Naval Warfare

Picket Duty — Now Available

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Picket DutyLegion Wargames released their latest solitaire wargame Picket Duty: Kamikaze Attacks Against U.S. Destroyers – Okinawa 1945.

By the time of the invasion of Okinawa in April 1945, the US Navy devised a plan to help ward off the expected kamikaze attacks during the battle for the island. In order to provide an early warning system for impending kamikaze attacks, the US Navy established 16 radar picket stations around the island  Picket Duty is a solitaire game where you – as the captain of a Fletcher Class destroyer – fend off kamikaze attacks while performing picket duty off Okinawa. The game covers the time period from late March 1945 to late June 1945. Your goal is simple – survive.

The game comes with a basic game, advanced game, six historical scenarios, two hypothetical scenarios, a mini-campaign and a full campaign. Optional rules are also included. Each game turn is divided into three phases, each depicting an eight hour period. Key crew members are depicted with certain functions, as well as damage control teams. 35 types of Japanese planes are depicted on whopping 1.2″ square counters .

Game features include: Weather – Damage Control – Ammo and Fuel Consumption – Ship Trim and Listing – Land and Ship Radar – Air and Surface Fire Support – Ohka attacks, and more.

The rules are available in PDF. The game designer also has updated errata. Also see the designer’s site.

[Updated: 7DEC13]

Dystopian Wars – State of Nations

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Dystopian Wars PrussianSpartan Games announced a number of significant updates to their steam punk miniature rules Dystopian Wars. They are changing the model assigned rules (MAR) and stats for a number of models. You can get all the details from their State of Nations post. They also announced some rules changes and released updated pdfs of the new Stat Cards in their Fate of Nations post.

Spartan also released related updates to the master rulebook.

[Updated: 28DEC11]

Dystopian Wars — Getting Started Week

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DW Getting Started WeekThe folks over at Beasts of War have been going crazy over Spartan Games’ Dystopian Wars this week. They have put together an excellent collection of posts and videos about all things Dystopian Wars. Of particular note are the videos that cover the world of DW as well as how to play DW (part 1 and part 2). They do make a few minor errors with some of the rules but nothing of real significance or that you wouuldn’t catch after your own reading of the rules. But if you have any interest in Dystopian Wars this is a must see collection.

Spartan Games News — July 2011

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Spartan Games is on a real tear this month with new releases and a ton of announcements. To launch it all they completely redesigned their website with a very attractive design that showcases their products well.Prussian Stolz DD

Dystopian Wars

Brittania Armoured Battle GroupFirst off are the release of the first Dystopian Wars ground forces. Each of the major factions get an Armoured Battle Group plus each unit type is available as separate platoon packs as well. On the naval side new support ships released for each faction such as the Prussian Stolz Class Destroyer. We even got our hands on the big boys with each faction receiving a new Dreadnought class ship. The DNs are truly huge and are about 50% larger than even the impressive battleships. Our favorite of course is the Prussian Blucher class DN. If all of that was not enough Spartan announced the imminent release of the ‘specials’ for each faction including the Prussian Metzger Robot (including both submerged and walking versions), Britannia Vanguard submarine (including both submerged and surface versions), Blazing Sun Ika Class Mechanical Squid (including both submerged and surface versions), and FSA John Henry Class Robot.

Antartican Plato Class CABut by far the biggest announcement that sent every Dystopian Wars fan into a frenzy was that of the forthcoming  Covenant of Antarctica forces. Spartan pulled out all the stops and is releasing a full Naval Battle Group, Drone Fleet Carrier and the Armoured Battle Group all at once. The Antartican design is very sci-fi and fits well with their fluff as the most technologically advanced of all the factions in the game. To top it all off the Naval Battle Group box also ships with a 40-page army guide that includes all of the background, rules and stats for the Covenant of Antarctica forces (also available for separate purchase). And there is even more Antarctican goodness to follow!

Prussian Metzger RobotRoF Magenta BBEven the boys from the D6 Generation get in on the act and interview Neil Fawcett about Spartan activities and also give a look at how the Dystopian Wars ground forces play goes. Neil makes a surprise announcement that the long awaited Republique of France (RoF) Magenta Class Battleship will be available (in both waterline and flying versions) in limited quantities at Gen Con 2011 and available for all later this year.  Craig surprises everyone by revealing that he is now working for Spartan Games as a freelance writer and that he was responsible for all of the great Firestorm Armada fluff on the Spartan site and is now working on more goodies. See Episode 83 and fast forward to 3hr 3min to get right to it.

Firestorm Armada

Perditor LeviathanSpartan has not forgotten Firestorm Armada either. First off we got the new Xelocian ships. The Hantari Cruiser does not have colored ‘power rods’. They are the same clear plastic rods used for the flying stands. The advantage of course is now you can ink them your preferred color.

Then Spartan stopped playing Sorylian DNaround and decided to simply dump all available resin into one model and previewed the upcoming 9″ Perditor Leviathan model. But I guess the mold overflowed a bit so they decided to release Dreadnoughts for all six fleets as well! They also previewed the Directorate Persecution Class DN.

As mentioned, Craig worked on some FA fluff so we would guess we could expect some more of the same and possibly even a new FA book of some kind — Perhaps the previously hinted at Alliance army book? Maybe Russ and Raef can get some info out of him with Neil safely overseas ensconced in his island fortress!


