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Subject: Hex and counter game for children rss

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Joe Thompson
England
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Hi,

My 6 year old is a bit of a gaming monster and I was wondering if people could recommend some simple hex and counter wargames for us to play. Ideally the game should be fairly quick to play (~1 hour), and he really likes maps with lots of different terrain.


So far with him I've tried:

Imperial Stars II, which was a big hit. This is the perfect level of complexity for him.

Fading Glory, we played the Waterloo scenario 3 times. He coped with the rules fine, but I think he'd like something with more counters and without the sticky ZOCs which make it quite static.

1812: The Invasion of Canada, not hex and counter, but again the perfect rules complexity for him.

Commands & Colors: Ancients, I think he enjoyed this one. I find the setup a bit tedious and wish they'd used the pips on the blocks to indicate strength like in Columbia's block games since that would cut the number of blocks by 3 at least.


Games in my collection that I'm considering:

Red Winter: The Soviet Attack at Tolvajärvi, Finland – 8-12 December 1939, there are some small scenarios, and the terrain has a big impact.

Space Empires: 4X, too long IMO.

A Victory Denied, the rules complexity is about right. Chit pull is great. But 3 hours per game is too long.
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Pelle Nilsson
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My 6yo, that is now my 8yo, and me have been playing War of the Worlds. I have tried a few other games but not convinced him to not want to go back to that one. It is colorful with the different aliens and machines (but definitely a wargame with hexes and a CRT). Not sure how easy it is to find a copy.
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There are a number of sci fi games, such as Invaders from Dimension X! which have shorter play times, fewer counters, but still hex-and-counter mechanics/feel. That one, while solitaire, also has 2-player option.
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Joe Thompson
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Non-historical is fine (like Imperial Stars II). Invaders from Dimension X looks just the right sort of thing. Thanks.

adm1 wrote:
Need it be a historical game? There are a number of sci fi games, such as Invaders from Dimension X! which have shorter play times, fewer counters, but still hex-and-counter mechanics/feel. That one, while solitaire, also has 2-player option.
 
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Peter
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Ogre is fun and fits your time requirements well -- lots of action and doesn't take too long. Also has G.E.V. expansion. Giant space tank -- so theme is good similar to WoW.

Battle for Moscow (second edition) is a little longer than an hour, but if playing the Germans there is a lot of movement (panzers especially). WWII theme similar to a victory denied, but smaller scope and only semi-sticky ZOC.

Jena 20 has a neat variation in the "must attack everybody you are adjacent too" -- introduction to the Napoleonic era and injects a little history into the game.

Talon is another space themed game with fleet battles of large ships -- loads of decisions and actions and very fast paced -- no time to get bored.
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Joe Thompson
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d2necro wrote:
Talon is another space themed game with fleet battles of large ships -- loads of decisions and actions and very fast paced -- no time to get bored.


I hadn't realised the Talon rules were so short (10 pages for the basic game). Definitely a candidate. Thanks.

Edit: Hmmm, it's getting hard to get/expensive, I may have to wait for a reprinting.
 
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ShallowThought wrote:
Invaders from Dimension X looks just the right sort of thing.
The same company has just released Dead Reckoning which is a 2-player "zombie wargame," as they describe it. I have the game but have not yet played it. The rules look suitable for what you describe your little gaming monster might enjoy (assuming he's into zombies, that is).
 
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Joe Thompson
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The violence in zombie games tends to be a bit graphic for a 6 year old.

adm1 wrote:
ShallowThought wrote:
Invaders from Dimension X looks just the right sort of thing.
The same company has just released Dead Reckoning which is a 2-player "zombie wargame," as they describe it. I have the game but have not yet played it. The rules look suitable for what you describe your little gaming monster might enjoy (assuming he's into zombies, that is).
 
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Tom
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Consider Memoir '44. The base game is simple enough for youngsters to quickly grasp the rules. And it has tanks and soldiers. What is not to like?
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ShallowThought wrote:
The violence in zombie games tends to be a bit graphic for a 6 year old.
Yep. I see your point! (mom of two)
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Moshe Callen
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I'd think Battle Cry or something else in the Commands & Colors series would be a good fit. It's hex and figures, uses a lot of basic wargaming concepts, and plays fairly quickly.
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Moshe Callen
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Tango Papa Delta wrote:
Consider Memoir '44. The base game is simple enough for youngsters to quickly grasp the rules. And it has tanks and soldiers. What is not to like?

