This month was like drinking from a firehouse. Just a continual surge of new games. After putting this list together, I’m mad that I had to leave so many off due to time and space constraints. But, the games that did make the list are pretty special and are ones that I will be anxiously awaiting to arrive on my table for sure.
If you missed October’s Wargame Watch you can check that out here at this link.
1. 1864 On to Jutland! Second Schleswig War from Conflict Simulations LLC
In case you didn’t know, there is a new publisher out there owned and run by Ray Weiss called Conflict Simulations LLC. They have a very cool series of games with a mundane coded name called the 2140 Series. What does this code mean? These games all take 2 hours to complete at most, include 140 counters, and are all very re-playable; 2140. All of the games in the series focus on low-complexity rules that allow players to immerse themselves within the framework of the spacial simulation. Players are not forced, but encouraged to follow historical strategies or tactics in an attempt to showcase history in motion. There are currently 4 other games that are in various stages on their development timeline and each one looks interesting in its own right.
The 5th game in the series is 1864 which covers one of the 19th century’s least known conflicts, a brutal struggle for Schleswig and the Jutland peninsula as Denmark attempts to retain her holdings in Germany. The game is technically at a grand tactical scale, but plays literally at operational and tactical scales. Each hex is 2.5 miles on the operational map, and 700 yards each on the battle maps. Units move until adjacent, after which both participate in a detailed action phase consisting of multiple steps. Tactical combat forces players to strategize where their individual units will make the most impact in the battle hexes, a mini-game of simultaneous fire, rout, and melee. Finally, a what-if option allows for Swedish intervention on the Danish side, as they had prepared around 30,000 volunteers to do so but it never came to fruition.
If you are interested in 1864 On To Jutland! Second Schleswig War you can pre-order a copy for $29.00 from the Conflict Simulations website at the following link: https://www.consimsltd.com/shop/1864-pre-order
2. Second World War at Sea:
Horn of Africa from Avalanche Press
I have to admit that I love games that include naval operations and combat. With this entry on this list, we have a game that specifically focuses on it in Second World War at Sea: Horn of Africa. Thousands of miles from the major theaters of World War II, small British and Italian squadrons struggled to control the entrance to the Red Sea. Cut off from their bases in Europe, the Italian Red Sea Flotilla did its best to close off this vital route leading from India and Australia to the Suez Canal.
Horn of Africa takes players to this little-known theater of the Second World War, the battles between the Royal Navy’s Red Sea Force and the Regia Marina’s Red Sea Flotilla during the East African Campaign of 1940-1941. Ten battle and 15 operational scenarios depict the major actions of the campaign, along with a number of hypothetical situations that examine possible British intervention in the Second Italo-Abyssinian War of 1935-1936, as well as the use of ships on both sides not historically available but which with better preparation in the 1930’s or even on the eve of war could have been present.
Horn of Africa is a complete boxed game in the Second World War at Sea series. There are 40 “long” ship pieces and 60 square pieces representing small warships, transports, aircraft and markers needed for play. These include the complete Red Sea Flotilla and Red Sea Force, plus some unusual ships planned but never built (or never re-built) by both the Royal Navy and the Regia Marina.
The operational map depicts the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, including all the major ports and airbases (such as they were) of 1940-42. The tactical map is a generic blue field of hexagons, used to resolve surface combat. There, ships maneuver and fight using their gunnery and torpedo factors. Each player rolls a number of dice according to the ship’s capabilities, hitting on a result of 6. Gunnery and torpedo damage tables give the results: Ships can suffer damage to engines, hull or armament. Air attacks are resolved in similar fashion. The combat systems yield results rapidly but in a historically accurate fashion, giving a good balance of fun and insight.
If you are interested in Second World War at Sea: Horn of Africa you can pre-order a copy from the Avalanche Press website for $29.00 from the following link: http://www.avalanchepress.com/gameHornAfrica.php
3. Interceptor Ace: Daylight Air Defense Over Germany, 1943-44 from Compass Games
Interceptor Ace: Daylight Air Defense Over Germany, 1943-44 is a solitaire, tactical level game which places you in command of a German fighter during World War II. Each turn consists of several days, during which a combat mission will be flown from one of many bases in Europe, attempting to intercept incoming American Bombers.
Interceptor Ace is based on the popular, action-packed Nightfighter Ace game system by Gregory M. Smith with a strong narrative around the pilot as you look to increase your prestige, earn skills, and rise in rank through promotion and receive awards.
