Charles' Favourite Wargame Cover Art
Charles F.
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As far as I'm concerned, only a few wargame covers rise above a sea of mediocrity. Bombastic imagery and poor taste abounds. Fonts are frequently shockingly inappropriate. Especially WordArt-ish title fonts have me running for the hills!

Moreover, the many collages betray frequently a lacking confidence in one's ability to convey the subject with one strong image.

Less is more. Cover art ought to be iconic. Much as the better movie posters, book covers and early-mid 20th century propaganda/advertising posters aspired to.

This list is my tribute to some of the best cover artwork out there that to my mind meets this criterion.

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1. Board Game: Fire in the Sky: The Great Pacific War 1941-1945 [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:1825]
Charles F.
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Iconic, minimalistic, flawless. Most Japanese.

My favourite wargame cover.

Cover by Nicolás Eskubi.

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2. Board Game: Where There Is Discord: War in the South Atlantic [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:1727]
Charles F.
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A stunning image, which suits the mission-based game focus to a T. Perfect composition, ethereal lighting. Technological precision equally conveyed in the title font. It's a feast for the eyes.

Cover by Marc Mahaffey
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3. Board Game: RAN [Average Rating:7.53 Overall Rank:3197]
Charles F.
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Most cinematic, now wonder since it's based on Kurosawa's splendid work. Silhouettes, font, colour... Rodger hit it out of the park with this one. Even better than the actual RAN movie poster.

Cover by Rodger MacGowan
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4. Board Game: Counter-Attack! Arras [Average Rating:5.80 Overall Rank:11408]
Charles F.
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Battles Magazine boasts some of the best artwork in the hobby. This is my favourite cover so far. Very well done indeed!

Cover by Olivier Revenu
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5. Board Game: Luftwaffe [Average Rating:5.55 Overall Rank:13063]
Charles F.
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Only shows you how a well-chosen photo can make a cover.

Cover by ???
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6. Board Game: Paths of Glory [Average Rating:8.00 Overall Rank:100]
Charles F.
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One of the most spell-binding covers in the hobby! As we meet the gaze of one member of the "Lost Generation", we are reminded of the many who fell at the battle-sites listed below. Quite haunting - and in that captures the mood of the classic war film the game's named after.

Empire in the Sun's and Pursuit of Glory's covers are highly reminiscent of PoG's. Yet neither is as good as this cover, so I'm merely listing it.

Cover by Rodger MacGowan
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7. Board Game: Winter War [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:4213]
Charles F.
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Nails the Finno-Soviet War. I feel cold merely looking at it! Really good font use for such an oldie (released 1972).

Cover by Redmond A. Simonsen
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8. Board Game: A Fatal Attraction: The Gallipoli Campaign [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:9019]
Charles F.
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Cinematic!

Cover by Craig Grando
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9. Board Game: Go Tell the Spartans [Average Rating:4.46 Overall Rank:14609]
Charles F.
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Blood-red ceramics painting most symbolic of Leonidas' and his companions legendary sacrifice. Craig is someone who looks at the familiar with fresh eyes, which yields spectacular results.

Cover by Craig Grando.
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10. Board Game: Red Star Rising: The War in Russia, 1941-1944 [Average Rating:7.61 Overall Rank:3144]
Charles F.
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Most evocative. Only proves one by no means need to depict military action.

Cover by Nicolás Eskubi.
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11. Board Game: War in the Pacific (first edition) [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:7106]
Charles F.
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Good use of colour.

Cover by Redmond A. Simonsen
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12. Board Game: España 1936 [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:1707]
Charles F.
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He who designs a game on say the Russian or Spanish Civil Wars ought to consider using some of the fantastic agitprop of those time on the cover. Such images are tailor-made for wargame covers!

Cover by Antonio Catalán
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13. Board Game: Pacific War [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:1743]
Charles F.
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Brings home the vastness of the Pacific theatre. I'm not entirely happy about the font, though.

Cover by Ted Koller

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14. Board Game: Britannia [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:540]
Charles F.
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Joshua put it better than I could: "I have the original Gibsons Games Britannia, whose art was merely adequate. And I know many probably prefer the art from the newer Fantasy Flight edition, which I personally think is too muddled. But the Avalon Hill cover is just right. I'm not always a fan of the detailed, crisp type of "fantasy art" that this approaches, but I think in this case it stops just short of activating my Inappropriately Cartoonish Art Gag Reflex.

The middle ground is a collage of tribesman and soldiers from the period chronicled in the game. That kind of juxtaposition could have failed badly, but I think it works here because the central Norman knight in the foreground provides a focus. The swirling mists also help soften the composition, keeping it from looking cluttered. The scroll with the lightly drawn map of Great Britain makes an attractive and thematic background, and gives the decorative manuscript B in the title an appropriate context. Again we see the importance of a carefully chosen typeface.

I think the key to this cover's success is the very disciplined gray/white/gold/dark red color palette. More colors would have looked too cartoony or pulpy."

For once, a collage composition that works well.

Cover by George Parrish
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15. Board Game: War in the Aegean [Average Rating:5.62 Overall Rank:12813]
Charles F.
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Splendid idea to highlight the submarine's course in this manner. My grandfather's convoy was similarly attacked upon evacuating from Greece.

Cover by Craig Grando
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16. Board Game: 1776 [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:2633]
Charles F.
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Quite stylised. Excellent use of colour. Very 70s. Somewhat naive painting style, reminiscent of a mural painting.

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17. Board Game: Ardennes '44 [Average Rating:7.93 Overall Rank:1451]
Charles F.
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Astute use of colour. Arguably one of Rodger MacGowan's strengths. Now, if only we can cure him of his at times clipartish ways...

Cover by Rodger MacGowan
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18. Board Game: Great War at Sea: Jutland [Average Rating:7.18 Overall Rank:4267]
Charles F.
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Sets the scene very nicely. Sense of anticipation. Unobtrusive title font fits in well.

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19. Board Game: Kesselschlacht [Average Rating:5.63 Overall Rank:12350]
Charles F.
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Brilliant choice of a detail. Can't think of any other covers that have pulled the same off.

Cover by Craig Grando
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20. Board Game: Royal Tank Corps [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:8544]
Charles F.
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I dare say I've mentioned my taste for agitprop-ish art.

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21. Board Game: Second Front [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:5715]
Charles F.
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Many entries in the Europa series sport fine photos and I might have easily included a couple more of these in this list.

I dig the cover composition. Funny how boxes that are broader than their height have gone out of fashion. Very few newer wargames come in that format.

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22. Board Game: The Halls of Montezuma [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:4677]
Charles F.
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The fancy mid-19th century fonts at the top as well as the image are winners. The more generic font used below isn't spectacular, but I guess it gets the job done. Pleasing colour composition.

Cover by Rodger MacGowan
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23. Board Game: War in the Desert [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:5088]
Charles F.
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Few covers convey military action in such immediacy. Stark. Eye-catcher. Just what you want for a Rommel game.

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24. Board Game: Combat Commander: Europe [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:103]
Charles F.
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I trust you've noticed that I'm a sucker for the silhouette look!

Cover by Rodger MacGowan
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25. Board Game: ¡Arriba España! [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:6687]
Charles F.
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It's a somewhat sloppy cover. After all, the text hiding in the right corner behind the game title ought to have been photoshopped away.

But my propensity for vintage agitprop once again got the better of me. So this game will round off this (for now Top25) list.

Cover by Nicolás Eskubi
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