Following last month’s super sized edition of Wargame Watch, which featured a whopping 15 games and simply seemed to go on forever, this month’s effort is even bigger as it features 17 great looking games with 4 of those being offered on Kickstarter. If the publishers keep doing this to me I’m simply going to have to set a limit on the number of games I include and leave games off the list. I have a life and cannot devote this much time to only one blog post! (I joke of course.)

If you missed last month’s feature, here is a link: July Wargame Watch


1. Successors from PHALANX Coming to Kickstarter August 26th

There is not really a lot of usable information out there on this upcoming Kickstarter at this point for the new edition of the classic game but I do know the following from pouring over several very spirited threads about the game on Board Game Geek.

The first thing I know is that the Kickstarter will launch on August 26th and will include new graphics, which I immediately assumes means a newly imagined map. I have also seen where they are working to include a 5-player variant. As was done with the remake of Hannibal & Hamilcar miniatures will be included with plastic stands. There also is some work being put in on some optional cards as well. But the basic mechanics of the game appear to be unchanged.

PHALANX has been doing a series of spoilers on several of the items in the game including a look at some of the successors, cards and factions.

Here is a look at a few pictures that I was able to get from their Facebook page that look pretty amazing:

To say the least, I am excited about this one as I have more recently taken a great interest in the Ancients and this one simply looks amazing. We are suckers for good miniatures here at The Players’ Aid so this pretty much has grabbed our attention.

Here is a link to a draft Kickstarter page that you can check out:

Once We Moved Like the Wind2. Once We Moved Like the Wind The Apache Wars, 1861-1886 from Compass Games Currently on Kickstarter

I personally have a great affinity for games dealing with the United States and the “interactions” with the various Native American Tribes and Nations as we moved westward in pursuit of Manifest Destiny. When I saw this game announced last year, I immediately added it to my list of anticipated wargames and have followed it over the past year. Recently, I saw where Compass Games had decided to go the Kickstarter route with the game, which I don’t fully understand nor know the reasons why, but my guess is that they are concerned about the interest level from the gaming community in the topic.

From the game page, we read the following summary of the game:

Once We Moved Like the Wind covers the central conflicts of the American South West. 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.

Central to the game is that the playing pieces are all wooden blocks with the information about each particular piece only on one side and hence hidden during play from the opposing player until action occurs which must reveal particular blocks.  And not all of these blocks are actually opposing forces.  For the Apache player in particular, many playing pieces each turn 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.

Once We Moved Like the Wind Board

We enjoy block wargames and also love hidden units and hidden strengths. Makes you think twice, or maybe even three times, before you attack. This is not a combat factor counting looking for that final 2 strength points for 4-1 odds kind of game. You will have to take chances with your attacks and will just have to go with your gut. I like that and am really looking forward to this experience.

Once We Moved Like the Wind is played on a 22” x 22” mounted game board (see picture above) with a scale of about 14 kilometers per centimeter or 22 miles per inch. The terrain represented is divided by a number of features. If you look closely at the map, you can see that the play area is divided into 4 larger Territories: the Arizona Territory & the New Mexico Territory in the US and the Sonora Territory & the Chihuahua Territory in Mexico. Dividing up all of the Territories, and often crossing their borders, are the Areas that units can move into and make contact.

If you are interested in Once We Moved Like the Wind, you can secure a copy on Kickstarter from the following link:

As of August 1st, the Kickstarter has met its $2,500 funding goal with 76 backers pledging $6,006. The Kickstarter will conclude as of Wednesday, August 14th at 5:01PM EDT.

img_52453. Brittania from PSC Games on Kickstarter Now

I love the classics and Britannia is one of those games that fits into that category but that is now receiving an overhaul with a new edition, not only with upgraded components and graphics but with a new game play mode to enjoy.

From the Kickstarter campaign page we read the following:

Britannia allows players to recreate the turbulent history of Britain from the coming of the Romans (in 43 A.D.) to final conquest by the Normans (1085 A.D.). Each player controls several nations and leaders including the Angles, Saxons, Irish, Norsemen, Danes, Boudicca, King Arthur, Offa, and many other recognisable names from British history. The power of each tribe will rise and fall as the game progresses through the centuries, so players must work out when to expand and when to consolidate with each of their nations.

Classic Britannia plays in the way all Britannia fans know and love, benefiting from Lew Pulsipher’s continued development and player feedback. Duel Britannia is a new, fast-playing adaptation for two players, on a new board including Ireland.

Britannia Minis

In Ameri-trash tradition, the playing pieces have been made into little minis and frankly I think they look really good, especially the cavalry units. There are also special leader mini stretch goals that have mostly been unlocked as well as mini forts and ruined forts. The game’s production appears to be top notch and I am really looking forward to this one as we all need a game that is simply unadulterated fun from time to time.

