Quick Game Reviews

Not reviews of games that are quick to play but a short write up of my thoughts or experiences with every wargame on my main game shelf. I’ll be starting with the games on the top shelf and working my way down the entire 42 linear feet of gaming goodness. It’s been a while since I’ve played some of these games and the comments will probably reflect that.

This exercise has driven the point home that I really need to start pruning the collection a bit. I have a lot of games, that as much as I want to play them, I will most likely never get to. I have slowly started selling off a few of them and will most likely start putting more and more up for sale in the near future.

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Andean Abyss – I always want to call this game Adrian Abyss for some unknown reason. Not really a wargame by my definition but it gets a spot on the wargame shelf nonetheless. I’ve played it as a two player game, controlling two of the factions and it wasn’t a whole lot of fun that way. I think it would be a lot of interesting with four people though.

Clash of Giants – Tannenberg and Marne in 1914 which are two of my favorite WWI battles. I haven’t played this one yet but I’m looking forward to giving it a try sometime. Got it from cornjob during his recent wargame purge.

Clash of Giants II – Galicia and First Ypres. A friend and I played both of these awhile back and enjoyed them. It’s a pretty straight forward system and I really liked how you’re limited to a single major assault per turn. I think it would make a decent beginner’s game for someone with an interest in WWI.

Command and Colors Ancients – Borderline wargame. I’ve played this a few times with some wargaming newbies to try and draw them in. Of all of the Command and Colors stuff (I haven’t tried the Napoleonic game) it’s by far the best.

Bloody April – Seemed like a good idea when I preordered it. This one will most likely get traded or sold unless someone can convince me it’s worth my time. I was expecting something a little different.

The Battle for Normandy – I’ve played a few of the smaller scenarios and a couple of aborted campaign games. It’s a really good game and I’m looking forward to seeing how the system works with Sicily. A playable monster for sure but Normandy just doesn’t hold a lot of interest for me.

Red Winter – I picked it up due to the subject matter and was really surprised by how much I liked the system. Interesting situation and a well put together package. The designer notes are just about worth the price of admission on their own. I was impressed enough with this game that I pre-ordered Operation Dauntless.

Fields of Fire – A gift from my mother-in-law (yes, she rocks). I’ve had it out a few times but have yet to actually play it. I have enough fun playing two player games solo that I’m not sure I need an actual solo game but the ability to play in different eras using a single system appeals to me.

Space Empires (and expansion) – Not an actual wargame but one where you get to go around and blow stuff up, so it can’t be all bad. Have read the rules and it looks like it would be a fairly interesting game. One of these days I’ll round up enough of the locals to give it a try.

Von Manstein’s Backhand Blow – Got it on the cheap and it’s sat on the shelf the entire time. Haven’t even looked at it and probably won’t even though it’s kind of cool situation.

Barbarossa Kiev to Rostov – Looks like a really neat system but I’m not sure I need this when I have a bunch of OCS games that I already know and love. If the system covered more than just 1941 it might have more appeal to me.

Barbarossa Crimea – Supposed to make a good introduction to the system. There are a lot of well done player aids in the box along with a single sheet map for a beginning scenario. If I’m ever going to give this system a try this will be the one that I play.

Roads to Leningrad – I’m not ever sure how this came to be part of my collection. I’m not even sure that I’ve inventoried it. I’ll probably trade it or sell it away at some point.

SPQR Deluxe – The only GBoH game that I’ve played. I enjoyed the game quite a bit but the subject matter doesn’t interest me enough to put in the work to keep playing it.

Devil’s Horsemen – I have yet to play it and probably won’t.

The Siege of Alesia – I have yet to play it and probably won’t.

RAN – This one I’m just interested enough in that I’ll probably try it at some point. The battles look a lot smaller than those in the other GBoH games and I find the subject matter interesting. The replays on this blog aren’t hurting either.

Flying Colors – I’ve heard good things about it from my various buddies and it’s a good looking game. Still looking for a really good Age of Sail game and just haven’t found one yet.

Infidel – Played several of the scenarios in the game and enjoyed each one. The system is sort of a ‘GBoH lite’ and just about the right level of detail for a quick afternoon game.

Men of Iron – Played most of these scenarios as well. Good game but I think Infidel has it beat.

Nightfighter – Looks cool and it appears to be a game I would like. Unfortunately it’s just so far down the play list I’m not sure I’ll get to it any time soon.

The Burning Blue – I’m not even sure why I have this.

Guildford – I’ve played this several times solo and once or twice face to face. It’s not a bad system I just don’t find it all that interesting to play. In the process of selling/trading this one off.

Monmouth – Did not care for this one at all and it completely turned me off on the rest of the series. We spent one game watching our guys rest in the heat and then had most of the US forces march back off where they came from. Ugh!

Panzer (and expansions) – Very nice looking game. Tactical stuff isn’t really my thing but this was just too cool looking for me to pass on. Have yet to play it but I think I have a local guy interested so it’ll get done before too long.

Fighting Formations – I think Chad does a really good job with his games and from all of the pre-order schilling this one was getting I couldn’t pass it up. Looks like it might be a good time, but after perusing the rules a bit I’m not sure I’ll ever actually play it.

Case Yellow, 1940 – Have yet to play it and I’m not sure I will. Another case of pre-ordering something that I was sure I needed to have only to have it sit on the shelf.

No Retreat – I haven’t played this yet but I’m hoping to at some point just to see what it’s like. My buddies seem to be split on whether or not it’s a good game.

