This month was like an avalanche with the new games offered up on pre-order or as new releases. It took me quite a while to scour all of the usual suspect websites that I look at each month and they just seemed to keep coming. I did add a game from Multi-Man Publishing that was not a new pre-order but they finished a whole host of new covers and posted them so I thought it wouldn’t hurt to include the game this month for you to get a look at. There are 19 games featured this month including 5 Kickstarters that are always good to see as I would like to see more wargame publishers use this medium.
If you missed the May Wargame Watch, you can read that here at the following link: https://theplayersaid.com/2020/05/01/wargame-watch-whats-new-upcoming-may-2020/
1. Dawn of Battle from Worthington Publishing Now on Kickstarter
Over the past few weeks, I kept seeing this one on social media an initially wasn’t really interested. Dawn of Battle is a hex-and-counter war game allowing players to refight historical battles from 1500 BC to 1500 AD or 3000 years of combat. Players take the roles of the great commanders of history, including Xerxes, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Saladin, and William Wallace, and lead their troops through over 20 scenarios.
From the Kickstarter page we read the following:
The game system is straight-forward and action-packed, as players depend upon the quality of their army’s leadership to provide activation points allowing them to maneuver their armies and strike against the enemy. The better an army’s command, the more flexibility it has to move, rally, and attack.
Also included are supplementary rules that cover free deployment in scenarios, barbarian charges, command control and impetuosity, elephant panic, and random events.
I am very intrigued about how the game will represent combat and tactics from such a long period of history but it appears to do just that. From the Kickstarter we read the following:
Each of the twenty included scenarios indicate the disposition of each army that engaged at that historical battle. Units include a variety of infantry types (including Hoplites and the Macedonian phalanx), cavalry (including chariots and mounted archers), missile units (including slingers, longbows, and even early gunpowder weapons), and special units such as elephants and war wagons.
The game’s primary engine is comprised of an action deck used to determine command, the randomly determined outcomes of actions, and melee combat. Additionally, action cards provide special effects that players can use to enhance their units’ abilities as well as the narrative of the gaming experience. The action deck provides a unique means of resolving a battle in an experience that will never be duplicated.
I was able to reach out to the designer Mike Nagel and published a pretty detailed interview on our blog about the design. You can read that at the following link: https://theplayersaid.com/2020/05/27/interview-with-mike-nagel-designer-of-dawn-of-battle-from-worthington-publishing-now-on-kickstarter/
If you are interested in Dawn of Battle, you can back the project on the Kickstarter page at the following link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1040417273/dawn-of-battle
As of June 1st, the project is fully funded with $16,934 from 208 backers toward the modest $2,500 goal. The campaign will end on Saturday, June 6th at 4:30pm EDT.
2. Border Reivers: Anglo-Scottish Border Raids, 1513-1603 from GMT Games
Ed Beach usually designs games that use the CDG mechanic and that allow a lot of gamers to get in on the action. Games like Here I Stand and Virgin Queen allow up to 6 players and it appears that this new game Border Reivers allows 4-6 players although 2 and 3-player versions are also supported (where each player leads both an English and a Scottish family). But, this game is not similar to the others I mentioned. Not even close! It seems to incorporate some elements of a Euro, and from the pictures I can see on the game page, it appears to use Meeples of sheep and cows (which frankly I am totally fine with).
From the game page, we read the following:
In Border Reivers, each player rules over one of the Marches as leader of one of the six major riding families of the border: Grey, Fenwick, Dacre, Maxwell, Kerr, or Hume. Your goal is to increase the wealth and fame of your clan throughout the reigns of Henry and Elizabeth to end the century as the most famous Border Reiver of all time. Players gain VPs from successful combats, amassing large herds of livestock, and by elevating their Notoriety above the other players in the regions of the map.
Here is a fairly detailed summary of the the different seasons and how it works:
In Summer, players build their strength through a card-drafting system that lets you strengthen your March for the winter raids that follow. Players build fortified peel defense towers, garrison old castles, and build walls around their farmhouses (creating “bastles”) to guard against enemy raids. At the same time, you recruit famous reivers and wardens to your cause and ally with the most notorious clans of the time (including the infamous Elliotts, Scotts, Johnstones, and Armstrongs). And don’t forget to buy the favor of the most powerful office holders, whether it be the Bishop of Carlisle, the Keeper of Liddesdale, or the mighty Lord Warden of the Marches.
