We just attended WBC in Pennsylvania and had a great time! We got a look at several in-design games and had chats with lots of designers. We also played some really great games and got large multi-player wargames in such as Fire in the Lake, Pericles and Angola!. In spite of that trip, I was able to give the Wargame Watch its full attention this month and made this one a bit supersized and found 15 games to share with you, with one of those being offered on Gamefound.

If you missed the July Wargame Watch you can you can read that here at the following link: https://theplayersaid.com/2022/07/01/wargame-watch-whats-new-upcoming-july-2022/


1. World At War 85: Blood and Fury from Lock ‘n Load Publishing Currently on Gamefound

In July 2019, I had the pleasure of meeting Keith Tracton at the World Boardgaming Championships in Pennsylvania. He was showing off his new game at the time World At War 85: Storming the Gap and it was a thing of beauty! Big counters, huge geomorphic maps, a dynamic activation and combat system, we really enjoyed our introduction to the game! Since then, Keith and his design team have worked on the follow-up to the first game in Blood and Fury and it is now hitting crowdfunding on Gamefound. Blood and Fury is a standalone game that shares the World At War 85 Series rules but deals with a different part of the hypothetical battleground of World War III.

From the Gamefound page, we read the following:

Blood and Fury is the second volume in The World At War 85 Series of games of fast and furious platoon-level combat. Set in 1985, in an alternate history of World War III, when the Warsaw Pact armies storm across the border of East Germany in a powerful attempt to seize northern West Germany, Denmark, and the whole of Free Europe.

The World At War 85 system features a unique combat system that involves die rolls by both attacking units and defending units, which keeps both players engaged throughout the game. Die rolls are compared and hits applied quickly, as all the information you need to fight your units is on the counters. No combat results table is necessary. Initiative, formation activation, random turn length, close air support and air cover are all integrated smoothly.

One of best parts of this system and its presentation is the freaking beautiful counters! They are large, colorful and really are easy to read and follow. I love the silhouettes used rather than NATO symbols and they look really great on the board itself. A very well done game system with some intersting elements.

Here is a link to a video interview we did with the designer Keith Traction while in attendance at WBC in 2019 covering the World At War 85 Series and the then new volume Storming the Gap (and yes I realize that I am thinner and had thicker and darker hair then but the pandemic was hard on me!):

We also recently published a written interview with the designer Keith Tracton and you can read that at the following link: https://theplayersaid.com/2022/07/25/interview-with-keith-tracton-designer-of-world-at-war-85-blood-and-fury-from-lock-n-load-publishing-coming-to-gamefound-july-25th/

If you are interested in World At War 85: Blood and Fury you can check out the campaign on the Gamefound page at the following link: https://gamefound.com/projects/lnlp/blood-and-fury/projects

As of August 1st, the Gamefound campaign has raised $94,311 toward its $25,000 funding goal with 623 backers. The campaign will conclude on Monday, August 22nd at 1:00pm EDT. 

2. The Hill of Death – Champion Hill from Tiny Battle Publishing

Hermann Luttmann is a great guy and a very good all around designer. In fact, he can do a bit of everything including lite games (Dawn of the Zeds, Attack of the 50′ Colossi), fun games (The Plum Island Horror), games on varied topics such as WWI, ACW and Franco Prussian Wars. There is nothing that he shies away from! But his real sweet spot is his American Civil War games and he has a new one upcoming from Tiny Battle Publishing called The Hill of Death – Champion Hill.

From the game page, we read the following:

Heavily influenced by his popular A Most Fearful Sacrifice, Herm Luttmann’s Shattered Union Series is a new line of American Civil War wargames designed to be accessible to gamers of any experience level. The series aims to provide not only a playable wargame experience in about three hours, but also to produce a realistic simulation of a 19th Century battlefield. The Hill of Death is the first module in the Shattered Union Series. The game covers the entire Battle of Champion Hill. This critical engagement was fought just outside of Vicksburg, Mississippi on May 16th, 1863, between the Union Army of the Tennessee (under Major General Ulysses S. Grant) and the Confederate Army of Vicksburg (under Lieutenant General John C. Pemberton). 

