Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Flying the Unfriendly Skies

First off, allow me to apologize for the sporadic updates lately here at The Rural Gamer. I started working at a local bookstore, and after three years of not work it's taken some time to adjust to the schedule and managing that along with family life, and winding down livestock season here on our little farm. But, I'm striving to keep this place updated and relevant. With that being said...

There seems to be a glut of games coming out between now and the end of the year that I've been really excited about. That, of course, has it's good points and it's bad points. On the good side of things, it's more games! Yea! On the bad side of things, I need to have the money to spend on said games...and there's this little holiday called Christmas that's barreling down on us like a freight train. It can be a dilemma.

However, topping that list is the latest version of Wings of War, now called Wings of Glory. Wings of War, a game of aerial combat set in either WWI or WWII, was originally produced by Italian game company Nexus, and brought to the US market by Fantasy Flight Games. A year or so back the rights reverted back to Nexus, and they formed a new company NG International and distributed their games worldwide themselves. However, that was to be short lived as NG International and Nexus folded earlier this year.

Out of the ashes was born Ares Games. Ares, as I've previously blogged about, bought the rights to produce the War of the Ring boardgame, and then in September they announced they'd be bringing Wings of War back to the market under the new title, Wings of Glory. It was promised the new game would be fully compatible with previously released products.

The Starter Box for Wings of Glory was originally targeted for a November release, which slipped into December and currently the Ares website is listing it as coming out in January. While I can't wait to get the game in my hot little gamer hands, this is not a problem. It puts it past Christmas, which is a good thing financially. Also, I would rather wait for a game produced correctly, than something rushed to market prematurely.

The Starter Box is set in the WWII period, and features 4 planes. On the Allied side we have the Curtis P-40 Warhawk and the Yakovlev Yak-1, and for the Axis powers there are the Reggiane Re.2001 Falco II and the Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien. Additional plane models will follow.

(Ares is also currently at work on the World War I version of the game, as well as a naval battle game called Sails of Glory due out in 2012. The initial focus of the game is said to be in the Napoleonic Wars era.)

Of course, one of the biggest obstacles to getting into any new game is finding other people with whom to play. Thankfully, that's where the good folks at the Wings of Glory Aerodrome come in. The Aerodrome is an absolutely fantastic site devoted to Wings of War/Wings of Glory. Through this site you can find other players all around the world. Fortunately for me there seems to be a veritable hotbed of Ohio-based players. So, if you are at all interested in this game, you need to do yourself a favor and check out the Aerodrome. You'll be glad you did.

Look for the Wings of Glory WWII Starter Set in stores in January 2012. You can download the new rulebook on Ares' website here.

Monday, November 21, 2011

There and Back Again

Gaming of all kinds gains inspiration from a variety of sources either directly or indirectly. Perhaps nothing has influenced gaming more than J.R.R. Tolkien's epic saga The Lord of the Rings.

The original Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game, back in the 1970s, was heavily influenced by Tolkien's fantasy setting. Humans, dwarves, elves, orcs and halflings co-mingling in a fantastical milieu full of magic, dragons and the eternal struggle between good and evil can all be traced to the stories of Tolkien (which in turn had their own influences, but that's neither here nor there right now).

The latest game to be directly spawned out of the stories of Middle Earth is The Lord of the Rings Heroclix by Wizkids. While some may have rolled their eyes at the announcement, I was pretty darn excited by it. You see, back in 2003 Sabretooth Games (a now defunct subsidiary of Games Workshop) released The Lord of the Rings Tradeable Miniatures Game. I was just starting to get back into gaming, and was already a fan of Wizkids' Heroclix game. Games Workshop had already released their Lord of the Rings Strategy Game, but I wasn't interested in painting up miniatures at that point. The Lord of the Rings TMG,with it's pre-painted miniatures, seemed right up my alley.

Through the Sabretooth forums I was able to find another local player, and we would meet up periodically at a local game store and have a great time playing the game. But, the game didn't last long and soon passed the way of many a collectible game.

So here we are a good 8 years later, and Wizkids is bringing out a new LOTR game feature pre-painted miniatures and using their Heroclix ruleset.

The only downside is it was originally supposed to be released next week, but got pushed back to the first week of December.

Wizkids also has a LOTR-based boardgame in the works where players take on the role of the black riders trying to track down the Fellowship and stop them before they reach Mount Doom. I believe this one is slated for an early 2012 release.

On the subject of Tolkien-inspired games, newcomer Ares Games is releasing an updated version of the classic, and well-regarded, boardgame The War of the Ring. This is another game that I've wanted for years, but it was out-of-print. So, I'm really happy to see Ares releasing a new edition of the game. Ares has been publishing a series of articles on their site chronicling the development of this new edition. War of the Ring is expected to be in stores in December. You can check those out here: http://www.aresgames.eu/games/war-of-the-ring-line

Between Lord of the Rings Heroclix, War of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings Strategy Game, The Lord of the Rings Living Card Game and The One Ring RPG it's a fantastic time for gamers who are fans of Tolkien, and gamers in general!