This is one of my favorite posts to write each year. Anticipation for the gaggle of games…that we might or might not due to production issues, shipping challenges, supply chain issues…have on our tables in 2023. In fact, in looking at my list of games last year, just 2 of the 10 games highlighted were delayed and still haven’t been released in 2023. One other problem is that there are always more games coming out than we can possibly cover and play but it is still fun to look ahead and play the “what if” game.

Each year since year 3 of the blog (having been started in 2016), I have posted this list highlighting my most anticipated wargames for the upcoming year. The list has grown each year with the first entry consisting of 11 games in 2018, then growing to 12 games in 2019 and 2020, ballooning to 18 games in 2021, and contracting back to just 10 games in 2022. This year, I believe that I am going to focus on 10 games and try to keep this list manageable. In case you missed my post from last year, you can read that here: Most Anticipated Wargames of 2022!

Before I get into the list, I wanted to let you know that the games chosen might not fit your definition of a wargame. I feel that historical and wargames are somewhat interchangeable because of the quote from Clausewitz “war is a mere continuation of policy with other means”. Wargames to me are a broad category not simply relegated to hexes, counters and a CRT. Don’t get me wrong. I really like hexes, counters and a CRT. But wargames can include none of these three things and be considered wargames for me. But that is probably a debate for another time. Once this post is shared, I expect variants of the following comments/questions:

Those aren’t wargames!

I am anticipating none of these because they don’t have hexes!

Where are the hexes (also counters? or CRT)?

What are you smoking Grant?

The COIN Series games are not wargames!

I hate your blog!

And many other and sundry responses. I don’t take those comments personally. I really don’t care if readers agree with my list. It is my list and I can do with it what I want. But, I do like to hear your feedback in order to provide me with some ammunition for other posts in the future. So, without further quibbling, onto the games!

The British Way: Counterinsurgency at the End of Empire from GMT Games

Stephen Rangazas has been active behind the scenes over the past few years with his development work on Fall of Saigon: A Fire in the Lake Expansion. He has used his background and research capabilities to great effect as he did the background work on the Event cards for that game. From that experience, he has now come forward with a few of his own designs in The British Way: Counterinsurgency at the End of Empire, which was announced in 2021 as well as Sovereign of Discord announced in 2022 both from GMT Games.

The British Way covers four British counterinsurgency campaigns during the process of decolonization immediately following World War II. These include campaigns against larger insurgencies that sought to contest territory and topple colonial rule through armed conflict, such as in Kenya and Malaya, but also smaller more clandestine armed groups that sought to wear down British prestige to force a withdrawal as in Cyprus and Palestine.

From the game page, we read the following:

The British Way: Counterinsurgency at the End of Empire is the first of several COIN Series Multipacks, containing four separate games exploring a series of thematically related insurgencies. Between 1945 and 1960, the British fought four major “emergencies,” as they referred to their counterinsurgency campaigns, each trying to manage their retreat from empire. The four games in this pack focus on exploring British counterinsurgent responses to a variety of different opponents, including communist insurgents in Malaya, militant nationalists in Kenya, and smaller and more clandestine terrorist organizations in Palestine and Cyprus. The games adjust the core COIN Series mechanics to provide a compelling new way of handling two-player conflicts, while also streamlining several mechanics to quicken gameplay. The British Way offers an approachable introduction to the COIN Series for new players, while presenting experienced players with four mechanically distinct games to explore and compare.

The four games in one box is a tried and true method as in the old SPI Quads and recently has had somewhat of a return with not only this new COIN Series Multipack format but with other publishers such as Compass Games and Brief Border Wars I, Brief Border Wars II and Brothers at War: 1862.

