Time keeps marching on and I cannot believe that it is now April. That means that 1/4 of the year is already passed and we are really entering spring where we will see warmer but wetter weather and birds will return again. With that returning, the wargame world seems to be heating up as there are just a ton of new games to talk about this month. This month, I was able to find a total of 17 games with 2 of those being offered on Kickstarter and 1 on Gamefound. Choice is always a good thing but too many choices is even better!

If you missed the March Wargame Watch, you can read that here at the following link: https://theplayersaid.com/2023/03/01/wargame-watch-whats-new-upcoming-march-2023/


1. Ju 87 Stuka Ace from Lock ‘n Load Publishing Currently on Gamefound

We have seen a lot of iterations of these solitaire air war games over the past couple of years from many different designers including Gregory M. Smith (Interceptor Ace, Nightfighter Ace), Chuck Seegert (Zero Leader), Russ Lance (Flying Tigers Leader) and Fernando Sola Ramos (Interceptor Ace Volume II). They appeal to a broad range of gamers because of the novelty of the narrative driven game and the interesting and cool mechanics such as dogfighting, obtaining skills to improve your pilot and graduating to upgraded models. I have played several and always enjoy them even though they can be a bit of a chart flipping dice fest! Now Gottardo Zancani has joined the fray with a game that allows the players to fly the dreaded Ju 87 Stuka dive bomber in Ju 87 Stuka Ace from Lock ‘n Load Publishing.

From the game page, we read the following:

Ju 87 Stuka Ace allows you to simulate Junker 87 (Stuka) operations throughout the course of World War II, from the beginning of the Blitzkrieg in Poland to the anti-tank operations in the Russian campaign.

What makes Stuka Ace special is the brand-new game engine, built around what made the Stuka unique, the dive-bombing. This method of attack is very different from the standard bombing operated by other aircraft, and Ju 87 Stuka Ace fully reflects this uniqueness. This is the attack sequence in Ju 87 Stuka Ace: select the bomb release height, proceed with the dive, consider the current formation height and visibility, release the bombs at the set height and then execute the delicate pull phase. Each of these phases will be managed by making optimal use of the action cards in the player’s hand, but you must carefully plan your play since you don’t immediately draw a new card after playing it.

With an interesting dive sequence, and with the ability to fly these screaming machines in multiple fronts in World War II, this one definitely seems to be unique and may very well stand out from the crowd of solitaire air war games.

Ju 87 Stuka Ace will allow you to fly your Ju 87 in almost all the theatres where the Stuka were used: Poland, France, England, Norway, the Mediterranean, North Africa, Italy, and Russia. The missions in the different theatres will have very different objectives: infantry units, artillery positions, tanks, transport ships, battleships are just some of the examples. Terrain and weather conditions will also play an important role in the missions; poor visibility, the scorching heat and the sand of the desert, and the frost and snow in the Russian winters: are elements the player will have to consider to succeed. Ju 87 Stuka Ace includes even night operations: special rules will allow simulating Ju 87 D-5N attacks in Italy as members of “Night Battle Group” NSG9.

Nine Stuka models will be available to the player depending on the mission or on the progression of the campaign, including Ju 87 A, Ju 87B-1, Ju 87 R-1, Ju 87 D-3, Ju 87 D-5, and Ju 87 G-1. Depending on the capabilities of the aircraft, it will be necessary to select the most appropriate bomb load for the mission objective, evaluating both the number and the type of bombs to be used. And when flying the Ju 87 G-1, your pilot will use the Bordkanone 37 against the Soviet tanks: to better represent the Ju 87G-1 tank-buster role, a specific attack procedure has been introduced, always leveraging the player Action Cards.

If you are interested in Ju 87 Stuka Ace, you can back the project on the Gamefound page at the following link: https://gamefound.com/projects/lnlp/ju-87-stuka-ace

As of April 1st, the Gamefound campaign has raised $26,683 toward its $15,000 funding goal with 368 backers. The campaign will conclude on Tuesday, April 25th at 1:59am EST.

