$10.00
Ultimate Light Wargame Battle!
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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As my Ultimate RPG/Dungeoncrawl/Herogame Battle! geeklist went down so well I thought I'd run another one for Light Wargames. This list tries to capture all the best Light Wargames on the geek.

I've trawled a load of Light/Introductory/Kids Wargames geeklists to get the base list of 103 - I required a game to be mentioned on at least 2 lists to add it, then added a few obvious omissions.
Feel free to add your own suggestions.
The initial order will be based on the number of times the games appeared on the geeklists I used. This will also be used as a tide-breaker, as will ranking if required. Note that a couple of very recent games (notably BattleLore) only appear on a couple of these geeklists.

The Battle
Several of these games receive increased ratings due to nostalgia and some of them get very few ratings in the BGG database, so I'm hoping this list can provide a bit more clarity on which are the best games of this type!

1. Vote using the thumbsup icon for your favourite games. Feel free to add comments saying why you like them.
2. If you strongly dislike a game then you can add a comment with a thumbsdown. Feel free to thumb down if you think the game is not suitable for this list - i.e. not a wargame or not Light!

I'll regularly review the list and re-sort it based on the Net number of thumbsup each game has.

The comment for each game is one from a user who rates it highly - not my comments!

I know that they are of dubious value because wargamers & non-wargamers see it differently, but I'm going to add the BGG game weights to each description.

Other lists in this 'Battle' Series:
Ultimate Ameritrash Game Battle!
Ultimate 2-Player Game Battle!
Ultimate Gateway Game Battle!
Ultimate Gamers Game Battle!
Ultimate Horror/'B Movie' Game Battle!
Ultimate Solitaire Game Battle!
Ultimate RPG/Dungeoncrawl/Herogame Battle!
Party Game Battle: The (Little) BIG 13
Party Game Battle: The BIG 13
And a Metalist of them all: The Tony Awards

Also see: Best Games By Category - Polls

And... The Best Light Wargames for 3 or more players
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1. Board Game: Commands & Colors: Ancients [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:46]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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On 10 'Light Wargame' Geeklists

BradyLS: "Of the three Richard Borg "BattleCry"-style boardgames, Commands and Colors Ancients is the example that hews closest to its theme and rewards the more thoughtful player. Also, the game is a few steps more complex than its siblings but does not sacrifice the ease with which the rules are learned nor the quick pace at which the game plays. Games seem to last a bit longer than their BC and M:44 counterparts (a solid, action-filled hour for a match game), but are all the more satisfying for it. The Command Card deck is well balanced and the sheer variety of unit typs and terrain to play them on will keep players busy learning their unique traits in games for quite a while. And the production is excellent. While not as lavish as the the previous games, this item was still "done right" where it counts: in the rules and the fun in playing. If you enjoy Memoir: 44 and Battle Cry, you really must try this. Prepare yourself for a remarkably different game!"

Weight: 2.69

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2. Board Game: Memoir '44 [Average Rating:7.53 Overall Rank:87] [Average Rating:7.53 Unranked]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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On 17 'Light Wargame' Geeklists

volnon: "The more I play this game the better it gets! The card play and dice add such luck and randomness that even my 20+ years of playing war games does not guarantee a win against my wife who just started playing them! Fantastic game! If you have this one, you have to have the new Battle Cry game, too. Both are cast from the same mold, and are classics!"

Weight: 2.22

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3. Board Game: Nexus Ops [Average Rating:7.29 Overall Rank:224]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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On 7 'Light Wargame' Geeklists

crackedlcd81: "Derivative or not, NEXUS OPS is one of the absolute best American games of the past decade. When it first came out I gave the game an 8 and over the past couple of years it's slowly increased in stature and now I can't imagine not awarding this masterpiece of efficient yet exciting design full marks.
Sure, it's basically a distillation of ideas from RISK, AXIS & ALLIES, and even to some degree TWILIGHT IMPERIUM but the balance between economy of rules, easy and accessible playtime, and full-tilt theming that doesn't skimp on direct player interaction and conflict add up to a tremendous game that really should have been the beginning of a system rather than a TANGA cast-off. The mission system has never worked better than in this game and it manages to single-handedly solve a lot of problems that this type of game has typically experienced. Expansions (such as additional players, assymetrical player powers, and more terrain/units would have put this game so far over the top it's not funny. Some games lose their lustre over time, others you get tired of, but Nexus Ops has what it takes to stick around and I think it'll be with us for some time to come."