The British Way and the COIN Series Multipack has the following highlights:

  • Four full games in one box: Explore four different conflicts set during the twilight of the British Empire in the 1940s and 1950s. Each game uses a unique ruleset building on the same general mechanical structure, ensuring that they are easy to pick up while still offering a distinctive experience.
  • A new adaptation of the classic COIN system: Improved two-player sequence of play and a versatile Political Will track for determining victory. 
  • Unique mechanisms reflecting the British approach to each conflict: New Villages in Malaya, the ‘Pipeline’ in Kenya, Curfews in Cyprus, and Mass Detention in Palestine.
  • Small board footprint with quick-but-deep gameplay: Each game plays in under 90 minutes and takes place on a single 17×22” board.
  • An “End of Empire” Campaign: A campaign scenario allowing players to play the four games in a linked series with a cumulative scoring system, random ‘external’ events relating to British decolonization, and new mechanics to integrate each game into the campaign.

As you know, I love the COIN Series, and this new multi-pack format is very exciting as it provides us more access to smaller, lesser gamed subjects that are fast playing. It also provides to us as players a comparable view at different types of conflict and how they affect the populace and the overall success of these efforts. I think this type of approach won’t work with every conflict and many conflicts will be better served in the framework of the larger COIN Series as their own standalone games. In speaking with Stephen on this very subject, he has shared that his “…hope is that a series of multipacks might provide new ways for wargamers to think about conflict and help cover some topics that would be difficult to design or sell as standalone products”.

If you are interested in learning more about the game and its design process, you can read our designer interview with Stephen posted in March 2022 at the following link:

Stephen also provided is with some Event Card Spoilers in our History Behind the Cards Series and you can read those posts at the following links:

Palestine #P7 Lehi, #P21 United Resistance Movement and #P22 Jewish Agency

Malaya #M26 Emergency Regulations, #M1 New Villages and #M21 White Areas

Kenya #K23 Mass Evictions, #K27 Protected Villages and #K26 Hola Detention Camp

Cyprus #C22 Greek Government, #C11 Appeals to UN and #C13 Human Rights Committees

If you are interested in The British Way: Counterinsurgency at the End of Empire, you can pre-order a copy for $55.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link:

From recent GMT Games update emails, it appears that as of December 16, 2022 the game is currently at the printer. That means that this game should be available in mid-2023.

People Power: Insurgency in the Philippines, 1981-1986 from GMT Games

I am a big fan of the asymmetric design in the COIN Series and also of the way that the volumes in the series have addressed many different aspects of the conflict depicted, including the focus on terror, warfare, economics, politics and of course, the people affected. In the February 2018 Monthly Update from GMT Games, a new entry in the COIN Series was announced (Volume XI) and what an announcement it was! A smaller game, designed for 1-3 players, People Power: Insurgency in the Philippines, 1983-1985 designed by newcomer Kenneth Tee was a revelation for me. A smaller game akin to the likes of Cuba Libre with a fast play time is a welcome addition to the series that will act as a gateway game for others to experience and enjoy the series.

People Power covers the final years of the personal rule of President Ferdinand Marcos who had been elected in 1965 which came to an end due to the assassination of Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. after his return from exile. In discussions with Ken, he believed that the COIN Series provided the best system to tell that story with 3 different factions that can be played by 1-3 players. These factions are as follows:

  • The first faction is the Government, symbolized by the personal rule of Ferdinand Marcos, his wife Imelda, and his political cronies and military forces. 
  • Second are the NPA. Inspired by successful Marxist revolutions in China, Cuba and Nicaragua, these insurgents sought a national uprising from both the urban and rural populace and desired to replace the Marcos government with their own brand of autonomy.
  • The third and final faction is the non-violent Reformers, embodied by Aquino’s widow, Corazon. She, along with her allies and supporters in that moment of tragedy, revived a platform of social justice and unrelenting momentum that would irrevocably change the Philippine political landscape immeasurably.

One of the things that I am most excited about though is the fact that I can use this game as a gateway game for those new to the COIN Series rather than the often used Cuba Libre.

