I really love doing this list each year and looking ahead to the upcoming games. I started early on this list this year as I began putting my notes together in November. Of course, there are always more games coming out than we can possibly cover and play but it is still fun to look ahead. The real hardest part about doing the list though is anticipating what announced games will actually be ready for release in 2021. There is always development and playtesting that can take for ever but is a very necessary part of the process and leads to a better product in the end. Art is also a very time consuming and important step that can delay a game. But I would rather have a good looking game than a finely tested and tuned stick figure crayon drawing for sure!
Each year since the inception of the blog in 2016 I have posted this list highlighting my most anticipated wargames for the upcoming year. The list has grown each year with the first entry consisting of only 7 games, then growing to 10, in 2019 ballooning to 12 and staying at that number in 2020. This year however, I gave up the effort of paring the list down to a specific number and will actually highlight (gulp) 18 games in 2021. In case you missed my post from last year you can read that here (of the 12 games highlighted in that post 8 of them made it to production in 2020): 12 Most Anticipated Wargames of 2020!
Pacific War: The Struggle Against Japan, 1941-1945 from GMT Games
First off, this game is a classic designed by my favorite designer Mark Herman. How could it not be on this list? The game also ticks a lot of boxes on my list for wargames; World War II, Pacific Theater, Operational Scale, etc. This one is a monster but a bit of a different kind of monster as it is large, with 2 mounted maps and 9 counters sheets, but has a layered set of scenarios that incorporate fifteen-minute solitaire learning engagements, which are always keys to learning a new system and making it playable one bite at a time, to two hour battles, such as Coral Sea and Santa Cruz that were used in a decade of tournaments, two to eight hour Campaigns (such as Malaya, Guadalcanal and Breaking the Bismarck barrier), and of course the Strategic scenarios that cover the entire war from a single year to the entire war. In my mind, I am not sure that we will ever get to play the entire Pacific War but we can definitely play several of the smaller battles and even the shorter campaigns.
If you are interested in Pacific War: The Struggle Against Japan, 1941-1945, you can pre-order a copy for $79.00 on the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-865-pacific-war-the-struggle-against-japan-1941-1945.aspx
As of the December 2020 Update from GMT, this one is currently in the Art Department and is anticipated to ship over the next 5-9 months.
Almoravid: Reconquista and Riposte in Spain, 1085-1086 from GMT Games
When this new Levy & Campaign Series was announced a few years ago, I was uncertain about whether it would be something that I was interested in. I should have known it would be good, as it is designed by Volko Ruhnke and we have never not enjoyed his designs, but it took me a while to truly become interested. After getting a quick run down from the game’s designer Wendell Albright at Origins 2017 and then posting an interview and playing Nevsky, I was immediately hooked. The system is a bit fragile, and there is a different focus with planning and logistics, but it is very interactive and enjoyable to play. Then in 2020, Almoravid, which is Volume II in the Levy & Campaign Series, was announced and it now takes us from “Nevsky’s frozen northeast frontier to medieval Latindom’s opposite corner”. The same basic system is used to play the game including mustering of lords, managing their levy of forces and various capabilities that come from the play of cards, and their command of armies during 11th-Century Spain. The real major difference here is that the armies will enjoy good Roman roads and gentler seasons as compared to the wet and messy Rasputitsa of the Russian steppe but now must also contend against Iberia’s tough Moorish fortifications as siege becomes more important. Taifa politics and Parias tribute will guide the players military strategy the game will play out across a map half again as large as that of the first volume. This promises to be a familiar walk down a different geographic area with the same mechanics and opportunity to learn more about reconquista in Spain.
We posted an interview with Volko on the blog covering the design and you can read that at the following link: https://theplayersaid.com/2020/08/04/interview-with-volko-ruhnke-designer-of-almoravid-reconquista-and-riposte-in-spain-1085-1086-from-gmt-games/
If you are interested in Almoravid: Reconquista and Riposte in Spain, 1085-1086, you can pre-order a copy for $63.00 on the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-861-almoravid-reconquista-and-riposte-in-spain-1085-1086.aspx
As of the December 2020 Update from GMT, this one is currently in the Art Department and is anticipated to ship over the next 5-9 months.
