Any form of a Top 10 list or ranking of games from a single year is an incredibly difficult and somewhat arbitrary task. We have done this every year and immediately after publishing I always have regret about ranking one game too high while another might now have appeared lower than I thought it should! But, the biggest difficulty that I have with this ranking exercise is that is is absolutely impossible to play every wargame that is published each year and this list will only be drawn from the comparatively few number of games that we were able to play. I also have angst about whether we were able to really delve deep enough into the game to give it a fair shake. Sometimes games seem to be worse or better than they are after just a single play, while further plays can reveal hidden gems and strategies or just lengthen out the pain and suffering with a poor design. Most of the games we play are longer 4-8 hour affairs and we simply cannot play them multiple times while others are shorter and those we can play a few times. I also generally try to push counters around after we play and a few days have passed to try and better digest and understand things. This comes in handy especially when I am writing Action Point posts or reviews as things that worked for me come back and I experience again those that didn’t.

In 2020, we had about 4 months (from late March through early July) where we didn’t play any face to face games due to the pandemic. We did play a plethora of a new solitaire games though in solitude in our home bunkers but because of this unfortunate condition we played only 30-ish games that were published. We had another 15 or so that we didn’t get played and some of those would have probably made this list had we played them. But these are the games that I considered as contenders for inclusion in the list but in the end only 10 of them will be included. They are all good games but sometimes you just feel better about a certain game over another.

Here is a look at all of the games that we were able to play in 2020:

Versailles 1919, Caesar: Rome vs Gaul, All Bridges Burning: Red Revolt and White Guard in Finland, 1917-1918, Imperial Struggle, Stilicho: Last of the Romans (solitaire), Aurelian, Restorer of the World (solitaire), The Shores of Tripoli, Struggle for Europe 1939-1945, Undaunted: North Africa, Amerika Bomber: Evil Queen of the Skies (solitaire), Men of Iron Tripack, Dawn’s Early Light: The War of 1812, Crusader Kingdoms: The War for the Holy Land (solitaire), Labyrinth: The Forever War, 2015-?, Old School Tactical Vol 3 – Pacific 1942-45, The Crisis of Frederick II, Freedom!, This War Without an Enemy: The English Civil War, 1642-1646, Napoleon Returns 1815, Dinosaur Table Battles (hehe), Beneath the Med: Regia Marina at Sea, 1940-43 (solitaire), Europe Divided, Rostov ‘41: Race to the Don, Chancellorsville 1863, Brotherhood & Unity: War in Bosnia and Herzegovina 1992-1995, Commands and Colors Tricorne: Jacobite Rising, From Salerno to Rome, The Mission: Early Christianity from the Crucifixion to the Crusades (solitaire), Napoleon 1807, Stellar Horizons, Invasions – Volume 1 – 350-650 AD.

I also wanted to point out that there were several games that we wanted to get played but that unfortunately we couldn’t prior to this post coming out. We will eventually play them but just didn’t have the time this year. Those games included Next War: Vietnam from GMT Games, A Time for Trumpets from GMT Games, 1918/1919 Storm in the West from GMT Games, Shiloh 1862 from Worthington Publishing, TCS Ariete from Multi-Man Publishing, At All Costs from Hollandspiele, White Eagle Defiant from Hollandspiele and Fury at Midway from Revolution Games among a few others.

10. Struggle for Europe 1939-1945 from Worthington Publishing

This was actually the 2nd game from 2020 that we were able to play but it was not until late June. A few years ago, we played the game Lincoln designed by Martin Wallace and published by Worthington Games. That game used a very interesting and unique deck building/destruction mechanic where cards drove the action of moving forces, recruiting units and being played for events but then some cards would be removed from the deck after use and new cards would be introduced in a phased approach. The system creates some really interesting choices and dilemmas with how to use those cards and we enjoyed the system very much.

Fast forward to 2020 and that same system is being used to simulate the European Theater of World War II in a game called Struggle for Europe 1939-1945. Similar to Lincoln the game is a fast playing and light two-player card-driven strategy wargame that allows players to re-fight the entire struggle for Europe at a strategic level in under two hours. As the decks are cycled throughout the game, the Allied player adds some better quality cards, with the Russians and Americans entering play during the 1st and 2nd reshuffle. The Axis player will burn through their early game quality cards, becoming weaker as resources dwindle. The underlying game mechanism is one of “deck destruction” rather than the more normal deck-building.