As the air cools and Fall arrives, players commit their defensive assets to the map to prepare for the raids and feuds that are soon to follow. At this time a set of events drawn from the history of the region are chosen, presenting the players with short-term opportunities that may gain them an advantage. Events include the battles of Flodden Field and Solway Moss, Henry VIII’s Rough Wooing to try and force a marriage alliance, Mary Queen of Scots’ tour of the Scottish borders, and the Catholic Rising of the North.
To initiate Winter combats, players select one of their Target cards to secretly designate their intended combat activity. Options include launching a Raid to steal precious livestock, joining their national army as light cavalry forces in one of the historical Battles, or representing their family against a specific target player with whom you have a Feud or Gaolbreak attempt that needs to be prosecuted. Careful play of cards that were drafted during the Summer can help these combats break favorably for your clan.
At last, Spring arrives and the raiding ceases. It’s time to count points and sing of the heroic exploits just witnessed. And on the final turn, that’s exactly what happens—players cash in one or more of the Border Ballad cards for extra VP, especially if the ballad aligns with the strategic path they have followed throughout the game. Which ballad will commemorate your deeds on the Border? May you fare better than Johnny Armstrong, the subject of the famous ballad “Armstrong’s Goodnight,” that captures the spirit of the Reivers.
3. Stalingrad Solitaire from Canvas Temple Publishing Now on Kickstarter
With our situation now in the world with quarantine, solitaire wargames are hot. Stalingrad Solitaire is a solitaire game simulating the last weeks of the encircled German 6th Army in the pocket German troops nicknamed “The Cauldron” that formed in and to the west of the city of Stalingrad when Soviet troops broke through the Wehrmacht’s front lines in December 1942. CTP had me at encircled! This game looks very interesting.
From the Kickstarter page, we read the following:
You represent the 6th Army’s commander, General Paulus. All actions of the Soviet commander Zhukov and subordinate units are strictly controlled by the game rules. As Paulus, you must do your best to save the trapped army in the Cauldron while at the same time cooperating with the high command (OKW) to preserve the integrity of the entire southern front in Russia. Each turn you perform various types of actions within the pocket. Die rolls and rules determine the strategic situation and strategy employed by Army Group South outside the pocket, specifically in terms of the commitment levels of the Luftwaffe (air force) and General Hoth’s relief force.
The game includes one 22” x 17” map depicting the region containing the Stalingrad pocket and various playing aids, a sheet of counters, a set of event cards, rules, and player aids.
If you are interested in Stalingrad Solitaire, you can back the project on the Kickstarter page at the following link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ctp/stalingrad-solitaire
As of June 1st, the project is fully funded with $20,622 from 309 backers toward the $6,000 goal. The campaign will end on Monday, June 8th at 10:48am EDT
4. Commands and Colors Tricorne: Jacobite Rising from Compass Games Now on Kickstarter
We have played through all of the existing volumes in the Commands and Colors System to date (with the only exception being Samurai Battles) and a new entry to the series is very interesting.
Jacobite Rising is Compass Games first standalone game for Commands & Colors Tricorne and features 13 battle scenarios by Richard Borg. Mounted game board, terrain tiles, blocks, command and combat cards, stickers and large, molded dice are all included. You will find many new and interesting play concepts which brings new experiences and challenges covering the world of the Highland Clans in the time of the Jacobite Risings.
From the Kickstarter page we read the following:
A Command card is played each turn by the active player to order troops on a player’s side to move, battle, or do something special. The mix of units both players may have under their commands include; regular infantry, highland infantry, lowland infantry, militia infantry, battle cavalry, light cavalry, trained artillery, light artillery and leaders. Units are represented by a group of 4 blocks in a hex and a single block represents a leader. Units and leaders may only move and battle when given an order. During a turn when units are battling, the battle dice will resolve combat quickly and efficiently and when the last block of an opposition unit or leader block is eliminated, a player will gain one Victory Banner. Again the number of banners needed to win is detailed in a scenario’s victory conditions.
If you are familiar with the C&C system, you will know that cards are an important part of the game and lead to some really challenging, and hair pulling moments when the card you need is nowhere to be found. One of the elements we really liked in the C&C Tricorne was unit morale.
In a Jacobite Rising Tricorne battle, unit morale is one of the main thematic concepts, as it was historically. With the possibility that an entire unit that has only taken minimal losses, when forced to retreat, may actually break and rout from the battlefield, which will definitely keep players on the edge of their command chairs during an entire battle.
To further emphasize the differences in battlefield doctrine between the Highland Clans and Government forces, each army has its own unique deck of Combat cards. These cards when played, represent a mix of unit training, abilities or unexplainable actions that take place during the course of a battle.