For players new to the COIN Series, or for those looking to teach the the series to their friends, People Power will serve as an excellent introductory game. Aiming for a 2 hour playtime and accessible complexity, People Power utilizes many of the basic COIN Series mechanics in new and familiar ways. The 22″ x 17″ map aids in introducing the game to a new player, as it presents only two types of terrain – Cities and Countrysides (where the latter amalgamates the rural settings of the island nation as well as much lightly-habitable terrain of jungles and mountains). Don’t let the fast play and basic systems fool you, though. There are still plenty of strategic puzzles and inter-player backstabbing to be had! Also, People Power includes a new feature for the COIN Series – a Key Personality mini-hand procedure that represents the effectiveness of various generals and power brokers adding a new dimension to player actions and decisions.  

After the game was announced, it had some trouble through the development process as the Development Team started working on a revamp of People Power after testing revealed some gaps in the narrative that they wanted the game to tell. People Power is focused on the period between the end of Martial Law in the Philippines and the flight of the Marcos family in February 1986. This roughly 5 year period was marked with both violence and protest, and ended in the dramatic events of the People Power/EDSA Revolution in February 1986.

The team reworked the Reformers faction to be a nonviolent faction in the mold of Gandhi’s INC/Muslim League. This was Ken’s original vision for the Reformer faction, but prior to Gandhi there was no model of how nonviolent factions worked in COIN. Thanks to Bruce Mansfield’s work, the team was able to quickly refit the Reformers and shift the narrative focus of the game to the interactions between state-sponsored force, nonviolent protest, and insurgent Terror. This model is a much closer match to history.

Finally, they have reworked the Acts of Desperation (now called “Acts of Defiance”) and Personality cards. One major challenge of the model in People Power is that so much happened in a 3 day period in 1986. From February 22 to 24, large crowds gathered in the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) after the defection of General Ramos and Defense Minister Enrile. These crowds were encouraged in nonviolent resistance by radio broadcasts from Cardinal Jamie Sin and many nuns, politicians, and military defectors who gathered in Manila and other cities across the Philippines.

So to say the game has gone through a total makeover is not incorrect. Hopefully, the final product will have been worth the nearly 6 year wait for us who have followed the project since the beginning.

I hesitate to share this because there has been such sweeping changes with the design over the past 6 years but we did an interview with the designer Kenneth Tee and you can read that at the following link:

If you are interested in People Power: Insurgency in the Philippines, 1983-1986, you can pre-order a copy for $45.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link:

From recent GMT Games update emails, it appears that as of December 16, 2022 the game is scheduled to go to the printer by the end of December. That means that this game should be available in mid-2023.

Red Dust Rebellion from GMT Games

Another COIN Series game on this list! Imagine that? I told you I love the series and there are lots of titles still in design and development with more coming. And I love that it is now being taken in a new direction with its first volume that is not based in history but has a Sci-Fi setting on the red planet of Mars. Red Dust Rebellion, designed by newcomer J. Carmichael, tells the story of a future in which Mars has been colonized and forms its own government called the Martian Provisional Government. The game delves into the conflict of a fictitious Martian revolt of the 2250’s and the rise of Martian nationalism. Up to 4 players will take part in this game and control one of the four factions.

I also really am drawn to the various factions in the game as they really create a nice dystopian feel to the game. The game also has some really unique elements added that are more easily included because of the fictitious setting. Here are some of those unique features:

A hostile world – Dust storms will appear and block access to different regions for extended periods of time. Fighting in the densely-populated labyrinths can end up damaging life-giving infrastructure. And the vast surface of the planet means forces can just disappear in the dust.   

The unpredictable raiders – The CR does not use Resources or appear on the standard order of activation. Instead, they use a new system to the COIN series that allows them to interject and decide when they wish to act, allowing for less frequent but sudden moves.   

The Aldrin Cycler – Earth is a long way from Mars. Many COIN supplies and replacements will take a long time to get from Earth to Mars, forcing those factions to plan for the long term.  

Multiple battlefields – Red Dust Rebellion takes place across 3 major theaters on Mars: The Noctis Labyrinthus, The Hellas Basin, and Arabia Terra. Between these areas is the vast wilderness of Mars, largely unpopulated with barren wastes as vast as the total landmass of Earth.  

