Our Wargame Watch monthly updates just don’t seem to lack for good quality games. It seems that every month there are new games both being released and being announced for pre-order. Recently, there has seen a growing trend of wargames using Kickstarter, which I believe is a great thing. This format will allow small designers and publishers to get their games out there for us to play and I don’t see that as a bad thing. In this month’s Wargame Watch, we are highlighting two games that are currently on Kickstarter.
If you missed last month’s Wargame Watch, you can find it here.
1. Deep War: The World War II Strategy Card Game from Meshlab (Kickstarter)
About 12 days ago, I was contacted on our Facebook page by Massimo Buo who asked if we could assist him in promoting his upcoming Kickstarter campaign for Deep War: The World War II Strategy Card Game. I looked his campaign page over and was immediately interested. Typically, I am not a huge fan of card games but as I dug in a little deeper to Deep War, I saw that the cards were only the vehicle he was using to tell the story of the game and that it actually included many of the strategic and tactical elements of more traditional hex and counter games that I love so much. Players will build their decks to suit a selected commander from their chosen faction. These commanders have skills that you will use to better prosecute war on your opponents. For example, if you choose General Patton, your tanks will cost less to deploy and you will deal more damage when you have more tanks deployed. Players will have a main deck as well as a reserve deck that they will use to move their struggle forward. Supply is also factored into the game and the player will have to skillfully use the various transport cards available to them to keep their troops supplied so they can effectively fight by increasing their manpower levels throughout the game.
The cards are absolutely gorgeously illustrated and represent all types of units, including tanks, infantry, artillery, vehicles, planes, bombers, battleships and submarines. I really like the choice the designer made to go with art rather than historical pictures as the illustrations really bring the cards to life and appear to add a lot of color and flavor to the experience.
If you are interested in Deep War: The World War II Strategy Card Game, you can back a copy at the following link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/439243632/deep-war-the-wwii-card-game-amidst-colors-and-curi-0
The Kickstarter campaign still has 11 days remaining and it is currently just under halfway to funding, with 153 backers who have committed $10,325. I recommend that you check out the video as it is also very well done.
2. Dual Powers: Revolution 1917 from Thunderworks Games (Kickstarter)
Dual Powers: Revolution 1917 is an area control strategy game for 1-2 players. Each player directs the forces of either the conservative Provisional Government or the socialist activists of the Petrograd Soviet in a struggle for power and influence that will shape Russia’s future and either launch or suppress the impending civil war.
A euro like game where players will fight over the control of territory and try to influence the people to choose their philosophy to guide Russia, players will use a hand of command cards and leaders to recruit units, move those units around the board to control areas, manage the calendar and use the special abilities of their leaders to gain an advantage. Only certain regions will score each round and players will spend their time trying to bolster their sides influence in that area as the side with the highest strength will win in each region. Players can also use the barricade to limit how opposition units can enter certain areas making it harder for them to gain influence.
A classic Twilight Struggle-esque game of tug of war with the end goal being the control of the future of Russia.
If you are interested in Dual Powers: Revolution 1917, you can back a copy at the following link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1152516291/dual-powers-revolution-1917-a-board-game-for-1-2-p
The Kickstarter campaign still has 7 days remaining and is currently just $5,500 away from their $30,000 goal, with 153 backers who have committed $24,571.
3. Rostov ’41: Race to the Don from Multi-Man Publishing
Rostov ‘41: Race to the Don is a Standard Combat Series (SCS) game covering the bold move by Army Group South to take Rostov in the late fall of 1941. Amazingly, the attack succeeded, resulting, however, in the Germans being isolated at the end of a logistical shoestring. The regrouping Red Army, stung from a long series of defeats, saw this as the perfect opportunity to launch its first coordinated attack of the war, thus paving the way for the Moscow Counteroffensive just a few weeks later.
Rostov ‘41 covers the historical action in turns representing 3 to 6 days and at a map scale of 2.5 miles per hex. Units consist of battalions to divisions. Low counter density and a wide-open map bring all the action and possibilities to light in some wild gameplay.
The German player must use his limited and overstretched forces to pull off a brilliant coup. Playing it safe won’t cut it; speed is all-important and must be used to crush the Russian defenses quickly before they can gain the mass to launch their impending counter attack.
The Russian player must strategically conserve his forces as the German rapier expends its energy in the initial attacks. While the capture of Rostov requires a lot of skill and some luck on the German part, the Russians will have to use their units to their greatest advantage to hold on. Derailing that German drive can easily consume precious forces needed for your main effort: that of turning the tables on the Germans and taking back great swaths of the Motherland.
If you are interested in Rostov ’41: Race to the Don, you can pre-order a copy for the price of $33.00 at the following link: http://www.multimanpublishing.com/Products/tabid/58/ProductID/357/Default.aspx
We were fortunate enough to do an interview with the game designer Raymond Weiss late last year and you can gain some great insight into the game by reading that exchange.
