Board Wargames

World at War: Gamer’s Guide — Review

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Gamer’s GuideLock ‘n Load Publishing released a Gamer’s Guide for its World at War Cold War-era tactical combat board wargame. It is a 37 page 8 1/2″ x 11″ softbound, black and white magazine. The cover is of heavy glossy stock. The Guide is attractively laid out with plenty of shots of the game in play and a few stock photos sprinkled in. The layout template takes up a lot of space and the guide could probably have been published in only 18 pages but would have seemed a bit more crowded. The lack of color is disappointing especially for the shots of the game in action but everything is clear and readable. Read the rest of this entry »

Federation Commander: Line of Battle — Review

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Amarillo Design Bureau just released Line of Battle a new expansion for Federation Commander. It is a follow-up to their Battleships Attack product and contains nine extra 8 1/2″ x 11″ battleship cards for all the races, an additional map panel (open space), three new scenarios that feature battleships, and lastly, a short bit on tactics. The included cards are for the: Federation Battleship, Klingon B10 Battleship, Romulan King Condor Battleship, Kzinti Battleship, Gorn ‘Godzilla’ Battleship, Neo-Tholian Battleship, Seltorian Battlewagon, Hydran Monarch Battleship, and the Lyran Cave Lion Battleship.

This is a nice expansion for anyone interested in using battleships in Federation Commander. The scenarios are also interesting but we wish they had come up with something a bit more novel to include than just another map panel.

A related product is their Border Box #6 that contains nine battleship miniatures and one starbase miniature. Of course the miniatures are all available individually as well.

World at War: Gamer’s Guide on Pre-order

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Lock ‘n Load Publishing has a Gamer’s Guide for their excellent World at War game system available for pre-publication orders.

You asked for it (didn’t you?), and now it’s here (well, almost). Packing with forty professionally printed, and glaringly-glossy pages (including cover) and filled with World at War wisdom, the World at War: Gamer’s Guide is on pre-order. You’ll find a preview of the upcoming World at War boxed game, World at War: Blood and Bridges. Two new scenarios, Clearing Hell’s Highway, and Poor Bloody Infantry. Two battle reports with semi-fictionized accounts recounts of WaW scenarios (Some of you call these after action reports). A ten page article examining strategy in the World at War series and the specific tactics needed to win all six Eisenbach Gap scenarios. Even variants for night fighting, and a design your own scenarios “how to” article. And much more… including a unit-by-unit analysis of the platoons of Eisenbach Gap… even better, you’ll find it before the end of February.

[Update 22FEB08: This is now shipping.]

[Update 2MAR08: See our review.]

World at War: Death of the 1st Panzer — Review

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Death of the 1st PanzerWorld at War: Death of the 1st Panzer is the first expansion to Lock ‘n Load’s Cold War era World at War: Eisenbach Gap wargame. The expansion ships in a ziplock and introduces new forces, scenarios, and a map to the game.

Death of the 1st Panzer is a straightforward expansion and provides the units for West German panzer units. In this case the 1st Panzer is essentially two mechanized infantry companies and two panzer companies with some attachments. Other new units included are the Soviet T-12 ATG and the ASU-85. The counters are of the same design as WaW:EG but are printed on thicker stock. They are still on the thin side but not unusually so. Read the rest of this entry »

World at War: Eisenbach Gap — Review

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Eisenbach GapWorld at War: Eisenbach Gap is Lock ‘n Load Publishing’s latest game. It is a Cold War era platoon-level board wargame. The unit scale is platoon and each hex represents 150m. While the game depicts fictional scenarios, Eisenbach Germany was a real point of possible contention during the Cold War. In addition, Eisenbach Gap is the first game in the World at War series so we will see additional titles using the same system in the future. The game ships in a full-size game box with 128 die-cut 5/8″ counters, mounted 17″ x 22″ map, two players’ aid cards, 4 dice, and a 16-page rulebook. Probably the first thing you will notice is the counters. They are very attractive and have an almost bewildering array of numbers on them. Unfortunately they are also some of the thinest cardboard counters you will find in any wargame. They are essentially the thickness of two pieces of card stock. The biggest issue with the thinness is that it makes the counters rather difficult to pick up even with tweezers. Hopefully Lock ‘n Load will produce thicker counters for future WaW titles. [Note: Oddly, an extra set of counters I ordered direct from LnL were on thicker stock.] The map is nice and similar in thickness to the ASL Starter Kit maps or roughly the thickness of your average wargame counter. The map is very attractive in an antiseptic sort of way — Like the time period being portrayed, it has a sort of retro feel to it. The rulebook is well laid out and a fairly useful reference during play. The player aid cards are handy but leave a lot of information out. You will need to make your own notes to ease play. Read the rest of this entry »

