February has simply flown by for me! Which is a good thing because it means that winter is almost over and we can start to emerge from our hibernation. Well, it appears that the promise of better weather is also bringing with it new games as I was able to find a total of 20 new games to share this month with two of those being on Kickstarter.

If you missed the February Wargame Watch, you can read that here at the following link: https://theplayersaid.com/2021/02/01/wargame-watch-whats-new-upcoming-february-2021/


1. Judean Hammer from Catastrophe Games Currently on Kickstarter

Several months ago, we became acquainted with a new publisher called Catastrophe Games who had just released their first game (The Landing: Gallipoli 1915 designed by Joe Schmidt). This is a small company that is focused on unique historical titles and they had an upcoming game called Judean Hammer which focused on the Maccabean Revolt. The game looked really interesting and we asked if we could do a preview video to get their name out there.

Judean Hammer is a fast-playing wargame where each player will control a different asymmetric faction between the rebel player (The Maccabeans) and the empire player (The Seleucid Greeks) and will try to fight over control of the area around Jerusalem. The Greeks will start in supreme command of the region with control of Jerusalem and access to their supply centers while the Maccabeans will have to build their forces and use their special attacks like ambushes to slowly chip away at the Greek supply until they can make a decisive blow. The game uses cards to activate and recruit units with Operations Points but also relies on very powerful Events that will remove those cards from the deck.

From the Kickstarter page we read the following about how the game uses the deck of cards to drive the action:

All actions are influenced by a single, shared deck of special ability cards, with each card offering a combat advantage and a special event for one faction. However, this is a “deck-burning game”. Use a card for its special event, and you remove the card and permanently lower your combat ability. This means each player has some tough choices ahead: Burn up your special events early to take a commanding lead, or patiently wait for your opponent to get weaker and then strike with a decided combat advantage.

The game is very interesting and also uses the cards as combat modifiers by pulling the top card blindly from the deck and looking for the modifier in the lower left hand corner of the card. This is the key to the uniqueness of the game as cards are removed you will actually start to lessen your chances of winning battles because your modifiers have been removed. The better Events usually are paired with a higher +2 or +3 modifier and really creates some angst about whether to play those Events.

We also posted a fairly detailed designer interview on our blog with Robin David that will give you some good insight into the design and how the game works. You can read that interview at the following link: https://theplayersaid.com/2021/02/22/interview-with-robin-david-designer-of-judean-hammer-from-catastrophe-games-coming-to-kickstarter-february-23rd/

Here also is the preview video that I was able to put together that covers not only my thoughts on the game play, but also a look at the components, discussion of mechanics and even some strategy:

If you are interested in Judean Hammer you can order a copy from the Kickstarter page at the following link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/judeanhammer/judean-hammer

As of March 1st, the project is funded and has raised $4,988 toward the $600 goal from 91 backers. The campaign will end on Thursday, March 11th at 8:58pm EST.

2. Road to Cheren 1941 East African Campaign 2nd Edition from Legion Wargames

Recently, Legion Wargames has been remastering and rereleasing some of their older titles with new 2nd Editions. As we know in wargaming, a 2nd Edition is a pretty rare thing and allows for opportunities for the inclusion of known errata as well as the chance to spruce up older graphics. It also allows the designers the chance to look at mechanics and rework some elements that either didn’t work the way they had expected or to add in new things to create additional challenge or opportunity.

One of the games that is up for this treatment is Road to Cheren 1941 East African Campaign designed by one of the best in Kim Kanger. We have played his Nemesis, Burma, 1944 game from Legion Wargames and absolutely loved it. We also have recently acquired a new edition of his famous Dien Bien Phu: The Final Gamble but have yet to get it to the table.

The reason that I have added this one to the list is because I love new ways of dealing with combat and this one uses combat chits and also provides opportunities for support from adjacent units. From the game page, we read the following:

Road to Cheren is a game about the East African Campaign in 1941. It covers the Allied invasion into Italian Eritrea in the north where the most intense fighting took place, especially around the town of Cheren. The Allies invaded Eritrea with two Indian Divisions and some Free French units. The defending Italians consisted mostly of colonial Brigades, recruited among Ethiopians and Eritreans. They also had two metropolitan Divisions in reserve among which several elite battalions from the ”Grenadiers of Savoy” Division were sent north to Eritrea. These battalions (Alpini and Bersaglieri), together with loyal Eritrean colonial troops held both Allied Divisions at bay for eight weeks at Cheren before the survivors were finally forced to retreat towards the Eritrean capital Asmara. The battle of Cheren is seen as an hour of glory in the Italian army.

The game introduces a dynamic battle system where players through the use of battle chits give orders. A major battle zone not only includes the defending hex/units, and the attacking units. It also includes any defending units adjacent to the defending hex, plus any attacking units that are adjacent to them as well. You give orders to counterattack, move units, bring forward extra ammo etc., and so does your opponent. All battle chits have a priority value that decides in what order they are executed. After executing four orders each, another set of orders are chosen and played. You will have to chose wisely depending on what forces you have at hand, in what order you wish things to happen, and depending on what you suspect your opponent will choose.

