Combat Commander: Normandy pathfinder campaign

CC:E - start of Normandy campaign

Matt and I sat down on Saturday morning to play the first scenario of the Normandy pathfinder campaign published in C3I for Combat Commander: Europe. I know most folks would recommend to just playing the Normandy battle pack, but those Paratroopers scenarios just sit there so lonely and unplayed!

I'll be playing the Germans for this campaign, Matt the Americans. We completed the first scenario, We Go!, which represents the airborne drop on St. Mere Eglise, France, on 6 June 1944. Great opening setup that has the Germans likely holed up in objective buildings in the center of town with all of the Americans dropping randomly throughout the map and possibly breaking if in LOS and range of a German unit. At least 3 or 4 of the American units broke during the drop, but with the Americans moving first and Matt having a Recover card in hand it turned out to be inconsequential as he rallied everyone.

While I laid down fire on squads and leaders stuck in open terrain, Matt moved quickly to close in on one of the key objectives and quickly uprooted my weapons team and MMG with an advance and melee. I continued to hold my own for a another turn or two when I made a critical mistake. Matt had a leader stuck on an adjacent hex to one of my held objectives. I waited for the opportune time to step out of the objective and take his leader in melee, thinking I had the right cards to opportunity fire on any other units that might try to sweep in from behind to take the building I just vacated.

I didn't anticipate that Matt would be able to lay down not just one but two smoke bombs to cover his advance, plus draw two 10 hindrance smoke counters from the cup. Objective lost, game effectively over as there was little to no chance for me to retake the building now that my leader and squad are sitting in the open outside the building. Clearly the Germans need to sit tight and play defense in this scenario. I just couldn't sit on my hands.

So, after scenario 1 Matt is up by 11 VPs. The next scenario is TBD as there are some options presented in the campaign.

Review: Say Anything Family Edition

I received a play-test copy of Say Anything: Family Edition from North Star Games a short while ago and we've managed to play this new edition a few times now. We also own the original Say Anything so this review will be colored a bit by our past experience with it.

Game Play

Most of my readers have probably played Apples to Apples at some point and that is the game that most will compare Say Anything to. The play sequence goes like this:

  1. The current player draws a card and chooses from one of the In My Opinion... questions shown on the card, reading it aloud to the other players.
  2. Everyone else writes an answer on a dry-erase card that they think the current player will choose and throws it down on the table.
  3. The current player secretly chooses what they think is the best answer.
  4. Everyone else then places bets on what they think the current player chose.

The big difference with Apples to Apples being that players get to write down their own answers rather than being limited to a hand of cards to choose from.

My Review

The family edition builds on the base game mechanic by including questions that will be more family friendly. With two teenage boys this isn't a big deal for our family, but it is certainly nice to have an additional set of cards available.

We enjoy the game play greatly and this is one of our go-to party games that we'll play with other friends and family (Eye to Eye probably being our all-time favorite). The ability for players to write down any answer expands the creative options for the game and leads to more laughter and fun than Apples to Apples.

My only complaint is that the game only supports 3-6 players out of the box, but should easily scale to 8-10 players. We find ourselves harvesting dry erase boards from other games (like Wits and Wagers) to support more players. I know this is the "Family Edition" so perhaps the thinking was fewer players supported would be OK, but going forward we'll just use the original game components so that we can support up to 8.

Airlines: Europe

Airlines: Europe

I hosted my game group weekly session this week and got to play Airlines:Europe with 5 players (Mike, JD, Greg, and Doug). This is a remake of the Alan Moon classic game Union Pacific, one of the better train games out there that scales well to five or six players. UP was an update to a very early Alan Moon game called Airlines. My friend Lorna did a nice comparison of the three games.

The game is streamlined from UP and we were able to play in well under 2 hours. I think I stumbled my way into a victory by virtue of playing the hand I was dealt with - no duplicate share cards. This encouraged me to diversify and while at the end of the game I only had the leadership in one company, I had accumulated 2nd and 3rd place points from most of the others throughout the game. I think JD and Doug were close 2nd/3rd place.

Fun game, nice components, but didn't feel like enough of an upgrade to me to consider replacing my copy of Union Pacific.

Long reads and Instapaper

One of my trusted internet services is Instapaper, a simple tool to save web pages for reading later. In today's CNN and Facebook-inspired short attention span world, it sure is nice to take the time and read long form journalism.

There are several ways that I discover interesting stories to read:

  • Via RSS, entries in my news reader that are longer-form reads (yes, that means you Doug) or point to other long form articles.
  • I don't do Twitter anymore, but I subscribe (via RSS) to the Longreads Twitter stream

When I encounter an article (on my desktop, iPhone, or iPad) I simply click the bookmarklet installed by Instapaper and the article is added to my unread list in Instapaper. When I launch the iPad or iPhone Instapaper app it syncs everything up and I'm ready to go for offline reading. If you have a Kindle or other eBook device you can probably have Instapaper just email the articles to your device.

Here are the 20 most recent articles I pulled into Instapaper:

  1. A Boy Named Dug: Fighting Formations Replay - Scenario 7
  2. Pentecostal Services at Trinity Episcopal-FTW!
  3. As if You Don't Have Enough to Read -
  4. Long Exposure Photography Technique Explained
  5. DAILY REVIEW: Little Churches Everywhere: California's Evangelical Conservatism
  6. Fantasy Flight Games [News] - Martell's Joust Triumph
  7. 15 Minutes of Prayer at City Bible Church
  8. In which we take a break from reality at the Alice Street Spiritualist Church
  9. Life After Zionist Summer Camp | The Awl
  10. Martha! The Herd Needs a'Thinnin'!
  11. HealthWatch: Sitting Vs. Smoking « CBS San Francisco
  12. iOS 5: What you need to know | Mobile | Macworld
  13. 1987 NFL replacement players - a generation of fans doesn't know about them, but to the players, it doesn't matter. They're part of history. - ESPN
  14. The Anosognosic's Dilemma: Something's Wrong but You'll Never Know What It Is (Part 1) -
  15. The Last Father-Daughter Road Trip -
  16. Put This On • Q and Answer: What Color Shoes Should I Wear With...
  17. Court: Passwords + Secret Questions = 'Reasonable' eBanking Security -- Krebs on Security
  18. iCloud's real purpose: kill Windows « I, Cringely
  19. Put This On • The Necktie Series, Part VIII: Taking Care of Your...
  20. 12 steps for surviving a privacy breach investigation | Healthcare IT News

Old Uncle Larry

My beloved uncle Larry passed away early this year, and I had the honor of presiding as MC for his memorial service this weekend in Florida. This is a short slideshow I prepared for the event.