If you are interested in Commands and Colors Tricorne: Jacobite Rising, you can order a copy on the Kickstarter page at the following link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/compassgames/commands-and-colors-tricorne-jacobite-rising
As of June 1st, the project is fully funded with $11,586 from 102 backers toward the $3,500 goal. The campaign will end on Saturday, June 20th at 3:30pm EDT
5. Combat! 2: From D-Day To V-E Day Campaign Expansion from Compass Games
Compass Games had another one of their release parties a few weeks ago and announced 4 new games. Combat! Volume 2 was the first of these new games and I am very interested. We are still trying to get a review copy of Volume 1 so we can play and get a review up but we will be patient.
From the game page, we read the following:
Various new features have been added such as: Elite Enemies in the form of the SS, a third Squad and command elements for the Americans so Platoon Actions can be gamed with multiple players; new weapons such as the STG44, the Thompson Sub-machine gun and the Springfield 1903; and much more! A fully structured campaign game consists of 6 ‘Chapters’, ‘Normandy’, ‘Pursuit’, ‘Hurtgen Forest’, ‘The Bulge’, ‘The Siegfried Line’ and ‘Germany’. Follow the fortunes of your squad from D-Day to VE-Day performing missions and patrols; will your squad be an efficient well-disciplined unit or the new Dirty Dozen?
The game is designed as a solitaire game but as you can see they are looking at modes to allow for multiple players to play. Should be very interesting.
Combat! 2 is an add-on module for Combat! You must have Combat! to play this expansion.
If you are interested in Combat! 2: From D-Day To V-E Day Campaign Expansion you can pre-order a copy for $99.00 from the Compass Games website at the following link: https://www.compassgames.com/preorders/combat-2-expansion.html
6. An Attrition of Souls from Compass Games
I was made aware of this game about a year ago from the artist Bill Morgal as we sent out a call for playtesters. This game takes a look at World War I at the Strategic scale that uses a tile draw system. It really is a very interesting looking take on The Great War.
From the game page, we read the following:
An Attrition of Souls is a light, fast-paced wargame at the strategic scale covering the Great War, designed with a high degree of replayability—no two games play alike. This deluxe game with mounted mapboard and large game counters features a unique tile-placement system to simulate the First World War. Each turn, you will randomly draw tiles from a pouch based on your industrial points and use them to the best of your ability. Game strategy is key due to the unforgiving combat system capturing the horrific attrition of this conflict; the dice offer no bloodless victories or reprieve for either side.
Surrounded by enemies on all sides, the Central Powers must strike aggressively at the outset of the war. The Central Powers player will be forced to decide whether to hurl the lion’s share of his forces across the Belgian border, or take an a-historical path eastward to crush the Russian bear. Keeping momentum is key as the war must be fought on enemy soil if you are to have any chance of victory.
Initially outgunned and outclassed by the German army, the Entente player must choose where to hold the line and where to cede territory. The vast hinterlands of the Russian Empire offer you some defense in depth, but Russia, susceptible to attack by the Germans, Austrians, and Turks, has the potential for sudden collapse. New allies will join your cause over the course of the conflict, but if they declare war too early, before they are fully prepared, they may turn into nothing more than additional land for your opponent to devour.
We published an interview with the designer Scott Leibbrandt about a year ago and you can read that at the following link: https://theplayersaid.com/2019/09/24/interview-with-scott-leibbrandt-designer-of-an-attrition-of-souls-from-compass-games/
If you are interested in An Attrition of Souls you can pre-order a copy for $52.00 from the Compass Games website at the following link: https://www.compassgames.com/preorders/an-attrition-of-souls.html
7. Alexandros and Spartacus from Compass Games
I have really come to like Ancients games and have played quite a few in the past year or so. Alexandros and Spartacus features not one but two ancient games designed by Mike Markowitz that originally appeared in Command magazine in 1991 and 1992, garnering numerous Charles S. Roberts Award nominations and awards — Alexandros and I Am Spartacus. This expanded edition features both games along with their multiple expansions, three in total, to round out this deluxe package with two full-size game maps and updated graphics throughout.
From the game page, we read the following about the first game in the box Alexandros: Conquest and Empire:
This Mike Markowitz design originally appeared in issue 10 of Command magazine in 1991 to immediate acclaim. It earned a final nominee spot for the Charles S. Roberts Award for “Best Graphics,” and won the award for “Best Pre-World War II Game.”
