In Sumo 20/21 Alfonzo Smith reviewed Winsome Games' Tracks to Telluride, the verdict being `not bad, but too expensive at $50'. You can now check the game out for less, as the company have released an economy, tubed version called Colorado Rails, the price this time being $20. For those who bought and enjoyed the original they have also produced an expansion kit, Advanced Tracks to Telluride, but of more interest to me is their third release, Rocky Mountain Rails. In the early eighties an outfit called Adventure Games produced a game called Rails through the Rockies. It sounded fascinating and as a game system it was fascinating. Unfortunately, a game system was all it was; there was no game there. A game needs good victory criteria that give all the players a level start and these the designer had failed to devise. Rocky Mountain Rails claims to be the needed fix, giving a playable 2-hour game for 2-6 players. The kit, which costs $15, contains a new rule book, cards and play money, but it is not complete in itself and you need the map, crayons and dice from the original. Winsome Games can be contacted at 515 West Hutchinson Ave, Suite #6, Pittsburgh, PA, USA. (This information was taken from the Internet bulletin board; I haven't seen the games or kits myself.)
Also with new games in the pipeline are Warfrog and this time the information comes from the press release sent to me by Simon Bracegirdle. Essen will see the launch of Sixteen Thirty Something and Stockers, both of which are designed by Martin Wallace, the designer of Lords of Creation. Sixteen Thirty Something is described as ``A totally original game loosely based on Europe during the Thirty Years War. Players take the role of shady bankers, financiers and influential families who are attempting to control Europe for their own ends. By using Influence Cards they will attempt to arrange wars, treaties and switches in alliances. all action in the game depends on the outcome of votes; a player's influence in a particular country determines voting strength in that country. Players vote to decide which faction a country will join, whether a country will attack another, ''. The game has a map but no counters; seemingly card play handles everything. The other game is also a card based game, but with the totally different theme of stock car racing. Both games are for 3-6 players and each will cost £18/DM40. Estimated playing times are 2-3 hours for Sixteen Thirty Something and 2 hours for Stockers.
Also in Simon's letter was a request that I plug the Manchester Board Wargamers' game weekend at Alderley Edge on the 6/7/8th October. The emphasis here is on board wargames but there will be multi-player games on offer as well. The cost is £55, which includes bed, breakfast and evening meal. Anyone interested should ring Simon on 0161 861 8605.
Also happening over the next few months are MidCon and the Small Furry's Games Weekend in Harrogate. MidCon takes place at the Royal Angus Thistle Hotel in Birmingham from Friday November 10th to Sunday November 12th. It features the National Diplomacy Championship, but everyone has been hastening to tell me that both this and the Hobby Quiz are easily ignored and that most of those attending will be playing Sumo style games. The cost is £27 per person per night (sharing) or £34 (single). For more details contact Brian Williams, 30 Rydding Lane, Millfields Estate, West Bromwich, B71 2HA. The SFCP do is at the Crown Hotel in Harrogate over the August Bank Holiday weekend and aims ``to introduce people to the variety and excellence of modern board games'', the target audience being ``people who play the occasional game and would like to find out about more games in pleasant, friendly surroundings''. I once went to Harrogate as a child in order to visit a cousin of my mother and it strikes me as an excellent place to hold something like this. No distractions of any sort. The people to contact for this one are SFC Press, 42 Wynndale Rd, London E18 1DZ, tel 0171 358 1613.
Tony Reeves wrote to say that his local W.H. Smith denies the existence of the new Games and Puzzles after issue 2 and to ask if he is missing out on something. The easy bit first: G&P is still with us and has appeared every month since the relaunch. The June 1995 issue is number 15. On the more contentious matter, it depends, as it must with most magazines, on whether your interests are similar to those of the editor, which in the case of G&P's Paul Lamford are bridge, backgammon, chess and puzzles. The trouble with that as a mix is that bridge columns, chess columns and puzzles of at least this quality can be found in the better Saturday papers at a small fraction of the cost. The coverage of commercially produced boardgames has been very disappointing, not, as Mike Clifford asserts elsewhere, because they haven't had some good people writing about them, but because the people concerned haven't been given enough space to do the better games justice. The total amount of space given to boardgames increased a lot when Tony Hetherington was appointed as Games Editor beginning with issue 14, but though the quantity has increased it does not yet go further than that. The style is still ``wham, bam, thank you ma'am'' -- the Wucherer review in issue 15 runs to all of 9 sentences -- and the judgements are bizarre. For example, the June issue saw Manhattan receive a rating of 4 out of 6, while a maximum 6 was given to the `Pick of the Month', a game called Trading Places, where you move around a map of the world by answering trivia questions such as ``Whose albums include `Face Value' and `But seriously'?'' I don't know, I don't care and I insist you don't tell me.
The best magazines for those of you looking for further coverage of boardgames remain Games, Games, Games from Theo Clarke and Paul Evans and The Game Report from Peter Sarratt. Games, Games, Games mixes Sumo style games with roll playing stuff and is published every five weeks. The best way to check it out is to take Paul up on the offer of an introductory issue that I told you about last time. Write to him at the SFC Press address given above. The Game Report has been mentioned before in this column but only on the strength of what others have had to say about it. I have now seen three issues myself and am very impressed. TGR is a 32 page, A5 booklet and appears quarterly. As you will have noticed, my views on layout are that providing maximum reading matter is the priority and that if you can handle straight text in a book you can handle it here. Peter is more modern and makes a successful attempt to produce pages that look like those of a magazine. This obviously reduces the amount of text but still leaves you with plenty to read. The mix is the same as that of Sumo -- chat, news, reviews, articles and readers' letters -- and the winter and spring issues have included an Essen report from Ken Tidwell, a Desert Island Games selection from someone called Siggins, a nostalgic look back at Kings and Things and reviews of (among others) Intrige, Manhattan, Dampfross, Daytona 500, Quarto, Peg Poker, 6 nimmt, Robo Rally, We The People, Mush and the Star Trek TNG card game. To investigate this one make use of the arrangement that Peter and Mike have come to whereby European subscribers can get the magazine from Mike.
Finally, another Internet site to check out. Inspired no doubt by Ken Tidwell's Game Cabinet, Tony Briers and Pete Dwyer have set up their own WWW page for boardgames material. Its address is http://sleepy.tees.ac.uk