If you are interested in The Hill of Death – Champion Hill you can pre-order a copy for $50.00 from the Tiny Battle Publishing website at the following link: https://tinybattlepublishing.com/products/the-hill-of-death-champion-hill

3. On To Richmond II: The Union Strikes South from Multi-Man Publishing

Monster wargame alert! Giant game incoming. The most recent pre-order offer from MMP is another Great Campaigns of the American Civil War (GCACW) game called On To Richmond II: The Union Strikes South. This game is also 3 games in one including On To Richmond II (which covers the 1862 Richmond Campaign) with scenarios rebalanced and some new rules added, Grant Takes Command II (which covers the 1864 Overland Campaign) has had the various basic and advanced game scenarios revised as needed and The Petersburg Campaign (which covers the 1864-1865 Petersburg Campaign) and is an entirely new module that covers the months of battles, mostly in the open field, that started when Grant marched across the James River in June 1864 and ended with the defeat of the Confederates at Five Forks in April 1865.

From the game page, we read the following:

On to Richmond II: The Union Strikes South covers some of the most famous campaigns of the Civil War in a single module for the award-winning Great Campaigns of the American Civil War (GCACW) Series.  Two of the campaigns in this module have been revised, repackaged, and rebalanced for improved play and the third is entirely new

The four maps included are painted by original map artist Charlie Kibler and have been significantly revised to include all the latest GCACW terrain types including hills, swamps, dams, trails and landings.  New map area has been added to cover the western portion of the Petersburg battles.  The military unit counters have been redesigned by Charlie Kibler to harken back to the counters in the original games in the series but with a more modern graphical treatment.

OTR2: The Union Strikes South contains an updated version of the GCACW Standard Basic Game Rules that all the other games in the series use. The Advanced Game rules are also standardized so players will be able to move quickly from one campaign to the other. Richmond & Petersburg Campaigns includes a massive collection of twenty-five Basic Game scenarios and seven Advanced Game campaigns, divided as shown between the three module

The game contains 3 separate specific Rules Booklets for each of the above 3 games (in color including scenarios, the game as history, map gazetteer, etc.), 4 22″x 32″ full-color map sheets, 5 280-piece counter sheets (that is a total of 1,400 counters), 1 2-sided 11”x14” color display, GTC off map display on one side & Petersburg charts & tracks on other side, 1 Terrain Effects Chart, 2 full-color Force Displays and 2 4-page color Charts and Tables. That is a lot and probably (mostly) justifies the cost!

If you are interested in On To Richmond II: The Union Strikes South, you can pre-order a copy for $165.00 from the Multi-Man Publishing website at the following link: https://mmpgamers.com/on-to-richmond-ii-the-union-strikes-south-p-367

4. Storm of Steel: Ju-87 STUKA, Eastern Front from Compass Games

Not really sure why there are so many games currently in design/development covering German Stukas during World War II….but there are 3 of them, Stuka Leader from DVG, JU87 Stuka Ace from Lock ‘n Load Publishing and now Storm of Steel from Compass Games.

From the game page, we read the following:

Storm of Steel: Ju-87 STUKA, Eastern Front is a solitaire tactical air wargame where you take the role of a Staffelkapitän – Flight leader. Select, equip and fly your aircraft, lead a squadron of Stuka dive bombers and execute close air support missions along the Eastern Front from the opening day of Operation Barbarossa on June 22, 1941 up to the Kursk offensive in 1943.

Take command of the legendary Stuka dive bomber on combat missions over the vast battlefields on the Eastern Front. Select and equip your Stuka Staffel with individual and historically named pilots and gunners or create your own. Lead your unit during the opening days of Operation Barbarossa, targeting Soviet airfields, troop concentrations, rail lines, convoys, tank formations, and more. Attempt the final drive on Moscow during Operation Winter Storm. Continue your career to participate in Case Blue and the offensive on Stalingrad. Use the newly converted Ju-87G Stuka tank killer during Operation Citadel to destroy enemy armor. Conduct maritime missions to sink, and disrupt the Red Navy on the Gulf of Finland and the Black Sea utilizing specialized ordnance.

Manage StG-1, 2, or 77, and fly with your Staffel of up to ten Stukas deep into enemy territory. Avoid enemy fighters, bad weather, and murderous anti-aircraft fire to deliver your deadly payload accurately to its target. Log your missions, scores, gain experience for yourself and your unit. An experienced-based promotion system provides an increased level of proficiency for your crew. Between missions; manage replacements and repairs of your aircraft as well as your wounded and KIA crew.

