Thursday, 26 July 2007

TIDE OF IRON review up

Gameshark editor Bill Abner just notified me that Cracked Lcd 1.3 is posted, it's my review of TIDE OF IRON. Hope you enjoy it...if not, let me know. I have to make peace with Fantasy Flight after burying both the WARCRAFT and RUNEBOUND franchises last time.


Jack Hill said...

I'm not sure you should have dissed the WoW game so readily. It is (with the expansion) a really good boardgame adaptation of the MMORPG.

The downside is that the player versus player rules are truly awful, but the game does get across the Go Here, Kill this, get That nature alongside its nice cooperative aspect.

Runebound...I do like the dice system in it, but movement is vastly uninteresting. Then they started mucking around with the difficulty to make the game more tedious in the second edition, and pretty much ran the thing into the ground.

I have heard good things about the Arabian-ish expansion.

Ken B. said...

Michael, TOTALLY with you on World of Warcraft. The guys I game with--and this is a group as AT as it gets, for the most part--HATED it. Six hours, no resolution, a slow-as-molasses combat system, repetitive play...whereas Twilight Imperium will fly through its six hours (though we've gotten that down to closer to four), in WoW you will be begging for the game to end.

We had borrowed a copy from a friend of a friend; after two plays it went from "Must Buy This" to "Must Avoid This" in short order.

Definitely the case where even a pile of plastic can't save it. Shame, those are some quality miniatures in there.

Pat H said...

Euro Overlord - Now you're just talking out of your ass. Memoir is barely a WW2 game knucklehead.

Michael - given your audience I would have attempted to draw in the reader with graphic descriptions of combined arms inching towards defended positions using covering fire and movement though barbed wire emplacements, all to bring up a flamethrower to roast a pillbox.

The visuals (read-imagination)and pace of the game are what draw people in - especially a crowd more used to watching this sort of thing take place on a monitor. Make the link.

A good review if slightly targeted towards the boardgamer. I'm not saying that the Gameshark readers are not smart enough to understand tactical combat but a little spice here and there to drop in that Company of Heroes house to house feel will help make the parallel.

"Who do you think you are, Audie Murphy?" Lt. Joe Clemons

Michael Barnes said...

I gave WOW a couple of chances but it just flopped every time...maybe the problem is that it _is_ a good adaptation of the MMORPG...there's no doubt it captures some of the fundamental elements of the electronic iteration but I don't know if that makes it a good enough game.

RUNEBOUND I'd be willing to give one more chance, if playing with Will "The Living FFG Rules Cyclopedia" Kenyon and a couple of the expansions.

Pat- "Euro Overlord"? What the hell are you talking about?

I'm kind of with you on the more visceral description issue...I _felt_ like it was pretty detailed, but I think you're right, it might have been more boardgamey than it ought to have been. Still, I don't want to get into a situation where every review sounds like a BOY'S LIFE article or something.

Pat H said...

The voices in my head have never stopped...only now there are some annoying ones....

Ken B. said...

Pat, tell the voices in your head that they're playing in our playground. They'll either fall in line or fall silent, their choice.

bill abner said...

I live in the The Shadow over Innsmouth.

Pretty much every game website lives in the shadow of IGN and GameSpot.

Dunno why you want to call me out, but I get paid a full time salary to play and write about video and boardgames; I've been doing it for 12 years. If you're trying to get a rise out of me because GameShark isn't GameSpot...knock yourself out.

I'm good.

Ken B. said...

Bill, you have voices, too? This is creepy.

bill abner said...

Yeah, I think it's this particular blog. Maybe it IS a Deep one.

Pat H said...

I wish I lived in the shadow of Gamespot. EO lives in the shadow of his former self....

Ken B. said...

EO? Are you talking about Captain EO? That was like that Disneyworld movie thing with Michael Jackson before he walked off the deep end, wasn't it?

Michael Barnes said...

Ha ha! I get it now...I wanna play too!

Quit that Charley, that's my bacon! Don't you know mamma done fried it up for me!


Ken B. said...

It was the work of


Pat H said...

Back on track. Any fan of PC wargames..either rts, turn based (especially) and fps's, would likely find enjoyment in TOI. I would say "cross-over" before "gateway" but TOI fits the bill.

Bill - you have exposure to more readers as confirmed here today. A result of Michael's die throwing crusade. Confirmed by none other than the "Douchebag Who's Name Of We Shall Not Speak".

Ken B. said...

Mad Catz stuff was always great because it was affordable; though those early PS1 controllers didn't particularly handle abuse very well.

I think Mad Catz had memory cards for PS1 for about half the price of Sony's, which was nice. Sadly Sony made sure the PS2 couldn't read many third-party memory cards from PS1...sometimes you just want to strangle those guys.

Michael Barnes said...

I heard a loud pop and I smell sausage. Did somebody have a heart attack?

Maybe it's just my imagination...

I like the MadCatz controllers because they're like half the price of the proprietary ones...some of their stuff has been kind of spotty (the "guest" controllers at my place). Wish they'd do some Wii stuff.

