The Christmas buying season is upon us, a most stressful and anxious time for all, but more so for the war gamer. For we who enjoy whiling away our free time pushing chits about on a map, referencing charts and tables lost in thought, are really not understood. Those who do not enjoy our hobby cannot comprehend the beauty and pleasure derived from sitting at a table figuring out strategy and tactics. Every year, and I mean every year, when I am asked what I would like for Christmas I receive odd, puzzled looks from friends and family as I try to explain that a nice hex and counter game is always welcome. My dear sister narrows her eyes and puts a polite half smirk on her face as she listens to me describe a title on the invasion of Gaul by Caesar, or some obscure battle of a war she has never heard of. I can see the wheels turning behind those eyes, a fleeting moment of interest then, nothing.
It really is difficult for non war gamers to buy gifts for us, especially now that the hobby has grown and there are so many titles and options to sift through. This is why each year I compile a small list of games and or accessories that my well wishing people can chose from if they so desire to bless me with a gift on Christmas morn. I even direct them to where such can be purchased, for they, being ignorant of this rather confusing hobby would have no idea where to look. Generally if it can’t be found on Amazon they are going to be floundering about and frustrated in their search.
Thus I have created my paltry list for this holiday season and have decided to share it here with you all. Note; some of the items are older titles, some new, but all have struck my fancy in one way or another over the past year. They are not in any type of order of preference either.
Conflict of Heroes Eastern Front Solo Expansion: This much anticipated add on to Conflict of Heroes Awakening the Bear by Academy Games allows for better solo play of this really fun and interesting system. As I play 90% of my hex and counter games in solitaire mode this expansion should help me get Awakening the Bear to the table much more often. As anyone who has played any of the CoH titles already knows, some of the fire fights cannot be soloed easily due to loads of hidden information such as cards, actual hidden units and artillery etc.
Celles: A simulation of a portion of the Ardennes offensive commonly referred to as the Battle of the Bulge. As I have no games covering this battle in the closet of awesomeness, I would love to get this one under the tree. I’ve been very impressed with Revolution Games products in the past and I’m sure this one won’t disappoint. Using an alternating random activation mechanic and a strength reduction for units that move (fatigue) Celles looks to be a real nail biter. It has received really good reviews on BGG as well.
Fading Glory: Produced by GMT in 2012 Fading glory is a bundle of four of Victory Point Games Napoleonic 20 series. Utilizing low counter numbers i.e. 20, a player can recreate some of the most interesting battles of the Napoleonic era. This historical period too has largely been ignored by me over the years and my collection has but one title, Avalon Hill’s Waterloo to represent it. Yes I fully understand and appreciate your gasps of horror on this account. Thus my wishing to remedy the situation. Again this series of games is solo friendly which is a huge bonus.
1914 Glory’s End; When Eagles Fight: Another GMT offering that is two games in one. Glory’s End covers the first three months of the war on the Western Front during world war one prior to full scale trench warfare being implemented. Though it does make its appearance about halfway through one of the scenarios. Glory’s End sister title When Eagles Fight covers world war one on the eastern front. Both of these games utilize mechanics and rules that represent the various difficulties that each theater of operations presented commanders of the time. Not having played a WWI title since I soloed Gun’s of August in full campaign mode in 1988, (it took four months) my interest was piqued when Amazon blasted me with this recommendation. I like the look and feel of both titles and from what I can gather they play relatively quickly, unless you are prone to “Decision Lock”.
2mm Radius Deluxe Corner Punch Cutter Rounder: Of course all hex and counter aficionados know what a counter clipper is and what they are used for. But try explaining that to someone who already is under the impression you are cracked? Seriously the looks I get when talking about how it is done and why. I should start filming those conversations. Anyway this counter clipper from Oregon Laminations Company comes highly recommended by a certain video reviewer who I respect quite a bit. If it’s good enough for him then it damned sure is for the likes of me..