My guess is this is similar in style to Gregory M. Smith’s other solitaire fighter games like Interceptor Ace, Nightfighter Ace and others but I could be totally wrong. With a new designer on the project in Joe Fernandez this one could be totally different and unique. Only time will tell!

If you are interested in Storm of Steel: Ju-87 STUKA, Eastern Front, you can pre-order a copy for $75.00 from the Compass Games website at the following link: https://www.compassgames.com/product/storm-of-steel-ju-87-stuka-eastern-front-pay-later/

5. Fields of Fire, Deluxe Edition from GMT Games

Fields of Fire is a solitaire game designed by Ben Hull that allows players to simulate squad level actions on various battlefields in different wars such as World War II, Korea and Vietnam. The game is very complex and has a rulebook that is around 60 pages in length. The common complaint over the past 15 years since its release in 2008 has been that the rulebook is hard to follow and the game suffers because of that problem. Well, in the most recent Monthly Update from GMT, we found out that they are working on an improved and expanded Deluxe Edition for Fields of Fire Volume I.

From the game page, we read the following:

Fields of Fire, Deluxe Edition is an expanded and improved edition of Fields of Fire Volume I. Based on the past 15 years of feedback, hundreds of hours of playtesting, and long discussions with the design team, the Deluxe Edition presents Ben Hull’s masterpiece of tactical infantry command in a way that is accessible to the modern gamer while retaining all of the deep complexity that veteran players have grown to love over the years.

New features include:

A Rewritten Series Rulebook. The Deluxe Edition comes with a rewritten third edition ruleset, packed with examples, diagrams, and clarifying notes while maintaining continuity with the 2nd edition rules. Our rules development team of Andrew Stead and Colin Parsons have worked to eliminate ambiguities and edge cases throughout, creating a much improved reference manual for play.

A Starter Guide. While Fields of Fire has a reputation of being difficult to learn, the Starter Guide makes it easy. Each chapter in the Starter Guide incrementally introduces new rules through training exercises that teach you the basics of infantry combat. Later exercises act as advanced guides on setting up for air assaults and making the best use of supporting vehicles. 

A Full Starter Mission. A stand-alone mission tailored towards easing new company commanders into the full game. This mission can be played repeatedly with a variety of simplified rules to allow you to adjust to the full historical campaigns.

Three Fully Redesigned Mission Books. Using the much improved format from Fields of Fire: The Bulge Campaign, the Normandy, Heartbreak Ridge, Naktong River, and Vietnam campaigns are presented in a clarified and expanded manner.

Over 200 updated counters plus various additional reference markers and new units.

New elevation cards to enhance the Heartbreak Ridge campaign.

A completely new set of redesigned player aids including new charts and air assault planning cards.

A 3″ Game Box

If you are interested in Fields of Fire Deluxe Edition, you can pre-order a copy for $55.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-998-fields-of-fire-deluxe-edition.aspx

6. Fire & Stone: Siege of Vienna 1683 from Capstone Games

Capstone Games has been doing a great job recently of working on historically focused games. Coupled with their fantastic production values and art department, they have come out with some really great hits! Our first exposure to their games was with 2019’s Watergate and recently we played a prototype copy of their newest offering called Fire & Stone: Siege of Vienna 1683. It was well designed, and very well produced with lots of wooden pieces representing field cannon, fortifications and improvised walls, and is a fast playing 2-player asymmetric wargame focused on the siege of Vienna by the Ottomans in 1683.

From the game page, we read the following:

Fire & Stone: Siege of Vienna 1683 places you in one of the most dramatic sieges in history. With a completely different set of cards for each player, you will conduct deadly assaults against impenetrable fortifications, dig tunnels packed with explosives, and launch desperate attacks to delay your enemy’s advance. Or you can play powerful events with the power to change the course of battle!

Includes historical notes about the siege and 17th century siege warfare (knowledge not required to play the game).

