The Gold Club Free Library
Since Christmas, we’ve been giving our Gold Club a new download every day, usually something out of our archives that’s been out of print for a while. Combined with those already available, that’s 65 free items ranging from complete games to full-sized expansion books (with pieces!) on down through the old-style Golden Journal.
And they’re yours at no extra charge, when you join the Gold Club.
You can do that right here.
For a long time, I held on to most of these with the thought that we might re-issue a new version someday. Gradually the realization sank in that I’ll only design, write and publish X amount of stuff, in which equation X is an unknown but limited number. And new editions of old expansion sets just aren’t what I want to expend that limited number of chances on. So instead, we gave them to the Gold Club.
Let’s continue our look at them with ten more:
Panzer Grenadier: Estonia's Freedom War
An expansion for Infantry Attacks: August 1914, with its scenarios brought up to the new Second Edition standard. Ten scenarios from Estonia’s War of Independence, and everything you need to play is either here or in August 1914. You get the Estonian Army of 1919, plus the Red Army that they fought.
Panzer Grenadier: Power of the East
A small Panzer Grenadier expansion, with just 88 pieces and 10 scenarios, based on the Soviet-Japanese battles at Lake Khasan and Nomonhan in 1938 and 1939. Among those 88 pieces you get Mongolian and Manchukuoan cavalry, and that’s worth the price of admission all by itself.
Panzer Grenadier: Italy's Armor
Additional Italian armored divisions for our old Gazala game, letting you fight out the battle with a purely Italian Armata Corazzata Africa. Which is pretty tough because while the Italians are surprisingly good, the Germans are much better, and in this variant you have to play without them.
Panzer Grenadier: Red & White
Polish tankers face the Red Army in a 1948 Third World War that never happened. The Poles are still in exile, and still very tough. There are a lot of Soviets. It’s a full-sized Panzer Grenadier expansion book with 77 new Polish playing pieces.
Assorted Naval Variants
One of our earliest Golden Journals, this set was just what it sounds like: a scattering of different Second World War at Sea and Great War at Sea variants. Later we adopted theme issues, but for this one you get a whole collection of different stuff including full-sized Austro-Hungarian destroyers.
We made this set for the old Panzer Grenadier: Eastern Front, with three full sheets (495 pieces!) giving you the entire 1st Moscow Motorized Rifle Division, the showpiece unit of the pre-war Red Army of Workers and Peasants. It was a huge division, so you get a huge number of pieces in their special color scheme.
Second World War at Sea: Gin Palace
HMS Agincourt, the “Gin Palace” (she wasn’t just “a gin court,” she was so grand she had to be “a gin palace”) served under three flags in various Great War at Sea games. This Golden Journal modernized her as a battleship-carrier, repair ship, anti-aircraft ship, helicopter carrier, amphibious assault ship, high-speed oiler and a battle cruiser. And of course, under many different flags.
Second World War at Sea: The Kaiser's Navy
Before there was the Second Great War, there was The Kaiser’s Navy, a full-sized book with a full-sized sheet of pieces. All of that brought the High Seas Fleet into the Second World War at Sea, but with the same 1940’s technology as in our own world (except for airships; there are airships in this alternative history). It never quite satisfied me so I replaced it with the far lager and more comprehensive The Cruel Sea.
Panzer Grenadier: Grossdeutschland 1943
This was a divisional set, with pieces for Kursk: Burning Tigers allowing you to substitute special Grossdeutschland Division pieces in their own color scheme for the regular army pieces included in the game. You get 176 pieces, with scads of tanks in there, and since it’s a download at no additional cost you can make as many as you like.
Panzer Grenadier: Grossdeutschland 1946
I’m not sure why we did this, an alternative-history Panzer Grenadier expansion set with 10 scenarios and 165 pieces that give the Grossdeutschland Division all manner of weird-science weapons: anti-tank missiles, ultra-heavy Maus and Tiger III tanks, fully-tracked armored personnel carriers and helicopters. But we made it, and you can have it, if you’re a member.
Panzer Grenadier: Blackshirt Division
A Panzer Grenadier expansion, I thought this a pretty cool concept, sending the Fascist “M” Blackshirt Armored Division to Tunisia to battle the British and Americans there. We did it first as a comb-bound expansion set with laser-cut pieces, just for the Gold Club, and ended up cancelling the proposal to expand it into a regular book. At least the download lets you still stomp on the Blackshirts anyway.