Ken B. said...

Hells yes, they could bring sanity and order to the fiasco that is "Wii peripheral pricing."

$60 total for another controller? SAY WHAT?!

I'll have a Wii by Christmas; no way I can avoid Metroid Prime 3. It would be folly to even joke about it.

Rliyen said...

Deleteing the Words of TomVasel is Deleting the truth?

Do you want to live in denial?

Is it? It seems you're just as confused as we are to your pedantic statments.

If denial doesn't have the likes of you, or the blowhard Vasel, living there then I'm staying there.

*oh, my head*

Must take the medication to keep the voices from talking.

Ken B. said...

Remain calm, and continue to check Junk News Bulletins for more details.

Pat H said...

Any idea's on what sort of self medicating I should start?

Michael Barnes said...

Rilyen? You OK? You're quoting text that doesn't even exist! Someone get Richard Launius on the horn, I've got an idea for an ARKHAM HORROR "Environment" card.


Rliyen said...

Rilyen? You OK? You're quoting text that doesn't even exist! Someone get Richard Launius on the horn, I've got an idea for an ARKHAM HORROR "Environment" card.


The voices in my brainmeats, they won't stop gibbering! I saw the words! I saw them! *eye twitch*

Why doesn't anyone believe me!?!?!

*imbibes more medication*

Pat H said...

(Empty bottle of "CC" hitting the floor)

Uuuhh...I feel better now. Hey, what's this? A soiled meeple and equaly defiled autographed photo of (insert board game reviewing afraid to offend anyone personality name here).

(Searching pockets for substances containing at least a three letter acronym)

Fortress said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bill abner said...

I should have edited in the Company of Heroes comparison. That's a damn good one to make. Fits perfectly, really, and that is such a fantastic game in its own right.

As for Mad Catz, they pay the bills, but I've never used a MC controller or used the GameShark PS2 code device in my life. I am a crappy company man, I guess.

As far as readership goes:

This is a public site so I'm not breaking any confidences by posting it. Go here:

Change the sites that it plugs in to and and see how they compare. BGG is a big, big site so that should give you an idea how how many readers we have, generally speaking.

Of course..type in GameSpot and yeah...they're rather large.

Jack Hill said...

Although Alexa's number are kind suspect because they use a weird spyware app to gather their usage data. The detail data is interesting, but comparing site rankings is kind of dubious.

As to Madcatz, they really stopped making nice controllers back in the PS1 days.

As to Gameshark, they have made nice products, but I would so worry about their core line. The new consoles are rapidly becoming unhackable without breaking warranties.

Darilian said...

Now that the voices in my head have been positively identified as a douche bag dork, I can put in my $1.05 for freedom and TOI.

I've only had a chance to play twice, so I'm not an expert, but my initial response was... meh.

I mean, its a good game. But is it $80 good game? For that amount of money, you're pretty close to being able to get a force in 15mm for Flames of War- and MORE than enough for a force in 1/285th (6mm) Cold War Commander/ BlitzKrieg Commander. So the game gotta pretty well rock....

My two big beefs are 1)that some of the game mechanics (like taking certain positions for extra command 'boosts') seem too 'video gamey and 2) No AT guns, light mortars, or HMG's. Its hard to really get a combined arms thing going with only infantry and tanks on the table.

That said, it IS fun. As I said above, I'm just not sure that its
$ 80 fun.

Pat H said...

I agree and have been griping over the omission of AT guns, armoured cars, light tanks and other heavy weapons but that is just me wanting everything in the box.

Video gamers (well PC gamers at least) are used to expansion packs - myself included. I really have no problem if a product will be supported, as a matter of fact I like it.

Also for me it is the fact that I can rather easily set up and store the game. I have painted too many figs and scenery pieces and now need all that space for kids things etc...

bill abner said...

Correct, Alexa is by no means a rock solid gauge -- it does provide a good gloss over, though. I'm not at liberty to discuss actual numbers because my boss reads this blog, too. I like my job.

Site rank means jack squat, reach and page views are, to me, more important (click the tabs).

BGG being down any certain %, IMO, has nothing whatsoever to do with Michael or any of that stuff. It's Internet trends, nothing more.

Click on the 1 year tab and you'll see a *huge* spike around Christmas time. BGG is a happenin' place when people are shopping, and it seems to keep a pretty solid core base throughout the year. This is even more glaring when looking at the 3-year graph. (I'm talking page views here, not rank).

So no, BGG doesn't need or depend at all on the Merry Band of Ameritrashers. A site like BGG, I would assume, will see pretty big spike and drop offs based on new releases and the holiday net surfers.

Anyway, next week Michael continues his reviews with a look at Age of Empires III.

Michael Barnes said...

Well, were you griping about the omission of Blood Apes and Iron Golems in the base DESCENT game?

TIDE OF IRON is a popcorn's great for guys like me who like WW2 but couldn't rattle off detailed OOBs, pet names for tanks, or explanations of why so and so did that and that on whatever battlefield. It's a great game that has the right amount of depth, WW2 atmosphere, and "pop"...yeah, I think it's worth $80...FLAMES OF WAR is a whole different thing altogether...those tiny, tiny men...

