Another month, another list of great games! Our hobby is currently experiencing a Golden Age and I am glad that I am here to experience it. Each month I begin looking for upcoming games around the 10th, just 10 days after Wargame Watch is published. And only after 10 days there is already a new salvo of games already loaded up. This month I found 16 games to share with you, with 3 of those being kickstarters.
In case you missed last month’s Wargame Watch here is a link to that post: August Wargame Watch
1. Saigon 75 from Nuts! Publishing Now on Kickstarter
I saw this one announced a few months ago and I my interest was piqued but it was delayed. We were contacted by Nuts! Publishing to do a preview video for their upcoming Kickstarter and we jumped at the chance. Saigon 75 is an introductory wargame with simple rules and a fast play time of 60 minutes, which simulates the strategic struggle between North and South Vietnam from summer 1973 to spring 1975. The game is designed to highlight the differences between the numerous and mighty North Vietnamese divisions and the Rangers/Marines/Parachutists and other units of the South Vietnamese. US air power, air lifts and desertion are also featured, with the use of event cards that give key abilities when they are most needed or that punish one side or the other at the wrong time. There is a solo mode but I have not been able to find details on it as of yet.
Here is our preview video on the game. We had a good time playing it and enjoyed lots of the elements including the desertion table, combat system and cards. Lots of interesting mechanics that have to be managed to play the game well. The game is a bit one sided, favoring the NVA with their many forces and superior dice, but the ARVN can win the game through shrewd choices, key offensives and some luck. If you lose as the ARVN, you can simply turn around and play as the NVA and after two hours can have enjoyed two plays of a solid wargame.
The Kickstarter started on Tuesday, August 27th. If you are interested, here is a link to the Kickstarter page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/483438961/saigon-75?ref=bggforums&token=bd1b79e8
As of September 2nd, the game is funded with 233 backers giving $18,392 toward their $11,141 goal. The campaign will end on Tuesday, September 10th by 12:59 EDT.
2. Pre-Modern Era Tactics Series: Great Battles of Lacedaemon from Conflict Simulations Limited
CSL has been diving into some very interesting looking topics from the Ancients period recently and I am keenly interested in several of these new upcoming games. Great Battles of Lacedaemon covers some very interesting real estate with the Spartans. And honestly who doesn’t like playing the Spartans?
From the game page, we read the following on the series and the design:
The Pre-Modern Era Tactics Series (PMETS) is (again) inspired by the late John Young and his PRESTAGS series for SPI. PMETS will cover all eras of warfare from the beginning of history until the 17th century. This series is possible because warfare changed relatively little between this period until the wars of the 17th century developed Pike & Shot tactics and the era of combined arms started to develop.
The first game in the PMET series of games focuses on Lacedamemon, otherwise known to us in the modern era as Sparta. Lacedemonia was the dominant land power in the ancient Greek world, establishing its hegemony over the Peloponnese peninsula sometime after the collapse of the Bronze Age. After years of internal struggle and intrigue, Sparta emerged from it’s borders putting down tyrants creating allies across the region forming what today is called the Peloponnese league
4 critical battles in Sparta’s history are presented in a clean, accurate, and playable format which promises not to get bogged down in minutia. A simple command system sees leaders able to allow units to their move and grant benefits to units in combat, or units suffering from adverse results in combat, though this can sometimes result in the worsening quality of the leader. Like its ancestor the PRESTAGS system, each hex in PMETS represents about 50 meters from hexside to hexside. Each unit represents a company/squadron of 100-150 mean and/or horses. Each turn represents 5 minutes of real time. Units from Thebes, Corinth, Athens, Macedonia, and several others localities are represented in game.
If you are interested in Great Battles of Lacedeamon you can pre-order a copy for $99.00 from the CSL website at the following link: https://www.consimsltd.com/shop/great-battles-of-lacedaemon-pre-order
3. Battles Magazine #13 from Kamchatka Publishing
Battles Magazine is a French professional and independent wargame magazine that is published on an irregular basis.