Satellite warfare – The COIN forces control a network of surveillance satellites, but there are rumors that some are equipped with mass drivers and orbital assault pods as well.    

Everything is connected – All of the major cities on Mars are connected by spaceports. If you control both locations, you can freely move forces back and forth, allowing for sudden changes in the complexion of each theatre.   

The Earth Governments (EG) form a 5th faction that maintains elite forces and an extensive satellite network. Control of the EG forces changes between the MG and CORP based on how much Earth trusts the Martian government to manage the rebellion.   

The game appears to be fairly well along in the design process as there has been significant time and resources put into creating art for the cards as well as the cover. Here is a look at a few of these images that create a superb look and feel for the game and that is going to allow for the players to feel the theme of the struggle and get invested very easily:

Here is an introduction video from the designer on the game:

If you are interested in learning more about the game and its design process, you can read our designer interview with J. Carmichael which was posted in July 2021 at the following link:

If you are interested in COIN Series Volume XIII Red Dust Rebellion, you can pre-order a copy on the P500 game page for $66.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link:

As of the December 2022 Update from GMT, this one is currently in final art and proofing and has not been assigned an estimated shipping date as of yet. I would guess this one will be complete by the end of 2023…hopefully!

North Africa ’41 from GMT Games

Mark Simonitch is a pretty amazing designer. He has a talent for distilling conflicts down to a simple, yet not simplistic, understandable and playable system that models the important points of its history. His newest design is called North Africa ’41 which was announced last year and has shot up the pre-order charts with nearly 1,500 P500 backers. His games are always in demand and when announced are auto backs for many wargamers. I personally love North Africa games. There is just something really unique about the terrain, the need for supply and the goals of each side. It makes for a fast and furious back and forth that always keeps me engaged and interested.

From the game page, we read the following:

North Africa ’41 is a game that represents the campaign in North Africa from Rommel’s first offensive in March 1941 to December 1941. Combat units represent regiments, brigades, and battalions. Each game turn represents half a month, but a game turn is further divided into 3 Impulses representing 4-5 days.

The game uses some elements from his other successful World War II games such as Stalingrad ‘42, Holland ’44 and Salerno ’43.

This is a complete redo of my old design The Legend Begins which was first published 30 years ago by Rhino Game Company. Everything has been redone—new map, new order of battle research, and improved rules using many of the ideas developed in my previous WWII games. The map and unit scale from the old game remains the same as well as some of the rules.

There are still Limited and Active ZOCs, Tank shifts, Coastal Shipping between ports, Malta convoy rules, port destruction/repair, and Resource Points. Resource Points are used to build or purchase assets that are in limited supply such as: air support, battleship convoy escort, air transport, and temporary full participation of the Italian army.

The basic game system borrows heavily from other games in the WWII 19xx series, but there are no ZOC Bonds in this game. Only the ZOCs of motorized units stop enemy movement. Units can move past non-motorized units by paying +2 MPs to exit each ZOC.

New rules have been added to enhance excitement and prevent perfect plans: Event Tables, Delay markers, strafing, Rommel movement bonus, and the Long Range Desert Group.

The game will also include a full campaign game, a scenario focused on Operation Battleaxe and a scenario on Operation Crusader.

If you are interested in North Africa ’41, you can pre-order a copy for $42.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link:

As of the December 2022 Update from GMT, this one is currently in final art and proofing and has not been assigned an estimated shipping date as of yet. I would guess this one will be complete by the end of 2023…hopefully!

Storm Over Jerusalem: The Roman Siege from Multi-Man Publishing

I have really enjoyed gaming the time periods associated with Rome, both the Empire, its Republic and its various Civil Wars. I actually have written one of our Best 3 Games with… series that covers games on Rome. I have also heard really good things about the Storm Over Series from Multi-Man Publishing so when Storm Over Jerusalem was offered on pre-order in early 2022, we jumped right on it and secured our copy.

