Every month without fail, there are good games coming out. EVERY MONTH! And we are eager and ready to share those games with you. Sometimes it can be a challenge finding good information on the games that are releasing or being offered up for pre-order. I try to use several sources to verify information and half of the fun for me is the hunt. This month we continue that theme of good games being announced for pre-order or starting their Kickstarter campaigns and many new great games available for purchase. If you missed last month’s Wargame Watch, you can find it at this link.
1. Crowbar! The Rangers at Pointe Du Hoc, June 6, 1944 from Flying Pig Games Currently on Kickstarter
We got a really good look at a prototype of Crowbar! while attending Origins 2018. In fact, we did an interview with the game designer Hermann Luttmann that same day and he was able to give us a good feel for how the game played. Alexander also wrote some of his initial thoughts down in a preview of the game a few weeks ago.
Crowbar!: The Rangers at Pointe Du Hoc is a solitaire wargame (with two-player and cooperative variants) which abstractly simulates the ebb, flow and risk of the Pointe du Hoc assault on D-Day, with you playing the attacking Rangers. The game system traces its parentage to the popular In Magnificent Style game and mirrors its speed of play, tough decision-making and heart-pounding push-your-luck excitement. Crowbar! though uses a custom Movement Dice system where each die is made up of different results, escalating the possible risk/reward ratio. Dice are thrown one at a time and can be read instantly to determine what happens to the unit. The system also challenges you with even more events, including constant German counterattacks, ammunition shortages, artillery bombardments, booby traps and other surprises. Your goal is to meet your various objectives as quickly as possible, before the German defenders can dig in even deeper and before they can organize effective counterattacks. Ultimate success or failure in the game is measured by how well you do as compared to the actual heroic accomplishments of the Rangers on that historic day.
The game comes with 252 big and beautiful 1” counters, a 22” x 34” map, 18 Timing Cards, 4 custom Movement Dice, 10 six-sided Combat Dice, a Game Tracks Card, a Player Aid Card and a Rulebook
The game is being funded through Kickstarter with the campaign having commenced on July 24th. The game funded on the first day, so congrats to both Flying Pig Games and Hermann Luttmann. To date, 329 backers have committed $29,364 to fund the game and the campaign still has 21 days left. If you are interested in Crowbar! The Rangers at Pointe Du Hoc, you can secure a copy by visiting the Kickstarter page at the following link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/markhwalker/crowbar-the-rangers-at-pointe-du-hoc-a-tabletop-ga
2. Zeppelin Raider: Imperial German Naval Airships from Compass Games
If you have ever asked yourself “why there isn’t a good wargame covering the use of Zeppelins during World War I?”, you may be surprised to learn that someone has taken the plunge and designed a game on this topic. From the creative solitaire mind of Gregory M. Smith comes Zeppelin Raider: Imperial German Naval Airships, which is a solitaire, tactical level game placing you in command of one of several models of WWI Zeppelin dirigibles as part of the Imperial German Navy. Your mission is to destroy as much English war facilities as possible via bombing raids, or to conduct reconnaissance over the North Sea…and still survive and come home. Zeppelin Raider is based on the popular Hunters game system by Gregory M. Smith that delivers a tense and nail-biting narrative throughout the course of play.
The object of the game is to conduct numerous missions which include two main types: Bombing missions are required to bomb a specific geographic location in England (London, for example), whereas Scouting missions are required to scout a specific location in the North Sea. Players are not limited by the mission parameters for success; as you may choose to bomb or successfully scout somewhere else. The success of each mission can result in promotion and crew advancement. Just as in the real war, the game system involves a great deal of chance (as was the case historically), but ultimate success rests on the decisions, you make during your career.
Players will use a play mat, like the one shown in the picture above, and control one of many various classes of dirigibles. The Kommandant will be in charge of outfitting the craft with supplies, including varying types of bombs, the proper amount of gas, fuel and of course ballast. No complex math is involved but you definitely have to plan for how to get to your objective, but also how you are going to get back. As damage is sustained by the ship, flying will become more and more difficult, and only an expert crew can help you have a hope of returning home again.
This game is highly accessible to those familiar with The Hunters or Raiders of the Deep. While Zeppelin Raiders is designed as a solitaire gaming experience, additional options for play are provided for both multi-player gaming sessions and organized tournament play.
