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.

Here is a look at all of the games that we were able to play in 2021:

In Magnificent Style from Worthington Publishing, 1944 Battle of the Bulge from Worthington Publishing, Judean Hammer from Catastrophe Games, Empire at Sunrise from Hollandspiele, Dominant Species: Marine from GMT Games, Atlantic Chase from GMT Games, Bayonets & Tomahawks from GMT Games, Commands & Colors: Samurai Battles from GMT Games, 1914 Mons from Conflict Simulations Limited, Walking a Bloody Path: Fallen Timbers from High Flying Dice Games, USS Laffey: The Ship That Would Not Die from Catastrophe Games, Decisive Victory 1918 Volume One Soissons July 18-23 from Legion Wargames, 300: Earth and Water from Nuts! Publishing, Zero Leader from Dan Verssen Games, Napoleon’s Imperium from Compass Games, The Last Hundred Yards Vol. 2: Airborne Over Europe from GMT Games, Dawn of Battle from Worthington Publishing, Soviet Dawn from Worthington Publishing, Soldiers in Postmen’s Uniforms from Dan Verssen Games, The Dark Summer from GMT Games, The Lamps are Going Out 2nd Edition from Compass Games, The Grass Crown from Hollandspiele, 1979: Revolution in Iran from The Dietz Foundation, Assault Red Horizon 41 from Assault Games, Border States from Shakos Games, Captain’s Sea: The American Frigates from Legion Wargames, Keep Up the Fire! from Worthington Publishing, Tarawa 1943 from Worthington Publishing, Red Flag Over Paris from GMT Games, Conquest & Consequence from GMT Games and Red Poppies Campaign Volume 3: Assault Artillery! from Compass Games.

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 D-Day and Beyond from Tiny Battle Publishing, Rome, Inc. from Against the Odds/LPS Publishing, Coalition: The Napoleonic Wars, 1805-1815 from Compass Games, Scream, Aim, Fire! from Tiny Battle Publishing, Absolute War from GMT Games, Tank Duel: North Africa from GMT Games, Tank Duel: Tank Pack #1 from GMT Games, They Were Soldiers from Cadet Games, Ambon: Burning Sun & Little Seagulls from SNAFU, Storm Above the Reich from GMT Games, 1973: The Yom Kippur War from Conflict Simulations Limited among a few others.

10. Soldiers in Postmen’s Uniforms from Dan Verssen Games

I have played all the entries in the Valiant Defense Series to date, including Pavlov’s House, Castle Itter and now Soldier’s in Postmen’s Uniforms, and have really enjoyed the series. Fun, engaging, with some tough choices about how to spend your actions. It is perfect as a solitaire system and also works cooperatively. Soldiers in Postmen’s Uniforms deals with the assault on the 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.

What makes this game in the series so unique, and that has given me thought to unseat Pavlov’s House as my favorite, is that it looks at the battle from a 3D perspective. It is not just about one level to defend or assaults from a few tracks but includes multiple floors to the building, the basement, ground floors and upper floors. Each of these areas has their own field of fire and there are several entrances and tracks from which the German and Polish Police can enter the building from. You really have to be on your toes and keep those invaders out or they will simply start wasting the defenders on the interior of the building. The game also provides some new tricks for the defenders, including hand grenades to attack multiple enemies in the interior of the building and more of a focus on ammunition as the big guns need bullets to be able to fire and suppress the attackers. There are just a lot of different things to focus on and similar to Pavlov’s House leaves me feeling full and satisfied as I feel after eating a 10″ ribeye steak! There are a lot of familiar mechanics to the game but enough new that it feels like a totally new experience.

We posted an interview with the designer David Thompson on the blog covering the design and you can read that at the following link:

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:

Here is a look at our review of the game after playing the game cooperatively:

If you are interested in Soldiers in Postmen’s Uniforms, you can order a copy for $69.99 on the Dan Verssen Games website at the following link: :

9. The Dark Summer: Normandy, 1944 from GMT Games

We played and fell in love with The Dark Sands a few years ago and now are very interested in The Dark Series and it’s very engaging Chit-Pull Activation System that tells a fantastic and interesting narrative of battle and decides both the order of players turns as well as what type of actions they can take. The next game in this series was a big hit with us and is The Dark Summer: Normandy 1944 from GMT Games.

