Is it December already? Wow. Where has 2017 gone? It feels like just a few weeks ago we were setting ourselves goals we wanted for the website, for our gaming habits and more. There’s been so many great war games out this year, but 2017 is not over, and there’s still a few things to look at in the run up to Christmas. If you missed last month’s Wargame Watch, you can check it out here.
1. Tripods & Triplanes from Ares Games
Tripods & Triplanes is the latest iteration of the ‘Wings of Glory’ system. A game system that already has a lot available, but this one brings H. G. Wells’ War of the Worlds to the table. The background is that in March 1918 a meteor shower over Alsace brings the Martian invaders to earth. A quick truce enables human forces to combat the tripods with a united front.
You can back this game (for 10 more days as of this posting) on kickstarter right now, and why I think that’s a decent idea is because tactical miniature wargames are usually much more expensive at retail. The great part about this game is that it’s not only a tried and tested (and very well established) system, but also a theme that is very unique and will surely be a lot of fun. Wings of War uses movement templates to dogfight on a battle map and is great fun, whilst being fast and furious.
Expected fulfillment is July 2018.
2. Fields of Fire Volume II: “With the Old Breed” from GMT Games
Fields of Fire (Volume I) is a game that I only played for the first time in 2017. I had heard great things about it as a solo game, but waited for the second edition that was released earlier this year. I was not disappointed. Fields of Fire may be one of the crowning solo games of my collection, with it’s detail and decision making that provide excellent, yet realistic stories. One of the great things about Fields of Fire is how much is in the box, but with that said I’ll be all over Volume II because there can never be too much.
Fields of Fire uses a unique playing area that consists of randomly drawn terrain cards (from a preset campaign deck) in a configuration determined by the scenario. This means that every game is different but still realistic. You then manage your company and all of it’s assets in taking objectives, or defending or some other goal. You’ll control platoons and squads of rifle men, heavy weapons teams, mortars, off board artillery, and even Battalion assets like tanks and the like. Volume II covers the Big Red 1 and their campaigns in the Pacific during World War II and the Korean War, so expect a completely new set of terrains and obstacles to work with and navigate around.
If you are interested, here is a link to the game page on the GMT Games’ website where you can pre-order Fields of Fire Volume II for the special P500 price of $55.00: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-432-fields-of-fire-vol-ii-with-the-old-breed.aspx
3. Platoon Commander Deluxe: Kursk from Flying Pig Games
Mark Walker’s games from Flying Pig are now famous for being bumper editions and extremely high quality. Platoon Commander Deluxe: Kursk promises to be no different and be a premium game on the table. The Platoon Commander series, originally from Tiny Battle Publishing, has been given a lot of paint and a big box for your playing pleasure.
The game itself is a fast and furious combat game of combined arms in Kursk on the Eastern Front during World War II. Obviously it’s platoon level, which is quickly becoming a favourite scale of mine. You get a similar tactical feel, without all the crunch of the minutia. This means the game plays quickly, fluidly and it’s simple for anyone to pick up. Conversely you still get great tactical play for the Grogs out there without wading through reams of paper and charts. I can personally attest to the quality of Flying Pig Games products, so I’m excited for their take on another WWII game because the large, easy-to-read counters make them a pleasure to have on the table.
Platoon Commander uses a really cool system where you fire before you move, so you need to have some careful planning in order to execute your maneuvers optimally. Firstly your units fire, one at a time, alternating with your opponents units. Then one player moves all of their units, then the other player moves all of theirs. Rinse and repeat. So you can get into some pretty wild, and furious firefights, but almost all of your units will get to act instead of getting wiped out before you can even activate them. I’m excited for this game because Mr. Walker’s games are always fun. That’s the most important part of any game, and he has yet to let me down.
The game currently is on Kickstarter and has about 10 days left so if you are interested in ordering a copy of Platoon Commander Deluxe: Kursk for $75.00 visit the following link:
Grant did an interview with Mark on the game play earlier this month. The game is expected to be available in March 2018.
1. Next War: Poland from GMT Games
I’ve had my eye on this one for a really long time (read: as long as it’s been on P500). The Next War games are a series of hypothetical shooting wars between current nations in present day situations. The previous titles have covered a Korea, Taiwan and an Indian-Pakistan conflict. The games come with a normal mode, and then an advanced game that really ramps up the complexity, but in doing so gives much richer detail to things like air missions/superiority as well as logistical aspects of a modern war. With that in mind you can tailor this game to suit your needs.
I actually own Next War: Taiwan, because it was the smallest one in the series and I wanted to be able to play it solo without taking an age. These games make excellent solitaire games with little to no hidden information. I was always interested in this title though because the conflict is much closer to home, being from the UK. There’s a healthy number of games covering hypothetical wars between NATO and the Warsaw Pact in the mid 80’s but I’m excited for something using today’s political climate as well as top of the line technological warfare.
This game is currently shipping and is available here for $89.00: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-569-next-war-poland.aspx
Lion Of Judah: The War For Ethiopia, 1935-1941 from Compass Games
Lion of Judah makes the Wargame Watch for it’s unique subject matter. There’s plenty of games out there rehashing Normandy, Barbarossa and other well known conflicts but Compass games have put this title out covering a topic I know that I have never gamed. The game is a breath of fresh air when it comes to what’s actually on my table. There’s a level of familiarity with the unit types on the board (early war Matilda’s and regular infantry units, etc.) but Judah has a lot more to offer than that.
Javier Romero – The designer has put out a few games previously, but this one looks like the most premier one yet. The games comes with two campaigns in it. The first one is the Italian take over in 1935, and then the Commonwealth & Ethiopian recapture in 1940, ousting the Axis forces during the early years of WWII.
What I think this game presents is a unique mixture of regulars with irregular tribal units and artillery that somehow have to fight together in order to achieve their goals. I think the game is a great learning tool, as well as great looking game on the table (Compass games look great: see Saipan: The Bloody Rock) and I will be looking at it very closely.
The game is scheduled for release on December 15th from https://www.compassgames.com/preorders/lion-of-judah-the-war-for-ethiopia-1935-1941.html
3. 878: Vikings – Invasions of England from Academy Games
On the much lighter end of the scale comes 878: Vikings – Invasions of England from Academy Games. I’ve played their Mare Nostrum: Empires and I own Conflict of Heroes which I need to get to the table, but Grant can attest to 878 being yet another quality game from the guys over at Academy. Sure, this is somewhat less of a wargame, and more of a dudes on a map game, but sometimes you need a break from the CRTs and you just want to pile up forces and raid the ancient English coast line!
Academy are just finishing up fulfilling their shipments to the Kickstarter backers and then it’ll be available from their website. This is the kind of war game that I play if I want to not blitz through 30 pages of rules before cracking it out. It’s also a game that doesn’t scare off non-wargamers, so it’s perfect for the holidays when you need to break out a game but Axis and Allies is just “too long”. Grant played the game and you can take a look at some action points about the mechanics here and here. I’m sad I wasn’t there to play, because this one is the newest in the series along with 1775 and 1812, which are established as excellent, light war games.
You can pick this game up here in the next few days:
So there’s a lot going on this month, and this Wargame Watch just barely scratched the surface. I tried to include a multitude of different types of games to expand your collections, from miniatures games, to light wargames, to the heaviest of games you might reasonably ever play. But whatever you do check these ones out, and have a Merry Christmas!