If you are interested in Road to Cheren 1941 East African Campaign 2nd Edition you can pre-order a copy for $45.00 from the Legion Wargames website at the following link: https://www.legionwargames.com/legion_CHE.html#

3. Skyhawk: Rolling Thunder, 1966 from Legion Wargames

We love our narrative driven solitaire wargames at The Players’ Aid and particularly enjoy anything designed by the dynamic duo of Steven Dixon and Bob Best. I saw the cover for this one released about 2 weeks ago and was immediately taken in as I could see myself flying that A-4E Skyhawk providing close air support in the form of napalm to my beleaguered comrades on the jungle floor of Vietnam.

From the game page, we read the following:

Skyhawk: Rolling Thunder, 1966 is a game which puts the player in the cockpit of an A-4E Skyhawk of VA-72 flying missions during the early days of Operation Rolling Thunder. Your base of operations is the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt on duty at Yankee Station. You play as a Navy pilot flying strike missions against targets in North Vietnam. Your goal will be to survive a mission or a campaign.
The Skyhawk was a nimble aircraft and was capable of carrying slightly over four tons of
ordnance. Depending on your target, the player has the opportunity to load out his aircraft to meet the mission requirements. The missions will not be easy. President Johnson and his civilian advisors may even change your target or ordnance loading depending upon the political situation in the USA.

Facing you will be a determined North Vietnamese force. It is possible you will face small arms fire, AAA, SAM launches, and a rare encounter with a MiG.  You will have help. Support Forces allow the player to attack NV defense forces before you attack your target. Their success could make your job easier.

One of the great things about these solitaire airwar games is that they are always very flexible. You can literally just load up your plane and play a single mission or you can get into character and go for the long haul with a campaign.

The player may fly a single mission or play one of the three campaigns included in the game. These campaigns are:
First Tour of Duty: Yankee Station: 10 August 1966 – 10 September 1966
Second Tour of Duty: Yankee Station 20 October 1966 – 27 December 1966
The third campaign combines the two campaigns above with additional rules.

The game is not meant to be a detailed simulation of the Rolling Thunder campaign. It is a simple yet engaging, quick game for the player. Concepts for the game come from B-29 Superfortress, Target for Today, Target for Tonight, and Kenney’s Boys as well as Able Dog, a free print and play game by Patrick Millin. Some of the concepts used in Skyhawk will be expanded upon in the upcoming Operation Linebacker II game by Steve Dixon and Bob Best.

The best part about that last paragraph is that we know they are working on a follow-up in Operation Linebacker. Good stuff from two of the best in the business at narrative driven solitaire games!

If you are interested in Skyhawk: Rolling Thunder, 1966 you can pre-order a copy for $53.00 from the Legion Wargames website at the following link: https://www.legionwargames.com/legion_SKY.html

4. BCS Panzers Last Stand: Battle for Budapest, 1945 from Multi-Man Publishing

The Battalion Combat Series is one of MMP’s best performing systems and it seems that they have churned out some high quality games in it over the past few years including Last Blitzkrieg, Baptism by Fire and Brazen Chariots. Their newest offering is nearing the end of its preorder status and you need to get your order in soon if you wish to save. This game deals with the relief operations of the Axis for the Battle of Budapest form January through March 1945 and includes such operations as Operation Konrad I, II and III, Operation Southwind and Operation Spring Awakening.

From the game page, we read the following:

Panzers Last Stand is a Battalion Combat Series game depicting the Axis relief operations of Budapest from January to March 1945 in what became Germany’s last major offensives in the war. The campaign game covers the Konrad Operations (I, II, and III) in January 1945. There are scenarios for each of the Konrad Operations as well as Operation Southwind in February and Operation Spring Awakening in March 1945.

In the final months of the war, Germany was still full of fight and believed Budapest to be the key to turning the tide. With Budapest fully surrounded by Soviet and former-Axis Romanian forces, the situation in the city was desperate. The Germans devised a plan to relieve Budapest by bringing in the SS-Totenkopf and SS-Wiking Panzer Divisions from Poland to launch a surprise attack before the Soviets closed the ring on the trapped forces in the city. Launched in the wee hours on New Year’s Day, 1945, the fate of the Axis hung in the balance. The Soviets, having campaigned continuously from the summer of 1944, fought back viciously and showed their mettle against the elite SS Panzer Divisions.

A great proportion of the armored forces for both sides funneled into the Budapest area. All but one of the seven SS Panzer Divisions and half of the Heer Panzer Divisions on the Eastern Front (a full third of all Panzer Divisions total) ultimately fought here. The Soviets committed three Tank, five Mechanized, and one Cavalry Corps to blunt the Axis drive. The battlefield became a graveyard of tanks.

The game showcases late-war equipment like the Tiger II, Brummbär, IS-2, and ISU-152 while also including unique units like Cavalry, Assault Pioneers, Soviet Naval Infantry, Hungarian SS, and ad hoc forces mobilized to defend Budapest. Rules covering Danube River crossing, Urban combat, redeployment deception (Maskirovka), and Festung rules highlight this unique and often misunderstood campaign.