The best part of the design is the Action Round chits and the fact that the weather, also drawn randomly from a separate cup of different weather chits, determine the number of Action Chits placed in the cup that round. This shows how important the weather was on the effectiveness of Allied air superiority and Allied shipping across the Channel. The bonus of this Chit Pull System is that The Dark Summer is an excellent game for solo play.

While the game is large in scope as an operational design, it is designed with moderate complexity and is very playable. The game does however cover all the most important elements of the campaign. There are rules for the D-Day Landings, untried German strong-points and Ost battalions, Allied tac-air and carpet bombing, Allied artillery superiority, German nebelwerfer and flak guns, Allied naval support, the conquest of Cherbourg, exiting and re-entering the map, and variable entry and possible delay of both side’s reinforcements.


We posted an interview with the designer Ted Raicer on the blog covering the design and you can read that at the following link:

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

If you are interested in The Dark Summer: Normandy, 1944, you can order a copy for $55.00 on the GMT Games website at the following link:

8. Shields & Swords Ancients: The Grass Crown: Battles of the Roman Republic from Hollandspiele

A few years ago, we played the first game in this new Shields & Swords Ancients Series called With It or On It from Hollandspiele. That game deals with the Peloponnesian Wars and is simply fantastic as a light skirmish style game with some very unique mechanics. The next game in that series debuted in 2021 and was called The Grass Crown and dealt with the wars of the Roman Republic. The game uses double sided Command Chits for players to activate and move or fight with their formations. The activation process is very simple but is frankly the best part of the design and makes for some really interesting and hand wringing decisions. Each player has three double sided Command Chits that have different Commands on each side. Due to this fact, some combinations of Commands cannot be played at the same time like Move and Attack. The player gets to choose two Commands for the chosen Wing and will have a choice between the 6 different Commands. This just really makes this game unique and interesting as you have to learn to use these Chits appropriately and properly approach your enemy to do the most damage possible.

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. Another really interesting part of the game is the dreaded Rout Check. When attacks connect and players have to take losses they can be resolved by flipping the unit counter that was attacked, or you have the choice to flip any unit that is adjacent. This means that you can keep your front line troops fresh but once the backups are exhausted then the continual onslaught of a persistent attacker can lead to the units breaking due to failing their Rout Check. This result leads to units being removed from the board and can cause the line to collapse shattering the effectiveness of the Wing. This is just such a neat way of handling losses and really makes for a study in how ancient formations fought and supported one another. Overall, 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.

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

If you are interested in The Grass Crown you can order a copy for $60.00 on the Hollandspiele website at the following link:

7. Red Flag Over Paris: 1871, The Rise and Fall of the Paris Commune from GMT Games

As you may know, I had a really good experience with the first game in GMT’s Lunchtime Series called Fort Sumter: The Secession Crisis, 1860-61. This series of card driven games is designed as fast playing small footprint games that can be played by both new players and veterans alike. I have played Fort Sumter over 30 times with my wife and she still is interested in playing it from time to time. So when a new game in the line has come along, I was immediately interested. Red Flag Over Paris: 1871, The Rise and Fall of the Paris Commune covers the two months of confrontation between the Communards and the government in Versailles during the 1871 Paris Commune. Players will take control of one of these factions and fight for control over Paris. But, you will also need to win the hearts and minds of the French population, as the board is divided into two areas, including military and political, as well as being divided into several dimensions (Political Institutions, Public Opinion, Paris neighborhoods, and the forts on the outskirts of the city). The game forces players to make tough decisions like when to focus on political influence or military dominance and how to optimize limited resources.

This game plays similarly to Fort Sumter but just feels different as there have been several changes to the system that fit this conflict. The biggest one of these changes is the adjacency requirement to place influence into dimensions. No longer can you just willy nilly place your cubes on the board but now have to plan ahead and thing about control of areas to get your influence into as many adjacent spaces as possible or to cut off your opponent from being able to infiltrate those areas. There also is a combat process included as well, although it is very simple, but makes it feel a bit more like a wargame and was a nice inclusion to replicate the powerful forces of Versailles. Also as with any good game on the political troubles in France, barricades are also included. Fast playing, interesting and with lots of choices for each player as you really have to have an overall strategy to do well in this game.