Weight: 2.22

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4. Board Game: Twilight Struggle [Average Rating:8.34 Overall Rank:1]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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On 4 'Light Wargame' Geeklists. Wargame?

crackedlcd81: "A tremendous piece of game design that by rights should go down in history as one of the seminal and significant games of our time. There have been several excellent card-driven wargames precipitated by the now-classical Mark Herman designs (including real treasures like Wilderness War and Paths of Glory) but what really sets Twilight Struggle apart from its peers is its amazing ability to provide accessible, straightforward gameplay without sacrificing historical detail, richness, and narrative.
This is a game you can explain in 15 minutes to a complete newbie and within 2-3 hours you've burned through 45 years of tension, turmoil, and upheaval. The game's systems are logical and remarkably stripped down yet never so abstract as to deny specificity. The cardplay, as we've come to expect from the genre, provides not only a sense of playing through a timeline but also multiple decision points in each hand- what to play, how to play, when to play. The theme is a knockout and the use of wargame mechanics to portray an abstracted war is nothing short of genius. GMT's production is, as usual, functional and somewhat spartan but that being said the mapboard is probably their most attractive piece to date.
Folks, seriously, if you're interested in anything from hardcore wargames to middle-weight Euros, this is one to pick up and savor for many years to come. The bar is set for wargames of this type fairly high by Twilight Struggle, and I can't wait to see if Mr. Gupta and Mr. Matthews are ready to push it up even higher in the future. A bravura performance of economy, grace, and sophistication."

Weight: 3.17

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5. Board Game: BattleLore [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:148]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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On 2 'Light Wargame' Geeklists

PatK: "Battlelore takes the Command & Colours game engine and turns it into its most flexible and expandable form yet. This game has the rules and promise that make me think that in a year's time, my opinion of 'What is Battlelore?' might be totally different, since upcoming expandions might offer a completely different game experience. For now, it's a fantastic combat game with lots of variety and lots of options. The lore deck really adds some flavour to the game, and ensures that identical scenarios will almost never play out the same way."
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6. Board Game: Battle Cry [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:391]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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On 17 'Light Wargame' Geeklists

David Vander Ark: "The chaos of the cards limiting your control over your army beautifully mimics the breakdown in communication on the Civil War battlefield. The frustrating die rolls are perfectly in line with the unpredictable effectiveness of the weapons (and troops) in Civil War battles. A perfect simulation? No, not even close. 45 minutes of pure fun with mechanics that effectively convey the theme? Yes. This game is a masterpiece."

Weight: 2.09
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7. Board Game: Wings of War: Famous Aces [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:547] [Average Rating:6.89 Unranked]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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On 8 'Light Wargame' Geeklists

fdapra: "Its a simple game, but very elegant and fast to play.
Original rules and design!
I was able to play it with many different people even non gamers and they all enjoied it alot.
Its amazing only after some minutes normally peaceful little girls had only one thing in mind down that damned enemy
from the sky......
I look forward to the new expansion...i want the twin machine guns!!!!"

Weight: 1.77
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8. Board Game: Ogre [Average Rating:6.98 Overall Rank:662]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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On 14 'Light Wargame' Geeklists

El Hidalgo: "I have been playing this game for years. It is the game I use to get my family and friends into playing wargames. Not everyone was ready to jump into Panzer Leader or Firefight or Sniper (Yes I am dating myself). I can have a non player up and playing in 15 minutes, and have them hooked. It is what I use now to get my card collecting Magic The Gathering Card friends away from a table and onto a board. I will buy this game and give it away to make friends believers of tanks and infantry."

Weight: 2.06
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9. Board Game: Combat Commander: Europe [Average Rating:7.94 Overall Rank:50]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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On 3 'Light Wargame' Geeklists

Reedo: "BRILLIANT! Oh my goodness, this game is amazing! After every game I just want to play another. It's like deep, satisfying, and wonderful popcorn; you just want more after each bite. Of course, it's pop corn that takes about 2 hours to eat
Anyway, I love this game. Set-up, play time, rules, strategy is all very accessible, but still offers a great deal of control and a huge amount of room for strategy and tactics. I love the scale, and the way the cards drive everything really works.
The random events are really cool, and really represent the chaos of actual battle. I'm not sure why some don't want this and claim it to be unrealistic. The only unrealistic thign I can think of in a wargame IS having complete control over units who are being shot at. That seems unrealistic to me.
What a great game! It's just really, really fun! Solid 10, will always want to play."

Weight: 3.13
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10. Board Game: Hammer of the Scots [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:173]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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On 18 'Light Wargame' Geeklists

dead gerbil: "I've played this dozens of times, and it keeps getting better. The historical color is wonderful, and it beautifully recreates the sort of strategies that both sides used. The English use brute force to hammer the scots, but they don't have the luxury of simply occupying with their full force. The Scots are fighting a guerilla war with a ragtag army. Very intense and easy to teach."

Weight: 3.11

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11. Board Game: Axis & Allies [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:718]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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On 8 'Light Wargame' Geeklists

Logosync: "
To date, this is my favorite board game. The revised edition really adds a lot to the original by making all units feasible to purchase in some circumstance, mellowing out some of the hugely unbalancing techs, and generally keeping the game a cliffhanger for longer. A phenomenal number of optional rules were included with the rulebook as well."

