Last of these posts of the year and I am still finding great games to share with you. Just not as many as usual. As you may know, on Thanksgiving Day, I shared my annual 11 Wargames to Buy Your Wargamer for Christmas post so if you missed that go check it out. This month I found 13 total games to share with you and there are 3 Kickstarters that I know of ending this month.
If you missed the November Wargame Watch, you can read that here at the following link: https://theplayersaid.com/2020/11/02/wargame-watch-whats-new-upcoming-november-2020/
1. The Long Road from Flying Pig Games Currently on Kickstarter
I love the games that Flying Pig Games produces. Mark Holt Walker is an interesting guy who just likes to put out playable and interesting games. He also is somewhat of a writer and story teller and has created an entire world, and in fact an RPG, around the undead intervening in a hypothetical World War III. He now has merged both of these things together into a very interesting and intriguing looking hex and counter wargame called The Long Road. The game has a very interesting sub-title in World War III…with a Twist and I am very interested in this twist!
From the Kickstarter page, we read the following:
Based on the fiction that I created in my Dark War novels: Revelation and Retribution, and expanded in the Dark War RPG and Skirmish Game, The Long Road depicts a Third World War sparked not by conflicting ideologies, but rather the back-stage maneuvering of paranormal entities with their own set of agendas. Agendas that are fleshed out in the game’s 16 scenarios.
For many of the scenarios, gamers will take the role of a Soviet or NATO regimental or brigade commander, controlling platoons of 1985-era tanks, infantry, and weapons as they play through a story-driven campaign using the easy-to-learn, fun-to-play platoon commander system that I designed in 2015.
In some of these scenarios the game’s artificial intelligence will control paranormal elements that directly impact the combatants and move the story forward. For example, a strange, otherworldly electrical storm that roams the battlefield, hampering electronics and limiting engagement ranges. Or perhaps a zombie horde of unknown origin that pours from a city, attacking American and Soviet soldiers alike.
This game not only models typical things seen in a World War III 1985 setting, including Abrams tanks, ATGM’s, Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV), mine layers, mine clearers, anti-tank ditches, bridge layers, airstrikes, advanced imagers but also adds in some fanciful and interesting looking elements that are typically not found in a wargame. I like the look of this one and am very interested in playing it. We really enjoyed the Platoon Commander System when we played Kursk last year so this one uses that same system and then adds in the paranormal.
We posted an interview with the designer Mark Holt Walker on the blog a few weeks ago and you can read that at the following link: https://theplayersaid.com/2020/11/25/interview-with-mark-holt-walker-designer-of-the-long-road-from-flying-pig-games-currently-on-kickstarter/
If you are interested in The Long Road you can back a copy on the Kickstarter page at the following link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/markhwalker/the-long-road-world-war-iii-with-a-paranormal-twist
As of December 1st, the project is funded and has raised $24,077 toward the $16,000 goal from 236 backers. The campaign will end on Thursday, December 3rd at 11:59am EST.
2. Empires Fall Miniatures War Game from Gaddis Gaming Currently on Kickstarter
Both Alexander and I love playing miniature games. We don’t do it a lot but we do enjoy it. When I saw this next entry on the list I was immediately intrigued. Empires Fall is an alternate World War II based miniatures wargame that uses stories from Shattered Crown.
From the Kickstarter page we read the following:
Take control of the 761st all African-American “Black Panthers” Tank battalion fighting against the ruthless Holy Roman Empire building on the ashes of stories from SHATTERED CROWN. This alt-WWII platform uses our Gaddis Gaming’s extensive miniatures line to introduce you the heroes of WWII as the 761st tank battalion defends the besieged Belgian city of Bastogne against the imperial invaders of the HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE. The game play is highly interactive and offers a wealth of strategic choices as you build your forces to take the battlefield.
