Wargames with Odd or Special Units
JD Frazer
Canada
Vancouver
British Columbia
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I love chrome in wargames, but I mostly favour the kind of chrome that actually has some sort of in-game impact. This is often effected in wargames with strange or singular units that have a specific purpose. This list also includes those games that have units that have a trivial impact on the game, but adds at least a little to the game experience.

To qualify, the game's odd units should be a particular exception. For a contrary example, Divine Right, one of my favourite games, is heavily made up of "strange" units. As a result, strange becomes mundane, thus Divine Right doesn't qualify. Neither do the Fedaykin or the Sardaukar units in the brilliant game Dune because they're relatively plentiful for special units.

The ones below are the only ones I could think of off the cuff. I just know that there are dozens of wargames with the rare weird little unit amongst a tapestry of standard-category pieces. For example, I have a vague recollection of a police unit for Lichtenstein that only offered token resistance in some monster WW2 Europe game, but I can't recall exactly which one.


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26. Board Game: Silent War [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:1184]
Ryan Powers
United States
Marble
Minnesota
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There are a few unique subs in Silent War. Including one modern nuclear boat.
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27. Board Game: The '45 [Average Rating:6.16 Overall Rank:7501]
Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
United States
New Orleans
Louisiana
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Erin go Bragh! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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In The '45 the French are given Maurice of Saxony, the greatest general of his age. In game he is the best (well save Murray for the Jacobites but that is for game balance I believe) but there are no rules to bring him into play. The book says he was included because future scenarios were going to feature him but I haven't found any. So in order to get Maurice in the game I allow him to enter play if the French intervention level is maxed out.
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28. Board Game: C.S.A. America's Civil War 1861-1865 [Average Rating:6.78 Unranked]
Bill Lawson
United States
Rutland
Vermont
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Theres an Abraham Lincoln counter and a Jefferson Davis counter.If the opposing side captures them its an automatic victory!This is not the only victory condition.
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29. Board Game: NATO, Nukes & Nazis [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:4681]
David Heldt
United States
Harper Woods
Michigan
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You want unusual units? You got 'em--


Yes, that top unit is the Bader-Meinhof terrorist organisation of 1970s infamy, showing up in this alternative universe as an SS death squad.


That white unit next to all the swastikas is a "Cyber-Punk" agitprop unit which always supports the losing side; if the victory point balance shifts, so does the unit's allegiance.

However, I can't find a depiction of my favorite unit in the game: The Albert Speer Architectural Kommando, whose sole puropse is the erection of monuments--
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30. Board Game: Chickamauga: The Last Victory, 20 September 1863 [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:4667]
Andy Libera
United States
San Antonio
Texas
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The "chick wagon," the supply wagon in Blue & Gray I Chickamauga whose purpose in life is to enter the map and try to exit the map. (enters on turn 7 above).
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31. Board Game: Swords & Sorcery [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:3097]
Andy Libera
United States
San Antonio
Texas
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Gentlemen (and ladies),

I give you.......

THE KILLER PENGUIN!!!
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32. Board Game: Bitter Woods (fourth edition) [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:1610]
Lindgaard
Denmark
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Look at the top row of german counters. You will see the famous "Fraulein" counter. She can stop the advance of Panzer Lehr by flirting with the commander, Fritz Baylein
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33. Board Game: Downtown: Air War Over Hanoi, 1965-1972 [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:1232]
Jon Bryon
England
New Addington
Croydon
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Not as exciting or surprising as components in other items on the list, but there are a couple of helicopter counters specifically for Combat Search and Rescue. They only come into play when using advanced/optional rules and are pure chrome. The A-1 Sandy counters fulfill a similarly unique function.

