Top 10 Ulysses S. Grant Games
Robert Carroll
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Below is my Top 10 list of games covering the life and times of Ulysses S. Grant. These are games that meet subtantially all of the following criteria: (1) focuses on Ulysses S. Grant; (2) can cover his campaigns, battles, or generally his life and times; (3) mostly includes wargames--but can address elements of the political and diplomatic pressures associated with Grant's time (however, given his career, wargames will most likely dominate the list); (4) addresses the "theme" in an interesting or compelling manner that leaves the player with a better understanding of Grant; and (5) fun to play (understanding that this can be very subjective, especially for wargames). This is a list of the BEST! As always, your mileage may vary and some entries may be "controversial." As such, please feel free to comment, debate, or just express your own point of view. Feel free to thumbsup this list (to draw attention and more comments) or any pleasing, interesting or thought provoking entries. If I missed one that you feel is essential or I am "insane for not listing" (trust me, it has been said before), then by all means let the comments fly . . . just be civil. FYI - I am a sucker for comments and discussion and usually thumbsup most if not all of them.

See also Top 10 Battle of Shiloh Games and Top 10 Strategic American Civil War Games, which have games covering a portion of his career.

I find that these lists sometimes are helpful for others seeking similar games and the more rich the discussion for more useful the list.

For a complete listing of my Top 10 lists, see--MetaList: Nap's Top 10 Lists.

As always, thanks for reading and participating!

NOTE: Where I have included quotes from BGG users, I have included the BGG user name in parentheses.
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1. Board Game: Grant Takes Command [Average Rating:7.89 Overall Rank:2527]
Robert Carroll
United States
Joplin
Missouri
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If you're at all interested in wargames, even if you're not a Civil War geek, you're really missing a treat if you haven't played the Great Campaigns of the American Civil War series. It's a rare wargame that can combine modest complexity, tremendous playability, and solid historicity all it one package, and GCACW is one of those games. The GCACW series is one of the best wargames in terms of giving you a reasonable feel for the how these campaigns were fought, the unwieldy and large armies deployed against each other and the resultant bloody battles.

Grant Takes Command is one of the best entries in the series too, with an awesome set of scenarios and campaign games that capture the grand sweep of the bigger games while still being quite playable (the biggest one should be doable in two long sessions, the smaller one in just one full day. The longer one is better). Grant Takes Command is a tremendous game and was my pick for best pre-20th C. wargame, but the more accessible but somewhat less impressive Wilderness War is likely to sweep the 2001 awards. The only knock on the GCACW games is that unlike many of the big operational/battle games (OCS, EFS, CWB, RSS, GBACW), GCACW just doesn't scale at all beyond two players unfortunately. Not a drawback in my book, but it depends on what you like.


--Chris Farrell (cfarrell)
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2. Board Game: Sam Grant [Average Rating:6.43 Overall Rank:6344]
 
Robert Carroll
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Joplin
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This game, together with its sister game Bobby Lee, gives a broad brush stroke coverage to the Civil War. I like it because it's considerably less fiddly than For The People, and still gives a strong sense of the challenges both sides faced during the war. Creative thinking is needed here to prevent getting bogged down in a slugfest, so novices may become frustrated with the game.

--Elijah Lau (elijah234)
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Robert Carroll
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Joplin
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A strategic-operational simulation of the rebel Army of Tennessee's campaigns during of the Civil War. Uses the same scale and game system as "Campaigns of Robert E. Lee." This game focuses on the critical, but largely ignored actions in Kentucky, Tennessee and northern Georgia between 1861 and 1863. The maps are beautifully done and the game system plays very well. An American Civil War buff’s "must have" wargame.

--Paul Denhup (PAYDIRT)
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4. Board Game: Lee vs. Grant [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:3531]
Robert Carroll
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Joplin
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This is a great game--much like a less cluttered, less "procedural" version of GCACW. The Advanced Game is probably less taxing than a typical GCACW Basic Game scenario.

The scenarios can be played in the blink of an eye, which can be good, but can leave you a bit unsatisfied. The full campaign, though, is really no chore at all. I am glad to have purchased this, as I really doubt I will ever get in a full campaign game of Grant Takes Command.

--G. Harding Warren (UHB1)
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5. Board Game: A Fearful Slaughter: The Battle of Shiloh [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:4598]
Robert Carroll
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Joplin
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Really like how command works in this game. Waiting for leaders to accept their orders can put a real crimp in your plans. Good to have a system where the gamer isn't all knowing and leaders react perfectly to whatever you want them to do.
Also really improves solo playability as you are not quite sure what they leaders are going to do.

--Pete (petegs)
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6. Board Game: The Civil War [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:938]
Robert Carroll
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Joplin
Missouri
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I still think this is the best strategic level game on the Civil War. Sophisticated system that takes a little getting used to. LOTS of chrome, great use of leaders, good scenarios and campaign. Wonderful game!

--Bo Bruce (Douaumont)
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7. Board Game: For the People [Average Rating:7.72 Overall Rank:711]
Robert Carroll
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Best game in my collection. The card deck provides a very strong historical flavour. All the decissions you have to take in a turn are really taugh (tactically and strategically). Where to defend, where to deploy, how to build your armies, which General do you put in charge, how to prevent the Union to freely move across the rivers, how to prevent raids from the Confederate, how to mantain your Resource Spaces, how to manage your Divisions, Corps and Armies. Almost each and every action will have an impact on the Strategic Will of every side. Once your Strategic Will reaches certain point, you quit the war and the other side had win. A Master Piece.

--Marc Bosch (mboschbo)
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8. Board Game: Not War But Murder [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:4357]
Robert Carroll
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The best magazine published wargame I have ever played. The game is very user friendly with well written rules and a good game can be played on the first try. As a historical simulation it's surprisingly good at allowing players to see why the strategies used by Lee and Grant were what they were. Scratches that civil war itch rather nicely.

Component wise this game has some wonderful counters that add a nice touch of flavor. It can be a bit difficult at times to be able to differentiate between areas on the map but otherwise the map is very good.

--Brian Morris (mrbeankc)
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9. Board Game: Strike Them a Blow [Average Rating:7.52 Overall Rank:7637]
Robert Carroll
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Joplin
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CWBS system is quite good, we know it. For this one, a great campaign : Grant facing Lee after "The Wilderness" and race to North Anna river. Challenging situation with union troops reaching fords on North Anna and confederates awaiting them just behind. 2 maps, great space to maneuver. Great opus.

--JACOB Anthony (Tony 51)
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10. Board Game: Mississippi Fortress [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:7333]
Robert Carroll
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Joplin
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Mississippi Fortress is an unheralded classic. The gameplay is simple for veterans and evokes the campaign while simulating many realities not present in other Civil War games. Besides exploring the decisive campaign of the war and Grant's finest hour it also presents a genuine and balanced problem to the players. The Confederates are divided but hold a strong position. Grant must march hard and be audacious but not foolish. In other words Mississippi Fortress explores the realities of the campaign while offering the players options. Isn't that what great wargames do?

--Sean Chick (gittes)
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