Judd Vance on the Every Wargame Ever List

Judd Vance is a master of GeekLists on BoardGameGeek and his lists have inspired many game purchases over the years. His analysis of games is always insightful and I am anxiously awaiting Judd’s 2022 Top 100 games. He’s been making lists for years and if you’re interested you can check out his past lists, including Judd’s 2021’s Top 100 Games, here. Although there isn’t as much crossover as I thought there might be, we thought we would still pit Judd, master of lists, up against the list. Here are Judd’s thoughts on and how he ranks the EWE entries that he has played:

1. Empire of the Sun (Our rank at time of posting: 10) – 3rd best game in my collection. Washington’s War is my favorite Mark Herman game, but I think this is his greatest design.

2. Men of Iron Tri-Pack (30)– I love Richard Berg’s tactical system. He used it, or variants of it, in a lot of games, and I enjoy them all, but this is my favorite. The tri-pack is an exceptional value. You get a LOT of game for your money, and it has one of the finest rulebooks ever.

3. A Few Acres of Snow (50) – I am sick about the talk of the Hammer. I never tried it. Nobody ever tried it on me. I don’t play tournament level players, so in my groups, it is a whole lot of fun when you have 60 minutes to play a game. Plus, without this, we don’t have Hands in the Sea (my personal #2 ever).

4. SPQR Deluxe (31) – Like Men of Iron Tri-Pack, you get a lot of game for your money. So far, I have only played with the Simple Great Battles of History rules. If I jump into the full rules, this may be even higher.

5. Memoir ’44 (48) – Because some days, I want to push around my plastic soldiers and be awesome. My ranking here incorporates the base game and the major expansions (Eastern Front, Pacific & Mediterranean Theaters, New Flight Plan, Overlord, Breakthrough, Campaign books).

6. Sword of Rome (25)– I don’t really play games that require 3+ players because it is too hard to get that going, but on the rare occasions that I have, this game stood out head and shoulders above the rest. I love the asymmetry of the game, the custom decks, the alliances, the non-player forces you can activate, variable victory conditions. Just a whole lot of chaos and fun.

7. Labyrinth the War on Terror (40): I have only played the base game and that is enough for me. The two card mechanic is a breath of fresh air to the genre. I consider Volko Ruhnke the king of rule books and this is a fine example. Also, one of the best player aids ever.

8. Washington’s Crossing (35) – I personally geek out to this topic (read Fischer’s book of the same name!). The game has a lot of detail and chrome — maybe too much for the player who has not heavily into the topic, but I love every touch. Borrowing the idea of expending less movement points before attacking results in a stronger attack is beautiful. The one thing this game desperately needs is a phone app for tracking troop levels and calculating battle odds. If it had that, this game would probably be #2.

9. Ottoman Sunset (52)– This is a good, solid States of Siege game. It is not nearly as good as Dawn of the Zeds, Malta Besieged, or We Must Tell the Emperor, but I think this is the best representation of the series: it captures all of the main ideas while staying somewhere in the middle of detail/complexity (Israeli Independence and The First Jihad are the games at the ends of this complexity spectrum).

10. Operation Pegasus (32) – Next to Star Fleet Battles and Federation & Empire, this is the best game Task Force Games ever turned out. It sounds weird, but the helicopter logistics is probably the most fun part of the game. It has a decent amount of paper/pencil book keeping that takes off a little luster. This could be fixed if it were a block game or if you use my Vassal Module, that puts the troop level number directly on the counter.

11. The U.S. Civil War (1)– I dabbled with it early on with a short scenario and then planned on playing the whole war. I put it away when I learned the naval rules were a mess. I put in on the backburner and bought the 2nd and 3rd edition updates. I have heard it fixed the numerous questions on the message boards, but have not heard if it is an acceptable fix for game balance. Once I get some confirmation, I’ll get it back in the queue. From that one short game, I was very impressed and the map is one of the best I have seen.

12. Holdfast Korea (47) – The game is a real blast the first few times you play it. They pack a lot of game into a rulebook that takes 10 minutes to teach. As the North, I came a single die roll away from scoring the auto victory. As the U.N., I came within 2 hexes and a failed Chinese Intervention die roll away from scoring the auto victory. After that and in every other game, it becomes a slow game of attrition near the 38th parallel, which is what happened in reality, so no fault of the game. After about 10 plays, I got what I wanted out of the game. I got my money’s worth, but don’t have any desire to play an 11th time. I made the Vassal module for this one, also.

By the way, if you missed it, HAMTAG recently held a reunion live stream.

Judd’s ranking was based on the Every Wargame Ever list as it stood on October 20, 2022. If you are a war game designer and want to submit your own take on the Every Wargame Ever list, please get in touch.

