Friday, 19 August 2016

My Most Highly Anticipated Games @ August 2016

Here are 5 games that I am looking forward to playing - hopefully within the next 12-18 months. Few of these are yet available - some are still sitting on GMT's P500 list, or equivalent.

1. FAB: Golan '73  (GMT)

After having gushed about FAB: Bulge being one of my top 5 games, it's little wonder that the latest FAB release from designer Rick Young has been on my radar for some time. I don't have a single Arab-Israeli War game in my collection, so this is the perfect opportunity to address that gap as well.

I'm hoping that this title will mark a return to the the ability of players to stage breakthroughs in the enemy line and exploit them using armour and motorised units. This feature of the FAB system shone in Bulge.

Check out the map:

FAB: Golan '73 is currently shipping.

2. The Dark Sands (GMT)

This one still resides in the GMT P500 list and is slated for release in the first quarter of 2017. A big North Africa title is another gap in my collection and it is a conflict/theatre that has always appealed to me. It's a very different design approach from Raicer's Paths of Glory - it's not a CDG - but I think anything from Ted deserves close scrutiny. The sister game already in print - Dark Valley - covering the Eastern Front, was well received.

3. Wild Blue Yonder (GMT)

The Down in Flames series was pretty popular back in the 90s, spawning quite a few expansions. Somehow, that phenomenon passed me by (I had a long hiatus from board wargaming during the period). I'm now keen to make amends and welcome the return of this classic WWII tactical series, now given the deluxe treatment. Disappointingly, the title has been on the lists for some time, and is currently not slated for release until the second quarter of 2017. The slow pace in attracting support for it certainly surprises me. I look forward to playing the campaign games and hope that a 3-4 player variant will also be in the offing, allowing for some monster dogfights.

4. Stonewall's Sword (Revolution Games)

This title caught my attention earlier this year as it combines a tactical, regiment-level simulation of the battle of Cedar Mountain, with an interesting chit pull system. I subsequently downloaded the ruleset and Vassal module to give the game a solo spin. What resulted was one of the most enjoyable gaming experiences I've had in some time, even when playing solo. The uncertainty surrounding drawing chits - some of which assist you and some of which can hamper your opponent - makes for a lot of fun. You can also formulate strategy as to when you wish to play some of the event-based chits, for maximum effect. 

The counters are very attractive: is the map, though it can be frustrating at times trying to work out the height difference between hexes (someone handily superimposed quick reference numerical height levels onto the map, available as a download from the BGG Stonewall's Sword site). In the image above, in addition to various units and commanders (who are activated by chit pulls), you can see some of the event chits (such as Command Confusion, which can be played on your opponent at an opportune moment in play).

Not surprisingly, I hope to acquire this title in the near future. The designer is Hermann Luttmann, which is a good sign that this is a quality ACW title. I also own his little solo game, In Magnificent Style, which is excellent.  Support for the system in this game is gathering steam, with a further title - Thunder in the Ozarks (Pea Ridge) - in the works from Revolution Games, and one coming out from GMT, called Hammerin' Sickles (Longstreet's attack at Gettysburg).

5. Hitler's Reich (GMT)

Another title on the P500 list, currently yet to make the cut. I wouldn't be surprised though if this title is fast-tracked. It offers a fast-paced and fun card-and-map game for two or more players, that can conceivably be played within a couple of hours. All of this should be tonic to gamers - like me - in a mood for something lighter in style and approach. Mark McLaughlin is one of the designers too, so Napoleonic Wars fans, take note!

The GMT blog devotes some attention to this title and the cards look great. Here's a sample:

I'm following this one with much interest......

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