This is essentially my recommendation.
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Joe Thompson
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I had wondered about BattleLore (Second Edition), anyone tried it?
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Andrew B
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ShallowThought wrote:
I had wondered about BattleLore (Second Edition), anyone tried it?


If you play without the lore deck it's probably fine. The lore deck might complicate things just one step too far. I don't know if you really mind, but some of those demons look a bit scary too.

I'm not really sure as I don't normally play games with children and don't have a good grasp of what they have difficulties with.
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Moshe Callen
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ShallowThought wrote:
I had wondered about BattleLore (Second Edition), anyone tried it?

I've only played that and the original Battle Cry! in the series. Of the two, I strongly prefer the latter but many swear by Ancients or Napoleonics.
 
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Tony Doran
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You might try Strike Force One. A game originally by SPI, but more recently available from Victory Point Games. It was designed as a very simple hex and counter game to introduce folks to wargaming.
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Kevin Bernatz
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If you're willing to consider area movement, I'd consider:

Awful Green Things and Translyvania, both of which my kids (son and daughter) enjoyed at young ages. The latter will be hard to find.

There is also Dungeon, which is a good gate-way game.

I also agree the Ogre is nice (again...always fun for the younger ones to crush Daddy's units :-> ).

Another could oldies would be TSRs Revolt on Antares and Remember the Alamo...though the latter is not necessarily the best of games (but it is simple and one-sided).

Both of these might be hard to find, though...

-K
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Starlifter 88
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Consider Worthington Games Frederick's War. It has terrain tiles and can play in under an hour.
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Andrew N
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Invasion 1066: The Battle of Hastings and Invasion 1066: Stamford Bridge are low complexity, quick playing (should be 60-90 minutes), and have non-sticky ZOCs. They're also cheap (even on sale now), fun, and tie in nicely with the 1066 anniversary.
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Nicola S
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Very interested in the topic (I have a three year old that keeps asking questions when I play and likes to throw the dice for me, so there is hope of growing an opponent).

A few more recommendations for you to consider:

Tank on Tank: East Front or Tank on Tank: West Front
Angels One Five (actually no terrain involved but the maps are great and fills the "hex and counter" criteria)
Nexus Ops
Night Drop: 6 June 44 (or be on lookout for the next incarnation of the system in one of the next Battles magazines)

HTH (and please let us know what you ended up choosing and how he liked it)

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Big Sean
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Memoir 44

My daughter now coming up 10 has enjoyed playing this for a few years now

Command and Colours

Like wise

Another CC game by Borg;

The Great War by PSC nice figures loads of terrain.

Manouevre by GMT, no hexes but nice terrain, card driven game great fun and easy to learn.

Just my two bobs worth!!
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Kent Reuber
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I'd do something simple like Melee and Wizard. My brother was able to play these at a fairly young age.
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Bryan Felsher
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Daniel Rouleau
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Tank on Tank: East Front is my recommendation. Very large counters that are easily manipulated by small hands and all scenarios can be played under 45 minutes.

When I started playing with my son, we had a house rule allowing him to re-roll or force me to re-roll one result per game; this was enough to balance the game. We have not used that house rule after the first half dozen scenarios.
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I'd suggest finding a copy of Napoleon at Waterloo. It's a great little game, designed explicitly to introduce basic concepts of hex and counter gaming. It served that purpose for a whole generation of gamers and is as good today as it was then.

To vary the menu, add a copy of Battle for Moscow (first edition). SPI had done such a great job with NaW that GDW decided to throw their hat in the ring with a similar offering, and Battle of Moscow was the result. Both great games.

I'll note that SPI did eventually switch to Strike Force One as their introductory game, but in my view that was a step too far - simply not enough there. I believe they made that decision based on economics; they were committed to providing free copies of an intro game and SFO was the result. It wasn't a better game than NaW; not even close.
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