Recommendations from Wargamers
David Wiley
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Back in January I asked the Wargaming forum for some suggestions based on this criteria:

Themes/Periods of Interest

1. Medieval: 500-1500 AD (roughly) - I am huge on Medieval literature, and could read about that time period and culture endlessly. My personal interest is heavily in Europe during that period, particularly knights and castles.

2. Vikings - Should be self-explanatory enough. Medieval literature branched me into early Icelandic which, of course, leads to Vikings. Anything Norse/Viking themed is going to catch my interest.

3. Fantasy - The three games in my collection that are considered Wargames, based on tags, are: War of the Ring, The Battle of Five Armies, and A Game of Thrones Board Game. I'd also term Small World as "Wargame lite". Anything with elves, orcs, wizards, or any other Fantasy-themed setting and races would be great, especially anything directly related to what Tolkien wrote.

4. Science Fiction - This one can be hit-or-miss sometimes, but I also enjoy futuristic and space themes in my games. Star Wars and Doctor Who and Firefly are among my favorite movies/TV shows.

My Wife's Dislike

This is an important section, as my wife is my gaming partner 95% of the time. I'm certainly not opposed to solo playing games, but if I can satisfy my wife, it is going to be a better investment because it may hit the table more often. I learned, years ago, that she hates games that are too dice-dependent. A game of Risk led to a major breakdown during gameplay because of the dice rolling, and I parted from that Risk game shortly thereafter since there are plenty of other games to play. While some people are drawn to chucking a lot of dice, she is not (we had a chance to demo Warhammer at a local store and the dice dependence turned her off from that as well). We certainly have games where dice play a role, and War of the Ring is one of our favorite games to play together where the dice don't really bother her. So I think if the whole concept is to push guys/plastic/cardboard toward each other and toss fistfuls of dice to see who wins, she will not be very interested in playing it often. There needs to be more entwined with the game to offset any detriment that a bad dice roll or two could cause.

So to clarify, dice rolling can be a part of the game but the game needs more to it than just moving the men closer to each other and rolling to see who gets better rolls. The use of cards, and other related mechanics that add at least more variables and/or depth/strategy would be likely to offset the randomness of dice in her eyes.

What I'm Searching For

I missed the boat for Christmas, although I am far from disappointed by my haul this year. But that means that I am currently limited for funds to invest in games. I plan to start setting aside a bit at a time, but to start getting into Wargames I think I'd be best served by investing in 3-5 less expensive games than 1-2 massive ones. Plus, by going inexpensive there is less pressure for my wife to absolutely love the game. There are so many games out there to sift through that I don't even know how/where is best to begin. Complexity doesn't scare me, and I'd like a good mix of shorter and longer games to eventually add.


I've taken time to browse around various Wargames and printed off two and played one P&P Wargame so far this year. But I thought I should piece these recommendations together on a list, both for my own benefit and for any who happen to be looking for recommendations.
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1. Board Game: Warriors of God [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:1073]
David Wiley
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Recommended by Sagrilarus

"break out the Tuchman and read up on Warriors of God and see what you'll be missing. Runs about $35 new."

Recommended by mcszarka

"My pick would be Warriors of God; there is. Lot of randomoness, but lots of chess-like strategy as well."
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2. Board Game: Talon [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:1965] [Average Rating:7.70 Unranked]
David Wiley
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Recommended by Sagrilarus

"Talon is about to be reprinted. A shade under $40 new."
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3. Board Game: Manoeuvre [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:663] [Average Rating:7.31 Unranked]
David Wiley
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Recommended by PeteyWA

"Manoeuvre has a few dice, but not Risk-level, is a fun entry-level Napoleonic-era game. I believe an expansion adds Asian and Scandinavian(?) factions."
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4. Board Game: Wizard Kings [Average Rating:6.72 Overall Rank:1808]
David Wiley
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Recommended by PeteyWA

"Wizard Kings would also be fun, but there are dice."


