Another busy month on the wargaming front! I am excited about several of the titles that are on this list this month and just have to do the hard thing now and prioritize which ones I will spend my limited dollars on, which is never an easy task! It didn’t seem that there were many games offered on Kickstarter this time around but I know that there are several coming up this summer, such as Crowbar! The Rangers at Pointe Du Hoc from Flying Pig Games, The Shores of Tripoli from Kevin Bertram, Until the Bitter End from new designer and wargame artist Matt White, amongst others.
So sit back and enjoy our look at the wargames of June. If you missed last month’s Wargame Watch, you can find it here.
1. Old School Tactical Ghost Front Belgium, 1944 from Flying Pig Games
Ghost Front is the second expansion to Old School Tactical Vol 2, covering the German’s Ardennes offensive of 1944. We really found OST to be a very playable and realistic system that has big beautiful counters and fantastic options for players. OST Vol 2 covers the Western Front and includes Americans and the first expansion Airborne provides the elite units of the 101st and 82nd Airborne divisions. Ghost Front now takes players to the Ardennes in December 1944 to fight against the desperate Germans as they try one last time to push back the advancing Allies. I mean who doesn’t want to play tactical combat in the Battle of the Bulge? I know I do and am really looking forward to this expansion.
This boxed expansion includes:
- 1 x 30″ x 41″ mounted game board.
- 1 full sheet of 102 counters including new SS units, StuG IIIs, Panzer IV/70 tank destroyers, the American Jumbo Sherman, M5 and M1 anti-tank guns, and more.
- 11 new scenarios including, Lausdell Crossroads, Knocking on the Door, Cat and Mouse, Greif I, Dom Butgenbach, Stand at St. Vith, Nuts!, Joyeux Noel, Daredevil Tankers, and Peiper’s Chariots.
- a sharp-looking box to put it all in.
Remember, you must own Old School Tactical Volume 2 to play this game as it is an expansion. If you are interested in Old School Tactical Ghost Front Belgium, 1944, you can pre-order a copy for the price of $40.00 at the following link: https://flyingpiggames.com/products/ghost-front
The game is expected to ship during the 3rd quarter of 2018.
2. Versailles 1919 from GMT Games
Alexander and I are both huge fans of Churchill: Big Three Struggle for Peaceand we both love the conference mechanic in this game. The strategizing and outmaneuvering that takes place is simply delightful and really gives players the feeling of bargaining over issues that are important to each faction. In Versailles 1919, a similar concept is carried over with some new mechanics, including a card bidding mechanic. From the game page, we read the following:
On November 11th, 1918 an armistice halted the killing field that was The War to End All Wars. To make peace, Woodrow Wilson (United States), David Lloyd George (United Kingdom), and Vittorio Orlando (Italy), were hosted by President George Clemenceau (France) in Paris, and sat down to write what would become the Versailles Treaty. The treaty was signed on June 28, 1919, after six months of acrimonious debate and bargaining between the great powers.
Versailles 1919, created by designers Mark Herman and Geoff Engelstein, allows you to experience this piece of history as one of the four leaders with a national agenda that must be satisfied. As one of the Big Four, you sit in a conference room gaining influence on the issues present in the room. Hovering in the waiting room sit other issues and personages who are waiting their turn to make their case to meet regional aspirations such as self-determination. Will you support Ho Chi Minh’s attempt to free Vietnam from French colonialism? Help Prince Feisal establish a new nation in Mesopotamia or Chaim Weitzman create a Zionist state? Work with TE Lawrence to reduce unrest in the Middle East or with Ataturk in Anatolia?
This game is designed as a more accessible and easy to learn version than Churchill but still will generate significant interest from wargamers who have enjoyed Mark’s other creations in this area. Also, the game will have a solitaire system included.
If you are interested in Versailles 1919, you can secure a copy for the P500 pre-order price of $59.00 at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-711-versailles-1919.aspx
3. Prelude to War: Europe 1936-1939 from Legion Wargames
I am a huge fan of wargames that focus on the buildup prior to World War II, including the military, political and economic aspects of the period. Games like Triumph & Tragedy and the upcoming Cataclysm from GMT Games are really interesting to me. Prelude to War: Europe 1936-1939 is a game in this mold and is a detailed historical simulation game, fast-paced and very interactive, that recreates the political, diplomatic and military maneuvering that preceded the outbreak of the Second World War.
Players advance their goals through actions such as Diplomacy, Appeasement, Intimidation, Agitation, Pact Offers, Embargo Enforcement, Military Aid, Minor Country Conflict Arbitration, Regime Consolidation, Annexations, Partitions, or Military Invasions. In addition to exploring a number of alternative, but plausible, courses of history, the game focuses on detailing the chain of events that lead to the various crises, the inner workings behind their resolutions, and the various aspects of their consequences. The diplomatic wrangling and muscle-flexing between the major powers is translated into a “challenge” mechanism where players stake national pride and international credibility until one side caves in, or the escalation culminates in a final “test of nerves” that determines the victor. The resolution of these challenges does not involve any dice rolling and is essentially a mind game based on bluff and risk-management.