If you are interested in Panzers Last Stand: Battle for Budapest you can pre-order a copy for $116.20 from the Multi-Man Publishing website at the following link: https://mmpgamers.com/preorders-c-1/panzers-last-stand-p-186

5. Saladin from Shakos Coming to Kickstarter Mid-March

I was contacted by a newish small French publisher recently called Shakos about taking a look at their upcoming title Saladin. Saladin is the first game in a new series called “En Ordre de Bataille” (In Order of Battle) which will present a famous medieval leader and two battles in which he has fought and shown his abilities. The game is anticipated to come to Kickstarter sometime in Mid-March (or later) and we are working on playing and providing them with a preview video to use as a part of the campaign. I will also be reaching out to the designer Denis Sauvage to get the lowdown on the design and system and should have that up on the blog before the Kickstarter commences.

From the Board Game Geek page on the game we read the following:

Saladin is a game intended to recreate the famous battles of Hattin and Arsuf where Saladin was opposed by the crusaders troops of Guy de Lusignan and then to those of Richard the Lionheart. With Saladin taking charge of one of the armies that fought each other. Order your horsemen to harass the crusaders ranks or launch a devastating charge with your heavily armored knights. Saladin is an epic game for history and strategy fans.

Saladin is a historical wargame for 2 players. Having chosen one of the two battle scenarios and set up the game, each player, in turn, will order one of their Banners. He will make them fight in order to disorganize those of their opponent. For this it will be necessary to spend Order tokens, the number of which will decrease at the beginning of each turn. The player who manages to preserve the cohesion of his troops by retaining the precious Order tokens will be declared the winner.

To me, the game appears similar to the W1815 Series from U&P Games or something like Table Battles from Hollandspiele as the player places little formation sticks on the board and then orders those with various cards and tokens. The cards appear to represent the various historical leaders involved in the game and have abilities listed at the bottom of the cards that can be used by spending some of your scarce Order tokens. I think that the art is fantastic and the presentation of the game is amazing.

I will be unboxing the prototype that I just received soon and putting that up on our YouTube Channel and we will get to work with our playthrough and video so you can see how it all works. This is a lite game and should be fun and challenging. The games appear to take about 45 minutes.

Here is a link to the Kickstarter page and you will take note that this is a two game Kickstarter featuring this game (Saladin) as well as another historical game called Border States focused on the struggle for influence of the 5 border states of Missouri, Kentucky, Virginia, Maryland and Delaware during the American Civil War: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/shakos/duel-pack-saladin-and-border-states

6. Hannibal’s Revenge from GMT Games

At first I was very hesitant about this title. Why you might ask? Well, I was a bit snake bitten by the first game in this series Hitler’s Reich. The rulebook was an unmitigated disaster, which has now been corrected and appears to be fine, but it really put a bad taste in my mouth. In fact, we played the game 3 times together and then I played it once solo. The first time we couldn’t even finish because the game ended prematurely due to an error in the rules before it really even got going. That error was later corrected, and we actually found reference to the correct rule in the playbook, and were able to play twice more. I can see that there are good things in the system but it just didn’t seem to be my cup of tea. With that in mind, I am approaching this one hesitantly. I like the designer. I think that the system has merit. They have developed a pretty interesting solo system that makes the game playable (thanks Vez Arponen). I really like the theme and setting and find Ancients are becoming one of my favorite subjects and time periods to game. So I am willing to get behind this one and see how it turns out.

From the game page, we read the following:

Hannibal’s Revenge is the second in the Card Conquest game series in which players recreate epic military contests of history in short, comparatively simple, easy-to-learn but hard-to-master games. As with the first game in the series, Hitler’s ReichHannibal’s Revenge sets up in minutes and plays to a conclusion in one sitting of two hours (or less). These are not simulations but games, albeit ones packed with enough historical flavor and decision-making to give players the feeling that “you are there” at the highest levels of command.

I absolutely agree with that description. You will find that this system is suited for a game but not for a simulation as there can be some big swings due to card play. More on the system:

Hannibal’s Revenge mixes deck building mechanisms with area control on a map of the Western Mediterranean. There are several ways players can win: by capturing the enemy capital (without losing their own), reducing your opponent’s hand size to zero, or (as Carthage) holding out until the game ends. To accomplish all this, players can capture cities and/or play event cards that help them strengthen their hand—or weaken that of their opponent.

A player’s hand is composed of conflict cards ranging in strength from 1 to 13. Some of these cards have special powers, such as the ability to re-roll one or more dice. In conflict, the strength of these cards is complimented with the roll of the dice (standard 3, but up to 5 with events and leaders). Rome’s deck is divided into two “suits”: one for the Republic of Rome itself (e.g. “The Legions”) and another for its Latin Allies. Cathage’s conflict cards are similarly divided: one suit representing the core Carthaginian army and another for their Gallic, Spanish, and other Allies/Mercenaries.

Conflict cards can also be used to move leaders (e.g. Hannibal or his brother Hasdruble and a pool of Roman leaders of varying quality whom a Senate game mechanism assigns to command Rome’s field armies). These leaders represent their armies which move upon the game map—a map divided into sea and land areas (yes, Hannibal can again perform his legendary march across the Alps!) with some land areas identified as Roman, Carthaginian, or Neutral, some of which contain Fortified Walled Cities. Such Cities may be besieged…a sometime perilous and time-consuming enterprise.