The base game features a two player skirmish between the United States and German armies of the HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE. The United States consists of a Sherman tank and a five man crew, while the Germans are led with a 10-man Infantry armed with Panzerschreck and Panzerfaust from the Holy Roman Empire. All dice, tokens and miniatures necessary are included in the base game.
EMPIRES FALL will use the G.U.A.R.D.S. ruleset and play can be expanded to play with any of the miniatures built by Gaddis Gaming. The only limit is your creativity and imagination.
This game has many pledge levels but for the 2-player starter set that provides you with enough miniatures, dice, rules and other accessories to play the game it will cost $99.00. You can even go all out and order a deluxe version that comes with painted miniatures in case you don’t have the painting skills to do the work yourself (like me).
If you are interested in Empires Fall you can back the project on the Kickstarter page at the following link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gaddisgaming/empires-fall
As of December 1st, the project is almost funded and has raised $5,674 toward the $7,610 goal from 67 backers. The campaign will end on Thursday, December 10th at 12:46pm EST.
3. Commands and Colors Medieval: Expansion 1 Crusades Mid-Eastern Battles 1 from GMT Games
In 2019, we got Commands and Colors Medieval. We were pretty excited about the game but when it arrived, we were deflated as it really didn’t have the focus that we thought it should have had namely in the Crusades. Well, I am pleased to say that with the Monthly Update we are getting the C&C Medieval we should have got last year. I know that there were reasons for the focus in the first entry but I was simply disappointed as it felt like it was Ancients all over again (nothing wrong with Ancients as I love it) but I was looking for something different.
From the game page, we read the following:
The original plan was to have the Medieval expansions follow a somewhat historical timeline, but to keep in tune with player requests and feedback, GMT chose to jump ahead in time some 500 plus years to the Crusades. Actually reflecting on the decision, this jump makes a lot of sense, since there are marked similarities with many Byzantine battles as featured in the Medieval game and the battles fought during the Crusades gameplay wise, rule wise and transitional-thinking wise.
Yes, there are plenty of knights in shining armor in this expansion, but there are no damsels in distress or dragons to be slain. The Crusade Mid-Eastern Battles I expansion will instead focus on some of the major engagements of earlier Crusader history. In this first Crusade expansion, we showcase at least 16 Crusader scenarios and all the additional unit blocks you need to fight out these battles. New units include: Crossbow Infantry, Foot Knight Infantry, Turcopole Light Bow Cavalry, Heavy Knight Cavalry, and Heavy Military Order Knight Cavalry.
Sounds amazing and I am truly excited about this development. So, with these new volumes of C&C, the tradition is to add something new in that focuses on the fighting of the time. So is the case with Crusades as we read the following from the game page:
The Crusade expansion introduces many new game concepts as well: Impetuous Pursuit, Feigned Flight, Shower Shooting, and Charging Cavalry ability to pass through friendly stationary infantry units, all of which add historical depth and flavor. Still many game mechanics remain constant, like the deck of Medieval Command cards that drive movement while creating a “fog of war” and the battle dice that will resolve combat quickly and efficiently. There are also new and updated Inspired Actions for both the Crusader and Mid-Eastern armies. The stylized battlefield scenario maps still emphasize the important terrain features and highlight the historical deployment of forces in scale with the game system. Like your Medieval core game, the scale of the Crusade expansion is flexible and can vary from battle to battle. Yet to gain victory (and I have stated this many times before), the tactics you need to execute conform remarkably well to the advantages and limitations inherent to the various Crusader and Mid-Eastern army units, their weapons, terrain, and the history.
And just so you know, due to the size of the time period covering the Crusades there will be more expansions to come in the future.