Panzer Grenadier: Edelweiss
One of our earliest Panzer Grenadier expansions, Edelweiss went through a couple of versions and ended up as a full-sized book. German mountain troops were the theme. It used the old shotgun approach, with scenarios from all over the place and a need for just about every Panzer Grenadier game then in print to play them all As those games fell out of print, it came time to retire Edelweiss as well.
Panzer Grenadier (Modern): Intervention 1967
Soviet paratroopers jump into the Six-Day War and fight the Israelis. They’re pretty tough and they bring a cute little airborne assault gun with them plus some pretty salty anti-tank weapons. The Israelis rarely get to fight anyone at their level (the Jordanians are the best of the Arab armies, but their good troops and even better weapons than the IDF are let down by poor leadership). So it’s an interesting diversion, to see how the Israelis stack up against a superpower’s first-line troops.
Panzer Grenadier: Japanese Armor
We did this as a Saipan variant, giving the Japanese their newest tanks - some of which were still on the drawing board, some of which already existed but were held back to defend the home islands. Since we’re unlikely to ever make a Panzer Grenadier: Operation Olympic, this is probably the only place to see those tanks in action.
Second World War at Sea: Royal Netherlands Navy
A full-sized book from our early attempts at a Second Great War at Sea. You do get to plaster Singapore with waves of Dutch B17 bombers, which is not something you see in many wargames. The Royal Netherlands Navy is large and powerful (we had a whole sheet to fill!) and you get more Brits, French, Germans and Japanese. This was one of the first books to use the story-arc format, and that’s pretty cool, too.
Great War at Sea: Reichsmarine
The Royal Navy gets all the German ships scuttled at Scapa Flow, while the Weimar Republic gets to keep the old dreadnoughts that didn’t make the trip and were seized later as compensation. That makes for a whole lot of re-flagged and re-named ships, and of course you can fight with them in 10 scenarios.
Alamein Expansion Set One
Just what the title says, 140 new pieces for our old Alamein game with another German panzer division (the 10th), a motorized-tropical air-landing division (the 22nd, and that was its full designation) and a bunch more new units, all of them German. I had planned and sketched out three more sets, but that system has really information-dense pieces and the variants needed more resources than we could afford to give them. But the one that did make it is really cool.
Soldier Kings: Enlightened Warlords
When Soldier Kings fell out of print, that spelled the end for Enlightened Warlords, too. It’s a history/analysis/variant splatbook, with some pretty good additional rules (like giving each power special abilities and their own unique victory conditions) that make the player-countries operate more like their historical counterparts. This was the model for the type of analysis book we’ve done since, and if its core game was still around, it would be, too.
Second World War at Sea: Transports
Transport pieces in Second World War at Sea games are pretty boring: silhouette views on small pieces, on a generic blue-gray background. They’re used for either side. Transports gives you 280 “long” pieces for transports, all of them brightly colored for various nationalities: Brits, Americans, Japanese, Italians, Norwegians and more. Yes, Norwegians. You get 280 of them, so you’re going to be covered in just about every conceivable scenario.
Charles De Gaulle’s 4th Armored Division in their own special color scheme, with 253 pieces letting you cut-and-paste together your own French armored division. They crushed the 10th Panzer Division, now they can fight on your table, too.
Granada: The Fall of Islamic Spain
This is a complete game - you can print and assemble everything you need to play. The subject is the final war of the Christian Spanish kingdoms against Islamic Granada, 1481 - 1492. It’s a beautiful game, with big one-inch-square pieces and a lovely map, and very easy to play. You’ll need 10-sided dice.
You can read about Granada’s Last War right here.
Desert Rat Division
One of our divisional downloads, this one features the British 7th “Desert Rats” Armoured Division in a special scarlet color scheme. It shows the division during the desert war, when it was still an elite force; by the time it landed in France in 1944 war-weariness had reduced the division’s effectiveness to simply ordinary.
1942: The Defense of France
I really expected this to be a runaway best-seller when we offered it in expanded book format, but the audience disagreed and we ended up cancelling that project. This is the original format, a set of 10 scenarios and 88 pieces, featuring the drawing-board tanks of France chewing up the panzers. You get Somuas with long-barreled 47mm and 75mm guns, extra-heavy Char B1 breakthrough tanks, and a bunch more.
You can see the French tanks right here.