It covers all of Alexander’s campaigns from 334 to 323 BC. One player commands the Macedonians and the other the Persians. It’s easily adaptable for solitaire play. The area map is based on the province boundaries of those times, and game turns are quarterly. Combat can be fought tactically, using a separate battlefield display with units assigned to various sectors of the engagement. There are also special rules for besieging cities.
Play lasts a variable numbers of turns, depending on the course of the larger war. There are several ways to win, including the killing of enemy leaders and conquering a large mass of territory, which can end the game at any time. Otherwise, play continues to the summer of 323, when Alexander actually died historically. An optional rule allows play to go to 318.
There is one 34×22” area map, 180 iconic counters, a playing time of about three to four hours, and complexity is low-medium.
BONUS MATERIAL: Also included, are two expansions that were published in later editions of Command Magazine. These are Successors: Clash of Generals, 323-301 BC and Xenophon: March of the Ten-Thousand, 401-400 BC.
Also from the game page we read the following about the second game in the box I Am Spartacus: The Slave Rebellion Against Rome, 73-71 BC:
This second featured game design by Mike Markowitz originally appeared in issue 15 of Command magazine in 1992. The game earned a finalist spot for the Charles S. Roberts Award for “Best Pre-World War II Game.”
This is a two-player (solitaire adaptable) simulation of the Third Servile War, the slave revolt that shook the Roman Republic from 73-71 BC. Barring the capture of Rome by the Rebel player, or the capture of Spartacus by the Roman player, both of which are sudden death victories, the game is won on points for territorial control and other issues. At the end of 17 turns, the player with the most points wins.
There is one 34×22” area map based on the provincial boundaries of those times. Complexity is low-medium, with 189 iconic counters.
BONUS MATERIAL: Also included is yet another expansion from a later issue of Command Magazine entitled Pyrrhic Victory: Legion vs Phalanx, 280-275 BC, and several historical and informational articles on the period.
If you are interested in Alexandros and Spartacus you can pre-order a copy for $62.00 from the Compass Games website at the following link: https://www.compassgames.com/preorders/alexandros-and-spartacus.html
8. Air & Armor: Operational Armored Warfare in Europe from Compass Games
As you know, Cold War Gone Hot games are all the rage right now and Compass has decided to bring back a classic in a new Designer Signature Edition. Air & Armor: Operational Armored Warfare in Europe, Designer Signature Edition marks the return of one of the most highly rated wargames on modern warfare ever published. Air & Armor is a company level simulation of a Hypothetical Soviet attack on West Germany in the mid-1980s. It depicts the collision of the Soviet 8th Guards Army and elements of the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division and West German 12th Panzer Division in a ferocious battle around the German city of Wurzburg. This new edition is lovingly recreated with new map artwork, new unit counters, new unit values and updated rules.
From the game page, we read the following:
Air & Armor employs a highly interactive game system with asymmetric rules modeling the different Command & control techniques of each alliance. The game simulates all of the major aspects of modern warfare: reconnaissance, combined arms operations, air, helicopter and artillery strikes, chemical and electronic warfare and engineering. Multiple levels of hidden intelligence produce a true “fog of war” and provide plenty of opportunities for deception, surprise and ambush. Play this game to find out what it really might have been like to command a division in battle.
Based on detailed research from Warsaw Pact archives now available, this new edition includes a completely revised Order of Battle featuring one East German and four Soviet Divisions. Air & Armor includes a Basic Game, covering standard armor operations, and an Advanced Game that layers in air and engineering operations and Chemical and electronic warfare. Each game level includes four to six Scenarios, which are complete games in themselves. Extensive Scenario, Player and Designer Notes provide advice on play and historical detail.
If you are interested in Air & Armor: Operational Armored Warfare in Europe you can pre-order a copy for $60.00 from the Compass Games website at the following link: https://www.compassgames.com/preorders/air-armor-operational-armored-warfare-in-europe-designer-signature-edition.html
9. Old School Tactical Volume II West Front & Airborne Expansion Reprint with Phantom Division Pocket Battle on Kickstarter Now
We played this volume of Old School Tactical a few years ago and posted the following items on our blog:
The game has sold out at Flying Pig Games and they are running a Kickstarter to get a 2nd print run going. But it is not just a straight reprint as they are offering a new Pocket Battle game with the Kickstarter called Phantom Division. From the Kickstarter page we read the following:
The 9th Armored (Phantom Division) fought in the Battle of the Bulge, captured the Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen, Germany, and assisted in the encirclement of the Ruhr. Phantom Division includes 3 pocket-battle sized maps (approximately 11″ x 17″), each printed front and back, new counters, such as the M-26 Pershing, M-24 Chaffee, and M1919A6 machine gun, and 6 new scenarios, designed by Mark Walker. All of this fits nicely in a 10″ x 12″ x 1.5″ box. If you are interested in getting Phantom Division just add $40 ($10 OFF THE RETAIL PRICE) to your pledge, and choose the Phantom Division Expansion in the pledge manager after the campaign finishes.
