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Wargames that are also learning experiences
Frank Fitzpatrick
Ireland
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Broadly, I think board Wargames teach two basic kinds of thing.

One is in the graphics, the map, and the force composition. Here you learn the geography and the order of battle of the conflict.

Almost all games do this.

Some games however, have the power to communicate some singular feature of a conflict. Often, with a simple even crude mechanic.

After certain games, you will never forget that .....
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1. Board Game: Panzer Armee Afrika [Average Rating:6.05 Overall Rank:4606]
Frank Fitzpatrick
Ireland
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That Commonwealth command control in the Western Desert was truly awful in its impact on the Commonwealth player.

The rule was so tough (even tougher in the S&T original) that you asked "Could it be true?".

Then you read about Gazala, or 1st Alamein and you said "I've learnt".
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2. Board Game: The Great Battles of Alexander [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:2667]
Frank Fitzpatrick
Ireland
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There was not much point fighting the Macedonians with Alexander or Phillip in charge.

(Not that the point needs much making, but the near total helplessness of the Persian player is just frightenintg.)
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3. Board Game: At Neuve Chapelle [Average Rating:6.12 Unranked]
Frank Fitzpatrick
Ireland
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You could break through the Western Front in 14-18. You just couldn't do much afterwards.

(This is a playtest verdict)
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4. Board Game: Clash of Empires: August 1914 [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:5378]
Frank Fitzpatrick
Ireland
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Things seemed possible to the generals of 1914 that we now know weren't so!

This had an underrated mechanic of using frankly unhistorical random events (French theories about Elan were true!) to simulate the real uncertainties of the time.
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5. Board Game: Britannia [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:346]
Brian Morris
United States
Raytown
Missouri
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You learn that while it is true that Great Britain has not been successfully invaded since 1066 before that everyone and their brother successfully invaded the place on a semi weekly basis.
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6. Board Game: Fields of Fire [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:962]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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Communication, man. Everything goes to Hell when you can't communicate with the other guys.
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7. Board Game: High Frontier [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:471]
Michael Debije
Netherlands
Eindhoven
The Netherlands
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Space travel is perilous and really, really demanding.
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8. Board Game: Panzergruppe Guderian [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:1213]
Frank Fitzpatrick
Ireland
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It's bad enough when you don't know what the other guy's units can do: some commanders can't even tell what their own units can do.

(Russian hidden units, of course.)
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9. Board Game: Totaler Krieg! [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:1543]
oystein eker
Norway
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sola
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When Mussolini needs help when you are building up to Barbarossa, you know politics can be your worst enemy.

- Picking your most wanted card, you often must roll dice on political event tables....cry.
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10. Board Game: Bloody Buna [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:6697]
steven slater
England
County of Essex
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Fighting in Jungles suck, and wars a best left to places where troops can move.
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11. Board Game: Kingmaker [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:1369]
steven slater
England
County of Essex
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Your budies are all basterds
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12. Board Game: NATO: Operational Combat in Europe in the 1970's [Average Rating:6.06 Overall Rank:6356]
steven slater
England
County of Essex
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Best nuclear war rule ever.

Soak the map in ligher fluid and set fire to it. Leasson, no one wins a nuclear war.
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13. Board Game: In their Quiet Fields II [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:2834]
Frank Fitzpatrick
Ireland
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Some leaders are so bad that getting them killed is an active temptataion.

The "Little Mac" dies rule in ITQF II
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14. Board Game: We the People [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:615]
MK
United States
Albany
New York
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You can win every battle but still lose the war.

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15. Board Game: Jutland [Average Rating:6.59 Overall Rank:2440]
MK
United States
Albany
New York
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Big and armored with overpowered guns can still lose to small and poorly armed.... if they outflank you.

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16. Board Game: Balkan Front [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:3293]
Frank Fitzpatrick
Ireland
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You can't take objectives you can't run a supply line to...

Obvious enough really, but not to Mussolini.
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17. Board Game: Squad Leader [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:301]
United Kingdom
London
London
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Urban warfare is hugely intensive in men and equipment - just chews them up...
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18. Board Game: Fortress Europa [Average Rating:6.49 Overall Rank:2406]
United Kingdom
London
London
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Hitler's strategic decisions made life much easier for the Allies in the long run - Mortain & the Ardennes offensives, plus "No Retreat", personal control of reserves, intuition about the "real" landing site, etc.
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19. Board Game: Czechoslovakia '38 [Average Rating:6.00 Overall Rank:7393]
United Kingdom
London
London
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War in 1938 was a viable option - Czechoslovakia (plus Poland, France and Britain) could have blunted Hitler's ambition.
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20. Board Game: War at Sea (second edition) [Average Rating:6.40 Overall Rank:1890]
United Kingdom
London
London
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"He who defends everything defends nothing"
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21. Board Game: The Ardennes Offensive [Average Rating:6.29 Overall Rank:6933]
United Kingdom
London
London
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To paraphrase George Santayana: "Those who DO remember the past are condemned to repeat it"!
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22. Board Game: Machiavelli [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:1008]
United Kingdom
London
London
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Money inevitably brings with it bribery and corruption. devil
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23. Board Game: Cold War [Average Rating:6.15 Overall Rank:4455]
United Kingdom
London
London
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Real Politik and friends don't mix!
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24. Board Game: Battle Over Britain [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:4068]
United Kingdom
London
London
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"The bomber will always get through"! - Really? Pyrrhic victory, anyone?

Ditto "Luftwaffe", the AH game.
 
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25. Board Game: Bloodtree Rebellion [Average Rating:5.59 Overall Rank:8860]
United Kingdom
London
London
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A thinly disguised Vietnam War game, where "Winning Hearts and Minds" really was appropriately abbreviated to "WHAM".
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