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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51. Board Game: The Great War in Europe: Deluxe Edition [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:2452]
Bill Lawson
United States
Rutland
Vermont
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There is a counter for Goering (he is an ace air unit).It's on the back of an event chit that usually appears in 1918.
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52. Board Game: A House Divided [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:629]
László K.
United States
Hopatcong
New Jersey
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The foreign intervention units are special units in the game potentially available to the Confederate player [counter sleds not included in the game]. However, as written in the Phalanx Games edition, if the Confederate player has fulfilled the necessary requirements to trigger foreign intervention, then he/she is most likely about to win the game anyway.
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53. Board Game: Beachhead [Average Rating:5.60 Overall Rank:8731]
Michael Edwards
United States
Everett
Washington
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I'm shocked that this list doesn't include the Sergeant Stryker unit from Yaquinto's Beachhead!



A bit hard to see until you go full size, but he's in Marine green, the third row from the bottom, right hand side.

Can't really be hitting the beach unless you have John Wayne's character from The Sands of Iwo Jima along to save the day, can you? laugh
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54. Board Game: White Death [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:3253]
Bill Wood
United States
Eden
North Carolina
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A couple of unusual units, though I might be stretching the term 'unit' here to mean an entire military formation - the German 331st Infantry Division.

It is composed of three infantry regiments, and some horse drawn artillery.

What is unusual about it is that, unlike other divisions, only one regiment can assault per impulse.

The reason for this is that it was commanded by old men reservists, with two of the three regimental commanders being too ill to take the field. The result was that the one well enough to take the field, alternated in command of the regiments in the field.
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55. Board Game: Circus Maximus [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:1165]
Jean-Pierre Maurais
Canada
Quebec city
Quebec
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All chariots in that game are special units.

Description: Violent and bloody, Circus Maximus details the chariot races that occurred in ancient Rome. Eight teams race around the track three times to determine victory. Players prepare for the race by selecting the composition of their team of horses, their rider's skills, and the type of chariot that will be driven. Once the race begins the players are free to do as they wish to hamper the other racers including whipping the rider, ramming chariots with scythed wheels, smashing into horses, and running over crashed opponents. A campaign game of multiple races, in which players have to manage their teams and can increase their income by betting on races, is also possible.

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56. Board Game: Blood on the Snow: The Battle of Suomussalmi [Average Rating:5.85 Overall Rank:8194]
 
United States
Portland
Oregon
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The Soviet motorized brass band. Absolutely useless in combat, but if the Soviet player can get it off the map, the propaganda value is worth 2 VP.
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57. Board Game: NATO: Operational Combat in Europe in the 1970's [Average Rating:6.06 Overall Rank:6472]
Walter Clayton
United States
Savannah
Georgia
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One of my more favorite games.

NATO has Tri-Cap Units that can slice through Warsaw Pact ZOC, kill units and then slide back home before the end of the turn.

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58. Board Game: Fifth Frontier War [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:4069]
Andy Linman
United States
Allen
Texas
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In Fifth Frontier War there is a piece labeled "Imperial Warrent," which actually represents nothing more than a document. Its use is to allow a normally lower-ranked (but presumably more competent) admiral to take command over a higher-ranked one. Only one admiral can have the warrent, however.
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59. Board Game: Panzer Grenadier: Afrika Korps [Average Rating:6.30 Overall Rank:4105]
Xander Fulton
United States
Lake Oswego
Oregon
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Surrendering Italians.

The unit (left of the three, here) has no special rules and is treated as a regular infantry unit in all respects.

There are, however, rules for Italian troops to surrender to the enemy in this title. Just in case.
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60. Board Game: Afrika Korps [Average Rating:6.10 Overall Rank:2908]
Lance Wilkinson

Colorado
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Very surprised this one didn't make it, as it's one of the earlier war games.

The Rommel unit (upper left hand corner, in the pink) represents...Rommel.

It adds a little chrome by giving units a movement bonus.
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61. Board Game: The Devil's Cauldron: The Battles for Arnhem and Nijmegen [Average Rating:8.17 Overall Rank:1022]
Robert Wilson
Canada
Riverview
New Brunswick
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4th from the bottom, 7th from the right..........




German division that commandeered fire trucks
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62. Board Game: Dragon Pass [Average Rating:6.72 Overall Rank:2323]
Greg Wilson
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Just visible in the block of black counters to the top-right is Hungry Jack, the killer pumpkin.
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63. Board Game: Summer Storm: The Battle of Gettysburg [Average Rating:7.19 Overall Rank:4564]
Nigel Wright
United Kingdom
Ruddington, Nottingham
England
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Almost forgot this one - 2nd row 7th along - a what-if Stonewall Jackson leader counter - as a zombie! The guy was dead, so I guess it makes sense, right? zombie
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64. Board Game: Ogre [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:683]
Russ Williams
Poland
Wrocław
Dolny Śląsk
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How is Ogre not on this list yet? It's the first game I thought of...
Quote:
The basic OGRE game gives one player a force of infantry and armor, and a command post he must defend. The other player has only one unit - but it's an OGRE.
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65. Board Game: Pacific War [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:1226]
Edmund Hon
Canada
Maple
Ontario
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VG's Pacific War includes the German battleship Tirpitz as an optional reinforcement unit for the Japanese player. It is located on the right hand portion of the counter sheet shown, top row, third from the left.
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66. Board Game: Combat Commander: Mediterranean [Average Rating:8.55 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.55 Unranked]
Christopher O
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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In Combat Commander: Mediterranean, there are two leader counters which are sort of in-joke pop-culture references.