If you are interested in Commands and Colors Medieval: Expansion 1 Crusades Mid-Eastern Battles 1, you can pre-order a copy on the P500 game page for $49.00 at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-899-c-c-medieval-expansion-1-crusades-mid-eastern-battles-1.aspx
4. Skies Above Britain from GMT Games
After we played Skies Above the Reich in 2018 we both were hooked on this system and looked forward to the next volume in the series Storm Above the Reich, which has not yet been printed. But, now we see a new volume in this series from Jerry White, now teamed with Gina Willis, that uses the system to cover the Battle of Britain from the Allies perspective as the player now controls a Royal Air Force squadron of Hurricanes and Spitfires fighting off the Luftwaffe as they attempt to bomb southeast England.
From the game page we read the following:
Skies Above Britain is a solitaire game depicting a Royal Air Force squadron of Hurricanes or Spitfires waging a desperate effort to disrupt and destroy German daylight bombing raids over southeast England in the summer of 1940. The player’s individual aircraft—each represented by a stickered block—must locate the incoming raid, intercept it, and evade or defeat swarms of escorting German fighters that usually outnumber you and whose pilots have superior experience and tactics. The game simulates the dogfighting and fighter-vs.-bomber action at an individual aircraft level using a card-assisted system that simulates key tactical decision-making without losing the feel of fast-paced aerial combat. A player can fly scenarios representing an individual patrol or use the patrol generator to create an endless variety of realistic individual patrols, multi-patrol campaigns, or larger campaigns covering the entire Battle of Britain. Each patrol will take a half hour or more to play, while a campaign can last anywhere between 6 and 28 patrols.
I am very excited about this one as we will finally get to fly as the Allies in this very cool system.
If you are interested in Skies Above Britain, you can pre-order a copy on the P500 game page for $65.00 at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-897-skies-above-britain.aspx
5. Space Empires 4X: All Good Things Expansion from GMT Games
We love Space Empires and have had a great time playing that one, especially when adding in the various expansions that have been published. Each of the expansions to date have added new content that has deepened the game play, and frankly added time to the overall play experience as well, but have been good improvements. This expansion is the third and final entry in the Space Empires Series and is designed to complete the game while adding in even more options that add to the game’s replayability. This expansion will contain no board and you will have to own the original game to able to play. Ownership of Close Encounters and Replicators Expansions is not required but is recommended.
From the game page, we read the following about the contents of the expansion:
Combined Rule Book, Combined Competitive Scenario Book, and Combined Solo/Co-op Scenario Book: Since this is the final expansion, all the rules and scenarios over the four different games will be compiled in one place.
Solo and Co-Op: Refined solo and co-op rules.
A New, Alternate Empire (two copies): Not as different as the Replicators, it has the same economics as a base empire, but some of the ship classes have different stats and abilities. Some of the ship classes are also completely replaced with new classes. This will:
Allow you to play Space Empires as a 6-player game without Replicators or a 7-player game with them.
Even in a 2-player game, you can now play it 5 different ways.
Variable, but balanced home systems: Everyone has the same home system for balance reasons. However, you will never know for sure exactly what will be in your home system from game to game.
Scenario Cards: 30 or so cards, and 1 or 2 could be flipped to change the overall galaxy conditions for the game. A couple of these are from the scenario book, but most are new.
Missions: Missions are Resource Cards that can’t just be played but require you to complete something on the map to gain a larger benefit. More work, but more reward.
Deep Space Planetary Attributes: The NPA planets in deep space will now have a bit of personality. Some will be harder or easier to take. Some will really be worth fighting over as they will have different abilities and bonuses.
Crew Cards: Notable crewmen that bring bonuses will be on some of your ships. Sometimes they benefit just one ship, sometimes a group, and sometimes a fleet.
Facilities Game: Two new facilities will be added to complete the facilities game.
Much, Much More: Extra cards of every type, Starbases, Defense Satellites, Cyber Armor, New Terrain types, additional terrain to support larger scenarios, a 4″ box to give you more storage options, and more!
This looks to be stuffed to the gills with interesting content and surely earns the name All Good Things.