Players may also use one or more Event cards to influence the outcome of the conflict. Conflict arises when a player tries to capture a territory or when he tries to acquire a new Event card from one of three available decks: Roman, Carthaginian, or mixed (available for both parties).

I am very intrigued by this one and will reach out to the designer Mark McLaughlin for an interview to get more of a look into the system and how it has changed or improved. GMT is seriously committed to providing excellent solo experiences in their games. With that in mind, Hannibal’s Revenge includes a built-in solitaire bot system to enhance solo play. For those who want to play with more than two, it also includes optional rules for 3-4 players.

If you are interested in Hannibal’s Revenge, you can pre-order a copy on the P500 game page for $55.00 at the following link:  https://www.gmtgames.com/p-912-hannibals-revenge.aspx

7. Fields of Fire: The Bulge Campaign from GMT Games

This one has exploded Alexander’s brain. He simply loves the Fields of Fire System and has greatly enjoyed playing both of the entries thus far. In fact, he likes it so much that Vol 1 appears as #6 on his list of Top 10 Wargames. I have not yet played and it all seems very deep to me, as I like my solo games to be digestible and not require a 50 page technical manual to play. But that is just me! This new volume covers the 9th Infantry Regiment during the Battle of the Bulge in December and January 1944/1945 during World War II.

From the game page, we read the following:

The 9th Infantry Regiment “Manchus,” 2nd Infantry Division faced three weeks of intense combat from December 13th, 1944 to January 8th, 1945 as part of the Battle of the Bulge. This campaign covers those critical days. The Campaign consists of seven new missions featuring a new Terrain Deck for the forests, fields, and villages of the Ardennes. The counter sheet includes a U.S. heavy machine gun platoon, Bangalore torpedoes, anti-tank mines, wire entanglements, German tanks, assault guns, Panzergrenadiers, and Volksgrenadiers.

We left the “Manchus” of World War Two in Fields of Fire: Volume I at the close of the Normandy Campaign. The 2nd Infantry Division was rapidly moved to join the assault on the port city of Brest, in Brittany. The city was captured after heavy fighting from August 21st to September 18th. By that time, the German resistance elsewhere in France had collapsed, and the 2nd Infantry Division raced to Paris, arriving on September 29th. The rapid advance ended on October 4th when the Division entered the region just east of St. Vith, Belgium called the Schnee Eifel on the highly symbolic German border. The 2nd Infantry Division relieved the 4th and 28th Infantry Divisions, completing the relief on October 5th. Ahead lay the German border, defended by the Siegfried Line cutting across difficult terrain.

The “Manchus” were able to incorporate replacements and prepare for whatever would come next throughout October and November. This period saw frequent patrol activity but no major combat actions. On December 10th, the 2nd Infantry Division began a relief in place by the 106th Infantry Division. By the 11th, the relief was complete, and the Division gathered at Camp Elsenborn to prepare for the renewed offensive. The attack north through the Siegfried line would commence on December 13th.

I know that that description doesn’t give you a lot about the game as it focuses more on the history of the 9th so I have attached the following video review from Alexander for Fields of Fire Vol I:

Here is his review for Fields of Fire Vol. II:

And lastly, here is a link to his short 2 episode series on Learn to Play Fields of Fire:

If you are interested in Fields of Fire: The Bulge Campaign, you can pre-order a copy on the P500 game page for $16.00 at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-914-fields-of-fire-the-bulge-campaign.aspx

Note: Fields of Fire Volume I, either first or second edition, is required to play this expansion.

8. Mons, 1914: The Mad Minute from GMT Games

We first experienced this system with 2018’s Gallipoli, 1915: Churchill’s Greatest Gamble and really enjoyed the game, the detail in the combat system and have been looking forward to this one since that time. World War I is a war that I have not gamed all that much and look forward to the opportunity to learn from this system.

From the game page, we read the following:

Mons, 1914: The Mad Minute is the second game in the Rifle and Spade Series, first used in Gallipoli, 1915: Churchill’s Greatest Gamble. The series rules have been completely overhauled to speed play and ease learning. Key charts have been simplified and rules that were rarely used have been dropped, resulting in faster and smoother games. Gallipoli can be played with the 2.0 rules with some short upgrade instructions and a few replacement charts.

Mons is a big game. Two maps show the length of the Condé Canal. The 1,500 counters have every unit from the BEF and the German 1. Armee. Units are half-battalions and batteries with some platoon pickets. Mons has many scenarios: three training scenarios, the full two-map historical scenario, several smaller one-map scenarios, and a set of very interesting hypothetical meeting engagements. In the meeting engagement scenarios, the armies enter gradually, led by their cavalry divisions. A wild period of maneuver follows as the cavalry and jägers attempt to sneak past the enemy until the infantry show up, and the battle is joined in earnest. There are rules for cavalry charges, including debacles and impetuous charges. The command problems of the BEF and German 1. Armee are shown, although scenario variants give players all the freedom they could want.