4. Atlantic Chase from GMT Games
From designer Jerry White (Enemy Coast Ahead: The Dambuster Raid and Enemy Coast Ahead: The Doolittle Raid), Atlantic Chase simulates the naval campaigns fought in the North Atlantic between the surface fleets of the Royal Navy and the Kriegsmarine between 1939 and 1942. It utilizes a system of trajectories to model the fog of war that bedeviled the commands during this period. Just as the pins and strings adorning Churchill’s wall represented the course of the ships underway, players arrange trajectory lines, using colored wooden sticks, across the shared game board, each line representing a task force’s path of travel. Without resorting to dummy blocks, hidden movement, or a double-blind system requiring a referee or computer, players experience the uncertainty endemic to this period of naval warfare. This system also has the benefit of allowing the game to be played solitaire, and to be played quickly.
The really interesting part of this game is that there are no traditional turns. The player that has Initiative will activate their taskforces to take actions and do so until they lose the Initiative. The game will continue in this fashion until the operations are completed. Battles will be hard to initiate, as you must first find the enemy, and they are not long or overly involved as players will have various tricks at their disposal including aerial searches, aerial attacks, evasive maneuvers and break away attempts.
The game comes with counters but also with wooden “sticks” and cylinders for each player representing their task forces. Players will not know what each taskforce contains as the ships included will be contained on a hidden off board display. I must say that this game looks very interesting and I am ready to do some research into the game mechanics so I can get a better feel for how it all works. Alexander has already reached out to Jerry for an interview. Look for that upcoming!
If you are interested in Atlantic Chase, you can pre-order a copy for the reasonable P500 price of $45.00 at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-706-atlantic-chase.aspx
5. Tinian: The Forgotten Battle from Compass Games
Volume 3 in The Marianas Campaign series from Compass Games, Tinian: The Forgotten Battle takes players to a lesser known and overshadowed battle of the Pacific Theater of World War II. Most people have never heard of the Battle of Tinian. With the larger Battle of Saipan to the north and the Invasion of Guam to the south, Tinian seems like a small side show that had no real impact on the war. Some people may hear the name and remember that the B-29s, the ones that dropped the atomic bombs on Japan, flew from there but for the rest it has become a minor part of military history – a forgotten battle.
And yet Admiral Raymond A. Spruance, said of the invasion of Tinian:
“In my opinion, the Tinian operation was probably the most brilliantly conceived and executed amphibious operation in World War II.”
Tinian: The Forgotten Battle is a perfect introduction to Adam Starkweather’s Company Scale System (CSS) that also appeared in Saipan The Bloody Rock and Guam – Return to Glory. Played on a single map it will include 3 scenarios and 3 campaign games.
If you haven’t experienced one of those other games, this series has included all of the elements that have become a part of the lore of the bloody battle in the Pacific with the Japanese including Caves, Beach Landings, Naval Support, Air Support, Sealing Caves, Mines, Japanese Tenacity, Inter-service Rivalry, Banzai Charges, Japanese Naval guns, Flamethrowers, Napalm, Under water demolition Teams, Aerial Reconnaissance, Tropical Storms, Japanese Knee Mortars AND drunken Japanese Admirals. There are also rules for additional Japanese troops that could have been on the island if you wish to make it tougher on the Americans.
If you are interested in Tinian: The Forgotten Battle, you can pre-order a copy for the reasonable price of $75.00 at the following link: https://www.compassgames.com/preorders/tinian.html
1. The Wars of Marcus Aurelius from Hollandspiele
170 CE. Plague ravages the Empire. With the Legions depleted by disease and spread thin across the endless frontier, opportunistic Germanic tribes and fierce Sarmatian raiders strike across the Danube deep into Imperial territory. To face this threat, the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, an untested commander who has never set foot outside of Italy, must transform himself from an introspective philosopher into a cunning warrior and fearless leader.
This debut game from filmmaker and designer Robert DeLeskie was created for BoardGameGeek’s annual Wargame PNP Contest, where it was crowned the Overall Winner. Additionally it won all but one of the other categories in which it competed, including Best Rules, Most Original Concept, Best Solitaire Game, Best Strategic Scale Game, and Best Short/Quick/Small Game.
Working with Hollandspiele’s development team and playtesters, Mr. DeLeskie has expanded upon his original design, resulting in a richer and more varied decision space that rewards repeated plays and multiple strategies. Plus the game is solitaire so it provides players who have difficulty finding opponents an interesting and challenging game to play on their own.