Sekigahara – This is one of those games that barely makes it into the wargame category and one that I picked up solely due to my interest in the topic. I was expecting a fun, light game and it delivered big time. I was actually surprised just how much I liked it. Great components and very well written set of rules.

Under the Lily Banners – I like the Musket & Pike stuff. I’ve played several of the scenarios from this game and really enjoyed them. I like how tough it is to keep your units in good formation and in command when you start mixing it up a bit.

Nothing Gained But Glory – Same as above.

Saints in Armor – I have yet to play any of this but based on how much I’ve enjoyed the other games I’m sure this will be a good time.

Reds! – Haven’t played it yet, but I do have a game penciled in for later this summer. Don’t know a whole lot about the RCW so it should be a fun experience. I’ve heard mixed things about this game especially about it’s chaotic nature. I can usually handle chaotic to a point so I have high hopes.

Ardennes ‘44 – Supposed to be one of the best bulge games out there. We try to play at least one bulge game a year during December but have yet to work this one in. Almost afraid to try it because if it’s good I’ll want to pick up the newest version.

The Caucasus Campaign – This is a solid game that I played several times when it first came out. Not sure that I’ll ever play it again as there are other games on the subject that are a lot more interesting to play. That’s not a knock on this game as much as praise for the others.

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Virgin QueenHere I Stand – I haven’t played either one of these as it’s been too hard to get a group of locals together to play. I suppose I could try and get in on a VASSAL game but the ones that I’ve been following always seem to die out before completion. These both look like something I’d have a good time with.

Three Days of Gettysburg – I really like this entire series (GMT version, I haven’t played any of the original games) and have a particular fondness for this game as it’s the first one I tried. Using the optional fatigue rules is a must in this series as they really help pace the game by keeping units from non-stop attacking the entire time. Have played the first and second days and had a blast doing it.

River of Death – Played part way through the campaign game before having to call it quits due to the need to free up the table. The maps, while completely functional, were just not up to the high standards of the other games in the series. Even so it still looked really sharp on the table. I hope to revisit this one sometime in the future.

Red Badge of Courage – The only game in the series I haven’t played.

Gringo! – I really enjoy the smaller scenarios this one has to offer. The units for both sides are not of the same quality (morale wise) as they are in the other games so they need to be handled differently in order to get the job done. I’ve heard the complaint that this game is different enough from the others that it should really have its own set of rules. I’m not sure I agree with that assessment.

Dead of Winter – The cleanest of the bunch as one would expect given it’s the latest of the series. I really enjoyed the campaign game as both sides start in close and each side gets to attack. The smaller scenarios I’ve played were enjoyable as well. My favorite of the bunch.

ASL Rule Book – Sometimes I just can’t let go. I used to play the hell out of ASL but don’t play very often anymore. For a rule book of its size and complexity it’s actually very well done especially since they’ve cleaned up some of the rules in the 2nd edition.

Bloody 110 – I have at least one version of every Gamers game ever made. Why? I really like their stuff and when I saw a good price on a game I didn’t have I jumped on it. I haven’t played a lot of them yet and this game is no exception.

Objective Schmidt – These old style Tactical Combat Series games have a certain visual appeal to them. I like the unit depictions a lot better on these than the newer games as they just kind of convey a “real” military feel as opposed to the counters with actual people and vehicles on them.

Omaha – Looks like you actually have to cut the maps up to play this as the morale charts and such will get buried under other maps if you lay them all out.

Matanikau – Have yet to play. Get ready to see that a lot…

GD ‘40 – Have yet to play.

Hunters from the Sky – Have yet to play.

Black Wednesday – Have yet to play.

Leros – Have yet to play.

GD ‘41 – Gift from my mother in law. Have yet to play.

Semper Fi! – Actually preparing to play this via VASSAL as a reintroduction into the system. No command rules in this one from what I understand so one less thing to worry about while learning the system.

A Raging Storm – I’ve heard this one has some serious issues. Have yet to play.

A Frozen Hell – I’m a sucker for Winter War stuff.

Screaming Eagles – Have yet to play.

Bloody Ridge – Have yet to play.

GD ‘42 – I do not like the new counter style that was introduced with this game and I’m not a big fan of the map either. I’ve soloed a couple of the scenarios and liked them enough that I knew I would eventually get back to the series.

Force Eagle’s War – This is just for collection completion purposes.

In Their Quiet Fields II – Pretty hideous looking map but it’s more than functional. I really enjoy the CWBS games but have found that I much prefer regimental treatment of these battles. Get ready for a lot more “I have yet to play”…

Thunder at the Crossroads – I’ve heard nothing but good things about this game and would really like to try it at some point. A little dated looking but I don’t have an issue with that. This was an ebay purchase and I’m not sure what the hell the guy did to this game but the map was covered in this gritty sort of black soot stuff that took some effort to remove.

August Fury – Have yet to play and probably won’t as this battle was redone in The Three Battles of Manassas.

Bitter Victory – Have yet to play.

Bloody Roads South – Have yet to play.

Perryville – Have yet to play.

Embrace an Angry Wind – Have yet to play.

No Better Place to Die – Have yet to play.

April’s Harvest – Had a very memorable campaign of this a few years back. The order system for this series is just awesome if you and you’re opponent understand the spirit of the thing. Another terrible looking but functional map.

Champion Hill – Have yet to play.

Gaines Mill – Have yet to play.

Seven Pines – Have yet to play.

Malvern Hill – Have yet to play.

