Simulation Games: Even Better Than the Real Thing
Daniel Hurst
United States
Murfreesboro
Tennessee
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I noticed that there wasn't a list devoted to simulation games, so I wanted to try and put one together.

I recognize that almost all games have some sort of theme and that the theme is tied to the gameplay in varying degrees. But I tend to be very interested in games where the designer intended to make the game as "real" as possible, where a player has as "realistic" of an experience of doing X as you could possibly get without ever being able to really do X. Where any and all variables and possibilities have been accounted for and very little is watered down. Max "realism".

There aren't nearly as many of these games as I'd thought, other than the wargames, but a description of the different types of "X"s follow.
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1. Board Game: Advanced Squad Leader [Average Rating:7.95 Overall Rank:209] [Average Rating:7.95 Unranked]
Daniel Hurst
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Murfreesboro
Tennessee
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X = Being an officer in WWII.

Most who are familiar with games are aware of the outrageous depth of the three-ring binder of instructions. But it's a favorite. And about as realistic of a simulation of the experience of commanding soldiers as I'm likely to ever have. They thought of everything. But, at the same time, I don't find that it bogs down and has good gameplay.
 
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2. Board Game: The Civil War [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:909]
Daniel Hurst
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Murfreesboro
Tennessee
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X = Being a Military General.

I have not played this game, but I hear it's good. I put it on the list mostly to represent wargames in general from the world's eye view perspective. There are a bunch of realistically-designed wargames. A whole mess of 'em. And I'd hypothesize that a lot of the reason why grognards like wargames is because they're intended as enthusiastically realistic.

Sometimes, I want to totally immerse myself in this kind of game and I always feel like I come out of them with a little extra knowledge or understanding for whatever period or conflict they're about. A little inadvertent education never hurt anybody!
 
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3. Board Game: Die Macher [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:185]
Daniel Hurst
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Murfreesboro
Tennessee
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X = Running for office. (Or is it running a campaign?)

I've never played this one either, but I understand that it's a detail-oriented simulation of the election process. I'm sure a lot of time went into it's production. Ten bucks says I'd learn something by playing it.
 
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4. Board Game: Strat-O-Matic Baseball [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:1133]
Daniel Hurst
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Tennessee
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X = Manage a sports team.

I'm a sports fan. And there are only a handful of sports games that try to truly SIMULATE real life. The strat-o-matic series is one of them. In depth, and realistic, without being ridiculous. If you do run whole seasons with the cards, you find that the players do right about what you'd expect them to do. Taught me a lot about statistical variance in real life.
 
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5. Board Game: NFL Strategy [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:4561]
Daniel Hurst
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Tennessee
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X = Coaching a sports game.

What a great simulation game. For anyone that realizes that most NFL football games are won and lost in the airconditioned glass booths above the stadium and in the work that goes on Monday through Saturday. They did a great job on this one and it feels like real football. The only better ones require a computer.
 
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6. Board Game: 1830: Railways & Robber Barons [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:164]
Daniel Hurst
United States
Murfreesboro
Tennessee
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X = Be a rail baron.

I've never played this series of games, but I want to. From what I understand, they've done a great job of simulating the stock market and the train empire building from the perspective of the rich bastards who got even richer off the choo choo train expansion era.
 
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7. Board Game: Duell [Average Rating:6.36 Overall Rank:3102]
Daniel Hurst
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Tennessee
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X = Fence.

This is where the list might start to degenerate, but I recognize that there's no bright line between games that are 100% great simulations and games that are 80% great simulations.

For me, I couldn't help but marvel at the *feel* of this little game and how (in the basic version), it felt like what I imagine duelling with swords might feel like. Feint, go forward, posture, go back a little, counterattack. HA! Got you! A brilliant little mechanism.
 
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8. Board Game: War of the Ring (First Edition) [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:82]
Daniel Hurst
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Tennessee
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X = Immerse yourself into your favorite book.

There are a million TV show, movie, and book tie-in games. But of them, this is a better one. For actual playability, I'm not sure I love it. But it does give the feel of the book, without any doubt. The timeline is good, and both players feel like they're in the story. An excellent simulation of a fictional circumstance.
 
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9. Board Game: Star Fleet Battles [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:1665]
Daniel Hurst
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Murfreesboro
Tennessee
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X = Enter the Captain Chair of your favorite TV show.

Again, this list keeps degenerating from its stated "real-world" simulation premise, but I couldn't help suggesting this one.

The world of Star Trek is so rich and fleshed out, that it's easy to create some sort of simulation game. And this one has to be taken seriously. With a level of detail that rivals (or beats?) ASL, nothing has been left out. If you want to feel what it's like to fight this sort of battle, but don't want to bother with the whole finding and mining dilithium crystals thing, this game is for you.
 
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10. Board Game: Fluxx [Average Rating:5.69 Overall Rank:6614] [Average Rating:5.69 Unranked]
Robb
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New York
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Fluxx is a great simulation of medieval torture.

However, it differs from your geeklist criteria in that I probably would rather face the rack than play this horrible game again.


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11. Board Game: StreetSoccer [Average Rating:6.56 Overall Rank:1680]
Wot!
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Reading
Berkshire
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In the UK this is 5-a-side football ... and this game is as real as it gets!!!
 
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12. Board Game: Primordial Soup [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:678]
Richard Irving
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Salinas
California
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I can imagine an amoeba's life is quite dull: No sex (one of the rarely mentioned drawbacks of asexual reproduction), Eating other's poop, No TV, etc.
 
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13. Board Game: The Game of Life [Average Rating:4.19 Overall Rank:15321]
Adam Marostica
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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I totally suck at real life. At least here I have a chance. Sigh...

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14. Board Game: Close Action [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:2044]
Pablo Klinkisch
Germany
Heidelberg
Baden-Württemberg
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The best simulation of naval warfare for the period, I think (I'm not an specialist, though )
 
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15. Board Game: Patton's Best [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:2741]
Edmund Hon
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You command your own tank. Every German gun is an 88. Every German tank is a Tiger.
 
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16. Board Game: Breaking Away [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:1972]
Alkis Moraitis
Australia
Sydney Olympic Park
NSW
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This is a really good tactical simulation of group cycling. No luck involved whatsoever. Slipstreaming is very important too!
 
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17. Board Game: Legends of Wrestling [Average Rating:7.58 Unranked]
David Heldt
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Harper Woods
Michigan
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Two panzer jocks in the South Seas hoping that soon they'll get lei'd--
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It's a simulation of a simulation!!!
 
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