A happy New Year to all! I hope that the holiday season found everyone in good form. I myself had a wonderful time although I did not get as much gaming in as I would have liked. (My significant other is a decided non-gamer so this limits one's opportunities.) I've always thought that time away from the gaming table was a good thing though as it whets one's appetite for future gatherings.

With this in mind, there are a number of things that I'm especially looking forward to in the New Year. Top of the list would be certain games from Essen that I have not had a chance to play even yet. (I'm waiting for a large package to arrive from Germany that is being delivered by pack mule as far as I can tell.) Age of Steam tops this list of things to play particularly as I am a big fan of Volldampf. Hopefully I'll have a review of the former in the next few months.

I've also been very lucky to have received many review copies that publishers have been kind enough to send my way. I'll be doing my best to write about these in the next issue or two so be prepared for more reviews than usual.

Let's hope 2003 is a good one!

-Greg Aleknevicus

I'm a confirmed fan of Lord of the Rings so it's with some trepidation that I approach most of the games that have been based upon it. It seems a shame to shoe horn a theme onto a game that it clearly does not fit. A perfect example of this was last year's The Search. I didn't think it was much of a game in any event but the way the entirely counter-intuitive theme was grafted onto it (and worked totally against it) completely repulsed me. Hopefully, this Reiner Knizia effort does a better job.


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