Remedial Grognard Training
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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I'm not a big hex and counter sort of wargamer, but that doesn't mean I don't like a game with some conflict. I'm old enough that I was introduced to a number of traditional wargames. But it always seemed to be the non-standard ones that captured my interest.

Nonetheless a good friend of mine keeps bring over old hex/counter games. I even agree to play them once in a while. I also finegle him into playing old war games I like, and even some newer ones that creep into the collection.

I periodically update this list. Its where I keep my notes as I continue to explore more wargames, old and new. More recent fare includes: Panzergruppe Guderian, Battle for Germany, Manoeuvre, War at Sea, Wooden Ships & Iron Men, and now Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage.

Other wargames in my queue include Tigers in the Mist, Feudo, Luftwaffe, and Hammer of the Scots. I'm also sort of itching to play Titan again, but only 2 player.


Comments welcome!


I wrote this list back in 2008. In 2015, I find myself wanting to return to wargaming for the first time in several years. So I am revisiting this list with some new remarks.
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1. Board Game: Star Wars: The Queen's Gambit [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:545]
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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When this game came out, Hasbro really raised my hopes for what else might come. That didn't pan out for me, but I am most pleased to have this tremendous game on my shelf. This game might have been the Naboo battle, or it might have been the Palace battle, or it might have been the Jedi battle; or the space battle. But that it was all four battles, with a ton of angst on where to act next, really wowed me.

"8"


I decided I was done with this one a while back. Haven't missed it.
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2. Board Game: Ogre [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:981]
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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I never did get the Metagaming microgame, by the time I bought it Steve Jackson was putting it out in his "Pocket Box" edition. Sometime later I bought "Deluxe Ogre", which at that time was a mounted game board and stand-up counters. This is still my preferred way to play. I did buy some miniatures, but that ultimately seemed like too much work for a game that began life as a $3 microgame.

I like Ogre because it is a tight scenario. Tension mounts as you wonder if he Ogre will be able to take out the command post. And if it does, there's still the potential escape to manage. Purchasing units gives variability, and the whole game should resolve in about 30 minutes. Good stuff!

Some will say GEV is a better game, and I freely admit it is the more complete game. But Ogre is simpler, and has a lot of charm.

Nostalgia pumps this one up a bit, but I'll hazard an "8" rating. I'm looking forward to the new 6th edition.


2015: I now have the new edition. It is great that the game is back in print. But wow, did the production vary from what I wanted. I have kept the lovely maps, and got the retro counters. Nice to have, but a missed opportunity in my opinion, on SJG part.
 
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3. Board Game: History of the World [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:597]
Kevin Whitmore
United States
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I currently own the AH/Monarch edition of this fine game. The Hasbro/AH edition is fine, but I have had many happy hours playing the more traditional cardboard chit version too.

The clever bidding system, and simple battle rules endeared this game to me. Also, we often played it with 3 players, with 2 powers per player. Excellent stuff.

I also give this game a "7". If it were a bit shorter it would be an "8".
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4. Board Game: A House Divided [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:947]
Kevin Whitmore
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I wore out my GDW 2nd edition copy, and happily bought the Phalanx edition a few years ago. Area movement, relatively few units to fiddle with, and a simulation where even as the Confederates feel they are in a hopeless situation, they still might be winning the victory conditions.

On the down side the game can plod, and the random die roll for the number of marches has a huge affect on the pace of the game.

I give this game a "7".
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5. Board Game: Commands & Colors: Ancients [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:98]
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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This entry will also serve for Battle Cry, Battlelore, and Memoir '44. Of all these games, I've probably played Battle Cry the most. Memoir and Battlelore are attractive for the nice plastic figures, and while all of them have a nice simple battle system; I think I like C&C: Ancients the best - the rules seem to fit this time period the best of all four games.

If I played this more, it could be an "8". But since I rarely play, it will stay at a "7".
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6. Board Game: Wallenstein (first edition) [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:341]
Kevin Whitmore
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I'm a bit hesitant to add this to my "war" game list. But it does feature some battles. Wallenstein is a tremendous game about posturing for war. But if you do much warring in this game, you're likely not winning.

I give this a "7". But it does have a distinction. This is the game that reminded me I once did like and play wargames.
 