We recently had the opportunity of playing a pre-production copy of the game and you can watch our thoughts on the game on our video review at the following link:

If you are interested in Fire & Stone: Siege of Vienna 1683, you can pre-order a copy for $49.95 from the Capstone Games website at the following link: https://capstone-games.com/board-games/fire-stone-siege-of-vienna-1683/

New Release

1. Donnserschlag: Escape from Stalingrad from VUCA Simulations

A new company on the scene the last few years is VUCA Simulations and they are coming out with some really great looking games. One of their recent new release games was called Donnerschlag: Escape from Stalingrad and I immediately was interested in this title.

The game is about the Stalingrad relief operation called Unternehmen Wintergewitter, which took place in December 1942 and was led by Heeresgruppe Don to attempt to free the trapped German 6th Army in Stalingrad.

The Axis formations entered with 50,000 men and 250 tanks, while the strength of the Soviet formations was reported to be about three times that. For the enterprise to have any chance of success, the troops in the encirclement had to break out and meet the advancing Axis troops. The breakout had to be precisely coordinated with the advance of the relief troops and was to commence on the cue “Donnerschlag”. The breakout was never ordered and the troops in Stalingrad were never able to be relieved.

From the game page, we read the following:

Donnerschlag is a two player game which is playable in one sitting. It is more of a game than a simulation and intended to bring a high player interactivity and replayability to the player’s table.

The game scale is one hex equals about 4km and one turn equals 2-3 days. Units are mostly Brigades & Regiments for the Soviets and Romanians and Battalions & Abteilungen for the Germans.

As is usual with VUCA’s games, they are very beautiful with great components likes pre-rounded counters, mounted map boards and plenty of great looking cards.

If you are interested in Donnerschlag: Escape from Stalingrad, you can order a copy for €69,99 (about $73) from the VUCA Simulations website at the following link: https://vucasims.com/products/donnerschlag-escape-from-stalingrad

2. Operation Theseus – Gazala 1942 from VUCA Simulations

The next new game out from VUCA Simulations is one that deals with the the Gazala battles of 1942 during World War II, which took place during May and June 1942.

From the game page, we read the following:

The game is intended for two players but is also suitable for solitaire and team play. The goal for the Axis player is to hit the Commonwealth forces hard and to seize specific victory locations, thereby opening the door to Egypt. The Commonwealth player wants to prevent this from happening, thereby eliminating the Axis potential for further offensives. The game is played in a semi-interactive way and keeps both players involved all the time…

The scale of the game is one hex represents 3.5 kms (2.2 miles) of terrain from side to side. Each turn represents a period of one to six days. Combat units are mostly infantry-type regiments/brigades, and armoured-type battalions/regiments.

If you are interested in Operation Theseus – Gazala 1942, you can order a copy for €69,99 (about $73) from the VUCA Simulations website at the following link: https://vucasims.com/products/kopie-von-task-force-carrier-battles-in-the-pacific

3. Yaah! Magazine #15 (Caucasus Burning: The Nagorno-Karabakh War, 2020) from Flying Pig Games

Wargame Magazines are always fun, not only for the great articles but they always have a pack-in game included. Some are good, some are not so good. But in our experience those contained in YAAH! Magazine are always well done. This month, YAAH! Magazine Issue #15 is up for order and the pack-in game is called Caucasus Burning, which deals with the Nagorno-Karabakh War in 2020. I also like that they cover more than just their own games.

From the Flying Pig Games website, we read the following:

In the magazine… First we have the clever, card-driven, hex and counter executed game. Titled, Caucasus Burning: The Nagorno-Karabahk War, 2020, the simulation is an operational design by Greg Porter covering the Nagorno-Karabahk War of 2020. You’ll command formations of T-90 tanks, BMP-equipped mechanized infantry, drones, cruise missiles, and squadrons of attack aircraft as you simulate the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which took place in the fall of 2020. Units represent battalions grouped into brigades. Maneuver and attacks in the game are done via actions played from a deck of cards, and each pass through the deck represents 2 days and nights of fighting. A game of Caucasus Burning: The Nagorno-Karabahk War, 2020 will probably take a little less than 10 passes through the deck, so it will run a little faster than the actual war.

