Another list! Yes I know that seems to be all I write these days. But there is value in lists, at least for those that will allow themselves the guilty pleasure of reading them. I love to look ahead toward the upcoming. Each year since the inception of the blog in 2016 I have posted this list highlighting my most anticipated wargames for the upcoming year. It really amounts to very little but it’s fun to look ahead. In case you missed my post from last year you can read that here: 10 Most Anticipated Wargames of 2018
12. Once We Moved Like the Wind, The Apache Wars, 1861-1886 from Compass Games
One game that was announced last year that I am very interested in is Once We Moved Like the Wind, The Apache Wars, 1861-1886 that covers the Apache Wars from the American South West. This period of history will include names such as Cochise, Chato and Geronimo and immediately drew me in.
The game is played as a series of turns, each of which follows a sequence of play that begins with determining how bad a provocation results in conflict for the turn. The provocation level determines the forces each player will have for the turn and their general placement on the map. Next the Apache player moves the Apache forces and then the Army Player moves the US and Mexican forces. Combat may then occur between opposing player forces that share a location. After any combat is resolved, victory points are counted up and the player with the most for the turn earns one increase in victory level on the Victory Track. Play then repeats for the next turn to the end of the game when the player with the higher level on the Victory track is the winner.
The game is played with wooden blocks representing the combatants and each block only shows the unit information on one side until action occurs that reveals particular blocks. There are also units that are not combatants at all but will represent rumors of Apache actions and forces which the Army player must chase down to determine if they are real or false. Similarly, for the Apache player, not knowing which Army pieces represent which forces means not knowing if an opposing group is small enough to attack and win, or is in reality a force big enough to hand out a devastating defeat.
I really like the look and concept behind this game and cannot wait for it to be printed. Per the Compass Games website, the game is supposed to release during the fourth quarter of 2019. If you are interested in Once We Moved Like the Wind, you can pre-order a copy for the price of $54.00 from the Compass Games website at the following link: https://www.compassgames.com/preorders/once-we-moved-like-the-wind-the-apache-wars-1861-1886.html
11. Front Toward Enemy from Multi-Man Publishing
You know how we love tactical games and also games on the Vietnam War. Front Toward Enemy incorporates both of these in an intense company- and platoon-level game which is focused on the perspective of a company commander. The game uses a fast-playing system that provides the feel and unpredictability of small unit combat.
From the game page we read the following:
Front Toward Enemy is a simulation that recreates tactical engagements during the Vietnam War at the scale of 50 meters per hex and five minutes per turn. Units represent fire teams, heavy weapon sections, leaders, vehicles, and helicopters. Eight scenarios with set-up options recreate twelve missions that typified company-level engagements during the Vietnam War, including airmobile insertions, assaults on fortified positions, and classic search-and-destroy operations, among others.
The game has reached its minimum number of pre-orders and is finalizing playtesting but there is no real info on when it might be released. If you are interested in Front Toward Enemy, you can pre-order a copy for the price of $48.00 from the Multi-Man Publishing website at the following link: http://www.multimanpublishing.com/Products/tabid/58/ProductID/318/Default.aspx
10. Successors of Alexander from Phalanx
I must admit that I don’t have a lot of intel on this game but know that Phalanx is supposedly working on a new edition that was supposed to have already had a Kickstarter campaign in early 2019. That hasn’t happened yet and doesn’t appear to be imminent so this game might not end up being a 2019 game. Nevertheless, I am definitely interested, especially since Phalanx did such a great job with the new edition of Hannibal & Hamilcar last year.
As this would be a new edition of the classic game, you can see what it is about from the game entry for the 3rd edition on Board Game Geek.
Here is a look at an updated map for this edition but I don’t believe it’s been finalized yet.
If I can get more information I will update this entry. Phalanx? Do you have anything you can share with us?