The issues are generally 124 full color pages which include reviews, analysis, regular columns, general and historical articles, scenarios, player aids, and much more. Each issue also includes a complete game with die-cut counters, map and rules.
Issue #13 contains a game previously published by Vae Victus called Shear Butchery: Solferino 1859.
If you are interested in Battles Magazine #13, you can pre-order a copy from the Kamchatka Publishing website at the following link: https://www.battlesmagazine.com/eshop/index.php
4. Mark McLaughlin’s War & Peace from One Small Step Now on Kickstarter
I have always heard that this game is the quintessential Napoleonic game and the designer’s true masterpiece. And I have seen the interest in the game, enough to warrant a reprint Kickstarter campaign.
Mark McLaughlin’s classic game on Napoleonic conquest is here, revitalized and enhanced with completely updated graphics and production, all new campaigns covering all of Napoleon’s career, and a completely revamped rule book that incorporates all known errata, and the best official variants and optional rules along with a few new surprises. War and Peace will be given the deluxe treatment in this re-issue.
The game is being revitalized but attention to the original is being paid and all the original scenarios are being included plus a new campaign.
What you will get with this new version of the wonderful old game is all of the Napoleonic Campaigns in one box plus a newly revised Grand Campaign Game, with all new map, components, modern artwork, and greatly updated rules with new optional rules for chrome and increased emphasis on the Operational Arts.
The 24 page Scenarios Book contains 13 scenarios that allow you to play out individual campaigns rather than the entire war. Scenarios include:
If you are interested in Mark McLaughlin’s War & Peace, you can obtain a copy from the following link to the Kickstarter page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/warandpeacegame/mark-mclaughlins-war-and-peace/
As of September 2nd, the game is funded with 332 backers giving $37,290 toward their $10,000 goal. The campaign will end on Sunday, September 15, 2019 at 10:15 AM EDT.
5. COIN Series Vol. XII China’s War: 1937-1941 from GMT Games
If you follow us and know our tastes you know that I love the COIN Series. You also know that I really like Brian Train and his designs as they just seem to speak to me. So when both of these “likes” of mine come into the same orbit you can sign me up.
Finally this month we see the addition of the next volume in the COIN Series that has long been rumored; the Japanese invasion of China leading up to World War II. I had heard a different name in the past though, Thunder Out of China, and I’m going to tell you that I’m not really hot on this simple name.
From the game page we read the following:
July 8, 1937: a nighttime skirmish at the Marco Polo Bridge near Beijing erupts into an invasion and occupation of China by the Imperial Japanese Army that would not end until 1945. Western sources call it the “Second Sino-Japanese War”; in China, it is the “War of Resistance”; and in Japan, it is blandly referred to as “the China Incident.”
China’s War: 1937-1941 examines the first five years of the conflict, when China stood alone against the Japanese Empire. Each player takes the role of a Faction seeking to attack or defend the Republic of China: the aggressive Japanese, the harried Government (represented by the Guomindang party), the rebellious Chinese Communist Party, or the unruly, fractious Warlords who are obedient when convenient but have their eye on gaining state power. Using military, political, and economic actions and exploiting various events, players build and maneuver forces to influence or control the population, extract resources, or otherwise achieve their Faction’s aims. A deck of cards regulates turn order, events, victory checks, and other processes. The rules can run non-player Factions, enabling solitaire, 2-player, or multi-player games.
You know that I’m going to reach out to Brian Train and do one of our patented designer interviews for sure. In fact, there’s so much I’m curious about with this one that I might have to return to the multi volume interview format. Brian is very detailed in his answers and always gives such good information.
If you are interested in China’s War: 1937-1941, you can pre-order a copy for $55.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-830-chinas-war-1937-1941.aspx
6. Fall of Saigon: A Fire in the Lake Expansion from GMT Games
I’ve been waiting for this one for quite some time; actually for nearly a year since seeing a copy of the game setup on Mark Herman’s wargame table in a picture on Twitter. We love Fire in the Lake and this is simply going to add more depth and replayability to an already interesting game.