2. 2040: An American Insurgency from Compass Games Currently on Kickstarter

You know that we love the COIN Series from GMT Games and any type of irregular warfare and this one seems to have elements of both contained in it. I had caught wind of this one about a year or so ago and saw a few pictures on social media of a game on the subject but it was called American Abyss at the time, so maybe this is a totally unrelated game on the same topic. Who knows…but it does look interesting.

From the game page, we read the following:

2040: An American Insurgency simulates a US Civil War in the 21st century. In this 2-player, 3-hour game, the blue team is the Federals, agents of the government in Washington. The red team is the Rebels, militia groups trying to seize control of states, highways, and cities. The conflict spreads across the entire continental US, from Miami to Seattle and from Los Angeles to New York.

Two scenarios are presented. One depicts a rebellion that emerges from rural areas in the Midwest and South. The other puts the rebellion in urban areas along the coasts. As such, the game is open to multiple interpretations of future politics in the US. The game was designed not to make political statements of one kind or another, but rather to accurately model counter-insurgency operations in the continental US, regardless of who the rebels happen to be.

Many of the game mechanics are familiar from the existing body counter-insurgency sims. The resources and operations available to the two players are different; the insurgency is depicted as an asymmetric conflict. Gameplay is card-driven, however with events depicting situations that may arise in the US context. For example, if a civil war to occur, the Supreme Court is likely to make rulings that affect the conflict. Therefore, there are SCOTUS cards involving the Second Amendment and the government’s ability to make arrests. Other uniquely American features include truck stops as information networks, police brutality events, and the sports-entertainment complex.

I am not interested in this one due to the turmoil we are experiencing, both political and economic, or what it might bring but just find the subject matter to be very interesting and evocative. I am very interested in how insurgency and counterinsurgency are modeled in this one and am very much looking forward to playing this soon.

If you are interested in 2040: An American Insurgency, you can back the project on the Kickstarter page at the following link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/compassgames/2040-an-american-insurgency

As of April 1st, the Kickstarter campaign has raised $7,068 toward its $2,500 funding goal with 101 backers. The campaign will conclude on Wednesday, April 12th at 6:18pm EDT.

3. Heroes of the Pacific: Battle of Guadalcanal from Devil Pig Games Currently on Kickstarter

We love tactical gaming and the bigger the better! Last year, we jumped on the boat and backed the Heroes of Normandie: Battle for Caen along with the base game. We have not yet received the game but it should be in the next 30 days or so and I am keenly anticipating this one. But, when they then followed that up with a Kickstarter for a game set in the Pacific Theater of Operations, I was immediately hooked again.

From the game page, we read the following:

Heroes of the Pacific is based on the well-renowned Heroes System: Tactical Scale, which was recognized with an Origin’s Award (Best Historical Boardgame of the Year – 2015).

Whilst retaining a proper wargame feel with the necessary tactics, the Heroes System: Tactical Scale allows you to simulate and fight small-scale military conflicts with ease, aided by the game’s speed and dynamics.

To replay this period of history, we are proud to present Heroes of the Pacific! The core box and its Battle Pack will allow you to relive the battles that took place during Operation Watchtower, mainly on the island of Guadalcanal. Two new armies will appear. The Imperial Japanese (both Army & Navy) and the USMC. Obviously, the US Army will also be part of the game, but you already knew that.

This new chapter will be an opportunity to explore new types of terrain, such as the jungle, but will also introduce new rules, such as Doctrine Cards. We also redesigned the recruitment system to offer you as many different regiments as possible (9 in the core box, and 10 in the Battle Pack!!!) each with its own specialization.

If you are interested in Heroes of the Pacific: Battle for Guadalcanal, you can back the project on the Kickstarter page at the following link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hon-br1/heroes-of-the-pacific-battle-for-guadalcanal

As of April 1st, the Kickstarter campaign has raised $99,929 toward its $43,160 funding goal with 927 backers. The campaign will conclude on Friday, April 14th at 1:00pm EDT.

4. 1848: The Springtime of Nations from GMT Games

I am always a fan of Card Driven Games. There is something to be said for trying to utilize the hand of cards that you have been dealt to make the best situation possible. I also really like the back and forth tug-of-war nature of these games as one player will accomplish a thing and then their opponent will immediately start going about trying to walk that thing back. Really makes for a very interesting and tense experience. Then throw in an interesting historical setting that I don’t know all that much about and you have my interest. Such is the case with the new CDG offering in the update this month called 1848: The Springtime of Nations.

