This month’s edition of Wargame Watch includes a pretty eclectic group of games. What I mean by that is the games I chose to highlight are not your traditional, hex and counter, dice rolling wargames. Don’t get me wrong, I still highlighted some of those in this post, but there were just a lot of game this month that are a little different….and in my mind, different is good! If you missed last month’s Wargame Watch, you will also see what I mean by more traditional wargames, as that highlighted some monsters, such as Thunder in the East from Victory Point Games, Stalin’s Final War: What if the Soviet Union Attacked in 1953? from One Small Step Games and Stalingrad: Verdun on the Volga from Last Stand Games.
These different games appear to be more geared toward the Euro board game player, similar to how the COIN Series from GMT Games has used some of these familiar mechanics and components, to appeal to a wider audience than your older Panzer pushing crowd!
So, with that in mind, I ask you to keep an open mind, breath in these new games, many of which are being offered on Kickstarter, and enjoy the ride. You never know. You may find something that you just can’t live without and that is what this list if for after all.
1. SHAEF: The Liberation of Western Europe from D-Day to the Rhine from PSC Games
As you know, I really enjoy Card Driven Games and the World War II era. Most of the wargames I play revolve around the subject and I own and have played a lot of CDGs. SHAEF: The Liberation of Western Europe from D-Day to the Rhine is a new CDG from PSC Games and designed by Ian Brody who created the Quartermaster General series. The game is a 2-player game where one player takes the role of SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force) commanded by Dwight D. Eisenhower, and the other player controls the Axis defense against the Allied invasion. The game covers the time period of June 1944 through March 1945. The Allied player’s goal is to control at least two of four key locations in Germany before the end of March 1945. If they are unable to do so, the Axis wins. Simple as that.
The game doesn’t use hexes or counters in the traditional sense, as the armies involved are represented by standees on the map with off board cards detailing the various units composing the army.
Each player has various cards that can be used in different ways. First, they can be used for their Op Points which are printed in the upper left corner of the cards. These Op Points can be used to take various actions for a cost including to invade certain areas on the map that will have a printed cost shown on the map, to move supply markers, change orders at the HQ level, etc. These cards can also be used to react to the other players actions which provides some flexibility. Players will get to take 3 movement and 2 combat actions each turn as well as worrying about supply lines.
If you are interested in SHAEF, you can visit the Kickstarter page at the following link for more information or to back the game: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1992455033/ian-brodys-shaef
As of the writing of this post, the campaign still has 6 days to go and is nearly funded. The estimated delivery is June 2018.
2. Wing Leader: Eagles 1943-1945 from GMT Games
We thoroughly enjoy games focused on the air war. The Wing Leader series from GMT Games and designed by Lee Brimmicombe-Wood is a fantastically detailed series that includes lots of great options, including various models of aircraft, as well as tons of scenarios. The 2nd expansion to the series is Wing Leader: Eagles 1943-1945 which focuses on late World War II aircraft and includes a new Rabaul campaign.
The expansion boasts a lot of new aircraft which will include the German Me 210 and He 177, the Soviet Yak-3, Yak-9U and La-7, the Japanese Ki-44 and Ki-100 fighters, as well as key late-war Swedish aircraft, including the J 22, B 17 and B 18. Counters for Finnish and Hungarian fighters make their debut in the game.
But, if you want this expansion, you will need a copy of Wing Leader: Supremacy 1943-1945 to play. In addition to new aircraft and scenarios, Wing Leader: Eagles features a new campaign game, which recreates the 5th Air Force campaign against Rabaul in late 1943. The campaign comes with its own 11 x 17” campaign map, and will confront the American and Japanese players with tough decisions on targeting, force planning and raid execution in the lead-up to the invasion of Bougainville.
