A British 20mm force for 1940 | JP Wargaming Place
I’m on a little surer ground for this piece as opposed to Part 1. What I like is, at the operational and tactical levels, there’s a lot to choose from. I’ll be writing about the standouts for me, and why I think giving them a try will give you an excellent flavor of the campaign in the West in 1940. But just because I picked these, doesn’t mean they’re aren’t other options to explore. One I particularly like is MGK Military Simulations, which has done a veritable raftload of 1:5 scale scenario packs for France, Belgium, and the Netherlands for games such as Command Decision and Fistful of TOWs III. To be honest, we’re more talking supplements rather than full games here, as most miniatures rules sets will have most of what you need to run a good game set during the campaign (All you might be missing is stats for the tanks and such, as well as any special rules you might need).
Cover of one of MGK Military Simulations Products | Wargames Vault
I have a couple of the smaller scale books, and while I haven’t played any of the scenarios, I have read through them, and find them well laid out and very well researched. In short, I’d give these books a look if you play either of those rules sets or any where one vehicle or a two figure stand equals a platoon of men or tanks. All books are available in PDF from Wargames Vault, so they’re always available.
But there’s more to cover, so let’s get on with it, eh?
Everyone here knows my man-crush on the Battlegroup WWII rules system. I like it. It does a lot of things well and simply, and it plays a sound, realistic game in a reasonable amount of time. I also have no problem attracting players for it and making new converts for the rules. In any event, I was pretty happy when the Blitzkrieg supplement came out, and the book doesn’t disappoint. It’s at the usual high standard of writing and graphic design. The book also has most of what they need to do the 1940 campaign enclosed. They were missing Dutch, but I fixed that in a later issue of Dispatches. The book is a labor of love for Piers Brand, whose grandfather was a veteran of the 1940 campaign and whose recollections had a major influence on the game designer. I also liked the scenario selection, including a successful Belgian counterattack I’d never heard of. In short, if you love Battlegroup and you love the France ’40 campaign, get your hands on this book. You can order the book via Plastic Soldier Company in PDF. Sadly, the book has not been re-released in paper format, so contact PSC and ask them to reissue the book. It’s a great one, and it deserves another physical run.
Too Fat Lardies
Chain of Command is one of those games that people love or hate. I rather like it but finding folks to play it around here tends to be difficult. And I have to be honest, the activation rules are a bit to get my head around. That said, the unique patrol rules and the use of “jump off points” are really well done, and I rather like the way the game does campaigns. The first supplement Too Fat Lardies did, much to their credit, was a book covering the 1940 Campaign. Both books are well laid out and the rules are quite clear, though British wargaming writing tends to be more conversational than the American legalistic style. (I tend to prefer the British style, but c’est la vie). The rules do a very good job of simulating war at the platoon level, and I think they do a damn fine job of giving you the same problems a platoon leader would face. The Blitzkrieg book is thorough and gets to the point of what you need to run a game in 1940 and well worth the money. You can get the book in softcover or PDF from Too Fat Lardies.
If your tastes turn towards skyward, Skirmish Campaigns has put together a great book for Check Your Six chronicling the air war over France in 1940. One hint, it wasn’t a quick victory for the German, and even after the departure of the British in late May, the French put up quite the fight. You get 25 scenarios comprising three campaigns, the first being the German air campaign over France and Belgium. The second follows the desperate fight to cover the British fight over Dunkirk to cover the evacuation. Finally, the third joins the Germans as they drive through Paris and the overcome France in a heated battle. The book also has an order of battle information, as well as a valuable and concise campaign history. It also has an excellent bibliography, so you can do your own reading. My only pet peeve about the book? They didn’t include the Hawk 75 in any of the scenarios. I know the author explains why, but I read the book JG 26 by Donald Caldwell, though perhaps this was a case of the Hawk 75 being such a dangerous opponent, the German pilots were identifying all French fighters as Hawk 75s! You can purchase the book from I-94 Enterprises/Raiden Miniatures.
Hawk 75 | Youtube
Next time, I plan on covering the actual miniatures side, and you can see there’s a lot out there for you to actually game with. Until then, Good Gaming, Everyone!
At Epoch XP, we specialize in creating compelling narratives and provide research to give your game the kind of details that engage your players and create a resonant world they want to spend time in. If you are interested in learning more about our gaming research services, you can browse Epoch XP’s service on our parent site, SJR Research.
(This article is credited to Jason Weiser. Jason is a long-time wargamer with published works in the Journal of the Society of Twentieth Century Wargamers; Miniature Wargames Magazine; and Wargames, Strategy, and Soldier.)