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Up Front or – the never ending story?

Posted by Andreas Ludwig on May 5, 2015

144825The wargame community is again in high hopes for a new Up Front because the news is out that Wargame Vault has permission to do at least a strict reprint of the original game. So it seems that rights-holder Hasbro (owner of Wizards of the Coast and Avalon Hill) is aware now (after the Valley Games Kickstarter desaster) that the demand for this classic wargame is there and has allowed Wargame Vault to digitally re-master the second edition of Up Front and to offer it through their card printing program.

Folks already discuss the news in forum postings and wonder whether this is a hot deal or not so have in mind that in fact what you get here is a pure reprint of the game, so no new rules, no errata worked in and still the original graphics on the cards. It’s a kind of print on demand model and for about 50 bucks you get the game you want to play and that’s fine – given that Up Front in very good condition (or even mint/new etc.) can easily cost you 100 USD or more you might even call this a hot deal indeed.

Still, even with this strict reprint of the game and the proclamation that Wargame Vault has the permission of the rightsholder Hasbro to offer this there seems to be some legal issues regarding these rights –

Rodger MacGowan who was the artist of the original design is suprised to see this offer on the Wargame Vault website since Hasbro has never contacted him regarding the use of any of his Avalon Hill artwork or logo graphic designs which simply means they don’t own the rights to use it…

I don’t think it’s impossible to sort this out and they don’t offer the gamebox for exact the reason that they don’t own the rights of that artwork but since they use it on their website to offer the game it doesn’t seem to be good business manners and they use his logo design on the backs of the cards which clearly is violating his rights…so all is not cut and dried yet.

It’s a shame that  Up Front, this alltime classic and innovative game design is so often in the news lately…but always with a bad taste. It deserves to see the light in a modern new style so new gamers can see for themselves why the old grogs adore this gem of a game so much but it can be doubted that this will happen anytime soon.

Until then this reprint is the only option you have if you don’t want to hunt down the game on ebay etc. and here’s what you get for your money:

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New HFC policy regarding Kickstarter campaigns & reviews

Posted by Andreas Ludwig on February 13, 2015

To all whom it may concern, please take a few minutes to learn about some changes regarding our support of Kickstarter campaigns and reviews based on sent in games by publishers/designers.

gamer-tagThe HFC started as an accompanying website for a small gaming club, publishing reports of our activities and  game reviews in German. After the club fell apart, we changed the site first into a wargaming website, publishing news and reviews in English. Later, we changed it into what it is now – a gaming & history blog where we share our thoughts with the community about games we play (wargames and non-wargames), battlefields and museums we visit and what we think about stuff that happens in the gaming world.

We were happy to see that many readers like our site, we managed to reach even more gamers via Facebook, and even though these days more and more (board)game reviewers use Youtube as a platform for video reviews, it appears that some people still prefer written reviews.

The HFC is known (some say notorious) for long and very detailed reviews, giving the reader as much insight into a game as possible (including information on how the game works, the Sequence of Play etc. – something some people don’t like because they think these information can be found in the rulebook, but we don’t agree with that and consider the ” game engine” a main part of the game and therefore of the gaming experience – and a review is all about the game experience!), spicing it all up with some nice photos, so folks get a good basis to decide whether to buy the game or not. In order to write these reviews, we have to learn and play the games in question and we don’t write reviews based on only a few game sessions… so, all in all, it takes quite some time in total until a review is finally published.

We take our reviews very seriously and don't write them until we got a solid impression and played a lot of games!

We take our reviews very seriously and don’t write them until we got a solid impression and played a lot of games!

Over the years, we were happy to see that game companies and designers wanted us to publish reviews of their new games and they sent them in. For us it was no question that these games were put on the table before any other games we wanted to play, in order to bring the review online asap. The more readers we got, the more games we received in this manner and the less we were able to play the games we bought and had on our shelf waiting to be played.

Crowdfunding was an interesting idea, first used by video game designers and independent game publishers, and it is now a chosen platform for boardgame/wargame publishers as well. Wargaming is a niche hobby and many companies are rather small, so this is a good way for them to get the money needed for publishing games people want to play. If everything works out well, it’s a win-win situation for all involved. There’s always a certain risk that a game is not what the players thought it would be, but still it’s a great way to allow smaller companies to stay in business.