The games comes with one countersheet of 9/16″ unit-counters, four 8.5″ x 11″ Zeppelin Display Mats, six 8.5″ x 11″ Player Aid Cards, one 8.5″ x 11″ Zeppelin Patrol Mat, one Zeppelin Logsheet, a Rules Booklet, two 6-sided, one 10-sided dice, and one 20-sided die.
If you are interested in Zeppelin Raider: Imperial German Naval Airships you can pre-order a copy from the Compass Games website for $50.00 at the following link: https://www.compassgames.com/preorders/zeppelin-raider-imperial-german-naval-airships.html
The game is expected to release in October 2018.
3. Expansion or Extinction: A Triumph & Tragedy Series Game from GMT Games
Expansion or Extinction: A Triumph & Tragedy Series Game is advertised as a 4X style game based on the Triumph & Tragedy System. From the game page we read the following:
Expansion or Extinction takes 2 to 4 players into a future where Sol, after colonizing many of the closest stars, succumbed to internal pressures and died in a fiery holocaust of future weaponry. Now Earth’s colonies are recovering, and beginning to exert their own dominance on the stars around them. Based on the award-winning Triumph and Tragedy game system, Expansion or Extinction expands upon this proven and highly popular game system.
Expansion or Extinction begins as each of the player’s star systems have rediscovered the technologies which make space travel possible again. Players must explore the systems around them, and attempt to bring them into their sphere of influence. This can occur either peaceably through the play of Action Cards, or through military conquest.
There are three types of star systems in Expansion or Extinction. Those closest to SOL: the Core Worlds. These worlds have been settled the longest, and thus tend to have the highest population, but have consumed most of their resources. Those furthest out: the Outer Rim worlds, which were settled just before SOL’s fall. These tend to have low population but high resources. And between those extremes are the Green Worlds…where the players start, here there is a good balance of population and resources. But beware, these worlds are on the cusp of challenging for dominance on their own, and have the fleets to make their conquest a hard fought struggle!
Like its predecessor in the series, Expansion or Extinction has multiple paths to victory, that are all very plausible. Players can win by building up their economic strength (first to 30 points wins), by developing different types of technologies (the Death Star) and a military victory by controlling three Green Worlds. The game plays very similarly to T&T and uses Action Cards whereby each player can politically influence worlds for addition to your empire as well as Investment Cards to build up technologies as well as your production levels with factories.
As is also the case in T&T, the game uses wooden blocks to represent hidden units that can add some great tension and uncertainty to battles.
I really enjoyed our play of Triumph & Tragedy a few weeks ago and am really looking forward to this game. I am only really concerned about the theme of the game. T&T was great because of the historical period and the way the mechanics worked together to simulate that conflict. Will this be the case in Expansion or Extinction? I am not sure but it definitely has peaked my interest and I will be adding this to my growing P500 list.
If you are interested in Expansion or Extinction: A Triumph & Tragedy Series Game, you can pre-order a copy for the special P500 price of $69.00 at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-717-expansion-or-extinction.aspx
4. Men of Iron Tri-Pack from GMT Games
Recently, Alexander and I finally got to the table The Battle of Wakefield: Yorkshire, England, 30 December, 1460 found in C3i Magazine #31. We loved the game, although it was a blood bath as York was severely routed by my Lancastrian soldiers through the use of aggressive tactics and planning. It was simple, yet has some complexity to how the units work and how they are best used, that will come with many plays of the system. With this play of the Men of Iron system, my interest was piqued. This Men of Iron Series is a look at battles in medieval times involving men-at-arms, knights, longbowman, etc. The Tri-Pack includes the first three games in the Men of Iron Series: Men of Iron, Infidel, and Blood & Roses. with the Battle of Agincourt thrown in for good measure from C3i Magazine #22.
Men of Iron covers the re-emergence of infantry in the early 14th century, along with a more perceptive understanding of the value of combined-arms warfare and the effective use of defensive terrain. The scenarios highlight the key elements that made these battles so fascinating: the defensive power of the longbow, especially when used in coordination with dismounted, or even mounted, men-at-arms. Agincourt covers Henry V’s famous victory during the Hundred Years War.
The second volume in the Tri-Pack is Infidel, which focuses on the major battles of the early Crusades era between Christians and Muslims. This is a period that saw cavalry reign supreme and pitted the European mounted, armored men-at-arms – which relied on furious and direct charges with sword and lance – against the Eastern European/Turkish light cavalry tactics – focusing on the efficiency of its mounted archers.