Band of Heroes — Review

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Band of HeroesLock ‘n Load’s Band of Heroes is a board wargame on World War Two squad-level combat. It has been out over a year now but with new expansions on the way I thought this would be a good time to look back at the original game. The Wargamer has an excellent review of Band of Heroes. I agree with the reviewer’s comments especially those on the rulebook. It works OK for reading through but is terrible as a resource for looking up rules during the game. Also the terrain identification issue has been solved with the Terrain Chart Supplement. The map boards are very well done but they have a very garish hex grid superimposed on them that is very distracting and also makes determining the hex, especially hexside, terrain type tough at times. This hex treatment came under considerable fire after the game’s initial release and LnL released a pack of ‘haloless maps‘ with a much toned down pattern. The maps in the Not One Step Back expansion are of this same haloless design and Swift and Bold does not have any maps. Boardgame Geek has an excellent BoH reference sheet. Version three of the LnL rules are currently in playtest.

The new Line of Fire magazine includes BoH information. LnL also has an excellent 32-page demo of BoH. It includes printable map, counters, reference cards, a scenario, and most of the rulebook so you can try the game out for yourself.

Overall Band of Heroes is an excellent WW2 tactical wargame and with its ongoing expansion is more complete and much easier to digest than even the Advanced Squad Leader Starter Kits and unlike Combat Commander includes vehicles. Recommended.

The Best Games Not Yet Published, 2008

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With the New Year upon us we thought it might be interesting to present the games we are most anxiously awaiting in 2008. Our 2007 prognostications did pretty well so we thought we would try it again for 2008. There is no guarantee any of these will be published in 2008, nor that they will be any good if they are, but we are always hopeful.
Read the rest of this entry »

Line of Fire — Review

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Line of FireLock ‘N Load Games just released a new house magazine, Line of Fire. What is interesting is that it is a PDF only publication. Unlike Mongoose Publishings’ Signs & Portents online magazine, Rackham’s recently announced electronic conversion of Cry Havoc, the fan produced Firebase, or even Games Workshop’s Black Gobbo, LNL is selling Line of Fire for $16.99. Whether gamers think what they get is worth the money remains to be seen, but it is nice to have some support for LNL’s games. LNL says it hopes to produce the publication quarterly. Read the rest of this entry »

Combat Commander — Update

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CC-ParatroopersGMT Games has released two new expansions for Combat Coommander: Europe. First is Combat Commander: Battle Pack #1: Paratroopers. Paratroopers is a small expansion that comes in a cardstock folio with two new 17″ x 22″ maps (giving four new maps) and 12 new scenarios. The scenario mix is excellent and will be familiar to any Band of Brothers fan. Paratroopers is an expansion and requires CC:Europe to play. We hope to see more of these battle packs. Highly recommended.

The second expansion, Combat Commander: Mediterranean, ships in the same sized box as the original and contains new counters, three decks of cards, six new map sheets (giving 12 new maps), new player-aide cards, and the latest version of the rulebook (with minor errata over the original). CC:M adds Britain and the Commonwealth; France and the Allied Minors; and Italy and the Axis Minors to the CC system. Oddly, considering its size, CC:M is not a standalone game and requires CC:E to play. Many of the new maps are certainly interesting and if you like the theater and new forces this is a nice expansion.

Federation Commander: Battleships Attack — Review

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FedCom Battleships AttackFederation Commander: Battleships Attack is ADB’s latest expansion for Federation Commander. Similar to the previous expansions, it includes a couple of new map panels, asteroids in this case, some new ship cards and counters, and a handful of new rules and scenarios. What makes Battleships Attack unique is that ship cards are included for all of the races, including ones not seen in FC yet (such as the Lyrans and Hydrans). Moreover, the cards are also full 8 1/2″ x 11″ in size. Considering table clutter, normally bigger would not necessarily be better, but with the huge number of weapons, systems, and shields on the various battleships it is a very welcome change. Read the rest of this entry »