History on the Table Discord Does the Every Wargame Ever List Results

For the past six months members of the History on the Table Discord server have been ranking every wargame on the every wargame ever list (as the list stood at the end of 2021). Using a forced ranking tool from PubMeeple members of the Discord ranked the entire list by considering 2 games at a time. After 6 months of voting, here are the final results:

1GCACW (Series)
2OCS (Series)
3Empire of the Sun (Ep. 17)
4Next War (Series)
5Dien Bien Phu: The Final Gamble (Ep. 25)
6SPQR Deluxe (Ep. 9)
7Holland `44 (Ep. 31)
8The U.S. Civil War (Ranked Episode 4)
9Red Storm (Ep. 12)
10Here I Stand (Ep. 22)
11Stalingrad ’42: Southern Russia, June-December, 1942 (Ep. 11)
12Silver Bayonet (Ep. 13)
13Line of Battle (Series)
14Normandy `44 (Ep. 5)
15Thunder in the Ozarks: The Battle of Pea Ridge 1862 (Ep. 24)
16Sekigahara (Ep. 27)
17Last Hundred Yards (Ep. 20)
18Empire in Arms (Ep. 26, reranked Ep. 33)
19Sword of Rome (Ep. 32)
20Washington’s Crossing (Ep. 30)
21Time of Crisis: The Roman Empire in Turmoil (Ep. 11)
22Axis Empires (Series)
23Imperial Struggle (Ep. 19)
24Labyrinth: War on Terror (Ep. 28)
25Onward, Christian Soldiers. (Ep. 12)
26Bloody April, 1917: Air War Over Arras, France (Ep. 11)
27Battle Hymn Vol 1: Gettysburg and Pea Ridge (Ep. 5)
28Twilight Struggle (Ep. 19)
29Few Acres of Snow (Ep. 23)
30Operation Pegasus (Ep. 10)
31Angola (Ep. 8)
32Pavlov’s House (Ep. 23)
33Holdfast: Korea (Ep. 5)
341754 Conquest – French and Indian War (Ep. 11)
35Brave Little Belgium (Ep. 21)
36Ardennes 2024 (Ep. 26)
37Memoir `44 (Ep. 11)
38Ottoman Sunset: Great War in the Near East 1914-1918 (Ep. 11)
39Titan (Ep. 4)
40Battle for Galicia, 1914 (Ep 33)
41Zeppelin Raider (Ep. 5)

This was a blast to work through over the past 6 months but next year we are doing a bracket for our sanity!

Mitchell Land on the Every Wargame Ever List

Designer Mitchell Land delivered an early Christmas present to the History on the Table Discord server by taking on the Every Wargame Ever list. Check out Mitchell’s own EWE ranking below and a couple comments on his top games.

You will find the HotT ranking in parentheses after each listing.

  1. Dien Bien Phu: The Final Gamble (12)
    Mitchell on Dien Bien Phu, “It’s a game that captures the feel of the situation from both sides’ perspectives, goals, and capabilities. Each side plays very differently, and that makes for interesting game play. It almost always turns out to be a tight contest.”
  2. Red Storm (6)
    “Red Storm is a very close 2nd. Primarily because the planning aspects off such rich detail after which watching how well your plans unfold is fascinating and fun.”
  3. Next War: India-Pakistan (7)
    “I should probably have left NWIP and Silver Bayonet out of the mix, but, oddly, I actually enjoy playing them!”
  4. Silver Bayonet (9)
  5. SPQR Deluxe (26)
  6. Atlanta Is Ours (4)
  7. Holland `44 (14)
  8. Stalingrad `42 (8)
  9. Empire in Arms (21)
  10. Sword of Rome (22)
  11. The U.S. Civil War (1)
  12. Beyond the Rhine (5)
  13. Here I Stand (11)
  14. Axis Empires: Dai Senso (19)
  15. Last Hundred Yards (24)
  16. Roads to Gettysburg II (3)
  17. Normandy `44 (25)
  18. Labyrinth: War on Terror (31)
  19. Thunder in the Ozarks: The Battle of Pea Ridge 1862 (13)
  20. Blitzkrieg Legend (17)
  21. Battle Hymn Vol 1: Gettysburg and Pea Ridge (15)
  22. Axis Empires: Totaler Krieg (18)
  23. Onward, Christian Soldiers (16)
  24. None But Heroes (2)
  25. Operation Pegasus (27)
  26. Washington’s Crossing (28)
  27. Sekigahara (20)
  28. Ardennes 2024 (33)
  29. Memoir 44 (38)
  30. Empire of the Sun (10)
  31. Holdfast: Korea (37)
  32. 1754 Conquest – French and Indian War (29)
  33. Titan (42)
  34. Angola (35)
  35. Imperial Struggle (23)
  36. Twilight Struggle (34)
  37. Few Acres of Snow (40)
  38. Pavlov’s House (30)
  39. Ottoman Sunset: Great War in the Near East 1914-1918 (41)
  40. Time of Crisis: The Roman Empire in Turmoil (39)
  41. Bloody April, 1917: Air War Over Arras, France (36)
  42. Brave Little Belgium (32)
  43. Zeppelin Raider (43)

Mitch used the Pub Meeple Ranking engine found here and his ranking was based on the Every Wargame Ever list as it stood on December 20, 2021.

If you are a war game designer and want to submit your own take on the Every Wargame Ever list, please get in touch.