The objective of the game is to conduct numerous sorties in the role of a German interceptor pilot and rack up kills. Pilots may use the experience gained to improve their odds of success by purchasing skills. As their prestige increases, they may request a transfer to other fighter bases in an attempt to get “closer to the action” or request a newer type of fighter. Awards and ace status help to narrate the player’s eventual goal – to become the top “Viermot” killer of the war.
Greg Smith is an incredible designer who really knows how to design a good solitaire game as he has put out such titles as Silent Victory, The Hunters and The Hunted. He also is a stickler for research and does a great job including historically accurate elements that get you into the game and the time period.
If you are interested in Interceptor Ace: Daylight Air Defense Over Germany, 1943-44 you can pre-order a copy from the Compass Games website for $75.00 from the following link: https://www.compassgames.com/preorders/interceptor-ace-daylight-air-defense-over-germany-1943-44.html
4. Panzer Orders Tank Battles Currently on Kickstarter
Panzer Orders Tank Battles is designed by artist Matt White, but he not only can draw armor and infantry from World War II, he designs games around his fantastic art. This game is currently on Kickstarter and is a stand alone game for solitaire and two-players and is fully compatible with the other Panzer Orders games and expansions. This game also includes some new gameplay mechanics and special scenarios to add to the Panzer Orders range.
The game is quick to setup and play as it only takes around 30 minutes to play a game and comes complete with everything you need. You can combine two copies of the game to make either larger or tank-vs-tank games for both solo or multiplayer games or combine this game with existing Panzer Orders games.
If you are interested in backing the project, you can do so at the following link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1564988876/panzer-orders-tank-battles
But you had better hurry as there are only a few days remaining. Currently the project is funded with $7,377 of the initial goal of $768 from 222 backers. We also did an interview with the designer Matt White that will give you greater insight into what the project offers and how the game plays.
5. Old School Tactical: Stalingrad Expansion from Flying Pig Games
Old School Tactical: Stalingrad is an expansion to the Old School Tactical system featuring a large map, counters and a scenario book covering small unit actions during the battle for Stalingrad. The map is an exact recreation of the Nail Factory area of the city. The scenario book contains 6 scenarios pitting Soviet and German troops in close quarters battle. In order to play the game, you will need to own a copy of Old School Tactical Vol. 1 but frankly it is an amazing system and should be in your collection so if you have to buy it to play this new expansion, I say lucky you! If you love tactical games, and you are into World War II, this is an easy choice.
Due to lots of requests for a reprint of the expansion to Flying Pig Games they found a space in their busy production queue to reprint it.
If you are interested in Old School Tactical: Stalingrad you can pre-order a copy from the Flying Pig Games website for $40.00 from the following link: https://flyingpiggames.com/products/old-school-tactical-stalingrad-expansion
6. Next War: Vietnam from GMT Games
As I mentioned in my GMT Games Monthly Update Post, I have yet to play one of the many Next War Series games. Alexander owns Next War: Taiwan but we just have had other games to play. This one may be the title that gets me off the bench though and into the game. I love a good Vietnam wargame! This is a statement that I typically say about a Vietnam wargame set in the 1960’s or early 70’s. But I am intrigued by a modern war set in the same jungles as well.
Next War: Vietnam is the fifth game in the Next War Series. This game returns the action to Asia and the powderkeg surrounding the South China Sea. This time the Chinese don’t intend a limited, punitive expedition; they intend to squash the burgeoning threat from their southern border once and for all and prove, through force of arms, that the South China Sea is theirs. Building on the naval rules showcased in Next War: Taiwan, players will have a chance to fight over the Spratly and Paracel Islands once again, as well as the mountainous jungles of North Vietnam.
If the U.S. gets involved, it might finally land troops in Haiphong Harbor and march on Hanoi, albeit as a relief force and as an ally to its former enemy. The question is what will the rest of the region do? Will they join a side or stay neutral?
Next War: Vietnam will also allow players to play a combined game with Next War: Taiwan, and with the rules in the latter game, adding on Next War: Korea as well for what would amount to the Pacific Front of World War III.
There are several Standard Game scenarios. Some are small and focus on limited objectives, while at least one will be a campaign game encompassing the entire map. Similarly to previous games in the series, the Advanced Game scenarios will be divided into various starting points representing different levels of build-up before the game begins.
If you are interested in Next War: Vietnam, you can pre-order a copy for the special P500 price of $59.00 from the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-733-next-war-vietnam.aspx
7. For Motherland! The Russian Front, 1941-44 from Compass Games
For Motherland! The Russian Front, 1941-44 is the all-new, single map game design by renowned Japanese game designer Masahiro Yamazaki. This edition features a mounted map and delivers an eminently-playable version of his original, two-map War for the Motherland release that can be played to completion in a single sitting.