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34. Board Game: Bitter Woods (fourth edition) [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:1610]
Jim O'Neill (Established 1949)
Scotland
Motherwell
I aten't dead yet...
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Randy Heller, the game designer, has his own unit in this one.
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35. Board Game: Quebec 1759 [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:1443]
Jean-Pierre Maurais
Canada
Quebec city
Quebec
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The indian unit can scout. Indians can also make raid against british units without being counterattaked.
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36. Board Game: Battle of the Bulge [Average Rating:6.39 Overall Rank:2873]
Jean-Pierre Maurais
Canada
Quebec city
Quebec
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The 0-10 counters in the upright corner are german commandos. They have no combat value but can create trafic jam.

In the game, the german army is represented by blue counters an the american army is represented by green counters. So, the green 7-4 unit in the upright corner is a german mechanized brigade equiped with Sherman tanks. The brigade can pass through the american line without stopping.
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37. Board Game: Panzer Command [Average Rating:7.05 Overall Rank:3096]
Nigel Wright
United Kingdom
Ruddington, Nottingham
England
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There's a Leopard II in the top right corner of the German counter sheet- and there's a T-72 on the Russian sheet. Kind of an easter egg from the designer to show how modern tanks rate against their WW2 counterparts. There's a section in the rules for Modern Tanks - adding Move/Fire Action, Pursuit In Close Assault and Split Fire although the designer admits that if he were doing a modern Panzer Command game he'd rework the combat system to allow for a wider range of results.
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38. Board Game: Desert Shield: A Gulf Strike Expansion Module [Average Rating:6.68 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.68 Unranked]
Nigel Wright
United Kingdom
Ruddington, Nottingham
England
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In the top right corner of the countersheet there are five Iraqi Parliament counters. On the reverse of one is Saddam to allow a shell game for decapitation strikes.
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39. Board Game: Scorched Earth [Average Rating:7.82 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.82 Unranked]
Steve Herron
United States
Johnson City
Tennessee
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Never play block wargames with a dentist, they have those little mirrors to peek behind the block.
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Hans-Ulrich Rudel (July 2, 1916 – December 18, 1982) was a Stuka dive-bomber pilot during World War II. Rudel is famous for being the most highly decorated German serviceman of the war. Hans-Ulrich Rudel was the only person to be awarded the Knight's Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds.

Rudel flew 2,530 combat missions and successfully attacked many tanks, trains, ships, and other ground targets, claiming a total of 2,000 targets destroyed - including 800 vehicles, 519 tanks, 150 artillery guns, a destroyer, two cruisers, a battleship and 9 aircraft which he shot down[1].

In the game the Rudel counter is based with a Ju87 unit, the player once a turn (but it maybe once a month, it's been a while) can be placed on a Soviet armor brigade. If a one or two is rolled the brigade is eliminated. Also there is a Rudel counter in Compass' Red Storm Over the Reich.
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40. Board Game: The Korean War [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:1549]
Wendell
United States
temporarily Arlington VA
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Hey, get your stinking cursor off my face! I got nukes, you know.
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The Korean War has Task Force Smith - appears after the first North Korean move, zero attack, and will be removed at the end of the next turn.

Put him in the way somewhere and try to slow the NKs down a little while the US scrambles to get bigger units to the peninsula.
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41. Board Game: Berserker [Average Rating:4.23 Overall Rank:10713]
Badger
England
London
Enfield
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If you look towards the top left, you'll see a custard pie. In the rules it says something like 'the custard pie can be used to devastating effect' but gives absolutely no rules as to what it actually does.
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42. Board Game: Lee vs. Grant [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:2581]
Sean Chick (Formerly Paul O'Sullivan)
United States
New Orleans
Louisiana
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Fag an bealac! Riam nar druid ar sbarin lann! Erin go Bragh! Remember Ireland and Fontenoy!
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Well, I'm afraid it'll have to wait. Whatever it was, I'm sure it was better than my plan to get out of this by pretending to be mad. I mean, who would have noticed another madman round here?
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I almost forgot this one. I played this game recently and there is a Grant counter included although it has no information save his face and name. I can't find an in game use for him so I guess he was added for flavor.
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43. Board Game: Federation Commander: Romulan Border [Average Rating:7.68 Overall Rank:1878] [Average Rating:7.68 Unranked]
Bill Gates
United States
Baltimore
Maryland
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Air War has a dragon ... starships in Federation Commander can take on a plasma-firing Space Dragon.

