Recommendations for Tactical Wargame
Jimmy Hensel
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Bryan
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Years ago (early to mid 70s) I played PanzerBlitz and enjoyed it. I also owned Tank! by SPI, but I don't remember playing an opponent. During that time I played several wargames. I haven't played any since. soblue

As I look to re-enter wargaming, I would appreciate recommendations for a tactical wargame or series. Although the wording is geared toward WW2 and later armor, I am open to earlier time periods. I would like:

* Scenarios that take no more than 3 hours to play (assuming no heavy AP)
* Something with more sophisticated combat resolution than PanzerBlitz
* Something simpler and easier gameplay than miniatures
* Good simulation of various weapon systems

Possible bonus features:

* A game where facing matters
* Counters representing a single vehicle
* Games that can accommodate more than 2 players
* VASSAL module(s)

Thanks!
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1. Board Game: Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! (second edition) [Average Rating:8.01 Overall Rank:526]
Mike Gingold
United States
Goodyear
Arizona
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2. Board Game: Squad Leader [Average Rating:7.48 Overall Rank:532]
Eric Johnson
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Rohnert Park
California
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I believe this is the most playable and realistic tactical WWII combat game ever. Elegant system, simply and accurately captures the reactions of men under fire. Lots of rules, but most can be ignored in the average game. Cross of Iron expansion is a must for full enjoyment. I think this game is actually superior to "Advanced Squad Leader" because it's much more playable.

Facing matters for vehicles and guns.
Counters represent squads, support weapons and individual vehicles.
Works well in a multi-player format.

Programmed instruction method makes learning rules relatively easy; an increment of the rules is learned with each scenario played.
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3. Board Game: Band of Brothers: Screaming Eagles [Average Rating:7.80 Overall Rank:1689] [Average Rating:7.80 Unranked]
Judd Vance
United States
Wichita
Kansas
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5 pages of rules gets you playing your first scenarios and the play is incredibly realistic. 4 more gets you armor, artillery, field guns, and heavy weapons.

The East Front expansion is coming out within the next 3 weeks.

Excellent Vassal module. Plenty of opponents. It is 2-player only, though.

Facing matters on armor and field guns.
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4. Board Game: Combat Commander: Europe [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:119]
David Brown
United Kingdom
Stockport
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I have Conflict of Heroes and Combat Commander - Out of the two CC gets played.
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5. Board Game: IDF (Israeli Defense Force) [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:5780]
Lee Massey
United States
Teachey
North Carolina
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This is a good modern tactical wargame. Check it out!
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6. Board Game: Combat Commander: Europe [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:119]
Chris Montgomery
United States
Joliet
Illinois
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Quote:
I haven't played any [wargames] since.

As I look to re-enter wargaming, I would appreciate recommendations for a tactical wargame or series. Although the wording is geared toward WW2 and later armor, I am open to earlier time periods. I would like:

* Scenarios that take no more than 3 hours to play (assuming no heavy AP)
* Something with more sophisticated combat resolution than PanzerBlitz
* Something simpler and easier gameplay than miniatures
* Good simulation of various weapon systems

Possible bonus features:

* A game where facing matters
* Counters representing a single vehicle
* Games that can accommodate more than 2 players
* VASSAL module(s)

Thanks!


For gaming-time value for your dollar, along with an excellent narrative, you can't beat Combat Commander. It meets all of your requested features, but only one of your bonus features (VASSAL module).

I would highly recommend that you read several reviews of Combat Commander before buying - the card-driven nature of the game rubs some people the wrong way, but most players appreciate it's sleek design, quick play, and ability to tell a really great story.

Negatives for you are that (1) facing does not matter (though positioning of your units matters *a lot*), (2) there are *NO* vehicles in the game, and (3) it is *ONLY* two player (though some players play solo with mixed results).

But things CC:E (or Pacific) comes with that you might be interested in: (1) A random scenario generator with the base game providing virtually unlimited (and balanced!) scenarios, (2) a sickeningly large number of expansions and battle packs (you may need to buy Med and Pac to play them, tho), (3) Tons of player-made scenarios available, free to download.

You get 12 maps in the base game and three nations: Germany, U.S., and Russia.

The rules can be a bit off-putting at first because of the organization, but the organization of the rules is made for quick reference later, not for teaching the game. The fastest way to learn to play is to have someone teach you, but you *can* learn it yourself. The game-in-practice is much easier than the rules at first make it appear.

The three-hour limit really eliminates quite a few other game systems.

Finally, I would also highly recommend that if Combat Commander (my first choice for you) is not really your cup of tea after checking it out - hit up Lock and Load.
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7. Board Game: Valor & Victory [Average Rating:7.71 Overall Rank:3475]
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Vancouver
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This one used to be a free print and play, but is now sold through Print & Play Productions.

Has vehicles, and very nice looking system. I got a deluxe edition as a gift, but I must confess that it sits not played on my shelf because I play Combat Commander.
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8. Board Game: Panzer (second edition) [Average Rating:7.81 Overall Rank:2357]
Andy Cowen
United States
Union Springs
New York
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Scalable complexity with advanced and optional rules Panzerblitz inspired box, IMHO best tank v. tank tactical game, about a company per side in most scenarios. Two expansions for even more tactical goodness; also West Front expansion should be published next spring.
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9. Family: Lock 'n Load
Andy Cowen
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Union Springs
New York
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Lock n Load series, impulse system, multiple time periods, fantastic scenarios.
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10. Board Game: Fighting Formations: Grossdeutschland Motorized Infantry Division [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:1317]
Andy Cowen
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Union Springs
New York
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Supposedly part of a series, but doesn't seem to be getting much love from gmt. Mostly platoon level, excellent rule book and playbook, innonative ideas, scenarios range from short to epic. On sale at GMT site now in the specials section, combined with the GMT fall sale its a steal.
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11. Board Game: Submarine [Average Rating:6.45 Overall Rank:3835]
Mike Hall
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Harrisburg
Pennsylvania
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Jump in to the water, or I should say under it.

Just about everything you are looking for except it
doesn't take place on land. I have played quite a few scenarios
via Vassal, plays very well.

Even though it's out of print there are still plenty of copies
floating around.
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12. Board Game: Band of Brothers: Ghost Panzer [Average Rating:8.04 Overall Rank:2226] [Average Rating:8.04 Unranked]
Ron A
United States
California
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Shipping in the next 2-3 weeks. 2nd game in acclaimed Band of Brothers system, follows 11th Panzer 'Ghost' division on the Eastern Front 1941-1043. Infantry squads, individual vehicles and guns. VERY different combat system from other tactical games. Proficiency is rated differently than morale--which helps explain how outgunned 1941 Panzer IIIs can take on Russian T-34s.
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