I've noticed that remakes of older games have gotten quite a head of steam. "Back in the day" it used to be we could look forward to Avalon Hill doing that. They'd take SPI games like the venerable PANZERBLITZ and FRANCE: 1940, AFRIKA KORPS, CONQUISTADOR, FREEDOM IN THE GALAXY, FREDERICK THE GREAT, etc., old Battleline titles (FLATTOP, WOODEN SHIPS & IRON MEN, AIR FORCE and DAUNTLESS, etc), the occasional outside title or two (Jedko's RUSSIAN CAMPAIGN, OSG's PANZERKRIEG and NAPOLEON AT BAY), and update them. I have to say that, for the most part, these games were improvements over the original.
Since that time, we've seen a number of remake efforts. There have been several major strands that I've noticed with a a couple of others starting to emerge. Are they worth it? Note that I'm not mentioning game companies merely putting out "subsequent editions" or other updates for their games. But consider:
Strand #1: The Excalibur Remakes: You've seen them. Remakes of Yaquinto's IRONCLADS, PANZER, and WINGS. Personally, while I appreciated these coming back into print, I didn't like the graphical treatment or component quality compared to the original. Side angles of ships, tanks, and planes where facing matters just doesn't work well. And maps should fit in the boxes without bending (e.g., PANZER). Some were better--TO THE GREEN FIELDS BEYOND was a workmanlike reissue and I was personally glad to see it.
Strand #2: The Decision Games Remakes of Classic SPI titles. Sometimes these are close to straight reprints with minimal updating (think of some of the S&T magazine reissues of games from old quads like ARMY GROUP SOUTH , reissue of monster WAR BETWEEN THE STATES and such) and major redesigns like WAR IN THE PACIFIC, DRIVE ON STALINGRAD and complete overhauls like WACHT AM RHEIN 2. World At War magazine is taking older SPI titles and redoing them--see Smitty's review of THE SOLOMONS CAMPAIGN in Jim Werbaneth's latest issue of Line of Departure magazine, the premier issue featuring Ty Bomba's redoing of BARBAROSSA (masterfully so, I might add), and the latest Bomba remake of the venerable DESTRUCTION OF ARMY GROUP CENTER. Haven't played the new HIGHWAY TO THE REICH at all, but the revision of WAR IN EUROPE seems to have worked quite well. LUFTWAFFE remake appeals to those who loved the earlier version.
Strand #3: The international games. Compass Games redid BITTER END (I still have my old Hobby Japan version) and MMP/IGS specializes in bringing outside international designs to the U.S. (FIRE IN THE SKY being perhaps among the most famous of their earlier efforts).
Emerging Strands: These are the "onesies" and "twosies" efforts. CoSi did a number of People's Wargames remakes (AACHEN comes to mind which unfortunately were missing some key components). But the reissuance of THE COSSACKS ARE COMING in a 2nd Edition by BroGames is quite welcome for fans of that game. Valley Games did a great job with HANNIBAL. And then there are the real facelifts, such as PANZERBLITZ: HILL OF DEATH by MMP--it's not your dad's PANZERBLITZ, but you can see the lineage clearly enough! I'd also put Avalanche's JOHN PRADOS' THIRD REICH in that latter category. L2 did a great job bringing back RUSSIAN CAMPAIGN and BITTER WOODS in deluxe edition treatments, to say nothing of the incredible 3d Edition of STREETS OF STALINGRAD. I've not seen nor played their WAR AT SEA, so I can't talk to that. Compass Games' reissue of John Hill's YALU, an old Conflict Games title, is much anticipated. And how many times have we seen the HARPOON modern naval miniatures series and the classic science fiction game IMPERIUM redone?
Obviously, I've not listed every remake--and I hope those who like the ones I left off the list will pipe up and let us know our thoughts about them.
What is your take on these remakes? What makes them worth it when they are successful? What makes them failures--to the point where you just wish they'd leave well enough alone?
And perhaps lastly, which games do you wish would be redone? And by which game company? Why?