9. Crowbar! The Rangers at Pointe Du Hoc from Flying Pig Games
At Origins 2018 we got to sit down with Hermann Luttmann, designer of such games as At Any Cost: Metz 1870 and the illustrious Dawn of the Zeds series. You can head on over to YouTube and see a video interview we were lucky enough to do with him at Origins 2018 talking about Crowbar! But here’s a look at a pre-production copy of the game and what you can expect to get to the table.
Crowbar! is primarily a solitaire game that will be published by Flying Pig Games. With that in mind, as as you can see here, you know you’re going to get a very well made product. The game covers the Rangers landing at Pointe du Hoc on D-Day and their mission to find and put out of action artillery pieces that were covering Omaha Beach. You’ll go all the way through their mission, from riding in on landing craft and wading onto the beaches, firing grappling hooks, scaling the cliffs and then searching the fields and emplacements for the guns. Whilst the game covers not only D-Day but also D-Day plus one and two, you’ll pretty much need to get it done on the first day in order to succeed. It’s no good finding the guns after they’ve pounded the beaches all day and night.
The game can be played cooperatively as well, if you wanted, where you end up splitting the three companies between up to three players. When you do that it’s important to keep each of the companies in good supporting battle lines to gain bonuses. But let’s be honest, we’ll all be doing this one solo!
So, finding the artillery is the end goal, and atop the cliffs are an array of around 20 hidden counters, only a few of which actually house the guns you need to capture and destroy. The rest represent decoys, wasted resources and bad intel. This adds to the replay value, and also makes the task a little more daunting as well. Crowbar! is a push-your-luck style game as you throw units forward, risking wounds or getting pushed back. The hidden markers give a real edge to that risk as you might end up killing yourself to capture basically nothing. I’m excited for this dynamic, because I want my gambles to feel like real gambles.
Crowbar! uses a dice mechanism for movement. And before you groan at “roll-and-move” games, there’s more to it than that. There are three different dice, each with different odds on them. The green dice, is nice and safe. You’re less likely to take hits, but you won’t move nearly as much. Remember, time is of the essence in this one. So you might pick up that yellow, or red dice and risk taking much heavier fire but being able to bound forward toward the cliffs and the eventual gun emplacements. The other thing you need to remember is that you have rally points, which move up the beaches as your units do. It is from these rally points that you will move your units out. And to which they will fall back if necessary. So the game ends up as this cool simulation of trying to bring up proper battle lines, but doing it quickly and effectively. As with all of Hermann Luttmann’s designs, you can rest assured that with the dice rolling and hidden objective markers there is plenty of battlefield chaos to be had, which makes for a game that is highly replayable.
The game had a successful Kickstarter last year and should be being fulfilled over the next few months. If you are interested in Crowbar! The Rangers at Pointe Du Hoc you can pre-order a copy for $75.00 from the Flying Pig Games website at the following link: https://flyingpiggames.com/products/crowbar-the-rangers-at-pointe-du-hoc-june-6th-1944
8. Gandhi: The Decolonization of British India, 1917-1947 from GMT Games
We love the COIN Series of games around here and always look forward to the next iteration. Gandhi: The Decolonization of British India, 1917–1947 is Volume IX and delves into nonviolent resistance for the first time in the series.
From the game page we read:
Gandhi takes us to the subcontinent of India, the jewel in the crown of the British Empire, for a detailed look at the final decades of the British Raj. 1 to 4 players compete to determine the future of India; will the transition to home rule be a peaceful one, will India be split apart by partition or civil war, or will it remain firmly in the grip of empire?
Gandhi offers a fresh perspective on the history of insurgency with the addition of a new type of faction to the COIN Series, the Nonviolent (NV) faction, while retaining the multi-faction, asymmetrical, card-assisted system of earlier titles in the COIN Series. COIN veterans will be able to jump right in.
We were able to do an interview with the designer Bruce Mansfield that should give you a good idea about the background of the game.