If you are interested in Britannia, you can secure a copy on Kickstarter from the following link:

As of August 1st, the Kickstarter has met its $24,318 funding goal with 841 backers pledging $64,612. The Kickstarter will conclude as of Thursday, August 1st at 8:01AM EDT. If you missed this one, I am sure they will have another opportunity to back before it is fulfilled.

img_52414. Wings of the Motherland Fighting Wings Vol. 4 from Clash of Arms Games

As you know, we really enjoy the air war during World War II with such games as Wild Blue Yonder and Wing Leader. I recently saw this one while poking around on Consimworld and it simply looks amazing.

From the pre-order page, we read the following about the game:

The Fighting Wings game system (Volume 4) goes to the Russian front, modeling aircraft and situations from the German invasion of Russia in the summer of 1941 to the fall of Berlin in 1945. 48 new aircraft ADCs (very few duplicates from previous games and if so these are updated with better information), two double sided maps for four unique playing surfaces and two full counter sheets of air and ground units, one half counter sheet of ships and play-aid counters, plus the third edition rules and playa aids for the Fighting Wings system.

This game builds on the Whistling Death game Fighting Wings rules. All Whistling Death errata is incorporated and subtle changes make this sophisticated system easier to use.

220 scenarios planned, showing evolution of fighter combat, close air support and the low altitude air war that was the Russian front’s primary characteristic. Much more emphasis on air-to-ground than in previous series. A number of air naval scenarios as well.

If you are interested in Wings of the Motherland Fighting Wings Vol. 4, you can pre-order a copy for $120.00 from the following link:

Trieracrches CSL Cover

5. Trierarchs: Trireme Warfare in the 5th Century BC from Conflict Simulations Limited

Ray Weiss has come onto the wargame publishing scene over the last year with his new CSL brand and has really provided some new and interesting takes on conflicts that we have all been playing for years. Now, he has jumped on the Ancients bandwagon but taken it in his own direction with a new game up on pre-order that deals with trireme combat in Ancient Greece.

From the game page we read the following:

Trierarchs is a modern take on ancient Tactical Naval Warfare during the 5th century with a special focus on and surrounding the Peloponnesian War. The naval conflicts of the ancient world were strategically and logistically vital to any nation’s ambitions of expansion and colonization. Thucydides himself was exiled as a result of his failure to prevent a Spartan landing at Amphipolis and the subsequent death of Athenian general and politician Cleon at that battle.

The period is notable for the relative ferocity and unique nature of naval conflict. The primary tactic being to ram your opponents ship via it’s broadside as quickly as your oarsman could row. Triremes were packed sparingly along with several hoplite marines and archers who could either attack or board enemy ships if close enough. Athens was primarily the dominant naval power until the end of the war and even had an original tactic where they could maneuver a ship parallel to an opponent going in the opposite direction, pull in their oars, and shear off the oars of their enemies leaving them dead in the water. The quality of a crew would frequently make up for inferior numbers in combat making for interesting and thrilling scenarios, of which Trierarchs is packed.

I think that this one sounds really interesting and will definitely be unique. The game will have both a basic and advanced version of the rules which will allow players to customize their plays by picking and choosing what rules they wish to include. The advanced rules do increase the play time and relative complexity of the rules in order to more accurately reflect the nature of ancient naval warfare. Optional rules are also included for simultaneous movement, double-blind refereed games, as well as limited combined-operations with land forces. This one is sure to be a nice addition to the collection of any fan that loves the Ancients.

If you are interested in Trierarchs: Trireme Warfare in the 5th Century BC, you can pre-order a copy for $69.99 from the CSL website at the following link:

img_51056. Until the Bitter End – US Airborne from Matt White (Self-Published) Currently on Kickstarter

Last year, we posted an interview with Matt White, who is a very talented graphic artist and budding game designer, that focused on his artistic talents and love of tanks. He has since designed several very interesting small scale wargames, with his most recent design being a World War II tactical wargame series for 1-2 players pitting the British Airborne versus the German Wehrmacht called Until the Bitter End. He now is embarking on the next entry in this series called US Airborne and the Kickstarter campaign started on July 18th. We reached out to Matt and he was more than willing to share about his new design. We posted this interview with him on the game and what you can expect from the next iteration.

From the Kickstarter page we read the following about the game:

The game sets a small squad of American Airborne against their German enemies in a series of small skirmish scenarios. The game’s counters (or chits) each represent an actual soldier with the gameplay being in the thick of man-to-man combat.