I know that on the surface this game seems very simple and appears that there aren’t many tough decisions for the players but simplicity in the rules and mechanics doesn’t equate to no depth in strategy and decisions. This game will keep players engaged during the entire 90 minutes and the different options will change planned strategy nearly each round. One of the reasons that I like this game more than I did it’s predecessor in Lincoln is that there are more choices about how to attack and where to defend. What I mean by that is there are at least 5 different routes that the Allies can attempt to penetrate Fortress Europe; via the beaches at Normandy, through the north by way of Bergen and Copenhagen, through the Italian Peninsula and Rome, or circumventing Italy to head up through the Balkans or with a focus on Russia and the Eastern Front. I also like that the Axis have to take Paris, which is no easy task, and build up defenses for the Normandy landings but also cannot ignore Italy, leave the Balkans unprotected and also have some risky attack choices in whether to take the battle to the Allies across the English Channel or come into Russia to advance on Moscow via Leningrad to the north. In the end, this game has lots of strategy and players must choose how to meet their Victory Point objectives and use all of the tools at their disposal from proper use of their better events to dabbling in Strategic Bombing and Wolfpacks to attack your opponent’s hand of cards. This one will make for an engaging experience and most importantly offers replay value as you can tryout these myriad of strategy options.

I really liked the options that players had in this one and also find the deck destruction mechanic to create a very interesting and challenging play for both sides. You have to understand what it is that you are trying to do and then how you can gain the advantage while doing it. As mentioned earlier, this will change as the game moves on but it remains interesting for the whole 2 hours.

Here is a look at our unboxing video so you can get a good look at the components: 

Here is a look at our video review of the game:

Here also are links to a series of Action Points on the various aspects of the game:

Action Point 1 – The Game Board and the Locations and various Boxes and Tracks that are used to play the game as well as examine the various pinch points on the Point to Point Movement system.

Action Point 2 – The makeup of the Axis and Allied decks and discuss the very interesting deck destruction mechanic, including a comparison of the differences in the two decks and what that means for each of the players.

Action Point 3 – The units involved in the game, including the Infantry and Tank units as well as static defenses in the Fortresses and how the Location Boxes work on defense and attack.

Action Point 4 – A few examples of combat and the very interesting system of loss from battles that makes players think twice about attacking willy nilly.

If you are interested in Struggle for Europe 1939-1945 you can order a copy for $75.00 from the Worthington Publishing website at the following link:

9. Dawn’s Early Light: The War of 1812 from Compass Games

As you know, we are big fans of Card Driven Games and feel that they provide some really great opportunities for history to become a major focus of the game while retaining playability and adding a little bit of chaos. We have not played many games covering the War of 1812 and this was a game that I was very interested in playing.

The game is a high level look at the totality of the War of 1812 and includes both combat and the struggle over the control of key cities and towns but also the ever-present naval battle for control of the Atlantic Seaboard and blockades. The thing that I enjoyed the most was the fact that you just couldn’t hope to win the war by force of arms alone but must also focus on the Political Contest which is a small subset of a box on the board which includes three tracks with three levels each. Each level on each of the tracks grants an ongoing advantage to players as long as their marker is at or higher than that level. For example, if the US player gets to level 1 on Public Opinion, they get to place 2 Recruit tokens in every town during turn upkeep instead of the normal 1 (assuming the town isn’t already maxed out). If the US player then goes up to level 2 on Public Opinion, they still get this recruit advantage, plus they get the level 2 effect which adds 1 OPS point to the value of cards they play for Campaign operations. Level 3 Public Opinion grants your forces a bonus die in any battle that occurs in your own home region, whether attacking or defending. In Diplomacy, the advantage is very straightforward: 1 extra VP at the end of every turn for levels 1 and 2, and finally the ability to draw and play an extra card each turn. These must be focused on or the player will find themselves simply behind.

I also really liked how the Indian units were used in the game as they felt like they were a skirmishing force that you just couldn’t pin down and once you defeated them in one area, they were sure to reappear in another area to harass the US forces. They actually play a variety of roles. At a minimum they can join the British army forces when fighting American forces in battle, helping Britain outnumber and overpower the US. But they can also act independently, either to fight battles on their own or to take a special Raiding action that can turn town attacks into immediate victory points. So they can be part of a large army, or they can be used as small-group harassers that distract the US player from spending their valuable points in more key areas. A really well done aspect of the game.

