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Subject: Ready to Try War Games rss

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Mike Fox
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Greetings wargamers! I've been into "indie" games for more than two years now. My 12-year-old son and I enjoy a variety of games, including Descent: Journeys in the Dark, Lord of the Rings, Dungeons & Dragons: Castle Ravenloft Board Game, Red November, The Battle for Hill 218, as well as traditional games like Chess, Checkers, and Backgammon.

My son is very bright, and I think it's time for us to get into some wargaming. I'm hoping someone can suggest THE GAME for us, something that meets these factors:

--Affordable (I'm a Ph.D. student, so we stay broke lol)
--1 hour max (something we can play between 9-10:15 after the baby goes to bed)
--Something that might wet our appetites and give us a feel for real-deal wargames down the road
--I'd prefer something that isn't print-and-play (but something where you could print off custom scenarios here at BGG would be fine, perhaps even preferable).

I know those are strict criteria, but it's just the life situation we are in right now. As I've looked into wargaming, though, it at least appears that there are quality games for everyone out there, $100 games with minis and designer boards but also $15 games without all the bells and whistles but still having quality game play.

Searching through Victory Point games, I found this: Strike Force One. It looks to fit my criteria, but: Will it be TOO light? Does it introduce the basic concepts of hex wargames? Is it fun? I know $10 seems worth the risk, but we can't get new games often so every penny has to count lol.

Thanks in advance for any recommendations. I'm hoping for a nice little surprise for my son's b-day next month, you know, not the "big" present but a good second present (if that makes sense). Blessings all!
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Larz Welo
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Leo Zappa
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Memoir '44

Individual games play in under an hour. Great components. Basics of wargaming (hexes, line of sight, weapons effects, terrain, objectives) are covered. Multiple scenarios allow for a lot of replayability. At around $35 to $40 for the base game (see eBay for plenty of copies available), it would seem rather affordable as well. Also, if you guys decide you like it, there are a lot of expansions available for future purchases to enhance your experience. This would be the one I'd pick.
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Adam Siler
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Although either of these games can be played in an hour after you figure them out, just remember that it'll probably take around three times as much the first time.

The Tide at Sunrise: The Russo-Japanese War, 1904-1905 and Clash of Giants II are games I play against beginners. Both cover the basics of operational level combat without having too many unit types, but have just a few special rules to introduce them to the player. Also, considering that I was a beginner not too long ago, I think that these would be appealing for how interesting the maps are without being overwhelming.
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The one and only (but one of two in BGG)
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First, have a look at this Starter Wargames GeekList.

I'd also suggest looking at what's offered by Victory Point Games. VPG produces a lot of pretty small, short, easy-to-get-into wargames. The quality is so-so, but the price is usually right. Some of their newer games are innovative. An old-school game they produce (which is small and simple but has all the main features of a real wargame) is Assault on Sevastopol.

Yes, I'm afraid Strike Force One would probably be too simple. It's a little intro title that gets the most basic concepts of hex-and-counter wargaming across, but that's about all it does.

A better choice might be Napoleon at Waterloo (free print-and-play version available if you want that). I also hear Battle for Moscow (second edition) is very good.
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Robert DeMercurio
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I have taught my 9 year-old son to play Memoir '44 and he enjoys it a great deal. It is scenario and card driven and the initial box teaches the various elements over the first few scenarios. Very enjoyable, meets your time needs and does a good job preparing you for heavier gaming.
Another good introductory war game is Hammer of the Scots, by Columbia Games. Block games are some of my favorites and Columbia does it better than most, plus it can be played in an hour or two at most.
Once you feel comfortable with them then you can move up to more advanced games like Command and Colors (very much like Memoir as they were designed by the same fellow), deeper Columbia games or GMT games like Europe Engulfed.
Good Luck!
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Eric Lai
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Buy something from the Napoleonic 20 series, its a very good introduction to wargaming, it has all the concepts to get the wargaming juices running and it isn't too expensive.
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Alfred Wallace
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Do y'all have a particular era of history you're interested in?