From the game page we read the following:
Mark Herman and Volko Ruhnke’s award-winning Fire in the Lake revealed the factional clashes of the US insurgency in Vietnam, from the first entry of US combat troops under Westmoreland to the ’72 Christmas bombings that teed up their negotiated withdrawal. Now, Fall of Saigon expands Fire in the Lake to finish the story. Three Fall of Saigon scenarios enable 1-4 players to extend play beyond Paris, beginning before 1968’s Tet, on the eve of the 1972 Easter Offensive, or from 1964 all the way to the end of the war. A standalone 2‑player Black April scenario focuses tightly on the post-Paris sparring between NVA and ARVN, including the final massive battles, advances, and retreats.
The new expansion is definitely not your father’s Fire in the Lake as the US is in the midst of pulling out, the NVA are gearing up for a push into the south and the ARVN suddenly are running low on funds and troops. And there are new toys in the form of tanks!
To show the transition from insurgency and counterinsurgency to mobile mechanized warfare, Fall of Saigon introduces an array of new features, including:
Paris Peace Talks that may result in either US or NVA Retreat—or both.
We played the game at WBC with Mark Herman and Dan Pancaldi from No Enemies Here and really had a great time. The tanks are devastating and will change your tactics and the new Posture rules bring a whole new angle to the game.
If you are interested in Fall of Saigon, you can pre-order a copy for $33.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-832-fall-of-saigon-a-fire-in-the-lake-expansion.aspx
7. The Last Hundred Yards Vol. 2: Airborne Over Europe from GMT Games
From the game page we read the following:
The Last Hundred Yards Vol. 2: Airborne Over Europe is the second game in Mike Denson’s Last Hundred Yards Series. It includes two major campaigns featuring numerous missions covering small unit actions conducted by US airborne forces in the Normandy and Market Garden operations.
Did you get that? Two separate campaigns.
In the Operation Overlord campaign, follow the elements of the American 82nd and 101st Divisions beyond the Normandy beachheads. After being scattered over a large area in Normandy on the night of June 6th, they struggle to assemble and secure their objectives to support the advance of the American units landing at Utah Beach. Later missions feature them defending against the inevitable German reaction and counterattack. Follow Lt. Dick Winters as he leads his platoon in taking out the artillery battery at Brecourt Manor near Ste. Marie-du-Mont and then faces a counterattack from elements of Col. Von Der Heydte’s 6th Fallschirmjäger Regiment.
In the Operation Market Garden campaign, follow the 82nd Airborne Division after landing south of Nijmegen in the early afternoon hours of September 17th as they race to secure critical bridges over the Waal and Maas rivers, as well as those over the canal between them. Follow Lt. Foley and his men as they defend Devil’s Hill against German counterattacks on the Eiesenborne Ridge Groesbeek Heights, a mere 2-3 miles from the German Border.
This game will introduce airdrop and night rules, as well as new terrain to the series. Successfully landing airborne troops at night, assembling them from a dispersed condition, and advancing against unknown enemy resistance to secure your objectives will prove a thrilling challenge in this new game. You don’t want to miss it!
If you are interested in The Last Hundred Yards Vol. 2: Airborne Over Europe, you can pre-order a copy for $39.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-831-the-last-hundred-yards-volume-2-airborne-over-europe.aspx
8. YAAH! Magazine #13 – The Battle of Hue! from Flying Pig Games
If you follow us you know that we enjoy wargame magazines and this month we highlighted two. The articles, the strategy guides. All good things. But the real payoff is the pack-in game and in this issue the game looks really good.
The Battle of Hue! is a solitaire game designed by Jay Ward and based on his popular Tiny Battle Publishing title The Battle for Ramadi. The Battle of Hue! allows gamers to control the forces of the United States and their allies as they battle to wrest control of Hue from the North Vietnamese Army and their Viet Cong friends.