I am glad to hear that the system has been streamlined and if focused now on ease of play because I feel like the system is good enough that I want others to experience it but understand that this one scares many away as it is big.

If you are interested in Mons, 1914: The Mad Minute, you can pre-order a copy on the P500 game page for $75.00 at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-913-mons-1914-the-mad-minute.aspx

9. Vietnam: 1965-1975, GMT Edition from GMT Games

We really enjoy the experience of gaming the Vietnam War and have loved our experiences with several games including Silver Bayonet from GMT, ’65 from Flying Pig Games and Front Toward Enemy from MMP. I actually own this game. I bought it unpunched about 2 years ago at Gen Con for $50.00 and it has sat on my shelf gathering dust. Why? It is a big game with lots of detail and I was immediately discouraged by the rule book and its layout and how difficult it was in understanding.

From the game page, we read the following from the perspective of the game developers Mitchell Land and Ralph Shelton:

Vietnam 1965-1975 has always represented the quintessential grand operational Vietnam game for us. The systems all work together beautifully to evoke the feel of the war whether playing the focused scenarios or the sweeping breadth of the campaign games. To that end, let us tell you what to expect with this reprint edition.

But first, we want to let you know what this reprint is not: it is, most emphatically, not a reimagining of the game. There will be no major rule changes. No chrome will be added. Although we are well aware that the available historical record on Vietnam is vastly expanded since the original publication, the game has always been an abstraction of the conflict as opposed to a meticulously exact reproduction of every fact. The intent with this edition is to clarify where needed and change only if necessary.

With that said, let’s get on to the good stuff! The primary goals are to bring the components up to a modern standard and to clean up any ambiguity in the rules. This will be done using both the collected wisdom of the community as well as Nick’s input through close consultation as to his original intent on some of the thornier questions.

We’re increasing the hex size on the map which will force us to move to three maps, but that’s so we can accommodate making the unit counters bigger: 9/16″ for units counters while informational markers remain at 1/2″. And of course, there will be plenty of player aid cards. There will be 12 PACs in the box including a two-sided CRT/TEC for use during the season, an 11×17 fold-out for use during the Seasonal Interphase, and an 11×17 Operational Flow Chart that details each type of Operation.

With this we will bring this game back in to print and breathe new life into it.

There is a lot that is being changed and updated and I think that the rules will be much more digestible and will be the tipping point that will see this title hitting our table.

If you are interested in Vietnam: 1965-1975, you can pre-order a copy on the P500 game page for $59.00 at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-911-vietnam-1965-1975-gmt-edition.aspx

10. Commands & Colors Napoleonics: The Austrian Army, 3rd Printing from GMT Games

One of the things that I enjoy about the Commands & Colors System is that the various expansions and base games all feel different and incorporate the various tactics and unit types of that force. We love C&C Napoleonics (in fact it is my favorite Commands & Colors game!) and find that the various army expansions really change how you will have to fight. So is the case with the Austrian Army Expansion.

From the game page, we read the following:

The Austrian Army is a Coalition expansion for Commands & Colors Napoleonics.

Prior to the Napoleon wars, the Austrian Empire stretched from Italy to the Netherlands and from Poland to the Balkans. Its position in the center of Europe, however, made it the perfect target for revolutionary France and in April 1792, France declared war on Austria. The first war lasted for 5 years. Austria renewed the war against France in 1799 and again in 1805, but in both cases was swiftly defeated. In April 1809, judging that Napoleon’s army was bogged down with the fighting in Spain, Austria invaded Bavaria, but Napoleon recovered quickly and Austria’s defeat at Wagram led to another humiliating peace treaty. In 1812 Austria was forced to provide troops for Napoleon’sthe disastrous Russian campaign, but in 1813 Austria again joined the coalition against him.

Even though the Austrian army was the third largest in the world, the Austrians lost many more battles than they won. At the time of the Napoleonic Wars, the Austrian army was a large multi-national army, made up of Austrians, Swedes, Hungarians, Englishmen, Scots, Irishmen, Walloons, Poles, Russians, Ukrainians, Germans, Croats, Serbs, and even French royalists. The infantry regiments were large and somewhat reliable, but the tactical formations and drill were still entrenched in the past. The cavalry, although well mounted, still applied the practice of scattering their formations in small bodies, which greatly reduced their combat effectiveness. In general, the Austrian army did enjoy many successes on a regimental level, but at the brigade and divisional levels its commanders were not tactically proficient.

In this expansion you will find 18 historical scenarios that focus on the Austrian Army battles from 1805 to 1814 against Napoleon, plus all the new units you’ll need to field for these engagements.

If you are interested in Commands & Colors Napoleonics: The Austrian Army, 3rd Printing, you can pre-order a copy on the P500 game page for $45.00 at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-915-commands-colors-napoleonics-exp-the-austrian-army-3rd-printing.aspx

11. Commands & Colors Napoleonics: The Russian Army, 4th Printing from GMT Games

From the game page, we read the following:

The Russian Army expansion features; 220 blocks: with over 40 dark green Russian units and a few dark blue French reinforcements; Russian and French National Unit Reference Cards; Russian Infantry Square Track; 20 scenarios bumped up by GMT from 18 and a number of new terrain types. But the most interesting feature introduced in the expansion, in my opinion, is a new game mechanic called the Pre-Battle Mother Russia Roll. No two
scenarios will set up the same when the Pre-Battle Mother Russia Roll rule is in effect. We will let you speculate on this new game mechanic for a while.