Finally, Blood & Roses focuses on the battles of the Wars of the Roses in England, between 1455 and 1487. This was warfare in which most men were truly made “of iron”, heavily and totally armored to such a point that their mobility was suspect. It also featured the introduction of gunpowder – mostly field artillery – in noticeable numbers. And while many English men-at-arms were mounted, they did so almost entirely for transport. Most fighting was on foot…and it was quite vicious.
If you are interested in the Men of Iron Tri-Pack, you can pre-order a copy for the special P500 price of $59.00 at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-718-men-of-iron-tri-pack.aspx
5. Glory Recalled: Hong Kong 1941 Currently on Kickstarter
Glory Recalled: Honk Kong 1941 is a project created to commemorate the forgotten soldiers who gave their lives in the Battle of Hong Kong in December 1941. The game is an operational level wargame for 2 players designed by David Cheng and self published. One player plays as Major General Takeo Ito, the commander of the Japanese 38th Division, while the other player plays as Major General Christopher Maltby, the overall commander in Hong Kong.
The game uses a card-driven system and players take turns playing cards to move their units on the map as well as use their cards to add strength in combat. Game units are company-size and one turn represents one day.
The Japanese 38th Division is very strong. The Allied player must use their weaker forces to delay the invasion as long as possible while keeping casualties to a minimum.
The game uses a simple combat system. Unlike some other wargames, there are no Combat Result Tables (CRT) and no long list of die-roll modifiers (DRM) to check for each combat. Each player plays combat support cards to add strength to a combat dice roll. Adding to the challenge is the fact that both sides may take losses in combat.
Contrary to the common belief that the British force cannot defend Hong Kong from an invasion force of four to five times in size, the British player may score a different result from their historical counterpart. Yes, the Japanese invading force is better trained, better equipped and has better support, but the actual number of men involved in the battle is never more than twice the number of the British force. With a smart strategy and some luck, the invasion of Hong Kong may be repulsed.
The game starts on 1941 Dec 10 but there is no fixed number of turns. The game may end as short as four turns suddenly if certain conditions are met. The victory condition of Glory Recalled is determined by victory points. There are multiple objectives in scoring VPs. For example, if Kowloon falls too late, the Japanese player may not have enough time to catch up with the VPs lost due to the delay. Or, while the The Japanese force is strong but if they suffered too many casualties, the invasion may be called off.
There are several scenarios in this game. For beginners, there is the Fall of Kowloon scenario which may be completed in less than 60 minutes. More experienced players will enjoy the Battle of Hong Kong Island scenario for a more epic game. There is also the full game mode which covers both the fall of Kowloon and Hong Kong Island in the same game. The game also includes the free set up mode which can be very different from the scenario games. You have control over the attacking and defending deployments. If the British commander sends more troops from the Island Brigade to defend the Gin Drinker line, will Kowloon be defended for a few more days? Or if all troops of the Mainland Brigade retreat to Hong Kong Island before the Japanese troops arrive, can they form a better prepared position for the Island’s defense?? All answers are up to the players to find out.
If you are interested in Glory Recalled: Hong Kong 1941, you can visit the Kickstarter page to back the project at the following link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/181148798/glory-recalled-hong-kong-1941
As of the posting of this info, the campaign has 14 days remaining as it will end on August 14th. As of July 31st, there were a total of 251 backers who have committed $10,711 toward their $11,466 goal.
1. The Big Push: Trench Warfare on the Western Front in the First World War from Hollandspiele
Card games are becoming more and more popular, or maybe they always have been, but this one looks really interesting. The Big Push: Trench Warfare on the Western Front in the First World War is a WWI card game from designer Renaud Verlaque. Players attempt to make breakthroughs (and prevent their opponents from doing the same) with limited resources and even more limited information. Bluff and deception factor highly into gameplay, and both players must make strategic decisions about the entire front before zooming in to contest specific areas with dynamic back-and-forth, tit-for-tat card play.
The game is simple enough to teach and plays in under two hours, yet still has everything you’d expect in a strategic game on this topic: naval blockades, drains on German manpower from the Eastern Front, the entry in the war of the US, deadly gas attacks, new and innovative technologies and tactics, and political pressure urging you to make attacks you’re not quite ready to make.