From the game page, we read the following:

1848: The Springtime of Nations is a 2-player CDG depicting the unprecedented wave of revolutionary activity that swept across Europe in the titular year of 1848. Based on the hit area control system pioneered by GMT’s 1989: Dawn of Freedom and Twilight Struggle, it pits the forces of “the Revolution” against those of the “Counter-Revolution” in a struggle to decide the future of Europe and the world.

The Revolutionary player controls the various insurgent and progressive movements trying to usher in a new order while the Counter-Revolutionary player leads the forces of reaction aiming to preserve the status quo. They will fight over and across the empires and nations of Europe, attempting to suppress their enemy’s influence and extend their own through a combination of political and military force—all the while navigating myriad historical events of the time.

And it uses the same area control system as Twilight Struggle? Yes please. And the game includes armies in addition to the political struggle so there will be some on board maneuvering and possibly combat of some type.

While 1848: The Springtime of Nations is at its core a political game, it does also include armies. The history of 1848 cannot be accurately told without its military side, including popular insurrections, the First War of Italian Independence, and ruthless suppression into 1849.

As the game progresses, the Revolutionaries will mobilize their armies as they spread east from France and Italy into Germany, Hungary, and Poland. But so too will the Counter-Revolution mobilize in an attempt to protect and consolidate their regimes. Thus, both sides will attempt to achieve by force what they cannot by influence.

There is lots to learn about this game and I am definitely going to reach out to the designer to get some more information to share. But, it does look and sound interesting and that is good enough for me at this point.

If you are interested in 1848: The Springtime of Nations, you can pre-order a copy for $46.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-1033-1848-the-springtime-of-nations.aspx

5. The Guerrilla Generation: Cold War Insurgencies in Latin America 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 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. Now, he is working on a new COIN Series Multi-Pack that deals with insurgencies in Latin America during the height of the Cold War called The Guerrilla Generation.

From the game page, we read the following:

The Guerrilla Generation: Cold War Insurgencies in Latin America is the second COIN Multi-Pack, containing four separate games exploring a series of thematically related insurgencies. Building on the The British Way, this new multipack allows players to explore variations in insurgent groups’ organizational structures, strategies, and relationship with civilians, across four insurgencies in Central and South America between 1968 and 1992. During this part of the Cold War era, Latin America experienced an incredible number of different insurgent groups, many inspired by the Cuban Revolution featured in Cuba Libre, ranging from popular backed rural insurgencies, flexible urban guerrillas, externally sponsored raiders, and brutal ideologically rigid groups. This multipack features a game exemplifying each of these types of insurgencies, to offer players the chance to compare different approaches to rebellion highlighted in the quote by scholar Jeremy Weinstein above. The Guerrilla Generation also offers four longer and more complex individual games than those found in The British Way, as well as an entirely different approach to the linked campaign scenario, which combines two games into a simultaneous side-by-side experience.

This Multi-Pack includes four full games in one box, which is a fantastic value that will allow players to explore four different conflicts set during the height of Cold War Latin America between 1968 and 1992. 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.

I also love these Multi-Packs because they have a small board footprint with each of the 4 games playing in under 2 hours and taking place on a single 17” x 22” board. But, the game doesn’t just treat these games as individual as they are designed to experience at least a portion of the full span of the period and be used to learn more about these insurgencies.

There is also a “Resisting Reagan” Campaign designed into the game. A linked campaign scenario allowing up to 4 players to play El Salvador and Nicaragua side-by-side, with new mechanisms to represent the Central American peace and solidarity movement’s efforts to resist the Reagan Administration’s aid to both the Salvadoran government and the Contra insurgency, by influencing Congress and American public opinion.

If you are interested in The Guerilla Generation: Cold War Insurgencies in Latin America, you can pre-order a copy for $69.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-1032-the-guerrilla-generation.aspx

6. Men of Iron Tri-Pack 2nd Printing from GMT Games

There are some systems that are just very playable. They are well designed, cover an interesting historical period or happening and have very interesting mechanics to boot. Such a series is the Men or Iron Series designed by Richard Berg. We played the new Tri-Pack in 2020 and really enjoyed the system. Now that Tri-Pack is getting a 2nd printing so even more gamers can experience what it has to offer.