The game can be played 2-player with one player playing as the US Airborne and the other player playing as the Germans. The game can also be played Solitaire with the player playing as the US Airborne against the German AI. For gamers familiar with Solitaire wargames this game uses a random chit-pull mechanic (as detailed in the video).

The game is played in a number of Turns. In each Turn the player(s) randomly picks a Pull Chit from the mug and activate their Infantry. The Game Turn ends when all the Pull Chits have been removed from the cup.

The player whose this Pull Chit this force belongs to can now Activate one Infantry Counter. In activating the Infantry Counter the player can choose from several Actions such as Firing against the enemy, moving, charging into close combat, applying first aid or attempting to fix a jammed weapon.


If you are interested in Until the Bitter End – US Airborne, you can secure a copy on Kickstarter from the following link:

As of August 1st, the Kickstarter has met its $121 funding goal with 250 backers pledging $2,268. The Kickstarter will conclude as of Saturday, August 17th at 3:05PM EDT.

img_52647. Brief Border Wars from Compass Games

As I think you know, we really like Brian Train designed games. He is a very thoughtful designer that always is pushing the envelope on what insurgency and counter insurgency means. He also is fairly prolific and seems to always have at lest 2 or 3 games in the design hopper. Now comes a smaller quadrigame with lots of goodness included with four different conflicts neatly packaged into an itty bitty box (well probably not that small but it sounded good!).

Brief Border Wars is a quadrigame or set of four mini-games on short border conflicts of the 20th and 21st century, using a card-driven system that models the chaotic, stop-and-start nature of these impromptu wars.

The four conflicts include:

  • El Salvador vs. Honduras, 1969 (also known as “The Football War”)
  • The Turkish invasion of Cyprus, 1974
  • China vs. Vietnam, 1979
  • Israel vs. Hezbollah, southern Lebanon, 2006

From the game page, we read the following about each of the four battles contained in the game:

“The Football War”

El Salvador vs. Honduras, 1969. This is one of history’s shortest wars, clocking in at about 100 hours. People often joke that this was was provoked by one side losing a soccer match: in fact, like most wars, the war was the climax of years of political and economic pressure. The El Salvadoran government reasoned that a war with Honduras would unify the country politically by seeming to avenge the mistreatment of the hundreds of thousands of El Salvadoran immigrants in Honduras and diverting citizens’ attention from other problems. The war, while short, did not provide a solution to anything: about 2,000 people, mostly Honduran civilians, were killed; no land changed hands; infrastructure in both countries was damaged; both countries spent scarce money rebuilding their forces; and economic ties between the two countries were disrupted completely. In the game, both forces are largely similar – El Salvador has a slightly larger ground force, while Honduras has a bit more airpower – and both must contend with rugged terrain and poor roads in their efforts to seize or hold Honduran territory.

Operation Attila
The Turkish invasion of Cyprus, 1974. Greeks and Turks have co-existed uneasily on the island of Cyprus since Classical times. In 1974  a coup d’etat by “EOKA-B”, a violent organization seeking unity with Greece, overthrew the Cypriot government and was the trigger for the Turkish military to intervene on the island, ostensibly to guarantee the safety of Turkish Cypriots living in small enclaves across the island. The invasion, codenamed Operation ATTILA, saw two distinct bursts of action: first, on 20-23 July when Turkish forces established a beachhead then drove a narrow corridor to the capital of Nicosia; and second, when peace talks and world opinion seemed to be swinging against Turkey, a second invasion on 14 August which ended several days later with Turkish control of about 40% of Cyprus. In the game, the Turkish player has a small number of professional units to seize and dominate as much of the island as possible, opposed by a larger number of Cypriot irregular forces.
Third Indochina War
China vs. Vietnam, 1979. The Chinese government claimed that this brief war, purposely limited in its aims, was launched to “teach Vietnam a lesson”… officially to punish it for its poor treatment of ethnic Chinese in Vietnam, its occupation of the Spratly Islands, and its invasion of Cambodia at the end of 1978. The real incentives behind this first war between two Communist countries were rather more obscure and remain so to this day. The conduct of the war exposed many severe problems of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, which had not fought a war for 30 years. The Army performed very poorly against the determined Vietnamese People’s Army, then one of the largest and most battle-experienced military forces in the world, backed up with a large force of determined local militia and guerrillas.
Particularly galling for the Chinese player is having to contend with two widely separated, non-communicating  battle fronts.
Second Lebanon War
Israel vs. Hezbollah, southern Lebanon, 2006. The Hezbollah (Party of God) movement is effectively the governing power in southern Lebanon, bordering on the state of Israel. The Second Lebanon War began in July, 2006 after a long series of provocations and retaliations between the two powers: the action begins around July 20, 2006 which marked the beginning of increasingly large incursions by Israeli ground troops after eight days of intense aerial bombardment. The time covered by an entire game may represent up to three weeks, ending in a ceasefire on August 14, 2006. The Israeli player’s main objective is to seek out and destroy the Hezbollah rocket and missile units raining destruction on their territory, while balancing the need to avoid mobilizing too many reserve forces.

