Two weeks ago I had a chance to present Dear Readers my selection of top 3 wargames suggestions for Christmas 2020, focusing on new releases. This time my idea is to recommend some of the all-time classics with which you will never go wrong. Instead of individual titles, I rather focus on three game groups / genres and couple of titles within them. I have played all proposed positions multiple times and can vouch for each and every choice.

Without further delays, let us have a look at some of the most impressive wargames.

A C&C game

To get more details, please read my article about Commands & Colors games.

C&C Ancients by GMT Games

That was my first C&C game, the one which was a true cornerstone in my come-back to wargaming. Looking at the number of plays my most-ever-played-game-of-all. I can’t express enough how I like it and appreciate the design. Still, in my experience with it, after initial 2-3 years of playing almost every week I needed the break. Recently I started to come back to that title more often and rediscovering jewel in Mr Borg creations. This is also the only C&C game I get to know so thoroughly, with all official scenarios played.

More about game:

The Great War by PSC

Many players when PSC announced World War I themed game thought it is impossible to create a quality product on tactical level about that seemingly static conflict. Well, they were wrong and another spark of genius of Mr Borg was provided to us here. Still, the beginning was not easy as the basic version used very hard plastic (easily broken when assembling figures) plus amount of scenarios was limited. However, with Expansion 1 (Tanks) and Expansion 2 (French Army) the game is great and proves to be tremendous product. When considering, make sure to get the new printing with French expansion!

More about game:

C&C Napoleonics by GMT Games

This is probably the most complex implementation of C&C system, with the strength of unit depending on number of blocks. This is also – apart from Memoir’44 – one which underwent most serious redesign thanks to its expansions, like Tactics Cards, EPIC & La Grand Battle scenarios, other small rules adjustments. That really improved the flow of the battles and allowed for deep, complex and interesting play. I might not be so fascinated by the Napoleonics era but I really appreciate a good design. Although I am not as proficient as with other games, I always play CCN with pleasure. Rarely any game puts so much stress on terrain and good preparation of attack – should you be too hasty, you are destined to fail!

More about game:

A Card Driven Game

To get more details, please read my article about Card Driven games games.

Paths of Glory by GMT Games

This is definitely a very special position for me. First wargame purchased which was not a typical hex and counter type. A quintessence of the CDG, where all possible actions – Operations, Events, Replacement Points, Strategic Movement comes from the cards. I had opportunity to introduce it to new players multiple times, had a blast with full, 20-turn campaign and even played the 1917 variant. And still can’t get enough of it!

More about game:

Empire of the Sun by GMT Games

This is one of the wargaming hobby behemoths but also a fantastic simulation of strategic warfare on Pacific during WWII. A really breath-taking scale, with comprehensive campaign and in my humble opinion much more digestible and accessible scenarios, be it from the base game or GMT C3i magazine. To be quite honest, I have not found better game with that theme. It is true that in order to cover whole 4 years of Pacific War, including main theaters as India, Burma, China, Japan, Australia and all the Islands a really comprehensive rulebook was needed. Still, with every session played the game become more and more accessible and joy from it grows! The good entry points will be 1943 scenario or C3i South Pacific set-up. Enjoy!

More about game:

Hannibal & Hamilcar by Phalanx

Hannibal & Hamilcar is a 20th anniversary edition of the classic game Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage. This is an asymmetric, 2 player wargame which depicts the largest conflicts of the ancient history i.e. Punic Wars. Let me focus on some more details. We have here great theme, straightforward rules, beautiful components – all those make you feel like you moved in time over two millennia and immersed in Roman Republic period. Do not forget we have two games here – First (Hamilcar) and Second (Hannibal) Punic Wars – in price of one! Still, the challenge stays – how to play with Hannibal and win? It is really tough nut to crack but with every defeat you just want to try from the start other strategy!

More about game:

A Solitaire-friendly Game

To get more details, please read my article about Solitaire-friendly games.

D-Day at Omaha Beach by Decision Games

This classic is not only the #4 in the wargames ranging on boardgamegeek but also the top solitaire game of that type. In my opinion this is fully deserved as we have here a real jewel, allowing us to simulate the fateful day of June 6th 1944 on the most bloody beach. A great replayability, couple of scenarios, extended variants allows us for hours of play.

For all those who have not played, some more information on the game mechanics based on the developer website. The player controls the US forces landing along the five mile stretch of Omaha Beach on D-Day and their desperate struggle to establish a viable beachhead. The game covers the entire first day at a time scale that varies from 15 minutes per turn (during the initial landings) to 30 minutes per turn later in the day. Units are companies and include assaulting infantry, engineers and amphibious tanks. The game system controls the hidden German defenders in their “Widerstandsnest” resistance points, revealing the defenders and their reserves as the American survivors of the first landing waves make their way up the bluffs. Rules cover amphibious landings, German fields of fire, artillery, tidal movement, and intangibles such as US leadership under fire and the initiative of the American GI. One map, two counter sheets, 55 cards.

More about game:

Pavlov’s House by Dan Verssen Games (DVG)

In Pavlov’s House, we take control of the brave defenders of a Soviet strongpoint in Stalingrad as they hold out against constant German attacks for almost two months. We also control the key leaders throughout the Soviet 62nd Army that made the defense of Pavlov’s House possible. The goal in Pavlov’s House is to last through all the German attack waves, inflicting in the process as many casualties on attackers as possible. In the game, this is depicted by playing through a deck of cards representing elements of the German 6th Army.

More about game:

COIN Falling Sky by GMT Games

Creation of wargames with asymmetric sides was for a long time a very difficult endeavor and there were very few titles on the market doing it pretty well. However, COIN (COunter INsurgency) series excels in that area and out of multiple titles in that series I am choosing one which is closest to my history interests – The Falling Sky. The game in wonderful way describes story of last year of Julius Caesar conquest of Gallia – culminating in great revolt in 52 BC. We have all powerful Romans, whom nobody can match in open field, the mighty and proud Arverni confederation, savage Belage in the North and cunning Aedui working with both sides of conflict.

More about game:


Christmas time is supposed – and always was – to be time of joy. Today’s situation is not the most optimistic one – with roaming pandemic, widespread lock-downs and disease spreading everywhere. Still, let us try to find a spark of hope and positiveness. Our common hobby and great titles associated with it for sure can help in this. Enjoy!