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Subject: Ready to Try War Games rss

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Arthur Dougherty
United States
Maplewood
New Jersey
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I think I would throw my hat into the Band of Brothers: Screaming Eagles or Conflict of Heroes camp. No Retreat: The Russian Front.

My only beef with Command And Colors Ancient or Memoir 44 is that they can be really annoying to set up, so that might eat into your play time. If you can set up beforehand or play a game over multiple nights, maybe that's not such a big deal.
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Warren Bruhn
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Roseburg
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Kids probably enjoy tactics. I started at age 12 with AH square Gettyburg, and also played chess as a kid. And I agree with most of the guys who have suggested tactical games as a first wargame. Also, plastic minis and wooden blocks are good. I'm sure that a 12 year old would be more entertained by substantial components, at least with the first few wargames.

But I'd suggest making a 6 year plan. Your son is going to move out after a few years (unless the economy of the USA goes really bad). So make the best of them!

You mentioned an interest in ancients. I'd suggest learning to play DBA (De Bellis Antiquitas), one of the most widely played wargames in the world. It's a miniatures game that typically has 12 to 15 elements per side, with 2 to 4 figures per element. It's played on a 2ft x 2ft square. Games take about 1 hour or less to play. You don't have to spend much for miniatures, because really cheap plastic 1:72 scale minis will do. Brushes, Rustoleum plastic primer, some accrylic paints, and some type of clear floor wax for an outer coat won't set you back too much. And you and your son could build a half dozen tiny little armies over the next half dozen years at very little cost. You can play online too. Given your area of historical interest, I'd suggest starting with Israel vs. the Philistines, and then expand with Babylon, Egypt, Assyria, and the Hittites.

After initial tactical games, try something strategic with blocks or cards. The Columbia block game Liberty on the AWI is not bad, though it might take you a couple of nights to play out the game. Though maybe some of the other block games are better. The CDG Washington's War is really fast, and has GO-like elements of tile flipping. Experienced Washington's War players can rip through the whole AWI in only 90 minutes. That would be a good intro to CDG type games. I mention both Liberty and Washington's War because you mentioned an interest in early American history. (There is also a block game on the War of 1812.)

I'd suggest mixing in some thematic games that have conflict elements over the next few years, not just wargames. Check out both Merchants & Marauders from Z-Man Games (what kid doesn't like pirates?), and Eclipse. You mentioned that you have a friend who joins you to play sometimes. M&M and Eclipse would be good for 3 players. Also, Maria by Histogame would be a great game with chess-like elements that you, your son, and your friend would likely enjoy on a weekend. None of them take forever to play either. M&M takes only 45 minutes per player.
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Zarathustra
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Atchison
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Similar mechanically to Julius Caesar, I would also suggest Hammer of the Scots. A very tidy wargame that is quite accessible.
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Lawrence Hung
Hong Kong
Wan Chai
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It's quite difficult to finish a real juicy wargame in an hour. I think Commands & Colors, both Ancients and Napoleonics are the best shots.
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Rolf Van Ishem
United States
Queen Creek
Arizona
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Memoir 44 is way to abstract to be called a "real" war game. It's fun but it is very loosely based on the actual historical battle and strategy is extremely limited because of the card mechanic IMHO. I think Operation Barbarossa by Zvezda games is head & shoulders above Memoir 44 or Tide of Iron for a miniatures board game. If your looking for a traditional hex & counter game try the Panzer Grenadier series by Avalanche Press. Multi-Man Publishing also has some nice games that would be in the easy to intermediate complexity category. Check Strategy & Tactics magazine for some remade hex games as well as some newer designs that are interesting and play very well.
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James Cameron
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Charleston
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Memoir 44 may not be a "real" wargame per se, but it is a lot of fun and offers tremendous replayability -- essentially infinite replayability when you consider all the player made scenarios. Plus it has cool components that a kid might really enjoy, at least moreso than a hex 'n counter game. I think it would make a good intro, and definitely offers good value for the $$.

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Ted Spencer
United States
Lake in the Hills
Illinois
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I wouldn't be true to my microbadges if I didn't recommend No Retreat! The Russian Front. You'll be playing it decades after MM '44.
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Rolf Van Ishem
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Queen Creek
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I agree that Memoir 44 is a good beginner/kids game and is a nice way to get a newbie into the hobby, but again I have to reiterate that it has limited strategy for the long term replayability for someone looking for a real strategic war game. The only difference from one expansion to another is the terrain and boards. There are no differences in the units abilities starting in the base game or in any of the expansions. It leaves one wanting a little more than just different setups on different boards. I like to have my units feel different like Operation Barbarossa or the easier Tide of Iron. Got to hand it to Borg though for doing a masterful job with marketing and this game has a large following showing that some gamers do not need to go any farther than this in complexity. I have to mention I have owned this game and sold it when my 10 & 12 year old nephews got board playing this and wanted a more in depth game to play.
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Rolf Van Ishem
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Queen Creek
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No Retreat is a great recommendation.
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Aaron Cinzori
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Holland
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I identify with the hour-before-bedtime constraint. I agree with anything from the Commands & Colors family, No Retreat! from VPG, No Retreat! The Russian Front from GMT, or 1812: The Invasion of Canada.

I'll also throw in a suggestion for The Ares Project. I just picked this one up, and my son and I have been having a great time with it. Some may claim that it's not a war game though.

I love the Combat Commander Series, but the games generally take more like 2 hours. Same for Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan and Julius Caesar and A House Divided. If you have the time, any of those are great games for a dad and son starting out with war games.

Have fun!
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Mike Fox
United States
Fort Worth
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WonderCinz wrote:
I identify with the hour-before-bedtime constraint. I agree with anything from the Commands & Colors family, No Retreat! from VPG, No Retreat! The Russian Front from GMT, or 1812: The Invasion of Canada.

I'll also throw in a suggestion for The Ares Project. I just picked this one up, and my son and I have been having a great time with it. Some may claim that it's not a war game though.

I love the Combat Commander Series, but the games generally take more like 2 hours. Same for Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan and Julius Caesar and A House Divided. If you have the time, any of those are great games for a dad and son starting out with war games.

Have fun!


In time, Julius Caesar will DEFINITELY be on my shelf! Bank on it
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Mike Fox
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Fort Worth
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Okay folks, I've looked closely at DOZENS of war games. Thanks for all the suggestions. You darn wargamers answered the bell and seriously cut into my research and typing!!! Ask and ye shall receive, it seems. I thought someone might be interested in where I'm at as far as picking one/some out. I came expecting a list of hex games, but a wide variety of "war" games caught my eye.

Affordable--I'll Get One of These For the Kid's B-Day Next Month:
Napoleon at Waterloo
Battle for Moscow (second edition)
Advanced Squad Leader: Starter Kit #1

Affordable for Most, Just Not for Me! (Maybe for X-Mas)
Memoir '44
Band of Brothers: Screaming Eagles
Wings of War: Famous Aces

Oh, I'm Gonna OWN This Sucka Some Day, Some Way, Somehow
Julius Caesar

I'm not done by any means. Thanks again. New suggestions are still welcome
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Frank McNally
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Andover
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At 12 I enjoyed Feudal and Squad Leader. Basic original SL is pretty easy to learn. I assume ASL starter kit is similar, but Guards Counter attack is a fun place to start gaming.
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Sean Deller
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Smithfield
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Wargames » Forums » General
Re: Ready to Try War Games
My 10-yr-old likes the ASK Starter Kits. Affordable and very replayable. Huge bang-for-the-buck. Best of luck!
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