The Men of Iron Tri-Pack is a large box game that includes the first three games in the Men of Iron Series including Men of IronInfidel and Blood & Roses, plus the Battle of Agincourt from C3i Magazine #22. This box is huge and heavy and is probably one of the greatest values in wargaming as there are three games and the box is packed full to the brim with counters, maps and player aids.

We really enjoyed our foray into the series and would love to continue playing the rest of the other scenarios.

From the game page, we read the following:

The series is designed for quick learning and easy play. Game rules are short, there are no turns—play is continual, with opportunities to steal play from your opponent—and combat resolution is a single die roll. Playing time is about 1-3 hours per battle.

The series is also for the gamer who enjoys playing solitaire. The system is designed for both individual and face-to-face play without any loss in insight or fun. It allows a player or players to see what happened in these famous battles and why. There are no purpose-built solitaire rules, but many players play that way.

If you are interested in Men of Iron Tri-Pack 2nd Printing, you can pre-order a copy for $59.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-1034-men-of-iron-tri-pack-2nd-printing.aspx

New Release

1. A Brilliant Little Affair: The Battle of Chrysler’s Farm, November 11, 1813 from High Flying Dice Games

I love lesser gamed subjects. It is always nice to play something unique and interesting while learning new parts of history. High Flying Dice Games does this exceptionally well as they have made their living on doing lesser (or even totally) unknow battles in their small games.

Their newest series is called Battle for Canada and delves into lesser known parts of the War of 1812. In the first volume called A Brilliant Little Affair: The Battle of Chrysler’s Farm, November 11, 1813, they take a look at this stunning victory for the outnumbered British, Canadian and First Nations forces.

From the game page, we read the following:

A Brilliant Little Affair is an easy to learn/teach game on the Battle of Chrysler’s Farm. Outnumbered by nearly two to one, the British, Canadian and First Nations force inflicted a stunning defeat upon the invading US force led by General James Wilkinson, one of the most inept and corrupt military leaders in US history.

Players use cards to activate their units/formations and six sided die to play the very interactive and competitive game. A Brilliant Little Affair is the debut title in a series of games on battles fought over control of Canada during the War of 1812.

If you are interested in A Brilliant Little Affair: The Battle of Chrysler’s Farm, November 11, 1813, you can order a copy for $15.95 from the High Flying Dice Games website at the following link: https://www.hfdgames.com/cfarm.html

2. Red Coats, Grey Jackets: The Battle of Chippawa, July 5, 1814 from High Flying Dice Games

Following the debut volume in the Battle for Canada Series, Red Coats, Grey Jackets: The Battle of Chippawa, July 5, 1814 was a victory for the United States Army in the War of 1812, during its invasion on July 5, 1814, of the British Empire’s colony of Upper Canada along the Niagara River. This battle and the subsequent Battle of Lundy’s Lane demonstrated that trained American troops could hold their own against British regulars. The battlefield is preserved as a National Historic Site of Canada.

From the game page, we read the following:

Red Coats, Grey Jackets is an introductory level wargame on the Battle of Chippawa. It is part of the Battles for Canada Series of games that portray famous battles fought for control of Canada during the War of 1812.

Players will also need a standard deck of playing cards (a custom series card set is available from the publisher) and a six-sided die to play the game. Each hex is approximately 50 yards across, a regular or militia infantry unit is 250-350 men, First Nation and Dragoon units are 80 to 100 men, and artillery units represent 2 or 3 guns. A turn represents one hour of time.

