April showers bring May flowers….right. Well, what does it bring to us wargamers? New games. There are new games each and every month. One of the purposes of this monthly Wargame Watch feature is simply to share with you what is newly on pre-order or newly released, meaning it is shipping or will ship soon. This month I found 13 games with two of those being on Kickstarter.
If you missed the March Wargame Watch, you can read that here at the following link: https://theplayersaid.com/2020/03/02/wargame-watch-whats-new-upcoming-march-2020/
1. Napoleonic Tactical Wargame: Marengo 1800 from Wargame Process Edition Now on Kickstarter
Our interest in Napoleoni War period games has grown over the past few years and we are always on the lookout for that next big one that gets our attention. I have found that next attention grabbing game in Napoleonic Tactical Wargame: Marengo 1800.
From the game page, we read the following about the historical setting:
This historical game simulates a battle that took place on the 14th of June, 1800, in Marengo (northern Italy) between the army of the Austrian Empire, led by General Melas, and the French Republican army, led by General Bonaparte.
There are a few unique elements about the design including their counters. As you can see from the illustration above, each unit has a rotating dial to track strength and a unit’s Momentum Value.
The game system is designed to be of medium complexity while remaining historically accurate. The rules, the map, the combat counters and the revolutionary use of dice have all been created with these goals in mind. The game also features no stacking of regiments, an innovative loss recording system and only minimal use of markers and tables. Two challenges are proposed: the French player, who begins the game in a position of numerical inferiority, must attempt to achieve the same feat as the army of General Bonaparte, to resist until the arrival of reinforcements, and then use these troops to seize victory. The Austrian player must try to do better than General Melas, who was overconfident of victory at 15:00, only to let it slip from his grasp.
Combat is resolved using special dice that provide immediate results. There are 6 combat dice: Two black artillery dice, one red die for artillery charges against infantry, another red die for cavalry charges against cavalry, and two white dice for the winners and losers of close combat between infantry. You will notice that the results on the dice look like things you would normally see on a CRT with various results depicted. I am intrigued for sure!
If you are interested in Napoleonic Tactical Wargame: Marengo 1800 you can order a copy from the Kickstarter page at the following link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1229152218/napoleonic-tactical-wargame-marengo-1800?ref=bgggamepage
As of April 1st, the game has raised $19,204 of their $7,756 goal with 237 backers. The campaign will end as of Friday, April 17th at 9:44am EDT.
2. Brotherhood & Unity: War in Bosnia and Herzegovina 1992-1995 from Compass Games on Kickstarter Now
This game first was announced by Compass Games as a pre-order in July 2018. Since that initial announcement, they have decided to go the route of a Kickstarter. From the game page, we read the following:
Brotherhood & Unity: War in Bosnia and Herzegovina 1992-1995 is a 2-3 player card driven wargame which depicts the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1992-1995 (“Bosnian War”). The game shows all of the major events: from the siege of Sarajevo (shown in a separate, detailed map), to the ferocious battles for the Posavina corridor, and desperate defence of the Bosniak enclaves. Main features are: Point-To-Point movement system, play driven by Strategy Cards, quick combat resolution (no CRT), streamlined rules and fast gameplay. Interaction between warring sides (Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats) creates an intensive and exciting gameplay experience.
The map looks really interesting as well and is very well done. I really enjoy CDG’s and have played many in my gaming experience. Each player gets a deck of Strategy Cards, simulating a variety of historical events.
From the game page we read the following:
The player starts an action round by playing a Strategy Card from his hand. A card can be played as an event (Combat Card, Offensive, Interrupt, Foreign Units and Other) or as one of the game actions (Movement, Attack, Strategic Redeployment, Diplomatic Action or Reinforcement). The events and card values have been carefully created to mimic the historical events and choices. Since each game uses only a part of the available card deck, players can’t be certain which cards will be drawn during the game. That creates a “card fog-of-war” and makes the game more replayable.
Player’s military strength fluctuates based on historical facts, with Serbs starting superior in all aspects, and Bosniaks struggling to organize an effective fighting formation. Military units represent Brigades – standard military formations of the time, ranging from 1,500-2,000 soldiers. They have different combat and movement values (based on historical data), which forces players to use different tactics for different opponents. Majority of these units are non-motorized infantry formations (moving only several spaces per round), but with the use of special offensive cards players can increase their mobility and surprise the opponents.
