Monday, June 21, 2010

More action on the lighter wargame front

It appears that 2010 is going to be a banner year for lighter wargames. Besides the newly released Napoleon's War: The 100 Days, it looks like there will be two other Napoleonic era wargames with figures and user-friendly procedures published by Fantasy Flight Games and GMT (the long-awaited Commands & Colors: Ancients.

There's also a new C&C: Ancients expansion on the way, as well as a new updated edition of the orginal Borg game, Battle Cry.

The Axis & Allies series will continue with the other half (Europe) of the huge 1940 edition of A&A. The naval miniatures line recently had an expansion set and the next set for the land miniatures is due by the end of the year.

We're also still getting expansions for Memoir '44 and Battlelore.

Fantasy Flight is also promising a new expansion for Tide of Iron, which is, in truth, a little more involved than some of these other titles.

Columbia Games continues to put out its block games, most of which seem to have settled into the same sweet spot represented by Hammer of the Scots. Both Richard III and Julius Caesar are essentially variations on the system pioneered by HOTS and seen since in Crusader Rex and Athens & Sparta.

This is an interesting trend. The popularity of these games is hard to pin down. On the one hand I do think that they're attracting some new blood into the hobby, especially among the euro-gaming crowd. But I'm also seeing a lot of long-time, hard-core wargamers graviating to these games. While a bit dodgy as simulations, many of these games provide a good helping of the strategy and drama of a good wargame while generally being much more kind to our limited game time and opportunities. Most of them are pretty quick to play and, perhaps more importantly, pretty quick to learn.

While the more traditional, detailed hex-and-counter and card-driven designs also seem to be going strong these days, I wonder if they are hitting the table with as much frequency as the lighter fare.

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