second chance games

Search This Website of delight

Showing posts with label yobowargames. Show all posts

In the wargaming space, it's particularly interesting to see a game that bends the norms of the genre to suit a particular war or ev...

Battle for Iwo Jima Battle for Iwo Jima

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!


In the wargaming space, it's particularly interesting to see a game that bends the norms of the genre to suit a particular war or even specific battle. That's the nature of Battle for Iwo Jima, the new title from one-man operation YoboWargames. As you might imagine this game focuses on just one battle, the brutal struggle for that tiny island in the Pacific. Battle for Iwo Jima takes a look at the conflict through the lens of simple, yet thoughtful game design where each side follows a different set of rules. 

This is a single player only title, where you can only play as the US Marines, and there is only one scenario. This might sound pretty limited in an age where we expect games to have unlimited content and options, but in this case it works in the favor of the game. By designing the entire game around playing this one battle from one direction, the focus is entirely on making that specific experience more interesting. At the same time, the game uses a straightforward and simple set of rules that are more reminiscent of a boardgame than anything else.

Play proceeds through a fixed set of phases. The player controls the US Marines from the initial beach landings to the bitter end of the battle. If you manage to get there! This is not an easy game and it's entirely possible to be relieved of duty after only a few turns if things go exceptionally poorly. Each turn progresses through a series of distinct phases as the player assigns limited support points to units of their choosing, and moves the Marines around (while the Japanese shoot at them), then the Japanese get to hit them with artillery, and attack Marines that are adjacent. Surviving Marine units then get a chance to attack the Japanese units. Afterwards there is a night phase where the Marines can be attacked again by the Japanese. Occasionally a suicidal Banzai charge will occur which is a high stakes affair for everyone involved, but often favors the player. 

You'll notice that the Japanese defenders get many opportunities to inflict casualties on the Marines, while the player's forces only get one attack per turn, if they manage to get into position and aren't so fatigued as to make the attack more risk than reward. The key advantage that the Marines have is that they are highly mobile, able to move as far as they want each turn, while the Japanese defenders are fixed in place and never move. The trouble is, the only way for the Marines to find and close the distance to the defenders is to take fire and hope for the best. Often, if you aren't careful, your Marines will wander into a killzone, taking fire from two or three Japanese units at once. This hazard is at times unavoidable, as the time constraints mixed with the physical constraints of the geography force you to choose between making a safer, yet limited attack, or rolling the dice and trying to overwhelm the enemy.

I will admit that this was a difficult game for me, and I have not managed to win the entire campaign yet. Repeated plays have given me a better sense of strategy and how to deal with the challenges the game deals out, but it's still rough going. The battle also changes as it goes through a couple of phases. Taking the airfield near the beaches isn't too hard, as the Japanese are mostly in the open and there is some room to get at them once you crack the line in a spot or two. The next item on the agenda is taking Mt. Suribachi, which limits the damage from the Japanese artillery and eliminates one front from your concerns. This is a bit harder, as the Japanese are dug in and there is little room to maneuver. After that, the real grind begins as the player must break through and defeat multiple fortified lines of defense to conquer the rest of the island. While the Marines do get several waves of new units and some reinforcement points, they never feel like quite enough for the task at hand. Fortunately, the game does come with a thorough manual that includes a strategy guide, which you will definitely want to read through. 

To make all of this a bit more complicated, Marine units can only fight when they are in range of their HQ, which must by necessity be kept right at the edge of dangerous territory if you want to keep with your timetable. It's very tempting to move them up closer, directly into danger, so that your flanking units are still in contact. You also get several tank units, which can attack directly but are best used to support the attacks of infantry. You have no choice but to send the tanks into harm's way if you want them to be of any use, but you can dedicate your "support" points to them each turn to give them a better chance. 

So that covers most of the gameplay mechanics. It is indeed a relatively simple game that you can learn how to play in a matter of minutes. To win, however, will require you to learn the nuances of the system and how best to approach the problem at hand. Thoughtlessly throwing your Marines at the Japanese defenders will quickly result in them being whittled down to nothing long before you have control of the island. Rather, you must consider the potential risks and benefits of each move, and exploit any seams that appear in the Japanese defenses. You must also accept up front that you will take considerable casualties no matter what. I found this to be a sobering aspect of commanding this particular battle. There is no tactic that allows you to completely avoid taking fire and the accompanying loss of men. You have to put your boys into harm's way in order to achieve your objectives.