Weight: 3.24
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12. Board Game: Ikusa [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:466]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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On 5 'Light Wargame' Geeklists

breity: "My only "10". My favorite boardgame ever, so long as you have 4+ people (it's really frustrating with 2 or 3). The board is always in such flux, such motion, that you can sit back and watch the spinning yin and yang of colors whorl as the turns go by. There are so many ways to get at board sections that you never really see that Australia stronghold strategy from Risk crop up. And if you *do* see it start to happen, you have enough time to *do* something about it. Once the daimyos are up to a 3, you really have to think ahead and be alert, which is something I've always liked about this game -- otherwise you always end up surprised as to how easily assailable you are. Great, great game. Stupendous fun."

Weight: 2.97
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13. Board Game: Fortress America [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:933]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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On 3 'Light Wargame' Geeklists

BradyLS: "My favorite of Milton Bradley's Game Master series and one of my favorite games of all time. Nail-biting decisions on every turn. Even the set-up is critical: America can't defend too heavily forward, and the invaders must husband some heavy pieces for the final assault for that elusive 18th city. Just the slightest tweak will upset the balance of this game. If you enjoy "what-ifs" and don't mind the "light wargame" feel, you won't be disappointed by this."

Weight: 2.59
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14. Board Game: Friedrich [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:271]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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On 9 'Light Wargame' Geeklists

crackedlcd81: "This game recaptured some of the feeling I had when I first got into European games some 10 years ago - a sense of discovery, esotericism, and innovation. Friedrich is a brilliant, brilliant game and a masterpiece of design work- a more or less traditional historical wargame with a traditional card game to resolve combat. Simple enough, but the subtleties of design decisions are difficult to describe without being able to demonstrate the experiential realizations that you will come to during the game as you become aware of how it all fits together. Beautiful."

Weight: 3.36
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15. Board Game: A Game of Thrones (first edition) [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:190]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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On 6 'Light Wargame' Geeklists.

Warbringer25: "This is the best designed strategy game I own. It captures the feel of the books its based on with amazing art, interesting game design and amazingly balanced rules. If you like the Game of Thrones novels and you like games like Risk... then you owe to yourself to buy this game. It is fantastic!!"

Weight: 3.43

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16. Board Game: A House Divided [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:619]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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On 12 'Light Wargame' Geeklists

Lord_Prussian: "My favorite wargame. I've played this one many times over many years and always enjoy the tension and strategic options. Has streamlined rules system even with advanced and optional rules that allow the players to focus on strategy and maneuver, rather than the rules.
The early war is an incredible balancing act with the Confederates trying to break through the Union lines and take enough cities to score a sudden death. The Union player has to play a careful balancing act for a good chunk of the game before being able to go on the offensive. The end game usually results in a turtle-situation with the remaining Confederate army bunkered in Richmond/Petersburg. I've yet to see a Confederate player hold out until the end of the war, though, it's been close."

Weight: 2.82
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17. Board Game: Napoleon: The Waterloo Campaign, 1815 [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:655]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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On 9 'Light Wargame' Geeklists

Eddy Bee: "(AH edition) Not only is this one of the best block wargames, but it's one of the best wargames period! The rules are straightforward and streamlined, the combination of strategic movement and tactical battles is extremely satisfying, and the game maintains a high level of tension and excitement throughout. This is truly a classic!"

Weight: 2.49
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18. Board Game: Heroscape Master Set: Rise of the Valkyrie [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:192] [Average Rating:7.41 Unranked]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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On 4 'Light Wargame' Geeklists

crackedlcd81: "After several sessions, this is definitely a 10,I can see playing this for a long time to come. This game is something else, possibly even "important"...congratulations to the Daviau/Van Ness/Baker team for getting this published and onto store shelves- Walmart has never seen anything quite like this. Yes, a game with line-of-sight and terrain rules has arrived in mainstream retailers. What's next? ZOCs and CRTs? This is the perfect way to introduce "hobby" gaming to a mass audience- it's attractive, different, and at just the right complexity level to both attract new players and interest veterans. Gameplay is amazingly simple (just a few steps up from Epic Duels) but the fun factor is through the roof. Kids will play this game and remember it fondly 15 years from now. Oh, and it features amazing miniatures. My eyes popped out when I opened the box. Can't wait for the Romans!"

Weight: 2.18

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19. Board Game: A Victory Lost [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:595]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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On 6 'Light Wargame' Geeklists

Herr Niemand: "Wow! This is my current favorite "straight-up" wargame. Even with a fixed set up, I can't imagine this game getting stale. The variability of HQ activation adds a great deal of tension -- you never know what's gonna happen next! Plus the clearly written and well-illustrated rulebook makes this a joy to learn and teach. Well-done MMP, Tetsuya and Adam! This is the most brilliant wargame design I've seen in decades!"

