YAAH! Magazine and Game Review19 May 2015 0
Last week in his regular The View From The Bunker column, Jeff Ward mused on his abiding love for Strategy and Tactics Magazine. So even in this age of the seemingly all pervasive internet there is still a place for the printed magazine – and I for one am certainly grateful. And now there is a new gaming mag on the scene and Wargamer.com regular Richard Martin takes a look at YAAH! Over to Richard …
YAAH! is a new war and strategy gaming magazine put out by the new company Flying Pig Games and, if the premier issue is any indication of quality, it will be a fine addition to the library of anyone interested in board and RPG gaming in general.
The magazine is full color and is standard magazine size. It is square bound and printed on very sturdy and resilient paper. The first issue comes with rules for medieval combat and comes with two full scenarios for the game plus one 11” x 17” double sided map and die cut, double sided, full color counters. Included in its 60 pages are a variety of articles which I will briefly discuss.
The cover story of issue 1 is a review of “Rivet Wars” – a steam punk alternative history World War I minis game put out by Super Robot Punch, LLC. Included is “Operation: Boot and Scoot” - a “Rivet Wars” scenario. While I must admit that I have never heard of “Rivet Wars”, the review and scenario piqued my curiosity and I plan on hunting down the core set in the near future. The mix of steam punk robots and World War I sounds intriguing.
A feature interview with game designer and reenactor Bill Molyneaux is very informative. His insight in to the marketing and focus of historical war and strategy games is something almost all game publishers need to read.
Gabe Kleinert’s overview of “Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition” is just the sort of thing that I have been looking for. I cut my teeth on Basic D&D and then moved to Advanced Dungeons and Dragons back in the early 1980s. I must admit that I’ve been rather confounded by all the new D&D editions and wanted to know where to jump back in to the system at – Kleinert’s well written article helped point me in the right direction. A D&D or Pathfinder scenario called “The Tomb of Doors” is also included.
Ania Ziolkowska’s article on GMT Game’s “Command & Colors: Napoleonics” is a fascinating look at this classic block game system by the legendary Richard Borg.
The history of Victory Point Games’ “State of Siege” series is written by John Burtt and examines the evolution of Darin Leviloff’s groundbreaking solitaire designs. The article covers “Israel’s Independence”, “Ottoman Sunset” and the zombie killing “Dawn of the ZEDs”. I have played Leviloff’s take on the Russian Civil War and was very impressed. Now I must play more of his designs!
Mini Games are well represented with a look at Wizards of the Coast’s “D&D Attack Wing” – a game in which players control dragons ala “Wings of Glory” or “X Wing”. A scenario is also included.
A review of “Campaign Commander Volume 1: The Road to Stalingrad” gives World War II gamers a nod.
For historical and/or medieval gaming fans, Tom Russell’s well written article entitled “The Tale of Two Harrys” covers the battles of 1066 which lead up to the Battle of Hastings and sets the scene for this issues games.
As stated earlier in my review of “YAAH!”, this issue includes a game system called “Shields and Swords” which succinctly covers medieval battles. The rules, themselves, are only three and a quarter pages long but cover melee combat, archery, horse mounted warriors, etc. in a game system which provides fast and effective simulations of the battles covered in “The Tale of Two Harrys” article. As such, we have men in armor hacking each other to pieces with axes and swords or stabbing each other with spears and arrows. Command and control is easily simulated with command actions allowing the groups of men to: attack, defend with a “shield wall”, move or retreat. Each unit is rated for its quality which goes from AA (berserkers) and then to A (highly trained with good moral) to F (“what do you want us to do with this sword thing?” – conscripts). All that is needed to play is a six sided die which is not included. A double sided, full color map is included as are full color, die cut counters. Two scenarios are included - “Stamford Bridge” and “A Hill Near Hastings”. A player’s aid chart is included as well.
The “Shields and Swords” system is very complete and very, very fun. A scenario can be played in as little as one hour and both scenarios are nicely suited for solitaire play.
While a fine first issue, I did have a few concerns. One concern is a typo which I caught in “Stamford Bridge” which references units with an “H” rating. The lowest rating I could find were units with an “F” rating so I assumed that is what the designer was referring to. There are also a few other typos throughout the magazine with the worst being some missing lines of text in the “A Tale of Two Harrys” article.
My only other concern was a lack of a proper header for each review. It should be easy for the reader to discern what company published the games, the price and number of players without reading through the whole article to find this basic information.
None-the-less, the well written articles and intriguing games plus the humor and sheer joy of gaming exhibited by the writers makes YAAH! a must have for gamers! Highly recommended!
For more information: http://www.flyingpiggames.com/home.html
Publisher: Flying Pig Games $29.99 printed or PDF version
ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Richard Martin has written film and game reviews for over 20 years and has been playing war games and role playing games since the days of Ogre and Basic Dungeons and Dragons. Additionally, he writes screenplays, games and works in the legal profession. (Don’t tell anyone but Richard prefers writing games and movies to law work any day.)