Battle for Iwo Jima has relatively simple graphics to go along with its simple rule set. That said, the visuals do have quite a lot of charm to them. The occasional animations bring the boardgame-esque map to life, like when flares go up during the night attack phase, or the occasional flight of US Navy fighters cruises across the map. One clear benefit of the simplicity is that the game has extremely low system requirements and should run on practically anything.

For the very low asking price, this game is easy to recommend to anyone interested in the battle or in the market for a simple, if not easy, wargame. You will get an enjoyable experience for sure, though once you have beaten the game there might not be too much reason to return. Still, this is a nice one to add to your collection whether you are an experienced wargamer or someone looking for an entry point into the genre. 

Battle for Iwo Jima is available on Steam.

- Joe Beard

Contact me at or on Twitter @_AWNT_

Battle of Korsun by Yobowargames  Let us set the scene. It is 1944, and there is a German group of troops in an expose...

Battle for Korsun by Yobowargames Battle for Korsun by Yobowargames

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!


Battle of Korsun



 Let us set the scene. It is 1944, and there is a German group of troops in an exposed position in Russia. The Russians are smelling blood, and intend to cut off a large group of Germans. The 1st and 2nd Ukrainian Fronts were tasked with cutting off an exposed group of German soldiers that were part of Army Group South. The whole debacle was engineered by Hitler's refusal to ever voluntarily give up a yard of ground in Russia, even if it meant whole armies would be sent to Siberia. By 1944, the Russians couldn't have had a better ally than him. Your job as the German player is to get out of Dodge. As the Russian player you are tasked with bagging the entire German force.

 So, let us now look at the game. First, it is a turn-based strategy game with each turn equal to one day. The version I played was on a PC on Steam, however, you can also play it on a MAC, IOS or Android. You can play only as the German player if you want to play against an AI. You can also play by email or hotseat. Now, back to the AI. It plays brutally with a capital 'B'. The Russian AI gets the first move against your forces in the western part of the map. When I say move, it is a euphemism for the destruction and devouring of your units. The AI also will go for the jugular and try for as deep a penetration as they can with their armor units. Your first look at the map after the Russian turn as the Germans will probably tempt you to end the game and shut down the computer. Just like Ronco, just wait there's more. After you try and move your forces away from the Russian tide, you will notice that you cannot move any of your units on the Eastern side of the map (unless you read the rules). So you have to endure a second bloodletting, usually as bad as the first. So, after two Russian moves your tattered forces are left to try and defend themselves and keep a line of supply open to the Southern part of the map. I have never juggled chainsaws, but I have seen it done and the task given you is almost as hard. Lance Craner is the person behind the game and he should either be congratulated or put away in a locked room. His sadistic tendencies toward we helpless gamers should not be overlooked by other game companies or the authorities. 

First Bloodletting

 The game is simple. There are no air units, and no supply to worry about, other than the German side keeping an open one to the South. The only real addition to the game is the effect of weather on movement, and it is just as deadly as the combat. Unless you want to play the Germans as salmon swimming upstream in molasses, KEEP YOUR UNITS NEAR ROADS. I also suggest that you keep whatever fetish you have around the house close at hand, be it a rabbit's foot or whatever.

 I have to apologize to Yobowargames. I did not like this game at first. No, I will rephrase this, I loathed it. I actually thought to myself after losing the second time, that I would rather go to the dentist than play this again. At least he has good meds, even if they do wear off. So, I did not play the game again for a long time. I was actually going to pay them for the review copy and be done with it. I finally forced myself to fire it up again. Did I enjoy playing as the Germans? No I still don't enjoy it because I am not a masochist. However, I can now appreciate the work and give kudos to how historically real this game is. In reality, some German units did make it out, but pretty much with only the clothes on their backs. The game truly represents the terrible position that the Germans were forced into.

 The game also has some other things up its sleeve. It is so simple that it is a great way to introduce newbs into the hobby. The game itself goes for $15 US on Steam, so it is also easy on the wallet. While you are there check out Yobowargames first game 'Kursk - Battle at Prochorovka'. They also have a tactical World War II game that is going to go into early access soon: 'Valor & Victory'.


Chance to win Kursk - Battle at Prochorovka . PC game by Yobowargames         All you have to do is comment at bottom of this a...

Win Kursk PC Game!!! Win Kursk PC Game!!!

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!


Chance to win Kursk - Battle at Prochorovka. PC game by Yobowargames
All you have to do is comment at bottom of this article then go to TW Facebook page "like" page and post and also share and comment.
Closing date 19th April.
Good Luck!
Thanks to Yobowargames for the Steam serial donated for this comp. Also look out for a review shortly!