Finally, movement and distance was very well factored into the game to replicate the difficulties of moving large forces through the thick and undeveloped wilderness of the Adirondack Mountains, the Catskill Mountains, and part of the Appalachian Mountains. The movement limits and the spaces between certain key locations were planned to replicate the weeks long march of troops and this causes the player to have to plan how to continually support these offensives with additional troops debarking in the next turn and the next turn and so forth in order to continually have a strong force arriving to take advantage of victories and follow-up with new offensives. Really a great part of the design.

Overall, we really liked Dawn’s Early Light and found it to be very well designed and most importantly interesting to play. For this reason, it has found it’s way onto my list even though there was lots of competition this year.

Here is a look at our unboxing video so you can get a good look at the components: 

Here is a look at our video review of the game:

If you are interested in Dawn’s Early Light: The War of 1812, you can order a copy for $69.00 from the Compass Games website at the following link:

8. Napoleon 1807 from Shakos

We were contacted in early February by a newer French wargame publisher named Shakos about taking a look at their line of wargames focused on the Napoleonic Wars. One of those games, Napoleon 1807 was a 2020 release and we immediately dove into the rules and stickered the blocks (that are not used as a Columbia Wargames block) so that we could give it a go. The game uses the same system as appeared in their inaugural game in the Conquerors Series Napoleon 1806 and this setting is in Poland as Russian and French forces will meet during the heart of winter 1806-1807. The game is marketed as a simple to understand and play game with lots of options for seasoned Grognards to enjoy as they play and that was the case with us as we thoroughly enjoyed the system and even liked the fact that there were some additional rules and ways to play if you want to ratchet the game up a bit. The game does have three campaigns that is covers over an amazing 13 different scenarios that cover the events of the famous battles of Pultusk, Eylau and Friedland.

The game uses cards to activate various Corps to move or battle so the system is not complex. These cards have Ops Points that are used for activations but they also have Events that can be played during different phases of the game. But the best part about the cards is the fact that they are also used to determine the results of combat. When a combat occurs between two Corps, each will have a certain number of cards they will draw from the top of their own personal decks and add to the battle. These cards have symbols located on the bottom that include Fatigue, which is the ultimate determining factor of the health and cohesion of the Corps as well as symbols associated with losses of units. These cards are set and there are only a certain number of the different results throughout the deck. These results are usually better on a card that has more Ops Points but those are your best cards so if you pull them in combat you opi9otns for activations will be limited and vice versa if you have good combat cards in your hand for activation they will not help you in combat. The players track the health and units of each Corps secretly from behind a screen and if the number of units drops below the card threshold, that Corps will be affected by drawing less cards in combat. A really very simply yet interesting system and we really had an interesting experience with not fully knowing the condition of the opponent’s Corps.

Frankly, we were blown away and look forward to playing more scenarios and also getting into Napoleon 1806. This game is so solid and we feel that the system is so very interesting, especially the hidden unit condition, that it creates a lot of very interesting and tense decision points where players sometimes simply have to throw caution to the wind and go for it.

One final comment. The rulebook in this one was simply superb. Even though it was translated from French to English, it was very clear and had good examples to help us figure out the subtleties of the design. There also is a very thorough and clear quick start guide that helped us get the game setup quickly and moving blocks around. Very well done.

Here is a look at our unboxing video so you can get a good look at the components which are really very well done:

We have shot our review video but we just played this one last weekend and we have had other videos scheduled so it will be out soon.

If you are interested in Napoleon 1807, you can order a copy for $83.00 from the Shakos website at the following link:

7. Rostov ‘41: Race to the Don from Multi-Man Publishing

I am ashamed to say it but this was our first Standard Combat Series game. And there are 21 of them out there! We actually own several between us, including Day of Days and Operation Endeavor, that have as of yet gone unplayed. And we absolutely loved this one! Good rules. Great system. Simple enough to get into and understand but with enough depth of strategy, such as the proper use of maneuver and Overrun Combat, that the game is somewhat of a puzzle to solve as most Eastern Front WWII games are.

The game covers the bold dash by Army Group South to take Rostov in the late fall of 1941. The attack succeeded, however resulted in the attacking Germans being isolated at the end of a their logistics capabilities. The regrouping Red Army, which had been demoralized form a series of defeats, saw this as their chance to launch their first coordinated attack of the war, paving the way for the Moscow Counteroffensive just a few weeks later.