If you are interested in Gandhi: The Decolonization of British India, 1917–1947, you can pre-order a copy for $56.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-630-gandhi-the-decolonization-of-british-india-19171947.aspx
But, you had better hurry as this one is supposed to ship within the next few weeks.
7. 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.
We were able to do an interview with Greg last year and it contains good information about the design process.
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
6. Castle Itter: The Strangest Battle of WWII from Dan Verssen Games
In Castle Itter: The Strangest Battle of WWII, players will take on the role of a makeshift force that is defending a medieval castle nestled in the Austrian countryside from a Waffen-SS assault. The force consists of an American tank crew and infantrymen, Wehrmacht infantrymen, a former SS officer, French prisoners, and an Austrian resistance fighter. There is a reason this game has the subtitle The Strangest Battle of WWII.
The game is played as the defender has five actions each round and must move his units in the form of counters around the board to take actions to attack advancing German Waffen-SS counters as they progress up various colored assault tracks. If the enemy breaches the walls of the castle and enter the grounds you lose; simple as that.
I recorded a two part playthrough video to give you an idea how the mechanics work.
We also did an interview with designer David Thompson that you can read on our written blog at the following link: https://theplayersaid.com/2018/11/05/interview-with-david-thompson-designer-of-castle-itter-the-strangest-battle-of-world-war-ii-from-dan-verssen-games-coming-soon-to-kickstarter/
If you are interested in Castle Itter, you can check out the Kickstarter page at the following link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/11606594/470124123?ref=ei8axk&token=bf85ac93
5. Old School Tactical Volume 3 from Flying Pig Games
We really have had a great time with the Old School Tactical Series. We’ve played OST 1, OST 2 and the Airborne Expansion, which was our favorite. Now comes OST 3 which takes the fighting to the Pacific Theater of World War II and sees the vicious and sturdy Japanese versus the Americans. I saw a playtest copy at WBC last year but don’t know a lot about the new elements of the game but I’m excited about the game.
The game is supposed to be coming to Kickstarter soon so keep your eyes open and your head up and I’ll let you know when it starts. Sorry that I don’t have any other information at this time. Maybe Mark Holt Walker will read this and give up some news! Mark?!?
4. All Bridges Burning: Red Revolt and White Guard in Finland, 1917-18 from GMT Games
The games of the COIN Series are good. We love them…unashamedly! Looking forward to all the volumes that are upcoming, but I am really anticipating Volume X.
From the game page we read:
All Bridges Burning COIN System volume for three players. The Reds seek to stage a working class revolt and then hold on to their gains, while the White Senate forces seek to reassert control. A third, non-violent Social Democratic faction fights for the survival of moderate leftism and political reform. All three factions must keep the national sentiment conciliatory enough for a post-conflict settlement and national independence. In addition, the non-player powers of Germany and Russia offer military assistance to the Senate and the Reds, respectively. Excessive foreign involvement, however, could quash the dream of Finnish independence and prompt a collective loss of all three player factions. Historical events, asymmetrical action menus, as well as extensive historical design notes familiarize the players with the historical period.recreates the political and military affairs of the Finnish civil war in a new
The really interesting part of this design is the unique 3 player sequence of play. Once again from the game page:
A unique sequence of play for three factions poses players – whether veteran or new to the COIN Series – fresh challenges in selecting from the asymmetric commands and special activities. The Reds will find themselves needing to split time and resources between competing tasks of solidifying the Red revolt by creating working organs of civilian administration on the one hand, and fighting an increasingly desperate war against a far more powerful enemy on the other. The White Senate faction, in contrast, has a more traditional war to fight. The Senate will want to enhance their military performance by capabilities such as armored trains, cannons, as well as the Finnish, German-trained 27thJaeger Battalion. Meanwhile the Social Democrats will be focused on building and maintaining underground networks of information, distributing news across the fronts, and advancing a stagnating political process while fending off retributions from the two warring factions.
