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Elliott was really under the weather but he certainly soldiered on like a real trooper! Elliott reviews Mob Ties from Hostage Entertainment, and Thunderstone Advance from AEG, while Jeff reviews Black Friday from Rio Grande and 1812: The Invasion of Canada from Academy Games. Plus we reveal the “Rowboat” story and ask if a paid review is a review or simply an advertisement? All this along with our usual sprinkling of random nonsense…

Download the show to take on the go right here.

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Founder/Editor-in-chief of The Gaming Gang website and host of The Gaming Gang Dispatch and other TGG media, Jeff tackles any and all sorts of games but has a special fondness for strategy, conflict sims, and roleplaying games. Plus, he's certainly never at a loss for an opinion...

10 Comments

  1. tvdt

    Jeff,

    After listening to you rag on euro games AGAIN for having so many games with the “trading in the Mediterranean” theme, I have to ask – where do you stand on the almost IDENTICAL States of Siege games from VPG?

    “Flip a card, resolve it, take your actions (moving something up or down on a track). Repeat.”

    Zombies, war, space, mountain climbing, they are all so similar to each other its insane.

    Does this drive you crazy as well??

    Reply
  2. tvdt

    ps

    Not ALL the reviews for Black Friday are “glowing.”

    And a 6.6 rating on the Geek is hardly anything to write home about.

    Reply
  3. Jeff McAleer

    I have to say I didn’t set about reading a ton of reviews of Black Friday after completing mine and those I did look at were simply skimmed. I don’t believe I laid claim that every review was positive as I have neither the time nor inclination to surf the web to find out what everyone writes about any particular game. As for ratings on BGG, I really don’t pay much attention to them so a 6.6 (out of ten) sounds about right as it will receive a 6 from me when the written review hits.

    As far as “ragging” on Euros I believe most listeners came to the understanding in my second review, of 1812, I pointed out the design had quite a lot of Euro flavored mechanics and I found the game to be stellar. I believe my exact words at one point of the review were, “it sounds a lot like a Euro doesn’t it?”

    I don’t believe I made any mention of games involving trading in the 16th century or the like in this episode either so I think you may have heard what you wanted to hear. As far as VPG, I’ll take a guess you probably have not played many of their States of Siege line. That’s just a guess though. The answer if it drives me crazy that they’re all the same would be no. The reasoning is that they aren’t all the same even though they all share some common design characteristics. I’m not sure how zombies, war, space, mountain climbing are all similar. There are some SoS titles that we’ve really enjoyed and others we didn’t feel were that great or even less than ok. Yet the fact there are design elements that run through many of the designs – and many fewer than you may think – doesn’t bother me in the least;some mechanics are the same not the games themselves.

    Of course if every game in the SoS line was the same exact design with nearly identical themes (or vice versa) you bet I’d think that was crazy and would no doubt even publicly remark about that.

    Elliott and I have asked numerous times for our visitors to share with us some of their favorite Euros so we can check them out. The fact is no one has and, unfortunately, the latest batch of games we’ve encountered as of late have left us cold. We play hundreds of games in a given year so you’ll have to excuse us if we seem to be in the midst of a current dry spell of fun Euros we’ve had a chance to encounter. What we’ve played lately just haven’t done it for us so we’ve been left with a bit of a bad taste right now.

    Reply
  4. tvdt

    I have played several States of Seige games, including Dawn of the Zeds, Keep Up the Fire, Legions of Darkness, Soviet Dawn, and Israeli Independence. I’ve also played Hero of Weekhawken, which plays just like a SoS game.

    They are all just managing chits on tracks with different themes.

    Some favorite Euros of mine – London, A Few Acres of Snow, Age of Empires III, Navegador, Lords of Vegas, Airlines Europe, Carson City, Ninjato, Arkadia.

    Reply
  5. Jeff McAleer

    Of course everyone has their own tastes in what they enjoy. I have to say I know Elliott really enjoys Lords of Vegas and we both did have a chance to play Age of Empires III and liked it (although we don’t review something based on a single play). I’m hoping to have a chance to check out London and A Few Acres of Snow at this weekend’s Vul-Con.

    Thanks for the recommendations as we’ll look to give these a try!

    Reply
  6. Andy Cowen

    I bought Agricola because it was ranked #1 on BGG at the time. After reading the rules and playing it, I wondered how in the heck it got ranked number one. I’m a kindergarten teacher, so I like playing farm(I also shelled out for the animeeples and vegimeeples) as much as the next guy, but the number one game…no. VPG’s Nemo’s War and most of VPG’s SOS titles are a much better games. There are a handful of entertaining/fun Euros, like Dominant Species and Stronghold, but overall the genre is boring. And when did down time become a bad thing? I might want to grab a frosty beverage now and then. Plus, rolling dice is fun and having an element of chance and uncertainty in a game is a good thing. Great episode! Keep up the good work.

