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Posted on Dec 27, 2019 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Best Games Reviewed in 2019

Best Games Reviewed in 2019

Rick Martin

2019 has been yet another great year for board games, card games and miniature games.  The sheer amount of product coming out has swamped our Armchair General reviewers and we’ve been fortunate to have new reviewers added to our little game review family this year.  The following are some of the highest rated games that we reviewed in 2019.  All of our reviewers have games released in 2019 still on our shelves or gaming tables with reviews that are not completed.  As such, I must toss a few titles out that haven’t been reviewed yet but look very promising – Ares Games’ Tripods and Triplanes (Rick Martin previewed the game based upon the prototype set but will be doing a review of the finished game ASAP!), Command & Colors Medieval by GMT, Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea by GMT, UBoot the Board Game by Phalanx, Tank Duel by GMT, Birds of Prey and its Expansions by Ad Astra Games and Highlander the Board Game by River Horse.  These games and more will all be reviewed in the next few months.

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But here are the highest rated games reviewed in 2019 by Armchair General – and away we go! (games are presented in no particular order)

Crossing the Line – Aachen 1944 – Matt – 96%

Crossing the Line – Aachen 1944 is an operational level simulation of the Battle for Aachen, which took place from September 12th to October 21st, 1944. The game is intended for two players but is also suitable for solitaire and team play. This is a super game with beautiful artwork, graphic and amazing production values. The game comes with a training scenario and two shorter scenarios which can be played in an evening (though they are not short by any stretch of the imagination!) plus the full campaign which I found engrossing and very compelling. The game features many interesting rules and game mechanics, from the fluid turn structure to the random counter drawing in Combat to the use of HQ units.

Panther hunting

The Last Hundred Yards – Ray – 97%

A tactical World War II squad level game which takes place on the Western Front. Playing the game reminded me of the classic skirmish level action films such as The Devil’s Brigade, The Longest Day, A Bridge Too Far or Saving Private Ryan. ‘The Last Hundred Yards’ immerses you in the small-scale skirmish actions. It’s an up-close gritty experience where you have to use all your resources to cross those Last Hundred Yards.  Between the fun I had playing the game and the way it’s re-ignited my interest in this level of gaming, ‘The Last Hundred Yards’ ranks as one of the best games I’ve played in 2019.

sample counters

Sails of Glory Wave 4 ship packs – Rick – 100%

Ares Games has hit the bulls eye again with these beautiful 1/1000 scale ships for their Sails of Glory game system.  With everything from glories third rate ships of the line to the legendary Bonhomme Richard captained by John Paul Jones, there is something for every sea dog in this new set!  Pure bliss!

A nice shot of the Bonhomme Richard

V Commandos – Rick – 98%

Triton Noir ‘s V Commandos is a solo or cooperative game in which you send teams of commandos in to occupied Europe during World War 2 in order to fulfill various missions.  This game puts you down in the dirt with each unit being one person or piece of equipment and each turn being a minute or two.

cover

Race for Manila – Ray – 95%

War Drum Games’ Race for Manila is a great introductory World War II Pacific Theater game. And its proof that good things can come in small packages.  It’s an affordable, entry level starter game that will appeal to those new recruits to the hobby as well as the grizzled grognards looking for a light, quick game. It covers a somewhat neglected campaign (albeit at a high level) and provides good insights into the strategic goals of both sides.

RfM Components

Victory and Glory Napoleon – Rick – 96%

      Forbidden Games’ Victory and War Napoleon is, first and foremost, one of the most beautiful games I’ve ever seen and that beauty doesn’t just apply to the artwork – this game is pure elegance from its rules to its game play.  It’s a strategic level Napoleon game which can be played in several hours.  Very family friendly!

