Thursday, April 28, 2016

Je Suis Gobsmacked

I received yesterday an email I had despaired of ever receiving. Years of waiting are nearly over. Fulfillment is at hand. Academy Games is finally—finally—shipping the Guadalcanal expansion of the Conflict of Heroes series.

Although it makes me sound faint of heart, I wondered if the game would ever see production—and please note, it is not yet shipping, only going into printing at this point (and even then, not yet being printed) anything can happen. Shipping is supposed to happen in June...

The first games in the series came out pretty regularly. Each game was an improvement, and at one point, Academy Games provided a whole new counter set for Awakening the Bear, the first game in the series, as part of the third game, The Price of Honor.

I truly do love this series of tactical WW2 games. The games play well and are very engaging. The first two games in the series focus on the German-Russian conflict. Awakening the Bear draws its scenarios from the German invasion of Russia in 1941. The second game, Storms of Steel, focuses on the Kursk offensive of 1943. The Price of Honor is set in Poland in 1939. There have also been some minor releases such as a pack with wreck counters and rules for wrecks, and a set with a lot of heavy tanks for do-it-yourself scenario making.

Guadalcanal was the fourth game in the series and was expected to follow the same regular release pattern. And then...

I don't—nor will I ever, I think—know what happened. Delay this, delay that, etc. Months of delay turned into years. At one point, after years of delay, I pre-ordered Guadalcanal based on the rumor that it was due to ship imminently. That was three years ago.

So I was pretty gobsmacked to get an email yesterday with an invoice for my pre-order. I'll exhale when I have the game in my hands, but it looks promising. Academy has already posted PDFs of the game rules and scenario booklet on their site. They've had images available of the game boards and counters for many, many years.

Counters and map art—beautifully done
I'm glad that Guadalcanal will finally be shipping. I haven't heard anything about whether Academy plans any more releases for Conflict of Heroes. I think a great part of the delay in getting Guadalcanal out was due to expanding their games into other areas as well as an obsession with redoing old games. Awakening the Bear has a 2nd edition release and Storms of Steel is expecting a 2nd edition. Academy also released a solo game system for Conflict of Heroes that—apparently—sucked up years of development work and play testing.

Boardgame Geek has an item for a France 1940 expansion, but the date goes back to 2011. The Academy website has no information about it, so I'm inclined to think it's a dead issue. Ditto for an expansion for Crete 1941. Apart from Guadalcanal and the 2nd edition of Storms of Steel, I think the company is putting Clash of Heroes out to pasture...

Academy once had a Civil War game in the works for Gettysburg. It looked very promising and I pre-ordered that also (YEARS ago). There is no mention of that game at all on the website, although some of the art can be seen as background on the pages. It looked to be the first of a new series of tactical Civil War games. My fear is that the series been abandoned as the company expands into games with broader appeal.

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