Fine Games for Players & Collectors, 2078 Madrona St., North Bend, OR  97459-2143
(541) 756-4711  or (866) 690-7879  10am-9pm PST (-7GMT),

Fine Games' Update Newsletter provides subscribers with useful and timely information about strategy board and card games, including new & pending game releases as well as industry events. You can subscribe by emailing us with a request to do so together with your full home street address, phone # and email. You may UNsubscribe by simply emailing us with your request to do so, with your name and the email you're subscribed under. Prior issues are archived and available on our web site.

Update Newsletter - #44,  1 April 2007


Fine Games News
  • Fine Games Turns 15 on April Fools, No Joke!
  • Reappearance of the Fine Games Update Newsletter
  • Help Us Find Our LOST CUSTOMERS
  • Help Us Create the Next Update Newsletter
  • Please Keep your Subscription Current
  • Online Catalogs Updated Regularly
  • We Buy, Consign & Trade Games
Game Industry News
  • The Hobby Distribution System in 2007
  • Game Design Parts Available
  • Postal Rate Increase Effective 14 May 2007
Special Game Sales & Offers
  • Newsletter-Only Offers (valid thru 30 April 2007)
  • Personal Game Collection Sale
New Game Releases 
  • New Game Releases
    Featured Releases
  • Pending Game Releases


Fine Games' News

  1. Fine Games Celebrates 15 Years in business as of Sunday, April Fools. Seriously, we've been around fifteen years now. A long, strange trip its been. My mother still doesn't consider it a real job!

    But don't be mistaken. Fine Games is our full time profession (unlike others you may deal with on the internet); we don't have another "day job." As such, we regard caring for our customers as our main job. We hope that shows thru the many services we offer you:

    • Fine Games offers over 4,000 unique items, and carries over 10,000 products
    • Want-lists: we notify you by email when we receive games you want
    • Special Orders: we can special order any in-print game, whether we list it in our catalogs or not
    • Competitive or better pricing on everything we offer
    • Discounts averaging 30% on all in-print games & supplies
    • One of the most comprehensive selections in the world
    • Same-Day Shipping
    • Professional packing & shipping
    • Customized Shipping Arrangements 
    • Full range of payment options
    • Detailed and accurate game descriptions
    • We warrant the accuracy of our descriptions, too

  2. Reappearance of the Update Newsletter. Call it "volume 2".  But its been close to four years since our last formal, full-scale newsletter. Life has, shall we say, been both "busy" and "exciting." In the Chinese sense of the word. Now, we aim to resume distribution of our Update Newsletter at a pace we can sustain.

    In 2003, at the time of our last few newsletters, were began planning a relocation to our present world HQs four hours south of Portland. The act of moving, always agonizing, consumed any spare energies we had well into 2005. At the same time, the volume of spam circulating rose precipitously, causing our ISPs to put such restrictions on outgoing emailings that it was impossible to continue the way we had. And in fact, one complete emailing of thousands of newsletters was simply lost. We gave up in frustration, thinking there are better things to do.

    Yet we still have reason to communicate with our customers, and many have told us that they enjoy reading our Updates. So, we are resuming publication with the intent of staying in touch with you, each of our customers, and to add value to this strange little hobby we call board gaming & wargaming. Toward that end....

  3. ....Help Us Write our Next Update Newsletter!  We invite you to suggest topics that interest you and that would fit in a Newsletter of this nature. One customer asked, "What are the best (simple) wargames to play while drinking beer & eating pizza?" Another asked, "What do you do when you inspect a game being traded in? How to you repair & prepare them?"

    If you've got a question or issue you think may interest others as well, please let us know!

  4. Help Locate our Lost Customers.  During our 15 years, and often despite our best efforts, we've lost track of over 1,000 of our past customers. Perhaps you can help us locate one or two! We've prepared a listing of our Lost Customers sorted by state & Canadian province. Please see if any our your gaming buddies, past or present, is on that list. If so, please put them back in touch with us if you can.

  5. Please Keep your Subscription Current. Help us remain in contact with you; send us notice whenever you change emails, phone#s, or move physically. We realize that this is but one more of a zillion chores when you move. But if you wish to receive our Newsletter & want-list notifications, please let us know of any change of contact info as soon as you can.

  6. Online Catalogs Updated Regularly. We update our online catalogs regularly -- generally 3 times a week and whenever we add a cache of additional games. And we list our entire inventory (save duplicates) so you can see if we have what you're looking for. You can trust what you see in our catalogs to accurately reflect what Fine Games has to offer you at any moment.

  7. Remember, we are always interested in buying games, accepting trade-ins toward game purchases, and now we will consign games for sale as well. See our Purchases & Trade-Ins web page for the how-tos.

