First, welcome to the first annual Little Wars Holiday Gift Guide. Second, a little background/setup…

I must admit that I'm almost as bad at making my annual Christmas list as I am at blogging on a regular basis. So, seeing how I just recently finished my list, I thought I'd keep the momentum up and put together a small holiday gift guide in two parts. The first part - being this one, of course - focuses on wargames. The second part will focus on roleplaying games.

I tried to keep the list to five games released this year that can be had for under $50. But, as you’ll see, some might not actually be released until next year, and some are definitely more then $50. As one of my favorite writers was wont to say, so it goes…

1759: The Siege of Quebec

Ok, so this new game from Worthington Games is on pre-order, and I doubt it will be released before next year. Still, it is set in one of my favorite periods and is quick and soloable, so it makes the list.

1759: The Siege of Quebec is the first in Worthington Games Great Sieges series which is a card driven system that focuses on Command Decisions. Initial unit locations are marked on the map, making for quick setup. You can play solitaire as either the British or French or you can play with another player - making this a versatile game.

1759: The Siege of Quebec from Worthington Publishing

Combat Infantry

I don't play a lot of World War II games myself, but I do the love period and could see myself getting into it very soon. Combat Infantry is a recently released WWII game from Columbia Games that’s been getting a lot of attention online and from members at Metropolitan Wargamers.

It’s a squad level game that makes use of Columbia’s wooden blocks to create fog-of-war and simplify step loss. Combat Infantry includes two large, beautiful 16.5" x 22" geomorphic maps. A great deal of tactical detail has been packed into the 12 page rulebook, and there’s even some guidance on solitaire play.

Combat Infantry from Columbia Games

Old School Tactical Volume II

When it does come to WWII games, I generally prefer the Western Front. It’s definitely the American in me. I heard recently that folks across the pond like American Civil War games because it’s just Yanks wailing on themselves. We could apply a similar logic to Eastern Front games as Americans, I suppose, but I generally prefer games that have an element of American history. So, when I heard that Flying Pig Games Old School Tactical, Volume II would focus on the Western Front from 1944-45, it went on my running list.

In web design, I often speak to my clients about embracing the larger scale of the contemporary web. Old School Tactical, Volume II definitely embraces the scale of contemporary Wargames. It, in fact, drives it forward with big, beautiful (and mounted) maps and big, beautiful counters.

Like Combat Infantry above, OSTv2 has been generating a great deal of buzz online and at the club. Most people love it, some people hate it. Regardless, it always makes an impression. I myself have not played OST, but I have played other Mark H. Walker games such as ’65 and am a big fan of his designs’ ability to challenge, engage, and, most importantly to me, tell a story.

Old School Tactical, Volume 2 from Flying Pig Games

Pub Battles Antietam

I have yet to really get into American War of Independence games outside of Academy’s 1775: Rebellion and GMT’s Liberty or Death. So, while Command Post Games’ Pub Battles Brandywine caught my fancy during its Kickstarter, I haven’t picked it up yet.

With the recent release of Pub Battles Antietam, I’m probably not far off from picking up my first Pub Battles game. The American Civil War is the period of history that got me into historical wargaming. However, I find that ACW games can take a while to learn and play. One that can be taught, set up, and played quickly is really appealing. Add to that excellent production values with historical maps printed on canvas and Kriegsspiel-style blocks along with the fact that it's Antietam we’re talking about here, then it’s no wonder that Pub Battles Antietam is on the list.

Pub Battles Antietam from Command Post Games

Table Battles

The general consensus these days is that Hollandspiele makes great games, and I wholeheartedly concur. Recent appearances at the club include Fair Oaks or Seven Pines and Supply Lines of the American Revolution. There has also been a good deal of chatter concerning the currency trading game, ForEx.

I myself have had my eye on Table Battles. Hollandspiele's Tom Russel describes it as, "a thinky filler" that "reduces armed conflict to its essentials". How can you not be intrigued by that?

Players assign dice to custom formation cards to activate, attack, counterattack, and screen, Losses are represented by removing wood blocks from associated formations. To top it off, eight battles spanning four centuries each take around thirty minutes to play.

Table Battles from Hollandspiele

So, there you have it. Any of these would be a welcome addition to the wargamer in your life's collection. I know I'm hoping to see one of these under the tree.

I'll try to follow up with the roleplaying game list before Christmas is here. If for some reason I don't, happy holidays to you and yours!

What's on your list? Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter to let me know.

P.S. You can read part 2 of the holiday gift guide here.

Tags: Columbia Games, Command Post Games, Flying Pig Games, Hollandspiele, Worthingtion Publishing, Wargaming