Board Wargames

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.
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Conflict of Heroes — Mobile Reference

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First Men InAcademy Games announced a mobile friendly reference site. It is a ‘web app’ designed for use on mobile devices that contains all of the major reference info needed to play the various Conflict of Heroes games. Very nice.

While it is just a mobile formatted web page, there is a way to get it to install as an ‘app’ on the iPad and other mobile devices so that it works while offline.

[Updated: 14FEB11]

White Star Rising — Now Available

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Lock’n Load Games released the first game in their new Nations at War Series: White Star Rising. NaW is basically the WW2 version of the their excellent World at War series. White Star Rising covers tactical battles in the European theater through 16 scenarios and features a nice mix of U.S., German, and British forces. The components are top notch although the mounted 11″x17″ map boards seem to be prone to warping. The rulebook and charts are in full color.

The 20-page rulebook covers all of the major aspects of WW2 tactical combat including off-board artillery, smoke, air support, mines, and more. WSR includes a Battlefield Chaos and Fate Point system that adds some random elements to the game.

White Star Rising retains the smooth tactical play of its predecessor yet has just enough subtle modifications to give it a nice WW2 feel. Ranges are reduced, movement is a bit slower and weapons somewhat less deadly. One major criticism made by some was that 60mm+ mortars were far too powerful at killing tanks compared to actual AT guns. When playing a ‘normal’ game we did not find this to be the case but if someone wanted to exploit the full potential of the rules this was probably an accurate critique. LnL responded with an official rule change that says mortars can only disrupt, not reduce, non-open topped armor units. This change will be reflected in an updated PDF version of the rules.

WSR is a great WW2 tactical game and if you liked the World at War series you will certainly like WSR as well. If you enjoy platoon-level tactical WW2 combat games you should check out White Star Rising. The next title in the series, Desert Heat, covers combat in North Africa from 1941-43.

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.

Normandy ’44 — Now Available

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Normandy '44GMT Games’ new regimental level boardgame of the combat in Normandy in 1944 is now available. Normandy ’44 covers the D-Day invasion itself and the following three weeks of combat. It makes a great alternative to the five-map monster game The Battle for Normandy, but it does not cover the southern battles and Operation Cobra like that game either. Normandy ’44 has GMT’s typically great components with an attractive map and nice looking counters. You can get the rules in PDF. There is now a VASSAL module and Cyberboard module available.

Each turn represents 1 day. Each hex represents 3.8 kilometers (or 2.3 miles). Most units are regiments or brigades though most of the armor units are represented as battalions.
The game uses a simplified Ardennes ’44 system: Move, Fight and Reserve Movement. All non-tank battalion units are rated for Troop Quality, while all armor units have a Tank Rating. In each battle these ratings are used to provide shifts for either the attacker or defender. Other important shifts are provided by air power, naval support, artillery and/or Tiger tanks.
The game includes a 22 turn Campaign game, a 7-turn Tournament Scenario that focuses on the Allies linking up the beaches, and a scenario covering the battle in the peninsula and the capture of Cherbourg. In addition, there are rules for allowing 3 or even 4 players to play the game.

[Updated: 15OCT10]

Battles of Westeros — Review

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Battles of WesterosThe D6 Generation does it again! They have an excellent review of Fantasy Flight Games’ new Battles of Westeros board game. If you are not familiar with the title, it is a medieval fantasy, tactical wargame using a modification of the BattleLore system. It takes place in the world of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire). Forward to 2hr 32mins into the podcast to get right to the review.

It is a testament to the strength of this game that it is literally the first fantasy game we have ever purchased. Of course Game of Thrones is much more medieval fiction than it is fantasy and this emphasis comes across very well in the game. The D6G gang do a great job covering the game in their review.

FFG have the Battles of Westeros rulebook available for download as a PDF. They also have a FAQ and a scenario.

But a great review was not enough for the D6G. No, they also interviewed the game’s designer, Robert Kouba. It is an interesting and informative interview overall and if you like, you know, designer input, you’ll really, like, you know, enjoy it (listen and you’ll see what we mean!). Forward to 58min into the show to get to the interview with Rob.

[Updated: 25JAN11]


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Battles of NnapoleonFor some odd reason or another we recently picked up a number of Napoleonic warfare titles. We haven’t played any of them yet but thought you might be interested in some initial impressions. Please note that we are not generally players of Napoleonic games nor consider ourselves students of Napoleonic warfare. So these comments will be most useful to those with a similar mild interest in the period. Read the rest of this entry »

Conflict of Heroes — News

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COH T-34We just got a flyer from Academy Games on Conflict of Heroes. While we had been anticipating First Men In it looks like it will actually be the last of the current crop of planned games to be released. The current schedule is:

  1. COH: Price of Honour – This is the Poland 1939 campaign. It is scheduled for an August 2010 release date. Price of Honour is an expansion and requires either COH: Awakening the Bear or Storms of Steel.
  2. COH: Guadalcanal – This is, obviously, the Guadalcanal campaign in the Pacific during WW2. Playing Japanese and U.S. Marines will be interesting. It is listed with a September 2010 release date.
  3. COH: First Men In – The one we’ve been waiting for. FMI covers the D-Day airborne invasion of Normandy in 1944. It is set for a January 2011 release.

[Updated: 23AUG10]

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.

Stalin’s War — Now Available

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Stalin'S WarGMT Games’ WW2 card-driven wargame Stalin’s War is now available. Stalin’s War covers the east front during WW2. Turns are seasonal (with a special turn for June 41) running to Summer 45. Axis units are armies (which can have up to four steps on two counters) and corps. All the panzer units are represented as corps (controlled by Panzergroup/Army Headquarters). Soviet units are armies and fronts, along with their large (but irreplaceable) 1941 mechanized corps, and late-war Guard cavalry-mechanized corps.

There is a bit of errata for the game already but it looks good overall (although we wish game publishers would banish 1/2″ counters). You can get the rules and some series replays in PDF format.

There is a review of Stalin’s War on

[Updated: 23AUG10]