The designer, Serge Bettencourt, has reached out to us and I am trying to coordinate an interview to discuss the game. I will keep you posted on our progress.
If you are interested in Prelude to War: Europe 1936-1939, you can secure a copy for the CPO pre-order price of $90.00 at the following link: http://www.legionwargames.com/legion_PTW.html
4. FITNA – The Global War in the Middle East from Nuts! Publishing
FITNA (Schism in Arabic) – The Global War in the Middle East is a two to six-player grand strategic level card driven wargame depicting the military confrontations in the Middle East since 2012, up to the near future. Among 10 historical and hypothetical scenarios, players can simulate the war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the Kurdish Rebellion, the Sunni versus Shia confrontation as well as Russian, Turkish, Israeli and Western intervention in the region. ISIS troops are activated through Event cards.
This wargame allows you to have a clearer view of the local protagonists’ goals and a real understanding of what is going on in this chaotic area. This is why it is used by experts and analysts of the French Ministry of Defence to test prospective scenarios, as the iconic Gulf Strike used to be by U.S. experts to plan the Gulf War.
If you don’t find that description intriguing, I don’t know what to tell you. This game simply looks awesome and I am VERY interested in it.
Each turn represents two months of real time and is divided into several phases allowing players to play events, to take reinforcements, to check supply, to spend operational points, to move units (mostly brigades and divisions) and to launch offensives. Each player gets 4 cards in hand allowing him or her to use them carefully either for creating events, spending operational points or supporting battles.
If you are interested in FITNA: The Global War in the Middle East, you can secure a copy for the pre-order price of approximately $42.50 at the following link: http://www.nutspublishing.com/eshop/fitna-en
1. Roads to Gettysburg II: Lee Strikes North from Multi-Man Publishing
I love a good game on the American Civil War. Volume XI of the Great Campaigns of the American Civil War (GCACW) series, Roads to Gettysburg II: Lee Strikes North covers some of the most famous campaigns of the Civil War in a single module that represents the largest collection of content ever produced for the award-winning series. Based on previously published materials, each of the three campaigns included in Roads to Gettysburg II has been revised, repackaged, and rebalanced for improved play:
- Here Come the Rebels Here Come the Rebels (which covers the 1862 Antietam Campaign) has had each Basic Game scenario rebalanced, one new scenario added, and a full reworking of the victory conditions for the two Advanced Game scenarios.
- Roads to Gettysburg Roads to Gettysburg (which covers the 1863 Gettysburg Campaign) includes five new scenarios, four rebalanced existing scenarios, and a significantly revised Advanced Game that covers the full scope of Lee’s invasion of Pennsylvania.
- Rebels in the White House Rebels in the White House (which covers Early’s 1864 Raid on Washington) is a quick-playing module that was originally included in the Skirmisher II magazine and has now been fully brought up to current publication standards.
If you are interested in Roads to Gettysburg II: Lee Strikes North, you can order a copy for the price of $176.00 at the following link: http://www.multimanpublishing.com/tabid/58/CategoryID/21/ProductID/311/Default.aspx
I know the price is a little steep, but the box is literally chock full of wargaming goodness.
2. Atlanta is Ours from Multi-Man Publishing
Atlanta Is Ours is the next game in the award-winning Great Campaigns of the American Civil War (GCACW) series. The two maps included with the game are done by the original map artist Charlie Kibler. The military unit counters have been redesigned by Charlie as well to harken back to the counters in the original games in the series but with a more modern graphical treatment.
Atlanta Is Ours contains an updated version of the GCACW Standard Basic Game Rules that all the other games in the series use. The Advanced Game rules are also standardized so players will be able to move quickly from one campaign to the other.
The game also includes fourteen Basic Game scenarios and five Advanced Game campaigns, all extensively playtested. My guess is that this is a game that you could play consistently for a year and not necessarily make it through all the scenarios.
The counters also have been re-mastered and I think they look really amazing. I love the historical portraits used on the leader counters.
If you are interested in Atlanta is Ours, you can order a copy for the price of $140.00 at the following link: http://www.multimanpublishing.com/tabid/58/CategoryID/21/ProductID/345/Default.aspx
3. Blood on the Ohio: The Northwest Indian War, 1789-1794 from Compass Games
Blood on the Ohio: The Northwest Indian War, 1789-1794 presents the late 17th century struggle between a coalition of Indian tribes led by Little Turtle and the American Army to determine control of the then Ohio territory. Known as the Northwest Indian War, Little Turtle’s War and Washington’s Indian War, this was the first major challenge to President Washington and his army following the conclusion of the Revolutionary War. Spanning from 1785 to 1795, the conflict grew out of a dispute over territorial boundaries following the war, aggravated by settlers flooding across the Ohio to claim Ohio lands then in possession of Native American nations.