That was the reason why we supported Kickstarter campaigns, started by wargame companies, by advertising them on the HFC site, to let people know what is in the works and how they could help to make it happen that a certain game is actually published. Usually, the deal was to get a copy of a game at release, so we were able to see if the game we supported before it was even available, was any good and worth the money. Since we were very restrictive in whom we supported this way, it usually turned out to be a good game, so everything was fine. Except that we had even more games in the pipeline to play and review (we were not forced to review these games, because we got them in exchange for the support of the Kickstarter campaign that made it possible to publish it, but still… we thought we should bring these games on the table before any other games…).

Travelling to battlefields and historical sites is also an important part of our hobby

Travelling to battlefields and historical sites is also an important part of our hobby

Today, more and more games are crowdfunded, it seems to have become the norm (at least with the smaller companies and these are the majority in the wargaming hobby), so in order to support these games, more and more announcements had to be written, because a new game was always trying to get crowdfunded, thus eventually landing on your gaming table.

And this is where we are now.

Since we are not satisfied with the current situation, we decided to change our policies for the future. The point is: we don’t want to turn the HFC website into a sort of “advertising blog” – and that’s an impression one might get if more and more of these crowdfunding campaigns are started – if they are from companies we trust, why not help them out with their new game, if we did help them with their last? So, again, a new announcement is online.

In addition to that, we see that Real Life (and two other blogs we run) lately got us under some real pressure, job, family, health problems, i.e. things that need attention before games do, so we got less and less time to play games and write reviews. And when we did, despite our tight time schedule, we thought the games in the “review copy pipeline” should come first. Eventually, we were stuck between all that.

232_Engineer_WWII_posterWe are “mood players” by heart, that means we watch a movie, or read a book, or visit a museum or historical site, and then are in the mood for a certain topic and then we play a game about this topic. That’s our motivation to play wargames or it used to be… we didn’t do this anymore, because we had no time left. So, we realized that the HFC had slowly turned into a kind of “job” we had to do because of the “review copy/Kickstarter campaign deal” instead of being a fun hobby project, where we tell others about the games we play and share our impressions.

So, in the end, we decided we had to change some things in order to clear the way for more content in the future and to get back in tune with the hobby character of our site!

This means, we won’t do any crowdfunding campaign ads anymore, not because we don’t trust the companies we supported in the past or wouldn’t wish them success, but because it begins to seriously change the character of our website. And to send in a game does not mean that we will automatically publish a review. We were not forced to do this, we know that, but we forced ourselves to do it.

We dedicated our sparse time to learn these games first, over other games we were interested in. We played them for a long time in order to give you a fair judgement, not a hasty review after only a few games, as some other reviewers do. Last but not least, we spent much time writing extensive reviews, pondering over each aspect of the game, so in the end, all our time we usually spent with wargaming and blogging about wargames, was consumed by review copies, while a ton of games we bought, sat on our shelf, watching us with sad eyes.

Learning and playing new games takes time... currently, we are enjoying WH40k conquest, where we just divided the factions among us

Learning and playing new games takes time… currently, we are enjoying WH40k conquest, where we just divided the factions among us

Lots of articles about other aspects of gaming, or about our travels to historical sites, were neglected because there was always a game waiting to be learned, played, and reviewed. Not that we didn’t enjoy this – most of the games we reviewed were really cool, some were even awesome. But this is about the freedom of choice what to play when and what to write, and we just don’t have enough time or manpower to play the games we buy or want to play at a given time, write articles about all kinds of wargaming-related topics, and learning, playing and reviewing “officially” sent in games – at least not in the quality and elaboratedness we expect from ourselves and which had become our trademark.

We want to be fair with you and share our thoughts about the decision – the wargaming community is small and gamers and publishers, designers and reviewers are in the same boat, because we all want to see these games and the hobby flourish.

What does this mean for you as a game publisher/designer?

