2017 is still going strong for another two weeks, but I’m ready to talk 2018 wargaming. Let’s do this!
Rather than just make an exhaustive list of all the cool titles we hope to see in 2018, I’m going to focus on one title per publisher that will make 2018 “Merry & Bright” in wargame-land. As a result, I want to hear which game you would have selected instead from each publisher if my choices to fit your fancy so to speak. During 2017, if you’re to believe BoardGameGeek, there were a total of around 140 wargames (excluding expansions, fantasy and sci-fi themed games).
This is a relatively small hobby compared to the relatively small hobby of boardgaming which is a small hobby compared to other leisure-time hobbies folks engage in throughout the year. As a result, it is tricky to get your game noticed, played, and well reviewed. Just for fun, I looked at 1997 and there were fewer than 100 wargames released that year and in 1987 there were roughly 67 wargame titles by the same criteria. What stands out in 1987 is the handful of publishers in the marketplace. Some absolutely tremendous games came out in 1987, but they largely came from a small core of publishers.
Looking forward to 2018 means we can expect a few things. The number of publishers to likely increase, or at least remain as diverse as they are today. We can expect that we’ll see more than 100 titles released again. We are unlikely to be able to purchase all those titles, so narrowing the listing down is a massive undertaking. Don’t get me wrong when I say I’d rather make an exhaustive list, but that’s no fun! It’s more fun when we can debate and discuss.
Without further ado… The list of games I’m most anticipating for 2018.
While I know it’s likely a long-shot, Bloody Crossroads is one I would love to see in 2018. This Gettysburg game started its life on the Academy Games publication list maybe 5 years ago and it is still languishing in development. The last update is that it is no longer a “Day 1” game, but rather will be split into two games with one covering the northern and one the southern parts of the battle. I am a sucker for Gettysburg games and the 3D modeling that Academy Games has done for this title results in some spectacular maps. So, for nothing else, this one could be the game folks point to and say, “this has the most accurate accounting of the terrain to date because it was based on GIS modeling.”
Australian Design Group
Could this be the year where we FINALLY get to see the new Deluxe editions come to press. As with previous ADG releases of this game, they are intended to confound and obfuscate what you’re getting. There are clear listings on each game’s page, but for a new player, it’s confusing to know what comes in each expansion and what comes in the base game to get a feel for what you would want to add. My typical compulsive behavior screams “ADD EVERYTHING.” That said, I’m trying not to go overboard.
I picked up a goodly chunk of the Second World War at Sea series, so the updated version of South Pacific has me very interested. In this version, we’ll have 60 scenarios and whatever it is when Avalanche says, “a story arc format.” Is that a campaign? Something new? Who knows? That said, the Soloman’s Campaign is one that greatly interests Pacific Theater buffs, so I’m keen to see this one get to print in 2018.
Bellica Third Generation
I’m not super familiar with this publisher, but their Eagles Rising game is now on pre-order. From what I understand, their treatment of the Coral Sea was quite good. This is an “Age of Musket” series game covering Napoleon’s Campaigns in Northern Italy.
Bounding Fire Productions
If you’re an ASL fan and you aren’t a BFP fan…you don’t know what you’re missing out on. Every release from BFP is full of ASL goodness. Their oversized releases are one of the highlights of every year for me. This time around, we’re looking at Objective: Schmidt which covers battles in and around the Hurtgen Forest. BFP products come with high-quality counters, maps, well-balanced scenarios, historical magazines, and enough ASL to fill the better part of a year.
Clash of Arms
Triumph of Chaos version 2. Herr Doctor’s updated version has been in the works for a number of years now and I’m excited to see this one. I missed out on it because of the complexity and topic back when it was first available. After hearing people rave about it, including my local FLGS owner, I know I need to get my hands on this one because it’s something special. In the same way that Nick Karp’s Vietnam is considered THE treatment of the Vietnam war by many, this game has a similar reputation for the Russian Civil War.
I’ll probably shy away from this one until I get some reviews, but Columbia Games has Combat Infantry coming out. It looks VERY good, but I just got into Old School Tactical and Tactical Combat Series and CSS and GTS. How many more tactical and grand tactical game systems can my brain handle? Probably not many! It’s only holding onto 2% of what I know as it stands! That said, for fans of the Columbia block-style games this is a welcome addition to their lineup in 2018.
