Every Wargamer Should......
suPUR DUEper
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I have been wargaming for (OMG) 35 years or so. As I look back, it seems plain that there have been watershed moments in my gaming career. Here are a few. Feel free to add your own!
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1. Board Game: Scrimmage [Average Rating:3.76 Overall Rank:15041]
suPUR DUEper
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....remember their introduction to the hobby.

For me it was Boys Life magazine in the early 70's. There was an ad in the mag for Strategy and Tactics that promised military history AND a game inside!

I waited for the first issue to arrive. It came a couple months later in a brown wrapper. I tore it open. Wow! Battle of the Bulge! The Ardennes Offensive. Wait. Scrimmage? Football? What the... Greeeaaat. A football game. Okay, what's coming in the next issue...
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2. Board Game: CA [Average Rating:5.24 Overall Rank:14132]
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....remember their first

CA. What's a CA? Gunfire off Savo Island. Torpedoes. What do you mean the Japanese had better ships? Rules. Long rules. 11 years old and reading long rules. New vocabulary words: adjacent, simultaneous, replacements versus reinforcements, mutually exclusive, clarification, errata, vox populi vox dei.

But a whole new wonderful world opens up....
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3. Board Game: World War II: European Theater of Operations, 1939-45 [Average Rating:5.68 Overall Rank:11856]
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...cherish their first love

WWII:ETO.
God, I loved this game. My first real purchase. 6 bucks as I recall. Strategic in scope. Grand but not too complicated. Differential CRT. Partisans. Learned the word Benelux. Amphibs. Limited production. Pretty counters for the day.

I think I am going to take this out today.....
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4. Board Game: War in Europe [Average Rating:7.04 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.04 Unranked]
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...play a monster.

War in Europe.
Solitaire. Sophomore. All of Sophomore year.

Biggest epiphany? It was the Russians who won WWII.... Apparently there were just a tad more Germans facing them than facing the US/CW.

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5. Board Game: Panzergruppe Guderian [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:1745]
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...have a classic they haven't played but vow to remedy. Someday.

PGG
. I am embarassed and ashamed that I have never gotten around to playing this. My first love is strategic games and I have played my share of tactical ones. Operational games tend to get the short end of the stick.
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6. Board Game: Team Yankee [Average Rating:5.88 Overall Rank:10416]
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...play in a tournament at a convention.

Team Yankee.
It was at GenCon a loooong time ago back when it was in Milwaukee. GDW put something like 500 bucks into the grand prize. I had never played before but figured, what the heck. How hard can it be? Read the rules the morning of the tourney and sat down to play. Only 30 or so folks signed up for the tournament (much to the chagrin of GDW as I recall). Played my first round and won. Geesh. This is going to be easy 'cuz now I know how to play.

Second round. Well, yeah, if you are going to get into a tourney with a big cash prize, you should probably play a few times before the con.
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7. Board Game: Barbarossa: The Russo-German War 1941-45 [Average Rating:6.36 Overall Rank:8496]
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...buy a game at a convention auction.

Barbarossa.
GenCon late 80's. 3 bucks.

Ah... the days before eBay and their accursed market based pricing model. I long for local pricing inefficiencies.
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8. Board Game: The Civil War [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:912]
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....expand their knowledge base.

The Civil War
. Prior to VG's classic game, I was all about WWII. That's what I knew about, read about, played games on. This game started off a huge learning kick on the ACW. After playing I got very interested in that time period. Read numerous volumes on the war, visited most of the major battlefields, enjoyed The Killer Angels, bought Terrible Swift Sword and a Gleam of Bayonets, visited every Civil War museum I can find. And it started with a game....
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9. Board Game: World in Flames [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:944] [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked]
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...play a titanic game which pushes you to your limits.

World in Flames.
The time is the early 90's. I had always been an AH/SPI player and didn't have much respect for the third world game companies. A couple of new guys to the group (both solid players) introduced us to crack, uh, I mean WiF. Holy crap- what a thrill ride.