If all of that was not enough to deplete your wallet then Neil gave some hints that the new FA-era ground combat game, Invasion, may be released in late 2011 or early 2012.

[Updated: 1UAG11]

Hornet Leader — Review

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Hornet LeaderDVG Games recently released Hornet Leader: Carrier Air Operations. Hornet Leader is a remake of the original game that started the series more than a decade ago and includes the expansions that were released as VASSAL only games in the past. Last year DVG also released the excellent Phantom Leader in the same series.

The game ships in a beefy extra-deep box although it is largely filled with air. It has a mound of cards and excellent full-color components. We found an excellent review of Hornet Leader on Wargame Center. As always, BoardGame Geek has some excellent supporting files.

The Best Games Not Yet Published – 2011

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Another new year and new games and miniatures to lust after! Once again we present our annual look at the games and miniatures we are most anxiously awaiting in 2011. Our 2010 prognostications did well. As always, there is no guarantee any of these titles will be published in 2011, nor that they will be any good if they are, but we are always optimistic.
Read the rest of this entry »

Dystopian Wars — Review

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Dystopian Wars - Prussian Empire Fleet
Dystopian Wars - Prussian Empire Fleet

Imagine a world similar to our own, but subtly different. Now imagine the year is 1870 and the Industrial Revolution occurred decades earlier than in our own world. Technology is far advanced, and in many cases, unrecognizable, which has led to the development of fantastic naval vessels, hulking land ships and terror from the skies in the form of airships and war balloons.

The Dystopian Wars game is set in a Victorian Steampunk world and we have designed the rules to ensure a fun game with a large selection of high quality models in a couple of hours. The rules support Naval, Aerial and Land models from the outset, so that you can set up battles and scenarios in any combat setting.

Well the D6 Generation boys have outdid themselves once again. They have done a mammoth review of Dystopian Wars, the new miniatures game from Spartan Games. Craig outdoes himself with a wonderful dramatic Dystopian Wars introduction. The review is in fact so big they had to split it into two segments (1st at 1:12 and 2nd at 2:32). This is by far their best review yet. They go into exacting detail on the game’s background, the rules, the miniatures as well as the actual game play. It is also one of their best reviews in terms of overall listening entertainment and general flow.

You can download very well done ship/vehicle stat cards from the Spartan Forums.

Also don’t miss the D6G’s excellent interview with Spartan Games’ owner Neil Fawcett.

Dystopian War French BBWe have bought a number of games that we never would have based on input from the D6 Generation and Dystopian Wars will probably be yet another. While the miniatures are of the same high quality and detail as Spartan’s Firestorm Armada miniatures, they do not particularly appeal to us, but the rules sound so good we will probably pick some minis up anyway or may proxy in FA ships or even WW2 ship minis.

Also see the Spartan Games Interview. Also see Dystopian Wars — Getting Started Week.

BoneshakerOn a related note, I picked up Boneshaker after hearing Craig praise it a few times. I have never read any Steampunk titles before and only a few zombie titles. Boneshaker is rather light on both but is a very well written and interesting adventure story with an evocative world and some strong female characters. If you want a good read give it a shot.

[Updated: 18NOV11]

IJN — Available Soon

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IJNCompass Games has a new expansion for their great solitaire WW2 naval wargame, Silent War. IJN adds a ton of Imperial Japanese Navy ships to the game. IJN is in pre-order now but should ship before the end of the year.

Bring added realism to your submarine campaign with IJN, Imperial Japanese Navy, the first expansion pack for Compass Games’ award winning SILENT WAR. Every Japanese warship down through the large destroyer escorts and the major auxiliary cargo ships and tankers are provided in two full countersheets with 336 new playing pieces for the game and rules to integrate them seamlessly into the game. IJN, Imperial Japanese Navy also brings new rules to SILENT WAR such as loners, crash dive, and targeting escorts, rules introduced in the follow on game, STEEL WOLVES. A must have expansion pack for any dedicated SILENT WAR player. Requires SILENT WAR to play.

The Fires of Midway — Now Available

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Fires of MidwayThe Fires of Midway WW2 card game is now available. FoM is the second game in Clash of Arms’ War is Hell series. FoM covers Pacific carrier warfare including not only the Battle of Midway but also the battles of the Coral Sea, Eastern Solomons and Santa Cruz. It is a two player game but also includes official rules for solitaire play.

We have had a read through the rules but have not played a game yet. Physically the game is similar to the Hell of Stalingrad game. Unfortunately this means it has the same sort of garish, over designed graphics. But the presentation is functional and the historical photos of the various ships and aircraft are nice. Movement is done on a side map, search is conducted by drawing cards, and combat is performed through card play and dice rolls. All of the major facets of WW2 carrier combat are covered.

Overall the game looks very interesting and we look forward to getting in a game. BoardGameGeek has PDF versions of the rules and tables available for download.

Steel Wolves in 2010

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Steel WolvesCompass Games announced Steel Wolves will be printing in October of 2010. So fans should have it in time for the holidays. Pre-orders are still open. Steel Wolves is a  follow up to their well done WW2 solitaire board game on Allied submarine combat in the Pacific, Silent War. Fans of naval games, solitaire games and the war in the Atlantic should check it out.