By the year 70 of the Common Era (CE), the province of Judea had been in revolt against Rome for nearly 4 years. The protests and riots that began in 66 CE had quickly turned into open rebellion. The standard Roman punitive force under Syrian legate Cestius Gallus, having failed to capture Jerusalem, was wiped out at Beth Horon. General Vespasian was given command of the Roman army in the region and ordered to crush the rebellion and restore order. Turmoil in Rome, however, saw Vespasian recalled to become Emperor. In early 70 CE, Emperor Vespasian dispatched his son Titus (a future Emperor) along with four legions to end the rebellion in this important province. Titus arrived in Jerusalem in April to find the city still at war with itself. Throughout the rebellion, differing Judean factions had fought a bitter internecine war among themselves. The primary factions fighting each other in Jerusalem at this time were controlled by Simon bar Giora and John of Gischala. With the arrival of Titus and his legions, however, they were now faced with a common threat to their immediate survival.

The brutal siege of Jerusalem lasted nearly five months. During the siege, city walls were breached one-by-one, much of the city devastated, and the Temple—central to both the Jewish religion and the defense of the city—destroyed and burned. With the capture of Jerusalem, Titus had effectively ended the Judean revolt, with the last of the rebels finally cornered and eliminated in the legendary siege of Masada in 73 CE.

From the game page, we read the following:

Storm Over Jerusalem is a card-assisted, area-movement game based on Multi-Man Publishing’s Storm Over Series of games (Storm Over StalingradStorm Over Dien Bien Phu, and Storm Over Normandy). Cards augment the game play and increase the tensions and choices faced by each player.

As the Judean player, you are outnumbered and surrounded; you must use your forces wisely to hold out as long as possible behind the Walls of Jerusalem. As the Roman player, you must breach the Walls to capture the city, eliminate the rebels, and end the Judean rebellion before time runs out.

If you are interested in Storm Over Jerusalem, you can pre-order a copy from the Multi-Man Publishing website for $60.00 from the following link:

The pre-order goal of 475 has been reached with a total of 489 orders so the game should be completed this year. We saw a copy on the table at WBC 2022 in August last year and it really looked like a final product so I am hoping that this gets printed this year.

Undaunted: Battle of Britain from Osprey Games

If you haven’t played any of the games in the Undaunted Series (either the original Normandy, North Africa, Reinforcements or the new Stalingrad), then you are missing out on an excellent experience. Mid year last year, news broke that Osprey Games was working again with the dynamic duo of David Thompson and Trevor Benjamin on a new entry into the Undaunted Series that would take the game to the air and not be focused on ground forces fighting across tiles laid out to make up the battlefield but the aerial battlefield.

From the game page, we read the following:

The RAF faces the Luftwaffe in this two-player deck-building game of aerial WWII combat.

Summer, 1940. The German war machine has rolled through the continent in less than a year, crushing all before it. Britain is all that stands in the way of German victory in Europe. Command the pilots of the battle-tested Luftwaffe who are looking to extinguish all resistance and pave the way to invasion, or the resourceful and determined RAF opposing them at every turn.

Undaunted: Battle of Britain is a standalone game in the Undaunted series, adapting the core gameplay of the previous games to recreate the dynamic dogfighting of aerial combat. Maintain cohesion between your pilots, evade anti-aircraft artillery, and leverage talented aces to win the battle for the skies!

Also, in an interview that I posted on the blog in 2022 for Undaunted: Stalingrad, David shared the following about Battle of Britain: “One thing that is very important for us is that every game feels fresh and special. Normandy was the first game and laid the foundation. North Africa changed the scale and introduced asymmetry for the units. Reinforcements introduced 4-player team play and solitaire. Stalingrad is the massive, legacy-style campaign game. Now Battle of Britain is pushing the system is a whole new, exciting direction by adding aerial combat”. 

If you are interested in Undaunted: Battle of Britain, you can pre-order a copy for $55.00 from the Osprey Games website at the following link:

The game page has listed the release date as June 2023.