Conquest and Consequence from GMT Games
A few years ago, I finally got my hands on a 2nd Printing copy of Triumph and Tragedy from GMT Games. I had missed the game when it was initially released but had heard such good things about it that I simply had to have it. The game deals with World War II and sees players controlling one of three sides including Capitalism (the West), Communism (the Soviet Union) and Fascism (the Axis). It has diplomatic, economic, technological and military components, and uses cards to represent various actions including research of technology, moving and recruiting of troops as well as negotiation and politicking to bring countries over to your side. The game only focused on the Western Front from 1936-1945 and left out the battle for the Pacific. Now there is a second volume in the game to cover the Pacific Theater called Conquest and Consequence that is currently on the P500. I was interested in how the game would change and deal with this different theater and as you know I have a soft spot for the island hopping battles of the Pacific.
Conquest and Consequence brings the Triumph and Tragedy system to the Pacific/East Asia theater during the same 1936-1945 time period. It is also designed for 3 players, and maintains the 3-sided dynamic that adds so much variety and intrigue to the system. I love that you are battling versus two other players as this creates lots of opportunities for debate and negotiation. The three powers include militarist Japan, the first Asian power to modernize, the Communist Soviet faction comprises the Siberian USSR and the Red Chinese revolutionaries and the capitalist USA faction consisting of the United States, the British Empire, and the struggling regime of Nationalist China. The game begins in 1936 with the Militarists in control of Japan and expansion on the agenda. It’s war industry is well developed and similar to T&T will give Japan the initiative in the game, but they are weak in population and particularly resources.
We posted an interview with designer Craig Besinque on the blog covering the design and you can read that at the following link: https://theplayersaid.com/2020/05/18/interview-with-craig-besinque-designer-of-conquest-consequence-from-gmt-games/
If you are interested in Conquest and Consequence, you can pre-order a copy for $75.00 on the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-840-conquest-and-consequence.aspx
As of the December 2020 Update from GMT, this one is currently in the Art Department and is anticipated to ship over the next 5-9 months.
Salerno ‘43 from GMT Games
We have played several of Mark Simonitch’s games and frankly when I see his name on a box I simply know it will be good. We loved Holland ’44 and Stalingrad ’42 and this new game uses the same ZOC Bond system that was made famous initially in Normandy ’44. In fact, Salerno ’43 uses the exact same map, unit, and time scales as Normandy ’44, providing an excellent way to compare these two invasions. Salerno ’43 also uses a modified Normandy ’44 game system but with a smaller size, the game will be easier to learn and play than its predecessor.
Salerno ‘43 is a regiment/brigade-level game on the Allied invasion of mainland Italy in September 1943. Two British and two American divisions land in the Bay of Salerno defended by the full strength 16th Panzer Division, which is soon reinforced by five other German mechanized divisions. For 8 days the survival of the beachhead is in doubt, and emergency measures are taken to reinforce the beachhead with the 82nd Airborne Division. With their counter-attack stopped and the British Eighth Army approaching from the south, the Germans withdraw their left flank to avoid being trapped. However, their right flank stubbornly holds back the British from pushing north to Naples.
The best and most interesting part about this one is that there are plans are to make this the first in a 3-part series that takes the U.S. 5th Army to Cassino and Rome. Here is a look at the linked maps from the game page:
If you are interested in Salerno ’43, you can pre-order a copy for $28.00 on the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-868-salerno-43.aspx
As of the December 2020 Update from GMT, this one is currently nearing Art Department readiness but has not been assigned an estimated shipping date as of yet. I am a bit concerned that with the resurgence of COVID-19 and the slowdown to the warehouse operations that this one may not be ready this year. There was this comment about the progress of the game: “I’m finally feeling happy with the testing and tuning and expect to wrap this up in February with a possible Spring or Summer printing.”, so maybe there is hope that we will see this this year.