The game comes with a 22″ x 17″ map sheet, 24 counters, 1 Game Turn Record track, 112 cards and an 8-page rulebook. The game is advertised as a medium weight game with low solitaire suitability.
If you are interested in The Big Push: Trench Warfare on the Western Front in the First World War, you can order a copy for the price of $45.00 from the Hollandspiele website at the following link: https://hollandspiele.com/products/the-big-push
2. Bloody Mohawk: The French and Indian War from Lock ‘n Load Publishing
I love a good wargame that involves a look at the early clashes with Indians on the frontier of the fledgling United States, both before the Revolutionary War, during, and after. In fact, I have played and loved Kekionga!: A Dark and Bloody Battleground from High Flying Dice Games and am really interested in Blood on the Ohio from Compass Games. I love these period wargames because the theme is simply supreme and I find the history to be extremely fascinating. Maybe that is because I grew up in the geographic heart of the period in Indiana, but it definitely is interesting to me.
Bloody Mohawk is a simulation of the French and Indian War, also known as The Seven Years’ War. The English and the French had battled for ownership of North America for years, as both the French and the British wanted control of two major rivers, the Allegheny River and the Monongahela which provided much-needed trade routes throughout the region to profit from the vast wealth of the unsettled lands of the Northwest Territory.
Bloody Mohawk is a fast playing, introductory level wargame covering one of the engagements of the war and major what-if variants. Each scenario is designed to be played in about an hour while maintaining the flavor and theme of the events. Each of the scenarios in Bloody Mohawk uses the series rules with modifications and additions for each specific battle. This means that players can quickly jump between battles as the general rules will be the same.
The game includes ten 8 1/2″ x 11″ maps, one sheet of laser cut pre-rounded counters (no clipping needed!), one game rules manual (with only 23 pages of rules with a majority of those pages being devoted to the individual scenarios and their special rules) and one player aid. The complexity is advertised as 4 out of 10 with solitaire suitability a 10 out of 10. 12 total scenarios are included in the game including Battle of Bushy Run, Jumonville Glenn, Fort Necessity, Battle of Sideling Hill, Battle of Lake George, Battle on Snowshoes, Battle of Fort William Henry, Battle of Sainte-Foy, etc.
For a bit more information and a look at the components, check out this unboxing video from the Developer Maurice Fitzgerald of Moe’s Game Table: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHLxUO9wsfM
This game is supposed to be available around the time of the World Board Gaming Championships, but definitely keep your eye out for this one. An interesting looking tactical game on the French and Indian War is a pretty rare thing and methinks this one will be good.
If you are interested in Bloody Mohawk: The French and Indian War you can order a copy from the Lock ‘n Load Publishing website at the following link: https://store.lnlpublishing.com/bloody-mohawk-the-french-and-indian-war?search=bloody%20mohawk&description=true
3. The Whole Sad Story: The Battle for West Timor, February 20-22, 1942 from High Flying Dice Games
In July 2017, I ran an interview with Paul Rohrbaugh the designer of The Whole Sad Story. That was what would end up being the first of many interviews with Paul covering his great labors of love wargames on varied topics and conflicts.
The Whole Sad Story covers the story of a Japanese attack on the Portuguese colony of West Timor, despite Portugal’s official neutrality. The attack was anticipated by the Allies and soon after the start of the war, Sparrow Force, comprised mostly of Australian troops as well as some from the Dutch East Indies and Great Britain, occupied West Timor and began preparing defensive works.
To take and secure the colony, and most importantly its airfield at Penfui, the Japanese planned an amphibious assault supported by an ambitious paratrooper assault by the 1st and 3rd SNLF (Special Naval Landing Force) Battalions. The fight for West Timor resulted in a confused and bitterly fought battle that ultimately resulted in the destruction and capture of most of Sparrow Force, one of the largest and most tragic defeats in Australia’s military history.
The Japanese paratrooper force, however, was savaged in the fighting, with nearly half of their number killed, seriously wounded or missing. Those that survived were dispersed throughout the Pacific and never performed another combat jump in the war.
The game includes one 11″ x 17″ map, 91 single-sided, unmounted counters and markers along with an 8 page Rules Booklet.
If you are interested in The Whole Sad Story: The Battle for West Timor, February 20-22, 1942, you can order from the High Flying Dice Games website for the price of $14.95 at the following link: http://www.hfdgames.com/wss.html
Mounted counters can be purchased for an additional $6.00.