Of course Yaah! isn’t only about its game, there are some darn good articles to boot. In the Fulda article, Norm Lunde takes an in-depth look at Compass’s modern entry into the CSS Series. Next is a comparative gem by John Burt, one of the best writers in the boardgame industry. John compares and contrasts Tiny Battle Publishing’s Steamroller Tannenberg 1914 with some other company’s game about the same war. I think it’s titled At Any Cost or For a Few Pennies More, or something like that. What he doesn’t mention is that I wanted to put a picture on the box that had German infantry in those sharp-looking helmets (Stahlhelm… or StylinHelm as we say in Franklin County) that they wore in late WWI, but Herm told me that they didn’t issue them until 1916. Damn.

We also present two pieces by composer Nick O’Neil; one on Great War Commander (a game I personally love) and another covering By Stealth and Sea, designed by David Thompson. Regular Roger Leroux (don’t pronounce the “x”), spills some ink on the classic High Frontier for All, and Arrigo Velicogna follows that up with a pair of semi-modern war reviews: NATO Designer Signature Division and Dogs of War. Our final game-looky-loo is a nice piece by Eddie Carlson, on Tokyo Express. Finally, we have a beautiful picture piece on how Clay Meyer made his own copy of Herm Luttmann’s Invaders from Dimension X. It has to be seen to be believed.

But, as John Madden would say, “wait a minute!” Gaming articles aren’t everything that we have in Yaah! Magazine. We also have crammed 5 scenarios into this issue including, a ’65 Squad Battles skirmish, two Old School Tactical fistfights, a Scream, Aim, Fire battle, and a solitaire scenario for Platoon Commander Deluxe. Good fun for you Flying Pig Game and Tiny Battle Publishing add-on scenario lovers.

Lots of gaming goodness packed into a 90+ page magazine published by Flying Pig Games, and now the first magazine to include an entire 54-card deck for a game. WOW! 

If you are interested in YAAH Magazine #15, you can order a copy for $44.95 from the Flying Pig Games website at the following link: https://flyingpiggames.com/products/yaah-magazine-15

4. II Grass II Crown – An Expansion for The Grass Crown 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. Now comes an expansion to The Grass Crown called II Grass II Crown (named in typical Amabel Holland fashion).

From the game page, we read the following:

Over the course of ten battles, The Grass Crown charted the military evolution of the Roman Republic from the days of the manipular Legion and its Triplex Acies formation to the veteran professionals that fought in a series of bloody civil wars. These battles were carefully chosen by designer Amabel Holland with an eye toward only keeping those that would propel the game’s central themes forward. Some otherwise compelling, engaging, and interesting battles didn’t make that list, either because they made the same “point” as a battle that did make the cut, or they introduced a level of complexity that detracted from the narrative.

You probably see where we’re going with this! II Grass II Crown is an expansion that provides eight new scenarios: Beneventum, Metaurus, Ilipa, Great Plains, Cynoscephalae, Magnesia, Zela, and the Cilician Gates. These are aimed at experienced players who don’t mind tackling a few extra special rules. Also included is a new countersheet with additional units. Among them are counters for two new unit types, Scythed Chariots and Cataphracted Cavalry, which provide new and daunting challenges.

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.

Here is a look at our review of The Grass Crown so you can get an idea of how the game works and what we liked about the system:

If you are interested in II Grass II Crown, you can order a copy for $25.00 from the Hollandspiele website at the following link: https://hollandspiele.com/products/ii-grass-ii-crown

5. Napoléon 1815 Waterloo from Shakos

Last year, we were contacted by Shakos, which is a smaller but growing French publisher. At the time, they wanted us to take a look at their upcoming Kickstarter for Saladin and Border States and we posted interviews and a preview video about those very cool small games. Through the experience, we also ended up playing one of the previously published games called Napoléon 1807 and we liked the system so much that it found its way onto our Top 10 Wargames of 2020 lists.

Last year, they Kickstarted the next game in their Conquerors Series called Napoléon 1815 Waterloo and it looks really good.

From the game page, we read the following:

In general the ruleset is exactly the same as Napoléon 1806/1807 except for the following:

1. 3 player Variant : The main addition to the game. In this version, on coalition side, one player will play the anglo-allied, the the other one the Prussian. During the initiative phase, each Coalition player will draw a card to determine who will be the “leader” of the coalition during this turn. The leader will decide who will play a stack for this turn, the Anglo-allied or Prussian, and who will benefit from certain events. The two players can’t communicate, share or exchange cards except thanks to a specific event card. Playtests feedbacks are very very good for this variant, and it is very frustrating sometimes to have to stick with the decision of your partner!