We posted an interview with the designer Fred Serval on the blog and you can read that at the following link:

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

If you are interested in Red Flag Over Paris: 1871, The Rise and Fall of the Paris Commune you can order a copy for $42.00 from the game page on the GMT Games website at the following link:

6. Conquest & Consequence: Asian Balance of Power 1936-1945 from GMT Games

One of the common elements in wargames is a focus on historicity and simulation of historical events. We want to be given the same assets as the great commanders of the past, under the same conditions they experienced and attempt to equal or even best their outcome. In stark contrast to this regimented look at a historical engagement is the so called “sandbox” style game. Typically a sandbox is described as a system where players are not restrained in their choices and have the option of doing actions or attacks that would be considered alternate history. So there are different degrees of “sandbox” war games. Some allow you to change the initial order of battle. Some have different than historical objectives. Some even allow for planned invasions, such as D-Day or Sicily, to change their beaches. I personally love sandbox games and the ability to take a look at history in a little different light. Conquest & Consequence: Asian Balance of Power 1936-1945 is such a sandbox and delves into alternative history a bit in the Pacific Theater of Operations of World War II, following on and using the same system as its predecessor game Triumph & Tragedy.

If you haven’t played T&T, the game starts in 1936, the same start date as in C&C, and allows for players to build up their economy in order to get ready for war. Players will use Action Cards to influence various countries in an effort to bring them into their fold to gain Population or Resources, which are the building blocks of an economy, but also to develop the machinery of production in factories and develop technologies. The cards also allow for the players to move around units already existing on the board to invade neutral or non-aligned countries for the same purpose of gaining Population and Resources. These Action Cards are actually well designed multi-use cards that have three pieces of key information contained on them including Commands, neutral countries that are used to influence and Investment where you can build up your production capability or invest in technology to improve your units.

The game is a block wargame and really creates some interesting situation with the placement of blocks and the inability to see what type of units they are or what their strength is. I really love this system as it has stages and each stage is very different but engages players. There is the initial buildup, where players are trying to build their forces while also building their economy, which then leads to political wrangling and fighting with cards to gain control of key resources and then finally open combat. This system is always supremely interesting and creates some really great non-historical outcomes that keep it interesting each play. Plus it is a 3-player game which creates some really interesting dynamics that keep the game feeling fresh.

We posted an interview with the designer Craig Besinque on the blog and you can read that at the following link:

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

If you are interested in Conquest & Consequence: Asian Balance of Power 1936-1945 you can order a copy for $115.00 from the game page on the GMT Games website at the following link:

5. Captain’s Sea: The American Frigates 1799-1815 from Legion Wargames

I love unique games that can give me a new experience. There were several of these type of games this past year but one of the best we played was Captain’s Sea from Legion Wargames. Captain’s Sea is a fairly involved, but I would say complex game for two players where players take on the role of the captain of an Age of Sail vessel from either the early American frigates or the British or French navies during the turn of the 19th Century. This one is a bit different from other Age of Sail games however as this sees the player control just a single ship where other games focus on fleet actions. This focus allows the player to really dig in while using only one ship and make sure they can understand the system as they have to fight against the wind in order to maneuver into position to use their firepower. The other really interesting part of the game is that you will manage your crew as well as they will have to load the guns, work the rigging to move in the proper direction, and also repair battle damage so that you have the ability to properly attack your opponent. There are lots of really interesting and engaging elements to focus on and this game kept my attention very well.

I especially liked the concept of using your commands to use the wind in your favor, whether that means going against the wind in order to keep your guns on your target or swinging around to get away from your pursuers. The order system is very well done and is somewhat of a game in and of itself. I also liked the different type of shot you can load out depending on the situation and what you are trying to do. Just a very interesting experience that I have not come across in other games.

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

If you are interested in Captain’s Sea: The American Frigates 1799-1815 you can order a copy for $60.00 from the game page on the Legion Wargames website at the following link::

4. The Lamps are Going Out 2nd Edition from Compass Games

The Lamps are Going Out: World War I was published as a 2nd Edition copy in 2021 and we just had to get our hands on a copy and give it a go as it is a very well thought of game on the subject. I normally don’t include 2nd Edition copies in my list as they are not necessarily new but this one was new-to-me and was significantly updated in the area of art, map and counters and just looks so good and plays so well that I couldn’t resist adding it to my list.