Patton’s Nightmare is a full-sized Panzer Grenadier expansion book, with 77 playing pieces and 20 scenarios, plus a pretty involved campaign game. We had already used the pieces in a comb-bound expansion set called Iron Curtain, so this was their last hurrah. They’re pretty cool: giant American tanks like the M46 and M32 improved Pershings all the way up to the T28 85-ton “assault tank.” For a very limited time, Gold Club members can snag the die-cut and mounted pieces (as many as they want - build your own armored divisions of them!).
You can see the giant tank pieces right here.
Finnish Fantasy Fleet
Like every middling sea-faring nation, Finland wanted a powerful navy or, barring that, a mediocre one. They got neither, but we gave them one anyway - with the ships they wanted, but never got their mittens on - with their own rebuilt armored cruiser, a big and modern coast-defense ship and some tiny coast-defense ships, plus some destroyers. And you can play with them in Sea of Iron.
You can see Finland’s little fleet right here.
1940: The Fall of Luxembourg
An expansion for Panzer Grenadier: 1940 The Fall of France, we included the entire Luxembourgisch order of battle for 1940, which easily fit in the set of 24 pieces. Luxembourg wasn’t a big country, but wasn’t exactly tiny either - with a population of 600,000 and well-developed industry, it could have easily fielded a well-equipped mechanized division instead of a battalion of gendarmes in comic-opera uniforms. The actual plan to defense against a German invasion was to build huge steel doors across the roads leading into Luxembourg, lock them, and pretend no one was home. We included pieces for the big steel doors, too.
The Habsburg Fleet
One of our early attempts at a Second Great War at Sea, this book kept the same technology as out own 1940 and so it doesn’t fit in our alternative-history story arc. It’s been replaced there by a completely new book, but this one gives you Austro-Hungarian jet fighters, fast battleships, aircraft carriers and heavy bombers, so it’s pretty cool.
Another full-sized book, Fortress Malta is an expansion for the out-of-print Island of Death, with pieces and scenarios for all of the various Axis plans to invade Malta between 1940 and 1942. You get 280 more pieces with Libyan paratroopers and Italian firemen using their extension ladders to land troops on the cliffs of Malta, a complete German airborne division, an extra Italian airborne division, German tanks and a whole lot more cool stuff.
You can read the publisher’s preview right here.
Return to Malta
If Malta had ever fallen, surely the Allies would try to take it back. Here they do, with Canadian and Polish paratroopers and United States Marines. It’s another expansion for the long-departed Island of Death; you’ll need Fortress Malta, too. You get 180 more pieces and scenarios so you can play with them.
You can read the designer’s notes right here.
We did this divisional download - 253 pieces’ worth - as a promotional piece for the long out-of-print Panzer Grenadier: Cassino 1944. Cassino’s never coming back, but you still can paste up the whole 36th “Texas” Division in Panzer Grenadier glory.
Panzer Grenadier: Panzer Lehr
I hesitated a long while before adding Panzer Lehr to the Free Library; there was a strong argument to be made for updating the scenarios to Panzer Grenadier Fourth Edition standard and to draw on game currently in print for maps and pieces. But we had no pieces in stock, and that turned me toward putting it in the Library and not bringing out a new edition. We need to be looking forward, not backward, so that energy will go to creating completely new games and books.
You can read the publisher’s preview right here.
I really liked Alsace 1940; it turned the map from Alsace 1945 into a completely new and different game, since now the French were attacking the Germans from west to east so that whole lower left quadrant of the map that saw no action in Alsace 1945 became the center of hotly-action. The background came from our Second Great War alternative history, and since I made the whole thing up, I could make up the story to support an interesting and fun game. But while I liked it, the audience was less thrilled; by the time we released it the core game, Alsace 1945, was well past its sales prime.
You can read the publisher’s preview right here.
Panzer Grenadier: Imperial Marines
Panzer Grenadier players, they want their history. And I can understand that, seeing what else is out there. But I wanted to do something weird, and the Golden Journal is where we let that flag proudly fly. In this case, Imperial German Marines fight the Australians in New Guinea, and they have helicopters and elephants to help them. This is, to date, the only appearance of an elephant in the Panzer Grenadier series.
Read here how it’s all about the elephant.
Second World War at Sea: The Tsar's Navy
This set went a long way toward the evolution of the Second Great War alternative-history story arc. The Imperial Russian Navy sits astride the Turkish Straits and sorties into the Mediterranean to fight assorted foes (there’s no story linking the scenarios together). It left me feeling that the game was missing something, and it had too much of a feel of “same game, different colored pieces.” For what it is it’s not bad, but I wasn’t satisfied with what it was.