If you are interested in Space Empires 4X: All Good Things Expansion , you can pre-order a copy on the P500 game page for $65.00 at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-898-space-empires-all-good-things.aspx
6. Wolfpack: The North Atlantic Convoy Struggles October 1941-March 1943 from GMT Games
Mike Bertucelli designed a good one in Tank Duel from 2019 and we have enjoyed our plays of that game. This Wolfpack game has been rumored for a while and I have seen various images on the internet over the past year or so and have been very interested in the final product.
From the game page, we read the following:
Wolfpack is a tactical, historical game depicting the struggles between the German submarine Wolfpacks and the allied merchant convoys of WWII. The game is set in the vast North Atlantic from late 1941 to early 1943. Wolfpack is a 1-4 player solitaire/team game. When playing solo, the player will command 2 – 4 submarines. In a team game, players will command 1 – 2 submarines depending on the number of players. The convoy merchant ships and escorts will be controlled by an AI system. In Wolfpack, players will assume the role of a German WWII submarine commander. Players will need to work together to achieve victory.
The game also includes a campaign system where players will track the progress of their crews during the campaign, linking multiple patrols together to gain as much experience as possible. The more tons of allied merchant ships that are sunk, the more experience points players will have to spend on improvements to their crew’s performance.
If you are interested in Wolfpack: The North Atlantic Convoy Struggles October 1941-March 1943, you can pre-order a copy on the P500 game page for $52.00 at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-896-wolfpack.aspx
7. Cataclysm: A Second World War 2nd Printing from GMT Games
Cataclysm: A Second World War is a sandbox style game about politics and war in the 1930’s and 40’s, designed for two to five players. The three primary ideologies of the time contend to impose their vision of order on the world. The Fascists (Germany, Italy, and Japan) seek to overthrow the status quo, which favors the Democracies (France, the United Kingdom, and the United States), while the Communists (the Soviet Union) look for opportunities to storm the global stage. The game uses a Chit Pull Mechanic that unleashes purchased units on the board, provides for various political actions through the interesting flag system and causes calamities that the players must deal with.
We reviewed the game on our blog and you can read that review here: https://theplayersaid.com/2018/12/03/a-first-peek-at-cataclysm-a-second-world-war-from-gmt-games/
If you are interested in Cataclysm: A Second World War 2nd Printing, you can pre-order a copy on the P500 game page for $57.00 at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-902-cataclysm-2nd-printing.aspx
8. Commands and Colors: Ancients 7th Printing from GMT Games
Commands & Colors: Ancients allows you to re-fight epic battles of the ancient world. Here the focus is on the two rivals for power in the Western Mediterranean – Carthage and Rome. Will you, as Hannibal, triumph over larger Roman armies; or as Scipio Africanus, will you beat Hannibal with newer tactics of your own?
Units in both armies can only move and fight when ordered. The command playing cards supply those orders, providing an element of luck that creates a fog of war and presents players with both challenges and opportunities. You must maximize your opportunities by playing your command cards judiciously. How well you handle the diverse units, their weapons, and the terrain, will determine victory.
If you are interested in Commands and Colors: Ancients 7th Printing you can pre-order a copy on the P500 game page for $45.00 at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-900-commands-colors-ancients-7th-printing.aspx
9. The Last Hundred Yards 2nd Printing from GMT Games
The Last Hundred Yards is unlike any tactical wargame published to date. It introduces innovative systems intended to model Small Unit Behavior in Combat during WW2. It is fun, fast-paced, and provides a very good simulation of what it was like to command combat units at the platoon or company level. The game is purposely designed to deliver a brisk yet intensive gaming experience that forces many decisions upon you as you take command of an infantry company in Western Europe after the D-Day landings.
This game made my Top 10 Wargames of 2019! list and the most interesting new element found in the game is that casualties as well as time is accounted into your victory conditions. This causes you have to have to make a move and try your best to make progress or you risk losing based on time. I really enjoyed this mechanic as it reminded me of the superior issues in Nemesis ’44 from Legion Wargames.