The game is a strategic level look at the entirety of World War I and uses cards in several very interesting ways with each faction having their own Event Deck. At the beginning of each turn, each side draws a card and then an event will trigger. These cards are pretty interesting and insert various historical events into the narrative which creates a pretty historic outcome. I also really enjoyed the technology element and how you have to build up certain advantages to realize their beneficial effects during gameplay.

This game is an instant classic and the updated mounted mapboard is pretty sweet as well. Overall, this was one of my favorite games we played during our Guns of August event and I am frankly itching to get it back to the table.

Here is a link to our video review of the game:

If you are interested in The Lamps are Going Out 2nd Edition you can order a copy for $75.00 on the Compass Games website at the following link:

3. Assault Red Horizon 41 from Assault Games

We love tactical wargames. The small units, moving around the board, trying to outflank their enemy. Always a very interesting experience. And even though there are a bunch of different systems out there, there is always a new designer that will add some new tricks to make a new experience. Such is the case with Assault Red Horizon 41, which is Volume 1 in a planned series of tactical level wargames in which players lead units into battle during Operation Barbarossa covering the period of June through October 1941.

This game is designed to be a different experience, even with scenarios that you have already played. This is accomplished through the use of the Order of Battle which is variable through the use of Formation Cards. In each scenario, rather than being given a set Order of Battle, the players will randomly select Formation Cards based on the side they are playing. These Formation Cards give the player a certain number and type of units available for the scenario. This ensures both variation and regular surprises, since the make-up of your forces will change from game to game. This was a really refreshing take on the genre as these Formations are close in unit makeup but with slight variation that will provide new challenges or opportunities.

The combat system is also very novel as it uses different colored dice that have different hit numbers so units will have better or worse chances to hit based on the dice they are rolling. These dice can be modified, by providing another die of the type or increased to the next color due to several factors including cover, range, etc. This type of custom dice system always is very interesting to me and keeps the game light and interesting as you simply never know what is going to happen.

We posted an interview with the designer Wolfgang Klein on the blog and you can read that at the following link:

Here is a link to our video review of the game:

If you are interested in Assault Red Horizon 41 you can order a copy on the Assault Games website at the following link:

2. Atlantic Chase: The Kriegsmarine Against the Home Fleet, 1939-1942 from GMT Games

Not often is a wargame found to be on the cutting edge of forging new ground. There are many tried and true systems that are of high quality, simulation value that designers use them over and over again to great effect. But, once in a while, a designer seems to go out on a limb and try something new that ends up being highly innovative and changes the way we view games on that subject. Such is the case with the newest design from Jeremy “Jerry” White called Atlantic Chase: The Kriegsmarine Against the Home Fleet, 1939-1942 from GMT Games. In case you don’t know, Atlantic Chase is an effort at simulating the naval campaigns fought in the North Atlantic during World War II between the surface fleets of the Royal Navy and the Kriegsmarine from 1939 to 1942. The Battle of the Atlantic is a tricky nut to crack in a wargame as there are many things that players shouldn’t specifically know, but end up knowing because of limitations in design ideas and approaches on the subject. As you know from history, the Admiralty headquartered in London and overseen by Winston Churchill himself, had very little ability to actually know where their fleets and assets were when it was time to dispatch them to combat the enemy after being sighted. In fact, the Admiralty had to track their fleets locations using pins and strings on maps of the seas but only really knew their trajectory as they were traveling between ports and not necessarily where they actually were located along that path.

That is where this new system in Atlantic Chase does such an admirable job, in creating and maintaining that elusive Fog of War concept that we all love so much as wargamers. I hate having the “God’s Eye” view of all the units on the board during a wargame as well as generally knowing their strengths and makeup. I want to be surprised, and unsure about the makeup of my enemy, as it creates some fantastic tension and palpable hesitation about making attacks, you know, the way that we all have imagined that it actually is on the battlefield! How does it do this? Actually, very simply. The game utilizes a system of trajectories of ships using nothing more than small different colored matchstick style wooden bits with various markings on them to represent which taskforce they belong to. These trajectories are laid out on the hex board in the shortest path from port to port and represent the path of travel that the ships will take. Like I mentioned earlier about the Admiralty and their pins and strings, players don’t necessarily know where their ships or the enemy ships are located along that trajectory but must perform various actions to move along it and also try to perform actions such as Naval Searches to pinpoint where the taskforces are on the map.