Pat H said...

It'll cost more than $80 to get going in Flames of War. Then finding oponents etc...

Big pain nowadays.

I really could care less about Descent, but AT guns are not "Blood Apes" (generic medium monster # 5)and should have been included in the main game and not an expansion.

The other elements I mentioned are all coming down the pipes so even non grognards like yourself will wind up using them anyways.

Darilian said...

I get your point. However, Iron Golems and Blood Apes are not an integral aspect of the traditional Dungeon Crawl. AT guns (required to make the ubiquitous German 'PaKFront') and the 60 and 81mm mortar (needed to satisfy the US penchant to 'smoke anything, anywhere') really are.

Now- TOI is immensely accesible. MUCH more so than any miniature game where you have to paint the figures- even FOW, which is one of the most accessible historical miniature games out there today. So I give TOI credit for that. It is a GOOD game.

That said- I still don't like the video gameyness of some of the card mechanics (powering up, etc), and I don't like the lack of some integral 'company level' assets. TOI is a company level game- you're running several platoons. Therefore, you should have access to Company level assets is all I'm sayin!

Good review, you did a great job of explaining both the game and why you like it so much. I only wish I liked the game as much as you do! *s*


Darilian said...

You CAN make a legal force for FOW for about $95.00. Its ALL tanks, but hey!

A more 'standard' force can be had for about $150.

However, both of those prices do not include the rules. The Hard Back rules are $50. List books are extra.

So yah, TOI is cheaper- but then I never said it wasnt. Its just for that amount of money, I could get even more toys for my growing Soviet Mechanized Division.......*lol*


Michael Barnes said...

Yeah, I hear you on the's kind of like my complaint about the uselesness of archery in BATTLELORE. I bet in the future we'll see something a little more detailed on 'em.

Darilian said...

Rumor has it that the upcoming 'Desert Fox' will have 88's.


Anonymous said...

Third paragraph maybe too long and maybe too many of your own personal reservations.

If you hate the game, rip it to pieces. Make it entertaining how bad the game it. That'll make we want to read it to the end.

If you like the game, say so clearly.

If you think your average reader has reservations, make it suspenseful, misdirect us, then surprise us with the findings.

But in the third paragraph, it was like only you had reservations, with the rest of us not knowing what you were talking about. You might as well been talking snooty about wine: "I was closely following the maturing of COMBAT COMMANDER: EUROPE, and was already annoyed that TIDE OF IRON wasn't being put out under the TWILIGHT IMPERIUM house label. I was worried about aftertastes of petrol and gunpowder that routinely come with a WWII vintage. At worst, I was worried it would be bland and overly sugary like MEMOIR ’44, more suited for a juice box than a bottle. Do we really need another rotgut-for-winos tarted up in a more expensive package, something that tastes like koolaid, burns like gasoline, and is guaranteed to leave your friends miserable and with headaches tomorrow?"

The first two paragraphs? They sang. Every word was perfect. Great job!

Rliyen said...

Rumor has it that the upcoming 'Desert Fox' will have 88's.

Damn it, Darilian, now you're making me want to load up Sudden Strike and blast the crap out of some Wolverines.


Pat H said...

Sudden Strike 3 will be good.

Mr Skeletor said...


World of Warcraft: the Board Game demos! Come play FFG's best-selling game ever!

Suck on that you hater bastards.

Also I hope Thaadd remembers her favorite bonehead when hides a few of those mini expansions in her bag when the boss isn't looking.

robartin said...

Never read this blog drunk. Or is it never read this blog sober? I can't remember.

dbuel said...

I'm against proper breeding.

Muzza said...

I'm hearing those voices again, but it sounds like they've been to school during the lull.

Michael Barnes said...

Huh? Why is there a tea stain on the floor of F:AT?

Rliyen said...

Sudden Strike 3 will be good.

I don't doubt that. I loved SSII, especially with the UBER hard British first mission. I loved sending my motorcycles out to scout out the German lines and then loved it when the shells started asploding all around them.

Thought of a better "sandblasting a cracker" maneuver: AA guns against infantry! Sure, the guns are inaccurate, but the explosions! The men hitting the dirt! You can almost hear them chanting, "shit! shit! shit!" as the shells kick up the earth around them.

Fellonmyhead said...

Michael, I couldn't be arsed reading most of your sycophantic drivel. You clearly only wrote that because either:

1. You're screwing/being screwed by somebody at FFG (the poor unfortunate), or

2. You got a free copy of ToI for writing it.

You disappoint me; this:-

"TIDE OF IRON is a resounding success as a “pop” war game with definite board game appeal and it is yet another star in the constellation of future classics offered by Fantasy Flight Games. The completely modular, customizable nature of the game and the promise of expansions (the first one will move the action to North Africa) indicate that this is a game that fans will be playing and exploring for many years to come."

may well have been ripped from somebody else's review, though I suspect it is simply because reason 2 above is the correct one. You sold out; nothing you say is credible any more.

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