Rostov ‘41 covers all this swirling mobile action in turns representing 3 to 6 days and at a map scale of 2.5 miles per hex. Units are battalions to divisions. Low counter density and a wide-open map bring all the action and possibilities to light in some wild gameplay.

I think the thing that I liked the most was the concept of Exploitation. All of the games in the SCS Series use this same mechanic where units that are exploit capable and have a yellow bar on their counter may move after a combat phase, only if they are outside an enemy ZOC. This allows players to make the sweeping envelopment maneuvers that the actual forces performed, allowing mechanized units the chance to exploit an opponents rear. This is very key to the possible success of the Germans and must be used at every opportunity in order to make your victory conditions. I also really liked the focus of the design on the Soviet’s and their greenness in that they were just starting to learn from experience and be able to coordinate attacks. Russian infantrymen are almost all not motorized, meaning they must stick to roads if they seek to maneuver around the board quickly and get into the fight when and where needed. The Soviets probably actually have the easier job in this game, the Soviets just have to survive, whereas the Germans need to succeed.

Here is a look at our unboxing video so you can get a good look at the components: 

Here is a look at our video review of the game:

If you are interested in Rostov ’41: Race to the Don, you can order a copy for $44.00 from the Multi-Man Publishing website at the following link:

6. Caesar: Rome vs Gaul from GMT Games

Mark Simonitch is a very talented designer! (understatement I know but its very true). His talents have given us many great games including the ’4X Series (Normandy ’44Ardennes ’44 and Holland ’44) and the great Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage and many others (The U.S. Civil WarFrance ’40, etc.). I am always amazed by his talents and the way he mixes a bunch of great mechanics together to make a very playable and enjoyable simulation of historical events. Well, he is now back to the Ancients after doing several World War II games and I couldn’t be more excited.

This game is very good at what it is trying to do, namely show how the Romans struggled to control and contain the Gallic Tribes as they attempted to subjugate the country. The main focus for the Romans is to meet their control objectives of the different regions in Gaul by simply having more control markers than the Gauls. This is much easier said than done though as their are Events that can be played by either side making their job easier or making it more challenging for the enemy. Players are dealt 7 cards at the start of each turn and use their cards to move their armies and place control markers. This is the crux of the game and it boils down to how you manage those cards in your hand to make them do what you need them to do.

There are lots of interesting tricks built into the Gallic player and one of those that we enjoyed the most was the Gallic Council Box. We referred to this box as the “Gallic Bomb” as the player places tribes in this box during the reinforcement step rather than on the map for future deployment in the right area at the wrong time for the Romans to create a wall of humanity to stop the Romans in their tracks. There is a lot of back and forth in this one as is common in these type of Card Driven Games and the strategies might take a while to develop and understand but when they are understood is when the real joy of the deign unlocks itself. For me, this was a greatly anticipated title and it truly didn’t disappoint but provides many hours of non-stop action and tug of way between the players.

Here is a look at our unboxing video so you can get a good look at the components: 

Here is a look at our video review of the game:

If you are are interested in Caesar: Rome vs. Gaul, you can order a copy for $60.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link:

5. Chancellorsville 1863 from Worthington Publishing

During the summer of 2019, we were introduced to Maurice Suckling and his very interesting design Freeman’s Farm 1777 from Worthington Publishing. In this wargame covering the Saratoga Campaign of 1777 during the American Revolutionary War, Maurice used this very interesting spatial focus for formations in battle and introduced a very cool mini-economy in the use of Momentum Cubes that were garnered from the play of Activation Cards to take re-rolls and purchase very interesting Tactics Cards that could be used to simulate or recreate some of the more interesting parts of the historical battle.

I really enjoyed that game and found the concepts very interesting and innovative and hoped that they would be used in future games. Well, looks like my wish came true as Maurice created a follow-up game covering the Battle of Chancellorsville in 1863 during the American Civil War using a similar system but adding in some other interesting elements such as hidden movement.

At the start of the game some units on each side are visible, which is mostly because they are adjacent (units adjacent to enemy units are always visible on the main map.) Other units are hidden, placed on spaces on their respective mini map hidden behind a screen, in one of a variety of spaces. The mini map is a smaller representation of the main map, with the same movement arrows and nexus points but with the same scale for ‘spaces’ so the same blocks fit on both maps. Each side has their own mini map. If units move into a space on the mini map that is adjacent to a space occupied by a unit on the main map, that unit becomes visible and is transferred to the main map.