You can see the ships right here.
Panzer Grenadier: Waltzing Matilda
Waltzing Matilda is a Panzer Grenadier expansion exploring a Japanese invasion of Australia, in which the Japanese have armored support and so do the Australians. It’s actually a pretty interesting topic, as it brings in actual Japanese tanks that either weren’t produced or were and didn’t see action (being held back for the final dense of the Home Islands). And there’s Japanese cavalry. The Australians have horsed cavalry, too, and the armored units that didn’t leave Australia during the war. So it’s a fairly plausible variant, it’s just something we probably shouldn’t have made but we did anyway.
Great War at Sea: Great White Fleet
Back in the early days of the old Avalanche Press, we did a scenario book for Great War at Sea called Great White Fleet, and then in the last days of the old Avalanche Press, we did another called Great White Fleet. This is the latter book, a full-sized scenario book of pre-dreadnought fightin’ around the world. It was supposed to be a minor update of the first version, but rather than make minor updates I wrote a completely new book. That wasn’t the best idea from a business standpoint, but it was a good book.
You can read a preview right here.
This was a set of 330 pieces showing the German 1st Panzer Division in its full 1941 Panzer Grenadier appearance. I have no idea why we made this; it never had its own product page on the website (unlike all the others on this page, that title has no link). We may have given it away as a sales incentive; I just don’t remember. But it does look good.
Second World War at Sea: FDR's Lost Warships
Extra American battleships, carriers, cruisers and destroyers, all based on the premise that Roosevelt ignored the Republican deficit hawks and kept spending money in 1937 instead of trying to balance the budget with the Depression still on and a new war on the horizon. He didn’t do that, and it cost jobs and later lives. When faced with a huge problem, you go big or you go home.
Panzer Grenadier: Winter Soldiers
For a long time, we had two Battle of the Bulge games for Panzer Grenadier, one from fighting on the south flank (Battle of the Bulge) and one from the north flank (Elsenborn Ridge). Winter Soldiers had scenarios that drew on both games for maps and pieces, since only one had river maps and only one had Waffen SS troops. It’s a good scenario book, but Battle of the Bulge is never coming back into print. We could have re-worked it to use maps and pieces from games still in print, but in this case I also chose to move forward rather than look back.
Infantry Attacks: To Hell With Spain
This was in Infantry Attacks game based on the Spanish-American War, and I commissioned it, but never should have. The Infantry Attacks system (the first edition in this case, though it’s true of the second as well) needs a number of special rules to handle handles the 1898 battlefield. It has a huge number of pieces (the Americans brought lots of guys to San Juan Hill) and draws on way too many games for its maps. But you’re not going to find the tactical land battles of 1898 anywhere else.
You can read the publisher’s farewell here.
Great War at Sea: Turkish Black Sea Fleet
This was one of the early issues of the Golden Journal, and it presented the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Turkish colors, so they could come out and fight the Allies. This never happened, but the Allies feared that it could, so I thought it made for a very nice little Great War at Sea variant.
Great War at Sea: Spoils of Victory
In this Golden Journal, we gave the French the best ships of the German High Seas Fleet. This was among their actual demands, though their allies were unlikely to agree. In this variant you could use them in Plan Gold, and so in the Free Library download you also get the Plan Gold scenarios and can order the map and pieces (while supplies last) pretty cheap, which gives you the complete game, which is a pretty good value.
Panzer Grenadier: War on the Equator
The 1941 war between Ecuador and Peru is thing that really happened, and we published what I’m sure is the only game ever made on the topic. I held onto this for a very long time, hoping to re-issue it as a stand-alone game in Playbook format, and I may regret not having done that. It’s a great little game: the Peruvians have tanks, marines and paratroopers and the Ecuadorians . . . well, they don’t. Giving it away was really, really hard.
Here’s a look at the pieces.
Western Desert Force
North Africa, regiment/brigade scale, 1940-42. This is a complete game, with a three-piece map (33x17 inches) and 140 pieces. It’s a good game, but we decided to stop supporting one-off games that weren’t part of a series so it wasn’t reprinted.