Command Post Games
Gettysburg is coming out, hopefully in 2018 though there was no date provided online, and I think I already mentioned I’m a Gettysburg junkie. Command Post Games is worth checking out for their Kriegspiel style wargame maps and content. Very interesting fit in our community and they’re doing great things with the Pub Battle system.
Modern warfare is another topic I quite enjoy so, after picking up both South China Sea and Brezhnev’s War from Compass in 2017, I think I’ll go with Blue Water Navy in 2018. What intrigues me most about this one is the low Earth orbit theater. The game takes place in the 1980s so do we get to see what “Star Wars” investment potentially would have brought to us?
This is a no-brainer. The Russian Campaign coming back into print is just awesome. I kept waiting and waiting to find a reasonably priced and unpunched copy. I had a few sniped from me at the last moments on eBay, but this release will be sweet justice. I think we’ll see a lot written about this game by both recent and longtime wargamers.
Dan Verssen Games
I have Warfighter, but not the World War II variant. The only thing that sort of has my interest piqued is Corsair Leader, but I got burned so badly by U-Boat Leader and Tiger Leader that I will never buy one of these games without some seriously positive reviews post-release. How will he capture WW2? What elements, other than payload and graphics will make it WW2 themed? In what campaigns will the missions be set and how well will those missions/campaigns capture their historic feel? Slapping a new coat of paint on existing designs is a forte for DVG. Sometimes they are brilliant and at others they are miserable. I hope for the former because of the subject matter.
This isn’t a single game. Instead, it’s the fulfillment of a promise to myself years ago that someday when I had the money I would become a subscriber. 2018 will mark my first year as a subscriber. I subscribed to both Strategy & Tactics and Modern War in November, so I think my first games will come in Jan/Feb. Strategy & Tactics Pacific Subs game looks like it’ll be good fun judging from the upcoming titles that’ll be in my subscription.
I’m not at all familiar with this company, but their game La Guerra di Gradisca. The topic is also cool in that this conflict pre-dated the Thirty Years War and included Venice coming out on top while eliminating a pirate threat. These are the niche titles that smaller publishers bring to the table that are a breath of fresh air for the hobby. Can’t wait to check it out.
Flying Pig Games
Yeah, you know what this one will be already. Platoon Commander Kursk which is a deluxe treatment with tons of Kickstarter stretch goals to sweeten the deal.
Fields of Fire Volume 2 is coming in 2018. I’ve watched it slip each year into the next year, but I feel pretty confident about 2018. I’ve had it on pre-order since the Bronze Age, so to say this one can’t get here soon enough would be an “epoch” understatement. The Battle of Hue campaign and the addition of urban rules are the two highlights on this one that make it so interesting. I sincerely hope we continue to see Fields of Fire releases in 2018 and well beyond. The system is ingenious.
I know this came out in 2017 technically, but it JUST got released. Ligny 1815: Last Eagles looks incredible. I didn’t think too much about it until I was seeing the gorgeous components over on BGG on the homepage. After buying a bunch of Zucker’s Napoleonic titles this year, I will branch out in 2018 and this is at the top of my Napoleonic list.
High Flying Dice Games
Thunder Upon the Water is under development and the reason I’m excited for this one is that it covers a naval battle right here in my home state of North Carolina. The battle of Abermarle Sound. Though the battle was inconclusive, the tech involved was pretty awesome. There was a Confederate ironclad with two other warships against eight Union gunboats. The outcome of the battle may not have been decisive, but the long-term effect was that a number of coastal North Carolina cities fell back into Union hands in the subsequent months.
Though they haven’t revealed all the goodness headed our way in 2018, it’s easy enough for me to say that Hollandspiele was my favorite “new-to-me” publisher in 2017. I bought Charlemagne, Supply Lines of the American Revolution, Teutons!, Table Battles, and The Scheldt Campaign from them in 2017. 2018 is likely to see me expanding upon those purchases, but since I’ve limited myself to just one pick…it’s going to be another topic covering North Carolina: Supply Lines of the American Revolution – The Southern Strategy.
This is another no-brainer right here with Kim Kanger’s Nemesis covering Burma headed to tables in 2018. I wanted so much for this to be A Glorious Chance covering naval combat in the War of 1812 on Lake Ontario, but there’s no denying a new Kanger game. Dien Bien Phu is headed back to print I believe and my sincere hope is that both see table time at my house in 2018.