We were playing a three player game (it was maybe my third). I was the Allies and the two experienced players were the Axis. It is hard to play any game 2 against 1 simply due to the psychological aspect (opponents whispering and pointing, going off to concoct strategy while you ponder your fate alone, etc.,etc.). Plus WiF is nerve wracking. Weather die rolls, end of turn die rolls, 2:1 combats that can succeed marvelously or blow up in your face, searching for enemy task forces and being surprised, Germans on the coast of France the summer of '40 with transports ready to load, the Russians are soooo brittle in '41, the US ignoring Axis transgressions etc.

Anywho...the Germans had pushed the Russians back to the Urals in the north and the Russians were barely clinging to Stalingrad and a toehold in the south. I just remember being so emotionally invested in that game. But then, the dangdest thing happened. The balloon burst. The German line was so thin by that point that a couple successful counterattacks by the Russians out of the Urals ruptured the line. The German and Italian conferenced and agreed to pull back to reform the line where the front was smaller. The Italian didn't realize "pull back and reform" meant run like hell. Since the German units could move 4 and the Italians only 3, guess who did rear guard duty? Anyways the retreat turned into a rout and by early '45 the Russians overran Berlin and that was that. Greatest game ever....

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10. Board Game: EastFront [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:1339]
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....have your paradigm shifted

Eastfront.
Blocks? Generic 4 strength units? Giant hexes? Shooting for hits on sixes? C'mon. How can this be a serious wargame?

Wait a second... Fog of war? Deception? Feints? The need to keep reserves (finally)? Limited offensives? Narrowing of the offensive as you push? Now this is how wargames should be designed....
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11. Board Game: We the People [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:1032]
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...and then have it shifted again.

We the People.
. Cards? Cards?? What do playing cards have to do with simulating warfare? What next? The pop-o-matic from Trouble?

Ah cards.... Forces you to make tough choices. Lots of them. Allows events to enter the game without a host of special (kludgy) rules. Streamlines the learning curve. Increases replayability. Speeds the game.
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12. Board Game: Paths of Glory [Average Rating:8.00 Overall Rank:100]
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...play a game where you agonize over every ops point.

Paths of Glory.
Via Cyberboard. This game is a great FTF game. But it is even better via cyberboard. Each card you play typically has 1-5 things you can do- that's it. The number of possibilities is relatively manageable. Take away a FTF opponent sitting across from you strumming his fingers while you are stuck in analysis paralysis, and you have the makings of a deliciously deep and engrossing gaming experience as you try to extract the maximum value out of every last ops point. I would sometimes spend an hour contemplating a move. My opponent does the same. As a result we play really well (relatively anyway...) and get the most out of the game engine. Can't recommend cyberboard enough for this.
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13. Board Game: The Campaign for North Africa [Average Rating:5.67 Overall Rank:13225]
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...have a game they will never play.

CNA.
'Nuf said. I will also add: Atlantic Wall, War Between the States, Starforce Trilogy, Cityfight, most of my 300+ S&T's, Command's, Counterattack's, Against the Odd's, Wargamer's.
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14. Board Game: Memoir '44 [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:117] [Average Rating:7.54 Unranked]
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....have a pet peeve.

Memoir '44.
Every time Memoir is mentioned in the same sentence with the word wargame I just roll my eyes.. I know, I know. But it is MY pet peeve. You can have your own. ;-)
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15. Board Game: Empires in Arms [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:954]
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...play a 7 player game

Empires in Arms.
7 players! Napoleon. Davout. Alliances. Dictating Peace terms, Rule, Britannia!/Perfidious Albion, Duke of Wellington, combat chits, cavalry pursuit, Ottoman levies, Archduke Charles, sieges, political manipulation, foraging, Russia. Big.