Panzer Grenadier: Maple Leaf Brigade
An expansion set with 88 pieces and 10 scenarios; we originally released this as a comb-bound expansion set with laser-cut pieces and had plans to upgrade it to a regular book with silky-smooth, die-cut pieces. But the gamers, they want completely new stuff, so that plan got canceled and now it’s a Gold Cub download.
You can see the playing pieces here.
Panzer Grenadier: Arctic Front Deluxe Edition
A full-sized book, with 40 scenarios and 88 pieces (you’ll need two sets, so it’s really 176 pieces). This book holds a special place for me, as it’s the descendant of the first game design I ever did. I was 14 years old and created a variant for the ancient Panzerblitz game, typed it up and sent it to the Avalon Hill General magazine with my hand-drawn pieces, and got a nasty rejection that propelled me to found my own game company. It draws on games that are now out of print for maps and pieces, so I decided it’s time to put away childish things. And design a complete stand-alone game on the topic instead.
Arctic Front: The Marshal's Fist
Finland had an armored division, and now you can have it too. This is a divisional download with 165 pieces including Finnish tanks (such as they were); it goes with Arctic Front Deluxe. When we return to Finland, if we ever do, this or something much like it is the color scheme we’ll be using for the Finns.
Polish Fantasy Fleet
This appeared in the first run of the Golden Journal, when it still had laser-cut pieces and we printed it on the office printer. It’s a fun premise: in the 1930’s the Poles claimed to have plans to build a powerful surface fleet with battle cruisers, heavy cruisers and destroyers, just so they could give it away as a bargaining chip in disarmament talks. So we gave them their fleet, in cardboard, and you can fight the Soviets with it.
Here’s a more detailed look at it.
Some years back, when the company was struggling, we crafted a series of “divisional downloads” that gave Panzer Grenadier players a whole division’s worth of pieces in a special scheme for that division. This one has 165 pieces for the Italian 132nd “Ariete” Armored Division. That’s it, just the pieces, but they do look really cool.
Infantry Attacks: The Chihuahua Incident
In June 1916, American and Mexican troops fought a brief battle at Carrizal in the state of Chihuahua. Just what happened remains unclear, but we made it into a game anyway. We originally issued this as a free Gold Club download to introduce Infantry Attacks, back when the Gold Club was new as was the series. It fell off the website and people asked for it, so we dredged up the files and set it up to download. It has four scenarios, most of them “teaching” situations, and 165 pieces. I can’t see us ever going back to this subject so this will remain one of those quirky odd items we’re known for best.
Panzer Grenadier: National People's Army
This was another old-style Golden Journal, and what stands out to me are how really sharp the East German pieces look. I really, really like that color scheme and we have to find a way to get it into Panzer Grenadier (Modern). This set is for regular Panzer Grenadier, giving you East Germans to play with alongside your Iron Curtain era Americans and Soviets. They aren’t very good but damn they look good doing it.
Great War at Sea: Dreadnoughts
One of our first book expansions, Dreadnoughts was an expansion for Great War at Sea: Mediterranean. It was a collection of assorted variants under one cover, sort of like a bound magazine, and for what it was it was very well-received. We added the Spanish Armada, many more Turks and Austrians (of course), and the battleship Agincourt in many different color schemes. But when Mediterranean fell out of print, Dreadnoughts lost its reason for being, as many of the ships that appeared there will be seen again in The Wine-Dark Sea or Secret Treaties. It had its day, and it was a good day - we sold many thousands of them - but the time had come to retire it.
Great War at Sea: Destroyers
This is the naval game equivalent to the divisional download, “long” pieces for the destroyers that appear in Great War at Sea as multiple-ship pieces. You get replacement “long” pieces for every Great War at Sea game that existed at the time (probably 2010, but I could be wrong) and that’s a lot of them, three sheets’ worth. We kept them as multiple-ship pieces here, and since then I’ve grown dissatisfied with that approach. Most of those games are out of print now, but I like the concept and we’ll return to it eventually but each destroyer will get its own piece. Because you can’t have too many ship pieces.
An Army at Dawn: Horse Soldiers
This was a first-edition Golden Journal, and one of my favorites - I thought it came out really well, and that the American horsed cavalry pieces just looked really, really good. Part of me is disappointed that we didn’t do this as a “real” book, it came out so well; I suspect that if we had the other part of me would be disappointed that only the hard core bought it. I think it adds a lot to An Army at Dawn, because every game needs horsed cavalry.
Here’s a look at the First Team, when it still had horses.
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