It also appears that each game is small (40 to 50 counters each) and with a short play time (one to two hours), and using a common set of basic system rules and a deck of special cards to control movement and combat. Each game also features rules additions and variations to reflect the nature of each conflict. This type of standardization should make the game very playable and easy to pick up which I think makes this one a real value.

Brief Border Wars Map China vs. Vietnam

If you are interested in Brief Border Wars, you can pre-order a copy for $52.00 from the Compass Games website at the following link:

8. Napoleon’s Eagles: Storm in the East from Compass Games

Another newly announced game from Compass takes us into the Time of Napoleon. The game is being billed as a highly playable, action-packed card game set during the wars of 19th Century Europe”. There are two different battles featured in the design including Borodino, the famous confrontation before the very gates of Moscow featured in Tolstoy’s famous novel War and Peace and Leipzig, the great “Battle of Nations” which marked the beginning of the end of the French Empire.

From the game page we read the following:

The events of Autumn 1812 to Autumn 1813 marked a pivot point in the history of 19th Century Europe. Despite ominous setbacks in Spain, Napoleonic France before 1812 was at the height of its expansion. The continental system was holding, if imperfectly. Monarchs friendly to the Empire (several, members of Napoleon’s immediate family), ruled in every capital of the continent. Only Britain remained unbowed. By the end of 1813 the story had changed dramatically…

Two smaller battles are included (Shevardino and Lieberwolkwitz), as well as two campaign games that cover multiple days of battle: September 5th-7th, 1812 at Borodino and October 14th-18th, 1813 at Leipzig. The game includes rules for cavalry charges, artillery bombardment, army morale and army commanders. Emphasis is placed on the role of reserves and the judicial commitment of infantry and cavalry. Key terrain pieces are featured, such as the city of Leipzig and the famous Great Redoubt at Borodino.

There also is a very well done how to play video on the game page that you can take a look at to get an idea of the game play. Here is the video:

If you are interested in Napoleon’s Eagles: Storm in the East, you can pre-order a copy for $39.00 from the Compass Games website at the following link:

9. Dawn of Empire: The Spanish-American Naval War in the Atlantic 1898 from Compass Games

I really like unique games. Either unique in terms of game play but also unique with the subject matter covered and explored. This month, there are several unique wargames that were announced. This one is the 2nd that covers naval warfare and I am really excited to see where it takes us.

From the game page, we read the following:

Dawn of Empire is an uncomplicated game centered on the naval aspects of the Spanish-American War of 1898 in the Atlantic Ocean. The game depicts this conflict at a strategic level, with most operational and tactical details represented by fast and easy-to-play systems, rather than intricate mechanisms. The intent of the game is to provide a broad overview of the historical events while being fun to play.

It all really started in February of 1895 when Spain unilaterally suspended constitutional guarantees to Cuba and its population. This lead to open revolt on the island and serious retaliatory measures by the Spanish administration of Captain General Weyler, including concentration camps for non-combatants. This was too much for the American press, and as a result, the American public, and eventually U.S. pressure led to Weyler’s removal, but not to a decrease in tensions between the US and Spain. And then, the Maine happened. On 15 February, 1898, well into the darkness of the night, the USS Maine, anchored in Havana Harbour to visible enforcement of U.S. interests on the island, blew up. 268 U,S. naval personnel were killed, about 2/3rd of the crew of the vessel. The American press exploded also. Headlines shouted “Spanish Treachery” and William Randolph Hearts newspapers stirred the pot of American anger vigorously. By late March a Naval Court Of Inquiry set down a judgment that the Maine was destroyed by an external explosion, pointing the finger by implication at the Spanish. Before the end of the following month, the United States would declare war on Spain.

The object of the game for the United States player is to control the sea areas around the US Atlantic coast and Caribbean Sea to prevent Spanish combatants from supporting their island holdings and to destroy the naval forces of Spain. The object of the game for the Spanish player is to disrupt United States sea control, retain sea control around the Spanish coastline for as long as possible, and destroy United States naval forces. Both players must deploy their naval resources into the sea areas on the map to earn victory points at the end of each turn for areas under their control, blockaded, and for opposing units destroyed.

Dawn of Empire Map

I really like the look of the map and it’s focus on area movement.