Three Battles of Manassas – My favorite of the ones that I’ve played and the nicest looking of the bunch. First and Second Manassas with a hypothetical Third. Our Second Manassas game was plagued by order refusals and fluke stoppages but it was kind of cool to see just how frustrating things could have been trying to get large units of troops to do your bidding. Worth a purchase if you’re looking to get into the series.

Strike them a Blow – Have yet to play.

This Hallowed Ground – Regimental Gettysburg in all its glory. Have played many of the smaller scenarios and a few of the larger ones using draft Line of Battle rules before None But Heroes was released. This is just an awesome game and I’m really looking forward to Last Chance for Victory which should be up for pre-order before too much longer. Worth playing with the original RSS rules as well even with the greater overhead and longer playing time.

This Terrible Sound – Have yet to play.

A Fearful Slaughter – Have yet to play.

South Mountain – Very nicely done with a much smaller footprint than the other games in the series (it’s a one mapper). It’s an interesting situation where the Union is basically forced to attack along certain lines in order to take the gaps. Even though the Regimental Sub-Series is no longer under development I would still recommend this game as it plays great using the Line of Battle rules.

None But Heroes – Regimental level Antietam using the Line of Battle rules. Some of the counter color combinations seem a bit odd (and less than functional in some cases) but everything works out all right once play commences. Some very nice smaller scenarios in this one including an introductory scenario that literally only takes like 15 minutes to play.

Austerlitz – I haven’t played any of the games in this series but I really, really want to. I hear the latest edition of the rules is a vast improvement over the earlier versions.

Marengo – Have yet to play.

Aspern-Essling – Have yet to play.

Talavera – Have yet to play.

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1914 Twilight in the East – Read the rules a couple of times and started punching the counters in preparation for play but I just haven’t been able to get it to the table. I think the next time that I get some time off from work I’m going to make a point of getting this out and playing. Great looking game about a subject that I’m very interested in with two more games in the series up for pre-order.

Pursuit of Glory – After playing Paths of Glory I thought this game would be a nice addition but I’m not sure that’s going to be the case. The rules appear to be a lot more involved than I was expecting. Not sure I’ll ever play this and will probably sell it off.

Paths of Glory – While I don’t generally care for Card Driven Games this one is an exception. Every time I’ve played it’s like I’m riding this razor thin edge between success and failure, just some really agonizing decisions to make during play. Not much of a WWI game in that if you’re expecting a simulation you’ll be sorely disappointed. Great game otherwise.

The Italian Front: 1915-1918 – Ah Der Weltkrieg, the WWI series from which I judge all other WWI games. This is the one game of the series that I haven’t actually played anything from. Some nasty looking terrain to fight through.

The Ottoman Fronts: 1914 to 1918 – Some interesting smaller scenarios covering the lesser known battles of WWI. Not my favorite of the series but that’s like saying a five dollar bill isn’t my favorite denomination of US currency. I’m still going to play the hell out of it.

The Western Front: 1914 to 1918The Schlieffen Plan alone is worth the price of admission. Covers the entire Western Front for the entire duration of the war with many different scenarios to choose from.

The Eastern Front: 1914-1917 – If you’re only going to get one game in this series this would be the one I would recommend. Tannenberg, Galicia, Serbia, Romania, Gorlice-Tarnow, The Brusilov Offensive, it’s all there and it’s all awesome. Tannenberg makes a really nice introduction to the system due to the low counter density and straight forward objectives.

The Grand Campaign – Ties all of the games in the Der Weltkrieg Series together with rules for production, strategic concerns, and economic and national morale collapses. I haven’t spent a lot of time looking through most of the contents but from what I’ve seen it appears that I can take some of the more interesting concepts (economic collapse, for example) and apply them to the smaller campaign games.

Guderian’s Blitzkrieg – The original Operation Combat Series game. The original OCS rules were nothing like they are today and while you might be able to play this game using the newer rules it isn’t recommended. That said the original rules are interesting enough that I’m still considering breaking this game out and given it a run as was originally intended.

Enemy at the Gates – I have this just to say I have it. It isn’t really needed as the same area is covered in Case Blue.

Tunisia – Probably my least favorite in the series. It’s the one that many people, myself included, used as an introduction to the system and I think it served that purpose well. I don’t think it’s aged well and I don’t think it plays as originally intended under the new rules. Rumors of a Tunisia II pop up from time to time and it’s something that I’d definitely be interested in.

Hube’s Pocket – The only game in the series that I plan on playing that I haven’t.

DAK2 – I’ve played a ton of the scenarios but have yet to play the full campaign. One of my favorite games and by far the best North African game that I’ve played. The most detailed game specific rules of the series but it’s really worth the effort to go through them and play this game if you have it. One of these days I’m going to set up the entire thing and have at it!

Burma – Definitely the oddball of the family but it handles the unique situation that is Burma very well. A lot of smaller scenarios that will build up some much needed experience before tackling the campaign game. I think it makes a good introduction to the system but I don’t think that’s an opinion shared by the majority of OCS players. The campaign is playable over a long weekend and makes for a good three or four player game.

Sicily – Two mapper covering the entire Sicily campaign. Awesome game although it does get a little sluggish towards the end when the Germans are hiding in the mountains before fleeing to the mainland. Had a great experience playing the campaign game over a few months time a few summers ago. Would make for a great three player game.

Guderian’s Blitzkrieg II – The modern version of the original OCS game. The campaign game is immense and very one sided as far as who gets to have all of the fun but a very satisfying experience either way. I’ve played several of the smaller scenarios as well and they make for some interesting puzzles for the Germans to solve.