If you are interested in Commands & Colors Napoleonics: The Russian Army, 4th Printing, you can pre-order a copy on the P500 game page for $45.00 at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-916-commands-colors-napoleonics-exp-the-russian-army-4th-printing.aspx

12. Here I Stand: Wars of the Reformation 1517-1555 500th Anniversary Edition 2nd Printing from GMT Games

Here I Stand is one of the greatest Card Driven Games I have ever played, and we have played a lot in our time. I have played this game 3 times and found each experience to be simply sublime, even though it takes 10-12 hours to play.

From the game page, we read the following:

Here I Stand: Wars of the Reformation 1517-1555 is the first game in over 25 years to cover the political and religious conflicts of early 16th Century Europe. Few realize that the greatest feats of Martin Luther, Jean Calvin, Ignatius Loyola, Henry VIII, Charles V, Francis I, Suleiman the Magnificent, Ferdinand Magellan, Hernando Cortes, and Nicolaus Copernicus all fall within this narrow 40-year period of history. This game covers all the action of the period using a unique card-driven game system that models both the political and religious conflicts of the period on a single point-to-point map. There are six main powers in the game, each with a unique path to victory.

If you own the original (non-500th Anniversary edition) Here I Stand, here are the upgrades you will find in the deluxe 500th anniversary edition. Enhancements include: 6 brand new cards added to the deck, including Thomas More, Thomas Cromwell, Rough Wooing, and Imperial Coronation. Revisions to over 15 existing cards including Copernicus, Master of Italy, and Machiavelli to allow for more exciting in-game play and additional possibilities for diplomatic deals. A new Chateau construction table is now used to resolve France’s Patron of the Arts home card plays. Several Virgin Queen rule updates are incorporated back into Here I Stand, affecting minor power activation, piracy, space trading, and foreign wars.

There also is included the special 2-player variant which pits the Protestants versus the Catholics in a modified form of the game. But it is still good and this is how we first played the game.

Here is a look at my written review on the 2-player variant of the game: https://theplayersaid.com/2018/03/19/holy-war-for-two-in-under-3-hours-a-review-of-here-i-stand-wars-of-the-reformation-2-player-variant-from-gmt-games/

Here also are links to a series of Action Point posts on the blog that explain some of the rules revolving around the religious portion of the game:

Action Point 1 – Special starting conditions and steps for the Reformation

Action Point 2 – The Diet of Worms

Action Point 3 – Three specific available Religious Actions, including Biblical Translations, Publishing of Treatises and Calling Theological Debates

Action Point 4 – The Schmalkaldic League

If you are interested in Here I Stand: Wars of the Reformation 1517-1555 500th Anniversary Edition 2nd Printing, you can pre-order a copy on the P500 game page for $60.00 at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-917-here-i-stand-500th-anniversary-reprint-edition-2nd-printing.aspx

New Release

1. Stargard Solstice: Operation Solstice and Soviet Pommeranian Campaign 1945 from Three Crowns Games

I have been seeing this on Facebook over the past few weeks as people have starting receiving their games and getting them to the table. Another good East Front game is never a bad thing and this one looks pretty good from a publisher that I unfortunately have no experience with.

From the game page, we read the following:

Stargard Solstice starts with one of the last German offensives of 1945, ‘Operation Solstice’. At the beginning Guderian had planned a pincer move to relieve Küstrin, but Hitler wanted to save troops to retake Budapest. This resulted in changing objectives to the relief of Festung Arnswalde and trying to cut the Soviet supply route towards Küstrin. The historical objective for the Soviets was to drive the Germans out of Pomerania and thereby protect their right flank while preparing to take Küstrin and make the final thrust towards Berlin. Stargard Solstice is a game recreating this campaign in Pomerania from 15th February – 6th March, 1945.

If you are interested in Stargard Solstice: Operation Solstice and Soviet Pommeranian Campaign 1945 you can pre-order a copy for $48.00 from the Three Crowns Games website at the following link: https://threecrownsgames.com/Store.html

2. Indian Ocean Region: South China Sea: Volume II from Compass Games

John Gorkowski is a solid designer and this one looks amazing. Also, I really love the cover as it just sets me in a certain frame of mind that makes we want to bring some pain from an Aircraft Carrier.

From the game page, we read the following:

The game Indian Ocean Region enables participants to play out possible future conflicts, circa 2025, from their political beginnings to military endings with the same game mechanics as used in the South China Sea game.  Players assume the roles of nations or groups of nations and deal cards in multiple rounds of play each representing three to seven weeks to advance their separate agendas.  Each card play might trigger armed conflict.  If violence comes to pass, the time scale compresses to three to seven hours per turn and players deploy their military units to resolve matters by force.  Those forces include: individual capital ships, pairs or triples of smaller vessels, squadrons of aircraft, and battalions of ground troops all waging war at the far end of logistical shoestrings.