If you are interested in Wing Leader: Eagles 1943-1945, you can preorder a copy for the affordable P500 price of $27.00: http://www.gmtgames.com/p-679-wing-leader-eagles.aspx
3. UBOOT: The Board Game from Phalanx Games
One more atypical wargame that I chose to highlight this month is UBOOT: The Board Game from Phalanx Games. The game is billed as a cooperative experience of World War II submarine warfare and really has some exceptionally cool looking components. 1 to 4 players take the roles of the Captain, the First Officer, the Navigator, and the Chief Engineer on board of a type VIIC U-boat. The game is enhanced by a companion app, allowing for an unprecedented level of realism, as well as a challenging enemy A.I. which will push the players’ skills to the limit. The action unfolds both on the strategic and the tactical scale, always demanding teamwork, efficient crew management, and quick situation assessment.
I think this game looks really interesting and I like the idea of actually using the 3D model of the submarine as you move your miniatures around the boat taking your various actions. I also am intrigued by the use of the app, which appears to determine the types of ships that the submarine will encounter on their tours. This should lend some realism to the game and also some replayability as it will make each play different. Really unique looking game that has some potential to be really fun and interesting.
Here is a look at some of the navigational components as well. I really am interested in how this works, not because I love math, but I find it very interesting and want to see how it plays out in a game.
If you are interested in UBOOT: The Board Game, you can preorder a copy on the Kickstarter page that still has 13 days for the campaign: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/phalanxgames/uboot-the-board-game?ref=ct0637
The campaign is already funded and is expected to be delivered in December 2018.
4. Corsair Leader from Dan Verssen Games
**This Kickstarter campaign ends tonight (Thursday, February 1st) at 7:00pm.
DVG is known for their Leader Series of games, which are solitaire wargames focused on various aspects of modern wars and include such titles as Phantom Leader, Thunderbolt Apache Leader and Sherman Leader. In Corsair Leader, players will have the opportunity to get into the cockpits of World War II era Navy and Marine fighters to battle the Japanese in the Pacific Theater. This is the first Leader series game covering the airwar during World War II.
The game is solitaire only and is very flexible as you can set up a mission in around 20 minutes and typically these missions play through to completion in 30-60 minutes. You first choose a campaign such as the following picture of the battle over Wake Island.
You then get to choose your aircraft as well as the pilots who will fly and you are ready to go. This game has a lot of options, which is always a positive thing in any game for replayability.
The aerial dogfighting in the game is really innovative and allows the player to select a maneuver, adjust their position and then try to shoot down the enemy bandits. The bandits will be rated differently, as some will be novice to ace, and the really cool part is that when you shoot down the aces pilots, they will be removed from the campaign so there is some legacy style elements included for some added realism and customization. The player will also be able to go after naval targets, which will be a new experience and challenge for players that are different that dogfighting.
The following campaigns are included in the base game and more will be unlocked throughout the campaign:
- Marines – Wake Island 1941
- Navy – Midway 1942
- Marines – Guadalcanal 1942
- Marines – New Georgia 1943
- Navy – Battle of Leyte Gulf 1944
- Marines – Rabaul 1944
If you are interested in Corsair Leader, the Kickstarter campaign ends today and you better hurry in order to get an order in. You can follow this link to the campaign page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/11606594/corsair-leader?ref=consimworld
The campaign was successfully funded and is expected to be delivered in July 2018.
1. Horse & Musket Expansion: Sport of Kings from Hollandspiele
The Horse & Musket series designed by Sean Chick has an aim to trace the development of battlefield tactics, doctrine, and technology from the end of the 17th century to the middle of the 19th over the course of six volumes. This second volume picks up where Dawn of an Era left off, covering 1721-1748. Large armies of well drilled infantry used volley fire and bayonet charges in set piece battles. Horsemen were used almost exclusively for charges, and artillery was increasingly mobile. Great commanders such as Nader Shah and Maurice de Saxe left their stamp on military history. The period also saw the emergence of Frederick II of Prussia, known to most as Frederick the Great.
