Upcoming War Board & Miniature Games 2020

By Bill Gray 30 Jul 2020 6

Today I proclaim the first day of a new epoch, the first day of Year I in a new tabletop wargaming calendrier révolutionnaire. In other words, the COVID19 pandemic has really played unvarnished Hell with production schedules down in cardboard and pewter land, so we need to start from scratch. Going forward we can then add or subtract from the two lists below.

Why? Well, board and miniature wargaming firms don’t have the luxury of doing design thru distribution (and beyond) digitally as is done with computer gaming. Outside PDF rules, these two wings of the hobby are ultimately geared towards producing a physical product for sale. In most cases, employees cannot do this at home and further, the process often involves the importation of materials if not finished products from overseas. Then someone must package the product and ship it. Over the last four months, uh, nope.

There were exceptions, and things are starting to recover, however, so as of today this is the truth, based primarily what I see advertised for pre-order. Looking further out is a bit dicey (pun totally intended).

War Board Games 2020

GMT Games

The company’s P500 program is the equivalent of pre-order, kinda. GMT currently has 66 games that have made the P500 cut of which 12 are now at the printers.

GMT Games P500 2020

Discounting updates of current games and non-wargames (seriously, a game on the 1919 Treaty of Versailles?), here are four that caught my eye.

  • 1918/1919 Storm in the West - This is a GMT refurb of the old Ted Racier World War I classic that appeared in Command Magazine around 1992, which I actually have (no age jokes, I got it second hand, really). Units are corps, turns one half month, 8 mile hexes, pre-order price $30.00 US.
  • Storm Over Asia - This is a prequel to the World at War game, and a companion to Gathering Storm which covers the pre-World War II European theater. Highly complex, grand strategy game starting in 1935 portraying events such as the Japanese invasion of China and Russo-Japanese clashes in Manchuria. Very resource allocation heavy but no dice! Pre-order price $72.00.
  • Next War: Vietnam - This is the newest addition in GMT’s Next War series and covers a hypothetical conflict between Vietnam and China in the near future. The game can be linked to NW: Korea and NW: Taiwan for a mammoth Pacific theatre World War III game. Units are battalion thru division, 3.5 day turns, 7.5 miles per hex, pre-order price $59.00.
  • A Time for Trumpets - A monster – as in five maps and 12 counter sheets – game on the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944. Units are battalions, four turns per day, one-mile hexes, pre-order price $ 89.00.

Compass Games

Over the next two months the firm will publish the following four products of interest to wargamers.

  • Assault Artillery - Part of the company’s World War I Red Poppies Campaigns, this is a tactical treatment of the French massed tank assault at La Malmaison in October 1917. Units are sections thru companies, 10-minute turns, 200-yard hexes with a pre-order price of $ 52.00. I just snagged this one myself, so expect a review in the future.
  • Dawn’s Early Light: the War of 1812 - This is a card driven, area-based simulation of that conflict with six month turns. Game length is said only to be 120 minutes, with a pre-order price of $ 57.00.
  • Command & Colors Tricorne: Jacobite Rising - Part of Richard Borg’s perversely popular terrain tile, block and card game system, this volume covers 13 battles of the Scottish revolt from Killiekrankie to Culloden. Scale is . . . who cares? Pre-order cost $ 75.00.
  • The Korean War 1950 – 1951 DSE - This Designer Signature Edition is Compass’ overhaul of Joe Balkoski’s classic game from 1968 (I love second hand shops, ahem). Units are battalion thru division, one month turns, 7.5 miles per hex and an up-front price tag of $ 68.00.

Decision Games

The spawn of SPI and Strategy & Tactics Magazine has a single game, plus an associated enhanced expansion kit (mounted board, etc, for $25.00) in the till. This is the D-Day Quad Deluxe Edition. Boasting 400 counters and a 34 x 22-inch maps, this a hex regimental/battalion level treatment of the invasion if the counters are to be believed. Preorder it for $52.00.

new war board games 2020

Operational Studies Group 

Kevin Zucker’s classic operational game Napoleon at Bay (1978) and grand tactical Napoleon’s Last Battles (1976) will never die so long as OSG continues to print new and updated products based on these two original designs, both of which I... OK, this is embarrassing. Anyway, for pre-order as of today we find the following.

  • Highway to the Kremlin II - This is an updated second edition of Zucker’s operational treatment of the 1812 invasion of Russia. The scale is 10 miles per hex, five days per turn with 5000 men per Strength Point representing corps and divisions. Cost is $ 84.00 pre-order.
  • Napoleon in Spain 1808 – 1809 - This is NLB scale and covers four battles of the l’Armee de Espagne, specifically Vimeiro, Espinosa, Tudela, and La Coruña. If similar to other games in the Library of Napoleonic Battles, scale is 480 meters per hex, one hour per turn and 400 – 800 men per Strength Point (brigades). Pre-order cost is $69.00.

Tactical Workshop 

I discovered this game by accident, but essentially TW designs high quality accessories for other firms’ publications, using print on demand via a company called Game Crafters. 1811 – Albuera, Volume 1 Fix Bayonets! is the firm’s first foray into original design and it looks fascinating. It’s a battalion level treatment of the famous Napoleonic battle featuring counters that duplicate the exact uniforms worn at the clash. Its also a big game, with 39 leader cards, 536 ½ and ¾ inch counters and eleven (this is not a misprint) 11 by 17-inch map panels. Cost is $89.99 boxed, and we’ll keep an eye out.