If you are interested in Dawn of Empire, you can pre-order a copy for $39.00 from the Compass Games website at the following link:

10. Hungarian Rhapsody from Multi-Man Publishing

If monster wargames are your thing, then next up in the OCS is Hungarian Rhapsody from Multi-Man Publishing. With only 2 maps and a mere 6 counter sheets, this one appears to be more of an approachable and playable mini-monster but still a “real wargame” with lots of counters, chrome and rules.

From the game page, we read the following:

Hungarian Rhapsody is an Operational Combat Series (OCS) game that depicts the Soviet 1944 drive into Hungary which led to the battle of Debrecen, the siege of Budapest, and the German 1945 KONRAD counter-offensives attempting to relieve Budapest.

Romania’s defection in August 1944 allowed the Soviets to outflank well-defended Axis positions in the Carpathian Mountains from the south. In the process, the German 6th Army was almost destroyed, losing most of its heavy equipment (which explains the relative weakness of the German artillery at the start of the campaign).

The game begins on the October 5, 1944 turn with the 2nd and 4th Ukrainian Fronts launching an offensive to isolate the German 8th Army which is still defending an area off-map to the east in the Carpathian Mountains. It allows players to play the two major Soviet offensives and several smaller scenarios covering the German counter-offensives, concluding on February 26, 1945.

The Soviet offensive power comes from three tank corps, five mechanized corps, and three cavalry corps—but faces formidable challenges. They are operating at the very edge of their logistical capabilities. While the Hungarian Plain is good tank country, Budapest and the surrounding terrain make for heavy going. And the Axis forces are capable of stinging counterattacks (such as the Battle of Debrecen) and all-out counter-offensives (such as Operation KONRAD). The Germans had 13 panzer divisions, three panzergrenadier divisions, two cavalry divisions, and two cavalry brigades present in this theater. The total seems large, but not all were present at the same point in the campaign.

Hungarian Rhapsody is billed as a medium-sized two-map OCS game, with 5-mile hexes and 3.5-day turns. The full Campaign game is 43 turns long, and there are five campaign scenarios so players can start at any point of the action. On the game page, they had the following information about the features of the design which I always find to be very interesting:

Special rules in this 18th OCS series game are carefully researched to model key aspects of this important campaign:
• Soviet logistical difficulties in bridging the Danube River.
• Tank-buster aircraft such as those piloted by famed German ace Hans-Ulrich Rudel.
• Hungarian Goulash counters to help Budapest defenders hold out just a little longer.
• Soviet Front markers reflecting the role of higher echelons in marshaling supply and rebuilding shattered mobile Corps.
• Forces include German Wehrmacht, Luftwaffe and SS formations, as well as Soviet Guards and regular units, plus Slovakian Partisans, Romanians, and Yugoslavians fighting for the Soviets.

If you are interested in Hungarian Rhapsody, you can pre-order a copy for $105.00 from the Multi-Man Publishing website at the following link:


11. Wing Leader: Origins 1936-1942 from GMT Games

We have played a couple of the games in the Wing Leader Series, including Supremacy, and really found the game mechanics and the narrative that it weaves very interesting. Lee Brimmicombe-Wood is a great designer and really goes into the depth and breadth of the aircraft of the time as well as the tactics so it will be really interesting to see how this one plays out.

From the game page we read the following:

Wing Leader: Origins 1936-1942 is the third expansion for GMT’s Wing Leader system. Origins dives into the thrilling battles of the inter-war and early-war period. This expansion matches biplanes against fast monoplanes in combat over Spain, China and Poland. Nationalist CR.32s face off against ‘Red’ I-15s over Madrid. Soviet volunteers fly ‘Chaikas’ against Japanese ‘Claudes’ above China. Bf 109s dive into streams of British Wellingtons, Halifaxes and Manchesters, while defending battleships in Brest.

New Aircraft range from pre-war German warplanes such as the He 46 and He 51, to Polish fighters and bombers, such as the PZL P.11, and American Curtiss fighters such as the CW-21 Interceptor.
In addition to new aircraft and scenarios, Wing Leader: Origins features a whole campaign system, recreating two days of the German and Italian maximum effort against Malta in 1942. Titled Malta Spitfires, the campaign simulates the tough attrition battles over the islands.

We have really enjoyed campaign aspects for the various air war games we have played such as Wild Blue Yonder. It simply gives a whole new experience to the game and offers some added replayability and I am glad that they are including this option in the design. Warning though, you will need a copy of Wing Leader: Victories 1940-1942 to play Wing Leader: Origins.

If you are interested in Wing Leader: Origins 1936-1942, you can pre-order a copy for $30.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link:

New Release

The Battle of Nanawa1. Desert Carnage: The Second Battle of Nanawa, July 1933 from High Flying Dice Games

High Flying Dice Games always has great games on lesser gamed topics. Their new release this month is focused on the interwar period with The Second Battle of Nanawa which pits the Bolivians and the Paraguayians against each other for access to the Atlantic Ocean during the Chaco War. Another war over oil resources. Go figure!

