Wargames on the Horizon in 2009
Brian Morris
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Been killing time this morning (wife is sick so I'm being a good husband and stayed up most of the night playing nurse) so I was looking at some of the wargames set to come out this year. I was thinking it really looks like a pretty good crop for 2009. Lots of CDGs, block games and even a card driven block game. There's also a few new releases for ongoing game series. So I thought it'd be nice to see what's coming out and what folks are really looking forward to this year.
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1. Board Game: The Halls of Montezuma [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:4619]
Brian Morris
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The game that has my most interest this year. As a civil war buff the Mexican American War is one of those things always hanging around the edges as you study the conflict. Only 12,000 men landed with Scott in Mexico and of those only 8,500 made the trip inland to Mexico City. Yet among those involved are names like Grant, Meade, Lee, Jackson, Longstreet, Pickett and Hunt. It's almost a who's who of commanding generals of the upcoming American Civil War. I've read several books on the conflict over the last few years so I'm really looking forward to giving this some table time. Map looks fantastic. Perhaps the best map artwork on any GMT game in my opinion.
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2. Board Game: Spartacus [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:5040]
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A game I hadn't even heard of 6 weeks ago has become my second biggest want of the coming year (it's suppose to start shipping this week). A CDG on Ancient Rome with a bit of a twist. One player plays Rome while the other plays the forces that Rome must counter to prevent it's collapse.

The game is being published by Compass Games which isn't a company I have a lot of experience with. However the fact that the game is being developed by Neil Randall and the artwork by Mark Mahaffey peaks my interest. It's also suppose to be a touch more complex than Hannibal (the game it supposedly most resembles) which means it should have some good meat to it.
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3. Board Game: The God Kings: Warfare at the Dawn of Civilization, 1500 – 1260BC [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:5379]
Brian Morris
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Another CDG from Compass Games modeled on Hannibal. Also another Neil Randal/Mark Mahaffey partnership this time with first time designer Julien Bonnard. Ancient Egypt is the theme here. Going to keep an eye on this one. I like the idea that it plays 2 or 4 players and has a number of scenarios. Most CDGs in general have one campaign scenario and are either just 2 or 4 players.

It looks like it might be a good year for Compass Games. They had a hit a few years ago with Silent War and have put out some nice looking games but really haven't been one of the big name wargaming companies. Now they've got two new CDGs coming out this year with some pretty well respected people behind them plus a few other titles.
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4. Board Game: PQ-17: Arctic Naval Operations 1941-1943 [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:3851]
Brian Morris
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Block game that I've been waiting for for a while. I pre-ordered this on the GMT P500 the first day it was listed I think. Not sure why but the theme really grabbed me on this one. Not like I'm a big WW II naval guy but the theme combined with the block game fog of war mechanic really struck me as a perfect match.
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5. Board Game: 1805: Sea of Glory [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:2748]
Brian Morris
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Napoleonic era at sea as a block game. It's actually a surprise I think that we haven't seen a lot more naval block games as the fog of war mechanic seems a perfect fit for naval wargaming. Set for April Release.
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6. Board Game: The Guns of Gettysburg [Average Rating:7.88 Overall Rank:1382]
Brian Morris
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The word Gettysburg automatically gets my attention as fast as my dog's when she hears the word "cookie". My only problem is I've never played any of of the previous games by Bowen Simmons. I've seen pictures of them and I hear really great things though. I've also been following his designer blog on his website about the game. I'm hoping before this is released I'll be able to get into a game of one of his previous works to have a good look at how this unique system he has created works. I look at it this way, I can never have to many Gettysburg games.
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7. Board Game: Kingdom of Heaven: The Crusader States 1097-1291 [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:2501]
Brian Morris
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Another card driven game. MMP hasn't done many CDGs although their game Shifting Sands is a favorite of mine. I really liked that with Shifting Sands they went all out and made the game with linen card stock which is something I wish GMT would start doing with their games. Given the choice I'd actually prefer linen card stock than a mounted mapboard. Mind you linen stock costs a bit more and likely why this one costs a touch more than other CDGs but in my mind it's worth it.