If you think it would be cool if we write a review about your game – by all means, send it in! Chances are quite high that we are curious and will check it out… and if we like it, chances are even higher that we will publish an in-depth review – if we don’t like it at all and find serious flaws, chances are also quite high that we write a review… but a game sent in as a review copy does not guarantee you a published review! If you are ok with that, feel free to support us with a copy of the game you published/designed.

"HFC - back to the roots" means: Finally time for ASL again!

“HFC – back to the roots” means: Finally time for ASL again!

This way we hope to be able to bring some of the games on the table we wanted to play but didn’t have the time for, and that might be a new game-kid on the block or an oldie but goldie! So, future reviews will be based on what is landing on our gaming table and that can now again come either fresh from a publisher, or dusty from our shelf, depending on our mood and current interest in a given topic, era, or setting. You can also expect articles about other wargame-related stuff.

So you may rest assured that getting back into the “mood gaming” we started with (and which we deeply missed recently) and running the HFC as a hobby site – as a hobby, not a job -, will still bring you the reviews you like to read here 🙂

We just wanted to let you all know about our thoughts and hope you’ll be still with us as readers, friends and supporters.

Posted in HFC, News and Releases | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Tiger Leader – new solitaire & coop WWII board game!

Posted by Andreas Ludwig on October 31, 2014



DVG has launched a new Kickstarter campaign to fund a new game in the well known and popular Leader series. The game was eagerly awaited by fans of the series and funded in the first 24 hours! So the Tiger engine is already running full speed, but there is still time left for you to back it up to get even more convenient map tiles and other improvements that will be announced as new stretch goals for this campaign soon. By backing the game you may opt for the base game or for the game including 136 miniatures to add to your gaming experience!

Tiger Leader being the latest game in the Leader series is therefore based on an extremely polished and great working game system fans know from Hornet Leader, Phantom Leader, Thunderbolt-Apache Leader and U-Boat Leader. Check out the links to our reviews to see what we mean, these games are great for experienced wargamers and new players alike.

Campaigns take about 30 minutes to set-up, and each battle can be resolved in 15 to 30 minutes, game play time total is usually depending on your own style, which is one of the advantages of true solitaire games –  you can play whenever you have time, at your pace. But what makes the Leader games so special and what we always stress as one of the aspects that make them so outstanding is the fact you can bring a friend to the table and play cooperatively! Sit down, divide up your forces and plan with your fellow commander how to get the job of the mission done 🙂

Tiger Leader includes dozens of German vehicles and infantry types and includes 5 Allied Nations that you battle against: Poland, France, United Kingdom, Russia, and USA. The battlefield units for each nation have unique stats that reflect that nation’s combat capabilities. The game is played on a map that allows for always changing terrain and combat situations keeping the experience fresh and the replay value high.


Components announced so far:

240 Full Color Cards

2 Full Color Counter Sheets

3 Full Color Sheets of MOUNTED Terrain Hexes 

22” x 17” Full Color MOUNTED Tactical Sheet

11″ x 17″ Full Color Head Quarters Sheet

1 10-sided die

To back up the game, get more detailed information and to see a funny video explaining the game to you go to the official Kickstarter site –> HERE

As always with DVG games, you can expect high quality stuff inside the box reminding us of the famous quote by Heinz Guderian….

Nicht Kleckern, sondern Klotzen!




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News from Warhammer 40k: Conquest – the Warhammer LCG

Posted by Denny Koch on June 6, 2014

WHK01-box-leftSince we are avid LCG players who own and play all LCGs (“Living Card Games”) by Fantasy Flight Games (like Call of Cthulhu, Game of Thrones, or Lord of the Rings) AND fierce Warhammer 40k fans, the announcement of a Warhammer 40k LCG was long overdue! Warhammer Invasion was nice, but we simply prefer Chaos, Space Marines, and Orcs over Dwarves and Elves, so Warhammer 40k: Conquest sounds like the game we have been waiting for!

After a period of silence, FFG published a new preview about the upcoming WH40k game, introducing the combat system of the game. On first sight, from all LCGs, the mechanics resemble the Call of Cthulhu LCG most.

