Wargames For a Rainy Day or Short Notice
Matt Irsik
United States
Clearfield
Utah
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So it's raining or snowing outside and you're thinking about playing something solitaire for a few hours. It also could be that your NFL team just got destroyed in the first game on Sunday and the last thing you want to do is watch more football for the rest of the day. Or it could be that you have a gaming buddy coming over out of the blue to play something. You quickly pass by games like Barbarossa Crimea, Proud Monster Deluxe, the GBACW series, etc., as it would take an entire afternoon to just go through the rules again, let alone get set up to play. What games do you own that you can just pull off the shelf, set up, glance quickly through the rules, and still get in a fun and challenging game in around 3-4 hours? Feel free to add games that you feel fit into this category.
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1. Board Game: Battle for Germany [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:2256]
Matt Irsik
United States
Clearfield
Utah
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About as standard as a war-game can get. ZOCs, combat table, reinforcements, etc., are pretty basic and you can not only glance through the rules, but get the set up completed in little time. The game is pretty fun, balanced, and usually goes down to the last turn or two.
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2. Board Game: Arnhem [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:3500]
Matt Irsik
United States
Clearfield
Utah
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Let's face it, if you've played one of the quad games from the WW2 or Modern series you've played them all. Quickly look through the standard rules, then through the game specific rules and find out that there really aren't any surprises here. The game can be set up, quickly explained, then you're off and playing. Let's also try to avoid discussion of the revamped version of this game or for that matter, any of the newer folio games.
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3. Family: War at Sea
Matt Irsik
United States
Clearfield
Utah
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Quickly glancing through the rules or not, it shouldn't take any war gamer more than 15 minutes to figure out how to play this. Despite its simplicity this game has stood the test of time and like many others on this list, it seems to go down to the last turn in most games. I would have added Victory in the Pacific to this list, but it can take a bit longer depending upon who you're playing with.
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4. Board Game: Revolt on Antares [Average Rating:6.28 Overall Rank:6135]
Matt Irsik
United States
Clearfield
Utah
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Don't let this game's small size or 80's era graphics dismay you. You can get through the rules pretty quickly and be set up to play in no time at all. The game has very good replay value, a ton of thematic elements, and is great for those one off type of sic-fi affairs that gamers need every now and then.
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5. Board Game: Ogre [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:984]
Matt Irsik
United States
Clearfield
Utah
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You really can't go wrong here, whether you're pulling out the deluxe designer's edition or the simple $2.95 pocket version. A standard war game with a sci-fi theme that is quick to learn, easy to set up, has good replay value, and can be tought to almost any gamer. You can get in several scenarios in a few hours as well.
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6. Board Game: Warriors of God [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:1049]
Matt Irsik
United States
Clearfield
Utah
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Over the last few years this has emerged as one of our "go to" games when pressed for time. You can quickly scan through the rules, set it up, and work slowly through the first turn, then it all comes back to you. The turns then go by quickly and what you get is a fun filled, pretty chaotic game that seems to be different each time you play.
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7. Board Game: Panzer Leader [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:1920]
Matt Irsik
United States
Clearfield
Utah
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This goes for Panzerblitz and perhaps Arab-Israeli Wars as well, although the latter may take a bit more work. Check through the rules, review the combat system, then choose a scenario. There's not much that you have to learn new or re-learn, so after a turn or two it's like you've been playing this game for half of your life, which for gamers like myself, is probably true!
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8. Board Game: Defiant Russia [Average Rating:6.20 Overall Rank:6403]
Matt Irsik
United States
Clearfield
Utah
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Yes the map could have used better colors and who chose the graphics for the rail lines? After you get past those little annoyances this is a pretty standard war-game with the exception that you roll a LOT of dice. The game is easy to get into, plays fast (the first two turns are the longest), and seems to go down to the last turn every time. The sequel, Red Vengeance, isn't bad, but we'll pretend the France '40 version, Strange Defeat, was never made!
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9. Board Game: Combat Commander: Europe [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:103]
Matt Irsik
United States
Clearfield
Utah
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This game and it's various supplements and add ons would make it seem to not qualify for this list. However, whether you like or dislike this game series, it has one unusual feature that you see in very few games. That is the rules seem to stay with you forever and you never seem to have to relearn them. Just pull the base game down from the shelves, pick a scenario from that or one of the many add-ons, and start playing.
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10. Board Game: Chickamauga: The Last Victory, 20 September 1863 [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:6356]
Matt Irsik
United States
Clearfield
Utah
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An oldie, but a goodie from one of the SPI Blue & Grey quads. Standard rules, movement, combat, then quickly review the game specific rules. The set up is probably the hardest part of the game, but it plays pretty fast.
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11. Board Game: Panzergruppe Guderian [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:1769]
Matt Irsik
United States
Clearfield
Utah
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This may be on the upper end of what we're talking about, but if both players have played before there's not much to review or re-learn. Once the game is set up turns progress quickly and there are large number of strategies for both sides to try, plus the untried strength system keeps both players on their toes.
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12. Board Game: Storm Over Stalingrad [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:1852]
Matt Irsik
United States
Clearfield
Utah
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I'm kind of lumping this in with Storm Over Arnhem, but not Monty's Gamble and Breakout Normandy, as those games seem to take a bit more preparation and have longer playing times. Storm Over Stalingrad is quick to set up, easy to grasp, and you can get through the turns fairly quickly once everyone remembers how to play.
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13. Board Game: A House Divided [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:948]
Matt Irsik
United States
Clearfield
Utah
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Another pretty basic game where you can review the rules in a few minutes, get the set up done, explain the game system if necessary, and start playing. Definitely a quick playing strategic level game of the ACW that seems to still be thought well of even after three decades.
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14. Board Game: World War I [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:3413]
Matt Irsik
United States
Clearfield
Utah
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Another game from an era where you could easily get into it as many of the rules and concepts were familiar to you. Despite its age this is still a very good game, can be learned quickly, and is great for the purposes of this list.
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15. Board Game: Seelöwe [Average Rating:6.25 Overall Rank:7289]
Matt Irsik
United States
Clearfield
Utah
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Check the rules for the air units, train movement, amphibious landings, and supply then you're ready to choose a scenario and start the set up. Fast playing and not much to know outside of your standard war-game terminology, it provides a good afternoon "what if" game.
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16. Board Game: Battle Cry [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:625]
Brad Miller
United States
Seattle
Washington
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Any of the Commands & Colors games would work.
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17. Board Game: Napoleon at Waterloo [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:3348]
Justin Case
United States
Greensboro
North Carolina
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You can't go wrong with this one for your 3-4 hour window, and can probably get two games in, perhaps two out of three.

NAW is bog standard as far as ZOCs, defensive terrain, and artillery go, but the starting position is nicely balanced, and games often come down to the French player trying to exit the map while the British player is trying to fight a delaying action and race the Prussians into action before time runs out.

Not many wargames have more plain old fashioned fun than this one. I had a friend many years ago who liked it as much as I do, and we would sit and play for hours, turning the board and changing sides after every game. Boy, those were the good ol' days.


cool

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