Korea: The Forgotten War – The North Koreans start by just about obliterating everything in their path before running out of steam just outside of Pusan. Then the UN gets to do the same before they start slowing down just south of the Yalu. Then the Chinese do the same before they start slowing down half way down the peninsula. My favorite game from my favorite series.

Case Blue – The Edge of the World scenario is now my go to “introduction to OCS” scenario. The Drive for Oil is one of the best scenarios on the final drive to the Caucasus Mountains that I’ve ever played. For me it has lived up to the high expectations I had for it when I first put in my pre-order. I like it better that GBII.

Baltic Gap – Didn’t really care for this game at first as the non-campaign scenarios just aren’t all that exciting. Once I played the campaign game, however, my opinion quickly changed for the better. If you haven’t played the campaign (or one of the larger scenarios) I think you’re cheating yourself out of the best that this game has to offer. There are some cosmetic issues with some of the counters but nothing that really affects play.

The Blitzkrieg Legend – My experience with this has been limited to the mini-campaign which, while interesting, didn’t really impress me all that much. I’m hoping some more time with the game will improve my opinion. The counters were cut weird in my copy so they were a bit more difficult to punch than I like.

Stalingrad Pocket – I don’t know that I consider the Standard Combat Series to be a real series as the rules are really just a collection of basic wargaming concepts. Not one of the games that I know of actually follows the sequence of play given in the series rules. Anyway, I have the second edition of this game and have yet to play it.

Afrika II – This is very good game that I have a couple of issues with. First, it’s easy to reach a stalemate if either player is a bit too cautious. Second, every time I play it I wish I were playing DAK instead. Nicely done all around and a very playable substitute for those we don’t want to delve into OCS.

Ardennes – This game is one of the reasons my other Bulge games don’t get played. My favorite treatment on the subject and one that usually gets played at least once a year. I’ve heard that there is some sort of auto-win strategy for the Germans but neither I nor my opponent have come across it. Worth getting a copy if you’re a Bulge enthusiast.

Yom Kippur – I wasn’t sure how SCS would handle a more modern situation at first but thought it did a stand up job with this battle. Very interesting game where both sides have a very different feel to them. The restrictions on the Israelis to throttle their counter attack are a nice touch but every time we play, the US and Soviets get involved and World War III breaks out. With the recent release of Heights of Courage this one is likely to see play again in the not too distant future.

Crusader – Have yet to play. From what I understand it is one of the simpler SCS games.

Gazala – See Crusader.

The Drive on Paris – I’ve had this out and setup but have yet to play it. It’s very similar in scale (both in time and size) to The Schlieffen Plan from Der Weltkrieg and if I ever get the time I’d like to do a side by side comparison play through of both. There’s a lot of things in this game that look very interesting to me and I’m looking forward to trying it.

Fallschirmjaeger – Have yet to play. Supposed to be one of the better games in the series.

Operation Michael – Played it solo once and had a good time with it. It was interesting enough that I’d very much like to revisit it sometime in the future. Another one of those games that reminds people that, even on the Western Front, World War One wasn’t always a static affair.

The Mighty Endeavor – Good game that I’ve played through several times. I particularly like the options that the Allies have when deciding where to invade. It can get stalemated if the Allies aren’t aggressive enough and it can also take on a slogging pace towards the end of the game. Despite that I’ve pre-ordered the new version which adds the Russians coming in from east which should make for a great three player game.

Guadalajara – Have yet to play it and from all of the bad stuff I’ve heard about it I probably won’t bother with it.

Rock of the Marne – Another good one that I’ve only played through once. Has some neat things to it that help drive the pace of the game (which is always something I like). I need to get it to the table again though to form a better opinion.

Bastogne – Well done game that I was ultimately disappointed with. I can’t really put my finger on why but it just wasn’t really all that exciting to play and isn’t one that I’m really looking to get at again anytime in the near future.

Karelia ‘44 – Disappointed that I haven’t played this one as it looks really good. Ghost units for the Finns would seem to add a different twist to things while the Russians have to deal with finicky Uncle Joe.

It Never Snows – I’ve played a couple of the smaller scenarios solo in preparation for a full on campaign on 22 & 23 June. Massive in size but there just aren’t a ton of units for the available space so I’m interested to see how it plays out. Really the first game in the series that has decent player aids. I’ll know more later this month.

Heights of Courage – Have yet to play.

SHELF 4

Dungeons and Dragons 4E – It’s a bookend.

Napoleon at Leipzig – I’ve played one other OSG game and really enjoyed it. Reading through the rules for this one I have no doubt that I’ll enjoy it as well. Hoping to get a game in sometime this summer.

War Without Mercy – I’m not sure why I even have this one. I haven’t heard very many good things about it and I don’t see myself ever playing it. Maybe it will become an OOP grail game for someone and I can sell it off for a small fortune.

Brandywine & Germantown – I’ve written a little bit about BAR before and it’s a series that I plan on getting into in a big way. This is a huge four mapper with a lot of room for maneuver. After playing some other disappointing games on the subjects I’m looking forward to getting this one played. Clash of Arms makes some very good looking games.

Lobositz – This was the game I toyed around with a few years back when I was initially looking into BAR. Looks to be a small and interesting situation and will be revisited once I’ve finished playing around with Fontenoy.

The Battle of Monmouth – See Brandywine & Germantown.

Fontenoy – My first real play of any game in the series and a very good one at that. If you’re going to get into BAR this one would be the way to go. Some very nice player aids included along with the latest version (3.0) of the series rules. It also includes a nice half-map for the Battle of Melle!