An interesting difference to the other LCGs is the fact that all factions can cooperate with “neighboring” factions within a kind of faction wheel, named “Alliance Chart” and build a strike force with them.

The "Alliance chart" allows interesting combinations between factions

The “Alliance chart” allows interesting combinations between factions

We are still wondering whether the game will be different and innovative enough to set itself apart from the other LCGs, but we are optimistic. The game description looks interesting enough to fuel our curiosity and impatience!

Alas, the publishing date is still unknown.

Posted in Fantasy Games A-Z, Games A-Z, News and Releases, Warhammer, Warhammer 40k, Warhammer 40k LCG | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

WAR DIARY – a new wargame zine

Posted by Andreas Ludwig on April 22, 2014


There’s a new wargame zine on the battlefield – War Diary!

The first issue covers some interesting topics and since there are a few ‘known names’ among the contributors War Diary might be worth checking out 🙂

A new wargaming magazine, but decidedly old-school in our approach.

We don’t publish any games, but then don’t you already pay enough for games you may never play?

Published quarterly, each print issue of War Diary features articles on military history, game play and variants, game reviews, commentary, and insight from game designers and developers.

Please join us.  One year subscriptions (four print issues) for $28.00.

SPRING 2014:

GHOST DIVISION: Rommel in France, 1940 by Dr. Michael Rinella

THE GRAND ALLIANCE: Expanding the Capabilities of the Western Allies in Barbarossa to Berlin by Lt. Col. (Ret.) John B. Firer

OPERATION HUSKY: An Analysis of Allied Landing Options in FAB: Sicily by Joel M. Toppen

E-GAMING: Opening Up the World of Gaming by Andy Loakes

WHATS IN A GAME: The Effects and Affects of Boardgames by John Poniske

GLOOM: A Game Review by John Poniske

THE GREAT GAME: History and Designer’s Notes by John Gorkowski

Game ON! A Discussion of the Game Publishing Industry and It’s Customers by Jeff Newell

 If you are interested go to their official website!

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Victory in Europe by Columbia Games funded!

Posted by Andreas Ludwig on April 22, 2014

Columbia Games has a new game in the pipeline called Victory in Europe and the Kickstarter Campaign has already reached the goal to fund the game. Now in the remaining days left you may still help to reach the stretch goals of the campaign to make the game even more interesting to play!

Victory in Europe is a strategic block wargame of World War II for 2 or 3 players that captures the entire war in Europe in a fast-paced experience. The game begins in late 1939 and ends up to six years later. Game time is 3-5 hours. Basically designed as a two player game there’s also the option to have the Soviets to be commanded by a third player. The game is card driven with the Allies and Axis each having their own deck and the possible actions are based on the different functions of the cards in play. Cards depict historical events or give a more general advantage in terms of maneuver. The game is designed with a historical flow of the war in mind but allows for new twists and turns based on the players decisions. To get an impression you can check out the rules synopsis here!

Some may question the need for another WW2 strategic level wargame since so many are already available that portray this gigantic struggle from different perspectives but most if not all of these games are quite lenghty when it comes to playing time and often use a lot of tablespace. So many players are still waiting for a historically accurate wargame on the strategic level that plays the whole ETO scenario in a couple of hours…Victory in Europe might be this game we are all waiting for! If you think that this game could be for you support the stretch goals on the official Kickstarter website!

As always Columbia Games products come with a money-back 30 day guarantee, that means if you don’t like the game just send it back to them and you’ll get a full refund so there’s no risk for you to back them!

Designer Notes by Ron Draker

I have always enjoyed grand strategy games on WW II in Europe and spent many hours of my youth playing “Third Reich” and “Advanced Third Reich.” Some of you may remember SPI’s monster game on WW II with division-level units and spiral production charts. Oh those were the days when we had weekends to play. Now, however, I find I do not have the time or patience to learn 30 or 50 pages of rules with hundreds of exceptions. I prefer a game I can play in a long evening with minimal time looking up rules. I started thinking about designing my own WW II game back in 2002 and then learned that “Europe Engulfed” was in development.

