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Old 06-13-2020, 06:56 AM
Adm.Lee Adm.Lee is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Columbus, OH
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Default Hex & counter wargames- recent

Compass Games is reprinting two good games from the 1980s:

NATO, originally from Victory Games- covers Austria (some) to Denmark (some), East & West Germany and a bit west of the Rhine. Division and brigade/regiment counters, abstract airpower. The original maps were pretty clean-- roads and rails are abstracted out, leaving cities and terrain features. Three scenarios originally, based on levels of NATO surprise and/or preparedness. IMO, this played like a standard wargame.

Third World War series from GDW- originally a four-game series, now in one box. Covers all of Scandinavia (options for Sweden & Finland), western Europe (new box said to include most Poland), all of Italy and the Balkan peninsula, western Turkey, all in contiguous maps. Also, eastern Turkey (not linked to above), Iraq, Iran, and Kuwait, and pieces of Saudi, Syria, and Afghanistan in a separate map set. Also divisions & brigades/regiments, aircraft are lumped into counters of 100 or so. Maps are also "clean", as NATO. This series features a unique sequence of play, levels of unit proficiency that double as hit points-- highly skilled units are hard to kill. Soviet/Pact doctrinal rigidity is enforced by the stacking rules and SoP, and I really liked that. A few alternate scenarios, based on entry of neutrals into play, or some Balkan states trying to get out of NATO or the WP, or where the Soviet Reserve Front deploys. IMO, this was a lot more fun & realistic-feeling. This game cemented my opinion that Frank Chadwick is my favorite game designer; GDW were already my favorite publisher.

Compass is also running a Company Scale Series, which is mostly WW2-- games are out for Guam, Saipan, Tinian, Novgorod, and Montelimar, but also a Fulda Gap game. As the title says, counters are companies, a player pulls chits from a cup to see which division/regiment/unit may activate some companies, so the action can be unpredictable. I've only played one WW2 game once, but it's pretty good. Given that it covers the two tech levels of the 1940s and 1980s, I wonder if it could be hacked for a "run-down" 2001 game, like Ruins of Warsaw or Krakow vs. Silesia?

Compass also has a Ty Bomba game, Brezhnev's War, advertised as a 1970s game, but really it's closer to 1978-1981. The map is huge, relative to the brigade (NATO) and division (Pact) counters, so the action is freewheeling and fast-moving. IMO, Pact doctrinal rigidity is nowhere to be seen, the Pact divisions felt like bands of Cossacks, deploying willy-nilly all over the map.

Thin Red Line Games, a publisher from Italy, has produced 1985: Under an Iron Sky. This is a reboot of an old SPI game, again division/brigade/regiments, but air, artillery, helicopter, air defense, EW assets are on the map. Units can spend a lot of movement points to do a lot of things. Many elements that are abstracted out of the above games are in here. I'm still learning it, it's very crunchy. A second game for Scandinavia is out, but I've not picked up any details on that.
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My Twilight claim to fame: I ran "Allegheny Uprising" at Allegheny College, spring of 1988.
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