Having discussed previous year from the boardgames perspective – you can see my articles summarizing it here: The Boardgames Chronicle 2020 most often played games, My blog in 2020 – analysis, New to me – 2020 – the time has come to look forward. As always at the beginning of the year I am verifying my pre-orders and wish-list and check what new, exciting games I can expect that coming year. What will 2021 bring as far as our hobby is concerned? When you look at my most anticipated games of 2020 you will see that some of those titles slipped to 2021 (see point 1 & 2 in below list) which is not surprising having the pandemic in mind. I can just hope that what I am putting below will become reality that coming year.
1) Successors 4th edition from Phalanx
When Alexander the Great died in 323 BC, he left no clear heir to the immense empire he had conquered. It was not long after his death that the Macedonian generals began to war among themselves over who would be the regent or successor to Alexander’s empire. By 305 BC they had given up on succession and began to carve out their own kingdoms. Successors is a 2-4 player game based on those wars.
Successors was first published in 1997 by Avalon Hill. Some years later a second edition rulebook was published that gave more options for the Tyche cards. Successors III built on the foundation of the Successors II rules set plus expansion cards that appeared in the Boardgamer. The fourth edition of Successors includes more generals, more scenarios, new Tyche cards, plenty of new components, and a changed map, with Libya and Cyrene being merged.Kickstarter page
A great 2019 Kickstarter success, a very much anticipated new version of the classic from Mark Simonitch is almost ready. I backed the campaign without hesitation and I am patiently awaiting the notification about the game being dispatched to me. The title is somewhat delayed – as many games scheduled to be published in 2020 – but when you look at the Kickstarter page, you can see a lot of updates reassuring that game is almost ready. For example, in the latest update we could see the playbook which looks simply gorgeous! I really hope to get that title soon!
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2) C&C: Samurai Battles from GMT
The Commands & Colors: Samurai Battles game rules allow players to portray important engagements of Japanese history. The battles, included in the scenario booklet, focus on the historical deployment of forces and important terrain features in scale with the game system. The scale of the game is flexible and varies from battle to battle. For some scenarios, an infantry unit may represent an entire clan of soldiers, while in other scenarios a unit may represent just a few brave warriors.
The Command cards drive movement and creates a “fog of war” and presents players with many interesting challenges and opportunities, while the battle dice resolve combat quickly and efficiently. The Honor & Fortune game mechanic will task players to maintain a balance between these two important game elements.GMT page
Is it possible not to have any Commands & Colors games in my most anticipated games – a system I love created by Richard Borg? Of course not! This time we have the new edition of classic Samurai Battles – one of the most bloodiest and direct games in the system. The previous version was produced by Zvezda and after tragic passing of its founder, discontinued. Now we will have the the blocks, mounted map and 40 (!) scenarios. The information was released from GMT that it will be charged / shipped in February so we are very close to get that title finally!
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3) Soldiers in Postmen’s Uniforms from DVG
Soldiers in Postmen’s Uniforms is a skirmish-level solitaire game that takes place in the Free City of Danzig / Gdansk on the first day of the Second World War. On the first day of the Second World War, German forces moved in to seize Polish installations in Danzig. The personnel of the Polish Postal Office No. 1 repulsed repeated assaults, and were forced to surrender only after a day-long siege, when the post office was doused with gasoline and set alight. Though German propaganda cast these acts of defiance as futile and a failure, they were viewed by the Polish people as symbolic of their stand against a materially superior aggressor.
In Soldiers in Postmen’s Uniforms you take control of the valiant defenders of Polish Postal Office No. 1 in the Free City of Danzig on the first day of WW2. Under your command, the defenders must fend off relentless attacks from the Danzig Schutzpolizei and two German SS units.Kickstarter page
I am really fond of David Thompson solitaire designs – especially the Valiant Defense series. All those games – Castle Itter, Pavlov’s House, above mentioned Postmen or just announced Battle of Lanzerath Ridge put you into a command of inferior forces fighting against overwhelming odds. Something like David vs Goliath.
Usage of Cards for the AI really speeds up the game as you do not need to look up and check any complicated flowcharts. The additions – like tactic cards – allow you for variable difficulty levels of the game and the components are always of the highest quality. But the most satisfying is the success after multiple attempts and victory hard fought.
The release date is planned for April 2021 and I really hope we will see the game then!
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There are plenty of knights in shining armor in this expansion, but there are no damsels in distress or dragons to be slain. The Crusade Mid-Eastern Battles I expansion will instead focus on some of the major engagements of earlier Crusader history. In this first Crusade expansion, we showcase at least 16 Crusader scenarios and all the additional unit blocks you need to fight out these battles. New units include: Crossbow Infantry, Foot Knight Infantry, Turcopole Light Bow Cavalry, Heavy Knight Cavalry, and Heavy Military Order Knight Cavalry.