If you are interested in Brotherhood & Unity: War in Bosnia and Herzegovina 1992-1995 you can order a copy from the Kickstarter page at the following link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/compassgames/brotherhood-and-unity?ref=csw
As of April 1st, the game has raised $10,179 of their $2,000 goal with 130 backers. The campaign will end as of Thursday, April 9th at 9:14am EDT.
3. Almoravid: Reconquista and Riposte in Spain 1085-1086 from GMT Games
We played Volume I in the series called Nevsky recently and can tell you that this new system is very different from other wargames that we have played. It is focused on the logistics of the campaigns as well as the process of building and maintaining standing armies through the Levy Calendar. This 2nd Volume is a bit different though and it appears will have not as much difficulty in the supply arena due to high quality Roman roads that will make moving of supply much easier. From the game page we read the following:
Almoravid, Volume II in Volko Ruhnke’s Levy & Campaign Series, takes us from Nevsky’s frozen northeast frontier to medieval Latindom’s opposite corner. The same base rules show the muster of lords, their levy of forces and capabilities, and their command of armies on campaign across 11th-Century Spain. But al-Andalus was not Russia: your lords will enjoy good Roman roads and gentler seasons but must bypass or smash against Iberia’s profusion of tough Moorish fortifications. Taifa politics and Parias tribute will guide your military strategy. African troops, bloodthirsty crusaders, the avaricious Cid—each may or may not make their appearance. And all will play out across a field half again as large as that of the first volume.
This volume is larger, covers a bigger area mapwise and still uses the same principles. We are sold on the system, for a change of pace, as it is very interesting and forces you to think about some different problems as you play. This is one you will not want to miss.
If you are interested in Almoravid: Reconquista and Riposte in Spain 1085-1086, you can pre-order a copy for $63.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-861-almoravid-reconquista-and-riposte-in-spain-1085-1086.aspx
4. Twilight Struggle: Red Sea – Conflict in the Horn of Africa from GMT Games
We have always loved Twilight Struggle for its historical setting and its back and forth tug of war style Card Driven Game mechanics. If you have not played TS, you need to get a copy and sit down because it is a tense 3 hours for sure that is very well done.
Twilight Struggle: Red Sea – Conflict in the Horn of Africa is a two-player, stand-alone, card-driven game that builds on the award-winning Twilight Struggle. The year is 1974, and the Soviet Union and the United States have been locked in a life-or-death struggle across the globe. As so often happened during the Cold War, a relatively obscure region of the world suddenly took center stage. Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia, a bedrock U.S. ally in Africa, had grown old and increasingly dictatorial. In 1974, a group of young Marxist officers staged a coup and took hold of the the reins of power. This revolutionary leadership sparked a chain of events that upset the regional balance of power and unleashed all the familiar elements of Cold War competition in the Horn of Africa.
The game is much faster playing than TS but doesn’t lack for the opportunity for strategic decision making and strategy.
Twilight Struggle: Red Sea asks players to once more answer the summons of the trumpets and bear the burden of a twilight struggle, this time centered around East Africa, the Arabian Gulf, and the vital sea lanes stretching between them. Twilight Struggle: Red Sea is an addition to GMT’s Lunchtime Series and packs deep decision-making into a time frame that allows players to get in a quick game or explore different strategies several times in one session. With a more limited scope and much shorter playtime, Twilight Struggle: Red Sea is the perfect way to introduce new players to the Twilight Struggle system. And yet, this game maintains all the tension, decision making, and theme of the original classic.
If you are interested in Twilight Struggle: Red Sea – Conflict in the Horn of Africa, you can pre-order a copy for $27.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-863-twilight-struggle-red-sea-conflict-in-the-horn-of-africa.aspx
5. Wing Leader: Legends 1937-1945 from GMT Games
We have really enjoyed our experience with the different Wing Leader Series games we have played and this new expansion attempts to tie them all together. From the game page, we read the following:
Wing Leader: Legends 1937-1945 is the fourth expansion for GMT’s Wing Leader system. In Legends, we seek to cap the Wing Leader game system by bringing together previous games and expansions in a series of crossover scenarios.
