Christmas is the most magical time of year, celebrating with family and friends, eating an obscene amount of mince pies, carol singing, way too many glasses of mulled wine, awaiting that visit from Santa Claus on Christmas Eve and of course, WARGAMES.
Really though, I remember that excitement I would get as a child, unable to sleep, eagerly awaiting to open up my gifts on Christmas morning, hoping that I was well behaved enough to get what I’d wished for. Being an adult, something that gives me that same kind of excitement are wargames. Yes, if you know me, or know my blog, or follow me on any sort of social media, you’ll know that over the past year, I have developed a huge love for wargames and the wargaming hobby and there are just so many I would love to see under my tree this year.
So Santa if you’re reading this, because I know you secretly love wargames, here is my 2017 wargame wishlist.
1. Pendragon: The Fall of Roman Britain – Designed by Marc Gouyon – Rety & Published by GMT Games
- 60 – 360 minute playing time
- Area movement, Area control, Dice rolling
Pendragon: The Fall of Roman Britain is the latest game in the COIN Series and definitely at the top of my list. First of all, I am massive fan of the COIN series anyway, so I’m always excited when a new COIN game is released, however there is just something about Pendragon that drew me in straight away and it’s one I’ve been thinking about a lot. The theme is something that interests me, I’m not sure if that’s just because I’m British or because it’s something I know quite a lot about but I would love to see how Marc Gouyon – Rety has translated this time in history into what looks like, the perfect boardgame.
Volume VIII in GMT’s COIN Series transports us into the 4th and 5th Centuries A.D. and to the embattled Isle of Britannia. Pendragon: The Fall of Roman Britain covers a century of history from the first large-scale raids of Irish, Pict, and Saxon raiders, to the establishment of successor kingdoms, both Celtic and Germanic. This sumptuous volume adapts the celebrated asymmetrical COIN engine to depict the political, military, religious, and economic struggles of Dark Ages Britain.
With factions including: The Dux which represent the original Roman Army in Britannia, The Civitates representing the Romanized aristocracy ruling the ancient Celtic tribes from lavish villas and prosperous Roman towns. You also have The Saxons that represent various Germanic groups including Angles, Jutes, Frisians, and Franks who harried, settled, and eventually took over swaths of Britain and last, but certainly not least, The Scotti, named for the marauding groups of Irish raiders, also represent those Celts native to the island of Britain who differed from the romanized Civitates by remaining true (or reverting back) to the old ways. Often, the boundary between the two groups was porous…
…this game is certainly one I wouldn’t be disappointed to find under the tree.
2. Bitskrieg – Designed by Scott Muldoon & Miles Muldoon & Published by Hollandspiele
- 1 – 2 players
- 30 minutes playing time
- Grid movement, Dice rolling
Bitskrieg makes the list for a few reasons, the first reason being that my nephew has recently taken an interest in boardgames and wargames. He sees what I’m playing and writing about and it excites him and I would love, love, love to share a bit of excitement with him. Bitskrieg also makes the list because Hollandspiele are a publisher that I have a lot of respect for. I’ve only played a few of their games but they are incredible and every single game on their website is one I could happily own and play.
Bitskrieg was designed by Scott Muldoon, as he wanted a wargame he could play with his five-year-old son, Miles. He wanted to create a game that was simple and compelling enough that a child could play it, but also crunchy enough that a grown-up wouldn’t be bored of it and I love that.
It’s a tank battle game, where you and your opponent secretly and simultaneously pick five tanks from four different types, picking the ones you think will be best-suited to a unique map as well as what you think your opponent might be thinking. This game seems to be full of tricky tactical moves and subtle strategic decisions leaving even the most experienced wargamers satisfied and it why it definitely deserves a place in my collection.
3. Old School Tactical: Volume 1 Eastern front 1941/42 – Designed by Shayne Logan & Published by Flying Pig Games
- 2 players
- 60 minutes
- Hex & Counter, Dice Rolling
Flying Pig Games have made some pretty great titles and this is one I have wanted for a while, after seeing The Player’s Aid blog talk about it on a recent gift guide, I knew it was the right decision to include it and I knew I definitely wanted it in my collection.
Old School Tactical involves small unit engagements are fought on the Eastern Front during 1941-42. Players contest each scenario using counters representing the soldiers, guns and vehicles that fought these battles. The unique Impulse system varies the number of actions each side can take in a turn, creating intense firefights. Play moves back and forth between players and the dynamics of the battle can ‘turn on a dime’.