As is usual with these fantastic game designs coming out of Hollandspiele, this game is very unique and covers a period of history that I have not yet played many games about. If you are interested in a copy of the Horse & Musket Expansion: Sport of Kings, you can visit the Hollandspiele website at the following link and buy one for $45.00: https://hollandspiele.com/products/horse-musket-sport-of-kings
2. Depths of Courage Volume 7 The Attack on Gibraltar Harbor, December, 1941 from High Flying Dice Games
Once again, High Flying Dice Games is doing their thing, delving into lesser known conflicts, and bringing us fun and playable little games from history. Paul Rohrbaugh has been working on a new series of solo play format games called Depths of Courage, which revolve around small 1 and 2 man submarines and their operations during major wars including the Civil War, World War I and World War II and beyond. The two volumes that are currently in the works, and were just recently released at the end of December, are Volume 7: The Attack on Gibraltar Harbor, December, 1941 and Volume 8: The Attack on Algeciras Harbor, July – December, 1942.
The active player takes on the role of the commanders of the three or four, two-man crew S.L.C (siluro lenta corsa) Maiale (Pig) class mini-submarines. You must endeavor to overcome the Allied defenses and night-time visibility to inflict as much damage as possible before being killed, captured or escaping.
Here is a link to Volume 7 The Attack on Gibraltar Harbor, December, 1941 where you can buy a copy for the very affordable price of $7.95: http://www.hfdgames.com/gibraltar.html
3. Depths of Courage Volume 8 The Attack on Algeciras Harbor, July – December, 1942 from High Flying Dice Games
And the next volume in this series of solitaire games focused on submarine operations is Volume 8 Attack on Algeciras Harbor, July – December, 1942. Alexander was able to play this game and wrote a great little review to give you a feel for the game, how it plays and what to expect. One word of caution, the components are solid, especially the art drawn by Dariucz Buraczewski, but they are akin to what you would get with a print and play version of a game. The counters will require you to get out your scissors and do a little art project, but they look fine for a solitaire game. Just remember that price point….this is not an expensive and high produced game. The quality is in the narrative and the gameplay that this series is sure to provide you.
Here is a link to Volume 8 Attack on Algeciras Harbor, July – December, 1942 where you can buy a copy for $7.95: http://www.hfdgames.com/algeciras.html
4. Red Star White Eagle: The Russo-Polish War, 1920 Designer Signature Edition from Compass Games
Quality, that is what sets this game apart. This edition of a classic wargame designed by David Williams is remastered and updated with this all-new, supersized edition. Celebrated by many as one of the finest and often sought-after game titles ever produced by Game Designers’ Workshop (GDW, 1979) on a fascinating, almost forgotten conflict that would determine the course of European history for the next twenty years or more. This edition of Red Star/White Eagle is one of the new Designer Signature Edition treatments from Compass Games and provides a full update to the GDW 1979 release that honors the original game design. All aspects of the game are being enhanced, including rules, charts and tables, map, and counters, based on years of player experience and feedback. One example is adding initial set-up and reinforcement entry codes to all units to ease set-up and play. I enjoy this assistive element but I know some wargame purists do not as they then have to look at this code the entire game. Play time can vary with three scenarios provided as well as the Campaign Game. While suitable for solitaire play and designed as a two-player game, the Campaign game is credited as allowing for up to three players (with two playing the Russian side). The game has also been supersized by featuring a larger playing surface (two maps) and larger 5/8” counters to deliver an optimal play experience that can be completed in a single sitting.
If you are interested in a copy of Red Star White Eagle, you can order one from the following link for the price of $57.00: https://www.compassgames.com/preorders/red-star-white-eagle-the-russo-polish-war-1920-designer-signature-edition.html
That brings us to the close of another month’s Wargame Watch. I am really looking forward to some of these games and cannot wait to give them a try. I love wargames, and I especially love thematic wargames that aid in telling a great narrative. I see a lot of potential for great narrative in several of these offerings and hope that you give some of them a try.