The Crusade expansion introduces many new game concepts as well: Impetuous Pursuit, Feigned Flight, Shower Shooting, and Charging Cavalry ability to pass through friendly stationary infantry units, all of which add historical depth and flavor. Still many game mechanics remain constant, like the deck of Medieval Command cards that drive movement while creating a “fog of war” and the battle dice that will resolve combat quickly and efficiently.GMT Page
Another fantastic addition to the C&C system by Richard Borg – this time the first expansion to a very successfully Medieval system, a spiritual successor to the best installment of the series – Ancients. While base game was focusing on the early Middle ages and battles between Byzantines and Sassanids, here we completely changed setting and move 500 years forward, to the times of Crusades. That means a lot of new units – as mentioned in above extract from the game description but also new tactics and hope – Inspired Actions.
I am very excited about that expansion – some fantastic battles will be covered by it – but it might require some more time than just till the end of 2021. Still, keeping fingers crossed to see it still this year!
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5) Enemy Action Kharkov from Compass Games
Enemy Action: Kharkov is the second game in John Butterfield’s acclaimed Enemy Action series of card-driven games simulating pivotal battles in World War II, playable by two players or one player controlling either side in the conflict.
The game portrays the Third Battle of Kharkov, the key Eastern Front battle in which the German Army ended a string of Soviet victories begun at Stalingrad. In the late winter of 1943, Soviet Operations code-named Star and Gallop drove the Germans from the city of Kharkov and threatened a complete breakthrough, only to be driven back by the German counteroffensive known as Von Manstein’s Back Hand Blow.Publisher page
I am big fan of John Butterfield’s creations, be it D-Day series or SpaceCorp – they have always very well thought out solitaire rules and give a real challenge to the players, at the same time being very much re-playable. A hallmark of this designer is a card-driven impulse system, with multi-purpose cards played to activate formations, implement events, resolve combats (no dice required!).
Enemy Action is probably one of the most detailed and somehow complicated of the John Butterfield’s series, but at the same time very much rewarding and exciting. The Ardennes proved to be a great position, with special rules for solo German, solo American and 2-players. Hope to have similar in the Kharkov!
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6) Conquest & Consequence from GMT
Conquest and Consequence brings the Triumph & Tragedy system to the Pacific/East Asia theater during the same 1936-1945 time period. Like T&T, it is designed for three players, maintaining the three-sided dynamic that adds so much variety and intrigue to the system. Those three sides are:
– Militarist Japan, the first Asian power to modernize, which seeks to replace the European colonial empires in East Asia with a true “all-Asian” empire, with itself as the natural leader.
– The Communist Soviet faction, which is comprised of the Siberian USSR and the Red Chinese revolutionaries.
– The Capitalist USA faction, which consists of the United States, the British Empire, and the struggling regime of Nationalist China.GMT page
Triumph & Tragedy by Craig Besinque is one of the best 3-payers games ever created. This time we move to the Pacific and again will be leading Communists, Fascists or Allies. You can count on tons of beautiful blocks, fog of war, event and action cards to spice-up the game. But what is most important, that sandbox-type of game allows you to pursuit earlier not explored paths for Japan, which keeps has initiative at the beginning. Maybe Pearl Harbor was not a inevitable direction, why not check a stronger push against China and/or USSR? Can’t wait to see the game published!
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7) Nicaea from Hollandspiele
Nicea is a sort of stock-holding game, only instead of investing in companies you’re arguing for one side or the other of a theological position. For example, some players might stake the claim that Christ is homoousion (of the same substance as the Father) and others that Christ is homoiousian (of a similar, but not identical, substance). Players “buy” “shares” of that position, and when the issue is settled, the side with the majority of shares in player hands is deemed the orthodox position, and the other side, heterodox. That, in essence, is the thrust of the argument: what is “true” and what is heresy is determined by peer pressure and power politics – by human beings – rather than the divine.Tom Russell’s blog
That title is a complete novelty and recent discovery to me (thanks Clio!). I appreciate Tom Russell’s meticulous work when creating the games and looking for the appropriate subjects. Here we have a potential small jewel, very thematic and interesting one.
The main subject of the game is Council of Nicaea in 325 where most of the things how Christianity looks like now and what we believe in was decided. It is only few years after Constantine the Great officially established that religion as a state one and a lot of things needs to be agreed and settled. What I really liek is the “stock market” mechanism, where you invest into particular ideas and if they get enough votes, you will be getting points.
We do not know much for now except that Hollandspiele plans to release the game late 2021. I am really curious about it!
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I listed seven games and that only scratches the surface of what will await us in 2021. I can only hope that we will get all those games on time and that the pandemic conditions will allow us in the end to be able to play live with our colleagues and friends!