The game system also includes the "planet killer," a "space amoeba" and the "juggernaut." (There may be others in Federation Commander supplements I don't own). But, while the planet killer and the space amoeba were in the original series, I don't recall ever seeing a space dragon. I'm told the juggernaut is from the animated series, and there was some dragon-like guy who flew around in a dragon-shaped starship in the animated series, but it wasn't a "real" dragon.

Then again, I've only watched the original series and The Next Generation, so I could be wrong.

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44. Board Game: Victory in the West [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:3833]
Jean-Pierre Maurais
Canada
Quebec city
Quebec
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Look at the bottom left corner. You can see refugee counters. They jam roads.
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45. Board Game: Barbarian Kings [Average Rating:5.83 Overall Rank:6748]
Bruce Baskir
United States
Missouri
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Fourth row from the bottom, on the very right. Behold the dreaded "Swamp Frogs".
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46. Board Game: FAB: The Bulge [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:890]
Pierre Pinguet
France
Paris
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In FAB, an armored unit can under certain conditions make an "exploitation move" after combat and move again one area, potentially re-engaging a retreating unit or capturing areas before reinforcement arrive.

One of the German block is KG Pieper, which is only two steps, but can once per game, and before the end of turn 3, move its entire movement allowance during exploitation, potentially moving up to 6 areas if using roads.

If the US player is unprepared, KG Pieper can usually breaktrhough the lines and capture objectives.

Problem is the rest of the german army has difficulty following, so KG Pieper is usually cut out of supply and must breakthrough back towards their line laugh Which is more or less historical

Another small Panzer units is outfitted with US equipment and cause a confusion roll the first time it attacks a true US Unit.
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47. Board Game: The Siege of Constantinople [Average Rating:5.73 Overall Rank:7773]
Mike Urban
United States
Los Angeles
California
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Sixth row, second unit. Urban's Bombard. A mammoth cannon that has a chance of blowing up when it is used; historically, it did just that, killing its creator, Urban.

A personal favourite for some reason.
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48. Board Game: The Creature That Ate Sheboygan [Average Rating:6.30 Overall Rank:2636]
Barry Kendall
United States
Lebanon
Pennsylvania
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"The Creature that Ate Sheboygan" was the first map-and-counters boardgame to feature pieces for firefighters. To this day it remains the only boardgame with a counter for a fireboat (upper right corner).

The firefighters functioned to limit extension of monster-generated conflagrations. One firefighter unit could be replaced by the fireboat at player's discretion; the fireboat, of course, operated on the river but this limited its utility as it could not convert during the game to fight fires away from the river.

This is a great little game. It was one of the memorable disappointments of this bits puppy's life when TSR pulled the plug on a deluxe boxed version with plastic pieces after their long-flat-box, mounted-board games (Battle of Britain, Hunt for Red October, etc.) underperformed in sales. The cover art had even been exhibited in "upcoming releases" in their catalog for that year. Dang.
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49. Board Game: The Eagle and the Sun [Average Rating:3.26 Overall Rank:10948]
Michael G
Netherlands
Toulouse
France
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Good list, just spotted this one yesterday.
The Eagle and the Sun is a game about the WWII naval war in the Pacific. Apart from some unbuilt and conceptual ships from that era, it also includes CVN68 USS Nimitz, which allows you to recreate the events of the Kirk Douglas science-fiction vehicle "The Final Countdown".

It's the bottom most blue unit.
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50. Board Game: Carrier [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:1868]
Wulf Corbett
Scotland
Shotts
Lanarkshire
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Like the previous entry, this solo game includes the Nimitz and it's air group. Let's face it, the game can't be more of a disappointment than the movie...
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