Seriously.
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16. Board Game: Totaler Krieg! [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:2410]
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...have a game they are dying to play more

Totaler Krieg.
I love this game but it hasn't gotten to the table near enough and I am not terribly good at it (yet....). But the engine is beautiful and elegant. I dream of playing this game... If I had to take one game to a desert island, this is the one.
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17. Board Game: Tokyo Express [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:3347]
Craig Truesdell
United States
Uniontown
Ohio
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..have a game for some alone time.
but can be played 2 player if needed!
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18. Board Game: Rise and Decline of the Third Reich [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:1425]
Paul Denhup
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Alexandria
Virginia
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...the war game that changed the history of World War Two in Europe! You mean I can play France and the United States? Italy can take Malta? Germany invades Russia in 1939? Wow!
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19. Board Game: The Eagle and the Sun [Average Rating:3.40 Overall Rank:15052]
Craig Truesdell
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Uniontown
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.... have a game that makes you wince.
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20. Board Game: Solomon Sea [Average Rating:8.37 Unranked]
Craig Truesdell
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Uniontown
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..... have a game that graduates from DTP to the big leagues.
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21. Board Game: Death & Destruction: The Russian Front 1942-44 [Average Rating:6.78 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.78 Unranked]
Andrew Adey
United Kingdom
Wolverhampton
West Midlands
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...remember the human cost.

I am 48 and have been wargaming since I was 12. I painted some Airfix Highlanders - badly - and spent many happy hours rolling 6`s to hit them or a French unit opposite. As a result of this and my father and grandfather telling me about British and world history, I tend to regard some of the games I play (rarely nowadays) as almost a memorial to those involved at the time.

Maybe I am being a bit too depressive - but I think it`s worth bearing in mind that the events really did happen.
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22. Board Game: PanzerBlitz [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:2005]
Doug Epperson
United States
Frederick
MD
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After graduating from playing multiple games of RISK (with wooden cubes), Tactics, Battle Cry, and Hit the Beach with my older brother, he introduced me into the Wargame gender games with PanzerBlitz.

This game was a groundbreaker with tatical movements with Armor, artillery, and squad units. This is where the term LINE-OF-SIGHT was introduced.

Still a remarkable game even in todays standard.
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23. Board Game: Afrika Korps [Average Rating:6.14 Overall Rank:3681]
Joshua Gottesman
United States
Las Vegas
Nevada
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A cousin of mine was a college roommate of Brad Hessel who used to work at SPI back in the olden days. Way back when I saw a copy of Tactics II at his house and was intrigued by it and he told me a little bit about wargaming. That being said, we never played the game, so that's why I didn't choose that for this entry. I decided that I wanted to try one of these games and I had some money, so it was off to the toy store. There were two games I saw there that interested me. One was Afrika Korps, the other was 1914. I remember loving the way the writing on the AK box used the symbols to tell the story, and 1914 looked so beautiful. In the end, though, I think the cheaper price of AK and what I thought was the cool cover won out, and it became the first game I ever owned. I played it to death, then started finding other gamers around and a life long hobby was born.

I often wonder what would have happened if I had bought 1914 as that first game and perhaps been intimidated by its size and reported problems with playability. I might have become a nuclear scientist or found a cure for cancer or discovered cold fusion. Instead, here I am 30+ years later still playing these games. That works for me.
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24. Board Game: Case Blue [Average Rating:8.23 Overall Rank:2235] [Average Rating:8.23 Unranked]
John Laprise
United States
Des Plaines
IL
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There is no rest for the wicked...
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...and I am so tired.
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...have a game that reminds them of why they started wargaming.

I've been a wargamer for 30 odd years. Of late, life and my fellow group of gamers have tended towards lighter fare. Recently, I was invited to join a full fledged Case Blue/Guderian's Blitzkrieg/Enemy at the Gates monster OCS game. We have a rotating group of German and Russian players. I hadn't played OCS and learned the system with the help of my allies. When i joined, I had a very small section of the northern front with no armor and now am commanding most of the South and have taken Rostov and am pressing on Stalingrad and Sebastapol. When I started it was the end of January 1942 and it is now early March and I'm having a great time playing good old hex and counter wargames again.
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25. Board Game: Pegasus Bridge: The Beginning of D-Day – June 6, 1944 [Average Rating:5.85 Overall Rank:9743]
Michael Berg
Germany
Wedel
Unspecified
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... visit the battlefield personally

Quite interesting to see for oneself. Pegasus Bridge impressed me the most so far. There is even a small museum there. Made me realize how small the actual map is in reality.
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