Close Action – Could this be the Age of Sail game I’ve been looking for? Maybe, but I’m not sure I’m willing to invest the time learning how to play the game. The rules look very detailed but like most Clash of Arms stuff they don’t appear to be available online which really kills my chances of playing against any of the local wargamers.

The Hell of Stalingrad – Got this from a friend for super cheap. I haven’t even looked at it.

Achtung Spitfire! – I want to play this! I don’t want to spend the time learning to play it. Super detailed WWII aerial combat where dogfights that took a few minutes in real life take hours to play out now. Probably going to be sold off.

Whistling Death – See above.

Julius Caesar – Standard Columbia Games ABC/123 block system game. Not a bad thing, necessarily, but it’s gotten to the point where there just isn’t enough variety in this type of game to hold my interest any more. They all just seem like rehashes with very little difference between them.

Quebec 1759 – A very simple block game that I picked up when I still thought I might be able to get at least one of my sons interested in the hobby. Served its purpose as an introduction to wargaming but there isn’t anything about it that would cause me to play it otherwise.

War of 1812 – Same as above.

Gettysburg Badges of Courage – Interesting game that I’ve played a few times. The command and control aspects are kind of neat and it’s the only divisional level Gettysburg game that I have. Just good enough that I think it’s worth keeping.

Shenandoah – This showed up at my door one day. Apparently I had pre-ordered it like 17 years ago and totally forgot about it. Other than to do a quick inventory on the contents I haven’t even looked at it.

EuroFront II – Ties EastFront and WestFront together into a huge strategic WWII game. I’m not normally a strategic level gamer, but I did enjoy our one playing of this a few years back. Very impressive looking when it’s all set up.

WestFront II – Pales in comparison to EastFront and I probably wouldn’t have it other than it’s needed for to play EuroFront.

EastFront II – A nice upgrade from the original with updated sticker graphics and a nice big map which covers the orignal EastFront and VolgaFront. The hexes are just a little bit tinier than the original, however, which is actually noticeable when you’re hitting the stacking limit.

EastFront – My favorite block game by far. Even though EastFront II is newer and shinier this is the one I pull off of the shelf when it’s time to play. The HQ supply system works great for pacing the game and the blocks really add to the tension during play. One of those games where each player thinks they’re worse off than the other.

Hammer of the Scots – One of the two ABC/123 games that I like, probably because it was the first one of that type I played. I must have played this game 30+ times over the years as it’s fairly easy to teach and a lot of fun.

Pacific Victory – I really thought I was going to like this game but it just fizzled out every time I tried it. Not sure what the problem was but on each occasion my opponent and I were just bored to death going through the motions. In my copy the stickers were just about the same size as the blocks so they’re a tight fit which looks great if you’re really patient while applying them. I wasn’t.

Rommel in the Desert – Awesome game but one that is very unforgiving when someone isn’t careful with their supply lines. Not sure it makes a great (or ever good) simulation of the fighting in Northern Africa but it is a hell of a lot of fun to play.

Crusader Rex – Was going through a Crusades phase when I purchased this and can’t say that I’m disappointed with the game. Several rule revisions have cleaned things up a bit as I seem to remember there being some issues with Sieges or Knight’s Charges. This and Hammer of the Scots the only two ABC/123 games that I need.

Napoleon – Another good game and different enough from the other block games that it’s well worth picking up if the subject matter interests you. I’ve never tried it as a three player game but with separate forces for the British and Prussians it would be completely doable. Battles are handled off board with units forming a line and reserves on a tactical battle card. Easy enough to play and a lot of fun.

Forgotten Heroes: Vietnam – I have yet to play and probably won’t.

Marne 1918 – I have yet to play but really want to get at this one. Good looking components and the rules look pretty straightforward.

Liberty Roads – I’ve heard nothing but good things about this game. Apparently has some cool special random type features through chit draw to keep things interesting. Not my most favorite topic in the world but I’m going to have to play this at some point.

Trial of Strength – I have yet to play it. Supposed to be a fairly unique system covering the Eastern Front in WWII. Looks a little dated but very functional.

RAF – I have yet to play and will probably end up selling this.

Leningrad – I have yet to play.

Battle for Germany – This is actually quite a bit of fun and works for three or four players very well. Fairly basic hex & counter game and not a bad one to draw some beginners in.

Thirty Years War Quad – I have yet to play.

Hannibal Rome vs Carthage – The Valley Games edition is really sharp looking. I really, really wanted to like this game but after two plays I wasn’t totally sold on it. I like the way combat is resolved with card play and think it works well in the game. I’m going to have to give this another try sometime.

Iron Tide: Panzers in the Ardennes – The variable strength combat is actually pretty cool and seems to work well. The rules are sufficient but do not include much in the way of examples (I actually can’t remember if there are any graphics in the rules at all). Very nice player aids are included to help with setups, reinforcements, and special rules. This is another game that I could probably get some people to play if the rules were actually available to them.

Victory in the Pacific – The old AH classic. Worth a play but not something I would go out of my way to pick up anymore.

Wooden Ships & Iron Men – Fairly simple rule set for a game that contains as much detail as this one does. I’ve mentioned looking for an Age of Sail game earlier and so far this is the best one that I’ve played.

Platoon – Based on a movie that I’ve never seen. Worked well when playing with my then eight year old son. Not one that I would ever recommend however.

Europe Engulfed – I’ve played it a few times and while I found the special action mechanic pretty cool the rest of the game did little for me.

Asia Engulfed – I’ve yet to play.

Bull Run 1861 – Much more enjoyable if you just look at the cards. It’s not a bad game, there just isn’t a whole lot there to keep my interest.