    Reply
  7. Jeff McAleer

    Thanks Andy! I’m sure I speak for Elliott when I say we really appreciate the kind words.

    I do like Agricola although I’ve only actually played online with Elliott and he wipes the floor with me but I still think it’s a damn fine game. Seeing I haven’t played the physical edition I can’t roll a review out but I don’t believe it would hit my top ten overall even if I did. I don’t write that as any sort of knock on Agricola because if I ranked it as far as game designs I’ve played in my life I’d guess it comes in around an 8.75 – that makes it an excellent game! Certainly not the best and nowhere even remotely approaching the worst.

    In the past few months I think I’ve gotten the knock that I hate Euros, which isn’t the case; oh if you could read some of the emails I receive… You’d think I’ve stated Reiner Knizia, Friedemann Friese, and Martin Wallace should all be hauled out and shot! If that were the case I’d mount a campaign to start referring to Euros as Eurotrash since so many gamers are willing to categorize American designs as Ameritrash. In the end, trash is trash – as in garbage – and I have to say, in my over thirty years involved in gaming, I can probably count on both hands titles I would classify as utter trash.

    I know our audience is made up of people like Andy: people who are open minded enough to give just about any game a try regardless of what genre it falls into. Those are the sorts of folks we launched the website for in the first place because those are the sort of gamers we are. My best friend and I did not get involved in this endeavor to be a pale imitation of any existing website, or podcast, nor have we ever thought we were in some sort of competition with anyone else. We wanted to share our thoughts and opinions in a very honest way while having fun sharing our love of a hobby we’ve both enjoyed for a longer period of time than some of our visitors have been alive. That never meant we’d be like the multitude of wallflowers who cover the hobby or, on the flip side, the type who sprinkle every other sentence in vulgarity as they talk about gaming.

    Elliott and I are consistently amazed by the number of people who dig what we do and supremely thankful for the really nice things they share with us both publicly and privately. We hold no animosity toward people who don’t “get” us (mainly they tend to share that privately) as there are loads of sites and shows out there who will infinitely better serve their needs.

    Reply
  8. MCCloisters

    I think Jeff’s last comment is a great indication of why this site and podcast are my favorites. I’ve given the guys some flack in comments but rather than telling me to take a hike they respect to agree to disagree. Reading their reviews and listening to the shows you can tell these guys know what they’re talking about but they never lord that over you or make you feel stupid because you like a particular kind of game. Even if they don’t like a game they tell you why instead of just saying they don’t like it and moving right along.

    Jeff comes across as sort of a tough guy on the show and Elliott more the voice of reason but I have to admit I wrote what in hindsite wasn’t a very nice email to Jeff a while back and instead of coming across as a jerk as he might sound to people on the show he was very nice and awfully respectful. Rather than just emailing me a sentence in response I could tell he took time out to address my compaints and didn’t kiss my butt. After that I started to look closer at what these guys do and I really started to be won over.

    I thought the gaming gang was a bunch of people running a website and just Elliott and Jeff did the show. And I did spell Elliott’s name right! After looking around I saw these two guys do it all around here! I don’t know where these two get the time to get all this stuff done but my appreciation for all they do has really grown. One thing I think is cool is they fly under the radar since you’d be pretty hard pressed to see many people talking about their shows or webste on BGG. And then it hit me they don’t care about getting their name out there on BGG or anywhere else. These guys are too busy doing their thing to worry about what people on BGG think about them or anything else. I was so used to seeing podcasts and websites doing everything they can on BGG to get people to come to their site I forgot what its like to see guys just go about their business and get things done.

    The more I listen the more I like these guys and don’t want them to get too big and popular where they suddenly change how they do things. Its like being part of a club that noone knows is out there!

    Reply
  9. Andy Cowen

    “What’s that?” -Stephanie(4th grader)

    “Agricola, it’s a game about farming” -Mr.Cowen

    “Seriously??” -Stephanie

    “Yeah, it’s kinda fun. You build your own farm and farmhouse. See it has wooden sheep and vegetables.” Mr. Cowen

    “Uhhh, Mr. Cowen can we play Memoir 44 or Formula D?”-Stephanie

    “Sure Steph” Mr. Cowen

    Reply
  10. Jeff McAleer

    Hahahahaha! Classic!

    Reply

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