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Gathering of Engineers

Ludographic considerations from the Silicon Forest

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

All the news that's fit to (re)print.

“What are some games that you think should be reprinted?”

I love it when questions like this are asked. The other variant is "is anyone going to reprint "X"?" One of the typical snarky responses is always “Why? Everyone who wants one already has a copy.” We all know that response is usually bogus, but it might not be for Outdoor Survival. Let's take a look at some hard-to-find gems out there.

(Going third means I might repeat a couple entries from KC and Dave's posts. I feel sorry for Chris – he may have nothing original left.)

Okay... on to the list.

Would Multiman Publishing just get Up Front reprinted already? I'll settle for the base game, but I'd love to see Desert War and Banzai reprinted as well. This card game looks like it should be simple at first blush but it's very deep, and does a fantastic job of creating a fog-of-war effect. The rulebook needs to be rewritten as it's in Greenwood's famous old Avalon Hill style, but this is a game that should always be in print. I would not be at all surprised if MMP's first print run of this game, when it finally appears, sells out quickly.

The next is a pair of related wargames that need reprinting. Dave already brought one up, but in addition to Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage, We the People needs to be reprinted. Currently, both games are held up because Hasbro owns the rights and won't relinquish them. Neither will they print the games. Rumor is that We the People will be redeveloped. The only change I've heard is that it will use a CRT instead of the card-based conflict resolution. Works for me. I'm hoping the go-like supply rules are changed as well. As long as the simplicity is still there, a redone We the People would be a welcome sight. And given the prices H:RvC commands on eBay I'm sure a new version of that would also do very well.

The final wargame I'd really like to see redone is Gunslinger. There can never be too many old-west skirmish games.

While not necessarily a single game, there is a category of wargame I'd like to see revisited. The old 3W Quad game. I think all of them were designed by Rob Markham. Four half-map battles per box, 250 or so counters for the set, all with a common theme. They're pretty basic, but quick-playing wargames are nearly always a good thing. The recent Men of Iron from GMT is close, but Berg has a way of “chroming” a game too much, and I'm not sure the activation system works for the level of game the Quad represents. The small-box series Avalanche Press has recently started is the closest in-print analogy to these, but they're all WWII games containing a single battle each. (Gazala 1942, Alsace 1945, Defiant Russia, and Red Vengeance are the current entries in the series.) Granted, there's multiple scenarios for each game, but that's not quite the same thing. Avalanche retails these games for $20 each. I'd imagine that a double-sided full-size map, one or one and a half sheets of counters, and a short rulebook could easily be done for under $30 retail.

On the eurogame side, there's a handful of candidates. Top on my list is Union Pacific. Given the success of Ticket to Ride, I think a lot of people newly introduced to eurogames might want to try Alan Moon's meatier train game.

One thing that's hard to find is a good trick-taking card game that works well for three people. Schnäppchen Jagd fills that niche, but has long been out of print. That should be changed.

Two heavier games finish out my list. The first is Die Macher. This is the highest ranked game on BGG that isn't in print (or isn't returning soon, a la El Grande). The subject matter makes a return to print unlikely, but it's such a good game... There's also one expansion that should be reprinted – Age of Steam Expansion #1 (England/Ireland). For that matter, Age of Steam should not be allowed to go out of print... If Warfrog can't keep it around, someone else should.

To finish off my rambling for the week, I'll submit a game that should be reprinted before it's actually out of print. Europe Engulfed. GMT is down to a double-digit number of copies, and Asia Engulfed is soon to be placed on their p500 list. When AE is printed, there's going to be resurgent demand for EE. If you've been sitting on the fence about buying EE, I suggest you snag a copy soon, or the decision might have been made for you.

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