If you are scrambling to find a last minute holiday gift for that special counter clipper in your life, look no further! Atlantic Chase may be the hottest game of 2021 (rightfully so we might add) but it’s impossible to find at retail price. The following are our recommendations for 2021 war games that won’t have you paying above retail price from sketchy sources.
Each of the following games are available in stock either on the publisher’s website or at a reputable online vendor. Each has also been played and comes recommended from the History on the Table crew. All games were published (or made available) in 2021. Generally speaking, reprints were left off of this list (namely, Normandy `44 and Stonewall Jackson’s Way II).
Although Hood Strikes North (HSN) may not be as packed full of value as past Great Campaigns of the American Civil War (GCACW) entries, the latest chapter in the long standing series will not disappoint the historical gamer looking for Civil War action. Great for long standing fans of the GCACW series or those with limited table space (a rare one mapper for the series). Also great for those new to the series.
Hood Strikes North covers the 1864 campaign of John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee in central Tennessee, near Nashville.
Panzers Last Stand (PZL) is another series game from Multi-Man Publishing. The game comes with 10 scenarios, including 2 single map scenarios that are 5 turns or less. Spanning up to 4 maps, PZL is a great choice for the war gamer looking for something heavy under the tree this year.
Panzers Last Stand covers the World War II battles near Budapest in early 1945.
Commands & Colors is a long standing system designed by Richard Borg that can vary in terms of difficulty and in quality. Samuari Battles from GMT Games is a solid entry and is perfect for anyone looking to get into historical gaming or even the seasoned vet who just wants to experience fighting in Medieval Japan. Samurai Battles introduces unique mechanics not found in other Commands & Colors games and is highly recommended.
Bayonets & Tomahawks was surprise hit from 2021 and a personal favorite of Matt’s from the year (spoiler for our end of the year recap). The game covers the French & Indian War and offers unique combat mechanics in the way that combat is resolved between different types of units which are represented on the map in different shapes. Rules light, deep strategy and very fun.
At the time of this post, Bayonets & Tomahawks was still available for purchase from Noble Knight Games although it appears to be out of stock on many retailer websites.
A bit of a reach because this is technically a reprint and Kickstarter delays pushed this game into 2021 but in our opinions, Buffalo Wings is worthy of an entry on the list. Make no mistake, this is not a light game. But for those looking for an entry into J.D. Webster’s Air Power series or who are looking for a complex, yet rewarding, tactical air combat game, look no further. At first glance, the book keeping aspect may appear as a turn off (spreadsheets). But the more Matt chewed on this game, the more he was impressed by it and appreciated those spreadsheets. Plus it covers Finland and scores bonus points accordingly.
Buffalo Wings covers the air war over Finland in WWII.
Accessories For the war gamer who has it all
Buying gifts for someone who is super passionate about a particular hobby can be difficult. What do they enjoy? What do they already own? When in doubt, consider something that enhances their enjoyment of that hobby. Speaking as a war gamer, I’d be truly appreciative of any of these gifts to help enhance my gameplay:
Custom Dice (D6s and D10s especially)
A dice tower or dice rolling mat
OregonLam Deluxe 2.5mm Corner Cutter
A Sheet of plexiglass (at least 22″x34″)
Finally, we wanted to provide a list of games that look outstanding and that we are sure would make fantastic gifts but haven’t made it on the ever crowded history table, yet.
Revolution Games – Thunder At Dawn/The Day Was Ours. The gang at History on the Table are all big fans of the Blind Swords System series of wargames. The latest entries look just as great as the past entries and are perfect for Civil War gamers. If time allowed, we wouldn’t have been surprised if either of these made the ender fo the year list.
Hollandspiele Games – Empire at Sunrise Technically this made it to the table briefly at HistoriKC Fest 2021 and we really enjoyed what we saw. Empire at Sunrise covers the Pacific Theater of WWI (that’s not a typo) and plays with adjustable map scales in a very interesting way.
Hollandspiele Games – The Grass Crown Amabel Holland’s latest entry in the Shields & Swords Ancients series (With It or In It) looks to be a great entry into ancient tactical combat.
Legion Wargames – Captain’s Sea Mike Nagel is best known for his very successful Flying Colors family of games. It’s only a matter of time until this low complexity, early 19th century, naval game makes it on to the table.
Dan Verssen Games – Soldiers in Postmen’s Uniforms Pavlov’s House is a great solitaire game that we enjoyed from 2018. David Thompson has expanded the series and one of the most recent entries should make a great gift for those who enjoy solitaire games.
Happy Holidays from everyone at History on the Table!