Our articles include pieces on The Last Hundred Yards by well-known designer Arrigo Velicogna, a look at STALINGRAD: Inferno on the Volga and Dan Verssen’s Pavlov’s House by John Burtt, and Keith Beason examination of Hollandspeil’s Horse & Musket Series. But the words don’t stop there, the magazine also includes articles on the Battlefield Ops miniatures game by Norm Lunde, Roger Leroux’s thoughts on Steve Jackson Games’ HUGE The Fantasy Trip reprint, John Burtt’s feelings on Platoon Commander Deluxe: The Battle of Kursk, Herm Luttman’s designer notes for Tiny Battle Publishing’s popular The Devil’s to Pay and much more.
In the scenario and variants section we have two shiny new scenarios for ’65 Squad-level Battles in the Jungles of Vietnam, a Dark War skirmish scenario, some New Action Cards for Night of Man, and advanced rules for Rifles in the Pacific from Gottardo Zancani. That’s enough to keep anyone busy for a few nights of gaming.
9. Shiloh 1862 from Worthington Publishing Now on Kickstarter
Last year, Worthington did a Kickstarter for the first volume in the Civil War Brigade Battle Series called Antietam 1862. The series is billed as fast playing and rules lite so this is a great introductory level wargame on the American Civil War. From the Kickstarter page we read the following:
Shiloh 1862 is Volume II in Worthington’s Civil War Brigade Battle Series. With streamlined mechanics, only 8 pages of series rules, and battle specific rules, gamers can refight the Battle of Shiloh in 2 to 4 hours.
Gamers who own Volume I Antietam 1862 will be up and playing Shiloh in minutes as they share the same series game rules for each game, and each has limited special rules that reflect events significant to that battle.
If you are interested in Shiloh 1862 you can order a copy from the Kickstarter page at the following link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1040417273/shiloh-1862?ref=project_facebook
As of September 2nd, the game is funded with 144 backers giving $10,752 toward their $5,000 goal. The campaign will end on Monday, September 16, 2019 at 8:00 PM EDT.
1. Okinawa! from Tiny Battle Publishing
World War II is one of my favorite genres and especially when the battles focused on are in the Pacific Theater of Operations. Such is the case with the newest offering from Tiny Battle Publishing. From the game page we read the following:
Okinawa! is a two-player game recreating the land, sea, and air struggle for the possession of the Japanese island of Okinawa, from April to June 1945. Seen as the last steppingstone for the final jump toward Japan, the battle was important for both sides. The US had to prove it could overcome enemy resistance, securing airfields, and, after the bloodbath on Iwo Jima, keeping their casualties low. The Japanese had the chance to test their new air tactics relying on simultaneous strikes from multiple groups of Kamikaze and conventional strike aircraft escorted by fighters. They also had a full Army on the island backed, with one of the highest concentrations of Japanese artillery even seen during the Pacific War. They had to hold part of the island or inflict a level of casualties on US forces to cast enough doubts on their ability to later sustain a larger operation on Kyushu and then Honshu. Stakes were high on both sides.
The fighting on Okinawa was brutal and the Japanese were desperate as they literally believed the Allies were demons.
The game covers the land battle for possession of Okinawa (focusing on the more military relevant southern part), and the concomitant air and naval struggle around it. On land you have Marine and Army regiments, tanks and amphibious tanks, Japanese forces that run the gamut between highly experienced machine gun battalions to raw conscripts. At sea Carriers, battleships, Navy and Marine air groups, Japanese Kamikazes, and even Yamato’s last sorties. Even the Commonwealth makes an appearance with Task Force 57, the British Pacific Fleet.
In addition to the campaign, shorter scenarios are included as introductions to the game system, as well as highlighting critical moments of the epic struggle. We’ve also included designer’s notes and a nice example of play.
2. Depths of Courage Volume 10: The Attack on New York Harbor, Summer 1943 from High Flying Dice Games
A few years ago we did two interviews on a few games in the Depths of Courage Series from High Flying Dice Games. Here are links: Volume 7 The Attack on Gibraltar Harbor, December, 1941 and Volume 8 The Attack on Algeciras Harbor, July – December, 1942
The series is a fast playing solo take on several key moments from history focused on submarine actions. We have enjoyed these games as they are very portable and take about 10-15 minutes to play. The newest iteration is Volume 10: The Attack on New York Harbor, Summer 1943.