From the game page, we read the following:

Desert Carnage: The Second Battle of Nanawa, July 1933 covers the three day battle between Bolivia and Paraguay during the long Chaco War. The Chaco War remains the only declared war that occurred in South America. In brief, Bolivia wanted access to the Atlantic, and demanded Paraguay cede territory. The earlier discoveries of minerals and oil by Shell and Standard Oil prompted both companies to pursue these objectives in concordance with the Bolivian government through the Chaco desert area. For Bolivia, access to the Atlantic would allow projected oil pipelines to the Paraguay River to be built and allow for commerce.

This one is a bit larger than your typical game published from HFDG as it comes with two 11″ x 17″ maps and 350 single sided counters and markers! Ilya Kudriashov has lent his artistic talents to the map and counters so if you like his work (and I sure do) you can see that the game has a nice look and the map is very clear and playable. I sure like the look and feel of this one and am going to have to try to reach out to Perry Moore to discuss the design in an interview.

If you are interested in Desert Carnage, you can order a copy for $20.95 from the High Flying Dice Games website at the following link:

Death Valley2. Death Valley: Battles for the Shenandoah from GMT Games

I have never played a Great Battles of the American Civil War series game but they all look so good (as do the Great Battles of the American Revolutionary War). But this one is one that I am simply chomping at the bit to play and have been anticipating since its announcement nearly 18 months ago. Well, the wait it finally over as this game is finally finished and should be shipping any day now.

From the game page, we read the following:

Death Valley: Battles for the Shenandoah is the seventh installment of the Great Battles of the American Civil War (GBACW) series, published by GMT Games. Eight full battles are included.

Three Battles of the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1862

In a campaign still studied in military academies, Confederate General Thomas J. (Stonewall) Jackson engaged and defeated the Union forces pursuing him. Greatly outnumbered and at times facing three Union armies, Jackson defeated them all within ten weeks, at one point completely freeing the Shenandoah Valley of Union forces. Three battles from Jackson’s 1862 Valley Campaign are featured.

Kernstown, March 23, 1862

In the spring of 1862 Union General Nathanial Banks moved his 38,000 man V Corps into the Shenandoah Valley in conjunction with McClellan’s advance on Richmond. There was no resistance from the 3000 Confederates under General Thomas (Stonewall) Jackson, a hero of Bull Run, then in his first independent command. Confident that all was secure in the Valley, but concerned for the safety of the capital, Washington began to transfer the V Corps troops to defend the city, leaving the 7000 men of General James Shields’ division to block the lower Valley. But Jackson was ordered to keep the Union troops in the Valley from joining forces with those threatening Richmond. After receiving reports that only a rear guard remained south of Winchester, he attacked. The battle was the first of Jackson’s Valley Campaign.

Winchester, May 25, 1862

After Kernstown General Banks led a newly reinforced and newly named army of the Department of the Shenandoah in pursuit of Jackson. After a series of Confederate maneuvers Banks lost contact with Jackson’s army. During that time Jackson defeated a Union force threatening his left flank at McDowell and joined forces with the two Confederate brigades defending the mountain passes there. Jackson then turned on Banks. Uniting with another Confederate division under General Richard Ewell, Jackson outflanked Banks at Front Royal and threatened to cut his supply line, starting a race for Winchester. Banks reached the town first and set up a defense south of the town. He had to buy time for the Union supply train to escape.

Cross Keys and Port Republic, June 8-9, 1862

Following Winchester, Washington sent two Union forces to trap the Confederates in the lower Valley. Two divisions from the Mountain Department under General John Fremont advanced from what is now West Virginia, and one division under General James Shields from the Department of the Rappahannock moved into the Valley from the east. A rain-swollen Shenandoah River separated the Union forces. Jackson engaged both on successive days to end the Valley Campaign.

Five Battles of the Shenandoah Valley Campaigns of 1864

New Market, May 15, 1864

Early in 1864, Union Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant devised a plan to attack the Confederacy on multiple fronts simultaneously. As part of that plan Major General Franz Sigel was to lead 9000 men up the Shenandoah Valley to cut the Virginia Central Railroad at Staunton and deprive Robert E. Lee of the Valley’s rich resources. Opposing the Union move in the Valley was Major General John C. Breckinridge. The Confederates were able to scrape together 7500 men by including county reservists and the cadets from Virginia Military Institute. Lee could space no reinforcements. After the lead Union forces occupied New Market, Breckinridge attacked.