Old School Tactical feels like it would be a really great game to play with people that are maybe new to the hobby and that’s something I’m all about. I love introducing people to the amazing world of war-games and feel this is perfect for that!
4. Commands & Colors: Napoleonics designed by Richard Borg & Published by GMT Games
- 2 players
- 120 minute playing time
- Hex and Counter, Dice rolling, Hand management
It’s probably no surprise to see Commands and Colors: Napoleonics on here, I have been playing a lot of Commands and Colors: Ancients and I am very fond of it, I love the hand management and strategy involved. I am a believer that you can never have enough Card Driven Games in your collection and you can definitely never have enough GMT Games in your collection so this one is definitely a winner.
Commands & Colors: Napoleonics allows you to re-fight epic battles of the Napoleonic era. In this core volume, the focus is on the French and the British, two bitter rivals in the struggle for European preeminence during the time of Napoleon.
As with other games in the Commands & Colors genre, units in both armies can only move and fight when ordered. The command playing cards supply those orders, providing an element of luck that creates a fog of war and presents players with both challenges and opportunities. You must maximize your opportunities by playing your command cards judiciously. How well you handle the diverse units, their weapons, and the terrain, will determine victory. After playing Commands & Colors: Ancients, I did write a few of my first impressions and you can find that here: A Few First Impressions [Commands & Colors – Ancients]
5. Nemos War – Designed by Chris Taylor and Published by Victory Point Games
- 1 – 4 players
- 60 – 120 minute playing time
- Area Control, Area movement, Solitaire gaming
Now, I don’t know if this is technically a wargame but I’m calling it one anyway. Nemo’s War has been on my radar for a long time. First of all, can we just talk about that artwork? Ian O’Toole is a genius and I am a massive fan of his artwork which is what initially attracted me to this game, well that paired with the interesting theme and solitaire compatibility. Set in year 1870, players set sail in this amazing electric-powered submarine, assuming the role and motive of Captain Nemo as you travel across the seas on missions of science, exploration, anti-imperialism, and war!
I don’t own anything like this in my boardgame collection at the moment, it’s different, eye catching and would make the perfect gift for anybody I think. I would be genuinely so happy if Santa left this in my stocking.
6. Leuthen: Frederick’s Greatest Victory – Designed by Paul Dangel & Published by Clash of Arms Games
- 1 -2 players
- 360 minutes playing time
- Hex and counter, Solitaire gaming
On to some serious Hex and Counter gaming, Leuthen: Frederick’s Greatest Victory is one of those games I feel like I might never get to the table but seriously need any way. It’s quite a heavy wargame, and a classic to some.
On a frigid December 5th, in a season when armies usually sought the comfort of winter quarters, the opposing forces met on the snow covered fields surrounding the Silesian village of Leuthen. After deftly maneuvering around Prince Charles’ flank Frederick’s Prussians attacked with unprecedented fury collapsing the enemy line. However, despite this initial crushing blow the Austrians were able to reorganize their front and fight the Prussians to a standstill leaving the battle’s final outcome still in doubt. Only after a climactic cavalry charge did the Habsburg army finally break and retreat to Breslau. Two weeks later the city capitulated and the Austrians evacuated Silesia. Although the war would continue for another six years Frederick would never again attain the level of success he did at Leuthen, his greatest victory.
Leuthen presents both gamers with a colorful and meticulously detailed simulation with which to explore the actual events and possibilities of this definitive battle. Included is an historical commentary written especially for the game by the period’s leading authority, Prof. Christopher Duffy. This narrative contains many previously unpublished aspects of the battle and includes maps, diagrams, statistics and his analysis of the 1757 campaign in Silesia.
Some honourable mentions
- Battles on the Ice – Designed by Tom Russell & Published by Hollanspiele
- Armageddon War – Designed by Greg Porter & Published by Flying Pig Games
- Arquebus: Men of Iron – Designed by Richard Berg & Published by GMT Games
- Fields of Fire – Designed by Ben Hull & Published by GMT Games
- A Distant Plain – Designed by Volko Ruhnke & Brian Train & Published by GMT Games
- Seven pines; or, Fair Oaks – Designed by Tom Russell & Published by Hollandspiele
- Solitaire ASL – Designed by Charles Kibler & Published by The Avalon Hill Game Company
So there you have it. A few, well quite a lot of games that I really want to find under my tree on Christmas morning.
Thank you for reading, I hope you have a great Christmas and please let me know if you have played any of these and your opinions on the games in the comments section.