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7. Board Game: Britannia [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:540]
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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Back in the 80's and 90's, this was a game I always wanted to play more than I ever got to. I bought the newest edition a while back, and I've been very pleased to get it on the table a couple times this year.

In fact, I've enjoyed it enough to get Italia and Chariot Lords as well. Neither of those have gotten played yet, but I have hopes...

Britannia has a lot of interesting features, but the fiddly rules, scripted play and longer playing time reduce its opportunities to get played.

"7"
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8. Board Game: Friedrich [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:469]
Kevin Whitmore
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I've never won this game, and each time I've played Prussia. It may be that I'm just bad at this game. But the game really intrigues me. I love the low unit density, the clever combat system, and the strategy about when to lose a battle.

"7"
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9. Board Game: Kings and Castles [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:5271]
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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I've played his only a couple times. But I think this a game worthy of study. Do you angle for a certain portion of the game sequence? Or certain countries, or just maximum army size? Worthy stuff. The draw of counters is highly random, but the combat system is deterministic. I am keen to play more of this title.

Solid "7"

7 years later and still in the collection. The game is an interesting mix of deterministic battles with highly random reinforcements and plenty of player turn chaos. Never going to be a favorite, but I keep hanging on to it.
 
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10. Board Game: Manoeuvre [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:637]
Kevin Whitmore
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Albuquerque
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I've been very favorably impressed by this gem! I like the low unit density, the fast play and I love that there are eight different armies to play with. I look forward to much more of this!

I give it a "7".


2015: It has slipped a notch in my estimation. But I still keep it, and would like to play some more.
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11. Board Game: Vinci [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:596]
Kevin Whitmore
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Albuquerque
New Mexico
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Years ago we played a LOT of Rise and Fall. Vinci takes the best part of that game, and delivers it in a faction of the time. Personally I think this game is best with 3-4 players. It starts to drag with 5+ players. The game has clean gameplay (although a horrible set of rules), and the pairing of attribute chits makes for tremendous variety in gameplay.

The downsides are the potential slow play with groups of 5 or 6; and the kingmaking problem of the end play.

"7"

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12. Board Game: Revolution: The Dutch Revolt 1568-1648 [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:1254]
Kevin Whitmore
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Here's another game I've played little. But the game intrigued me, and is one I want to play more of. I admit I probably wouldn't have even noticed it if it hadn't been penned by Francis Tresham. (I'm a big fan of Civ and 1830.)

Tenatively a "7"


2015: This game is long gone, and I doubt anyone I know would ever want to play it again. Rather opaque to us when we tried it, and we just moved on.

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13. Board Game: Napoleon: The Waterloo Campaign, 1815 [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:1015]
Kevin Whitmore
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I have the AH edition. Here's a game that has seen a LOT of play. The limited movement due to the group activation rules, and the road capacity rules makes this an interesting game of maneuver. Once you do engage for the inevitable big battle, the 3-column/rout rules make for a fun and tense battle.

I undersatand the current edition sold by Columbia Games has more units, but I have never tried that version. Should I buy that edition too?

"7"


2015: Still in the collection, still love it!
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14. Board Game: Antike [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:559]
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
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I rather like this one. I am of the opinion it is probably best as a four player game. In larger games, I think it is a disadvantage to be in the middle. Having a corner, where no attacks are forthcoming seems like a very good thing in this game.

This game is also a development game. But unlike Civilization, this game feels like a wargame to me. Warfare may not be the purpose of every turn, but you must consider the possibilities to play well.

"7"
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15. Board Game: Battle for Germany [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:2250]
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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I've played this three times so far, and I would enjoy playing some more. I've only played 2-player, and that seems ideal. I love how you get to play offense and defense, and also have to win the race to Berlin. The combat per se is nothing special, but the game structure is brilliant. Very exciting!

I give this game a "7".


2015: Sill in the collection, and I'm still eager for more plays.
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16. Board Game: Mordred [Average Rating:6.17 Overall Rank:3674]
Kevin Whitmore
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Albuquerque
New Mexico
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I recently got this game, but its seeing a lot of playtime due to its rapid play, and interesting situation. Is it a wargame? Well it certainly has warfare, but it is more of a Euro game with warfare in it - if that makes any sense.

We'll see if it holds up, but I've already played it 5 times this year, and anticipate it could fill another 30 minute slot sometime soon.