The Miami and Shawnee were the principal tribes involved but in time they created a loose alliance with numerous other tribes and together they dealt the U.S. the worst defeat by Indians in the history of our Indian Wars. Washington sent three separate expeditions against them. The first two were handily defeated. The third and final expedition, led by General “Mad” Anthony Wayne, ended the conflict with his victory at The Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794.
This design is similar to King Phillip’s War, also designed by John Poniske, and published by Multi-Man Publishing in 2010. It uses point to point movement, using a three dice simultaneous battle system with variable reinforcements on both sides, special action points, alliances and treaties, and frustratingly undependable American militia. The American army operates out of forts, the Indians out of villages. Every two turns both players enter into winter quartering, which in effect resets the board. Destroyed Indian villages are relocated while additional forts and settlements may be built as the game progresses. Indians have the option to raid which is a quick and simple mechanism that adds color to the game. The action is hardly battle-line simple. Engagements are widespread and chaotic with surprises at every turn. Four scenarios are included – one per historical expedition with a campaign game that encompasses all three. Low counter density with quick and tense game play and simple rules which are intuitive and easy to learn. I love a game about this time period in history and also have really come to enjoy John Poniske as his designs also take a fresh and new look at ways to carry out a wargame.
For more information about the game, as well as a deeper look at the design and components, you can read our interview with the designer John Poniske.
If you are interested in Blood on the Ohio: The Northwest Indian War, 1789-1794, you can order a copy for the price of $46.00 at the following link: https://www.compassgames.com/preorders/blood-on-the-ohio-the-northwest-indian-war-1789-1794.html
4. Supply Lines of the American Revolution: The Southern Strategy from Hollandspiele
Supply Lines of the American Revolution: The Northern Theater, 1775-1777 was a fantastic game that debuted in 2017 and went on to be a surprise success for Hollandspiele (I know that because Tom told me in a recent interview we did with him covering The Southern Strategy.) SLOTAR was popular with grognards and logistics nerds alike, and it secured a nomination for the 2017 Golden Geek Award for Best Wargame. This hotly anticipated standalone sequel covers the second half of the American War of Independence, and shifts the scene to the Southern colonies of Virginia, Georgia, and the Carolinas.
It’s more than just a change in locale, however; this game has a very different feel and emphasis than its predecessor. Both sides have much smaller armies with far fewer resources. The South, after all, is really a very minor theater: the British are chiefly concerned with holding onto their Caribbean possessions, particularly with the French, Dutch, and Spanish circling around those profitable islands, while George Washington is obsessed with taking back New York. Unsupported, Cornwallis must attempt to pacify the southern colonies one at a time while coming to grips with the slippery colonials, all the while avoiding being trapped himself. Maneuver is central this time around, thanks to new and utterly unforgiving siege rules.
And while this operational cat-and-mouse chase dances across the colonies, partisan warfare rages as both sides seek to win hearts and minds. Crown Loyalists can greatly extend Cornwallis’s supply lines, while daring Patriot Militia can harass the redcoats with Raids. To win this game and the war itself, you’ll need to master irregular warfare, operational maneuver, siegecraft, naval affairs, and, of course, and perhaps above all, logistics.
If you are interested in Supply Lines of the American Revolution: The Southern Strategy, you can order a copy for the price of $35.00 at the following link: https://hollandspiele.com/products/supply-lines-of-the-american-revolution-the-souther-strategy
5. Rogers’ Rangers: America’s First Commandos from Decision Games
While on Facebook the other day, I came across a batch of new mini games being offered for sale by Decision Games. There are actually 6 new titles but this is the one that really caught my eye. I have played Merrill’s Marauders Commandos in Burma 1943-1944 and really enjoyed the simplified solo mechanics used in these mini games.
Rogers’ Rangers: America’s First Commandos takes players to the French and Indian War (1754-1763). American colonists fighting alongside the British regulars developed a new form of soldier. The Ranger was at home with the irregular warfare dominating the contest for upper New York and the St. Lawrence Valley.
This solitaire game is part of the Raider game system. You command Ranger forces conducting missions as directed by strategy cards. You recruit leaders like Robert Rogers, and units including historical Ranger companies and British light infantry, then purchase weapons and tools to equip them. Each expedition leads you along trails and rivers to engage French and Indian forces generated by the game system.
Event cards bring in a wide range of actions, from the mobilization of enemy forces to wilderness challenges. You must overcome all of them to reach your objectives.
If you are interested in Rogers’ Rangers: America’s First Commandos, you can order a copy for the price of $14.95 at the following link: https://shop.decisiongames.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=1726
There you have it, a full slate of new wargames for you to salivate over and wonder how you can possibly afford. I apologize for my additional commentary being lacking in this month’s entry. I was simply pressed for time and didn’t have the ability to pontificate as I usually do. But these games are great and should speak for themselves. 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.