COIN Series Volume XIII Red Dust Rebellion from GMT Games
I love the COIN Series. And I love that it is now being taken in a new direction with its first volume that is not based in history but has a Sci-Fi setting on the red planet. Red Dust Rebellion, designed by newcomer J. Carmichael, tells the story of a future in which Mars has been colonized and forms its own government called the Martian Provisional Government. The game delves into the conflict of a fictitious Martian revolt of the 2250’s and the rise of Martian nationalism. Up to 4 players will take part in this game and control one of the four factions.
The game appears to be fairly well along in the design process as there has been significant time and resources put into creating art for the cards as well as the cover. Here is a look at a few of these images that create a superb look and feel for the game and that is going to allow for the players to feel the theme of the struggle and get invested very easily:
Here is an introduction video from the designer on the game:
I plan to reach out to J. Carmichael to do an interview and would also like to discuss the possibility of hosting a series of Event Card Spoilers as we have done with several of the other volumes.
If you are interested in COIN Series Volume XIII Red Dust Rebellion, you can pre-order a copy on the P500 game page for $66.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-893-red-dust-rebellion.aspx
As of the December 2020 Update from GMT, this one is currently nearing Art Department readiness but has not been assigned an estimated shipping date as of yet.
Bayonets & Tomahawks: The French and Indian War from GMT Games
A good game on the French & Indian War is always welcome on my table and this one looks to be pretty good. Bayonets & Tomahawks is a two-player grand strategic game depicting the French & Indian War, which raged from 1755 to 1760 and in which France’s North American empire was conquered. The players will take command of either the French or British to fight all facets of the conflict including army maneuvering, diplomacy with indigenous nations, raids, battles, construction, naval operations, sieges, and more. With scenarios varying from a single year to the whole war, as well as rules for team play, Bayonets & Tomahawks is perfect for new and experienced wargamers alike.
There are cards in the game as well as they are used during the Action Rounds to take either the printed events or to use them to take any number of actions. The thing that I find very interesting is that the units have non-traditional shapes, like hex or triangle counters, and represent the different type of forces engaged. Having different shapes bypasses the decoding process inherent with classic wargames. You don’t need to read a counter or scrutinize its graphics to know what it is. For example, light units act fundamentally differently from other pieces (they move faster, can raid, can use paths). They were the first to get a distinct shape the designer settled on a triangle because it made him think of a vector or even an arrow. Brigades (standard pieces) remain square with forts having an octagon shape for them (same shape as a stop sign because they don’t move), long rectangles for fleets (inspired by Fighting Formations’ vehicle counters).
We posted an interview with the designer Marc Rodrigue long ago in 2017 on the blog covering the design and you can read that at the following link: https://theplayersaid.com/2016/09/28/interview-with-marc-rodrigue-designer-of-bayonets-tomahawks-by-gmt-games/
If you are interested in Bayonets & Tomahawks: The French and Indian War, you can pre-order a copy on the P500 game page for $39.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-598-bayonets-tomahawks.aspx
As of the December 2020 Update from GMT, this one is currently at the printer but doesn’t have a shipping date assigned yet. This one will be in our hands over the next few months is my guess.
Shields & Swords Ancients: The Grass Crown from Hollandspiele
Last year, we played the first volume in the Shields & Swords Ancients Series from Hollandspiele called With It or On It. That volume focused on the Greco-Persian and Peloponnesian Wars while this new upcoming volume will focus on the Romans. Better than me go into it, here is a link to an excellent summary and introduction to the game written by Tom Russell: https://hollandspiele.com/blogs/hollandazed-thoughts-ideas-and-miscellany/first-look-at-the-grass-crown
The series is not overly crunchy, and doesn’t overdo it with different armor and weapon types, but simplifies these elements into a concept called Combat Class. The game takes the vantage point of the player as an overall commander where you control several different wings and have to play a series of Command Chits to activate them. The game is light, fast playing and the rules overhead is low but the game has some really interesting decisions regarding how to go about defeating your opponent.
I don’t have a lot of additional information on the game, as it doesn’t have a game page on the Hollandspiele website or even a Board Game Geek page, but I am hoping that it will be finished and out this year as we really enjoyed With It or On It.