If you are interested in Old School Tactical Volume II West Front & Airborne Expansion Reprint with Phantom Division Pocket Battle you can obtain a copy from the Kickstarter page at the following link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/markhwalker/old-school-tactical-vol-ii-west-front-and-airborne-reprint
As of June 1st, the project is fully funded with $26,939 from 412 backers toward the $15,000 goal. The campaign will end on Thursday, June 4th at 11:00am EDT
10. 1985: Under an Iron Sky: Third Echelon (3rd Printing) from Thin Red Line Games
I am going to simply copy the announcement from the Thin Red Line Games website here as I don’t want to make a mistake. They are offering a 3rd Printing for 1985: Under and Iron Sky which is the spiritual successor of The Next War by SPI: an operational, highly detailed simulation of a NATO – Warsaw Pact conflict in Central Europe.
Being a so-called “Monster”, 1985 is not exactly a beer and pretzel game. Rules include every aspect of modern warfare, leaving little or nothing on an abstract level: air war, helicopters, electronic warfare, SAM networks, AWACS, special forces, revolts, nuclear and chemical warfare…..you name it. In order to survive, both sides must keep a constant eye on the front line, the rear areas and on the sky above.
As this will be a small and very expensive (on our side) print run, we are forced to change our usual “we just print it, you decide later” policy. Think about it as a sort of Kickstarter, with the difference that you’ll get your money back should things go wrong.
The minimum number of 200 ordered copies has already been reached, so Third Echelon is now MOBILIZED and nothing will stop it.
Here’s the Rules of Engagement:
- Third Echelon will be identical to the previous two except for updated rules, some extra counters and the “Third Echelon” label on the box.
- We’ll keep the recruitment office open until June, 15th. After that date, no orders will be accepted and production print will start.
If you are interested in 1985: Under an Iron Sky Third Echelon (3rd Printing) you can order a copy for 163.00€ (or approximately $181.00) from the Thin Red Line Games website at the following link: https://trlgames.com/2020/05/19/1985-under-an-iron-sky-third-echelon-2/
11. SCS Iron Curtain: NATO’s Central Front: 1945-1989 from Multi-Man Publishing
Another very interesting looking title from MMP is Iron Curtain: NATO’s Central Front, 1945-1989. The game is a Standard Combat Series (SCS) game covering the potential “hot” war erupting between the East and the West at the flashpoint along the intra-German border established at the close of World War II.
From the game page, we read the following:
Scenarios examine the forces available over the entire 44-year period with snapshots in 1945, 1962, 1975, 1983, and 1989. The resulting force ratios not only change with weapon and OOB evolution but as a product of the tumultuous effects of the culture. In addition to the typical Warsaw Pact-invades-NATO situations, the game provides for three NATO offensive scenarios. The 1945 Churchill plan to continue WW2 before the Soviets could consolidate their gains (Operation UNTHINKABLE), the mishaps of 1983 that could have launched an offensive in error, and allowing the West to capitalize on the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact nations in 1989.
If you are interested in SCS Iron Curtain: NATO’s Central Front, 1945-1989 you can pre-order a copy for $60.00 (through June 28th only at which time it will increase to $68.00) from the Multi-Man Publishing website at the following link: http://www.multimanpublishing.com/tabid/59/ProductID/380/Default.aspx
12. SCS Rostov ’41: Race to the Don from Multi-Man Publishing
This game is not a new offering on pre-order but they recently posted a new cover art so I thought I would share this one with you.
Rostov ‘41: Race to the Don is a Standard Combat Series (SCS) game covering the bold move by Army Group South to take Rostov in the late fall of 1941.
From the game page, we read the following:
Rostov ‘41 covers the historical action in turns representing 3 to 6 days and at a map scale of 2.5 miles per hex. Units consist of battalions to divisions. Low counter density and a wide-open map bring all the action and possibilities to light in some wild gameplay.
The German player must use his limited and overstretched forces to pull off a brilliant coup. Playing it safe won’t cut it; speed is all-important and must be used to crush the Russian defenses quickly before they can gain the mass to launch their impending counter attack.