Recommended by AHShole

"Hammer of the Scots
BattleLore
BattleLore (Second Edition)
Commands & Colors: Ancients
Crusader Rex
Wizard Kings

Are all great recommendations listed previously."
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5. Board Game: Cry Havoc [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:2476] [Average Rating:6.79 Unranked]
David Wiley
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Recommended by Duempel51

"Perhaps that:

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/1323/cry-havoc

there is also a viking and fantasy game in this family. And it is despite its age still played and well-supported:

http://www.cryhavocfan.org"
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6. Board Game: Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan [Average Rating:8.05 Overall Rank:140]
David Wiley
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Recommended by samwise46

"The much praised Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan is a Euro-wargame with fairly simple rules but engrossing gameplay, with cards and point to point movement and no dice. It's the right period of history, though Japan not Europe. But hey, you always secretly wanted to branch out and learn more about other parts of the world during that period, didn't you?....

Potentially a gateway drug game leading to things like Maria or a number of good card driven/block/point to point games which avoid dice and hexes and such, which i know can frighten the womenfolk, eg things like Hammer of the Scots or Hannibal etc etc.

PS also it looks pretty."


Recommended by AvidHunter

"They are borderline "War Games" but I think you should check out the following. I enjoy them a lot and it seams our tastes are very similar...

Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan"
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7. Board Game: Invasion 1066: The Battle of Hastings [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:6721]
David Wiley
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Recommended by wernervoss

"Invasion 1066: The Battle of Hastings and Invasion 1066: Stamford Bridge (both currently on sale right now at revolutiongames.us

They all use dice for combat resolution, and the Invasion 1066 games use them for morale, also."
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8. Board Game: Invasion 1066: Stamford Bridge [Average Rating:7.18 Unranked]
David Wiley
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Recommended by wernervoss

"Invasion 1066: The Battle of Hastings and Invasion 1066: Stamford Bridge (both currently on sale right now at revolutiongames.us

They all use dice for combat resolution, and the Invasion 1066 games use them for morale, also."
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9. Board Game: The Grunwald Swords [Average Rating:7.29 Overall Rank:8807]
David Wiley
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Recommended by wernervoss

"Grunwald Swords and House of Normandy use a really neat order chit command system, though. Each player has a pool of certain command chits that allow the activated wing to perform a certain action, and each player is restricted in how many wings they can assign chits to and how many at a time (also, never two of the same chit in the same activation). It makes for some really interesting command decisions and limits the control players have without introducing too much randomness. "
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10. Board Game: House of Normandy [Average Rating:7.41 Unranked]
David Wiley
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Recommended by wernervoss

"Grunwald Swords and House of Normandy use a really neat order chit command system, though. Each player has a pool of certain command chits that allow the activated wing to perform a certain action, and each player is restricted in how many wings they can assign chits to and how many at a time (also, never two of the same chit in the same activation). It makes for some really interesting command decisions and limits the control players have without introducing too much randomness. "
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11. Board Game: Combat Commander: Europe [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:104]
David Wiley
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Recommended by Mallet

"Combat Commander: Europe has no dice."
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12. Board Game: Fire & Axe: A Viking Saga [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:794]
David Wiley
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Recommended by Mallet

"Seriously, you should look into Fire & Axe: A Viking Saga."
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13. Board Game: Commands & Colors: Medieval [Average Rating:7.83 Unranked]
David Wiley
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Recommended by BeatPosse

"This is medieval, has cards and dice, and is about as quick and simple as gaming gets: Commands & Colors: Medieval."


Recommended by pavobueno

"Commands & Colors is the game system that I was thinking might do well here. There are dice, but also there are Command cards. The latter determine what units will activate and in what portion of the battlefield, so card management is a big part of the game. As mentioned above, although C&C Medieval is not out yet, there are some other games, of which my first recommendation would be C&C Ancients."
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14. Board Game: BattleLore (Second Edition) [Average Rating:7.85 Overall Rank:144]
David Wiley
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Recommended by BeatPosse

"Medieval isn't out yet, but several games in the same family are available (including a fantasy game with plastic miniatures BattleLore (Second Edition))."

Recommended by albcann

"Battlelore 2nd edition!

Great fun fantasy war game and not that complicated. It is Memoir 44 in fantasy setting."

Recommended by mlcarter815

"The inexpensive part is tough. I was going to recommend Star Wars: Rebellion or BattleLore (Second Edition) but I wouldn't consider them inexpensive. They're also not what most wargamers consider to be wargames."