Simply to give you an idea about our thoughts on the Shields & Swords Ancients system, here is a link to our video review of With It or On It for you to get an idea of what I am talking about:
Dawn of Battle from Worthington Publishing
Dawn of Battle is one of those ambitious games that covers a lot of time, as well as includes many different eras and peoples. It is a tactical level Ancients game that covers historical battles from 1500 BC to 1500 AD or a range of 3,000 years of combat. Players take the roles of the great commanders of history, including Xerxes, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Saladin, and William Wallace. The game was successful on Kickstarter in 2020 and is now getting ready to ship.
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. 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.
We posted an interview with the designer Mike Nagel on the blog covering the design and 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 pre-order a copy for $69.00 from the Worthington Publishing website at the following link: https://www.worthingtonpublishing.com/collection/dawn-of-battle-pre-order-game-will-ship-in-november-2020
I know that the game is shipping soon so it should be available this month.
Hidden Strike: The American Revolution from Worthington Publishing
I really enjoyed Maurice Suckling’s take on the Battle of Saratoga in his game in 2019 called Freeman’s Farm 1777 from Worthington Publishing. Now he is back and this time the game is a bit different, an abstract wargame that plays in five different modes. These modes include Cooperative, Traitor, Solitaire, Versus and Mastermind.
From the words of one of the designers we read the following:
As the rules are laid out, the basic version of the game is the Co-op mode in which all players work together to defeat the British forces. The four additional modes are expansions of this mode and each introduces different Founding Fathers and British abilities.
The Traitor mode adds a possible traitor, who will secretly work against the other colonists. Revealing the traitor before they manage to do too much damage is of the essence. In this game if you’re dealt the Benedict Arnold card that doesn’t automatically mean you’re the traitor. It did early on in development, but that changed when we saw other opportunities. Benedict Arnold – as you might expect – has abilities that help him as a combat commander – turning Militia units into Regulars. But each time you use this ability he must draw another card from a Loyalty deck – and each time he does this the chance of him becoming a traitor is increasing (unless someone – unbeknownst to everyone else, is already a traitor).
The Solitaire mode lets players take on the British forces on their own. No easy task but a fun challenge.
Versus and Mastermind allow one player to switch sides and control the British forces. Versus is a one-on-one battle while Mastermind has several American players pitch their forces against one mighty British player.
We posted an interview with the designers Maurice Suckling and Dorian Richard on the blog covering the design and you can read that at the following link: https://theplayersaid.com/2020/09/21/interview-with-maurice-suckling-and-dorian-richard-designers-of-hidden-strike-american-revolution-from-worthington-publishing-coming-to-kickstarter-august-29th/
If you are interested in Hidden Strike: American Revolution you can pre-order a copy of the game for $70.00 from the Worthington Publishing website at the following link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1456271622/311261307/?ref=1p5n7w&token=7e8c3481
The game is currently scheduled to ship in March 2021 according to the Worthington Publishing website.
Zero Leader from Dan Verssen Games
Since Corsair Leader dropped a few years ago there have been rumors of a follow-up game using the same system but focused on the Japanese side of the conflict in the Pacific. That game is Zero Leader which had a successful Kickstarter campaign that concluded in late August 2020.
This game is in an established system but that doesn’t mean that nothing new or innovative has been added. The Maneuver and Robustness stats for the airplane and the Aggression stat for the pilots is a new additoin which has never done in a Leader Series game before. Maneuver and Robustness are a couple of modifiers used to help give a different feel to each aircraft.
There are some very maneuverable planes, like the Ki-43 Oscar and the A6M2 Zero and others that are not so good. You add this modifier when you are rolling for Enemy Maneuver success and Friendly Maneuver Success.
Robustness is a modifier that rates how well your aircraft absorbs damage. You apply that modifier when being attacked by Bandits or Sites Aggression is the opportunity and inclination to take a risk. There are 4 levels of AG…. (-) = No Aggression. Very passive pilot. (0) Some aggression, but not much. This pilot can receive one Stress to allow him to roll 2D10. Use this when maneuvering and attacking! (Think of it as the offensive side of evasion). (1) A bit aggressive! Here, the pilot receives one Stress and gets to shake 2D10, AND they get to add 1 to each shake! This guy has been known to prang a plane or two by being a little rough on it. (2) A VERY Aggressive pilot. Here he would receive one Stress and roll 2D10, adding +2 to each one!
