Welcome to our newest feature on the blog Wargame Watch, where I will try my best to give you a heads-up on some of the newest wargame offerings out there. There are a lot of great looking games coming out and I will be unable to cover all of them in this post, as I want to stick to 3-4 of both pre-orders and new releases, but this will hopefully be a primer for you. Here is a look at recently announced(ish) pre-order games as well as those that have recently been released. The order is not important in the post as this is not a ranking. These are just games that I am interested in and want to point out to you. If you missed the first entry in the series, you can read it here.
1. Fort Sumter: The Secession Crisis, 1860-61 from GMT Games
This game was newly announced on GMT’s Monthly Update on June 21st and already has over 340 orders on the P500. Fort Sumter: The Secession Crisis, 1860-61 is from famed and very productive designer Mark Herman. I love Mark Herman games and own several including Washington’s War, Fire in the Lake, South Pacific: Breaking the Bismark Barrier and Pericles and have played and love others including Empire of the Sun. He is enamored with the use of the Card Driven Game (CDG) mechanic in his games and I also love it as it truly provides a great experience both in game play and in the experience of learning about history through the game and the event cards. Following in the footsteps of his previous designs, Fort Sumter is a two-player CDG portraying the 1860 secession crisis that led to the bombardment of Fort Sumter and the ultimate start of the American Civil War. My guess is that it will come out mid to late 2018. But that is only a guess. There is a lot of work left to do but I am sure GMT wants to get this new “Lunch Hour Game”, so named because the play time is 25-40 minutes, out to the gamers as soon as they can. The really good news is that this game is the first in a series of small format, fast playing strategy games called the Final Crisis Series and several of the possible future games were named in the announcement. They plan on releasing games covering such topics as the Berlin Airlift, the Gulf of Tonkin, Remember the Maine, Martin Luther’s Reformation, and the Assassination of Julius Caesar. I have added this game to my growing P500 list and would highly recommend you do the same.
If you are interested in ordering Fort Sumter, it is available on P500 for the reasonable price of $29.00. Here is the link to the game page: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-648-fort-sumter-the-secession-crisis-1860-61.aspx
2. Combat Infantry: World War II Tactical Combat from Columbia Games
Combat Infantry, previously known as K.I.S.S. and Courage, is a fast-paced World War II tactical level game that employs wooden blocks. I have played several Columbia Games offerings, including Richard III The Wars of the Roses and The Last Spike, and really like their games as the rules are easy to understand, the components are great and the game play is really good. I also have come to really like block wargames and appreciate their fog of war elements, as it adds a whole additional level of tension and strategy. The game system for Combat Infantry features innovative and interactive rules for Fire Combat, Close Combat, Morale, and Leaders, and delivers a high level of tactical realism, yet is very playable.
Players command a German or American infantry battalion, composed of three infantry companies and a heavy weapons company. Future expansion sets will include British, Soviet, Italian, and Japanese battalions. Unit types include leaders, rifle squads, machine guns, mortars, anti-tank and tank units. Unlike other tactical level games that I have played (such as Combat Commander), cards are not used to drive the actions of units but units are activated by company and platoon leaders. The game includes four geomorphic maps at a scale of 100 meters per hex and extra maps will be available for separate purchase.
The game is still on Kickstarter for $69.00 and can be found at the following link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/columbiagames/combat-infantry-world-war-2-tactical-block-game
3. Smolensk: Barbarossa Derailed from Multi-Man Publishing
Smolensk: Barbarossa Derailed is the latest game from Multi-Man Publishing in the Operational Combat Series or OCS and covers the campaign along the Moscow Highway during the summer of 1941. This action set the stage for the upcoming Wehrmacht drive on the Soviet capital and due to bitter defense from the Soviet troops, ultimately doomed Barbarossa before it ever really got going. Smolensk is a small and fairly simple entry in the series, with special rules kept to a minimum. Players will enjoy the fact both sides must attack and defend. By the end, they will learn three things about this campaign: the Soviets are more than just punching bags, the Germans are challenged to hold their early gains,
and the road to Moscow will be paved in blood. Seven scenarios are included in the game ranging from the initial action in Vitebsk in July through the final Russian counteroffensive in late August and September.