If you are interested in Indian Ocean Region: South China Sea Volume II, you can order a copy for $65.00 from the Compass Games website at the following link: https://www.compassgames.com/preorders/indian-ocean-region.html

3. No Satisfaction: Operation Hump, November 5-8, 1965 from High Flying Dice Games

Month after month, you can always count on an interesting new game from High Flying Dice Games that covers a rarely gamed topic and this month was no different with No Satisfaction: Operation Hump, November 5-8, 1965. They have done quite a few of these smaller format games covering specific battles or operations in the Vietnam War. I also like that they name them after popular songs of the time and this month sees them use a Rolling Stones song.

From the game page, we read the following:

The 173rd Composite Airborne Brigade was composed of units from the USA, Australia and New Zealand. Following the US intervention in April, the unit was deployed to Đồng Nai Province to protect the Bien Hoa Airbase. The 173rd was a “showcase” unit that embodied what was to have been an international effort to combat the spread of Communism in South Vietnam. From the start the unit was engaged in battles with the National Liberation Front’s 9th Division for control of the province.

In November two battalions, one from the 503rd US Airborne Regiment and another from the Royal Australian Rifles, were deployed to once again “search and destroy” the elusive Viet Cong. The offensive was dubbed Operation Hump, as many of the participants optimistically felt that once this fight was over they would soon be going home. This time, however, the Communists elected to stand and fight as their brethren had done further north earlier at the A Shau Valley. What resulted was one of bloodiest and violent fights to that point in the war, sowing the first doubts among the US and Allied forces that perhaps victory for them was not “just around the corner”… Perhaps you can do as well or better?

If you are interested in No Satisfaction: Operation Hump, November 5-8, 1965, you can order a copy for $15.95 from the High Flying Dice Games website at the following link: http://www.hfdgames.com/hump.html

4. A Splendid Little War: The Spanish-American War – Santiago Campaign July 1-14, 1898 2nd Edition from Legion Wargames

This game caught my eye a few months ago as I have never played a game on the Spanish-American War. And to make it better, this game is an updated 2nd Edition that has taken the game and tried to improved it.

From the game page, we read the following:

A Splendid Little War begun with the highest motives, carried on with magnificent intelligence and spirit, favored by that fortune which loves the brave.” so did John Hay, U.S. ambassador to Britain describe the Spanish-American War which saw the U.S take possession of much of Spain’s 400-year old empire, extending its territorial dominance overseas and joining the ranks of colonial nations.

The game covers the entire land campaign on Cuba, which saw the fall of Santiago de Cuba and the Spanish surrender of the island. It combines  only moderate complexity with the delivery of a wide variety of unit types:  the Rough Riders, Cuban (and Spanish) Guerrillas, Gatling Guns, the US Observation Balloon, Engineers, and just about everything in between.

The US, with more firepower and better artillery, has the upper hand but the dug in Spanish defenders, the Spanish relief column’s arrival, and the ensuing Yellow fever will take its toll on the US forces and could turn a Splendid Little War into a wretched defeat.

As well as the Campaign Game which covers the entire 14 days of battle, from the initial US attack on July 1st until the Spanish surrender on July 14th, there are three shorter scenarios covering the major engagements of the campaign including The battle for El Caney, the famous Rough Riders and the battle of San Juan Hill and the first day of the campaign combining El Caney and San Juan Hill.

We also were able to post an interview with the designer Andy Nunez a few months ago, which you can read at the following link: https://theplayersaid.com/2020/12/14/interview-with-any-nunez-designer-of-a-splendid-little-war-the-spanish-american-war-santiago-campaign-july-1-14-1898-2nd-edition-from-legion-wargames/

If you are interested in A Splendid Little War: The Spanish-American War – Santiago Campaign July 1-14, 1898, you can order a copy for $45.00 from the Legion Wargames website at the following link: https://www.legionwargames.com/legion_SLW.html

5. Prairie Aflame!: The Northwest Rebellion of 1885 from Legion Wargames

Last year, we played our first game on the struggles in Canada called Prelude to Rebellion and really enjoyed not only the game play but also were awakened to the history in this region. Now comes this interesting looking game on the subject called Prairie Aflame!: The Northwest Rebellion, 1885.

From the game page, we read the following:

This game is an operational treatment of Canada’s Northwest Rebellion of 1885. The Metis (half Native and half European) set up a provisional government to try and get recognition of their concerns with the federal government in Ottawa.

The federal government orders a detachment of Mounties to confiscate any weapons located at the Metis settlement of Duck Lake. The Mounties were met by a force of Metis and Natives and initially there was just talk. However, during the course of the discussion a gun was discharged and within minutes, the battle was on! The Mounties retreated, having taken 25% casualties – the rebellion was on.

To prevent the rebellion from spreading, the government in Ottawa quickly dispatches a military force which would grow to 5,000 troops, most transported by the nearly complete Canadian Pacific Railway. After 4 months and several battles later, the govenment had successfully supressed the rebellion – if they had not, and this was their worst fear, the whole Northwest might have erupted in rebellion, keeping the government busy for years.