If you are interested in Red Coats, Grey Jackets: The Battle of Chippawa, July 5, 1814, you can order a copy for $15.95 from the High Flying Dice Games website at the following link: https://www.hfdgames.com/chippewa.html

3. Cockleshell Heroes: Operation Frankton, December 11, 1942 from High Flying Dice Games

A few months ago, I became aware of a new designer who was working on several interesting projects. His name is Amos Burke and his first project that caught my eye was the 3 games included in the Heroic Stand Series from Dan Verssen Games including The Alamo: Final AssaultRorke’s Drift: Men of Harlech and Thermopylae: The Hot Gates. These were successful on Kickstarter in December and then I became aware of his next project called Cockleshell Heroes: Operation Frankton, December 11, 1942 from High Flying Dice Games. The game is a solitaire game that covers a commando raid of the Royal Marines on ships in the German held port of Bordeaux.

From the game page, we read the following:

Cockleshell Heroes is a solitaire play game portraying Operation Frankton. Operation Frankton was a commando raid on ships based in the German occupied French port of Bordeaux during the Second World War. The raid was carried out by a small unit of the Royal Marines know as the “Royal Marines Boom Patrol Detachment”, who were part of a combined operations transported by the submarine, HMS Tuna. Variant rules for two players are included.

We recently published an interview with the designer Amos Burke and you can read that at the following link: https://theplayersaid.com/2023/03/27/interview-with-amos-burke-designer-of-cockleshell-heroes-operation-frankton-december-11-1942-from-high-flying-dice-games/

If you are interested in Cockleshell Heroes: Operation Frankton, December 11, 1942, you can order a copy for $20.95 from the High Flying Dice Games website at the following link: https://www.hfdgames.com/cockleshell.html

4. The Pratzen: Austerlitz, 1805 from Canvas Temple Publishing

Canvas Temple Publishing is a company I have never played a game from but they always have very interesting looking titles with really great production. This month, they advertised two new games that had been fulfilled off of Kickstarter and I wanted to share them with you. The first is The Pratzen: Austerlitz, 1805 designed by Peter Perla and covers the the fighting on and around the Pratzen Heights at the Battle of Austerlitz.

From the game page, we read the following:

The Pratzen: Austerlitz 1805 is a two-player board game that portrays the fighting on and around the Pratzen Heights at the Battle of Austerlitz. The battle was fought between the French forces of Napoleon Bonaparte and a larger allied army composed of Austrian and Russian forces. The battle is considered to be one of the most important and decisive engagements of the Napoleonic Wars. The engagement result brought the War of the Third Coalition to an end and about the Treaty of Pressburg. The battle is widely thought of as a tactical masterpiece on par with Cannae.

The game is designed by industry veteran and author of The Art of Wargaming, Peter P. Perla. The game system of The Pratzen: Austerlitz 1805 began some three decades ago as an idea to update the classic SPI tactical game Grenadier, published in 1971. Pratzen evolved into a merger of the Grenadier scale with some different combat mechanics based on the original von Reisswitz Kriegsspiel rules of 1824, adopted as a training tool in the Prussian army after the Napoleonic Wars. The scale was shifted from half-battalions to companies and divisions as the basic infantry maneuver piece, and much additional streamlining and simplification ensued.

If you are interested in The Pratzen: Austerlitz, 1805, you can order a copy for $89.95 from the Canvas Temple Publishing website at the following link: https://canvastemple.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=22_23&products_id=147

5. Imperial Campaigns Series Game No. 1: The Boer War from Canvas Temple Publishing

The second game offered from Canvas Temple Publishing this month is a game on the Boer War and is the first game in a new series that is dedicated to recreating large scale European Wars in the 18th to 20th centuries. This first game is called Imperial Campaigns Series Game No. 1: The Boer War.

From the game page, we read the following:

Imperial Campaigns is a wargame system for recreating wars and campaigns during the great age of European Empires from the 18th century to early 20th centuries, using 60 to 80 counters per game and a deck of cards. A single Standard Rules booklet applies to all games in the series, each of which also has its own Exclusive Rules providing the Scenario(s) for a specific campaign.

The game map portrays the area where the historical campaign took place. A hexagonal grid is superimposed over the map in order to regularize the move­ment and positioning of the pieces.

The cardboard game pieces represent the military formations that took part in the original campaign. These playing pieces are referred to as units. Generally, units will have information on the front and reverse.

Each game in the series takes place at the scale of an entire campaign, thus units typically represent divisions or corps.