Where Eagles Dare – I have yet to play any of the games in this system but I’m hoping to get at them at some point. I’m not sure I like the format the rules are in and I’m not a big fan of the counter art either. The maps, however are freaking awesome looking.

The Devil’s Cauldron – Traded away my original copy for Korea: The Forgotten War and bought a second copy on the cheap. Same thoughts on this one as above, although I think this one has some smaller scenarios to play.

Bitter Woods Deluxe – Played this a couple of times now and it just hasn’t hit. Another game that I’d probably be able to get to the table more often if its rules were available online. Great looking game.

SHELF 5

La Bataille de la Moscowa – What an absolutely amazing game! Beautifully presented and a hell of a lot of fun to play. The Marie-Louise rules are very well done and make a system that would normally take a ton of effort to learn very accessible. This is one of my top five!

La Bataille D’ Orthez – Probably the best intro to the series with several small scenarios and a very manageable campaign. Interesting situation as well with the French defending the high ground and the British and Portuguese trying to run them off.

La Bataille des Quatre Bras – Looks like it would be a fun game but it is tainted somewhat after trying to use it as my initial attempt at learning the system. As I’ve written before the attempt failed miserably and almost turned me off of the series completely. It will get played again!

La Bataille de Lutzen – I’ve yet to play.

Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear – Excellently produced game with very nice components. For what it is, a simple squad level tactical game, it really hard to beat. It’s not going to replace any hardcore tactical system, but I don’t think it’s trying to. A surprise hit with me.

Conflict of Heroes: Storm of Steel – See above – only with more tanks. 🙂

Beda Fomm – Very nice old school hex & counter experience. The latest version is definitely an upgrade presentation wise and plays just as well.

Bonaparte at Marengo – Very cool looking game with a very well written rule book (two, in fact). I really like this game a lot, maybe even more so than it’s successor. It can feel a little chess like at times but that kind of appeals to me.

Napoleon’s Triumph – Another winner. The multi-player aspect of this game is something that I know gets a lot of praise but it wasn’t something I really enjoyed. Much better as a two player game in my opinion. The blocks aren’t as nicely painted or screened as those in BaM.

Proud Monster Deluxe – I pre-ordered this game based on the hype and excellent support given by its developer on CSW. Promised VASSAL support was very slow in coming and from what I’ve heard the existing module leaves much to be desired.  The idea of having to play such a large game so many times in order to learn how to give the Russians even a slim chance of surviving the initial onslaught just doesn’t appeal to me. I’ll probably end up selling it.

Yalu – This new version is really slick looking. I’ve played using the classic rules and found it to be a very enjoyable game, one that I’d like to get back at again. North Korean supply rules pace the game nicely.

Paratrooper – I think as an introductory ASL module this one failed. There is really nothing basic and beginner oriented about it. It does have some really fun scenarios though, Defiance on Hill 30 being among my all time favorites.

Circus Maximus – I’m a sucker for racing games. Not sure why. I have yet to play this one.

For King and Country – If all goes as planned this will be the last ASL module that I ever purchase. That isn’t a reflection on this product as it’s actually pretty cool with some very interesting scenarios.

Beyond Valor – This and the ASLRB are all that is needed to get started with ASL. Some classic scenarios in this one with some that I’d be happy to play again and again should the ASL bug bite in the future.

Valor of the Guards – If said ASL bug does ever bite this will be the first thing I get to. Looks really good with a map that matches the topic just about perfectly. I’ve played the Red Barricades campaign in the past and this one looks to be just about as interesting.

Pegasus Bridge – Some ugly art all around but the campaign game is actually doable in a reasonable amount of time. Night time glider action? What’s not to love?

No Question of Surrender – While the situation seems less exciting than that of the other two games in the series this one appears to be playable in a reasonable amount of time and space. If I ever decide to get into this series this will definitely be my starting point. Not as visually stunning as the others either but that may have to do with the location of the action as much as anything else.

King Philip’s War – I’ve not played and probably won’t. Should have probably been a magazine game as there isn’t a whole lot to talk about in the box.

The Tide at Sunrise – Surprisingly good game and probably the only one I have on the topic. Not a big fan of having individual infantry men depicted on divisional level counters but other than that the artwork is fine. I haven’t tried the optional naval rules and probably won’t as I think the abstracted rules handle the situation adequately. Another game that would have made an excellent magazine game as the box is mostly air.

A Most Dangerous Time – What a weird game. There are some really neat concepts in this game that are all but ruined due its extremely chaotic nature. I can’t completely make up my mind if it’s something I’ll play again or not. Not a fan of the artists’ work on this one.

Battle Above the Clouds – This is one of those series that I’m right on the edge of trying and once I’ve made some decisions on other series that I have lined up I’m going to make time for it. Beautiful map but the counters look like hell compared to the older games in the series.

PanzerBlitz Hill of Death – SUCK!

A Victory Denied – Another fairly simple IGS game that is pretty solid. I’ve got to play quite a few times and was disappointed in it. It just wasn’t a big enough jump from A Victory Lost in either mechanics or fun to make me want to play it any more.

A Victory Lost – I’ve had fun with this game every single time I’ve played it. It’s always come down to the final few turns and been tight throughout. One of the better rule books I’ve come across as well. I don’t like the silhouette tank counters and won’t use them

Red Star Rising – I’ve never played and have so many other good games that cover this that I probably won’t

Shifting Sands – Tried to play it once while reading through all of the errata. Gave up and put it away. If I want to play in the sand I have plenty of other better choices.

