finally open an account and post! I had no idea of not only Phil’s own views, but also his childish behaviour when receiving such a well thoughout criticism.

I had preordered the special edition of Pax Pamir for its orginal theme and interesting game mechanics, but the designer’s views on colonialism cetertainly make me uncomfortable about purchasing it now.

What do you guys tend to do with situations like these? I reckon cancelling a purchase might not be the best way to express disapproval if in that way the whole team behind the game production gets punished too.


Pax Pamir was designed by Cole Wehrle, not Phil Eklund, and as far as I’ve heard Cole is a standup guy.


What @malkav11 said. The designer of Pax Pamir is not Phil Eklund.


It’s ok, nothing special. I need to play it again with our girls soon. Setup is a passion as you have to manually place all the tokens around the island. And the marble mechanism was a bit underwhelming really. I had never played the original though so have no nostalgic feelings about it.


Phil’s public persona is not to my liking, and his politics even less so, but his games are very well designed and thought provoking. As the others have said, Pamir is not his design (although it based on the Pax engine from Porfiriana). It’s my favorite so far and is well worth it…if you think you can get people to play a card game about 19th century Afghanistan, which has been the biggest impediment for me to get it to the table.


Enh. You can separate the art and the artist. High Frontier is a great game no matter what kind of person Phil Eklund might be. And it’s not like he’s spending all his game-design money on trying to take over the world (as far as I know). My recommendation is, don’t read the footnotes.


I second this.


Also, an interesting if problematic perspective is what gives us great criticism like what @Brooski linked above. I find those sorts of discussions fascinating so I’m happy games like this are made.


I’m all for discussion of game premises, assumptions, implications, and whatnot. I’m not for boycotting games based on their designers’ beliefs. (I am for boycotting games based on atrocious mechanics.) I’m also not for shouting “libel” on BGG.

However, what concerns me a bit as well is that a perspective like Phil’s, which is essentially a belief in certain advantageous elements of Western civilization, is seen as some hideous ideology that makes people not want to buy his games.


I don’t think this is very pervasive. I play these games with lots of folks, and most of the people I play with–I think–generally disagree with Phil’s more controversial takes. And we still play and appreciate the games. I think Phil is doing much more damage with his responses to this kind of stuff than any outside critique could ever do. Dr. Rael himself stated over and over that he values the games, loves Phil’s designs, encourages people to buy and play them and engage with the ideas in them.

Also, Phil is a crusader. It’s not just a belief in certain advantageous elements of Western civilization. He really believes that his version of Enlightenment morality is universal, objectively true, and scientifically verifiable. (Objectivism is usually coupled, in my experience, with moral absolutism.) It’s precisely why he engages this way: it’s a moral necessity to oppose what he sees as falsehood. What I can’t tell is if he truly believes that the out-of-context quotes he’s copy-pasting in every thread accurately represent his interlocutor or if he’s deliberately strawmanning. If the former, it’s hard to take him seriously. If the latter, he’s a gross hypocrite.


I would have lost Moscow on the beginning of the next player’s turn, but we quit the game before that. I don’t know if it is a problem with A&A in general, with this version or our lack of experience with the game, but in both sessions we found that Russia’s only hope is to hold the Germans at bay and hope that England invades Berlin before Japan attacks Russia from the east, since in this version you will lose the game if you control all of your capitals and one of the opponents’ at the end of the last players’ (USA) turn. In both games, Germany was quickly wiped out in the Atlantic, so there is not much stopping a consolidated US/UK attack (although Japan rolled terribly in both games, maybe if they were stronger the US couldn’t do as much on the other side of the world).

The rulebook states that you only roll on your turn for zombie attacks in areas you control. As Russia had lost control of Moscow and the UK was residing there, as per the rules they were immune. I get why the rules are worded that way (so to not roll multiple times for areas with different allied troops in them), but we house ruled it away anyway. It will be added to the FAQ one of the playtesters over at Boardgamegeek is working on.


So, I haven’t seen this mentioned here. BGG has put together a board game recommendation system.


Interesting. There’s also this site, which provides individualized recommendations based on your personal BGG ratings.