Miniature War Games 2020

Keeping track of happenings in Pewter Kingdoms is always a bit problematic. There are so many big and small firms to begin with, and there seems to be a time-honored tradition of not providing advance information of upcoming releases. Nevertheless, here is what I have for now, pretty much all the heavyweights.

Perry Brothers Miniatures

On 20 July the brothers Perry announced via Facebook a new 28 mm plastic Franco-Prussian War product line, evidently a redesign of a project they did for Foundry years ago. Mike will be the designer and there is no info as to when or price, but the post did include some 3 Up Wip images to enjoy.

Perry Brothers Minis 2020

Flames of War (Hammer)

The biggest name in the business just doesn’t quit, and for August and September will launch their D-Day Waffen SS product line. This includes the required army book, unit card deck, command card deck, decals and tokens keyed to individual divisions such as Das Reich, etc.

Flames of War 2020 Releases

Miniatures include a Waffen SS Panther Kampfgruppe ($100.00) and the following individual packs, plastic, various prices:

Warlord Games

If there is any firm able to compete with FOW, its these guys.

Warlord Games Releases 2020

Right now, the company seems to have gone all Napoleonic with Prussian cavalry – thousands of ‘em - up for release over the next few months... not to mention World War II aircraft and ships as garnishment.

  • Black Powder Napoleonic Prussian Cavalry - Later war Uhlan, Hussar, Landwehr and Dragoon regimental packs for $38.00 each, plus historical brigade sets ranging from $102.60 to $171.00. The brigades are von Schwerin, von der Marwitz, von Sohr, von Watzdorff, Count Lottum, von Lutzow, von Treskow, von Thumen and von Sydow. Also listed separately are three French horse artillery battery packs at $54.00 each, two individual gun packs at $20.00 each.
  • Victory at Sea - Several fleet and individual ship kits to be released August, prices ranging from $24.00 to $208.00. Also, air squadron packs at $20.00 each, to include Japanese Zero, German Stuka, USN Corsair and British Fairey Swordfish.
  • Blood Red Skies - German Ace Walter Borchers, Soviet Ace Mariya Dolina at $20.00 each with a German JU88 C and a Soviet PE2 squadron weighing in at $40.00 for six aircraft each.

Osprey Publishing

The ultimate resource for pewter pushers does project publications three months out, so the following are just a few to look forward to:

  • Roman Shields - No kidding. Ancients players go nuts when they see Hollywood Romans on the table, so this should help, $20.00.
  • Campaign: Mariana & Palau Islands - Bolt Action wargames rules supplement with Warlord for $30.00.
  • Armies of the Italian-Turkish War - The conquest of Libya 1911 – 1912, cost $19.00.
  • Malplaquet 1709 - Marlborough’s bloodiest battle, and many think his only defeat. If the author has finally figured out the French cavalry order of battle for this thing, its well worth $24.00.

Fantasy Flight Games

Oh no! Editor Joe has momentarily hijacked this article. That's right folks - Bill's done some fine work pulling all this together, but do you know what it's lacking? Star Wars. As a lapsed FFG fan I've never-the-less been keeping tabs on some of the miniature lines the company has going, and their Star Wars ones especially are starting to get exciting again thanks to big push on Clone Wars-era content.

I'm just going to summerise the information below - if you want the full details you can wathc their July 2020 In-Flight Report. Miniatures news starts at 3 Minutes 30 Seconds and goes on until around the 17 minute mark:

  • X-Wing Miniatures Game (2nd Edition) - is getting some extra fighters from the Clone Wars, as well as a New Saga-era expansion for the Resistance that offers two new X-wings and a new A-wing, with new paint jobs.
  • Star Wars: Legion - A lot of Legion content has been announced over the past couple of months, but in addition to that the game is getting an Anakin Skywalker and a Darth Maul Commander release, as well as a pack of 'Speciality' personnel units for both factions as well.
  • Star Wars: Armada - is finally getting Clone Wars ships. Two 'Starter Set' packs have been announced, one for the Republic and one for the Separatists, which are designed to give everything a player should need to get started with a small game. This suggests they're not going to re-release the core set, like they did for Star Wars: Legion. They've also announced some fighter packs and other utility kits. 

I'll now return you to your regular programming.

Firelock Games

The mates and swabbies continue to Captain Jack Sparrow proud, and at the recent HMGS Cyber Wars virtual convention dropped some BIG hints about the future. This fall will see the publishing of the Queen Anne’s War supplement for Blood & Plunder, moving the game into the so-called Golden Age of Piracy.

Also announced was something called the Raise the Black expansion which will move the timeline forward yet again and use plastic figures for the first time. The same Kickstarter will also flip a related two player plastic starter set for about $100.00, evidently themed to Blackbeard’s infamous exploits. More details at Must Contain Minis.

The Little Guys

Finally congrats to the venerable Lancashire Games Company for their upcoming 18 mm Great Northern War product line, and to Things From the Basement on a successful Kickstarter for their 15 mm and 28 mm Farms of Gettysburg series. These should ship in October.

What are you looking forward to from the rest of 2020? Let us know in the comments!

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