Thinking of Victory Point Games: If you have any interest in ancient or medieval warfare, take another look at Ancient Battles Deluxe. Small footprint, lots of scenarios, and (I think) an excellent game.

If you're into American History, take a look at Hold the Line. Many of the advantages of Memoir 44.

Re LRCP just above: I have no idea how you get Clash of Giants II under an hour, but well done if you can.
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Pete Belli
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Welcome!

Patrick Carroll wrote:
A better choice might be Napoleon at Waterloo (free print-and-play version available if you want that)...


Right. Do this!
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Mike Fox
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Patrick Carroll wrote:
First, have a look at this Starter Wargames GeekList.

I'd also suggest looking at what's offered by Victory Point Games. VPG produces a lot of pretty small, short, easy-to-get-into wargames. The quality is so-so, but the price is usually right. Some of their newer games are innovative. An old-school game they produce (which is small and simple but has all the main features of a real wargame) is Assault on Sevastopol.

Yes, I'm afraid Strike Force One would probably be too simple. It's a little intro title that gets the most basic concepts of hex-and-counter wargaming across, but that's about all it does.

A better choice might be Napoleon at Waterloo (free print-and-play version available if you want that). I also hear Battle for Moscow (second edition) is very good.


Thanks for sharing this Geek List! And "Assault on Sevastopol" or "Napoleon at Waterloo" might be exactly what I'm looking for. I've definitely had Memoir '44 on my radar for a while now, perhaps I'll take another look at it as well.

Thanks everyone for all the recommendations. I can't wait to look through all of these.
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Judd Vance
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Another vote for Memoir '44. Tons and tons of fan-created scenarios. Countless hours of entertainment.
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Mike Fox
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FYI I found a free Player vs. AI computer version of Strike Force 1:
http://www.wargames.otopia.co.uk/html/downloads.html

I think I'm going to get Napoleon at Waterloo, with an eye towards Memoir '44 when I have a little more money or perhaps as a Christmas present. But I'll keep looking through all these suggestions, thanks folks.
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Peter Pariseau
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Also good for an intro is Battle for Moscow (second edition) from both Victory Point Games and C3i (GMT's house magazine).
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Robert Stuart
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Do you have a particular period in which you're interested? If not, these are my two recommendations. Two very high quality games, with (a) enough replayability to keep you and your son busy for a long time, and (b) which would readily allow you to insert house rules for play balance, if necessary (since you're a Ph.D. candidate, you would have no problem figuring out something). The games are:

Julius Caesar

and / or

a Simmons game, specifically Bonaparte at Marengo or The Guns of Gettysburg.

Neither of the Simmons games can be played in an hour, but could be played over two sittings, and should be easy to keep set up (I used to store Bonaparte at Marengo under the couch; it fit perfectly & the pieces stayed in place when I inserted & extracted it). Both Marengo II and Guns are about to be produced, so you may have to wait a bit if you choose one of these two.

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Mike Fox
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bob_santafe wrote:
Do you have a particular period in which you're interested? If not, these are my two recommendations. Two very high quality games, with (a) enough replayability to keep you and your son busy for a long time, and (b) which would readily allow you to insert house rules for play balance, if necessary (since you're a Ph.D. candidate, you would have no problem figuring out something). The games are:

Julius Caesar

and / or

a Simmons game, specifically Bonaparte at Marengo or The Guns of Gettysburg.

Neither of the Simmons games can be played in an hour, but could be played over two sittings, and should be easy to keep set up (I used to store Bonaparte at Marengo under the couch; it fit perfectly & the pieces stayed in place when I inserted & extracted it). Both Marengo II and Guns are about to be produced, so you may have to wait a bit if you choose one of these two.