There are also some spaces – deep inside the enemy’s lines of communication – and moving onto those spaces on the mini map compels an immediate transfer to the main map. In addition, there are some spaces where the lead Union units are visible. This represents Jeb Stuart’s cavalry tracking the Union advance on the Confederate left. This added aspect really makes the game and creates a sense of tension for the players as they simply don’t know where all of the enemy units are located and have to play for those units coming up on their rear even as they are engaged in major battles along the front lines.

Activations are also slightly different from the Freeman’s Farm game as each side only has 15 activations per game. but each activation card identifies at least 2 commanders to activate and move. This is very necessary because the Union side has more units to move, and farther to move them to put pressure on objective locations. This has been balanced with the addition of fortifications that allow the defender to set one die per combat at the number desired. This makes for some very interesting decisions about whether to attack or not and how. I have really enjoyed this one as the system is obviously evolving and introducing new elements. I am glad that the designer has decided to take the system to the next level as there are lots of opportunities and applications to various battles for the system.

Here is a look at our video review of the game:

If you are interested in Chancellorsville 1863, you can order a copy for $75.00 from the Worthington Publishing website at the following link:

4. Old School Tactical Volume 3 – Pacific 1942/45 from Flying Pig Games

Old School Tactical from Flying Pig Games is a tactical combat system that focuses on World War II to date. The game focused on the simulation of small unit combined arms engagements where historical units, weapons, armor and vehicles will duke it out on a beautifully crafted board full of hexes. During a turn, players will go back and forth using an Impulse Point System to activate units to either Move, Assault Move or Fire. The players will play through a predetermined amount of rounds and at the end, victory points and casualty points will determine which side is the victor.

The first volume in the series was Old School Tactical Volume 1 Eastern Front 1941/1942 and focused on battles between the Russians and Germans. Old School Tactical Volume 2 West Front 1944/1945 was a follow-up effort and focused on the titanic struggle in Europe following the D-Day landings in 1944 with battles between the Americans and Germans. Now the most recent volume in the series is Old School Tactical Volume 3 Pacific 1942/1945 and includes battles between the Japanese and their Special Naval Landing Force and the American Marine Corps.

The game adds lots of new units, new equipment and even some new terrain to deal with. There also is the Hell Bent Expansion which will open more doors to the player. The expansion is a must have in my opinion as it brings more scenarios (as if 16 already wasn’t enough) and more units with an entire counter sheet and a new map. This expansion just seemed to make the game whole and really take it to the next level and I liked it a lot.

I most enjoyed the differences between the Japanese units and their Elite opponents the United States Marine Corps. I have been waiting for this volume for a while now and I was not disappointed. I hope that you have got a good idea for this new volume and what it adds to the game from this series. I enjoy tactical wargames and the closeup and personal nature of the combat and operations always is very exciting. Volume 3 added lots of this and I think the system is better and more exciting for it!

Here is a look at our unboxing video so you can get a good look at the components: 

Here is a look at our video review of the game:

Here also are links to a series of Action Points on the various aspects of the game:

Action Point 1 – new terrain, weapons and  vehicles presented that are unique to the Pacific Theater of combat. 

Action Point 2 – new playable faction the Japanese, examining their new units including the Tank Killer and Sapper, and dove into the very powerful Banzai Attack.

Action Point 3 – the United States Marines and what makes them some of the most elite fighting men of the war.

Action Point 4Hell Bent Expansion and examine the scenarios available in this addition.

If you are interested in Old School Tactical Volume 3 Pacific 1942/1945, you can order a copy for $90.00 from the Flying Pig Games website at the following link:

3. Imperial Struggle from GMT Games

The very first game from GMT Games that I played was Twilight Struggle, which is a 2-player card driven game that pits the United States of America versus the Soviet Union during The Cold War. That game is one of my favorite games of all time and still is exciting to play even though I have played it over 25 times with Alexander as my opponent. The global struggle for control of regions and countries, along with the smattering of military action that is included, makes for a very compelling grand strategy experience.