A simple but effective card-driven non-player system enables the game to be played solitaire as well as in a two-player mode. The structure of the sequence of play, the character of the commands and special activities in the game, the smaller number of players, and compact size combine to enableAll Bridges Burning to play fast. The solitaire system has been designed to preserve that speed and fluidity of play.
We were able to do an interview with designer VPJ Arponen and also have done a series of Event Card Spoilers that will give you a good feel for the game and it’s history: #3 November Revolution in Russia, #8 General Strike, #9 Declaration of Finnish Independence, #27 The Reds Launch a Major Offensive, #43 Rough Justice, #45 Finland’s Fate Hangs in Balance, #24 Red Revolt!, #25 Disarming Russian Garrisons,#11 Weapons from Russia? and #30 Meetings in the Catacomb.
If you are interested in All Bridges Burning, you can pre-order a copy for $49.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-675-all-bridges-burning-red-revolt-and-white-guard-in-finland-1917-18.aspx
3. Versailles 1919 from GMT Games
Last year at WBC, we had the distinct pleasure of playing Versailles 1919 with the designer Mark Herman and we really enjoyed the game (I actually won the game which was a four player affair with me, Alexander, Moe Fitzgerald and Mark. I must confess that Mark helped me win in the last round so I see it that we both won, me especially because I was able to play a game designed by one of my design heroes).
The game revolves around the struggles of the Entente powers post WWI to bring a lasting peace to the world. In a four player game, the active factions represented are Great Britain, the United States, France, and Italy. The game can be adjusted to two or three powers with Italy becoming an inactive faction and the players taking turns acting as the third active faction, but like all of these games, max players provides the optimal negotiating experience.
Versailles 1919 has a few moving parts to it that will take you a few moments to come to grips with as there’s an agenda of issues which will be ‘debated’, as players are trying to get the issues settled in their favour. These issues are an abstraction of issues that were discussed as major parts of the Treaty of Versailles and include many conflicts, border disputes, economic situations and colonial affairs that spanned the globe at the time. The issues will score victory points both directly and indirectly and include a printed VP cost but also have a series of icons on them that are used for set collection points and often affect the national contentment track. The national contentment track signifies how happy the people back home are with their ‘cut’ of the treaty. A fascinating balancing act showed itself in trying to keep the people at home happy, whilst still imposing your worldview in global affairs. Using your military might may secure you a valuable issue, but upset the people at home, who will then clamour for demilitarization, at which point you will lose military capital that can affect you later in the game with other issues.
On top of all of that there are foreign delegate cards that represent real historical figures that attended the conference. Mostly these cards give one time bonuses to the person that ‘settles’ an issue in someone’s favor. The game is played by players placing colored wooden cubes atop the issue cards when it is their turn showing their level of interest and commitment to settling that issue. The next player may want to increase their bid and put more cubes of their color on that issue instead. Any player may opt to forgo ‘bidding’ and instead settle one of the two issues on the table. They do this by picking up the issue and giving it to the player who has the most cubes on it. This is then put in their victory display or tableau. Most of the political cubes on the card are exhausted and will need to be recovered later, so management of the influence economy cubes becomes very important and a key to the game. You can take your turn to recover a certain amount of your exhausted cubes, but that is it, you get to do nothing else and this can be very bad at certain times or when you really have an issue available to you that you would do well by winning. Tough choices for sure and that is one of the things that makes this game great.
If you are interested in Versailles 1919, you can pre-order a copy for $59.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-711-versailles-1919.aspx
2. Point Blank from Lock ‘n Load Publishing
From the game page we read the following:
Point Blank is Lock ‘n Load Tactical World War 2 card game for 2 players pitted against each other in situational combat scenarios. There is also a solo option as well as partnerships in teams of 2. Each scenario presents the players with a unique situation involving squads of men, support weapons, leaders and individual armored fighting vehicles. The first game in the series will pit the forces of the USA against Germany just after the landings in Normandy (June 1944) through October 1944. Each player has victory conditions determined by the scenario in which to defend or take objectives, seek and destroy their opponent’s units or one of many other different scenario objectives.