2. Invasion Cards : The game will use invasion cards. The French player will decide when he will invade Belgium. Players will have a limited number of cards till the French enter Belgium, and the coalition player(s) will have movement restrictions. So the French can plan when and where they want to enter Belgium and to really start the campaign. It is a very good way as well to make the campaign game replayable.

3. Fortified Farm : We couldn’t avoid these! You suffer -2 fatigue to the results of combat thanks to the fortified farm AND there is a one-shot reinforced marker on them, the Coalition player can use to avoid a retreat if they lose a battle there.

The highlights of the design also include 5 scenarios such as Waterloo, Ligny – Quatre Bras, The central position, Waterloo historical campaign, Waterloo free setup campaign, various specific events directly linked to the campaign, like Cambronne, and exclusive new art for each of the cards made by Ulrich Stahl.

We published an interview with the designer Denis Sauvage and you can read that at the following link: https://theplayersaid.com/2021/05/05/interview-with-denis-sauvage-designer-of-napoleon-1815-from-shakos-currently-on-kickstarter/

If you are interested in Napoléon 1815 Waterloo, you can order a copy for 69,90€ ($70.36) from the Shakos website at the following link: https://shakos.fr/en/product/napoleon-1815/

6. Operation Iron Brain: The Siege of Beirut, June-August 1982 from High Flying Dice Games

Lesser gamed subjects are covered very well and affordably by the folks over at High Flying Dice Games. This month, their newest offering takes a look at the Siege of Beirut during 1982 by the Israeli Defense Forces in a game called Operation Iron Brain: The Siege of Beirut, June-August 1982.

From the game page, we read the following:

For over a year the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) had bombarded Israel’s northern province of Galilee with artillery and rocket fire. On June 6, 1982 the Israeli military invaded southern Lebanon in an operation dubbed “Peace for Galilee”. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) quickly defeated the PLO’s armed forces and drove north. Although the declared aim of the Israeli offensive was to clear a 40 kilometer “buffer zone” along the Lebanese/Israeli border, Israeli Defense Minister, Ariel Sharon, was determined to eradicate the PLO once and for all, and hopefully kill its leader, Yassir Arafat. With new orders the IDF crossed the Litani River and drove on Beirut where the remnants of the PLO’s forces were retreating, and where most of their refugee camps were located. What ensued was an escalating conflict that threatened to engulf the entire mid-east once more in conflict and bring Lebanon to the brink of abyss of genocidal civil war.

Armor and Infantry (Militia, Regular, Heavy Weapons) units are all Battalions. Airborne and militia units are companies. A hex on the map is about a half mile across. Each turn represents two weeks of time. The game is designed by Paul Rohrbaugh and features graphics by David Gomez Prieto.

If you are interested in Operation Iron Brain: The Siege of Beirut, June-August 1982, you can order a copy for $20.95 from the High Flying Dice Games website at the following link: https://www.hfdgames.com/brain.html

7. Flashpoint: South China Sea from GMT Games

The South China Sea is one of the more hotly contested areas of the Pacific Ocean and I have read where it is regarded as “Asia’s most potentially dangerous point of conflict.” Everyone tries to lay claim to the area, including China and Taiwan. This argument will involve the United States as well, as they jockey for position in bolstering their allies in the region, and of course, if it ever escalates to the point of open conflict. The design of Flashpoint: South China Sea is a card driven game that uses a deck that captures developments ripped from today’s headlines, bolstered by cards with a context-setting reading of recent history, and a set of speculative cards capturing a diverse range of potential future events.

From the game page, we read the following:

The Chinese player works to influence other countries in the region, establish territorial claims and regional hegemony, and improve its world standing. The U.S. player works to maintain influence with allied countries in the region, secure freedom of navigation, and keep China in check. Success for both players hinges on the support and allegiance of non-player countries in the region. The game stops short of dealing with a potential full-scale military conflict. Rather, it requires the nuanced exercise of political, economic, and military resources, in a form of prima facie diplomacy – on the waters, in the air, and ultimately in the minds of the people – to achieve victory.

This sounds a lot like Twilight Struggle to me, or better yet, one of the several smaller Twilight Strugglesque games from Ultra Pro like 13 Days or Iron Curtain where players struggle with each other to place influence in certain countries. Hand management is always one of my favorite parts of CDGs as you have to play your cards right to avoid damage but also trying to make your strategy work as well.