If you are interested in Depths of Courage Volume 10 Volume 10: The Attack on New York Harbor, Summer 1943 you can order a copy for $7.95 from the High Flying Dice Games website at the following link: http://www.hfdgames.com/docny.html
3. Red Storm: The Air War Over Central Germany, 1987 from GMT Games
Right now anything 1985 (ish) is hot and Red Storm continues that trend with an air war game focused on NATO/Warsaw Pact front in central Germany.
From the game page we read the following:
The second sequel to the Charles S. Roberts Award-winning game Downtown, Red Storm is a standalone game that utilizes the Downtown game system to depict a hypothetical air war in May/June 1987 over the central portion of the NATO-Warsaw Pact front in central Germany. Like Downtown and Elusive Victory before it, Red Storm is an “operational” level air warfare game where players manage large strike packages and numerous combat air patrols in an effort to strike enemy targets, protect their own ground troops, and secure control of the air above the land battle raging below. Both sides field highly advanced all-weather aircraft, long-range air-to-air missiles, precision bombs, sophisticated electronic warfare assets, and networks of surface-to-air missiles and radar-guided AAA.
The game has NATO outnumbered but not outgunned as they take advantage of technology and superior training.
As the NATO player, you fight outnumbered in the air, but with a qualitative edge in technology and training. NATO faces the daunting task of claiming air superiority in the face of the initial onslaught from the Warsaw Pack air forces while also delivering bombs onto Soviet and East German ground targets already on the frontline and those approaching in the rear echelons. As the Warsaw Pact player, you must push your numerous but less flexible forces to the absolute limit in an effort to overwhelm NATO forces in the air and destroy them on the ground, all while supporting your advancing ground forces. Both players also must manage air defense networks consisting of overlapping layers of SAMs and AAA.
I also really like the focus on the need for planning as players have to plan out their strikes at the beginning of the scenarios. Here is some more detail from the game page:
Like the other games in the series, Red Storm requires both players to plan both their air and ground forces prior to a scenario. Raid forces must be generated, targets and routes mapped, and aircraft loadouts determined. SAM, AAA, and radar units must be placed. Both sides have to figure out how to handle the rough terrain and frequently poor weather of central Germany.
During a scenario, players progress through a sequence of phases each turn where they conduct electronic warfare, detect and track enemy flights, and move and fight with their own flights while potentially being attacked from the ground. The heart of game is the movement phase where players use a chit-draw system that allows players to alternate moving one to five flights at a time.
If you are interested in Red Storm: The Air War Over Central Germany, 1987 you can order a copy for $55.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-614-red-storm.aspx
This $55.00 figure is the P500 price but if you order it quickly before it ships you generally can get it for the cheaper price. Normally, it is $79.00.
4. Wing Leader: Eagles from GMT Games
Wing Leader: Eagles is the second expansion for the Wing Leader system designed by the Air war genius Lee Brimmicombe-Wood. This expansion adds more aircraft and more scenarios from the late war. From the game page we read the following:
Fly Hs 129 tank busters against the Soviet armored spearheads. Lead Ki-45 bomber-killers attacking B-29s over mainland Japan. Direct Coastal Command Mosquitos to strafe Luftwaffe airfields in Norway. Launch Me 163 rocket fighters against swarms of B-17s.
New Aircraft will also include the German Me 210 and He 177, the Soviet Yak-3, Yak-9U and La-7, the Japanese Ki-44 and Ki-100 fighters, as well as key late-war Swedish aircraft, including the J 22, B 17 and B 18. Counters for Finnish and Hungarian fighters make their debut in the game.
features a new campaign game, which recreates the 5th Air Force campaign against Rabaul in late 1943. The campaign comes with its own 11 x 17” campaign map, and will confront the American and Japanese players with tough decisions on targeting, force planning and raid execution in the lead-up to the invasion of Bougainville.