The game is played on an abstract map board made up of terrain cards in the game and managed through a distance system that accounts for the range to targets, line of sight and defensive attributes. The player has units that start out on the map and gradually work their way towards their objectives by advancing through the battlefield all the while conducting combat actions against their opponent or defending their troops from return fire or whatever hell that awaits them. Players draw cards from a common action deck where they will play actions on their units on the map board. The game is an IGOUGO impulse system and turns are managed when the action deck is exhausted. (Some scenarios may require multiple deck exhaustion to finish the game). Actions in the game consist of Fire, Move, Assault, Rally etc. The action cards contain dice icons on them to determine random results.
I don’t know much about the progress of the game but I would love to see this come out this year as I think a lot of you will definitely enjoy it.
If you are interested in Point Blank you can pre-order a copy for $59.99 from the Lock ‘n Load Publishing website at the following link: https://store.lnlpublishing.com/lock-n-load-tactical-point-blank-card-game
1. Stalingrad ‘42 from GMT Games
After playing The U.S. Civil War a few years ago, and most recently Holland ’44, I was hooked on any game designed by Mark Simonitch. He simply has a real talent for making these huge operational level games that don’t feel overly complex. He also uses some really interesting mechanics, such as the ZOC Bond and Infiltration, really well that make for some very interesting decision points and create an experience for players that I have not necessarily seen in other designs.
I know that The Battle of Stalingrad is one of the most gamed subjects in wargaming, alongside The Battle of the Bulge, but I am sure that “the Simonitch Way” will blaze a new path through the conflict that will more deeply enlighten players as to the challenges and strategic difficulties of the taking the City of Stalingrad. I for one cannot wait and will add this one to my P500 list.
From the game page we read:
Stalingrad ’42 is a division-level game on the Axis 1942 summer offensive towards Stalingrad and the Caucasus. Historically, this epic struggle lasted for 6 months and saw the Axis armies reach the Volga and the Caucasus Mountains. But Soviet resistance stiffened and final victory eluded the German army at Stalingrad and in the Caucasus. The ensuing November Soviet offensive trapped the Wehrmacht’s largest army (the 6th) at Stalingrad and marked the beginning of the end for Axis fortunes in WW2.
Stalingrad ’42 uses the same scale and nearly all the rules of Ukraine ’43. Many modifications have been made to improve the system and to show crucial features of the campaign. New rules include leaders, elite panzer divisions, planned operations, hidden Soviet buildup, and Army/Front offensive support.
With three maps and low unit density, the game delivers a grand view of the campaign, where decisions about movement and direction of attack have lasting effects that propel or curtail your future strategic plans. The effect is like watching a story unfold and noticing a growing emotional involvement with your forces and plans. In the end, whether in victory or defeat, players of Stalingrad ’42 will enjoy an epic gaming experience.
My guess is that if you enjoy Ukraine ’43 (I have not played it but hear good things about it all the time) you will enjoy Stalingrad ’42. The map is absolutely gorgeous and the counters are really nice looking and easy to read.
If you are interested in Stalingrad ’42, you can pre-order a copy for the P500 price of $52.00 from the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-715-stalingrad-42.aspx
This list gets longer and longer each year. Started with only 7 games in 2017, increased to 10 games in 2018 and has now ballooned to 12 games in 2019. Either there are more good games coming out or I’m just more aware. I hope you had a good time reading the list. Let me know what games you are looking forward to in 2019.
A few others that I’m looking forward to are Europe Divided from Phalanx (Kickstarter starts June 10th), Combat! from Compass Games, Fields of Fire Vol II: With the Old Breed and The Last Hundred Yards both from GMT Games to name just a few.