2nd Kernstown, July 24, 1864

Grant dispatched elements of three Union Corps led by General Horatio Wright, to pursue Confederate General Jubal Early in his retreat from the raid on Washington. After a victory by the Union cavalry at Rutherford’s Farm and Early’s continued retreat up the Valley, General Wright was convinced that Early was withdrawing to join the defense of Richmond. Both the Union VI Corps and XIX Corps were withdrawn, leaving General George Crook’s 13,000 strong Army of West Virginia to defend the lower Valley. Tasked with tying up as many Union troops as possible, Early turned to attack upon learning that he faced only one Union corps.

3rd Winchester, September 19, 1864

Grant consolidated command over the Union forces in the Shenandoah Valley under General Phillip Sheridan. Even though Sheridan commanded a superior force, he remained on the defensive, behavior Early mistook for timidity. When Early undertook a raid against the B&O Railroad, stringing out his four divisions from Winchester to Martinsburg, Sheridan moved to cut off the entire Confederate army at Winchester, initiating the largest battle fought in the Shenandoah Valley.

Fisher’s Hill, September 22, 1864

Sheridan defeated the Confederates at the 3rd Winchester, but he was unable to destroy the army. Early retreated 20 miles up the Shenandoah Valley to Fisher’s Hill, near Strasburg, a position that the Confederates had strongly fortified during their occupation of the area in the summer of 1864; however, that summer the Confederates had more troops to man the works and also had reinforcements on the way. Early wrote that it was the only place in the Valley to make a stand. Sheridan saw that a frontal attack was not practical, but was determined to finish what he started at Winchester and push the Confederates out of the valley.

Cedar Creek, October 19, 1864

After defeating Early at Winchester and Fisher’s Hill, Sheridan was convinced the Confederates were no longer capable of offensive operations and withdrew the Union army into camps along Cedar Creek. Early, reinforced with a division under General Joseph Kershaw, tentatively pursued. After studying the Union positions, a plan was devised for a surprise attack on the exposed Union left flank. Outnumbered by 3 to 1, the Confederates launched what initially looked to be one of the most successful attacks of the war.

There is a lot in this box for sure and it will brings hours and hours of gaming. We were fortunate enough to post an interview with the developer William Byrne that you can read for more detail on the mechanics and the design.

If you are interested in Death Valley, you can order a copy from the GMT Games website for $89.00 (if you hurry and get this one soon you might still be able to get the P500 price of $59.00) at the following link:

img_51383. Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea from GMT Games

I know that this title isn’t necessarily a wargame and is more akin to a Euro based Civilization building game but I don’t care. It simply is too good looking of a game not to include on this list. While at the World Boardgaming Championships last week in Pennsylvania we got a look at a production copy of the game and it was simply amazing!

From the game page we read the following:

Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea is not just one game but many games. From one to six players will take the role of one, two, or even three of these civilizations as they compete across up to four epochs on land and sea, seeking to survive a host of potential natural disasters while making their indelible mark on history through conquest and the building of cities and great Wonders: thereby becoming the dominant power of their age. Extensive Solitaire Rules allow any scenario, including the basic game, to be played by a single player against one or more Non-Player Civilizations (NPCs). The NPC component may be peaceful or hostile, or change their attitude depending on the actions of the player. Historical War Game Scenarios offer particularly aggressive Solitaire system-controlled opponents for those who want to fight to expand or defend their civilization.

The game is very interesting as it sets itself up for lots of direct conflict and various cultures coming into contact with one another as they vie for control of the region and to expand this culture and influence. But the game doesn’t have to be about war.

From the game page, we get this insight into how it might play out:

If you want a War Game, let it begin here — but if you want a friendly game, this is it!

Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea can be all about war – but it does not have to be. It can be a friendly game of exploration, city building, trade, and the construction of up to seven Wonders such as The Great Pyramid. Any player or players, solitaire or in a group of up to six, can make of Ancient Civilizations what they wish or imagine. Competition can be martial or cultural, warlike or friendly, or a combination of both – how the game plays depends entirely on how the player or players want it to play.

All this takes place in a backdrop of natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, and famines inflicted by player or the solitaire game system. Furthermore, a vast array of invading barbarian hordes can descend upon a civilization’s lands to wreak woe and havoc upon it.

For those who want a WAR GAME, however, there is plenty of war to be gamed…

Historical War Game Scenarios are just that — fun and entertaining scenarios for one or more players that recreate: the Fall of Rome, the wars between the Greeks and Persians, the conquests of Alexander the Great (or the Defense of Persia by Darius against Alexander), the challenges faced by the God-Kings of Egypt, and the campaigns of Hannibal. All of these, and more, can be played Solitaire against Non-Player Civilizations, or between two and, in some cases, three or more players.