The game begins with Operation Barbarossa marking the German invasion of the Soviet Union, and culminates towards the end of the war when the Russians had effectively driven back the German forces and were entering the final stages of the epic struggle on the Eastern Front when the tide had completely turned. The game includes four variable turn scenarios: Operation Barbarossa (1 to 7 Game-Turns), The Road to Stalingrad (1 to 12 Game-Turns), Fall Blau (8 to 17 Game-Turns), and War for the Motherland campaign (1 to 22 Game-Turns). One of the nice new twists implemented for the strength chit system is the variable and increasing combat chit strength for the Soviets over time to model the increasing combat effectiveness of the Soviet Armies.
This all-new game design borrows from some of the lessons learned from the larger two-map game, War for the Motherland, and compacts the scope and design of the game into a very playable yet illuminating game covering the struggle for the Eastern Front that can be completed in a single sitting. For example, the larger War for the Motherland game involves more units and takes 40 turns to complete, whereas this compact design has fewer units and only takes 22 turns to complete. Players will also appreciate the upgraded components featuring a mounted game map and 9/16″ counters. For the East Front aficionado, this is a must-buy for those familiar with Yamazaki’s great contributions in covering the East Front who now delivers this sleek, new compact design.
If you are interested in For Motherland! The Russian Front, 1941-44, you can pre-order a copy for the price of $52.00 from the Compass Games website at the following link: https://www.compassgames.com/preorders/for-motherland-the-russian-front-1941-44.html
1. Zombie War from Tiny Battle Publishing
Every gamer loves a good zombie game and if that game is mixed in with a cool wargme along with some other interesting mechanics, mores the better. Zombie War is a 2-4 player game that takes the zombie threat to a global level. Each player has two hidden victory conditions and has to reach them using a rotating selection of roles, each with different powers and ways to gain victory points. In one turn you might be playing as the zombies, the next the government, the next the military, and finally the corporations. Yet, your victory conditions–for example, to infect three major capitals, or protect trade centers — remain the same. The decisions you make as one role affect the other players, but may also affect you when you take on a different role in the next round. It is multiplayer mayhem on a strategic level.
2. Dog Sector: A Simulation of the June 6, 1944 Landing from White Dog Games
Dog Sector: A Simulation of the June 6, 1944 Landing is a beer-and-pretzels level, solitaire war game that simulates the famous WWII Normandy amphibious landing in 1944. I am always looking for that next interesting solo experience and White Dog Games seems to have some really interesting looking games.
American forces from off-map transports assault the beach. Those units not swamped during the approach attempt to move up the beach toward the German-occupied bluffs, clearing obstacles as they advance. Some units (tanks, sharpshooters, bazookas) execute ranged fire at fortified German units. Naval Forward Observers guide ship-to-shore fire support.
The player’s assault force faces German defensive fire (solitaire, system-controlled) from machine guns and anti-tank emplacements, panzerfaust and rifle fire, as well as off-map German artillery. When the bluffs are reached, American units must clear the trenches by assault.
Game tension is visceral as your brave Joes are pinned down or hit by the intense German fire. You’ll grit your teeth as a Combat Engineer team deploys Bangalore torpedoes to clear obstacles while under fire, and cheer when a German unit is taken out by a tank or by a ship’s guns directed by one of your forward observers.
If you are interested in Dog Sector, you can order a copy for the price of $50.00 (boxed) from the White Dog Games website at the following link: http://www.whitedoggames.com/dogsector
3. Folio Series No. 2: Green Beret from One Small Step Games
Out of print now for what seems like forever, now is my chance to obtain the holy grail of all folio games designed by the renowned Brian Train. Folio Series No. 2: Green Beret from One Small Step Games is finally back in print.
1964-5 in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, in the period before the first United States Army and Marine units arrived to bring the war into a new phase. Montagnard tribesmen of the Civilian Irregular Defense Groups, raised, trained and advised by Special Forces A-teams, try to prevent the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army from controlling the population and opening supply routes to the coast. The game focuses on processes of progressive recruitment, population control, evasion and detection. One 17×22″ area-movement map of the Central Highlands region, 140 double-sided counters, company to regiment scale.
If you interested in Folio Series No. 2: Green Beret, you can order a copy for $22.95 from the One Small Step Games website at the following link: http://ossgamescart.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=20&products_id=49
Well that wraps up this month’s rundown of the newest offerings in wargaming. 10 great titles, including 7 pre-orders and 3 new releases, for you to think about, drool over and maybe even slap down your hard earned cash to buy. Let me know if there are any great looking new offerings that I missed. Thanks for reading!