We posted an interview with the designer Chuck Seegert on the blog covering the design and you can read that at the following link: https://theplayersaid.com/2020/08/10/interview-with-chuck-seegert-designer-of-zero-leader-from-dan-verssen-games-on-kickstarter-soon/
If you are interested in Zero Leader but missed the campaign you can order a copy on the Backer Kit website at the following link: https://dvg-zero-leader.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders/261195
The game is on schedule to meet its promised February 2021 release date so let’s keep our fingers crossed that nothing messes with that.
Soldiers in Postmen’s Uniforms from Dan Verssen Games
I have played both entries in the Valiant Defense Series to date, including Pavlov’s House and Castle Itter, and have really enjoyed both. Now comes the third volume in the series called Soldiers in Postmen’s Uniforms which deals with the assault on Polish Postal Office #1 in the Free City of Danzig, Poland on the first day of World War II. This game tells the story of the assault as German forces moved in to seize Polish installations. Two of the installations were on alert and under orders to hold out: the Military Transit Depot on the peninsula of Westerplatte and the Polish Postal Office No. 1. The personnel of the post office repulsed repeated assaults, and were forced to surrender only after a day-long siege, when the post office was doused with gasoline and set alight. Though German propaganda cast these acts of defiance as futile and a failure, they were viewed by the Polish people as symbolic of their stand against a materially superior aggressor.
We posted an interview with the designer David Thompson on the blog covering the design and you can read that at the following link: https://theplayersaid.com/2020/11/09/interview-with-david-thompson-designer-of-soldiers-in-postmens-uniforms-from-dan-verssen-games-coming-to-kickstarter-november-17th/
Also here is a look at an AAR of sorts from David as he played through the game on Tabletop Simulator that we posted on the blog: https://theplayersaid.com/2020/10/13/playthrough-aar-for-soldiers-in-postmens-uniforms-from-dan-verssen-games-coming-to-kickstarter-soon/
If you are interested in Soldiers in Postmen’s Uniforms but missed the campaign you can order a copy on the Backer Kit website at the following link: https://soldiers-in-postmens-uniforms.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders
My guess is that this one will be in our hands mid-year. Let’s hope.
The Long Road from Flying Pig Games
Off of a successful Kickstarter campaign, The Long Road is a very interesting looking wargame that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The game has all of the major components of a Cold War Gone Hot scenario with ATGM’s, Infantry Fighting Vehicles, heavy tanks, airstrikes and the like but also includes the paranormal. What? Mark Holt Walker is a great wargame designer but is also 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 important sub-title in World War III…with a Twist and I am very interested in this twist! I reached out to Mark about answering some questions for me on the design and he was more than interested.
We posted an interview with the designer on the blog during the Kickstarter campaign covering the design 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 pre-order a copy from the Flying Pig Games website for $85.00 from the following link: https://flyingpiggames.com/products/the-long-road
2040: An American Insurgency from Compass Games
You know that we love the COIN Series from GMT Games and any type of irregular warfare and this one seems to have elements of both contained in it. I had caught wind of this one about a year or so ago and saw a few pictures on social media of a game on the subject but it was called American Abyss, so maybe this is a totally unrelated game on the same topic. Who knows…but it does look interesting.
From the game page, we read the following:
2040: An American Insurgency simulates a US civil war in the 21st century. In this 2-player, 3-hour game, the blue team is the Federals, agents of the government in Washington. The red team is the Rebels, militia groups trying to seize control of states, highways, and cities. The conflict spreads across the entire continental US, from Miami to Seattle and from Los Angeles to New York.
Two scenarios are presented. One depicts a rebellion that emerges from rural areas in the Midwest and South. The other puts the rebellion in urban areas along the coasts. As such, the game is open to multiple interpretations of future politics in the US. The game was designed not to make political statements of one kind or another, but rather to accurately model counter-insurgency operations in the continental US, regardless of who the rebels happen to be.