For more information about the game you can read a fairly involved and detailed interview we posted with designers Mark McLaughlin and Christopher Vorder Bruegge on the game.

If you are interested in Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea, you can order a copy from the GMT Games website for $85.00 (if you hurry and get this one soon you might still be able to get the P500 price of $59.00) at the following link:

img_52564. Donetsk: Battle for the Airport from Tiny Battle Publishing

Alexander and I played this one when it came out in YAAH! Magazine last year and we really enjoyed it’s fast playing tactical style. We shot a video review that you can check out to get our thoughts on the design.

From the game page, we read the following:

A rebadging of the game originally found in Flying Pig Games’ Yaah! #9 Donetsk is a squad-level tactical game that simulates the battles for the Donetsk Airport in the Ukraine 2014-2015. You will control squads, RPG and machine gun teams, BTRs, T-64 tanks, snipers and more, as you attempt to gain control of the airport. The game comes with four scenarios, 88 sharp-looking die-cut counters, and a beautifully illustrated game map. Ryan writes excellent designer notes that will educate those who were unaware of the Russian-backed separatist’s war with the Ukraine.

Donetsk Counters

If you are interested in Donetsk, you can order a copy for $28.00 from the Tiny Battle Publishing website at the following link:

5. Siege of Izmail from Hollandspiele

I have yet to play a Hollandspiele game that I didn’t like. And most of them, I have really loved. New this month is an interesting looking siege style game from a new designer Ilya Kurdriashov. Yes you might recognize the name from the many art credits that he has on various games that we have highlighted over the years but this is his first design and it looks really interesting.

From the game page, we read the following:

The game recreates the 22 December 1790 assault on the Ottoman fortress by a Russian army led by the capable and dynamic Alexander Suvorov. This famous Russian victory against overwhelming odds inspired an unofficial national anthem, Let the Thunder of Victory Sound.

At its core, Siege of Izmail is a simple game utilizing a traditional move-combat turn structure that gets you right into the action. There are however some unique wrinkles that adeptly capture the drama of a fortress assault. Occupying the walls allows the Ottoman Units to spread out via Detached Troop markers, each of which may have the higher combat value of a full unit. Fixed artillery positions printed on map may be fired at the approaching enemy. Nuanced Zone of Control conditions mandate some combats but not others. Optional leader rules provide challenges and benefits for both players.

Created for the 2018 Board Game Geek Wargame Print and Play Contest, Siege of Izmail decisively swept the awards (including Best Game, Best Artwork, and Best New Designer), and it’s easy to see why: it is elegant, exciting, and appealing, executed with care and attention to detail. All things that could also be said of the many wargame maps he has put on our tables. With map art, counters, and game all created by Ilya Kudriashov, one expects nothing less.

Siege of Izmail

If you are interested in Siege of Izmail, you can order a copy for $35.00 from the Hollandspiele website at the following link:

Front Toward Enemy6. Front Toward Enemy from Multi-Man Publishing

One of the games that I have been following over the past few years is finally here and guess what?!? I have a copy that I picked up from WBC before it was even available to the general wargaming masses. I can assure you that the game looks awesome. We also were able to speak with the designer Joe Chacon while at WBC and get a look at the game mechanics and components and we will be posting that interview over the next few weeks.

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.

Rules cover all of the elements associated with combat in Vietnam: helicopter gunships, armored vehicles, artillery support, snipers, sappers, civilians, booby-traps, medics, evacuation of the wounded, prisoner interrogation, tunnels, hidden caches, and more. Winning doesn’t always mean holding the objective if the cost in casualties is too great. Sudden combat in difficult terrain causes command and control to quickly break down. A chit-pull system means command and control is erratic, and volume of fire is rewarded, but results are fickle. The unforeseen occurs, ranging from non-combat injuries to interference from higher headquarters to so-called “friendly fire”. Immediate action drills, staying close, and the ability to move and act as a coordinated unit ensure survivability in this environment.

Alexander actually has already posted an unboxing video for the game and you can check that out here:

If you are interested in Front Toward Enemy, you can order a copy for $48.00 (this is a special pre-order price so it might cost you the full price of $70.00) from the Multi-Man Publishing website at the following link:

I say you can order a copy but they are currently shipping pre-orders and it doesn’t appear it is ready for general sale. You might have to wait a bit!

Front Toward Enemy Map and Counters

Whew! I finished it. That only took me about 10 hours of research, writing and editing. You are welcome. I hope that you have enjoyed the feature this month as I think it has some really great looking games, and more importantly, has a lot of very interesting and different wargames for you to peruse and consider.

Next month, I am going to have to start earlier I think because I am just not sure that there will be any shortage to the new games that I can highlight. Let me know what games I missed and what games you are looking forward to.