Zachary Grant, 20 July 2023 ~ #UnboxingDay
Looking at the Armchair Dragoon’s archive of unboxings, I was surprised to learn no one had unboxed Next War: Korea, (2019) either the original, nor the 2nd edition. Having the 2nd edition, designed by Mitchell Land and published by GMT Games, in my collection, I decided to rectify this omission.
This is a standard box for a GMT game. Nice cover art on the front and a good description of the game with images of the map and some counters on the back. The back of the box also includes information of game contents, game scale, play time, number of players, you know the drill. Interestingly, there are two levels of complexity for the two player game. If using the standard rules, the complexity is squarely in the middle at level five. If you use the advanced rules, the complexity meter jumps to an eight.
click images to enlarge
Inside the box
The inside of the box is a bit different than what you might expect. Instead of an empty container, there is a nice storage space created with cardboard bearing a black and white version of the cover art. As you can see, I got two dice with this game; however, the back of the box indicates the game only ships with one. Is the box incorrect? Did I get an extra dice? Who knows?
Before we begin to look at some of the individual game components, let’s get a group photo of the entire game.
Now that the group photo is done, let’s look at the components individually. There are a total of 1,056 counters measuring in at 9/16 of an inch, so not quite a full 5/8 of an inch, and better than the smaller 1/2 inch counters. The counters are on sturdy cardboard and are easy to read. The ground units have standard NATO symbols. The air units have a top-down silhouette for fixed-winged aircraft and a side view for rotary aircraft.
If you like playing aids, well, you’ll love this game. There are 10, count ‘em, 10 player aid sheets for Next War: Korea. Here is a sample of some of those player aids.
Next War: Korea has two rulebooks: the series rules and the game specific rules. Both are made with saddle stitch binding on good paper. The series rules clock in at 44 pages and the game specific book has 28 pages, so there is some heft to these books. The series rules has a table of contents and has an extensive two page index. The game specific rulebook has a table of contents and lacks an index. Both books use SPI case notation to organize the rules. When present, images in both books are in color.
First some images from the series rulebook.
Here are images from the game specific rulebook.
Last and certainly not least are the maps. There are two and each map is 22 x 34 inches in size. One map is for the south of Korea and one map is for the north of Korea. The map art is by Mark Simonitch and it looks very nice. Hexes are measured 15/16 of an inch from side to side, giving you plenty of room for all those counters you’ll be using. The maps when put together are 43 inches in length, so that means you’ll need a gaming space that will accommodate a map that is larger than 3½ feet.
Here are closeups of the maps individually.
Here are the maps combined into one large map.
Last year, RockyMountainNavy wrote an excellent article about Wargaming the Next Korean War and discusses Next War: Korea as one option. Brant interviewed Mitchell Land about the Next War series too, so be sure to read that if you missed it. If you’ve played this game, head over to our forums and let us know.
Thanks for joining this month’s #UnboxingDay with the Armchair Dragoons and we hope you enjoyed a look under our hoods! You can always leave us your feedback in our #UnboxingDay thread, or in the comment area on this article, below.
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With trembling hands and eager zeal,
I unbox a wargame with great appeal.
Countless components I behold,
Strategies yet to unfold,
In this box, a battlefield surreal!