A sea battle

Panzer Expansion 4: France 1940   – Rick – 95%

This is the must have 4th expansion to the GMT Panzer series.  It focuses exclusively on the Campaign for France in 1940 and also adds Leaders and wonderful Solo Rules to which can be used in any of the Panzer or Main Battle Tank games!

components

Interceptor Ace – Rick – 96%

      Compass Games’ Interceptor Ace is a solo or cooperative play game putting you in control of a fighter defending Germany from Allied bombers during World War II.  It’s both a tactical combat game and a role playing game and it is a winner!  Easy to learn and very addictive to play!

Box Art

Dual Powers Revolution 1917 – Rick – 98%

           Thunderworks Games’ Duel Powers uses the Russian Revolution as its canvas. Dual Powers is a card driven area control game.  Dual Powers Revolution 1917 is a great game.  Not only does it teach its players about the dynamics of an unsettled time period in world history but its beautiful artwork makes it a visually pleasing game to have on the game table for an afternoon.  There is an amazing amount of replay value for Dual Powers low suggested retail price

Lenin has the will of the people in his grasp

Enemy Coast Ahead – The Doolittle Raid  – Rick 97%

What I love about this game … is that the game doesn’t just focus on the fighting (unless you only play the raid scenario).  Diplomacy, training, outfitting of the aircrafts, mission planning, sea combat and air combat are all covered.  After the mission, the player is challenged to get the bombers and their crews to safety and then get them safely out of China or Russia.  This game pulls the player in to a fully immersive narrative experience as almost no other war game does.  GMT Games hit a home run with this design!

modifying the B25s

Terminator Genisys: Rise of the Resistance – Rick 95%

If the desire to play this solo or multiplayer skirmish game based on the Terminator franchise over and over again is any indication, then Terminator Genisys: The Rise of the Resistance has me hooked and that, my non-cyborg friends, is a good thing!  Modular terrain, strong narrative scenarios and role playing elements make this game by Riverhorse a modern science fiction classic!

Jack Greene’s “Togo Dawn of the Dreadnought – Naval Battles of the Russo-Japanese War”   – Rick 96%

A tactical combat game covering the naval battles of the Russo Japanese War in 1904 and 1905, Togo is fun to play and easy to learn.  The tactical nature of the game gives you a “you are there” feel.  While no solo bot system is included, as long as you don’t mind changing captains’ hats, it is easy to play solo.  Each unit is a ship or squadron of ships.  Scenarios are provided for small battles all the way up to the Battle of Tsushima!  Bonsai Games and Quarterdeck International have released this excellent design.

Rurik goes down

Paul Rohrbaugh ‘s Marathon 490 BC – Rick 98%

Turning Point Simulations’ “Marathon 490 BC” is a triumph of simple rules and challenging game play which can be played in under 3 hours.  With historical and hypothetical scenarios, this game based on the epic battle between the Persians and the Athenians is both challenging and great fun! An almost perfect game and its small game table footprint makes it perfect to take on trips.

components

Mark Herman’s Peloponnesian War   (GMT Games Edition)  – Rick 96%

GMT Games’ new edition of the 1991 classic Peloponnesian War provides a Trireme load of value for the price.  It includes both a solo system and a 2 player game covering from the 1st Peloponnesian War, through the 2nd Peloponnesian War and through the fall of Sparta.  Simple to lean, tough to master and with a simply fantastic innovated solo system, this game has it all!  Each turn is three years – battles feature land battles, naval battles and sieges as well as all the sneaky politics of the ancient Greek City States!  A wonderful game!

Archidamus goes to battle

Patton’s Vanguard Arracourt, 1944. (Take Aim Designs and Revolution Games) – Ray 95%

Patton’s Vanguard has a lot going for it. It depicts an iconic western front World War 2 battle, and provides good insights into why the battle was fought and why it turned out the way it did. It’s a good choice for a game that does not need a whole afternoon to play and it sets up quickly. Fans of the area movement / impulse activation games will find this a welcome addition to their collection.