UPDATE - I'm lowering my rating to "6". Amusing, but not satisfying as a wargame. I have hopes for what Wallace does with Waterloo.
 
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17. Board Game: Star Wars: Epic Duels [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:890]
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
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I've been playing this game again after a long hiatus. This game is quite charming, and simply fun. I don't know how much skill you can apply, so its more of a "along for the ride" sort of thrill. Sure, you do have some important decisions to make, but too much is beyond your control to take this game too seriously.

UPDATE: After some time, I've lowered my rating to "6". Still fun, very cute, but a game that doesn't merit quite as much respect due to the very high luck factor.
 
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18. Board Game: Im Zeichen des Kreuzes [Average Rating:5.94 Overall Rank:6470]
Kevin Whitmore
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This is a flawed game. But I love the theme, and I love the graphic style, so it is a keeper. Our preferred variant is that any two cards may be discarded for a move. This speeds the game along a bit more, which is a good thing.

"6"


2015: Still in the collection. Still a flawed game, but it is actually fun to play.
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19. Board Game: Warrior Knights [Average Rating:6.63 Overall Rank:2830]
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
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Here's a wargame with verve! I was intrigued by Kingmaker, but it was Warrior Knights (original Games Workshop edition, if you please) that delivered the goods for us.

"6" (It might be a 7 but I haven't played it for so long, it has to earn a stripe back first.)


We never got back to this, but we did try the follow up game of the same name. No longer in my collection, and not a type of wargame I tend to want to play often.
 
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20. Board Game: Civil War [Average Rating:5.73 Overall Rank:11810]
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
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Charles S. Roberts founded Avalon Hill, he invented the use of the hexagonal grid for regulating movement, and he enabled the entire ConSim hobby.

Sadly, none of his games ever worked all that well. But Civil War is intriguing. It uses the hexagonal grid, but instead of cardboard chits it uses simple plastic pawns. As written the Confederates are doomed, but the bones of this system are quite good. I keep wanting to tweak this game to find the right balance.

"6" (which is a bit generous, but indicates my fascination)


2015: I still own this, and still am drawn to this odd hybrid wargame from 1961.
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21. Board Game: Panzergruppe Guderian [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:1743]
Kevin Whitmore
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Albuquerque
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I just played once, but really liked what I saw. The untried units is a great concept. I did also try "Leningrad" which features the same concept. But the victory conditions for Leningrad seems flawed. PGG offers more to consider, and I'm hopeful I'll play more of this.

Initial impression: "6"


2015: I really want to get back to this.
 
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22. Board Game: War at Sea (second edition) [Average Rating:6.45 Overall Rank:2490] [Average Rating:6.45 Unranked]
Kevin Whitmore
United States
Albuquerque
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Here's a game I recently reacquired. (Thanks Tim!) It is not a serious wargame. But there is enough to consider here to merit some table time. There is a high degree of luck, no doubt. But there are also some meaningful decisions. Fun game that plays relatively quickly.

I give it a "6".


2015: Still in the collection, got played once in living memory. So light, but still fun. Keeper.
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23. Board Game: Wooden Ships & Iron Men [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:1042]
Kevin Whitmore
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I've only played this once. I saw enough that I *think* I like it. The subject is fine, and if the scenarios are good, I can see this being a "blast" to play.

Initial impression: "6".


2015: Still own it, still want to play it. Interesting how these older games got a good grip on my imagination.
 
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24. Board Game: Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:134]
Kevin Whitmore
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Albuquerque
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It may be a bit premature to add this, but I was favorably impressed with my initial play of this. (I'm not so sure my opponent was, though.) We have a date to play again, and hoefully that will be just next weekend.

I've looked up the strategy articles on Grognard.com, and will share them with my opponent. We both made several rookie mistaks in our first game, and I look forward to having another go.

I will comment that the rules are a bit off-putting. None of the rules are all that complex. But there is a fair bit of verbage, and only when I got to section 22? on political control and then the victory conditions, did it start to make sense.

I found the playing to be much more straightforward than the rules-reading.

Initial impression: a "6". But I think I see something here, and it should rise...


Sadly, this was premature - Hannibal cratered with my opponent, and while I was liking it a bit more, the whole "card driven" mechanism is quite different than the usual sort of wargame positional play. Certainly valid, but it feels quite variant to other wargames.
 
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