Game Industry News

  1. The Hobby Distribution System in 2007. The health of the board game publishing and distribution system has been a recurring subject in past Newsletters. And for good reason: the patient  has gone from anemic to fragmented to diseased and, in too many instances, out business. Here's a brief synopsis of the changes I observe in today's gaming industry since last reporting in 2003.

    First, the full effect of technological innovation -- the internet -- has taken root. Most everyone has a shopping cart system up & running ('cept us; we're dinosaurs). But the heart of the change is that it has enable game publishers to connect directly with consumers, bypassing the traditional two intermediate levels of the distribution system, distributors and dealers (like yours truly). We call this "disintermediation."

    That disintermediation, particularly in the already small wargaming world, has acted to make carrying full game lines -- or anything at all -- no longer viable for distributors. Both consumers and dealers can more readily purchase directly from the publisher, often for less. The resulting distributor sales history says "slow mover" and it gets the axe no matter how great a seller it is to the consumer.

    Third, our distributors are themselves far fewer in number. And most -- including Alliance, the 800 pound silverback gorilla among distributors -- are now more oriented toward quick sales of flash-in-the-pan products. That's largely an artifact of Magic and other collectable card games, whose time has finally passed thankfully. But Alliance and others don't approach carrying games with the idea that a good game has an indefinite shelf life. Rather, they hope for a year, and will give it slack if a game does sell well. But once it doesn't for any reason -- including a prolonged parts shortage at the publisher, as with ADG's fine World in Flames series in all of 2006, they'll give it the axe without a second thought. So, some major publishers such as Australian Design Group, GR/D, Multi-Man and Critical Hit can no longer be readily source from distributors.

    Fourth, the fact that many publishers are selling more directly to consumers now doesn't mean that they are actually ready for prime time, so to speak. Publishers' willingness to provide even minimally acceptable levels of quality control, responsiveness to orders or problems, and just general business sense is often not there. Some, such as GMT, do a consistently great job. But others seem overwhelmed, or perhaps just can't be bothered.

    Fifth, the wave of Euro-style games has ebbed. The lasting effect has been to encourage simpler game designs in both family games and wargames. All-in-all a healthy thing in our opinion as games should be played as much as studied. Yet within the distribution system, the Euro-game has created a bit of havoc as the shelf live of a game is measured in weeks rather than years. And once demand dies -- which it tends to due abruptly -- everyone can be stuck with games that just won't sell. Its an easy way to build unproductive inventory; trust me.

    Lastly (for now), never forgot the tidal wave of demographics. The sons of WW2 vets -- our wargaming base -- are heading toward retirement (and presumably the time to play these games). We're also heading toward an empty nest and eventually greater disposable income. But we're also heading toward a more distant end, the grave. And new board and wargamers just are not being generated at the pace at which older gamers are leaving the hobby.

    For publishers, the higher margins on direct, internet sales have been a godsend. Together with pre-publication commitments, they have saved a number of publishers (including GMT). The unintended consequence is that now that only the committed and aware -- and internet savvy -- have access to many new games. Its largely for this reason, in fact, that Decision Games could publish a monster wargame like War in the Pacific with a $420 list price ($325 at Fine Games, and well worth it for the 11.5 pounds of paper inside!).

    If you have thoughts or questions on this subject, please let us know. We'll address them in a future Update.

  2. Game Designer Parts & Components Available.  For those of you creating your own game or variant, there are a number of resources available to make your task easier. These are parts now in print to allow you to make maps and counters in desired formats.

    For maps, we carry full sized hex maps, folded, with numbered hexes running either lengthwise or crosswise, and in either 16mm (1/2") or 19mm (5/8") hexes; $2.50ea. Need several of these? We can special order sets of six (6) full sized maps with numbered 16mm hexes, lengthwise or crosswise, for $16. We also can special order 35x50" Mylar map protectors that both protect your game maps from wear and also allow you to draw on your map without damaging it; $7. Lastly, we have an assortment of Mega-Mats available as special order items. These are printed on flexible vinyl, generally with larger hexes, and can be drawn on with water-based inks.

    For counters, we carry PacRim's 1/2" counter sheet sets at $10. These contain 200 counters in each of 6 common wargaming colors (e.g. khaki, olive, red, etc). These have common Nato symbols printed on them. We also carry GMT's blank counters. The 1/2" sizes come 140 counters to a sheet, your choice, all white or 60 white with 20 ea blue, gray, green, khaki; $2.50 ea. Their 5/8" size is all white, 196 counters to a sheet, $4ea. 