Recommended by AHShole

"Hammer of the Scots
BattleLore
BattleLore (Second Edition)
Commands & Colors: Ancients
Crusader Rex
Wizard Kings

Are all great recommendations listed previously."
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15. Board Game: Hammer of the Scots [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:313]
David Wiley
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Recommended by mcszarka

"Lot of randomoness, but lots of chess-like strategy as well. The same would go for another great game, Hammer of the Scots. If you win or lose either of those games, it will almost certainly be because of the decisions you made, not luck. But luck will hurt you at times, or be your friend at times."

Recommended by bob_santafe

"In addition there are a few games from Columbia from this period: Crusader Rex, Hammer of the Scots and Richard III: The Wars of the Roses. They may be too pricey for starters compared to the Men of Iron series, but they're excellent games."


Recommended by AHShole

"Hammer of the Scots
BattleLore
BattleLore (Second Edition)
Commands & Colors: Ancients
Crusader Rex
Wizard Kings

Are all great recommendations listed previously."
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16. Board Game: Origins of World War II [Average Rating:5.91 Overall Rank:7276]
David Wiley
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Recommended by Mallet

"Origins of World War II has dice, and is a multiplayer game.


But the dice play second fiddle in comparaison to the bluffing and counter-bluffing which is essence of the game."
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17. Board Game: The Fellowship of the Ring [Average Rating:6.13 Overall Rank:6248]
David Wiley
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Recommended by Duempel51

"Just as a side note:

If you are really into Tolkien, then "Fellowship of the Ring" from I.C.E is a must:

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/1187/fellowship-ring

Not a wargame per-se but for me the best adaption of Tolkiens works into a board game."
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18. Board Game: Saga [Average Rating:8.00 Overall Rank:2422]
David Wiley
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Recommended by joetaco

"Ignoring your wife's requirement, Saga is a really fun Viking miniatures game.

It doesn't require too many miniatures and it is unique enough to grab the attention of other people who play miniature wargames, but is not so different that it will turn them off.

Very dice heavy since you roll to fight like most games, but also in a unique activation system. Even if she doesn't like it, it won't be hard to find players if you've already got a friendly group of fantasy players."


Recommended by kerpob2

"I'd second this choice - the dice are more about building up combinations of moves and attacks - they sort of replace cards in a sense as you put them on a board of possible attack/defence moves. This novel approach to the use of dice might be appealing. Also you can get specialised dice for the game, which look awesome! "


Recommended by armatiman

"This game rocks!"
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19. Board Game: Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:148]
 
David Wiley
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Recommended by Mallet

"Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage uses cards to resolve combat."
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20. Board Game: Polis: Fight for the Hegemony [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:535]
David Wiley
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Recommended by Mallet

"...uses cards to resolve combat.

So does Polis: Fight for the Hegemony."
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21. Board Game: Agincourt [Average Rating:6.28 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.28 Unranked]
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Recommended by calandale

"A PnP copy of Agincourt is the cheapest point of entry I can think of. Not the most exciting battle, but it will give you an idea of one good series."
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22. Board Game: Great Medieval Battles [Average Rating:6.87 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.87 Unranked]
David Wiley
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Recommended by calandale

"You might be able to find some of the battles from Great Medieval Battles
for a fair price too - as they were sold as folios."
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23. Board Game: WarpWar [Average Rating:6.27 Overall Rank:5469]
David Wiley
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Recommended by calandale

"WarpWar is a great two player diceless system."
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24. Board Game: Dark Emperor [Average Rating:5.62 Overall Rank:12348]
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Recommended by calandale

"Dark Emperor is a pretty good fantasy game - but some of
the die rolls can seem rather important, so it may not be a great choice."
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25. Board Game: Star Wars: Rebellion [Average Rating:8.46 Overall Rank:6]
David Wiley
United States
Des Moines
IA
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Recommended by mlcarter815

"The inexpensive part is tough. I was going to recommend Star Wars: Rebellion or BattleLore (Second Edition) but I wouldn't consider them inexpensive. They're also not what most wargamers consider to be wargames."
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