At Gen Con in 2018, we were fortunate enough to play an early prototype copy of the game and shot this video interview/discussion with designer Harold Buchanan:

If you are interested in Flashpoint: South China Sea, you can order a copy for $45.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-688-flashpoint-south-china-sea.aspx

8. Fall of Saigon: A Fire in the Lake Expansion from GMT Games

I’ve been waiting for this one for quite some time; actually for well over 3 years since seeing a copy of the game setup on Mark Herman’s wargame table in a picture on Twitter. We love Fire in the Lake and this is simply going to add more depth and replayability to an already interesting game.

From the game page we read the following:

Mark Herman and Volko Ruhnke’s award-winning Fire in the Lake revealed the factional clashes of the US insurgency in Vietnam, from the first entry of US combat troops under Westmoreland to the ’72 Christmas bombings that teed up their negotiated withdrawal. Now, Fall of Saigon expands Fire in the Lake to finish the story. Three Fall of Saigon scenarios enable 1-4 players to extend play beyond Paris, beginning before 1968’s Tet, on the eve of the 1972 Easter Offensive, or from 1964 all the way to the end of the war. A standalone 2‑player Black April scenario focuses tightly on the post-Paris sparring between NVA and ARVN, including the final massive battles, advances, and retreats.

The new expansion is definitely not your father’s Fire in the Lake as the US is in the midst of pulling out, the NVA are gearing up for a push into the south and the ARVN suddenly are running low on funds and troops. And there are new toys in the form of tanks!

To show the transition from insurgency and counterinsurgency to mobile mechanized warfare, Fall of Saigon introduces an array of new features, including:

Paris Peace Talks that may result in either US or NVA Retreat—or both.

A building US Anti-War Movement and Northern War Weariness penalizing the continued campaigns.

US Posture that players influence to allow anything from full-bore US economic and financial backing of ARVN’s defense and even a return of US heavy bombers over the North to utter abandonment of South Vietnam.

Hard-hitting NVA and ARVN Armor units capable of lightning Spearhead actions and of capturing the enemy’s vehicles to turn around for their own use in the next attack.

Head-to-head action, NVA versus ARVN, using the acclaimed 2-player Initiative system from COIN Series Volume VII, Colonial Twilight, by Brian Train.

72 new Event cards for 1973-1975 and four new Pivotal Events to portray the political struggles in Washington, Hanoi, and Saigon; the building conventional military capabilities of the combatants; NVA probes and ARVN counterthrusts; threatened US enforcement of the Accords by air; and the chaos of the final collapse.

For solitaire players, Fall of Saigon introduces the popular new card-based Non-player system from Bruce Mansfield, designer of COIN Series Volume IX, Gandhi.

We played the game at WBC with Mark Herman and Dan Pancaldi from No Enemies Here and really had a great time. The tanks are devastating and will change your tactics for sure and the new Posture rules bring a whole new angle to the game.

Here is a look at a video we shot at WBC in 2019 after playing the game:

If you are interested in Fall of Saigon, you can order a copy for $49.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-832-fall-of-saigon-a-fire-in-the-lake-expansion.aspx

9. A Test of Faith: The Arab-Israeli War of 1973 from Compass Games

The Arab-Israeli War is an interesting subject to game and Compass Games has created a new game in the Operational Scale Series designed by Adam Starkweather on the subject.

From the game page, we read the following:

A Test of Faith: The Arab-Israeli War of 1973 is a new game in the Operational Scale Series using the new added rules from The Doomsday Project to show this war in a way that has not been seen before. Highly playable but with an emphasis on command and equipment, OSS uses an impulse system to create a test and challenging game to play, but also with new research, plenty of historical narrative.

If you are interested in A Test of Faith: The Arab-Israeli War of 1973, you can order a copy for $90.00 from the Compass Games website at the following link: https://www.compassgames.com/product/a-test-of-faith-the-arab-israeli-war-of-1973-an-oss-game/?sfw=pass1658502803

Thanks for reading along this month. I love the look and feel of a lot of these games and really look forward to playing them in the next 6-12 months. Please let me know if you know of a new pre-order game, Kickstarter or new release that I missed.