Featuring combat from the beginning to the very end of the war, Legends features some of the smaller air forces. The Chinese over Nanking, the Yugoslavs over Belgrade, and the Bulgarian defense of Sofia all appear. The last gasp of the Regia Aeronatica over Sicily and Calabria are captured in a series of exciting scenarios. There are new scenarios for China and France. Old favorites, including the Pacific and Eastern Front, also feature, matching Italians against Soviets or recreating the famous Battle of the Bismarck Sea.
There are also a lot of obscure aircraft and a campaign mode that can bring it all together, which I think is pretty great. From the game page, we read the following:
Featuring combat from the beginning to the very end of the war, Legends features some of the smaller air forces. The Chinese over Nanking, the Yugoslavs over Belgrade, and the Bulgarian defense of Sofia all appear. The last gasp of the Regia Aeronatica over Sicily and Calabria are captured in a series of exciting scenarios. There are new scenarios for China and France. Old favorites, including the Pacific and Eastern Front, also feature, matching Italians against Soviets or recreating the famous Battle of the Bismarck Sea. New Aircraft range from the obscure Yugoslav IK-3 interceptor to the American P-26 ‘Peashooter.’ Italian types including the G.55 fighter and the Z.1007 bomber also appear.
6. Steamroller: Tannenberg 1914 from Tiny Battle Publishing
Steamroller originally appeared in Yaah Magazine #10 and this new 2nd edition, includes slight map improvements and corrections in addition to the inclusion of all known errata. The game experience remains similar to that of the first edition.
From the game page, we read the following:
Our second boxed game, Hermann Luttmann’s Steamroller 2nd Edition is a highly playable, tense, operational look at 1914’s pivotal Tannenberg campaign. Command either the German 8th Army or the Russian 1st and 2nd Armies in the battle that decided the early course of the Great War on the Eastern Front. The game is the latest iteration of the system used in Hermann’s earlier Race to the Sea 1914, (as well as Dead Reckoning) with corps, divisions, and brigades traipsing around the wilderlands of East Prussia and northeastern Poland.
If you are interested in Steamroller: Tannenberg 1914, you can pre-order a copy for $35.00 from the Tiny Battle Publishing website at the following link: https://tinybattlepublishing.com/products/steamroller
7. Advanced Squad Leader Starter Kit Expansion Pack #2 from Multi-Man Publishing
Multi-Man Publishing is offering the second Advanced Squad Leader Starter Kit Expansion Pack #2.
From the game page we read the following:
Expansion Pack #2 has been designed with all levels of Starter Kit play in mind and has something for everyone. It includes two new 8″ x 22″ geomorphic mapboards (k and l) and eight new scenarios set in locales such as China, Burma, Java, and New Guinea.
Expansion Pack #2 continues the introduction of the Japanese begun in ASL Starter Kit #4, this time with new opponents. Expansion Pack #2 also adds new rules to introduce players to the Chinese and to overlays. Ordnance and Vehicle Notes for the weapons used in the scenarios are also included.
However, unlike previous installments of ASL Starter Kit, Expansion Pack #2 does not come with everything you need to play!!!
Expansion Pack #2 assumes ownership of the core ASLSK modules Starter Kit #1, Starter Kit #2, Starter Kit #3, and Starter Kit #4. While Expansion Pack #2 includes counters for Chinese, Japanese, British, Filipino, and Dutch units, it relies upon these core Starter Kit modules to provide additional unit and information counters, thus giving players a low-cost method for introducing the Chinese and for expanding the range of combat in the Pacific Theater of Operations (PTO).
If you are interested in Advanced Squad Leader Starter Kit Expansion Pack #2 you can pre-order a copy for $27.00 from the Multi-Man Publishing website at the following link: http://www.multimanpublishing.com/tabid/59/ProductID/379/Default.aspx
1. Modern War No. 47 from Strategy & Tactics Press – 7 Days to the Rhine – Objective Nuremberg
Cold War gone hot games are all the rage right now and here we see a classic title resurrected by designer Ty Bomba.
From the order page, we read the following:
Objective Nuremberg is a two-player alternative history wargame intended to investigate the operational parameters that would have been in place during the first four days of fighting in that border area of West Germany had the Soviet Union decided to try to attack sometime in the early 1980s. It was during that time frame the Warsaw Pact achieved a possible decisive “correlation of forces” between their militaries and those of the West.