If you are interested in Imperial Campaigns No. 1: The Boer War, you can order a copy for $74.95 from the Canvas Temple Publishing website at the following link: https://canvastemple.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=22_23&products_id=182

6. 1944 D-Day to the Rhine from Worthington Publishing

Dan Fournie is a designer that has come on the scene and created several very interesting games including 1944 Battle of the Bulge414 BC Siege of Syracuse and now 1944 D-Day to the Rhine among many other modules and expansions for existing games and systems. We played and enjoyed very much his 1944 Battle of the Bulge in early 2021 and now there is a follow-up game that takes that same system, which is based on the HoldFast Series, to the Allied advance on Berlin. 1944 D-Day to the Rhine follows WWII on the Western Front from June of 1944 until March of 1945.

From the game page we read the following:

As the German player, you will set your defenses to meet the Allied landings. As the Allied player you will land and try to break out and drive across France as quickly as possible. Can you cross the Rhine and break through the West Wall before Christmas?

The game includes variable objectives that are picked before the game begins creating a great sense of tension as neither player truly knows his opponents objectives before the game begins.

Optional rules are included for landings other than in Normandy, and hidden German units.

Most of the objectives for victory are the elimination of enemy units and for the Allies getting into Germany before 1945

One of the most interesting parts of the game is the custom dice that are very hard to hit with but that mimic some of the challenges of the time in battles between tanks and infantry. The game also includes variable objectives that are picked before the game begins that create a sense of tension as neither player truly knows his opponents objectives before the game begins.

We posted an interview with Dan on our blog covering the game and you can read that interview at the following link: https://theplayersaid.com/2022/02/14/interview-with-dan-fournie-designer-of-1944-d-day-to-the-rhine-from-worthington-publishing-currently-on-kickstarter/

If you are interested in 1944 D-Day to the Rhine, you can order a copy for $75.00 from the Worthington Publishing web site at the following link: https://www.worthingtonpublishing.com/collection/battle-of-the-bulge-1944-m8ypl

7. Traces of War from VUCA Simulations

If you haven’t noticed VUCA Simulations and their fantastic lineup of wargames, then you really need to put your phone/computer down and go check out their great looking games. Well, on 2nd thought you will need your phone/computer to go check out their site so just get off whatever site you are on right now (hopefully either theplayersaid.com or our YouTube Channel) and do it. You will thank me later I promise. We have played several of their games to date with the most recent being Donnerschlag, which is a fantastic low complexity hex and counter wargame that uses cards to activate units and is absolutely stunning to look at.

One of their newest games is designed by Tetsuya Nakamura called Traces of War and it uses the same system that is commonly referred to as the Red Box Series.

From the game page, we read the following:

Traces of War is a two-player game that simulates the intense fighting between Axis and Soviet forces after the battle of Kursk during August 1943 to March 1944. A major Soviet offensive is launched against a German mobile defense. Will the breakthrough be successful?

If you are interested in Traces of War, you can order a copy for $77.00 from the VUCA Simulations website at the following link: https://vucasims.com/collections/preorder/products/traces-of-war

8. Seas of Thunder from GMT Games

I once heard that proper grand strategy in wargames requires the inclusion of naval operations. While this game doesn’t have ground forces it does focus on the naval side of World War II and its many problems including too few ships to cover the whole of the vast Pacific to supply concerns. This game takes a look at the strategic picture of the naval conflict and offers over 1,200 combat ship counters to play around with.

From the game page, we read the following:

Seas of Thunder not only allows players to re-create the Atlantic or Pacific theaters of the war but to see how challenging the entire picture was for their leaders. How do you protect a globe from German raiders? How desperate was it for Britain when France fell and they were left to fight Germany and Italy alone on the high seas? What is the right balance for the Soviet fleet split between for distinct fronts (Baltic, Black Sea, Arctic, and Pacific)? If the Mediterranean force weakens for the allies, where to they draw ships. from? Does Japan strike quickly or play for attrition when they arrive on the halfway point? Will America fight in two fronts, three, or four?

In Seas of Thunder, players will experience the tension of too much sea to cover with too few ships, the frustration of being caught unprepared, or the intensity of a vital stand contesting a high-value sea area. Victory is neither sudden nor guaranteed. In each battle, a flight of Catalinas, the lack of ASW, the improper distribution of air power, or even a missing minesweeper could be the difference between success or failure.