5. CSS The Little Land – The Battle for Novorossiysk from Compass Games
The Company Scale System (CSS) debuted with Saipan: The Bloody Rock and we really enjoyed this new system that focuses on getting the right units for the job where they need to be. From the game page we read the following:
Stalin had been unhappy with the progress of North Caucasus Front on Krasnodor and impatient to see more success, he ordered General Ivan Petrov, commander of the Black Sea Group of Forces, to break the stalemate by a surprise invasion from the Black Sea. This would unhinge the German defense and quicken the offensive.
Almost immediately, things went wrong – with a bombardment from the Black Sea Fleet that merely alerted the defense – and the invasion itself was running far behind schedule. So began the battle of Novorossiysk.
CSS: Novorossiysk is the first game in the Nemesis series covering company level battles on the Eastern Front. With added special rules to cover the unique type of warfare on the Eastern Front, players will battle over the fate of the Kuban with tanks, amphibious invasions, paratroopers, naval ships and artillery.
If you are interested in CSS The Little Land – The Battle for Novorossiysk, you can order a copy for $99.00 form the Compass Games website at the following link: https://www.compassgames.com/preorders/css-the-little-land-the-battle-for-novorossiysk.html
This $99.00 price is the pre-order price and as it is shipping in early September, you might have to hurry to get this price. Normally it is $120.00.
6. Tables Battles Expansion No. 4: The English Civil War from Hollandspiele
A game that we have yet to play but that I am nonetheless interested in is Table Battles from Hollandspiele. People simply love the system and I see hard core Grognards as well as newcomers enjoying it so that should tell you that it is a good design. Now comes the 4th expansion to the base game and it involves sill English Knights!
From the game page, we read the following:
This fourth expansion to Table Battles is on a topic folks have been asking for since the base game was released: the English Civil War. The six battles in this set are Edgehill, both battles of Newbury, Naseby, Tippermuir, and Aldearn. New features of this set include some Absorb/Counterattack reactions that reduce hits by the number of dice on the card, and a Tactical Victory condition that allows a player to win by wearing down the opposition rather than routing them.
Here is a look at the details of the expansion in a video from Tom Russell:
If you are interested in Table Battles Expansion No. 4: The English Civil War you can order a copy for $20.00 from the Hollandspiele website at the following link: https://hollandspiele.com/products/table-battles-expansion-no-4-english-civil-war
As this is an expansion, you do need a copy of Table Battles to play this game.
7. Evening Napoleon from Fog of War Wargaming on Wargame Vault
I was contacted by Alex from Fog of War Wargaming and he asked me if I could highlight his new rule set called Evening Napoleon.
Evening Napoleon is my take on the fast play variant of wargames. Evening Napoleon, from its core, is a game that is meant to emulate Napoleonic battles but have the core rules simple enough for anyone to play. My problem with some wargames is that you must have the rulebook at your side at all times. This is simply not the case with Evening Napoleon, as most of the modifiers are easy to memorize.
Also, I wanted a miniatures game with a large scale. The scale is one square inch equaling one brigade. This allows players to play massive battles, or even play entire campaigns, without interruptions. I am working on more expansions, one which is to be released today.
Evening Napleon is a light and ultrafast wargame system set in the Napoleonic Wars. With this game you can play the largest battles the period has to offer in a very short amount of time.
This game comes with one scenario, and rules on how to create your own scenarios.
If you have any questions, you can email Alex at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are interested in Evening Napoleon you can purchase a copy for $7.52 from the Wargame Vault website at the following link: https://www.wargamevault.com/m/product/285275
Thank you for reading this months edition of Wargame Watch. Man there are a lot of great games out there, and I know of plenty more that are in the works and will show up on future editions. We at The Players’ Aid have a lot of games to play and we have kind of been slacking lately with our trips to cons such as WBC, GenCon and the upcoming Buckeye Game Fest in September. We need to get serious again and get back to work! Please let me know if I missed any games this month.