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Posts Tagged ‘Valley Games’

Up Front or – the never ending story?

Posted by Andreas Ludwig on May 5, 2015

144825The wargame community is again in high hopes for a new Up Front because the news is out that Wargame Vault has permission to do at least a strict reprint of the original game. So it seems that rights-holder Hasbro (owner of Wizards of the Coast and Avalon Hill) is aware now (after the Valley Games Kickstarter desaster) that the demand for this classic wargame is there and has allowed Wargame Vault to digitally re-master the second edition of Up Front and to offer it through their card printing program.

Folks already discuss the news in forum postings and wonder whether this is a hot deal or not so have in mind that in fact what you get here is a pure reprint of the game, so no new rules, no errata worked in and still the original graphics on the cards. It’s a kind of print on demand model and for about 50 bucks you get the game you want to play and that’s fine – given that Up Front in very good condition (or even mint/new etc.) can easily cost you 100 USD or more you might even call this a hot deal indeed.

Still, even with this strict reprint of the game and the proclamation that Wargame Vault has the permission of the rightsholder Hasbro to offer this there seems to be some legal issues regarding these rights –

Rodger MacGowan who was the artist of the original design is suprised to see this offer on the Wargame Vault website since Hasbro has never contacted him regarding the use of any of his Avalon Hill artwork or logo graphic designs which simply means they don’t own the rights to use it…

I don’t think it’s impossible to sort this out and they don’t offer the gamebox for exact the reason that they don’t own the rights of that artwork but since they use it on their website to offer the game it doesn’t seem to be good business manners and they use his logo design on the backs of the cards which clearly is violating his rights…so all is not cut and dried yet.

It’s a shame that  Up Front, this alltime classic and innovative game design is so often in the news lately…but always with a bad taste. It deserves to see the light in a modern new style so new gamers can see for themselves why the old grogs adore this gem of a game so much but it can be doubted that this will happen anytime soon.

Until then this reprint is the only option you have if you don’t want to hunt down the game on ebay etc. and here’s what you get for your money:

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Up Front 2000… announced for 2013?

Posted by Andreas Ludwig on August 22, 2012

Just in case you didn’t notice the earthquake that shook the (wargame) world today, here are a few words on that.

Valley Games, a small game company that also has a few wargames in their portfolio today announced on Board Game Geek that they will publish a reprint of one of the all time classics of our hobby: Up Front – The Squad Leader Card Game

The game was published 1983 and till this day is one of the favorite games of probably the majority of wargamers. Its brilliant design, innovative aspects, simulation value and smooth gameplay was the reason that it won so many friends. The licence was given to MMP by Hasbro (holding the rights to Avalon Hill games) years ago and the well known ASL publisher tried for years to get a reprint done  – without success. It was said that although they got the licence to republish it, Hasbro still had the rights and obviously had different ideas what to do with the game – fact is despite a project Up Front 2000, which was the supposed date for publishing the reprint, this name became sort of a placeholder even after the year 2000 and now the time for a possible reprint by MMP is over. So it seems that the licence is given to Valley Games now and this company says they want to do a kick starter project to finance the reprint.

Valley Games is very excited to announce that we have been offered the opportunity to produce Up Front. In association with the original designer, Courtney Allen, we will reproduce this classic title with improved and enhanced rules, new artwork and new graphic design. We will use Kickstarter to fund the project with a planned launch date of December 2012. More information to come as we get closer to the launch date. (Rik Falch)

After all these years when we thought the reprint is actually never gonna happen and after a big name in the wargaming world failed to get it done for whatever licence or contract reasons and problems with Hasbro, now a small company, not even really deep into wargames let alone consims, just announces ‘we will do it’. But it’s not news that is to be found on their official website, which is kinda strange,  just a thread on the BGG  forum – that you can find here

It sounds unbelievable but of course we also hope that this is true and that a new Up Front will be for sale in the near future. But it will depend of course what they do with this game, so we wouldn’t advice anybody to sell their copy of the classic game now as some do on the internet (‘sell the game before it will lose its value, you won’t get anything for it when the new version is out’) because even if a new version is coming, we don’t know whether it will be the same game we so love or something completely different with the same name.

‘Improved and enhanced rules’ can mean anything and of course the rules of UF are not perfect (but they are not that ‘bad’ either as some seem to think they are) so improvement is always possible and certainly desirable. What they mean with ‘enhanced’ rules we will have to see…new artwork is great because when we consider how cool for example the LCGs by FFG look then Up Front could really shine on the table if done right. Design…shouldn’t mean to redesign the game as a whole however, because it just works.

What we definitely don’t want to see is a watered down version of the game, we don’t want to play an Up Front where there is no Relative Range used anymore – a fantastic concept, but some players seem to have problems to understand how it works. Enhancing could mean to get rid of this core concept to make it ‘easier’, to attract more players. Chits could be larger and more colorful, redesigning the game so it doesn’t ‘need’ any chits anymore would be a mistake. Some cards –  representing the soldiers – in Up Front get flipped when their morale breaks and then they have different combat values, so both sides are printed. In CCGs and LCGs these days cards are ‘tapped’ when something happens and we wouldn’t consider this a necessary step in a redesign, flipping is just fine, it works. Perhaps all this is not gonna happen and what they do is just polishing the game, not changing it in essential aspects, but such thoughts come up when you are a fan of this classic.

That Cortney Allen, the designer of Up Front, is part of the team doing the reprint design is of course wonderful news and hopefully this will be enough to prevent changes the fans don’t want – and the game doesn’t need. There’s probably no wargame out there that is that perfect than Up Front, it just needs a little polish here and there in the rules, streamlining of some concepts, a state of the art presentation and the base game and the expansions all done in one style to transform it into the Holy Grail of Wargaming. No game came ever that close to this, that’s what we actually think.

So lets hope that after so many years we all can indeed sell our old version of this gem of a game  in the near future because the reprint is true to the innovative and brilliant design we know and love to play. But Valley Games will have to convince us with their product and so we’ll stick to the old version with all the worn out cards and play classic Up Front until we can actually see what’s up with this new Up Front – if it ever gets published.

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