The Russian player must strategically conserve his forces as the German rapier expends its energy in the initial attacks. While the capture of Rostov requires a lot of skill and some luck on the German part, the Russians will have to use their units to their greatest advantage to hold on. Derailing that German drive can easily consume precious forces needed for your main effort: that of turning the tables on the Germans and taking back great swaths of the Motherland.
We also published an interview with the designer Ray Weiss in December 2017 and you can read that here at the following link: https://theplayersaid.com/2017/12/26/interview-with-raymond-weiss-designer-of-rostov-41-fritz-on-the-don-from-multi-man-publishing/
If you are interested in SCS Rostov ’41: Race to the Don you can pre-order a copy for $33.00 from the Multi-Man Publishing website at the following link: http://www.multimanpublishing.com/tabid/59/ProductID/357/Default.aspx
13. Domination from PHALANX Coming to Kickstarter Soon
We played this game upon its initial release when it was called Mini-WWII published by Formosa Force Games. Since that time, the game has undergone some updates and is now poised to go onto Kickstarter with a new name called Domination. The Kickstarter is set to start on June 22nd and here is a link to the preview page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/phalanxgames/372479594?ref=1p1s1n&token=bfe7811b
You can check out our video review for Mini-WWII to get an idea for how the game plays but I am not sure how it will change: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SojMk90-Wmw
1. Decision At Kasserine: Rommel’s Last Chance, Designer Signature Edition from Compass Games
Decision at Kasserine: Rommel’s Last Chance, Designer Signature Edition marks the return of a true wargaming classic by Vance von Borries first published in 1983, faithfully remastered and updated with this all-new, supersized edition. Hailed by many as of the premier entry in the popular Battles for North Africa series, this two-player operational level simulation covers the WWII German and Italian offensive in central Tunisia which took place in mid-February 1943.
From the game page we read the following:
This Designer Signature edition of the classic Vance von Borries game goes beyond a mere culmination of the forward strides made with subsequent games published in the series; it now features a major update to the game system that will be implemented in future game releases of the popular Battles for North Africa series. In terms of superior physical presentation, all aspects have been upgraded, including super-sized components; larger game map and 5/8″ counters. Some of the enhancements made in this edition include:
Super-sized components feature 5/8” counters and two game maps with large hexes
Game map information is updated and includes all-new map artwork
Supporting charts convey more information at a glance for ease of play
Enhanced ergonomics are built into the set up and reinforcement charts
Updated the Order of Battle based on new information and analysis
Fixed the original deployment and OoB based on archival information
The rules treatment is all-new with a full re-write backed by many illustrations, an index, and clarifications and examples of play to reduce potential questions. Some rules were simplified, others enhanced.
Redesigned treatment on air units, armor bonus, and strongpoints in combat and a clarified treatment on the artillery rules
New rules cover infiltration movement, combat evasion and retreat options
New optional rules cover mountain units, certain reinforcements, Allied artillery concentrations, and considerable Allied command problems
Many all-new historical notes can be found throughout the rules presentation
Three new scenarios have been added
If you are interested in Decision at Kasserine: Rommel’s Last Chance, Designer Signature Edition you can pre-order a copy for $89.00 from the Compass Games website at the following link: https://www.compassgames.com/decision-at-kasserine-rommel-s-last-chance-designer-signature-edition.html
2. River Raisin: A Cold and Bitter Battle 1813 from High Flying Dice Games
A few years ago, we came upon a great little series of games called Battles of the Old Northwest and have played Volumes 1 and 2 called Kekionga! and St. Clair’s Folly. Recently, the next two volumes in the series were announced; River Raisin: A Cold and Bitter Battle 1813 and A Dark and Dastardly Fight: The Battle of Tippecanoe.
From the BGG game page we read the following about River Raisin:
On the 22nd, before daybreak, came within sight of the enemy… such was their security and negligence that… our line was actually half formed within musket shot of their defenses before they were even aware of our presence.” –Canadian volunteer of the 41st Regiment of Foot, January 22, 1813.
Following General Isaac Hull’s surrender of the US Army’s surrender at Detroit, General Harrison was ordered north from Ohio and Indiana to salvage the fast deteriorating situation. Dividing his forces into two columns, Harrison ordered General Winchester to join up with a smaller force of Michigan volunteers at Frenchtown, south of Detroit along the River Raisin while he led another column that would follow later after they assembled from scattered winter quarters. The volunteers and a small detachment that escaped from Detroit at Frenchtown beat back an earlier attack by Canadian militia and their First Nation American allies. Learning of the larger US force coming from the south, British General Proctor left Detroit in the midst of the winter weather to deal with the growing US threat at the River Raisin. One of the most dramatic engagements of the war was about to ensue.