Patton’s Vanguard Cover

Race to Tokyo – Ray 97%

Yasushi Nakaguro’s game, ‘Race to Tokyo’ focuses on Operation Coronet – the invasion of the Kanto Plain around Japan’s capital city of Tokyo. ‘Race to Tokyo’ gives you some insight into what the final invasion campaign might have looked like when viewed from General MacArthur’s map table.  It is an engaging game which plays quickly and won’t tax your brain with an overly complex rulebook. At the same time, you’ll get a reasonably in-depth game that explores the historical ‘what if’ nature of this campaign. If you are a student of the Pacific theater in World War Two, this is a solid addition to your collection.

Tokyo under siege

Fighting Eagles – Rick  100%

      Covering World War I air combat in 1918, Fighting Eagles makes for a perfect tactical air war game with only 3 pages of rules!  Perfect as an intro to World War I air combat or for taking on trips, this game is pure bliss for air war gamers.  It also makes for a great solo experience.  Check it out at High Flying Dice Game’s website and it costs less than $10!  What more is there to say?

cover art

Clash of Chariots : The Battle of Kadesh, 1274 B.C. – Rick 95 %

The Battle of Kadesh was a decisive battle between the Egyptians under Ramesses II (also spelled as “Ramses II”) and the Hittite Empire under Emporer Muwatalli II.  This game starts with the Hittites looting the Egyptian camp – many of the Hittites start out in a disrupted state to simulate the lack of unit cohesion during the looting and pillaging.  Ramesses has rallied his army for the counter attack.  They key for the Hittite player is to attempt to rally his or her units for battle as quickly as possible or they will be destroyed by the Egyptians.  For the Egyptian side, try and drive the Hittites out of your camps and hope that reinforcements arrive to help you encircle and destroy the Hittites for a decisive victory.  This low price high quality zip lock game from High Flying Dice Games has it all for players who love gaming the battles of the ancient worlds.

components

Ares Games’ Booster Packs for Wings of Glory and Battlestar Galactica – Rick 100%

The World War I Wings of Glory airplanes and the 9 new Battlestar Galactica ships are just amazing!  High quality, fully painted miniatures which add new planes and spaceships can’t be beat! Just buy them!  Buy them now!

Br14 shoots at a burning Fokker DVII
a Viper in trouble

B-25 Prince of the Skies  –  Rick 95%

What not to love about this free print and play solo game which puts you in control of a B-25 bomber during the Battle of the Pacific in World War 2.  It’s easy to learn and fast to play and delivers nail biting action! 

Go to https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ozfbfogdw9u0512/AAC4bkYbmL2f8vOEcEnE-h7qa?dl=0&fbclid=IwAR0G6DnH7xbctEuY1hoAEJ7Yuy1JZl7nrAD7_sPEqr6Tt0Zj_Qtmt64_w-4

and download your copy now!  What are you waiting for airman?

an attack by two aces

Conflict of Heroes: Storms of Steel Kursk 1943 – Rick 99%

 The long awaited reprint of Academy Games’ classic tactical combat game comes complete with new 3rd edition rules and all new art and maps!  This game is simply stunning and a must for wargamers interested in the Russian Front small unit engagements.  It’s almost the perfect game!

Jabo attack

6 Comments

  1. I must say, as a committed war gamer, THIS LIST is more than pretty grognard! While I didn’t always agree with ALL the list, more than half (Storms of Steel, Duel Powers, etc) was dead on! ALL the games were solid, in terms of being real war games. **I thought it was strange NO DVG games were on the list… Warfighter had impressive expansions, and some of the David Thompson games were solid as well. There was no mention of “Bleeding Kansas”, which looks good, or Armageddon War, which is beyond solid. I have to give a shout to “Once we moved like the wind” from Compass Games, and “Tripods and Triplanes” from Ares. Just me?

    • Glad you mostly agreed with the list. There were just far too many games that came out in 2019 than we could cover. I did mention Tripods and Triplanes and a full review of this great game/expansion is coming out in January of 2020.

  2. Excellent Choices!

    • Thanks!

  3. Thanks for this. As a person on the edge of this hobby, articles like this really help guide purchases and research.

    • Glad you found our list helpful. Cheers!

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