When you start looking for games which are aesthetically pleasing few fit the bill more than the range of wood block war games.
There is something about the wood blocks which reminds of old games, of a time when wood components were the norm, and were a sign of craftsmanship.
Columbia Games are certainly at the forefront of such games these days, and The War of 1812, and Quebec 1759 have both been highly recommended both as having strong Canadian content, and the quality and game play of the wood block system.
For those liking fantasy gaming, role players familiar with Dungeons & Dragon, card players loving Magic: The Gathering, and others, looking for a change of pace, I'd strongly recommend Wizard Kings.
Wizard Kings is another wood block offering from Columbia Games.
As a refresher, the block system makes for a relatively simple approach to a wargame. Rather than using traditional counters to represent units on the map the game uses wooden blocks that stand upright with unit details only shown on one side. The result is basically secret troop deployment which is reflective of the reality on a battlefield. Not knowing what the opponent is doing strategically gives this game a feel of realism using a rather simple mechanic.
Now of course in Wizard Kings reality is put on the back-burner as elves, dwarves and other fantasy races take to the battle field.
By entering into the rich world of fantasy designers Tom and Grant Dalgliesh really broaden the possibilities of the game type.
To begin with they have the ability to create multiple armies, and that means allowing from two-to-seven players to be involved. That changes the dynamic of the wargame.
The same goes for the modular maps which can be aligned in a variety of ways, since it's not trying to mimic the real world.
The mix of various fantasy race armies with the modular board really expands the re-playability of Wizard Kings.
There are a lot of scenarios to explore when you think of the options seven players and a changeable map offer.
Wizard Kings won't be for those seeking to relive historic battles, which is a huge appeal for most wargamers, but at the same time it opens board wargaming to a new audience, and it does it well.
As a fantasy fan this one won me over in a hurry. Wizard Kings is highly recommended.
Check out this offering at www.columbiagames.com
If anyone is interested in this game, or other boardgames feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org
-- Review appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Feb 15, 2012 - Yorkton, SK. Canada