One, which can be seen on the right hand side of this countersheet, fifth row, second column is "Captain Antonile". Reads completely innocent, right?

Say it out loud:

Captain AN TON EEL

"Captain and Tennile?"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captain_&_Tennille

...of "Love Will Keep Us Together" fame. Technically, in Italian it would be pronounced "An-ton-ee-lay", but I think they knew exactly what they were doing.

Also, in this countersheet:



On the right side of the sheet, top row, furthest right, is a officer named "Lieutenant Dan", who you may recall was a major character in the motion picture "Forrest Gump" (Well, Lt. Dan Taylor, to be exact, but he was called "Lieutenant Dan" by Gump).

Both of these may be completely innocent, but I think they're intentionally subtle jokes.

I wouldn't be surprised if there are other in-jokes in the various leader names included with the game.
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67. Board Game: Here I Stand [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:83]
Greg Forster
United States
Oconomowoc
Wisconsin
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In Here I Stand, Maurice of Saxony is double-sided (or, in the stand-up version, double-ended) and can be flipped between Protestant and Hapsburg allegiance by a card play, representing the historical Maurice's multiple changes of loyalty during the period covered by the game. (In the accompanying image he's in the far right of the center row; this is the "stand-up" version which is flipped vertically when Maurice changes allegiance; there's also a flat counter that can be flipped over.)
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68. Board Game: Raid on Iran [Average Rating:5.80 Overall Rank:8125]
primus jansson
Sweden
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I might remember this wrong but I think there's a special counter for Ayatollah Khomeini in this game.
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69. Board Game: Winter War [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:3247]
Andrew Taubman
Australia
Sydney
NSW
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The bottom left of the units in this picture is one of the fantastic Finnish Ski units. No combat but great for surrounding the poor benighted Russians in this game. An old favourite of mine.
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70. Board Game: Anzio [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:2109]
Andrew Taubman
Australia
Sydney
NSW
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I can't see it here, but IIRC this game had a Jewish Brigade counter, which must be unique in WWII - what brave lads they must have been, considering their certain fate if captured.
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71. Board Game: Death in the Trenches: The Great War, 1914-1918 [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:5552]
Robert Madison
United States
Milwaukee
Wisconsin
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Hope this is not cheating, since I am the co-designer of this game. Death in the Trenches is full of obscure units (most of my games are). Some of the odder units are the Assyrians (Chaldeans, the Russians set up a "police force" of these mideast Christians that did battle with the Persians and Turks), a Chinese expeditionary force (this was actually planned but never executed) and Armenian population markers that the Turk physically removes from the map as he conducts the infamous Armenian Massacre/Genocide.
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72. Board Game: Byzantium Reborn [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:6128]
Robert Madison
United States
Milwaukee
Wisconsin
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This game has some odd units (most of my games do). We have counters representing the Ecumenical Patriarch (head of the Greek Orthodox Church) and the Caliph (the ex-Turkish Sultan, nominal leader of worldwide Sunni Islam). The rules allow these two religious leaders to be kidnapped or lynched. The game also has counters representing Refugees, which compel players to waste military units shepherding them out of harm's way.
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73. Board Game: Sevastopol [Average Rating:7.43 Unranked]
Elwyn Darden
United States
Richmond
Virginia
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The Lancaster Gun, fourth unit in on the sixth row. The Lancaster gun is the most influential piece in the game... but there is a catch.

The Lancaster gun is the only piece of Allied artillery that can strike with deadly effect from any point on the board. Because of this the Russian must always, always, always maintain a two unit garrison in each bastion, just in case the Lancaster gun picks a lone garrison unit off and leaves a bastion unprotected.

The problem is that the Lancaster gun receives two rounds of ammunition in a 25 turn game, once on turn 2 and once on turn 24. Thus the threat is lost if the gun is used.
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74. Board Game: Narvik [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:3591]
Elwyn Darden
United States
Richmond
Virginia
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The King's Own Hussars. Four British Matildas rated a 1-0-4.
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75. Board Game: Jerusalem [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:5170]
Elwyn Darden
United States
Richmond
Virginia
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Many candidates here, but the winner is the Jerusalem Convoy, 6th row, 9th in (6,9) that is an infinite movement factor. No misprint, no errata, just infinite as long as you stay on the road and you don't lose a combat.

2nd Place (10,4) al Katub, the mad bomber, who must roll every time he is used to see if blows himself up.

3rd Place (2,4) a flamethrower tank

(dis)honorable mention (8,8)&(9,8) the Irgun and (9,9) the Stern Gang.
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