Having discovered and fallen in love Columbia’s block games in the 1990s, I shelved my idea thinking there was no need since a playable block game was in development. When Europe Engulfed came out my friends and I played it practically non-stop and I still love the game, but I felt I still would like to see a game with less playing time and fewer exceptional rules. My goal was to take the things I liked most from Third Reich, EE, and other great WW II games and blend them into something new.

I started in earnest around 2005 and found my first design, while using fewer units, was still a monster game. I started with hexes, then went to areas, and then back to hexes. I had abstract concepts for managing the air war off map and intricate spiral production charts that would put SPI to shame, but the more cool things I thought I wanted in the game the longer the playing time became.

Through much trial and error and literally dozens of game mechanics and different maps, I feel I have finally succeeded in designing an enjoyable game that is playable in a long evening thanks to the help of Tom and Grant Dalgliesh at Columbia Games. To accomplish this goal of course, much of the chrome originally envisioned has fallen by the wayside. These are the trade-offs for the Holy Grail of a WW II grand strategy game playable in one sitting.

Setting the right victory conditions to make the game challenging for both sides is one of the harder aspects of designing a game. I decided to make conquest of Britain or the Soviet Union a game-ender to give the Axis player an incentive to go for the big win but there are many paths to victory. I hope you find the choices made acceptable and enjoy the game. 


The map is of a unique oval design


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Christian Koppmeyer – R.I.P.

Posted by Andreas Ludwig on April 11, 2014

It is with deep regret and sadness that today we learn of the all too early passing of Christian Koppmeyer who passed away two days ago in a hospital at the age of only 52. Christian was one of the most active ASL players in Germany and hosted the well known ASL Grenadier tournament every year. We only knew him from email exchange many years ago but all those who have known him will remember his friendly personality and his dedication to our hobby, he was always willing to answer questions and help the newbies to become part of the wonderful world of Advanced Squad Leader. He is survived by his wife and three sons.

Christian you will be missed but kept in good memory!

Rest in peace Christian…



Posted in ASL, News and Releases | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

2013 in review – HFC says ‘Thank You’

Posted by Andreas Ludwig on December 31, 2013


Here’s an excerpt:

Madison Square Garden can seat 20,000 people for a concert. This blog was viewed about 66,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Madison Square Garden, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted in HFC, News and Releases | 3 Comments »

World in Flames PC Game released!

Posted by Andreas Ludwig on November 7, 2013

IMG_5266The game that was in the making for about 10 years is now available. World in Flames, famous monster conflict simulation on World War 2 now playable on your PC, rules enforced by the game and coming with three thick books. The price might be considered acceptable for what you get in the box depending on where you live (since you may strongly disagree on this if you are living in Europe, because the game can only be ordered as a physical copy, not as a download version. That means a lot of money for shipping and Custom then charges on top!)  BUT…at launch there’s no AI included and there’s no PbEM function!

A game like WiF will be difficult to handle anyway by an AI, but no PbEM is quite a showstopper – who’s gonna play this monster in realtime TCP/IP?

Both the AI and PbEM will be made available later we are told (AI will cost though, how much we don’t know yet) but we really think it’s the wrong decision to get the game out without such essential features.

For more information check out the official site!

World in Flames is Matrix Games’ computer version of Australian Design Group’s classic board game. Covering both the European and Pacific Theaters of Operations during World War II, World in Flames is global in scope while simulating each branch of service in detail. Land units are corps and army level, supplemented with specialized divisions. Naval units include individual counters for every carrier, battleship, cruiser, and light cruiser in the war. Using 1000+ unique bitmapped images, air units represent groups of 250 to 500 airplanes. With 6000+ unique units, 250+ countries, and a global map of 70,200 hexes, World in Flames is the premier World War II grand strategy game.

Harry Rowland, Game Designer of the original World in Flames boardgame, said: “ADG have produced some high quality games over the years but nothing compares to the top-notch components included in World in Flames: the computer game. It includes 24 full-colour maps, and 3 hard-covered books of over 600 pages, a real collector’s gem”.

