McMulti (formerly Crude), Hexagames (via Games World). The first two games are spot on for my tastes. Constant decision making, interesting theme, quite 'realistic' and with a firm economic background. Nicely designed and manufactured, McMulti is a game based on the oil industry and is, I believe, a re-issue of a collector's item called Crude. Each player drills for crude oil, then refines it and sell petrol at the pumps. The markets in crude and petrol are nicely simulated, stores of each can be stockpiled allowing for cornering of the market and the game is completed in around two to three hours. Recommended. About £20.
Schoko & Co, Schmidt Spiele (via Games World). This is another nicely produced game with excellent parts. Each player takes the role of a chocolate factory manager, responsible for hiring staff, buying cocoa and producing and selling refined chocolate. A strong feature of the game is two phases that involve competitive bidding between the players. Challenging, smooth and professionally done. About two or three hours to play, one to get hold of. About £20.
Shogun, MB. Big, colourful, nice pieces but oh so long. This one is just a shade above the Risk level and, but for a few bits of chrome, is of a similar interest level. Sure, it is nice to be able to buy different troop types and the battles add spice but overall it has the same limited appeal. The main drawback is the nature of the game - alliances are almost certainly required and elimination is slow. These combine for a game that lasts around four to five hours if lucky. Not a bad game, certainly very pretty, but overall one to play but not buy. £20-30.
Dinosaurs of the Lost World, Avalon Hill. I bought this on the strength of a preview in The General which summarised it as a game for all ages, different every time and full of excitement. Sadly, the game is far from exciting and must really be considered a children's game - a sort of mental age 10 Source of the Nile. The main theme is to explore an undiscovered world, populated with dinosaurs, tribesmen and the usual Doug McClure stuff. The most interesting part of the game are the 'comic strip' storyboards that form a pictorial flowchart when an encounter is experienced, it is a shame this couldn't have been backed up by a more interesting game system. And at £18 it is very overpriced. One for the kids.
The Horse Soldiers, SPI/WWW. For a fiver, I have no real complaints with S&T these days even if the game is average. In inflation terms, they cost less now than they have for ages and even if I simply read the game and magazine. Horse Soldiers is an upgrade of the excellent TSS system and seems to add a few interesting developments. This one I may play at some time and do a full review. £5.
Gettysburg '88, Avalon Hill. Another re-issue of an all time classic to co-incide with the 125th anniversary of the battle. The re-design job was given to S.Craig Taylor, presumably after his success with Platoon. The game is introductory level and uses a very similar system to Platoon. While the system is simple - the rules are covered in only two pages - the game is a good challenge. The map is excellent with large sized hexes and play is fast, easily resolved and without apparent problems. A good game and one that would nicely convert to Napoleonics. Waterloo would be rather good using this scale and approach. Neat game. Around £13.
Tac Air, Avalon Hill. Little more than a back of the box blurb on this one as I've only had it a day or so. Looks good, nice map, 500 counters, billed as the ground attack add on for Flight Leader, it is really a completely different game. The designer is the same but the approach looks way better. The scene is Germany and covers ground-air, air-ground and air-air. There is a good selection of troop types and planes but though we get Alpha Jets there are no Harriers. Oh well. I have waited a long time for this one, I hope it lives up to it. Full review to follow. £23.
Mike Siggins. 15/8/88.
Sumo - Mike Siggins - Legal Notices and Other Information