Designed by Scott de Brestian, developer Neil Randall and art by Niko Eskubi and Mark Mahaffey.
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8. Board Game: Breakthrough: Cambrai [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:4084]
Brian Morris
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Not a game I would take a second look at except for it's by Michael Rinella using the area control system that I was really liked in his game Not War But Murder. I think the system is a great match for the WW I theme. Haven't pre-ordered it yet but once my wife's embargo on me buying new games comes to an end I might just do that.
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9. Board Game: Washington's War [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:428]
Brian Morris
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Not on GMTs release schedule yet but you know this one is going to go to the head of the line as soon as all the development and artwork is done.

What's funny was for a long time people were waiting for Washington's War to appear on GMT's P500 list and it never came. There was a lot of talk about Mark Herman working on it and then it kind of died down. I had almost given up on it when it suddenly got added to the list and promptly proceeded to set speed records as it went past 500 orders.
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10. Board Game: Stalin's War [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:3671]
Brian Morris
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Card driven game are very much in fashion and this one is on the Russian Front from Ted Racier. I like GMT's description that the game is for both fans of CDGs and WWII "panzer pushers". The sample cards and counters that GMT has on their website really makes this game look to be in the style of Ted's Paths of Glory.
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11. Board Game: Julius Caesar [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:715]
Brian Morris
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Been waiting for someone to do this. A card driven block game! Been saying for a while that for me the best strategic American Civil War game had yet to be made and the best way to do it would be a card driven block game. So I'm not really surprised that someone is coming out with this kind of combo because it seems a natural progression for both systems to be combined at some point.
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12. Board Game: Richard III: The Wars of the Roses [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:1215]
Brian Morris
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Think Hammer of the Scots with a War of the Roses theme, or at least that's the way this game is being described. I like the cool looking box cover. In fact the game's artwork looks to be some of the best I've seen for a Columbia game.

I wrote that above and decided to check and see who did the artwork for this game. Turns out it's Mark Mahaffey. Mark, you are truly setting the bar for wargame artwork to a new level.
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13. Board Game: Rommel's Obsession [Average Rating:8.00 Unranked]
Brian Morris
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Block game on the Battle of Tobruk and the British Operation Crusader counter attack. Designed by first time designer Jim Krohn.
 
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14. Board Game: Chainmail [Average Rating:5.89 Overall Rank:10390]
Brian Morris
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Richard Berg's medieval combat game for Worthington Games. The artwork here on BGG looks pretty cool. Their game Prussia's Defiant Stand was was a beautiful game (I thought it deserves the CSR Award for best wargame graphics) and it looks like this one might measure up to it.
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15. Board Game: Barbarossa: Crimea [Average Rating:7.89 Overall Rank:3976]
Brian Morris
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Raytown
Missouri
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The 6th game in Vance von Borries's extremely popular Barbarossa series. This series is like crack for east front wargamers.
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16. Board Game: Serpents of the Seas [Average Rating:7.68 Overall Rank:3624] [Average Rating:7.68 Unranked]
Brian Morris
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Sequel to Mike Nagel's popular Flying Colors. Not a big Age of Sail fan myself but I like the title of this one. I'd like to get a chance to play this or his first game in the series at some point. I'm more of an Ironclads guy really when it comes to ship to ship combat games but this looks like a fun game.
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17. Board Game: Field Commander: Alexander [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:1851]
Jon Badolato
United States
Connecticut
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Will probably get this one eventually. It is being charged for now even as I write this. Good solo stuff, and as it seems tougher to get people together these days for face to face, this may scratch the itch when no one else is available. Rules look good and have been posted.
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18. Board Game: Panzer Grenadier: Cassino '44, Gateway to Rome [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:5148]
Jon Badolato
United States
Connecticut
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What the heck. I have every other one of their boxed Panzer Grenadier games. I have this on pre-order. Maps have been improving in this system lately and I do like the system.
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19. Board Game: Battles of 1866: Frontier Battles [Average Rating:5.88 Unranked]
Jon Badolato
United States
Connecticut
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I am torn on this one. Looks very interesting, with some nice battles ( and a good number of them ), but AP has a big track record of screwing something up prior to production and the price tag on this one is ENORMOUS. And with no preview of the rules available and unless that changes I will likely wait this one out until it is out and has received some level of positive feedback. Some details:

The game system from War of the States: Gettysburg, 1863 and War Of The States: Chickamauga & Chattanooga moves to Europe. Units are infantry brigades and cavalry regiments. The Prussian army faces the combined Austrian and Saxon forces, as the needle gun meets the bayonet. Seven battles equal seven separate games!