Coalitions from PHALANX

As you know, 2021 marked the bicentenary of Napoleon’s death on May 5, 1821. That year, there have been quite a few new Napoleonic wargames that have released/gone to Kickstarter including Napoleon 1815 from Shakos Games, Napoleon’s Imperium from Compass Games, Napoleon Returns 1815 from Worthington Publishing and Coalition! The Napoleonic Wars, 1805-1815 also from Compass Games. PHALANX also got into the act with a game of their own on the subject called Coalitions designed by Andrew Rourke that was funded on Kickstarter in June. The game looks really fascinating and is being touted as a game of diplomatic and military maneuvering in Napoleonic Europe for 1-6 players.

From the game page, we read the following:

During the period 1792 to 1814 six different Coalitions were formed by various European powers, all of whom were against France. Each Coalition was different and their formations required a great deal of negotiation and diplomatic skill. The designer wanted this game to represent the difficulties of forming and maintaining a Coalition in the face of the ever increasing military power of France. France was also able, through different methods, to persuade faltering powers to their side. In the game Britain and France are always at war with each other and can never be in the same Coalition, thus they must persuade the other major powers to the benefits of being on their side. However, nations may choose to remain neutral or even embark on a war of expansion, without any alignment to Britain or France. Diplomacy is never easy!

One of the things that not enough Napoleonic games do is focus on the jockeying for position with politicking and alliance building. Coalitions seems to do this well.

Another key element of the design is political alignment and status. With each turn, any nation, other than France or Britain, have a chance to change their political status. They may join a British coalition to fight against France, or become a French ally in the French Coalition, they may choose to remain neutral and avoid conflict, or declare a war of expansion and fight everyone without aligning themselves to either Coalition. Britain and France always remain at war with each other in their respective Coalitions. Your political status dictates who you can attack and who you can ask for support, as you may never attack another nation you are in Coalition with and only members of the same Coalition can support one another.

Finally, the game looks beautiful and has a great looking map and some really nice miniatures. Overall, this game looks good, seems diplomacy heavy and also has some good old fashioned conflict.

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

If you are interested in Coalitions, you can order a copy on Backer Kit at the following link with all types of different and sundry upgrades (metal coins, card holders and several smaller expansions):

I had this game on last year’s list and it never got finalized so I am hoping that this year it finally makes it over the hump.

Werwolf: Insurgency in Occupied Germany, 1945-1948 from Legion Wargames

I won’t say anything about how I feel about the COIN Series or its many inspired game offshoots in this entry! But, a system that deals with multi-faction treatments of insurgencies and revolutions from across the centuries in a hybrid card assisted wargame that looks great and has a lot of player interaction and teaming with similar factions. There is a lot to like! Over the past few years, we have seen a few of these COIN Series inspired games such as The Troubles from Compass Games dealing with the conflict in Northern Ireland. Now comes along an alternate history take on the occupation of Germany at the conclusion of World War II in Germany from 1945-1948 called Werwolf.

From the game page, we read the following about the background and history for the game:

It is 1945 and Germany has been invaded and occupied by the exhausted forces of the Soviet Union and Western Allies. Unlike in our timeline, the fighting continues as German resistance fighters engage in a prolonged guerrilla war. With the Manhattan Project still incomplete, Japan fighting on and the Allied invasion of Europe losing millions of men, the Allies are war-weary and there is pressure to bring the troops home. While the Wehrmacht was defeated, the Nazi leadership has spent 1943 onwards building up a huge secret guerrilla force – Werwolf – to turn the occupation of Germany into a costly quagmire. Other groups calling themselves the Edelweiss Movement are opposed to the Nazis but also to the invaders and will fight to restore an independent and patriotic Germany. The Fuhrer himself has gone missing, and many Nazi officials are in hiding, perhaps awaiting their chance to return to power.