Sounds interesting but how similar is it to other counter insurgency themed games?
Many of the game mechanics are familiar from the existing body of counter-insurgency sims. The resources and operations available to the two players are different; the insurgency is depicted as an asymmetric conflict. Gameplay is card-driven, however with events depicting situations that may arise in the US context. For example, if a civil war to occur, the Supreme Court is likely to make rulings that affect the conflict. Therefore, there are SCOTUS cards involving the Second Amendment and the government’s ability to make arrests. Other uniquely American features include truck stops as information networks, police brutality events, and the sports-entertainment complex.
While some of the game’s mechanics are familiar, 2040 brings many new mechanics to the table. For example, there is a fully fleshed-out social media system that affects the power of the rebellion. The Rebel player does his recruiting and fundraising through the internet, so that Federal online control measures can dramatically reduce the Rebel’s money and troop levels. This net-based conflict adds a third dimension to the insurgency, one that has not been extensively modeled in previous commercially-available simulations.
Another noteworthy feature, unique to the US, is that the suburbs and central cities of an urban area can be at diametrically opposite poles of the revolution. This creates a difficult strategic problem, in that operations that pass between two urban cores must necessarily go through the suburbs of both cities along the way. If those suburbs are enemy-controlled, the transit may be blocked. Forces inside cities can effectively be trapped by hostile suburban forces. Thus, the suburban / urban political conflict in the US has important implications for operational effectiveness.
I am very much interested and will be reaching out to the designer to get the low down on the design.
If you are interested in 2040: An American Insurgency, you can pre-order a copy for $52.00 from the Compass Games website at the following link: https://www.compassgames.com/preorders/2040-an-american-insurgency.html
I cannot seem to find any information on the status of the design or anticipated completion and publication. This may be a title on this list that doesn’t make the cut in 2021 but will appear later.
War for America: The American Revolution, 1775-1782 from Compass Games
Frankly Compass had me at American Revolution. Another excellent looking offering from Gilbert Collins is War for America. We love playing games that deal with the multi-faceted struggle that was the American Revolutionary War and this one seems to deal with everyone and throws combat in as a bonus.
From the game page, we read the following:
War for America is a strategic game game based on the events during the American Revolution. It is a 2 player game that shows how the conflict, which began as a ‘civil war’ turned into a World conflict with a Great Britain that was greatly isolated. It features a new ‘Action Pulse’ and ‘Initiative System’ that keeps every turn of variable length and new.
This one attempts to approach them conflict from a bit of a different perspective as you will read.
The game is played at the Grand Strategic level and each strength point equals 1,000 men or less. Players will assemble forces to seize control of colonies and regions. When French recognition is achieved, during 1778, an entire new dimension is added to the conflict. France, Spain and the Netherlands will bring fleets into the waters of North America and the Caribbean, challenging Britain’s mastery of the seas.
The game utilizes the popular ‘point to point’ movement system but more carefully modelling the geography of North America. This is done by enhancing the movement of armies along the important water shed basins. Armies are not destroyed in single combat as many past games have shown, but will demonstrate realistic casualty figures with prevalent retreat and disruption results.
War for America attempts to show the conflict from the British perspective and how a ‘rebellion’ turned into a World War. Great Britain is alone, without allies, but the Colonies don’t have it easy either. Despite their inexperience and individual identities, they must come together to create and maintain a Continental army. This is a ‘large game’ but also contains a shorter scenario starting in 1778, taking about half the time to play.
We posted an interview with Gilbert on our blog covering the game in July 2020 and you can read that interview at the following link: https://theplayersaid.com/2020/07/28/interview-with-gilbert-collins-designer-of-war-for-america-from-compass-games/
If you are interested in War for America, you can pre-order a copy for $60.00 from the Compass Game website at the following link: https://www.compassgames.com/preorders/war-for-america-the-american-revolution-1775-1782.html
Also cannot find any details on the progress of the design for this one so adding it to the list is a bit of a chance.