Lock n’ Load Publishing
I have no clue whether this is officially going to see publication in 2018, but given the length of time in development, I am hopeful. I was a fan of the dice chucking, ridiculously fast playing, low complexity World at War series. This series is getting a facelift and upgrade while simultaneously being rebranded as World at War ’85. The new series features re-releases of some of the original titles but also covers new ground by heading to Asia with a Chinese module it seems. All very promising and my hope is that Storming the Gap hits shelves in 2018. I suspect this is the new entry point like Eisenbach Gap was for the original series.
Lost Battalion Games
They’ve been around since 2010, but I don’t really know them that well. That was…until I heard about Rally Round the Flag which is their upcoming Gettysburg Game. Does this make 3 Gettysburg titles on this list so far for 2018? Yes. I don’t care, because this one features cool little cardboard standees that look awesome and the map is an 1872 surveyor’s map of Gettysburg.
La Bataille game are incredible. I had a chance a few years ago to play in a multiplayer day-long La Bataille de Moscowa when that was the fresh release from Clash of Arms. La Bataille Pour La Prousse is the next game in the series released by Marshal Enterprises. Their releases of these games are pricier because of the incredibly limited print runs, but they both keep their value and cover topics that the Clash of Arms titles do not.
Miku Games published the acclaimed Finnish Trilogy a few years back and for those lucky enough to have purchased they were rewarded with a richly detailed and well-researched game. Now, Miku Games is turning their attention to the eastern front with The Soviet Theater 1941. This game will cover the opening moves of Operation Barbarossa and if it’s anything like The Finnish Trilogy these games will be collector’s items and well loved. While the pre-orders are sitting at just 32 games right now, it only needs 400 pre-orders to make the cut and get produced. There’s a chance we’ll see this one in 2018!
I’m having a hard time picking here. Both Advanced Squad Leader and Great Campaigns of the American Civil War have titles in the queue that will likely see publication in 2018, I find it hard to pick between them. So, I flipped a coin and I’m going to go with Red October for ASL. This one is exciting because the maps have been repainted and digitized for Red Barricades AND it adds a whole new extension to the historical module for Red Factories.
New England Simulations
I had NO IDEA how awesome The Killing Ground was going to be or I would have snatched up a copy. Instead, I will patiently away their 2018 release of The Jaws of Victory. As a Detroit Lions fan, I can only imagine this means stealing defeat from the jaws of victory. I am QUITE familiar with that. Though, to my excitement, the website says it covers the Battle of Korsun-Cherkassy Pocket. New England Simulations is on my watchlist as of 2018!
I don’t think it’ll make the shelves this year, but I certainly hope it does…Mark Herman’s Pacific War. This is not just a straight reprint from Nuts! of the Victory Games classic title. Instead, it’s a reworking of the artwork and rules to some degree. I don’t know much more than that about it, but would love to see this one on my shelf in 2018.
Operational Studies Group
After 2017 was filled with Zucker based purchases across three different publishers, I would be remiss not to mention that 1813: Napoleon’s Resurgence The War of Liberation Part 1: The Spring Campaign is coming in 2018. With such a short and catchy title, I think the marketing will be concise and speak for itself. 1813:NRTWoLP1TSC as I like to call it. It should be ready for your home in February of 2018 and covers: Lützen, Bautzen, Luckau.
Is it time for a FOURTH Gettysburg game on this list? Why yes it is. This time, we’re talking about Longstreet Attacks: A Game of the Second Day of the Battle of Gettysburg. Another concise title. Rick Barber on the maps. Rev games on the counters and production with the ruleset from Stonewall’s Sword and Thunder in the Ozarks? YES PLEASE.
Without question, the game I’m most excited to see hit my table (though it might not hit in 2018 because it’s a Kickstarter) is Stalingrad: Inferno on the Volga. This game looks spectacular. The attention to detail, map options, and fantastic reputation of Veno Nuovo means you should give this one a quick look before it’s off Kickstarter. At the time of this writing, there are 11 days left.
Didn’t See Your Favorite Publisher or Game?
I’m not surprised to be fair. After all, not all games for the upcoming year are available on the publisher’s homepage or in their newsletters so I know I must have missed a few publishers with a published list to evaluate. That said, I want to hear about the game(s) you’re excited to see in 2018! Share them here or with me on Twitter @wargamehq!