Can you do as well, or better? Learn and enjoy!
Each copy of A Cruel and Bitter Battle is composed of the following:
• One 11 by 17 inch map with Turn Record Track.
• 90 double-sided counters.
• 8 pages of rules.
Players need a standard deck of playing cards (a custom set of cards is available from the publisher) and a six sided die to play the game.
A Cold and Bitter Battle is designed by Paul Rohrbaugh and features graphics by Nils Johansson.
I was able to publish an interview with the designer Paul Rohrbaugh recently and you can read that here at the following link: https://theplayersaid.com/2020/05/25/interview-with-paul-rohrbaugh-designer-of-river-raisin-a-cold-and-bitter-battle-1813-from-high-flying-dice-games/
We also posted an unbagging video on our YouTube Channel that you can watch to get a better idea about the components at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0d5_UBV7wQ
If you are interested in River Raisin: A Cold and Bitter Battle from High Flying Dice Games you can order a copy for $11.95 by emailing Paul Rohrbaugh at email@example.com
3. A Dark and Dastardly Fight: The Battle of Tippecanoe 1811 from High Flying Dice Games
The second of two new games in the Battles of the Old Northwest series from High Flying Dice Games.
From the BBG game page, we read the following about Tippecanoe:
“Sleep with your moccasins on. Them Red Devils are going to fight before day.” –Comment by a member of the Indiana Militia on the evening of November 6, 1811 at the Tippecanoe Bend of Burnett’s Creek, near Prophetstown.
By early 1811, tensions in the western portion of Ohio and the remaining Northwest Territory were increasing almost daily. Conflict with Great Britain loomed, and the Native American inhabitants were also alarmed regarding increasing US settler encroachments on their lands in violation of the 1795 Treaty of Greenville. Tecumseh and his brother, Tenskatawa (who many Americans nicknamed “Prophet”), traveled amongst the various tribes and nations seeking to unite the diverse native inhabitants into a force that could counter the growing US threat. Many of the followers of the brothers’ messages flocked to Prophetstown, where Tenskatawa took up residence, in the Indiana Territory. US General William Henry Harrison, alarmed at the growing force of Native American warriors, assembled an army and began moving towards Prophetstown.
Tecumseh counseled that war had to be avoided until the British initiated hostilities with the US, which he believed would occur in 1812. However, Tenskatawa claimed in his visions that an earlier battle with Harrison’s army would be successful. When Tecumseh set out in late October 1811 to travel one more time to meet with the Native American leaders that were not at Prophetstown, the Prophet took the opportunity to order a daring night time attack on the American army encamped nearby. One of the most epic battles fought between the US and the Native Americans was about to take place. Can you do as well, or better?
Each copy of A Dark and Dastardly Fight is composed of the following:
• One 8.5 by 11 inch map with Turn Record Track.
• 90 double-sided counters.
• This set of rules with Game Turn/Record Track.
Players will also need a standard deck of playing cards (a custom card set for this and all of the other games in the Battles of Old Northwest series is available from the publisher) and a six sided die are needed to play the game.
If you are interested in A Dark and Dastardly Fight: The Battle of Tippecanoe 1811 from High Flying Dice Games you can order a copy for $11.95 by emailing Paul Rohrbaugh at firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Against the Odds Magazine #51 from LPS – Almost a Miracle! The Revolutionary War in the North
If you don’t know about Against the Odds Magazine, you are missing out. This is a magazine that includes a full game inside, and usually the game is amazing and belongs in a published box. In their most recent issue #51 was included the wargame called Almost a Miracle! designed by David Jones. It is somewhat of a prequel to the infamous Tarleton’s Quarter which was published in issue #28.
From the game page, we read the following:
When asked about it, years after it ended, George Washington said that the American victory was “little short of a standing miracle.”
“Almost a Miracle!” uses our successful “Tarleton’s Quarter!” as a game engine starting point to bring the Northern “half” of the American Revolution into play.
Will the British be able to impose “the King’s Peace” on the northern colonies or will the revolution survive to birth a new nation?
The map and victory conditions for “Almost a Miracle!” show players why battles took place in key areas but also lets players explore those seemingly odd tertiary campaigns, like Halifax, Fort Pitt, and Quebec.
This game deals with the American Revolution on a strategic scale and attempts to delve into all the issues experienced by both sides, from logistics and supply, to army enlistments. It includes it all…and appears to be a very detailed and somewhat complex wargame.