SHELF 6

World at War: Eisenbach Gap – I generally don’t go for hypothetical situations when looking at wargames, but I had heard nothing but good things about this one and decided to pick it up. Haven’t played it yet but will do so before I decide to sell or keep it.

Panzer Grenadier Airborne – I’ve played around with the system a bit and while it isn’t bad it just didn’t work for me. This one is destined to be removed from my collection.

Panzer Grenadier Eastern Front – See above.

Napoleon – The AH version of the block game. A friend of mine had a copy of this in his attack and just gave it to me. It looks different enough from the Columbia version that it may be worth a try at some point.

Breakout Normandy – I’ve yet to play it but reading through the rules was enough to convince me that it would be worth I try. Should actually get a go of this in sometime this summer as I have a local opponent who wants to play.

Storm Over Arnhem – I’ve never played.

Luftwaffe – Same friend that gave me Napoleon gave me this as well. I have absolutely no interest in even trying it.

The Arab-Israeli Wars – Same as above.

King Maker – Played this a few times a long time ago and picked up a second edition copy in a math trade. Might get played again if I ever fall into a rough crowd of English history majors but I’m fairly certain that won’t happen again.

Road Kill – Incomplete copy I got as part of a math trade.

Starship Troopers – I may actually try this at some point as the thought of killing waves upon waves of giant bugs sounds like it would be a good time.

Dragonhunt – I picked this one up in high-school when my then girlfriend (and now wife) and I were bored and looking through a Toys-R-Us to pass the time. Looked cool at the time and I only hold onto it due to sentimental reasons.

Speed Circuit – Incomplete copy I got as part of a math trade.

Down with the King – Incomplete copy I got as part of a math trade.

Up Front – Yes, the rule book does kind of suck, but it’s not nearly as bad as some people make it out to be. This is an awesome game when you’re looking for something quick and lose to play even if you never get to some of the more detailed and poorly written rules.

Squad Leader – My first real wargame! If I ever get rid of my ASL stuff (as I have in the past) this game will still remain. Even now it’s better than a lot of the tactical level stuff out there although it doesn’t look nearly as nice. Programmed instruction really worked well with this game.

The Korean War – I’ve only played some of the smaller scenarios and found them to be very interesting. Having to set your supply depots up ahead of time for upcoming operations is a really cool mechanic and does a fantastic job of pacing play. For a game of its age it actually comes with a very useful turn player aid that contains turn specific phase and special rule information. The counter printing is my only complaint as my 40+ year old eyeballs are starting to lose their ability to focus in on such small print.

Ambush – Silly movie-like fun in a well done package. I only play this from time to time so replayability hasn’t really been an issue for me but I would imagine you wouldn’t be able to play this over and over again and have the same amount of fun with it. Probably the only solo game that I’d ever consider playing.

Hell’s Highway – Victory Games sure made some great stuff and this was one of their best. Very tightly written rulebook that makes a great reference during play. Nicely done map that contains most of the charts needed to play. Same issues with the counters that I have with The Korean War but that’s not really their fault.

Pacific War – A beast of a game that I’ve only scratched the surface of. I’ve never found a game covering the war in the Pacific that I’ve actually liked and I’m hoping this one will break that trend. I really like what I’ve seen of it so far.

Panzer Blitz – Haven’t played this in a long time. Great in its day but not really worth messing with anymore.

Panzer Leader – See above.

Blood on the Snow – The map looks like one of those hidden picture things where you stare at a mess long enough in order to see some hidden 3D imagine of a giraffe. I think there’s an actual playable game somewhere in the rules but I’ve yet to be able to dig it out. My interest in the Winter War is the only thing keeping this on the shelf.

Red God of War – Got it for like $9 from Tanga. I want my $9 back.

Washington’s War – This is another one of those games that I’m not sure I would consider an actual wargame. Most of the play is based on setting up or taking away influence from regions based on card play and once in a while an actual battle may or may not occur. The theme feels like it was pasted on to a somewhat interesting abstract game. Even the cards are boring in both form and function.

Twilight Struggle – I will end the debate once and for all by stating for a fact that this isn’t a wargame. 🙂 It is however a freaking awesome game and one of the few CDGs I can actually stand to play. Doesn’t make a good game for opponents of different skill levels as having knowledge of the cards is a big advantage to figuring out how to play.

1989 – I wasn’t too sure about this one going in but after a couple of plays I really liked it. It’s different enough from TS to actually warrant a purchase and the conflict mechanism (which was basically ripped from Hannibal) works really well during play. It was this game that made me think that CDGs work better for non-wargames than wargames.

Barbarossa to Berlin – None of the excitement of a good Eastern Front wargame with none of the excitement of a good CDG. The perfect storm of boredom. The agonizing decisions that one must make when playing a game like Paths of Glory are just non-existent in this game.

Manoeuvre – It’s a simple combat game with some fairly flimsy components.

Hellenes – Didn’t care for it the couple of times I played it. There wasn’t anything inherently wrong with the game, it just came across as rather bland and not too exciting during play.

Successors – I’ve yet to play.

The Bulge – I was really disappointed in this game. A very well done game that just didn’t work for us the few times we’ve played it. It was bad enough that I skipped on Sicily from the same series even though it’s a topic that I love.

Labyrinth – I don’t know how to play this well. No matter which side I take I end up getting crushed and it’s just not interesting enough for me to bother trying to get any better. Well produced game that just isn’t my thing.