GTS Race for Bastogne: Seven Roads to Hell 16-25 December 1944 from Multi-Man Publishing
This is probably the lone monster on this list but it is a glorious monster that I would love to meet in a dark alley! GTS Race for Bastogne is a Grand Tactical Series game that covers just one sliver in the history of the Battle of the Bulge.
From the game page, we read the following:
The XLVII Panzer Corps attacked with the 2. Panzer Division and 26. Volksgrenadier Division, reinforced by the Panzer Lehr Division. Defending was part of the 110th Infantry Regiment of the 28th Infantry Division. It should have been a blitzkrieg through the thin defenses but stubborn resistance, the terrain, and the well-managed commitment of American reinforcements caused the German attack to fail to take Bastogne just as the 101st Airborne Division arrived. Even as German forces by-passed Bastogne to extend the “Bulge,” the 101st was hard pressed to defend the critical crossroads town.
Race For Bastogne simulates the German XLVII Corps attack across the Our River through the 110th Infantry Regiment, the delaying actions by Combat Command Reserve, 9th Armored Division, and Combat Command B, 10th Armored Division, followed by the defense of Bastogne by the 101st Airborne Division. The game covers the night of 15 December to the night of 25 December 1944. The German initially commands three “divisions” and the American two “divisions” on two maps laid end to end.
The game may only tell the story of a small part of the battle but definitely packs a punch in the components as the game has two single-sided 22″ x 34″ maps, one double-sided 8-1/2″ x 11″ map and a full eight counter sheets with 5/8″ counters.
If you are interested in GTS Race for Bastogne: Seven Roads to Hell 16-25 December 1944 you can pre-order a copy for $120.00 from the Multi-Man Publishing website at the following link: https://mmpgamers.com/preorders-c-1/race-for-bastogne-p-102
It was stated that the game would be released in 2021 on the Production Outlook post on their Facebook page. It had no specific date listed though.
Successors from PHALANX
This is in essence the fourth edition of this classic game that deals with the struggle of Alexander’s Macedonian generals as they war among themselves over who will be the regent or successor to Alexander’s empire after his death. By 305 BC, they had given up on succession and began to carve out their own kingdoms. Successors is a 2-4 player game based on the wars of the Diadochi.
From the game page, we read the following:
The fourth edition of this card-driven, point-to-point movement strategy is having a plethora of upgrades which make it stand out among similarly themed games. It also pay homage to its past editions released by Decision Games, Avalon Hill and GMT Games, respectively. A new, improved layout of the board, charts and cards, a rewritten and updated rulebook to fix the inadequacies of previous editions, an introduction to historical scenarios which streamline the gameplay and shorten game sessions, etc. The icing on the cake is its graphic design – a state-of-the-art map board based on an original art by Mark Simonitch, over 60 outstanding illustrations inspired by historical sources and 12 large 40 mm plastic leader miniatures. All of these make the game pleasurable to watch and even more pleasurable to play.
There was a successful Kickstarter for the game that funded in August/September 2020. As was done with the remake of Hannibal & Hamilcar, miniatures will be included with plastic stands. There also is some work being put in on some optional cards as well. But the basic mechanics of the game appear to be unchanged.
To say the least, I am excited about this one as I have more recently taken a great interest in the Ancients and this one simply looks amazing. We are suckers for good miniatures here at The Players’ Aid so this pretty much has grabbed our attention.
If you are interested in Successors you can still pre-order a copy for a bit over $100 on the Backerkit at the following link: https://phalanx.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders/272883
There also is a large play mat (1260 x 840 mm, 2 mm thick) made of something called eco-leather (maybe I am just behind the times but this was a new one on me!) that you can order as well and it looks really choice.
It appears that this game will be shipping in April/May timeframe so you better get your order in soon.
Fire in the Sky: The Great Pacific War 1941-1945 from PHALANX
PHALANX has been killing it over the past two years or so as they have really branched out into the wargaming realm with games like Hannibal & Hamilcar (2018), UBOOT (2018) and Freedom! (2019 Kickstarter). Now, they are dipping their toe in the mighty Pacific Theater of World War II and remaking one of the definitive games on the subject.