    Amarillo produces two "Prototype Kits" which we carry. Kit A includes 1200 blank 1/2" counters in 6 common colors, plus a 24x37" map with 3/4" hexes on one side and 1.3" hexes on the back.  Kit B includes 480 1" blank counters in 6 colors, plus the same double-sided map. $14 for either kit.

  3. USPS Postal Rate Increases Effective 14 May 2007.  Our postal service will make what we suspect will be substantial changes to all its rates in mid-May. As of this writing, few specifics are known. But given the sharp rise in fuel costs in the last two years, we expect a painful increase in rates across the board, especially for foreign air shipments. We do know that a flat rate domestic priority mailer will increase by 12%; our own rates will increase in roughly the same proportion.

    Meanwhile, UPS has continued its three-fold strategy of increasing rates. Its annual base rate increase continues at about the 4% level. Then, the sundry fees charged increased as well. Charges for things such as residential and "rural" delivery, and our weekly service charge. Third, they have aggressively assessed a "fuel surcharge" on all shipments of roughly 4% on all ground shipments and 12.5% on air shipments. Needless to say, UPS rates have increased much more rapidly than inflation. And we see no end to this pattern which is largely responsible for our own domestic shipping rate increases.

Special Game Sales & Offers

  1. Newsletter Special Offers. Aiming to encourage you to read our Newsletter promptly, we offer you this special deal on a couple dozen new games.  We offer a single copy of each of the following games at the special price listed, now thru 30 April 2007. Snooze you lose.

Newsletter Specials Offered via this Newsletter ONLY!  
Offers expire
30 April 2007.

Game Title (Publisher) Special Newsletter Offer Price Part # & Condition
Australia (Ravensburger) $15 new price 70563 new
Internet Wargames Catalog 5th (Wargames for Sale) $10 77964 new
Talisman 3rd PLUS City of Adventure kit PLUS Dungeon of Doom Kit (Gms Workshop) Sold; sorry! $125 77007 & 77006, Excellent/used
Struggle for Rome [Catan] (Mayfair) $33 79243 new
Arkham Horror 2nd (Fantasy Flight) $35 78196 new
Zombies!!! 3rd (Twilight Creations) $19 78680 new
Antarctica, Global War-ming (Savita) $35 78041 new
Runebound 2nd (Fantasy Flight) $33 78556 new
Doom, the Boardgame (Fantasy Flight) $37.50 78163 new
Mall of Horror (Asmode) $31 76080 new
Junta 3rd (West End) $31 79738 new
Zombie Town (Twilight Creations) $27 79744 new
Warrior Knights 2nd (Fantasy Flight) $33 75186 new
Lightning War, War on Terror (DecGms) $12 71543 new
Lightning War, Midway (DecGms) $12 69479 new
Triumph of Chaos, Russian Civil War (Clash of Arms) Sold, Sorry! $60 79938 new
East Front for Windows PC v2.03 [1990s computer version] (Columbia) $36 78688 new
They Shall Not Pass (Avalanche) $12.50 79596 new
USN Deluxe 2nd (Dec Gms) Sold, Sorry! $47 78395 new
Bitter End 2nd (Compass) $37.50 74265 new
ATS: Arnhem Oosterbeek Perimeter KIT (CriHit) $32 78484 new
ATS: Arnhem Oosterbeek Perimeter Game (Cri Hit) $45 79201 new
ATS: Berlin--Red Victory $70 78246 new
ASL: Berlin, Fall 3rd Reich 2nd $44 79189 new
ASL: Witches Cauldron (Cri Hit) $22 79877 new
Fire in the East (GDW) $99 79289 mint
Totaler Kreig (Dec Gms) Sold, Sorry! $57.50 65053 mint
Commands & Colors, Ancients 1st (GMT) $38 74749 new
ATS: Against All Odds Sold, Sorry! $33 77360 new
  1. Personal Game Collection Sale.  As you can imagine, I've built up quite a board game collection over 40 years (17 of which I actively bought & sold games). But after the same cold, hard self-examination many of you have gone thru, I've elected to move away from collecting anything & everything. So, as time permits, I'm selling off games that really don't interest me personally. (I didn't say "bad" games, just game topics & scales that don't do it form me: ASL was the first to go despite the quality of the game system.)

    Check out my Personal Game Collection Sale from time to time. If you don't see a specific game listed, I almost certainly still have it. I'll consider motivating offers on most any game, with the understanding that I'm merely thinning my collection and not liquidating it.

Recent & Pending Game Releases

A listing of all the board & card games and supplies newly released in the last two months is always available to you on our web site. Its a cumulative listing of what's new in the last two months.