Further we read from the game page:
The game handles battles in both large and small scale, as both were critical to the War’s outcome, with a system that models 18th Century combat and how it differed from later times, where morale, readiness, leadership, and mere chance all could be “the” critical factor at one time or another, and disease and desertion could be an army’s biggest killer.
Special rules cover the short enlistments of the Continentals, the uncertainty of French support and entry, prisoner exchanges, and the variable support of Loyalists and Native Americans.
Both sides faced challenges they did not expect, and both sides contributed nearly as much to their own failures as they achieved in victory.
The game will provide insights into how narrowly the Americans succeeded and how close the British came to their own victory.
If you are interested in Against the Odds Issue #51 Almost a Miracle! you can order a copy for $34.95 (in a ziplock) from the Against the Odds website at the following link: https://www.atomagazine.com/Details.cfm?ProdID=157
5. 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 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 AttilaThe 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 WarChina 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 WarIsrael 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.
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.
We recently published an interview with the designer and you can read that at the following link: https://theplayersaid.com/2020/02/17/interview-with-brian-train-designer-of-brief-border-wars-from-compass-games/
If you are interested in Brief Border Wars, you can order a copy for $52.00 from the Compass Games website at the following link: https://www.compassgames.com/preorders/brief-border-wars.html
6. Imperial Struggle: The Global Rivalry between Britain and France 1697-1789 from GMT Games
This one is working out to be GMT’s largest P500 project ever. As of May 29th, the game has 4,554 orders and currently is in the process of charging and getting ready to ship. The game is another team up effort between Ananda Gupta and Jason Matthews. You know them as the design team behind Twilight Struggle.
From the game page, we read the following:
Imperial Struggle covers almost 100 years of history and four major wars. Yet it remains a quick-playing, low-complexity game. It aims to honor its spiritual ancestor, Twilight Struggle, by pushing further in the direction of simple rules and playable systems, while maintaining global scope and historical sweep in the scope of a single evening. In peace turns, players build their economic interests and alliances, and take advantage of historical events represented by Event cards. They must choose their investments wisely, but also with an eye to denying these opportunities to their opponent. In war turns, each theater can bring great rewards of conquest and prestige…but territorial gains can disappear at the treaty table. At the end of the century, will the British rule an empire on which the sun never sets? Or will France light the way for the world, as the superpower of the Sun King’s dreams or the republic of Lafayette’s?
Britain versus Fance is one of the longest running battle of two great superpowers and really formed our world as it stands today. This game attempts to delve into that 100+ year struggle in a playable format.
Imperial Struggle is a game about what historians call the “Second Hundred Years’ War.” It tries to capture the whole span of this global 18th-century rivalry between Britain and France. From the beginning of the game, the stakes couldn’t be higher: in the War of the Spanish Succession, France fights to become the world’s first global superpower by uniting its peerless army with Spain’s colonial wealth… all the way to the end, where the British struggle to maintain control over the vast North American territories.
There are two types of turns in Imperial Struggle: peace turns and war turns. Each peace turn, an array of Investment Tiles is laid out: each tile represents a diplomatic, military, or economic opportunity your government can exploit. Each tile shows the action points you’ll be able to spend when you choose it – but be careful – if there’s only one Diplomatic tile on view, it may be worth denying it to your opponent rather than taking an Economic or Military tile with a higher action point value. With Economic action points you’ll extend and develop your control over trade in essential commodities: furs, sugar, cotton, and spices; with Diplomatic ones, you’ll negotiate understandings with other European countries and native groups; and with Military points you’ll decide the extent of your military preparations for the inevitable wars to come and fortify your colonial holdings against unrest. With all three, you’ll have the chance to take the lead from your opponent in areas of competition like taxation, industry, and scholarship. And, like your historical counterparts, you’ll have to keep a close eye on the massive debt that can accumulate as a result of your ambitions.
You’ll also hold Event cards which can be used for a minor benefit regardless of your board position, but which can yield much larger gains if you’ve planned ahead for them. Event cards can only be played alongside an investment tile of matching type. Taking a leaf from Volko Ruhnke’s COIN system, most Events have two versions: pro-French and pro-British. Thus events that went one way historically can break to the other side’s advantage in any given game.
If you are interested in Imperial Struggle, you can order a copy for the special P500 price of $39.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-599-imperial-struggle.aspx
As always, thanks for reading along this month. I found some really good looking games and as always had a good time putting them together. Please let me know what I missed this month so that I can do some research on those games.