Who thought that lightning could strike the same spot twice but it appears that it has. We played Imperial Struggle a few times this year and the game is even better than TS. I didn’t think that was possible but it is. Imperial Struggle deals with what historians refer to as the Second Hundred Year’s War and covers the period of 1697 through 1789 stretching over four different wars. The game uses cards and Investment Tiles to allow the player to take various actions that change their fortunes across the globe with diplomacy, economic growth, and if all else fails war. Players will score Victory Points from the domination of Regions, controlling various Markets and from victory on the field of battle. There are so many options and strategies available in this game that it makes for a very deep and lasting experience that only gets better with time and more plays

So what was so good about the game that is appears this high on my list? The answer is lots. First I loved the way that it used Investment Tiles to determine a player’s available actions each turn. The Investment Tiles create the need to plan for the current Round, as you must know what it is that you wish to accomplish when it comes time to choose, and also gives lots of different options with the use of Advantage Tiles and Event Cards. I also have found that you can look at the board state, and where your opponent stands in relation to you, and can divine where they might be heading this turn with their choices in tiles. This gives you the option of playing spoiler to stop them from doing what you know they are trying to do to protect your interests. But, you cannot do this often as you have to be enacting your strategy as you have goals that you want to accomplish not just trying to stop your opponent. I also really enjoy that each round is different. With each round comes new Investment Tiles and with new tiles come new opportunities and the player that can manage what they have and make the best out of the tiles that are dealt to them will find themselves being victorious in the struggle.

Second I found one of the more interesting design choices revolving around the Event Cards is that the cards will typically display two versions of the same Event, one that is pro-French while the other is pro-British. One of the Events is the actual historical event as it happened and how it effected the struggle, while the other is a what-if type scenario that adds in some interesting ahistorical happenings. I really like this aspect as it is kind of like playing that game “2 Truths and 1 Lie” as you don’t really know which one is the historical version and as such you have to do some research to find this out. On these cards, the top section is always the pro-British Event while the bottom is the pro-French. A player may not play the version of the Event that is associated with their opponent. Some Event cards show only one version of the Event and these are played the same way by both sides.

Next I really enjoyed the concept of planning for the upcoming War Rounds. Each War Round is different and there are lots of areas to fight over between the two players and the key to this is planning and understanding how the specific War will score and how it advantages you or disadvantages your opponent. You cannot ignore the Theaters of War and have to invest some of your scarce actions into placing War Tiles in this area. You also can gain access to new Markets on the map after winning a specific war as it sometimes grants you Conquest Points that can be used to place your markers into spaces on the map that can only be accessed in this way. I really enjoyed how this aspect worked together with the entire design but also added some direct conflict to the game.

Here is a look at our unboxing video so you can get a good look at the components: 

Here is a look at our video review of the game:

Here also are links to a series of Action Points on the various aspects of the game:

Action Point 1 – the map focusing on the different Regions and Sub-Regions and the various spaces, boxes and lines located in each.

Action Point 2 – limited action selection mechanic using the Investment Tiles and the Advantage Tiles that enhance them and what that means for the player and their efforts.

Action Point 3 – Event Cards and Ministry Cards to get an idea for how these fit into the design.

Action Point 4 – the Game Sequence, including the differences between Peace and War Turns, Action Rounds and the different actions available including Diplomatic, Military and Economic Actions.

Action Point 5 – how a Turn is scored including the three major scoring categories of Regional Scoring, Prestige Scoring and Global Demand Scoring and how the game can be automatically won if things get a bit out of hand.

If you are interested in Imperial Struggle, you can order a 2nd Printing copy for $59.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link:

2. All Bridges Burning: Red Revolt and White Guard in Finland, 1917-1918 from GMT Games

The games of the COIN Series are good, really good!. We love them all…unashamedly! Looking forward to all the announced volumes that are upcoming but I was really anticipating Volume X on the Finnish Civil War from first time designer Vez Arponen. All Bridges Burning recreates the political and military affairs of the Finnish civil war in a new COIN Series volume for three players. The Reds seek to stage a working class revolt and then hold on to their gains, while the White Senate forces seek to reassert control. A third, non-violent Social Democratic faction fights for the survival of moderate leftism and political reform. All three factions must keep the national sentiment conciliatory enough for a post-conflict settlement and national independence. In addition, the non-player powers of Germany and Russia offer military assistance to the Senate and the Reds, respectively. Excessive foreign involvement, however, could quash the dream of Finnish independence and prompt a collective loss of all three player factions. Historical events, asymmetrical action menus, as well as extensive historical design notes familiarize the players with the historical period.