I also really found the initiative system to be interesting as the player that wins initiative will be able to do pretty much what they want while the other player will only be able to react. It can be difficult to explain this but if the active player conducts actions such as fire, maneuver, or recover) with the units of the active platoon, after all units of the active platoon have completed their actions, units of the non-active player may react to units of the active player if units of the active player conducted actions in their LOS. This in LOS requirement takes away the God’s eye view of the battlefield and I really liked that as it made for some tense situations where you know what is happening but your men don’t.
If you are interested in The Last Hundred Years 2nd Printing you can pre-order a copy on the P500 game page for $43.00 at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-901-the-last-hundred-yards-2nd-printing.aspx
10. MacGowan & Lombardy’s The Great War from Lombardy Studios and RBM Studio Currently on Kickstarter
I saw this one on Consimworld about 2 weeks ago and was immediately intrigued as it is a fast playing WWI card game designed by Dana Lombardy and that features art by the Rodger MacGowan.
From the Kickstarter page we read the following:
MacGowan & Lombardy’s The Great War by award-winning game designer Dana Lombardy is a simple, fast-playing stand-alone (non-collectible) 2-player & SOLO card game built around important weapon systems, commanders, and other historical aspects of this unprecedented industrial-scale war. Two 54-card decks feature colorized historical images and illustrations by game industry Hall of Fame graphic artist Rodger B. MacGowan. Icons, insignias, and game text on each card eliminate the need for complex rules. (Note to collectors: Nearly all of Rodger’s exceptional WW1 illustrations appear on the cards.)
The thing about this one is that the cards are so damn beautiful I might want to get them all in poster size and hang them up in my game room. Here is a look at a card example:
Here is a video describing how the game plays:
If you are interested in The Great War you can back a copy on the Kickstarter page at the following link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/680099836/macgowan-and-lombardys-the-great-war-fast-playing-card-game?ref=11vkvc
As of December 1st, the project is funded and has raised $18,353 toward the $18,000 goal from 350 backers. The campaign will end on Monday, December 7th at 10:00pm EST.
1. The Conquistadors: The Spanish Conquest of The Americas – 1518-1548 from Compass Games
I love unique games on unique subjects. I typically am drawn to them but for some reason I missed the announcement of a very unique looking wargame on an interesting subject that I have only gamed one other time, and that game only barely introduced the Conquistadors into its game play as it was focused on the development of early American Indians (Mound Builders from Victory Point Games). So this month I’m including this neat looking game The Conquistadors: The Spanish Conquest of the Americas 1518-1548.
From the game page, we read the following:
In the half-century after Columbus, small bands of daring Spanish adventurers conquered Central and South America, destroying the huge armies of long-established native empires in the process. Some won great fortunes in gold, while many others only died an early death. These men were the Conquistadors. In this partly card-driven, partly procedural game —a brand-new design from Jon Southard — one to five players each control a group of Conquistadors, trying to discover and loot the civilizations of the Americas and end up with the most gold and power.
A game of The Conquistadors begins with the outline of Central and South America as known in 1520. Your first task will be to seek out and discover the great Indian cities and empires — which may appear in their historical locations, or in quite different places. Once you discover where the cities and empires are, it is time to gather gold. You might battle and plunder the Indians, or your best plan may be to attempt diplomacy and enlist them as allies — especially if you have an Indian interpreter in your expedition. Like Francisco Pizarro, you might try a Sudden Shock Attack to capture a native king and extort a fat ransom. Always you must be sure to keep the Governor happy, or he may issue a warrant for your arrest. Beware of native uprisings, painted warriors, and poisoned darts around the next corner, and watch out for defection in your own ranks. If you fall behind in the race for gold, you might try to descend the Amazon or discover the Fountain of Youth. And when you are really in a tight place, perhaps you can appeal to Mano de Dios (the Hand of God) to bail you out.