Weight: 2.58
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20. Board Game: Struggle of Empires [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:184]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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On 2 'Light Wargame' Geeklists. Light?

shotokanguy: "A wonderful empire management game with lots of tough decisions to make. The thing I like most about SoE is that it is a multiplayer conflict game that is structured in such a way that it doesn't produce a Risk style free-for-all. I love the alliance system, and the economics of money, population and unrest points. A real gem from Martin Wallace, even better than Age of Steam."

Weight: 3.74

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21. Board Game: Bonaparte at Marengo [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:672]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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On 6 'Light Wargame' Geeklists

crackedlcd81: "An absolute masterpiece- one of the best wargames or boardgames I've ever played. BaM captures not only the concepts and practices of Napoleonic linear warfare but also the importance of manuevering, flanking, and intelligent command in a suprisingly comprehensive package. For all the folks who speak of "agonizing decisions" in Eurogames like Puerto Rico, try BaM and see how excruciating it can be to decide whether or not to assault- the attrition is brutal and if you make a critical mistake it can cost you the game. The rules are fairly simple but somewhat poorly presented so the game has a pretty high learning curve when coupled with a unique system that asks the player to completely forget everything they thought they knew about wargames. Tense, challenging, and brilliant- a game for the ages that deserves all the hype and praise it's recieved- Charles S. Roberts shoe-in!"

Weight: 3.28
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22. Board Game: War of 1812 [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:1361]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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On 5 'Light Wargame' Geeklists

bentlarsen: "This one rocks for playability but, "tanks" for realism. Easy to learn, never plays exactly the same way twice. The "10" is for how much my students have enjoyed it during lunch recess. It is not the kind of game to play in order to teach the challenges both sides faced during the War of 1812, other than perhaps the choice of attacking on one side of the Great Lakes, or the other, or trying both sides. The map design is probably the worst I have ever seen in a Columbia Game. It reminds me of those maps of college/university towns that colourfully show where all the beer joints are located, along with other "fun" spots for the young at heart. Sigh. Good Times."

Weight: 2.27
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23. Board Game: Wallenstein (first edition) [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:181]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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On 4 'Light Wargame' Geeklists

netfilterz: "Great game. Very deep, yet very simple in rules. In the beginning I couldn't see the theme as anything but stuck on, but after a few games I'm starting to feel the flow of time, armies struggling to conquer parts of europe. The resistance of the people as the leaders squeeze them for food and gold. Plus the dicetower is very novel (to me anyway) , and very fun to use."

Weight: 3.33
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24. Board Game: Victory in the Pacific [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:861]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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On 7 'Light Wargame' Geeklists

ClosetOtaku: "An elegant massive-wristage game that somehow manages to simulate the war in the Pacific Theater almost flawlessly. A history lesson in cardboard. Strategy counterbalanced by tension as the Japanese player strikes ruthlessly, then defends as the American sleeping giant awakens. Spectacular."

Weight: 2.50
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25. Board Game: Tide of Iron [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:350]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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On 3 'Light Wargame' Geeklists

crackedlcd81: "Takes a dump all over MEMOIR '44 and then makes fun of its mother for good measure. Fantasy Flight Games delivers another future classic- probably the most accessible, immediate squad-level WW2 tactical wargame published to date that finds an almost-perfect middle ground between board game and war game, simulation and playability, detail and abstraction.
I was really amazed at how much the designers captured in the system in a pretty compact package without drowning the game in obscure rules and minutiae. The game plays very smoothly and despite a 50 page rulebook (which is very well presented) it's a snap to play and easy to manage without a lot of administration.
The combat system is simple and falls a little more on the abstract side yet it still allows for opportunity fire, combined fire, suppression/disruption, armor, cover, and more- a pretty impressive feat handled with efficiency and smart design. There aren't many unit types (yet) but FFG's now standard keyword system (a nod to CCGs) works well again and there is plenty of diversity between even the core units, particularly when coupled with a really fun specialization mechanic. The strategy cards give a nice sense of big picture planning and situational opportunities and although they aren't quite as narrative as the cards in COMBAT COMMANDER they fill in some of the thematic details very well.
Comparing this game to M44 seems to be the thing to do, but the fact of the matter is that this game allows a huge amount of flexibility and freedom that really demonstrates how gamey and on "rails" M44 really is- not to mention how abstract and shallow that game turns out in the long run.
It's the perfect game for players looking for something like SQUAD LEADER or ASL but more rooted in board games. The game is complete in the box (unlike BATTLELORE) but future expansions promise more depth, more options, more units, and even more variety to a game that already has those virtues in spades. A bravura performance for Goodenough, Petersen, and Koniczeska and almost certainly a contender for the best game of 2007."

Weight: 3.22
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