4. America Falling: The Coming Civil War from One Small Step Games
Last year, I was drawn to some images that were posted on Facebook by Ty Bomba regarding another big box game titled America Falling: The Coming Civil War from One Small Step Games. The game is a post apocalyptic vision of America that enables two players to simulate the entire first year of a hypothesized near-future civil war across all of the lower-48 states. One player will command the conservative “Red” forces while the other leads the liberal “Blue” forces. I was really drawn to this game because the theme it has is kind of a rare one within wargames and this design seems to really embrace a lot of the social issues that we as Americans are dealing with presently.
I really liked the theme of the game as it contains not only conventional warfare with established troops but also includes elements such as weapons of mass destruction (nukes) and cyber warfare. Game mechanics have been designed to attempt to recreate the inescapable dilemmas of fratricidal struggle inherent at the start of every civil war. The keynote centers around the fact that one military has been fracture and suddenly become two. That means things previously taken for granted, including chain of command, supply, political loyalties, etc., have become uncertain. Nothing can be depended on; for instance, movement allowances among the same type of units may vary by as much as a factor of 12.
Complexity of the game is advertised as a 6 out of 10 with solitaire suitability an 8 out of 10. The Time Scale is six two-month turns and the Map Scale is 33 miles (54 km) per hex
with the Unit Scale mostly brigades, with abstracted air & naval power. The game is designed for two and playing time is four to six hours.
We published in an interview with the designer Ty Bomba last year and here is a link to it so you can get a better idea of what the game has to offer: https://theplayersaid.com/2017/12/12/interview-with-ty-bomba-designer-of-america-falling-the-coming-civil-war-from-one-small-step-games/
The game comes with two 34″ x 22″ large-hex maps, three counter sheets of 5/8″ counters, a rulebook, various sheets of Charts & Tables, dice and the game is boxed.
If you are interested in America Falling: The Coming Civil War you can order a copy on the One Small Step Games website for $79.95 from the following link: http://ossgamescart.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=4&products_id=102
5. NATO 1961: The Berlin Crisis from Microgame Design Group
I love giving new companies (or rather new companies to me) a little bit of light and I came across Microgame Design Group a few months ago and now see that they have a few new games coming out. I love games on the Cold War and this one seems to be a really interesting look at events from that period that could have caused later problems for us all if they had turned out differently.
NATO 1961 is a simulation of the potential war in Germany during the 1960s, covering events that could have led to a World War III. Players assume the roles of President John F. Kennedy and the NATO powers or Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and the Warsaw Pact general staffs. Confronted with the crisis, players can manage the conflict at a limited level or escalate it to full-out war between the Superpowers.
The 17″ x 22″map covers the Central Front including both East and West Germany as well as parts of Czechslovakia, France and the Low Lands. The 240 1/2″ counters (die-cut and back-printed) show regimental, brigade and divisional level forces of both NATO and the Warsaw Pact.
If you are interested in NATO 1961: The Berlin Crisis, you can order a copy from the Microgame Design Group website for $30 (which includes postage) at the following link: http://microgamedesigngroup.com/N61.html
Whew! I am exhausted after that exercise….but feel very fulfilled with 10 total games (5 pre-orders with 2 of those being Kickstarters and 5 new releases) being highlighted in this month’s Wargame Watch. I know that is a few less than last month but quality over quantity I say! Thanks for reading and let me know if there are any great looking games that you would have added to this list that we overlooked.
Seriously, who doesn’t want to fly a Zeppelin?
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Great, after reading this there are more games that I want to buy. The temptation, the obsession. My game collection is almost 200 games now…I need help. But until I get it I will keep buying and playing wargames!
Maybe I need to place a warning label on the post! Warning: this post can lead to the reader losing control of their finances, loss of reason and restraint.
I now just bought my first Hex and Counter wargames thanks to this post. It wasn’t one of the games on the list: the games were Red Dawn and Imperial Stars II (both from Victory Point Games), but I’m eyeing America Falling: The Coming Civil War very hungrily. If I knew someone in my gaming circle would play it, then I’d probably buy it. But thanks for the article!
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I’m not very sure about the historical accuracy of “The Whole Sad Story: The Battle for West Timor,” – given that the neutral Portuguese colony was East Timor, and West Timor was the Dutch colony…