This game is the first volume of the 7DR (Seven Days to the Rhine) Series. Each single-volume game will use the same system and will be playable alone or mated to other games in the series. Each hexagon on the map represents 2.5 miles (four kilometers) from side to opposite side. The Warsaw Pact regiments, while the units of maneuver on the NATO side are battalions. Air power and electronic warfare counters and rules abstractly represent, the effects of one side or the other gaining temporary superiority within those sub-realms of conflict. Each day of real time consists of one nighttime and two daylight turns.
If you are interested in Modern War No. 47 and Objective Nuremberg, you can pre-order a copy for $39.99 from the Strategy & Tactics Press website at the following link: https://shop.strategyandtacticspress.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=MW47
2. Operation Fustian: The Battle for Primosole Bridge, July 12-15, 1943 from High Flying Dice Games
I like High Flying Dice Games because they cover the little covered battles and operations of history in a small scale playable format. Such is the case with Operation Fustian.
From the game page, we read the following:
The Allied invasion of Sicily in July 1943 essentially involved a race as to which force, British or American, would first take the port of Messina. The British forces landing near Syracuse had the shortest path, but that way was beset with numerous rivers that ran west to east and were easily defended. British airborne troops were given the task of taking the most heavily defended river position, the Primosole Bridge over the Simeto River in an attack dubbed “Operation Fustian”. Unbeknownst to the Allies the Germans also rushed airborne troops to help secure the position along with the Italian garrison. One of most costly and violent battles of the Sicilian campaign would be fought here.
If you are interested in Operation Fustian: The Battle for Primosole Bridge, July 12-15, 1943, you can order a copy for $11.95 from the High Flying Dice Games website at the following link: http://www.hfdgames.com/opf.html
3. Black Shirts, Red Blood: The Battle of Guadalajara, March 8-23, 1937 from High Flying Dice Games
Another little known battle that has not been gamed all that much is the 1937 attack on Madrid during the build up to World War II. Black Shirts, Red Blood covers this battle between the fascists and the defenders of Madrid.
From the game page, we read the following:
Following the successful stand by the Republicans at Madrid Nationalist Generalissimo, Francisco Franco, issued an urgent call for reinforcements to his Fascist German and Italian supporters. Dictator Benito Mussolini responded by sending tens of thousands of “volunteers” made up into the “Corpo di Truppe Volontarie” (CTV). Many of the divisions of the CTV were composed of Camicie Neri (Black Shirts), fascist party thugs who saw their participation in the military as a fast track path to privilege and advancement back at home. Mussolini asked Franco for his CTV to lead the “final” assault to take Madrid. The Italian commanders suggested the attack take place as soon as possible in March when the worst of the winter storms should be over, and before the Republican’s reinforcements that were pouring into their ports and across the border from France, could be deployed. The focus of the attack was the key crossroads town of Guadalajara north and east of Madrid; its capture would compel a Republican withdrawal that would severely weaken their hold on the capital. The largest battle of the Spanish Civil War to-date was about to be waged.
If you are interested in Black Shirts, Red Blood: The Battle of Guadalajara, March 8-23, 1937, you can order a copy for $14.95 from the High Flying Dice Games website at the following link: http://www.hfdgames.com/bsrb.html
4. Mark McLaughlin’s War and Peace from One Small Step Games
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. That campaign was sucessful and now the game is available for purchase. From the Kickstarter page, we read the following:
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:
THE ITALIAN CAMPAIGN OF 1796–97
THE ARMY OF THE ORIENT, BONAPARTE IN EGYPT 1798–99
THE SUN OF AUSTERLITZ — 1805
NAPOLEON’S APOGEE: 1806–1807
WAGRAM — 1809
THE CAMPAIGN IN RUSSIA — 1812
STRUGGLE OF NATIONS — 1813
NAPOLEON AT BAY — 1814
THE WATERLOO CAMPAIGN — 1815
THE PENINSULAR WAR: 1808–1814
THE FINAL GLORY: 1812–1814
If you are interested in Mark McLaughlin’s War & Peace, you can order a copy for $129.95 from the One Small Step Games website at the following link: https://www.ossgames.com/store/mark-mclaughlins-war-and-peace
5. Struggle for Europe: 1939-1945 from Worthington Publishing
Off a successful Kickstarter campaign in Janury 2019, Struggle for Europe 1939-1945 is now available for purchase. It is a card driven, card destruction game played out on a large game board. Modifying concepts from games such as Lincoln, Twilight Struggle and others, wargamers will be able to play World War II in the European Theater in under 2 hours.