Napoleonic Wars – Played this a couple of times with five players and it has the same problem as a lot of multi-player games do. People are so interested in stopping the French they don’t bother trying to do what is best for them and it becomes an everyone against the French affair. Our group did a decent job avoiding this for the most part and it was actually a fun experience. The end of the game die roll really sucks though.

Wilderness War – I tried, I really did. Another very well produced game where I just couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to do and I’m not interested enough in the game or subject to bother trying.

Sword of Rome – Two aborted five player games of this has left me unsure of what I really think about it. It actually seems to have some decent potential but I really dislike the 3d6 combat roll which produces such a wide range of results that it’s very hard to go into combat with any level of confidence.

Combat Commander: Europe – Very neat system with one of the best rulebooks that I’ve had the pleasure of reading. I’ve played this enough to know that for as well designed as it is, it’s just not my thing.

Combat Commander: Mediterranean – I’ve never played.

Combat Commander: Pacific – I was really surprised just how boring and uneventful my plays of this have been as I’ve heard it was the best of the group. Again it’s a nicely done game that just doesn’t work for me.

Well, if you made it this far give yourself a pat on the back! 🙂

12 thoughts on “Quick Game Reviews

  1. Hey Hip, I tried to post earlier but had log in problems so I don’t think it took.

    I was surprised to see some great games that are not on your main shelf. The question is then, are these are your other shelves? I hope so! Wacht am Rhein, Hurtgen: Hell’s Forest, The Atlantic Wall, Highway to the Reich.

    A few other games I’m guessing you have on the other shelves are: GMT’s 1862 and 1863 games, St. Lo, Airbridge to Victory, Race for Tunis, Bloody Kasserine, and Operation Spark.

    Do you have the Struggle of Europe series: Brute Force, War without Mercy, and The Mediterranean Desert War? Or the series: The Third Reich and The Great Pacific War with the module that ties them together.

    Finally, do you have any of the really old AH or SPI classics like: Red Army: The Destruction of Army Group Center, World War 3, Invasion America, or The Russian Front?

    And you really must do something about your La Bataille series! And your Europa series!

    Take Care,
    Dubarnik

    1. Not Hip. 🙂 We’ll have to get Hip to do something similar…

      This is my main wargame shelf and with the exception of my magazine games and miniature rulesets just about all of my wargames are pictured.

  2. Consider myself patted….LOL. Interesting read Kev. We own a lot of the same games. It is interesting to read what others think of games I own and have played.

  3. Consider myself patted….LOL. Interesting read Kev. We own a lot of the same games. Interesting to read what others think about the games I own and have played.

  4. A monumental effort! And, yes, I did make it to the end. PAT PAT PAT. 🙂
    It is a fun idea and I agree with many of your thoughts. I thought Sekigahara was such a pleasant surprise as well. No idea what I am doing, but that is par for the course for me.
    I once described Andean Abyss as my “Euro” of choice. Which probably sounds too harsh (I do not mean it as an insult), but there is something about the mechanics that reminds me of them. Perhaps “historical conflict” is a good slot? Regardless, I have enjoyed my time poking around with it and have its siblings on preorder.
    I might be a little more into GBoH than you are, but I suspect the only reason for that is due to my interest in the topics covered. On a related note, I have MoI, but not Infidel which I think is a bad move on my part.
    So glad to read that you remain interested in the GBACW series. I think there is something there too, even if at times I find the current rulebook to be a little chromed out. The older games had more simplicity, but more playability in my estimation. One day I will venture forth into the CWBS, but not today.
    BAR and La Bat ….. would more can I say. The games are so pretty that even just looking at them is entertaining.
    I enjoy the Columbia block games (the simpler ones) if I treat them like a Game (capital “G”). That is, I kind of dig the puzzle aspect of the situations and dorking around for an afternoon trying to do stuff. I have played Eastfront, but not Rommel as of yet (and that is one I am most anxious to try).
    I too enjoyed AVL and played it a number of times. Completely agree about the rulebook and the fun factor. My only swipe against it is that it takes a good 8-9 hours to play out. Probably three sessions. Given the simplicity, that is a while. Oh, and I like the tank silhouettes! LOL!
    Wow…. there is so much to this article and I want to keep yapping, but I think should stop for now. Perhaps reread in a day or two and come up with some more comments.
    Great idea and a lot of fun to read. It is always so interesting to get another wargamer’s perspective on familiar games. Thanks for doing this.

    1. I think of Andean Abyss as a euro-game for sure and, like you, I do not consider that an insult. If I could get some people in my group (the group is heavily non-wargamer) to play it I really think they would enjoy it. Like I said above, playing it as a two player game just isn’t very fun, but it gave me enough of a taste of the mechanics and how the game plays that I can see it being a blast with the right crowd. My multi-player “euro of choice”, however, is Die Macher. 🙂

      I got into GBACW because a friend of mine really wanted to play some of the games that he had. After reading through the rules I really wasn’t expecting a whole lot, it just didn’t seem all that interesting. We started with a small scenario from 3DoG and even after that I wasn’t all that impressed. However, once I got a taste of the larger scenarios (and added the fatigue rules) I was pretty much hooked.

      Every face to face AVL game I’ve played has taken three sessions and I didn’t mind one bit. There have been other games where going through the mechanics for that length of time would probably be a little too much, but AVL never seems to get to the point where things are monotonous.

  5. Have you ever seen those “reviews in three words or less” or some such? Kind of fun. Would have saved some typing too …. 😉

  6. I liked this. In my opinion pacifc war is the best treatment ever of the subject. I broke in after having it a couple years with the battle scenarios and eventually played the campaign.

    I need to go through my own collection in a similar way.

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