A separate catalog of all the board & card game and supplies projected to be released in the next six months is also always available. This shows you what's on the horizon, with the best info available to us as to release dates. (Realize that game publishers are typically over-optimistic in their release date. And some publishers' release schedule bears no resemblance to their actual publication schedules; none! Welcome to the world of wargames!)

Brief Reviews & Honorable Mentions

We intend to use this space to guide you to the better games published in recent months. Since this is the first review in years, we must simply summarize some areas and point to a bare handful or remarkable titles where we should do justice to dozens. Such is life.

For the wargamers among us, there is plenty being published to keep us reading & learning. The unchallenged winner among wargames is, of course, Decision Games' War in the Pacific. Its about the biggest box, and is the heaviest game, we've ever seen; it weighs in at 11.5 pounds. And that's not fluff; rather, its an entirely update & re-thought version of the SPI monster game -- with even more stuff. 9000 counters, 7 strategic maps covering all of the Pacific & east Asia, plus 150 small scale maps of key islands so that detailed ground campaigns can be waged. "Only" 128 pages of rules -- same as Advanced Third Reich and Empire of the Sun, but then there are 300 charts. This could have been merely a "study," something to ogle but never play. But the beast IS playable in one of many small campaigns. Remember, retirement is coming!

Against the Odds magazine published 4 issues in 2006, and its most recent (Not War but Murder, Cold Harbor #19) was just published & is due here in a week. $28. Strategy & Tactics produced 9 issues, including many intriguing titles such as Twilight of the Ottomans #241 ($18.25). GMT produced C3i # 17 & 18 ($14ea).

Among boxed games, Avalanche published several Great War at Sea additions including Jutland ($48), Second WW at Sea additions including Bismarck ($37.50) as well as many Panzer Grenadier items and also several small, very playable games. The most recent of these is They Shall Not Pass on the battle for Verdun ($14). Their most recent game is Tiger of Malaya ($58).

Clash of Arms has had a notable success with its Epic of the Peloponnesian War, a card-driven game of the bitter conflict in ancient Greece ($59). Its earlier Triumph of Chaos as also done remarkably well ($66). They've just published a Best Of GDW's Naval Sitrep ($14) for Harpoon

Columbia Games published East Front II, West Front II and Euro Front II, all major updates of its earlier games of similar titles. They're nice games, offering more localized scenarios and fewer games to cover all of Europe. But they're a tad expensive at $85ea. 

The ever-active Critical Hit has produced all sorts of games for both the ASL line and its ATS series. If you like big, nasty firefights with late war monster tanks, be sure to pick up ASL:Berlin Fall of the Third Reich ($70) or ATS: Berlin Red Victory ($74). Several games & kits on the Arnhem battles, most recent is ASL:Witches Cauldron to uses all the ATS work for ASL ($23.50).

GMT has re-committed to the hobby, and stands as an excellent example of a great company publishing great games and taking great care of its customers. The list of its games published in the last year is too lengthy to recite here, but several must be mentioned. Combat Commander Europe has gained a following for its exciting tactical play $55. Europe Engulfed was reprinted with minor rules revisions $65. Here I Stand, a card-driven game of the Reformation $55. Onward Christian Soldiers, a card-driven game of a few of the Crusades $45. Paths of Glory 2nd Ed Players Guide (a Recommended Must-Have for its added cards), $18. Pax Romana $42.

Pacific Rim reprinted 48th Panzer Korp, a great game of the bitter struggle to restore some order in the Chir River basin after the total collapse of the front lines during the Soviet Stalingrad offensive. $21

Schutz Games from Australia published two unique titles: Aleutian Campaign $15.50 and Sands of Iwo Jima $11.

For fans of Star Fleet Battles, it was a rather lean year with only three Captains Logs (32, 33 & 34) plus the C5 module. Fed & Empire was similarly lean, with only Strategic Operations. All of Amarillo's efforts went into their new Federation Commander game series, which has a very streamlined, strategic level game system providing fast but event filled play. They've published Klingon and  Romulan Border games ($42ea) and Klingon, Romulan and Tholian Attack kits ($21ea).

Richard Berg remains a force. Independently, he's published a number of games recently, the last of which is Blackshirts, Italian Invasion of Egypt $20.

Firefight and Perry Moore Games,  both run by the same people, have pumped out a few dozen games a modest to good quality on an amazing range of often obscure subjects. Check them out if you like the Russian Front in WW1 or WW2, especially.

Our apologies for those publishers and many games were cannot mention here.

Happy gaming,
Michael Dean
Fine Games for Players & Collectors

Contact us at, or via phone at (541) 756-4711 between 10am-9pm