This game is unique and is really interesting. We played through the 9 introductory sessions to get an idea for how each of the various aspects of the design worked and then played a few full games and I still feel that there is a lot to learn and understand about this game.

Here is a First Impressions post on the game on our blog:

We posted an interview with the designer Jerry White on the blog and you can read that at the following link:

Here is a link to our video review of the game:

If you are interested in Atlantic Chase: The Kriegsmarine Against the Home Fleet, 1939-1942 you can pre-order a 2nd Edition copy from the game page on the GMT Games website at the following link:

1. Bayonets & Tomahawks: The French and Indian War from GMT Games

The French & Indian War has always been an interesting subject to me, mainly due to the fact that it contributed to my favorite period of history in the American Revolutionary War. There are not a glut of games on the subject out there but the period is better represented than you might think. Games such as the well regarded Wilderness War from GMT Games, A Few Acres of Snow from Tree Frog Games, 1754 Conquest from Academy Games and Bloody Mohawk from Lock ‘n Load Publishing just to name a few. They all represent the game in their own unique way but there are a few elements that they have in common due to the history of the conflict and the fierce wilderness of the North American continent. Bayonets & Tomahawks has been a game on my radar now since 2016 when we posted an interview with the designer Mark Rodrigue. You can read that interview at the following link:

Every time I play one of these French & Indian War games I always try to look for how they represent matters like terrain and movement, seaborne operations, sieges, fortifications, especially for the French and their bastion at Louisbourg, Indian raiding, Indian tribes and their fickle loyalty and Colonial enlistments. If these elements are not modeled into a French & Indian War game, then it really isn’t about that period. This game really does a bang up job of modeling all of these elements. The best part of the design is the use of custom dice that are connected to the symbols for the various units. Remember, Squares for Brigades, Triangles for Light units and now Circles for Artillery/Fleets. There are also a few other symbols, including a crossed bayonet and tomahawk that typically means success on a Raid action or a hit for certain units and a flag which means a morale hit and can lead to forced retreats. Frankly, while the symbology is very easy to understand for the units, the battle system was the biggest challenge that we had with the design. It is not bad, it is just a bit more complex and requires the players to use the player aid and the rulebook for all battles as it is just too difficult to follow and remember, even after a few plays. It works very well and is coupled with a very interesting Battle Track that tracks hits and morale losses and when the battle is over, the victor will be the player with their Battle Track Marker higher than the other player. The loser will have to retreat and this is very important and really creates some tension as the process unfolds. Having to retreat out of a fort that you just built doesn’t feel great but happens sometimes. Don’t worry though, you can scuttle the fort so that your enemy cannot use it against you until they build their own.

Bayonets & Tomahawks is a special game and frankly was the most enjoyable wargame that I played in 2021. What it tries to do, it does very well and creates a very engaging and interesting simulation of this titanic struggle for the future of the continent. The game’s production is also off the charts. From the beautiful map, to the very cool custom dice, to the interesting use of squares, triangles and circles to represent different unit types. It is a beautiful game! But, it is more than a pretty face and creates a very rewarding experience that is sure to be enjoyed for many, many plays and years to come because you cannot possibly get it all in just a few plays.

Here is a First Impressions post on the game on our blog:

Here is a link to our video review of the game:

If you are interested in Bayonets & Tomahawks you can pre-order a 2nd Edition copy from the game page on the GMT Games website at the following link:

Honorable Mentions:

Each year I feel compelled to tack on some games to this list just because they were so very interesting or dealt with unique settings that I feel they are worthy of mentioning.

1979 Revolution in Iran from The Dietz Foundation

From the beautiful mind of Dan Bullock, this small card driven game on the 1970 Iranian revolution is just deliciously good. Players take on the role of either the Coalition, pushing to nationalize the oil industry and, later, rise to oppose the Shah and remove him from power or as the Royalist, fighting to keep the Shah, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi in power and protect American and British oil interests. It is really interesting to see how the designer modeled the US and their interactions with the revolution while trying to stay in the shadows.

