Wargames To Go 15 - The Korean War
Mark Johnson
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As always, I keep a geeklist to organize the games I plan to play (or sometimes merely mention) for my next Wargames To Go podcast. Comments & suggestions from listeners and everyone else are welcome!

After focusing on European wars for most of my recent episodes, even the latest series on the F&I War was largely about two European rivals in the new world. Now it's time to switch focus entirely to Asia. The Korean War is sometimes nicknamed "the forgotten war," and certainly I didn't know much about it. I didn't, that is, until a few years ago when Hungadunga's Wargamers Book Club tackled The Coldest Winter, by David Halberstam. I learned a ton from that book & discussion. It's taken me this long to get to the subject for my podcast.

-Mark




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Mark Johnson's irregular podcast about small wargames
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1. Board Game: Holdfast: Korea 1950-51 [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:8282]
Board Game: Holdfast: Korea 1950-51
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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I gather that the first Holdfast game on the WW2 eastern front is well-received, but this one not as much. I still want to play it, and have seen that the BGG community has just a handful of recommended house rules to tweak it.
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Board Game: Yalu: The Chinese Counteroffensive in Korea: November 1950-May 1951 (Second Edition)
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Bought in a moment of weakness, probably when designer John Hill passed. Not because it isn't good (ratings are very high), but because this is probably too big of a game for me. We'll see.
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3. Board Game: Chosin: X Corps Escapes the Trap [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:11759]
Board Game: Chosin: X Corps Escapes the Trap
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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As usual, I gravitate to the S&T games, even though they're often too large/long, and sometimes suffer from incomplete development. It's the accompanying articles that bring these games to life for me.
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4. Board Game: Corée 1950 [Average Rating:6.56 Unranked]
Board Game: Corée 1950
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Vae Victis games are closer to my ideal for magazine games. Their scope is generally smaller, and nowadays they have diecut counters. True, only the RULES are in English, but I can labor my way through the French articles, which is both rewarding and difficult at the same time.
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5. Board Game: The Gauntlet [Average Rating:6.56 Unranked]
Board Game: The Gauntlet
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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As usual, I gravitate to the S&T games, even though they're often too large/long, and sometimes suffer from incomplete development. It's the accompanying articles that bring these games to life for me.
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6. Board Game: Inchon: MacArthur's Gambit [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:9290]
Board Game: Inchon: MacArthur's Gambit
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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I'm less familiar with Command Magazine's games, even though I own a bunch of them. Inchon is a huge part of the Korean War story, and this is my game to try for it.
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7. Board Game: Korean War Battles [Average Rating:7.28 Unranked]
Board Game: Korean War Battles
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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As usual, I gravitate to the S&T games, even though they're often too large/long, and sometimes suffer from incomplete development. It's the accompanying articles that bring these games to life for me.
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8. Board Game: MacArthur's War [Average Rating:6.88 Unranked]
Board Game: MacArthur's War
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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This is definitely the design paradigm I like best: an attempt to boil a complex wargame down to a 90-minute experience with modest map size and number of counters. Those attempts don't always work, but they're worth a shot.
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9. Board Game: Major Campaigns of General Douglas MacArthur [Average Rating:6.20 Overall Rank:12660]
Board Game: Major Campaigns of General Douglas MacArthur
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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I've played a few of Sid Sackson's wargames already. Yep, the American who almost invented eurogames in the 1960s--the designer of Acquire, Can't Stop, and a million others--tried his hand at a couple wargames in the 1970s. They are very non-traditional, but I like that.
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10. Board Game: Naktong Bulge: Breaking the Perimeter [Average Rating:5.36 Unranked]
Board Game: Naktong Bulge: Breaking the Perimeter
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Sometimes these little titles suffer from Decision's questionable development and modest production...without the benefit of an accompanying magazine. Nevertheless, they sometimes work ok, and I like the opportunity to play a single, discrete battle within this war.
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11. Board Game: Pusan Perimeter [Average Rating:7.56 Unranked]
Board Game: Pusan Perimeter
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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If I can find this one somewhere in my collection, I definitely want to try it. Another small wargame with 90 minute playing time, but this time one with very good reviews.
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Board Game: Hunters over Korea: A Solitaire Game of Air Combat over Korea (1950-1953)
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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I almost forgot to include something about the air war over Korea. Something like Flight Leader is too tedious, so I’m looking for other treatments. HOK may be the sort of game that’s right for me.
 
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13. Board Game: Red Menace [Average Rating:6.31 Overall Rank:13946]
Board Game: Red Menace
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Not a Korean War game, but it relates to fears that the war would expand into nuclear conflict between the superpowers. This is pre-ICBM, so it's up to the nuclear bombers (and to oppose them, the interceptors). This is meaningful to me because my father served in the USAF from '53-57. He was a jet engine mechanic for B-47 Stratojets, part of the Strategic Air Command. He joined during the Korean War, and served in the broader, geo-strategic capacity of the Air Force.
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14. Board Game: Fail Safe [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:10446]
Board Game: Fail Safe
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Another game that brings in the 1950s Cold War and more of my dad's B-47's.
 