The Conquistadors is playable by from 1 to 5 players, with an introductory Basic Game, a more involved Standard Game, and some optional rules. While the normal game system requires 2 or more players, solitaire play is enabled by a special solitaire module.
If you are interested in The Conquistadors, you can order a copy for $64.00 from the Compass Games website at the following link: https://www.compassgames.com/the-conquistadors-the-spanish-conquest-of-the-americas-1518-1548.html
2. Fire in the Lake Tru’ng Bot Update Pack from GMT Games
Many of our favorite multi-player wargames are difficult to get on the table to solo play as there are just too many factions to control. It can be done but less than ideally. Over the past few years, publishers like GMT have put a lot of time and resources into addressing this problem as they have developed a system of solitaire bots that control 1, 2 or even three of the factions in a game allowing us as players to focus on just one. They have now developed a more robust and functional AI Bot for Fire in the Lake and are calling it Tru’ng. This Bot was designed by Bruce Mansfield, the designer of Gandhi and it’s Bot named Arjuna.
From the game page we read the following:
Tru’ng is the name of a new bot system for Fire in the Lake. It follows in the footsteps of the innovative card-based bot system that was first developed for Gandhi, giving fans of Fire in the Lake more opportunities to get this great game to the table.
Tru’ng is quick to use and easy to implement, but is sophisticated enough to play the full Fire in the Lake game. When selecting Operations and Special Activities, cards are drawn from the Tru’ng deck—there are six cards for each Fire in the Lake faction. Each card examines the current state of the game and selects the appropriate action for the active faction. A single, faction-specific table then determines where that action will occur. The same table is used to select spaces for Operations, Special Activities, and Events, minimizing the need to flip between multiple player aids.
If you are worried about whether the solo bot feels right when playing here is a comment from the game page:
Playing against Tru’ng feels like playing against a human opponent. It is unpredictable yet responsive to strategic needs, it goes after its enemies while keeping an eye on its ally, and makes moves up to now limited to human players—like choosing a Limited Operation to block an opponent’s Event. Tru’ng can take the place of a human player for any Fire in the Lake faction, can be used with every Fire in the Lake scenario, and can be used in any combination of player and non-player setups.
We published an interview several months ago with the designer Bruce Mansfield and you can read that at the following link: https://theplayersaid.com/2020/04/13/interview-with-bruce-mansfield-designer-of-the-trung-bot-update-pack-for-fire-in-the-lake-from-gmt-games/
If you are interested in the Fire in the Lake: Tru’ng Bot Update Pack you can order a copy for $25.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-856-fire-in-the-lake-trung-bot-update-pack.aspx
3. The Last Hundred Yards Volume 2: Airborne Over Europe from GMT Games
One of the real surprise games for me from 2019 was The Last Hundred Yards designed by Mike Denson. And you know it was a popular game when they already have an expansion coming out.
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!
We published an interview several months ago with the designer Mike Denson and you can read that at the following link: https://theplayersaid.com/2020/06/15/interview-with-mike-denson-designer-of-the-last-hundred-yards-volume-2-airborne-over-europe-from-gmt-games/
If you are interested in The Last Hundred Yards Vol. 2: Airborne Over Europe, you can order a copy for $59.00 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
I know that the list this month was shorter than normal, and also that it featured a majority of the games from one publisher, but I had trouble finding anything else to add. Please let me know if you know of any games out there that I missed. Thanks for reading.
I’m currently playing my first FitL game using the original solitaire system. I’m enjoying it though (so far) I seem to be shuffling an awful lot of rules/aids.
I didn’t realize the Trung expansion was out and will be ordering today.
Thanks for the alert Grant.
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The new Bots work pretty well and eliminate all that rule diving and aid references.
Thanks for the ink, Grant. A lot of interesting games here.
Great stuff here Grant always look forward to your updates.
Promised the wife going forward to only buy games with a solo play option, always nice to see a quick snap shot of games in the batter’s circle.
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