This game was really good as we thoroughly enjoyed the distinct two separate aspects or epochs of the game. These include pre-war intervention by foreign powers and the players attempt to build up their infrastructure and then the commencement of fighting as both Germany and Russia enter the game to provide troops and change the available actions for the players. As a 3-player COIN, the game creates a lot of great interactions between the three factions as each are very different and somewhat different from other COIN Series games and their factions. We also really liked the new card based bots as they create a totally new experience from the other flow chart based bots used in past volumes of the series. The cards create a bit more randomness as the bots actions will change based on the cards and this creates a feeling of unease as they players simply cannot look at the flowcharts to attempt to anticipate what they bots will do and how they can be foiled. I really like the 3-player interaction as well and really look forward to getting this one to the table with 3-players so we can experience the true intent of the design.

One other aspect that I liked was the changeup to the Sequence of Play that decides who is eligible and for what different Events, Commands or Special Activities. It took us a moment to really understand it but it is definitely different from the other games in the series.

Here is a look at our unboxing video so you can get a good look at the components: 

Here is a look at our video review of the game:

We were able to do an interview with designer VPJ Arponen and also have done a series of Event Card Spoilers that will give you a good feel for the game and it’s history: #3 November Revolution in Russia#8 General Strike#9 Declaration of Finnish Independence#27 The Reds Launch a Major Offensive, #43 Rough Justice#45 Finland’s Fate Hangs in Balance#24 Red Revolt!#25 Disarming Russian Garrisons,#11 Weapons from Russia? and #30 Meetings in the Catacomb.

If you are interested in All Bridges Burning, you can order a copy for $72.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link:

1. Brotherhood & Unity: War in Bosnia and Herzegovina 1992-1995 from Compass Games

We have finally come to my choice for Top Wargame of 2020 and we find it in a card driven game made by a 1st time designer (Tomislav Cipcic) on a subject that I have never gamed before. I was probably expecting one of the usual suspects to take this spot but this game simply blew us both away and was such an interesting experience that I couldn’t help but place it here.

Brotherhood & Unity: War in Bosnia and Herzegovina 1992-1995 is a 2-3 player card driven wargame that deals with the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1992-1995. The game uses cards that have Op Points and Events and these feature all of the major events from the conflict including the siege of Sarajevo to the battles for the Posavina corridor, and defense of the Bosniak enclaves. The game also has an inset mini map that represents the City of Sarajevo that will be a major focus of all players, either in defending it or applying your resources regularly to attempt to take it as it is worth a large chunk of victory points. The game is designed as a Point-To-Point movement system and you can tell that the layout of the map was pondered over to create a lot of interesting opportunities for movement and attack, as well as the fact that all roads basically lead to Sarajevo. The best part of the design though is the relationship and interaction between the various warring sides including the Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats. This game is designed as a 3-player game and really creates an intensive and exciting gameplay experience. We haven’t played it 3-player but cannot wait for that opportunity at a convention maybe even this year.

Here is a look at our unboxing video so you can get a good look at the components: 

We have shot our video review of the game but have not had a chance to post in on our YouTube Channel. I will emend this post with that link once it is available.

If you are interested in Brotherhood & Unity: War in Bosnia and Herzegovina 1992-1995, you can order a copy for $69.00 from the Compass Games website at the following link:

Before I bring this to a close, there are a few games that I really enjoyed but just couldn’t wiggle there way into the Top 10. These Honorable Mentions are all really good games so check them out.

From Salerno to Rome from Dissimula Edizioni – hex and counter operational game focused on the Italian Campaign of World War II from 1943-1944.

Napoleon Returns 1815 from Worthington Publishing – the Battle of Waterloo with a unique card combat system that is light but interesting.

The Shores of Tripoli from Fort Circle Games – card driven game on the Barbary States War which is really interesting and fast playing.

Freedom! from PHALANX – card driven siege style game covering the Greek War of Independence.

Stilicho: Last of the Romans from Hollandpsiele – follow-up solitaire design by Robert DeLeskie focused on the struggles of Rome during Emperor Honorius’s reign.

Undaunted: North Africa from Osprey Publishing – standalone game in the Undaunted Series focused on North Africa with a smaller scale and some additional asymmetry.

There I am finally done. My list of the Top 10 Wargames published in 2020. I had fun playing them and putting this list together as I got to revisit each of the games and think about why they were included on this list.