From the pre-order page, we get the following summary of the game:
Fire in the Sky: The Great Pacific War 1941-1945 is a two-player game of strategical rivalry and tactical responsiveness set during the Pacific War, which stretched from the Pearl Habor attack on December 7, 1941 and the Hiroshima and Nagasaki obliteration in the atomic hellfire in August 1945. During 16 phase-based turns, you will attempt to conduct successful attacks on your opponent’s units, break loose from the sea siege or simply outsmart your enemy so craftily that his willingness to carry on would be crushed. You cannot forget about logistics – spend your transportation points wisely and supply your units with oil or they will end up as unarmed sitting ducks, easy prey for enemy dive bombers or destroyers.
We love a good game on the PTO and this one looks intriguing. And as you know the Pacific Ocean is massive and causes lots of problems logistically for the players.
You shall not forget about the logistics – spend your transportation points wisely and supply your units with oil or they end up as unarmed stationary ducks, an easy prey for enemy diving bombers or destroyers. Fire in the Sky provides you with a long, well-balanced gameplay. Choosing Japanese side of the conflict, gather as many points as possible (20 of them and your victory is immediate) in the first couple of turns and prevent your Allied opponents from retaking them late in the game. Positive victory points at the end of the game for the Land of the Rising Sun means it wins. Every other result makes Allied forces a winner.
If you are interested in Fire in the Sky: The Great Pacific War 1941-1945, you can pre-order a copy on the Backerkit for $40.00 at the following link: https://phalanx.backerkit.com/hosted_preorders/217594
It appears that this one should be released in February so might be one of the first games on this list to be fulfilled.
Undaunted: Reinforcements from Osprey Games
The Undaunted Series is a card based game that uses deck building and a modular board to recreate small tactical combat situations during World War II. The first volume was Undaunted: Normandy which saw the American 30th Infantry Division fight the Germans across Normandy just after the D-Day Landings. The second follow up volume was Undaunted: North Africa which pits the British Long Range Desert Group against the Italians in the deserts of North Africa and introduces vehicles and shrinks the scale of the game a bit. The series is known for its fast playing scenario based games that incorporate unique mechanics into a wargame and create an interesting and playable experience.
The new upcoming expansion will provide additional content for both of the fronts, Europe and North Africa, and will introduce new rules, new scenarios and also new units. But the thing that I am most excited about is the addition of a tested and developed solitaire system for the game.
From the Board Game Geek game page, we read the following about the expansion:
Undaunted: Reinforcements is a modular expansion that introduces a range of new rules, scenarios, and units. Unleash the might of the German and American tanks and see how your new squad options fare against them in Undaunted: Normandy, or make use of mines, assault aircraft, and other new units as you attempt to outfox your opponent in Undaunted: North Africa. Whether you have one Undaunted game or the other, with Reinforcements you can play for the first time in a four-player mode, or test your mettle in a solo mode by Dávid Turczi.
The expansion will require that you own a copy of Undaunted: Normandy or Undaunted: North Africa to play though so you better get busy finding one, not just for the expansion either, these games are very good.
Here is a link to our video review for Undaunted: Normandy to give you a feel for how the system plays:
And a link to our video review of Undaunted: North Africa:
Here is a link to the press announcement on the expansion for more details: https://ospreypublishing.com/blog/osprey_games_undaunted_reinforcements/
The game is scheduled to be released in August 2021.
I sincerely hope that you enjoyed reading this list (I know I had a good time writing it!) and I hope that you have a good financing plan to purchase all the gaming goodness coming soon. Let me know what games you are looking forward to in 2021. With so many good games upcoming it is really hard to cover them all!
A few other games that I’m looking forward to in 2021 are Assault Red Horizon 41 from Assault! Games (fresh off a successful Kickstarter), Prelude to Revolution from Compass Games, Tarawa 1943 from Worthington Publishing (ending a successful Kickstarter), Judean Hammer from Catastrophe Games (coming to Kickstarter end of February) and Fall of Saigon: A Fire in the Lake Expansion from GMT Games to name just a few.