The basic military unit in the game is the battalion. All the battalions that participated in the campaign are represented, as are the various Northwest Mounted Police detachments, local militias, artillery, and gatling guns. They are faced by the Metis, the Woods Cree, and the Plains Cree. Units can remain together as battalions, or they can break down. Morale is better as a battalion, while mobility is better as a breakdown unit. Each strength point represents 50 men. The main rebel and government leaders are represented and they have an important effect on the game.

If you are interested in Prairie Aflame!: The Northwest Rebellion, 1885, you can order a copy for $25.00 from the Legion Wargames website at the following link: https://www.legionwargames.com/legion_prairie_aflame.html

6. Advanced Squad Leader Starter Kit Expansion Pack #1 2nd Edition from Multi-Man Publishing

Admittedly we have never played Advanced Squad Leader and I know that this makes us bad people. But that aside, MMP has now released for purchase Advanced Squad Leader Starter Kit Expansion Pack #1 2nd Edition for purchase.

From the game page, we read the following:

Advanced Squad Leader Starter Kit Expansion Pack #1 2nd Edition is an updated version of the original SKEP #1SKEP #1 2nd Edition includes the three boards (q, r, and s) and eight scenarios (S44-S51) from the 2011 release. In addition, it now includes board p and the four scenarios from the Beyond the Beaches ASL Starter Kit Bonus Pack. Several of these scenarios have been updated for errata and balance. The original eight scenarios include actions pitting the Poles against the Slovakian army, Russians advancing against Germans, Americans in their struggle against the Italians, and the Free French forces defending against a sudden German counterattack. The four additional scenarios all feature actions between American and German forces in Normandy. SKEP #1 2nd Edition also includes a half-sheet of counters, two Quick Reference Data Cards, one Hedges Example of Play/ASLSK sequence of Play card, one Vehicle and Ordnance Historical Notes book, and one rulebook.

If you are interested in Advanced Squad Leader Starter Kit Expansion Pack #1 2nd Edition, you can order a copy for $42.00 from the Multi-Man Publishing website at the following link: https://mmpgamers.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2_8&products_id=184

7. D-Day and Beyond from Tiny Battle Publishing

Tiny Battle Publishing is known for their poly-bag games. But, in the past year they have released 2 boxed games and their production is definitely taking a step up. Now comes a new game on the D-Day landings in France in 1944 called D-Day and Beyond. This is their largest game ever with a 36″ x 28″ map, 352 counters and it all comes in a 9″ x 12″ box. The game is gorgeous! But how does it play? Well, I cannot answer that but from the game page, we read the following:

D-Day and Beyond is a tense, two-player operational board game covering the European theater from the French Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts to the dense German forests, the Siegfried line, and the Rhine River.  The Allied player faces the tough decision about where and when to land troops, what scarce air and naval resources to employ on offense or defense, and struggles to keep a coherent supply line to his forward troops.  The German player has to throw the landing(s) off the beach, if able, and failing that, fight a retrograde war that requires balancing holding key terrain, slowing the Allied advance, and preserving units.  Additional rules showcase the Resistance, rail movement, airborne operations, carpet bombing, the release of German reserves, and the infamous Wacht Am Rhein offensive known as Autumn Mist. 

The components are gorgeous and the counters, while a bit waxy to the touch, are really very nice. I love the colors used and the values are clear and readable. The map is the best part of the game though as it is simply gorgeous.

If you are interested in D-Day and Beyond, you can order a copy for $55.00 from the Tiny Battle Publishing website at the following link: https://tinybattlepublishing.com/products/d-day-and-beyond

8. Ambon: Burning Sun & Little Seagulls from SNAFU Design

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by one of our followers in Spain who asked if I would be interested in interviewing Marc Figueras on his upcoming game from SNAFU Design covering the invasion of Ambon Island by the Japanese called Ambon: Burning Sun & Little Seagulls. I checked the game out on BGG and was immediately interested. Plus the art is being done by the incomparable Nils Johansson.

From the BGG page, we read the following:

Ambon: Burning Sun & Little Seagulls is a two player wargame simulating the battle of Ambon, that took place between 30th January and 3rd February 1942 in the island of Ambon, in the Moluccas. A Japanese force composed of the 228th Regiment of the 38th Division of the IJA and the 1st Kure Special Naval Landing Force occupied the island against a force composed of the Dutch Molukken Brigade and the Australian “Gull Force”.

One player controls Japanese forces and the other one Allied (Dutch and Australian) forces. Victory is achieved by means of control of certain hexes and elimination of enemy units. The aim of the Japanese player is to conquer as soon as possible the three main key locations in Ambon (the city of Ambon, Paso, and the Laha airfield) as well as some secondary key locations. The sooner the Japanese conquers these locations, the more victory points he will receive. So, for the Japanese it’s a race against the clock, while the Allied player must slow down the Japanese advance without suffering too many losses.

If you are interested in Ambon: Burning Sun & Little Seagulls, you can eventually order from the SNAFU Store website at the following link: https://snafustore.com/en/

This month had lots of good new titles and as always I had a good time searching the interwebs for them. Please let me know if you know of any games out there that I missed.