We Love Beasts: The Top 25 Heaviest and Highest Ranked Wargames
David Dockter
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If it don't make your head hurt, it ain't worth playing. Winter approaches. The 2nd Depression is nipping at our heels. Time to invest in some BIG games, bulk up, invite your buddies over and nest in the basement with some meat and potato wargames that will provide a ton of entertainment hours.

Here are the top 25 beasts {wargames with at least 30 rankings for game weight (min of 3.8) and game ratings (min of 7.00)} listed in order of weight.

Six games published between 1983 & 1985 - a burst of creativity during the Golden Age of Wargaming. Ten of the wargames were published in the last four years (the Second Golden Age of Wargaming) - which surprised me. I guess we wargamers still dig heavy complex beasts. devil

14 WWII titles out of the 25 games listed here. Only one exclusive Eastern Front game. No Bulge games. 3 European theatre grand strategic level games and 4 Pacific theatre grand strategic level games. Sadly, no American Civil War or American Revolutionary War games make the list. Only one WWI title. Only one game with Romans (the same number as games containing Luther and Lenin).

Mr.Rowland and Mr.Essig each have 3 titles on the list, although Mr.Rowland's design of EiA AND WiF I don't think has ever been equaled. And, I'm not sure anyone will ever be crazy enough to attempt it again soon - to design the definative NAP and WWII grand strategic beasts. Two wargaming designer legends, Mr.Greenwood and Mr.Herman, check in with 2 games each.

Avalon Hill claims 7 original titles (they reprinted/revised a few) and GMT Games checks in with 6. Nice to see a broad represenation from other game co's - showing the diversity again of the wargaming co-op.

I've linked this to another list - the 2nd tier:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/36895

...and the designers of these beasts - the Beastmasters.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/36918
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1. Board Game: Advanced Squad Leader [Average Rating:7.95 Overall Rank:208] [Average Rating:7.95 Unranked]
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Published 1985. Game Weight of 4.7.

No suprise the list starts with this cornerstone of gaming (Avalon Hill and Mr.Greenwood). 11 ASL modules also have weight ratings about 4.0 and an overall rating above 7.00.

Mr.Hill's 1977 Squad Leader, and its modules, also made the list, but I decided to consolidate the whole Squad Leader universe under this one entry.
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2. Board Game: Case Blue [Average Rating:8.23 Overall Rank:2235] [Average Rating:8.23 Unranked]
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2007. 4.6

Mr.Essig checks in. Got to get this title. Good time to tour the Eastern Front in the winter. Already a legendary wargame.
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3. Board Game: Advanced Third Reich [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:2357]
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1992. 4.6. Third Reich with even more beef. Designed by Mr.Harper.
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4. Board Game: World in Flames [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:944] [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked]
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1985. 4.5. Mr.Rowland checks in with one of the outstanding Austrialian Design Group games. You'll want to pick up Days of Dis also.
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5. Board Game: Empires in Arms [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:953]
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1983. 4.4 Another from Mr.Rowland. EiA is a way of life and among the best gaming experiences you will ever have (assuming the right group of 7 gamers).
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6. Board Game: Pacific War [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:1741]
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1985. 4.4 Mr.Herman checks in with his epic WWII Pacific game.
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7. Board Game: Rise and Decline of the Third Reich [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:1425]
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1974. 4.4 Ahhhh, the complex beloved beast that started it all. Mr.Greenwood and Mr.Prados.
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8. Board Game: DAK2 [Average Rating:8.26 Overall Rank:2236]
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2004. 4.3 Another title from Mr.Essig. Same system as Case Blue.
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9. Board Game: Triumph of Chaos [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:2289]
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2005. 4.3 Save the Tsar? Tangle with Trotsky. Heaviest Card Driven Wargame published. 1st of four CDWs to make the list.
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10. Board Game: Flat Top [Average Rating:7.29 Overall Rank:1503]
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1977. 4.3. Mr Taylor for Avalon Hill.
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11. Board Game: Vietnam 1965-1975 [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:1750]
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1984. 4.2 Mr.Karp's masterpiece.
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12. Board Game: The Longest Day [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:2631]
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1980. 4.1. Mr.Reed's D-Day big beast.
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13. Board Game: Freedom in the Galaxy [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:2607]
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1979. 4.1. One of two SciFi games to make the list. Seen it played at our gaming club. Looks like I'll need to pick this one up.
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14. Board Game: Totaler Krieg! [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:2410]
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1999. 4.1. Alan Emrich's WWII legend.
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15. Board Game: The Siege of Jerusalem (Third Edition) [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:2223]
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1989. 4.1 Love this game. Siege engines. Only game with Romans that makes the list. Great way to spend a weekend with teams managing both sides.
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16. Board Game: The Burning Blue [Average Rating:7.63 Overall Rank:2267]
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2006. 4.1. Battle of Britain.
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17. Board Game: Twilight Imperium (Third Edition) [Average Rating:7.90 Overall Rank:47]
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2005. 4.1 The second Sci-Fi game on the list. Has a lot of bits. My gaming group tried, but, just didn't capture our fancy.
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18. Board Game: Empire of the Sun [Average Rating:7.95 Overall Rank:742]
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2005. 4.1 Mr.Herman's other Pacific theatre masterpiece. Card driven Wargame. Have a number of friends that say it is the best Pac war game. Saw it played at WBC and it looked simplier than the early chatter I heard. On the must play pile at the moment.
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19. Board Game: 7 Ages [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:1460]
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2004. 4.1 Another from Mr.Rowland. Even has a Jesus counter.
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20. Board Game: Here I Stand [Average Rating:7.94 Overall Rank:165]
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2006. 4.0 Got to dig a game about Luther. Mr.Beach's CDW Reformation experience.
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21. Board Game: Tunisia [Average Rating:7.73 Overall Rank:1987]
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1995. 4.0 Another from Mr.Essig.
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22. Board Game: Asia Engulfed [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:1978]
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2007. 4.0 Keep hearing great things about Mr.Young and Mr. Evans WWII Pacific game.
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23. Board Game: Pax Britannica [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:2448]
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1985. 3.9 Somehow I have never played this one. May finally have to pick up a copy.
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24. Board Game: Downtown: Air War Over Hanoi, 1965-1972 [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:1818]
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2004. 3.9 The only other air war game on the list.
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25. Board Game: Paths of Glory [Average Rating:8.00 Overall Rank:100]
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1999. 3.8. Best wargame ever made?
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