This is now the fourth entry in the Wargame Watch series here on the blog and it has been very successful for us. The entry contains a look at games that have just recently been announced on preorder (or sometimes games that I just missed the announcement or we had too much content for the post and were left off) or that have just hit retail and can be purchased. I try to give you an inside look at these games and find myself scouring the internet to find information wherever I can, either from game pages, social media or Kickstarter pages. It seems that we are now living in a “golden age” for board games, and more specifically for wargames, as there seem to be a lot of publishers being very active and releasing a lot of good content.
With that being said, here is a look at recently(ish) announced 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 from June, you can read it here followed by the 2nd entry in July and the 3rd entry from August. Onto a look at the games:
1. Panzer Grenadier Road to Dunkirk: The British Expeditionary Force, 1940 from Avalanche Press
The furor with Dunkirk is at an all time high with no less than three games on the subject currently out or in pre-order. So, what does Road to Dunkirk from Avalanche Press offer that is different? Well, this game is a tactical game with 47 different scenarios based on the epic battles waged by the British Expeditionary Force or BEF against the Germans in the spring and early summer of 1940. These scenarios are based on the BEF battles and seem to be organized into “battle games” that allow you to play the scenarios in sequential order in an attempt to recreate a larger campaign in order to accomplish various operational goals given to the involved in the battles.
Road to Dunkirk includes 517 die-cut counters that are frankly excellent looking. In looking at them, the information is very clearly presented and the counters have a unique art style that adds depth to play. I love the silhouette choices for the infantry and those tanks look great as well! There are also eight heavy cardstock maps with artwork by Guy Riessen so they match up nicely with those from 1940: The Fall of France, which is a game that I don’t know much about. These maps are very nice looking and seem to provide the feel of World War II, yet provide a good and functional backdrop to play on.
If you are interested in pre-ordering the game, you can visit the gamepage on Avalanche Press’s website at the following link where the game is priced at $89.99: http://www.avalanchepress.com/gameDunkirk.php
2. Guam: Return to Glory from Compass Games
As someone that owns Saipan: The Bloody Rock Volume One in The Marianas Campaign from Compass Games, I can say without hesitation that Guam: Return to Glory looks amazing and will definitely be a game of interest to those that like to simulate the savage amphibious landings from the Pacific Theater of World War II. Designed by Ross Mortell, and using the new Company Scale System designed by Adam Starkweather, the game simulates what was a massive landing on the Island of Guam in July 1944 in an effort to retake the island that was lost to the Japanese in December 1941.
There were many reasons why the Americans decided to invade Guam, not least of which was the fact that the station of the trans-Pacific cable and the naval radio station at Agana made it a focal point of the communication network in the Pacific. It also had the best anchorage in the Marianas, 2 airstrips and, of course, it was an American Protectorate.
The topography of the island was such that it only provided a few suitable beaches for a an invasion and the Japanese knew this. Not only were there only two beaches for landing operations but they were also located 7 miles apart, making a logistical nightmare for planners. As such, the Japanese forces were well dug in and prepared for the attack that would come lending the battle to be one of the more difficult and bloody in the Pacific.
Antonio Pinar Peña has once again been hired to do the maps and counters and he did a great job with Saipan so I expect more of the same in this game. If you are interested, you can still pre-order Guam: Return to Glory on the Compass Games website for the cost of $99.00 at the following link: https://www.compassgames.com/preorders/guam-return-to-glory.html
The game is expected to ship in early September so you better hurry before that price increases.
3. Montélimar The Anvil of Fate from Compass Games
I have to admit that I don’t know much about this game as I just caught it being announced on the Compass Games Facebook page about two weeks ago. They don’t yet have it listed on their pre-order page on their website and there is no other real information out there.
What I do know is that this games uses the new Company Scale System (CSS) designed by Adam Starkweather and the graphic artist is also Antonio Pinar Peña. Here is a blurb from the Compass Games Facebook page from Adam Starkweather about the game: “…with Guam in the bag, my eye is moving over to France in 1944. I have started the research but I also have a few other new games to do before I can return to CSS…but next up for CSS is Montélimar!”
As drawn up by General Patch’s Seventh Army staff, the nucleus of Operation ANVIL would consist of the U.S. VI Corps under Maj. Gen. Lucian Truscott with the U.S. 3d, 36th, and 45th Infantry Divisions, commanded respectively by Maj. Gens. John W. “Iron Mike” O’Daniel, John E. Dahlquist, and William W. Eagles. As shipping schedules and the situation ashore allowed they were to be followed by seven French divisions under the overall command of General Jean de Lattre de Tassigny. As the American divisions had significantly more combat and amphibious experience than their French counterparts, many of which were colonial units only recently organized in French North Africa, it seemed logical for Truscott’s forces to make the initial assault. In fact, the officers and men of both the American corps and its three divisions probably constituted one of the most experienced teams in the Allied camp, in contrast to the many green American divisions that went ashore at Normandy. Most were veterans of the North African, Sicilian, and Italian campaigns who had long become accustomed to working with one another. Their teamwork would prove vital to the success of the ensuing campaign. Logistical considerations were critical for both ANVIL and the ensuing campaign. The Operation had three principal objectives: establish a suitable beachhead; capture the ports of Toulon and Marseille; and drive north to join Eisenhower’s forces.