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15. Board Game: Combat Commander: Pacific [Average Rating:8.09 Overall Rank:622]
Board Game: Combat Commander: Pacific
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Is there a Korean War scenario for this system? I don't think so, which is a shame. One of my local wargame buddies (I'm looking at you, Brian!) is supportive of my podcast, but doesn't normally care for any of the games (and only some of the topics) I tackle. He's a big CC fan, though, and if there was a Korean War scenario I bet we'd play it. I know Korea isn't the same technology, tactics, or combatants as WW2 Pacific (or WW2 Europe), but it's not TOO much of a stretch, is it?
 
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16. Board Game: Also Ran [Average Rating:7.17 Unranked]
Board Game: Also Ran
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Even though I don't think I'll make it to all of the games above this one, I (pretty much) KNOW that I won't get to the ones below this point. Often because I don't own them or have access to them. But they're worth listing anyway, and I welcome comments about them.
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17. Board Game: The Chosin Few [Average Rating:6.78 Overall Rank:8634]
Board Game: The Chosin Few
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Very tempted, but I don't already own it and clearly have enough titles up there already.
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18. Board Game: Forgotten War: Korea 1950-1953 – ASL Module 15 [Average Rating:8.61 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.61 Unranked]
Board Game: Forgotten War: Korea 1950-1953 – ASL Module 15
ian morris
United Kingdom
Lichfield
Staffs
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This forthcoming game in the ASL series is of interest to some of us.





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19. Board Game: The Korean War June 1950-May 1951 [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:2734]
Board Game: The Korean War June 1950-May 1951
Judd Vance
United States
Wichita
Kansas
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"Now it is mumbo jumbo like that!!! And skinny little lizards thinking they're the last dragon to give kung fu a bad name. Come on, LeRoy! I got something REAL for yo @ss in these hands!"
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This is THE game to play.
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20. Board Game: Iron Fists of Our Fathers: Korean War [Average Rating:9.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Iron Fists of Our Fathers: Korean War
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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Pretty unlikely that I'll get it, but it's just such a fascinating idea: a wargame designed & published in China about the Korean War! The translated rules and scenario book are files that can be downloaded here on BGG. At least one American wargamer tried it (available for purchase at Noble Knight Games), but didn't have a good experience. That may have been before the latest translation was available, though. The translation isn't perfect, but seems completely understandable to me.
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21. Board Game: Korea: The Forgotten War [Average Rating:8.08 Overall Rank:3029]
Board Game: Korea: The Forgotten War
Eric Burden
United States
Streator
Illinois
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If you like an operational approach to the Korean War this might just work for you. The OCS system might seem daunting to some, but like anything until you play it you'll never find out. It's really a fairly easy rule set to read which makes it easier to pick up and the rules after several years are very refined and easy to grasp at least IMHO. Nice list I am curious what others will add to it about the Korean War.
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22. Board Game: Korea: The Mobile War 1950-51 [Average Rating:5.82 Overall Rank:14476]
Board Game: Korea: The Mobile War 1950-51
Bill Eldard
United States
Burke
Virginia
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Here's an old one, and one of the earliest wargames on the Korean War (albeit only 1950-1951). It was my second purchase from SPI. Very playable.

Board Game: Korea: The Mobile War 1950-51
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23. Board Game: Semper Fi! [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:8757]
Board Game: Semper Fi!
United States
San Clemente
California
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Here the truceless armies yet / Trample, rolled in blood and sweat; / They kill and kill and never die; / And I think that each is I. // None will part us, none undo / The knot that makes one flesh of two, /
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Sick with hatred, sick with pain, / Strangling -- When shall we be slain? // When shall I be dead and rid / Of the wrong my father did? / How long, how long, till spade and hearse / Puts to sleep my mother's curse?
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Series: Tactical Combat Series (MMP) comes to the Korean War.
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24. Board Game: Chosin [Average Rating:6.65 Unranked]
Board Game: Chosin
United States
San Clemente
California
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Here the truceless armies yet / Trample, rolled in blood and sweat; / They kill and kill and never die; / And I think that each is I. // None will part us, none undo / The knot that makes one flesh of two, /
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Sick with hatred, sick with pain, / Strangling -- When shall we be slain? // When shall I be dead and rid / Of the wrong my father did? / How long, how long, till spade and hearse / Puts to sleep my mother's curse?
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Eight-hour turns; two of the day turns favor the Marines, while the night turn favors the Chinese.
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25. Board Game: MiG Alley: Air War Over Korea 1951 [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:12945]
Board Game: MiG Alley: Air War Over Korea 1951
Mark Johnson
United States
Santa Clarita
California
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That's a Palm Pilot on the left, and a pink iPod mini on the right. Yes, I've been doing BGTG that long!
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http://www.WargamesToGo.com
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I've played the game's two predecessors (Cactus Air Force and Eagle Day). This would be good to try, too.
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