The Axis powers begin the war with decisions to be made, strike east or strike west. The cards show the Axis strength early in the war. Things can change quickly. Your decisions can determine that.
As the Allies, do you stiffen your defense as was done historically, or consider a strike into Germany. With skillful play you may find allies as the war progresses. The Russians can enter early, or later, based on your and the Axis card play. Same for the Americans.
From the game page, we read the following:
Each card leads to important decisions, U-Boat Attacks, The Blitz, Partisan Attacks, Convoys, The Great Commanders, Destroyer Escorts, Hitler’s Interference, and more. The decisions are yours to make in the Struggle for Europe.
Each side has three card decks. The starting deck is placed face down and is the draw deck for that player. The other two decks will enter the game later. For the Allied player the Russians enter play with the second deck, and the Americans with the third deck.
Players are dealt cards, the number which can vary during the game. During their turns players can play two actions, most of which require the play or destruction of a card. The choices are:
- Build an army / Influence USA / Build Invasion Points
- Move an army
- Battle in a contested location
- Discard cards
- Play an event
After completing their two actions, players draw cards from the draw deck to their current hand size. Their opponent now completes two actions, and so on.
If you are interested in Struggle for Europe 1939-1945, you can order a copy for $75.00 from the Worthington Publishing website at the following link: https://www.worthingtonpublishing.com/collection/struggle-for-europe-1939-1945
6. War Along the Great Lakes from Worthington Publishing
Worthington Games always chooses really interesting topics for their games. So is the trend followed in their newest game off a successful Kickstarter in spring 2019, War Along the Great Lakes: Volume 3 in the War of 1812 Deluxe Games. From the campaign page, here is the explanation on the basis of the game:
It is the summer of 1814 and two years of War Along the Great Lakes have produced a stalemate. Facing each other across the Niagara River, the Americans and British are locked in for one more grand campaign. The river connects Lake Erie and Lake Ontario and control of this strategic land bridge will determine the fate of Upper Canada. Chippawa, Lundy’s Lane, Fort Erie and other battles will fill the summer along the river and between the lakes. The historical result was these were the most intense battles of the war that ended in a draw. Now you are in command………
War Along the Great Lakes is volume 3, and the final volume, in the War of 1812 Series. War Along the Chesapeake is Volume 1 and War Along the Gulf Coast is Volume 2. The game uses action points to move units and fight and supposedly the game focuses on on the morale of your troops. From the page we read the following:
War Along the Great Lakes allows gamers to refight the British defense of Upper Canada against the American invaders during the summer of 1814. The British have fewer troops than the Americans and a long line to defend. But the quality of their British regulars and Canadian militia is excellent. The Americans have stripped the Chesapeake and Champlain theaters to place its best and largest army on the Niagara, hoping to occupy Upper Canada before the war ends.
The game uses the proven Blue & Gray combat system where morale is as important as the number of soldiers. You are limited in how many units you may move based on the number of action points you receive, plus a random number of action points based on your commander. This means no two games will play alike. Movement is location to location. When the two armies end a move in the same location a battle occurs and the action moves to the battle board.
As you might imagine, a wargame based on the War of 1812 is focused on naval operations of both sides. Each side has ships as well as a naval base and each turn players can take one of four actions including: Transport troops, Supply troops, Support troops, or Intercept the opposing navy.
I think that this game looks cool and typically I like games on less gamed subjects. It uses blocks to represent the units and the map is huge albeit a little bit plain and uninspiring. My guess is it will be changed before printing but who knows.
If you are interested in War Along the Great Lakes you can order a copy for $85.00 from the Worthington Publishing website at the following link: https://www.worthingtonpublishing.com/collection/war-along-the-great-lakes
I had a good time putting this list together and realize there are even more good games out there that I could place on this list. Please let me know if I missed on that you think should have made the list. Thanks as always for following along.