The hallmark of these COIN Series games, and those that are inspired by them, is their focus on multiple competing factions, usually of which two are paired or teamed and have at least 1 victory condition in common and are required to somewhat work together toward this goal. Werwolf has a well fleshed out focus on these factions as we can read from the game page:

Four factions are now competing for control and the loyalty of the German population: the Allied Occupation Forces (Western Allied troops and German police, referred to as Allies in the rules) the Soviet Union (the Red Army and NKVD, referred to as Soviets in the rules), the Edelweiss Movement (patriotic but anti-Nazi German resistance, referred to as Edelweiss in the rules) and the Werwolf organization (former SS and other Nazi fanatics trained in guerrilla warfare, referred to as Werwolf in the rules). The struggle will be not only for military control and the hearts and minds of the German people but also over the remnants of the Nazi war machine and research programs. The Soviets and Allies may reluctantly co-operate to crush German guerrillas but will compete to secure top German scientists and prototypes for their own arms race. As the Allies try to de-Nazify the populace and entice them with American pop culture, the Soviets will use everything from indoctrination to mass deportation to keep Germany under control. Loyalties will be split between democracy, communism and resurgent fascism or nationalism. This will not be an easy occupation…

Frankly this one is very intriguing but might scare some folks away as one of the factions is the Nazis. But it does look amazing and the design team of Clint Warren-Davey and Ben Fiene have done their homework, talked with other COIN Series game designers and have a good foundation for what they are trying to accomplish with the game. I really look forward to taking this one out for a spin in the next year or so but first it has to make its CPO order requirement of 250 orders.

We have posted an interview on the blog with the game designers Clint-Warren Davey and Ben Fiene and you can read that at the following link:

We also have posted a series of Event Card Spoilers on the blog that will give you a great feel for how the game plays. You can read those at the following links:

#26 Radio Werwolf

#85 Operation Effective

#82 The Desert Fox

#73 Soviet Space Program

#25 Otto Skorzeny

#75 Berlin Blockade

#2 Paddy Mayne’s Boys

#79 Group Pliev

#73 Berlin Uprising

#31 National Redoubt

If you are interested in Werwolf: Insurgency in Occupied Germany, 1945-1948, you can pre-order a copy for $72.00 from the Legion Wargames website at the following link:

This game has not met its 250 pre-order goal as of yet but I do hope that it will make it in 2023 and get printed and on my gaming table by the end of the year.

Assault Sicily 43 Gela Beachhead from Assault Games

We love tactical wargames. The small units, moving around the board, trying to outflank their enemy. The need for strategy and a game plan to get your units to where they need to be. It is always a very interesting and exciting 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. Assault Games is a new German publisher who has done a really good job of making a fun and very playable system with lots of variability. This game made my Top 10 Wargames of 2021! coming in at #3 and we really enjoyed our plays of the game and have been looking forward to the future planned expansions.

Assault Sicily 43 Gela Beachhead is not an expansion of the system per se, like their recent Tactical Air and Artillery Support that debuted in late 2022, but takes the system to a new theater with a standalone game that uses the same system but adds in some elements to model war in the Italian Peninsula during World War II.

From the game page, we read the following:

Assault Sicily 43 is the second volume in a planned series of tactical level wargames in which players lead historical units into battle during the landing and airborne operations around Gela Beachhead (July 1943). Americans, Italians and Germans fight bitterly for the backdoor of Sicily as a launchpad for the invasion of the continent.

Assault Sicily 43 is intentionally not intended to be a simulation, but rather it abstracts certain aspects in favor of playability and manageable game length to convey the feeling of comprehensive tactical combat situations.

There is not a lot of great detail out there on the game just yet but it is supposed to be put on pre-order over the next few months and if it does well is then supposed to be published by the end of the year. I am fine waiting on a fine game like this one.

I did find this little nugget on their Twitter account about one of the new tricks in the game. Last year, when we played and reviewed the base game Assault Red Horizon 41, we discussed a part of the unit cards that was not addressed in the base game rulebook called Blast Value. This Blast Value is now going to be introduced to the system in Sicily 43. As you can see, the unit that is highlighted here is a Tiger Tank and the Blast Value obviously has a connection to armored units, or really any units that have an explosive element, regarding their explosive power of their main gun.