We posted an interview with the designer Dan Bullock on the blog and you can read that at the following link:

Here is a link to our video review of the game:

If you are interested in 1979 Revolution in Iran you can order a copy for $60.00 from The Dietz Foundation website from the following link:

Decisive Victory 1918 – Volume One: Soissons from Legion Wargames

Decisive Victory 1918 is a new series consisting of a proposed three games that when combined will cover the entire Allied offensive in July of 1918 known as the Second Battle of the Marne. Volume One is Soissons and focuses on this major French offensive during the late war. The game focuses on some of the major features of late WWI combat and gets away from the slogging trench warfare that we all know from history. The game is set up to mimic how a good defensive force can hold tactical advantage over an aggressive offense until it grinds itself out with losses. The French player has complete surprise and greater numbers of troops and equipment facing a small German army that is trying to use the terrain to win key engagements to slow the advance down. The best part of the game is how the attacker can choose to inflict one or two losses on their enemy when winning a combat but in attacking and inflicting those losses a similar number of losses must be absorbed. It creates some real tension and tough choices for the offensive player as once French troops reach half of their original strength they cannot attack any longer. Such a great new system that really has captured our fancy and we are eagerly awaiting the follow-up volumes.

Here is a link to our video review of the game:

If you are interested in Decisive Victory 1918 – Volume One: Soissons you can order a copy for $50.00 from the Legion Wargames website from the following link:

300: Earth and Water from Nuts! Publishing

300: Earth and Water is a simple card driven wargame for two players with one player controlling the Greeks and Athenians, and the other controlling the Persians, The game is short, lasting just 5 rounds, and the winner is the player that controls more cities than their opponent.

The game engine is a card driven system and players raise armies and buy cards during production. The best part of the game is that you have to buy cards first without looking at them and then decide what armies you want to add. This is really cool as you just don’t know if the cards you bought are what you were needing. This is a just a really fantastic little wargame in a small package.

Here is a link to our video review of the game:

If you are interested in 300: Earth and Water you can order a copy for about $27.00 from the Nuts! Publishing website from the following link:

At Villers Cottérêts: Mons 1914 from Conflict Simulations Limited

At Villers Cottérêts: Mons 1914 is a tactical, battalion scale game on the rearguard action during the battle of Mons where a massively outnumbered BEF brigade held up 2 German divisions for an afternoon until another friendly force arrived and was able to cover their retreat.

This was an interesting design and was the first game we played during our Guns of August adventure last summer as we really pushed the units involved and tried our best to beat each other up with the very interesting fire combat rules. The terrain was a huge obstacle for movement and the Germans used their fast and agile Cavalry units to attempt to sneak around the BEF flanks to slow their advance towards the crossroads. This worked well and taught us that aggressive maneuver was the key to a German victory here. The game ended in a loss for the Germans controlled by me however as Alexander was able to hold the advancing Huns back from reaching the crossroads. All in all a great first experience for us that we were glad we played as it had been on the shelf for nearly a year and once again reminded me that the best presents sometimes come in small packages.

Here is a link to our video review of the game:

I am not really sure where you might acquire a copy of this game at the moment due to CSL having some printing issues. I am sure there are copies available on some of the large online retail outlets.

Tarawa 1943 from Worthington Publishing

Tarawa 1943 is a solitaire, card driven wargame on the invasion of Japanese controlled Tarawa by the 2nd Marine Division. The game focuses on the use of Cohesion to activate battalions to move or attack the Japanese forces on the island. Each turn the USMC player will activate one of their battalions and as a battalion is activated it reduces its cohesion reflecting wear and tear, and exhaustion or troops. Battalions are further reduced in cohesion due to Japanese attacks and the marines pushing their attacks. The player also has a 3 card hand (out of a deck of 30 cards) that gives additional resources to the player including things like naval support, air support, engineers, tanks, etc. The USMC player can play 1 card during their turn and 1 card during the Japanese turn.

After the player finishes their activation, the Japanese AI takes its turn by flipping one of their cards. From this the USMC player will face fire attacks, banzai attacks, bunkers, cross fire, infiltration, and more. The card engine will ensure an ever changing game and no two will play the same. This game is very good but so hard to win. I have played 5 or 6 times and only won once, and frankly think that I cheated accidentally because I didn’t understand one of the rules. It is simply brutal and I have had whole battalions eliminated before they even get out of the water and onto the beach.

We posted an interview with the designer Grant Wylie on the blog and you can read that at the following link:

Here is a link to our video review of the game:

If you are interested in Tarawa 1943 you can order a copy for about $70.00 from the Worthington Publishing website from the following link:

There I am finally done. My list of the Top 10 Wargames published in 2021. 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.