Nine of the eleven scenarios from Australian Design Group’s World in Flames Final Edition are included, and they range from the small 5 turn Barbarossa offensive in Russia and the 5 turn Guadalcanal battle in the Pacific, through to the 36 turn Global War campaign which spans all of Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, the Atlantic, and the Pacific. You can play either the Axis or the Allied side or take the role of one of the 8 major powers. Besides solitaire and head-to-head, you can play over the Internet. The last mode of play is for two players, Axis versus Allies.

In addition to the full set of rules from World in Flames, Final Edition, there are 58 optional rules. Australian Design Group’s expansion modules Ships in Flames and Planes in Flames are incorporated into the basic game, but the inclusion of other expansion modules, such as Mech in Flames, Carrier Planes in Flames, and Cruisers in Flames, depends on which optional rules are selected.

This simulation models national production from conveying raw resources to factories using rail lines and overseas pipelines for producing infantry, armor, naval, and air combat units. Because oil was so important during World War II, there are separate optional rules for synthetic oil plants and deployment of oil reserves to the front lines.

Game units represent armies and corps, aircraft carriers, naval task forces, and air groups that took part in World War II. Everything you need to re-fight the greatest conflict in history is provided in World in Flames. The players make the strategic decisions that decide the fate of nations. What forces to produce, where to commit them, when and how? No two games of World in Flames play the same, no strategy is foolproof, any decision may have unforeseen, long-term consequences.

If you want to change the world then World in Flames is for you.


Posted in News and Releases, PC / console games | Tagged: , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

WARFIGHTER Kickstarter project now live!

Posted by Andreas Ludwig on October 29, 2013


Warfighter – The Tactical Special Forces Card Game

We love cooperative games and wargames on the topic of Modern Warfare,  so we started to listen attentively when DVG announced a new game that would combine both aspects! It will be published if the Kickstarter project that was going online today is raising enough funds and the HFC wants to encourage you to support this game. There are not that many cooperative wargames around or wargames on the topic of modern warfare and since we know the quality of the game designs by Dan Verssen especially when it comes to games you can play coop with a friend we are sure this one will not disappoint. You get to equip your soldiers, deploy for a mission, fight your way through a hostile city, and take out your objective. If you like fast-paced card games, co-op play, modern tactical military combat, and want a chance to use M16s, M4s, LAW Rockets, Grenades, call in mortar strikes, and perform sniper kills, this is the game you should support with your bucks!


Command the world’s best Special Forces operators and complete vital assault missions around the world!

Warfighter is a card game for 1 to 6 players.

You play cooperatively with your friends against the system to complete present day squad-level combat missions.

At the start of each mission, you each select a soldier, equip him/her with skills, weapons, and combat gear within the mission’s Resource limit.

You then fight your way through hostile territory, engaging hostiles, as you attempt to reach and complete your mission objective.

Every mission is a stand-alone game. You build your Soldiers, select your Gear, and then run your mission. Within 30 to 60 minutes you will have succeeded or failed.

Warfighter uses a new combat system that takes into account the fire mode you select for your weapon, range, running out of ammo, suppression, and cover – all in the same dice roll! This system creates an incredibly deep narrative with every attack.

As you eliminate hostiles, you gain experience to Upgun your Action cards.

Very easy to learn!

Plays in 30 to 60 minutes!

1 to 6 players!

No special rules needed for solitaire play!

Awesome new combat system!

Access to modern tactics, weapons, and equipment!

59e7deb0f4dc6e8a5bec8af45e037ebe_largeWhat’s in the game box?

168 Full Color Playing Cards 

– Soldier Cards

– Mission Cards

– Objective Cards

– Action Cards

– Location Cards

– Weapon Cards

– Equipment Cards

– Hostile Cards

 1 Full Sheet of Full Color Counters

– Ammo Counters for different Weapons

– Bandage Counters

– Wound Counters

– Kill Counters

– Grenade and Rocket Counters

– Suppression Counters

– Experience Counters

3x 10-sided Dice

1x 6-sided die

1x Rulebooklet



To check out additional information about the expansions that are planned for this new game system, about possibilities to get your personal soldier card in the game, to watch the promotional video and to make this game a reality go to the Warfighter Kickstarter website.

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