The designer is also working on various optional rules to deepen the system to appeal to more hard core grognards that like complexity and chrome. One of those optional rules is a new Campaign System that allows players to track units over the course of multiple scenarios taking into account things like experience, being full strength or half strength due to losses and any special abilities that might have been earned or unlocked from the past scenario. The campaign and scenario book for Sicily is supposedly already approaching 90+ pages full of missions and new mechanics.

As the design progresses, Wolfgang Klein has been very good about sharing information and pictures. You can check out the Assault Games website and visit the Western Front tab at the top of the page to see progress. Here they will post draft rules, and you can see some of the new map tiles artwork and layout as well as some new unit card artwork. Here is a link to that page:

This is one game that I am assuming will be published in 2023, but it is very possible that work will continue and the game will not make it to our tables until 2024. I am hoping that they can get it ready for this year so that more people can discover this very cool system.

To get more information on the system, you can check out our video review for Assault Red Horizon 41:

85′ Afghanistan: Graveyard of Empires from Flying Pig Games

In 2017, we played ’65 when it was released on Kickstarter. First off, I want to say that I’m always impressed by Mark Holt Walker’s games because he packs so much in the box, and your hard earned cash can take you really far. The rules themselves are pretty light for a squad level tactical game, especially a Vietnam game with all of the potential complexities from that war. That made ’65 quite accessible and I’d recommend it for those looking to enter the tactical side of the hobby, as well as those who are looking for a game that is high on the fun side, and low on the dreary sense of impending doom when you lose side.

Now that same system is being taken to Afghanistan to cover the Soviets and their quagmire there in a new upcoming game called ’85 Afghanistan: Graveyard of Empires. The game uses multi-use cards that drive the action, and are used for so many aspects of the game. They also have events so this is a bit of chaos that is injected into games.

From the game page, we read the following:

’85 Graveyard of Empires is the second game in the Squad Battles Series. Building on the mechanics introduced in ’65 Squad Battles in the Jungles of Vietnam, Graveyard of Empires (GOE) features squad-level battles between the Afghan Mujahideen and Soviet Red Army in a card-driven, hex and counter game.

GOE introduces card-activated events, immersive helicopter rules, more tactical decisions, new powers and abilities, and of course beautiful counter and game board art. The counters are 1” or larger (for the vehicles) and the game board hexes are huge. Included are counters for Mujahideen RPG and RPD teams, rifle squads and heroes, as well as captured T-55 and BMP armored fighting vehicles. The Soviets respond with Spetsnaz, line rifle squads, heroes, Hind-24 attack helicopters and several types of AFVs, such as T-55, T-62 tanks, BNPs, BTRs, and more.

The game comes with 5 very well done illustrated 11” x 17” geomorphic game boards so there are lots of variety of setups and scenario potential with a generally reasonable footprint. The counters are large and thick 1” and 1.375” so they stand out on the board and really have a major presence. There are 54 action cards, 4 Event Cards, 5 Bonus Victory Condition Cards included in the one deck that is used by both players.

The game is supposed to go to Kickstarter yet this winter (hopefully) and I would think could be fulfilled and shipped out by the end of the year.

I sincerely hope that you enjoyed reading this list (I know I had a good time writing it!) and I hope that you have a good financing plan to purchase all the gaming goodness coming soon. Let me know what games you are looking forward to in 2023 as I always like to hear your thoughts. With so many good games upcoming it is really hard to cover them all! A few others that I am keenly awaiting but didn’t highlight here are December 1972 – Linebacker II: The Historic B-52 Strikes Against North Vietnam from Cadet Games, Traces of War from VUCA Simulations, A Gest of Robin Hood from GMT Games, Crown & Crescent from Multi-Man Publishing, 1812! War on the Great Lakes Frontier from Compass Games and Border Reivers from GMT Games.