The game takes a very interesting look at scoring as the game is an area control game where each side scores differing victory points for control of areas.

At its heart, Seas of Thunder is a large area control game where the Allies score low numbers of points for control and the Axis score higher per area. Controlling 6 Areas for the Allies may not be as valuable as scoring 1 area for the Axis. The Axis player seeks to win key zones, and the Allied player must make them pay dearly for them.

Points are scored each turn for the following:

  • Variable points per Sea Zone controlled
  • Each Convoy of the opponent Sunk
  • Each Enemy Warship Sunk
  • Each Land-Based Air Unit not used (and thus allowed to participate in the ground war or strategic bombing)

The game is divided up into 7 smaller scenarios or campaigns that can be played ‘”as-is” or combined to fight a portion of the war all the way up to the entire campaign.

We published an interview with the designer Jeff Horger and you can read that at the following link: https://theplayersaid.com/2021/07/19/interview-with-jeff-horger-designer-of-seas-of-thunder-from-gmt-games/

If you are interested in Seas of Thunder you can order a copy for $65.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-845-seas-of-thunder.aspx

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

I said it above but Stephen Rangazas is a rockstar. He has a design complete and on its way to our tables with another in process and a third recently announced.

The British Way: Counterinsurgency at the End of Empire 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 IBrief 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 1940’s and 1950’s. 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: https://theplayersaid.com/2022/03/07/interview-with-stephen-rangazas-designer-of-the-british-way-counterinsurgency-at-the-end-of-empire-from-gmt-games/

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 order a copy for $79.00 from the GMT Games website at the following link: https://www.gmtgames.com/p-945-the-british-way-counterinsurgency-at-the-end-of-empire.aspx

10. Siege of Port Arthur from The Historical Wargame Company, LLC

We have played a few of the games from The Historical Wargame Company from designer Steve Kling and they are designed as nice little introductory wargames with low counter density, great looking maps and easy to learn and understand rules. We described them as games you could play with your dad over a holiday or be used to introduce a friend to wargaming. These games are also print on demand and are printed and shipped by Blue Panther LLC once you buy them. They will take about 10 days to get to you.

Their newest releases include an interesting subject on the siege of Port Arthur in 1904.

From the game page, we read the following:

1904. The Japanese have invested in the city of Port Arthur, a crucial naval base for the Russians. The city is heavily defended by redoubts and forts. The Russians are confident that the Czar will be proud of their defense, despite the continued bickering among their generals. The Japanese have 100,000 men for the siege, but soon realize taking the city will take more than just superior numbers. The Emperor will accept no more delays. The stage is set.

One player commands the Russian forces and the other player commands the Japanese army.

If you are interested in Siege of Port Arthur, you can order a copy for $35.00 from the Blue Panther, LLC website at the following link: https://www.bluepantherllc.com/products/siege-of-port-arthur

11. Battle of Oriamendi from The Historical Wargame Company, LLC

The 2nd new game being offered this month from The Historical Game Company through their printing partner Blue Panther LLC deals with the First Carlist War and the Battle of Oriamendi. Similar to the game above, this a simple and easy to learn game with low counter density and easy rules. The other really nice aspect of these little games is they come with a nice canvas map rather than paper. They are nicely folded and placed in the box so they roll out flat and have no permanent creases or bends that cause issue with the counters.

From the game page, we read the following:

1837. Cristino commanders plan an ambitious three-pronged attack to annihilate Carlist forces in the North of Spain and hopefully bring an end to the war. However, the planned concentration of forces goes awry. Carlist General Don Sebastian takes advantage of the situation with a lightning march to reinforce a Carlist force threatened by a Cristino army of Spanish and British auxiliaries near Oriamendi. The stage is set.

If you are interested in Battle of Oriamendi, you can order a copy for $35.00 from the Blue Panther, LLC website at the following link: https://www.bluepantherllc.com/products/battle-of-oriamendi

Thanks for reading along this month. I am very excited about a lot of these games and really look forward to playing them. Please let me know if you know of a new pre-order game, Kickstarter or new release that I missed.