If you are interested in a copy of The Wars of Marcus Aurelius, you can order one from the Hollandspiele website for $45.00 at the following link: https://hollandspiele.com/products/wars-of-marcus-aurelius
2. The Battle of Blenheim 1704 from Legion Wargames
The Battle of Blenheim 1704 is a tactical level two player game covering one of the pivotal battles during the War of Spanish Succession. One player takes the role of Marlborough, commanding the British and Allied forces, and the other of Tallard, leading the Franco-Bavarians. At Blenheim, Marlborough found himself confronted by a superior Franco-Bavarian force in a strong defensive position. Like Hannibal’s great victory at Cannae, Blenheim was won by the successful implementation of a bold and imaginative plan. The flanks of the Franco-Bavarian forces were pinned by furious attacks at unfavorable odds which denied their centre of troops the option to re-deploy to buttress the hard-pressed wings. Then Marlborough released his cavalry to smash what was left of Franco-Bavarian centre and cleave Tallard’s army into two. The threat that Louis XIV’s France would come to dominate Europe was over.
The Seven Hex System (SHS) derives its name from the map which is divided into areas comprising of seven hexes which enables the player to adopt various positions within an area to reflect different tactical formations thereby making it more likely that an attack will succeed or defending units will stand firm. The SHS incorporates several unique features intended to replicate in a simple and intuitive way the options available to a commander of a large army. So whilst the commander has complete freedom to devise a plan, and a good deal when positioning units which have yet to encounter the enemy, once battle is joined the options become increasingly limited and unforeseen events can play a part in determining the outcome. Nonetheless, even at a tactical level a commander’s decisions are crucial in shaping events.
If you are interested in a copy of The Battle of Blenheim 1704, you can order one from the Legion Wargames’ website for $42.00 at the following link: http://legion-wargames2.mybigcommerce.com/blenheim-1704/
3. Price of Honor: The Battle of Callao, May 6, 1866 from High Flying Dice Games
We were able to interview the designer Paul Rohrbaugh on this game as it really looked interesting. I have a growing fascination with naval based games and this one seems to have some very interesting and unique situations that players will have to deal with.
During the U.S. Civil War the nations of Bolivia, Peru and Chile formed an alliance to deny Spain, their former colonial master, access to their extensive nitrate deposits. Anti-Spanish riots and atrocities followed, and the Spanish dispatched a squadron of warships, led by their new ironclad battleship Numancia, to demonstrate Spanish resolve and threaten intervention. This was a direct threat to the U.S. government’s Monroe Doctrine, and a squadron of U.S. ironclads was also sent to the region. A Royal Navy Squadron was also dispatched, making this “hot spot” a very interesting, and potentially deadly place. The Spanish must attack static defense on land and also avoid the plethora of enemy ships in the water. This game is very chaotic and includes so many different dangers to each side including mines, submarines, shallow water, wind and critical hits that can damage a ship’s steering and make them helpless in the water, which makes them an inviting target for a ramming attack.
If you are interested in a copy of Price of Honor: The Battle of Callao, you can obtain one at the following link: http://www.hfdgames.com/callao.html
4. Malvern Hill from Tiny Battle Publishing
I also have a growing interest in American Civil War games and Tom Russell has designed some really interesting ones including Seven Pines. The Blood Before Richmond series of games recreates some of the Seven Days Battles fought between George B. McClellan’s Army of the Potomac and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, under its daring new commander, Robert E. Lee. McClellan squandered a numerical advantage by demonstrating what would become a characteristic knack for turning tactical victories into strategic failures. Lee’s ambitious battle plans were hindered by subordinates who seemed incapable of carrying them out, chief among them, oddly, the usually exemplary Stonewall Jackson. If either side had been up to snuff, the war might have been decided in Late June 1861. Malvern Hill is the concluding game in this series of quick-playing, medium-complexity games about these fascinating and overlooked battles of the American Civil War.
The fifth and final game in the series brings the last engagement of the Battles of the Seven Days to light, where having lost his chance to envelop the Army of the Potomac, Lee now faced an enemy firmly entrenched atop Malvern Hill.
A modified 2d6 die roll determines which Confederate Divisions activate on a given turn. Divisions that didn’t pull their weight historically are less likely to show up than those that did most of the fighting. It’s a simple, clever, and elegant way to recreate the difficulties Lee had during the Seven Days, and it creates the frustrating and tantalizing possibility that Jackson could do something if he’d only show up.
Another interesting part of the design is the way that units take reductions. Flipping a counter over when you take a hit doesn’t capture the feel of bloody infantry collisions or the horrifying impact of artillery fire. The unique “stack of steps” system uses Step Counters stacked beneath the ID Counter to account for brutal attrition and devastating wipe-outs
This game has a ton of counters as well with 176 total. Great art by Ilya Kudriashov (as is usual). If you are interested in a copy of Malvern Hill, you can obtain one from the following link for the great price of $20.00: https://tinybattlepublishing.com/products/malvern-hill
This month’s edition of Wargame Watch has been fun to put together! I can tell you that there are at least another 5 or 6 games that I would love to include in this list but just didn’t have room for. If I missed a game that you are very interested in, please let me know about it in the comments so I can also check it out. Thanks for reading.