Well, here we are with the stock-in-trade of the hobby – whatever else has been designed, and wherever else it took us, you cannot think of the hobby without the Eastern Front in World War Two. From small unit actions, where the brutal simplicity of combat, mano-a-mano, is conveyed in rules that can break your foot if you drop them, to grand operational and strategic designs that come with everything save a yellow briefcase, the hobby has done it every which way for decades.
Designer: Richard J. Kane Sr. and J. Michael Ruttle
Publisher: Clash of Arms Games
by Harvey Mossman
I doubt there is a respectable wargamer who hasn’t thought what it would be like to wear the uniform and march proudly in the ranks of the Grande Armee, following your esteemed general, Napoleon Bonaparte into glorious battle? Well now Legion of Honor, the eagerly awaited game from Clash of Arms, allows you to don your shako and live the life of a Napoleonic Grognard. Where else can you re-create “the life and times of a soldier in the Army of France under the Republican Empire of Napoleon with each player assuming the role of a young Grognard of boundless ambition but meager means.” The game tries to capture an era when war still had an extraordinary yet brutal pageantry, where the individual soldier still believed in Glory, Honor and the chance to gain Notice from their beloved general.
By Harvey Mossman
Publisher Compass Games Designer: John Gorkowski
The next military conflict will likely involve naval and air assets of the United States as it continues to play its role as protector of freedom of the seas yet, there is a dearth of recently designed modern Air/Naval combat games. Breaking the Chains by Compass Games tries to fill this gap as it examines contemporary events in the South China Sea as China asserts, what it believes is its destiny, to be a rising empire in the Pacific. It is not a complex game and, where it can, strives for simplicity in an otherwise complex conflict environment.
I must admit to being a bit of a “Blockhead” when it comes to wargaming because blocks eloquently address issues of fog of war and step reduction in one simple design element. Blocks in the West, VentoNuovo Games’ Western companion to their Blocks in the East, borrows much from games that have come before it, such as Columbia games Eastfront and Westfront, yet offers a distinctly different tack while providing a more intricate and nuanced simulation of the Western and Mediterranean theater during World War II.
By Harvey Mossman
Republishing older designs has become very popular lately. I suppose it is nice to have these older games back in circulation especially for newer gamers who missed the golden era of gaming in the 1970s and 80s. However when an older game is republished, I do expect the designer to make improvements to the game including consolidating rules errata, refining the game system and updating the graphics. Paul Koenig’s Fortress Europe has done this and more. The first edition, called Fortress Europa, was designed by John Edwards and published in Australia by Jedko games in 1978. Avalon Hill reworked the rules and published the more well-known version in 1980 followed by a 2nd edition rules set. In PKG’s edition, we have a worthy successor to this classic.
by Harvey Mossman
The Flight of the Eagle is a set of rules that harkens back to early days of war gaming when Kreigspiel was done with generals positioned around large maps, pushing little flags or wooden blocks representing the maneuver elements of their army. Umpires would oversee the progress of the campaign and use complex procedures to adjudicate the results of battles. The commanders’ performances would thus be evaluated and a debriefing would follow to determine what went right and what went wrong in the campaign. Designer Didier Rouy and Pratzen Editions have taken this concept and applied it to the Napoleonic era. Using paper, pen, six sided dice and copies of 19th century maps, they have constructed a rule set whereby teams of players can fight almost any of the Napoleonic campaigns from 1805 to 1815 in an umpired setting.
by Harvey Mossman
Although seven score and ten years have passed since the Civil War, this titanic struggle still profoundly affects American culture and the national psyche. Deep wounds have still not fully healed and remembrances of those who gave “the last full measure of devotion” are honored annually by multiple reenactments around the country. Over this five-year anniversary of the war, I thought it might be “altogether fitting and proper” to look back at some older Civil War games that still stand the test of time. One of my favorites, Bobby Lee, is an elegant design by Tom Dalgliesh of Columbia Games. First published in 1993, it remains one of the most challenging and approachable simulations of the war in Virginia.
Borodino 1812 Review
Borodino was the climactic battle of Napoleon’s ill-fated invasion of Russia in 1812. Napoleon needed a decisive defeat of the Russian army in order to end the campaign quickly before the vastness of Russia absorbed his men and the harsh winter weather caused his army to wither.
A Decidedly Professional and Excellent Design Overview It is currently the bicentennial of the war of 1812, a […]