If you are interested in Smolensk: Barbarossa Derailed, you can pre-order the game on the Multi-Man Publishing site at the following link for the cost of $63.00: http://www.multimanpublishing.com/tabid/59/ProductID/351/Default.aspx
1. Time of Crisis: The Roman Empire in Turmoil, 235-284 AD from GMT Games
This is a game that I didn’t get on the P500 from GMT Games but now that it has come out and I have seen some pictures on social media, I have become very interested and may have to change my mind. I am not a huge fan of the Ancients, and prefer 20th century combat such as World War I and World War II, but have played several that I have enjoyed including Falling Sky: The Gallic Revolt Against Caesar. Time of Crisis sees 2-4 players take the reins of Roman dynasties, gathering and wielding influence among the senate, military, and people of Rome to ensure that their legacies are remembered by history instead of being lost to the mists of time. Starting from control of one province and a few low-value cards, you are challenged to establish your base of power during this fragile period of Roman history. You must build your armies, take control of valuable provinces, develop your support, and defend yourself against barbarian incursions, inopportune events, and the machinations of your political opponents. This game has a little bit of everything in it such as card drafting, battle cards, deck building, dice rolling and hand management and is sure to appeal to all types of wargamers, including those more inclined to Euro games. Another great beneift is that it plays in 2-3 hours. If you are interested in more information, Marco Arnaudo does a really great video on BGG that really sold me on the game. Here is that link: https://boardgamegeek.com/video/139909/time-crisis/video-review
It recently came out on P500 and can be purchased from various online outlets or for $65.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-513-time-of-crisis.aspx
2. Patton’s Vanguard: The Battle of Arracourt, 1944 from Revolution Games
There are very few wargames out that focus on armored battles. I know there are some but I was really drawn into this one because of its promise of providing players with the chance to command mighty armored units in World War II. Patton is a household name in tank command during World War II, and a chance to take his place, at least for a few hours, really appeals to me. Also, I’m going to be honest here. That cover had me the first time I laid eyes on it! As the summer of 1944 drew to a close and Combat Command A of the American 4th Armored Division passed through the French town of Arracourt, the war seemed all but over. It seemed as if nothing could stop the Americans from forcing their way across the German border and reaching the Rhine River. The weather, however, was rapidly deteriorating and Allied air reconnaissance failed to detect a counteroffensive by the German 5th Panzer Army. The stage was set for the largest clash of armor on the western front until the Battle of the Bulge.
Patton’s Vanguard: The Battle of Arracourt, 1944 consists of two quick-playing four turn scenarios depicting the German attempt to drive the Americans from the German border. The first scenario pits two inexperienced German panzer brigades against a confident and veteran Combat Command A. The German side has more armor, including the superior Panther tank, and the poor weather generally favors them, but the American side has more artillery as well as better tactics and leadership. The second scenario pits the experienced German 11th Panzer Division against Combat Command A and the newly arrived Combat Command B, now hampered by restricted fuel supplies. In each scenario both players will be challenged to determine whether it is better to simply attack, or spend valuable time attempting to maneuver in continually changing weather conditions before attacking. Fast, furious, and chess-like, this is a game for players who love concentrated action!
If you are interested, you can buy the game from the Revolution Games website for the reasonable price of $33.00 at the following link: http://www.revolutiongames.us/
3. More Aggressive Attitudes: The 1862 Virginia Campaign from Hollandspiele
More Aggressive Attitudes is an operational-level wargame for two players exploring the 1862 Virginia Campaign during the American Civil War that culminated in the 2nd Battle of Bull Run. Each hex represents a span of five miles, and each turn is a day. The counter density is low – just a handful of units per side – and the rules are simple, but nuanced. The focus is squarely on the operational level, and the ability of your subordinates to carry out your orders – to march a given distance in a day, to avoid battle, or to coordinate their attacks – is not entirely within your control. This uncertainty is simulated by a series of die rolls.
A number of chromey bits effortlessly recreate the particulars of this campaign without ever getting in the way of your decision-making and agency. The result is a compelling operational sandbox for gamers both old and new. One thing that I really am intrigued by is the use of special event chits. Each side has them and they are used at any time by each player to enact their special benefit for your forces or to vex your opponent. They are one shot chits so once they are used they are gone but this gives you a lot of discretion about when to use them to best help your efforts. Really neat design element that adds some variety, randomness and also adds some unpredictability to the game.
Tom Russell has done some really good videos on the game and here is a link to the main game overview video: https://youtu.be/H7Ln969nA9E
If you are interested in ordering More Aggressive Attitudes, it is available for the very reasonable price of $35.00. Here is the link to the game page: https://hollandspiele.com/products/more-aggressive-attitudes
Thanks for checking out our second edition of Wargame Watch where we looked at another slate of really interesting looking wargames. I hope that you have enjoyed reading this post and gained some insight into the type of games that I enjoy playing and am anticipating. If you can think of a game that is worthy of being added to this watch, please leave it in the comments. Until August, get out there and play some great games!
*Quick update from last month’s edition: I went ahead and ordered Fortunate Sons The Anonymous Battle from High Flying Dice Games and have also received my copy from the P500 of Time of Crisis from GMT Games. Look for unboxing videos and initial thoughts after our first plays soon!