After playing a number of tactical wargames, there are 4 things that stand out as being required for me:
- Morale. At the tactical level, units simply do not constantly eliminate each other. They take cover, they run, they refuse to fight. You can order them to charge the heavy machine gun, but you can't force them to commit suicide.
- Defensive Fire. Over the course of a full turn, every unit gets to take its move/fire actions AND fire at enemy units, during and after movement. Many games make defensive fire more costly than any other action, and basically require the unit to give up everything for the possibility of a future shot.
- Choice. If I want a unit to fire because it's obvious/necessary, but it cannot because I don't have a Fire Attack card, then I am not playing a wargame. A deck of all possible wargame concepts DOES NOT simulate the chaos of war. If you want to simulate command problems, broken radios, or a general lack of information being available to every unit, then build that specifically into the game.
- Playable. Many people fear or criticize ASL because it has a reputation for being really complicated and full of chrome. That may be true, but I can teach and play an infantry scenario (granted, SK) to a wargame newbie in an evening. That says a lot about the system. You only need to know the rules for the parts of the system you are playing, and you can add new stuff as you go.
8 nasty critters battle it out until only 3 are left. Players place bets on them. Earlier bets are worth more, but are riskier since your favorite critters can be killed off. The player with the highest visible bet values of a given critter can use its special powers. Very good depth for such a simple game.
Excellent design. A nice filler with elements of Carcassonne and Through the Desert. The tile placement rules keep the region from being too "stringy". It's amazing how frequent it occurs that a tile is unplayable, and must be set aside into the face up pile.
Excellent quality 3d building game with an action point allowance system. My only beef with the game is the underdeveloped party mechanic. You can hold a party on any resort on which you have a marker. There should be forces at work making you want to choose one over another.
Not your usual train game: 5 types of resources (4 of which are auctioned), all track counts as loss, passenger and cargo trains are only "rented", track may (in reality, must) be sold to bigger companies, large networks of your own track not important.
Decent semi-multi-player-solitaire. Not the #1 game by far in my book. Each player has their own buildings, plantations, colonists, and crops. They only share ships and the trading post. Too much chaos for me with more than 3 players.
Do not dismiss this as a simple bidding game. It is very unique. If you win the bid, you win the previous bidding marker, and your bidding marker gets added to the items for the next auction. You are trying to collect various items that score in all sorts of ways (sets, most of, most different, etc). There is also an unknown amount of time to get what you want. If you are too greedy, you might get burned.