Awesome, thanks for the recommendations. I have interests in a wide array of historical times and places, so I appreciate your suggestions very much, especially Julius Caesar. Thanks!
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Cpl. Fields
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I enjoy playing Manoeuvre with my ten-year-old son. It's light and quick to play, fun and visually appealing. A bit pricey, but well worth it.
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Kevin Deitrick
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Commands & Colors: Ancients

Commands & Colors: Napoleonics

Memoir '44

Wings of War: Famous Aces

Good luck!
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Brian Cwikla

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Conflict of Heroes - Poland was my introduction and was perfect for me. It eases you into a system that doesn't have a ton of crazy rules tobegin with and has a lot of strategic depth to it. I've played with young kids and they've loved this. The play is fast/short and you can also learn about the conflict in history you are recreating. This is for World War 2 so I guess it also depends on what era in wargaming you are looking for. To me, this is more of a "real deal" wargame than Memoir 44 but that's just my opinion.
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Kent Reuber
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foxfan wrote:
--Affordable (I'm a Ph.D. student, so we stay broke lol)
--1 hour max (something we can play between 9-10:15 after the baby goes to bed)
--Something that might wet our appetites and give us a feel for real-deal wargames down the road
--I'd prefer something that isn't print-and-play (but something where you could print off custom scenarios here at BGG would be fine, perhaps even preferable).


Is there any particular period of interest? In the sub-1 hour categories, my picks would be:

American Revolution, Napoleonics: Hold the Line, Napoleon's War: The 100 Days, maybe some of the Napoleonic 20 series. Note: while I think Commands & Colors Napoleonics is a great game, it doesn't play in an hour and it's more complex than I would recommend for a beginner. If you start with Memoir or Battle Cry, you'll learn if you like the system and can then move up eventually.

American Civil War: Battle Cry

WWII:
Tank on Tank: low counter density, small map, not many units, straightforward game play
Memoir '44: fast game play, nice use of cards to give orders and a good stepping stone to other Commands & Colors games, and of course, cool minis
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Justus Pendleton
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foxfan wrote:
--Affordable (I'm a Ph.D. student, so we stay broke lol)
--1 hour max (something we can play between 9-10:15 after the baby goes to bed)


Why don't you try playing games on VASSAL for free to figure out which ones you like? Whoever you play against will almost certainly have a copy making it copacetic that you don't.
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Mike Fox
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A games period is generally not a hindrance. I'm immersed in ancient Near Eastern history right now, as well as ancient Hellenistic and Greco-Roman history. I love the middle ages, early American history, the 20th century, etc.

Thanks for your suggestions!
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Mike Fox
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hoostus wrote:
foxfan wrote:
--Affordable (I'm a Ph.D. student, so we stay broke lol)
--1 hour max (something we can play between 9-10:15 after the baby goes to bed)


Why don't you try playing games on VASSAL for free to figure out which ones you like? Whoever you play against will almost certainly have a copy making it copacetic that you don't.


sounds like a good idea!
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Brian Morris
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foxfan wrote:
A games period is generally not a hindrance. I'm immersed in ancient Near Eastern history right now, as well as ancient Hellenistic and Greco-Roman history. I love the middle ages, early American history, the 20th century, etc.

Thanks for your suggestions!


Commands & Colors: Ancients or Battle Cry: 150th Civil War Anniversary Edition might be good as they fit your area of historical interest. They're all part of the gaming family that Memoir '44 is a part of.
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A new one that is looking good is 1812: The Invasion of Canada
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Val Ruza
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I will add my voice to the choir of voices suggesting Memoir '44, it is a good place to start. However, if you are looking for a deeper game you may want to look at some of the following games:

1/Advanced Squad Leader: Starter Kit #1,
2/Band of Brothers: Screaming Eagles,
3/Combat Commander: Europe, or
4/Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! – Russia 1941-42.

These games require more effort to learn, but may be more satisfying in the long run. Fortunately in this case, looking at the suggestions you have already received I don't think there would be a wrong choice of a good game. It depends on your son's and your interests and how much effort the two of you are willing to put in to learn the first game. Good luck and I hope to see an AAR of your first play of whichever game you decide on!
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