One to keep an eye out for over the coming months.
1. Red Horde 1920 from Tiny Battle Publishing
Brian Train (A Distant Plain, Colonial Twilight, Tupamaro) is one of my favorite designers and he is very prolific, churning out great games monthly it seems. In Red Horde 1920 from Tiny Battle Publishing, Brian gets a chance to redo one of his older games Konarmiya Year of the Red Tide with updated OOBs, new and updated counters, a new map and added chrome. Red Horde is an operational level game that focuses on the battles between Soviet Russia and Poland following World War I. One of the elements I am really interested in is the use of cavalry, particularly the 1st Cavalry Army which is full of raging Cossacks with their vicious sabers. Brian always does a good job of modeling interesting elements into his games and really has a good eye for details that other designers simply gloss over or lose altogether. We recently posted an interview with Brian discussing the game and the design process and it is a really good read.
If you are interested in Red Horde 1920, you can buy your copy from the publisher Tiny Battle Publishing for $24.00 at the following link: http://tinybattlepublishing.com/products/red-horde-1920
2. Illusions of Glory – The Great War on the Eastern Front from GMT Games
Illusions of Glory: The Great War on the Eastern Front is the latest Card Driven Game to simulate the Great War in Europe and is one in the series of such games as Paths of Glory by Ted Raicer (currently on the P500 for its 6th reprint), which simulates the entire war in Europe and the Middle East and Pursuit of Glory by Brad and Brian Stock, which focuses on the war in the Near East and the Ottoman Empire. Illusions of Glory takes this game system to a new and important locale during World War I, the infamous Eastern Front.
As the game is a CDG, players will use strategy cards to drive the action. These cards, based in historical happenings with game changing events, present the players with a wide array of strategic and operational choices that make the game truly a sandbox as you get to make the decisions that might change the course of WWI. You must decide whether to use each card for its historic event, unit movement, combat, or troop replacements. You must commit your forces to a variety of objectives: winning the dynamic war of maneuver between German-led and Russian armies; seizing the Balkans and its vital objectives; or prevailing in the conflict between Austria-Hungary and Italy. One of the things that I really like about GMT Games and their various games on historical conflicts is that they really know how to put you in a place where you feel the theme of the battle being covered. The counters in this game take me back to WWI and evoke a certain feel simply by their presentation, style, colors and the font chosen for the numbers. I know that might seem silly but CDGs are designed to really take you into the game and these counters are simply choice and help do that amazingly.
If you are interested in a copy of the game, you can buy it for $65.00 at the following link: http://www.gmtgames.com/p-477-illusions-of-glory.aspx
3. Seven Pines; or, Fair Oaks from Hollandspiele
The American Civil War is a well gamed topic but Hollandspiele now takes up the banner and is releasing the first game in their new Shot & Shell Battle Series Seven Pines; or, Fair Oaks which takes a look at the battle fought on May 31st and June 1st, 1862. The battle involved a fairly complex and daring battle plan created by Joseph E. Johnston that required coordinated flank attacks. The attack didn’t go as planned and turned into one of the largest and bloodiest battles in the war up till that point. The series used is based on a brigade force structure and is intended to represent the attrition of units over a period of hard fighting as there are several step counters used for each identified unit. The game is billed as moderate complexity and plays fairly quickly.
I am interested in the unit activation rules as they activate in alternating impulses and actually become more difficult to activate, give support and rally as they move further down the track simulating the difficulty with command and control in a battle. In this great video clip, designer Tom Russell explains the activation track and how it works. https://youtu.be/YRqgQuAfsps
Here Tom gives you a look inside the box at the various components: https://youtu.be/h4wKVyplyFk
If interested, you can buy Seven Pines; or, Fair Oaks from the Hollandspiele website for $45.00 at the following link: https://hollandspiele.com/products/seven-pines-or-fair-oaks
4. Kido Butai: Japan’s Carriers at Midway from Dr. Richter Konflictsimulationen
I am not a huge solitaire gamer but do play them from time to time when they are good games and I cannot find a gaming buddy. Kido Butai: Japan’s Carriers at Midway is a solitaire game covering the attack at Midway on June 4, 1942. But with a twist. In this game, you are playing as the Japanese Tenno Taskforce that only months earlier struck at Pearl Harbor. Your goal is to strike the American base on the Midway Atoll and sink any enemy carrier that you happen upon. This game is a second edition printing and comes with an updated rulebook containing many clarifications as well as several optional rules as well as redesigned counters. I watched a review from the SingleHandedWarfare guy and the game looks very interesting.
If you are interested in buying a copy of Kido Butai, you can find it at the following link on the Dr. Richter Konflictsimulationen website: https://www.richter-kosim.de/epages/78228261.sf/en_GB/?ObjectID=95449692
There are so many games out there right now that look good. Unfortunately, I have a limited amount of funds and time to check them out. But, the games that I highlighted this month are ones that appear to be worthy of some of my money and time. 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 October, get out there and play some great games!