Seven maps, four sheets of game pieces.

• Custoza
24 June 1866. Hard fighting between Austrians and the new Royal Italian Army near the fortress-city Verona.

• Trautenau
27 June 1866. “A slap that rocked the whole Prussian Army,” according to Otto von Bismarck. The Austrian X Corps of Leopold von Gablenz defeats Eduard von Bonin’s Prussian I Corps.

• Nachod
27 June 1866. A bloody fight between Wilhelm von Ramming's Austrian VI Corps and Karl von Steinmetz’s Prussian V Corps leads to a narrow Prussian victory.

• Skalitz
28 June 1866. Steinmetz’s troops defeat their second Austrian corps in as many days, driving back Archduke Leopold’s VIII Corps.

• Soor
28 June 1866. Gablenz has much less luck against the Prussian Guard when poor communications ruin another flank attack.

• Gitschin
29 June 1866. Crown Prince Albert of Saxony leads his army and the Austrian I Corps against the Prussian First Army. After a hotly-contested fight, the Austro-Saxons retreat in good order.

• Königgrätz
3 July 1866. One of the largest battles fought in Europe up to that time. The combined Prussian First, Second and Elbe armies against the Austrian North Army and the Saxons. Early Austrian defensive success was undone by over-eager generals and Prussia won the right to unite Germany under the black eagle banner.
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20. Board Game: Ironclads: Hearts of Iron [Average Rating:5.50 Unranked]
Jon Badolato
United States
Connecticut
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And although it is probably not "on the horizon", this one looks interesting as well. Again, however, I will probably wait until production and see the feedback on it.

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21. Board Game: A Most Dangerous Time: Japan in Chaos, 1570-1584 [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:2671]
Douglas S
United States
Torrance
California
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The often delayed long awaiting game from MMP! The game that made designer, Tetsuya Nakamura famous. A Most Dangerous Time focuses in on 1570-1584. Oda Nobunaga, one of the most notorious figures in Japanese history, fights against all of Japan and the victor will be the ultimate master of all of Japan.

Fans of Nobunaga's Ambition (computer game) and Japanese feudal warfare take heart!!!!
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22. Board Game: Verdun: A Generation Lost [Average Rating:7.02 Unranked]
Marc Guenette
Canada
Montréal
Quebec
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The ATO Annual. Right now it's set up on my table, but can't find the time to play it. Looks prmising with lots of scenario. Inspired by The Big Push game previously produced by ATO.
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23. Board Game: Bastogne: Screaming Eagles under Siege [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:2262]
Andy M
United Kingdom
Norwich
Norfolk
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Surely not far off.
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24. Board Game: Bloody Omaha: D-Day 1944 [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:6556]
Pone McPoneface
United States
Dublin
Ohio
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There is a road, no simple highway, between the dawn and the dark of night, and if you go no one may follow, that path is for your steps alone. Ripple in still water, when there is no pebble tossed, nor wind to blow.
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To seek the sacred river Alph, to walk the caves of ice, to break my fast on honey dew and drink the milk of paradise... I had heard the whispered tales of immortality, the deepest mystery, from an ancient book I took a clue.
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I'm a big fan of the ATS system and really looking forward to getting this one on the table soon!
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25. Board Game: Sturm Europa! [Average Rating:8.17 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.17 Unranked]
 
Karl Schmit
United States
Menomonee Falls
Wisconsin
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Grand strategic block game of WW2.

I'm looking forward to hearing more about this game.
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