Top Wargames to Introduce Boardgamers to Wargames
Jeremy K
Australia
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I am looking for one or two wargames to try out with my friends. We play german and american style boardgames, as well as Axis & Allies: Pacific and sometimes Risk. I'd like to try out some "real" wargames and see how they go.

Target attributes:
* Fun! If we spend 90% of the time looking up obscure rules and consulting result tables, and 10% of the time actually playing, that's not fun.
* Enjoyable with 2-4 players, even if we need to do teams.
* Replayable, with a lot of choices.
* Playable in less than 5 or 6 hours, ideally 2-3.
* Learnable to complete newbies (from the rulebook) in less than an hour.
* Either still in print, or reasonably easy to get a hold of.

For a list in a similar vein, see Chris Lockheardt's "How to Become a Grognard in Fourteen Easy Steps" at http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist.php3?action=view&listi...
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1. Board Game: Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage [Average Rating:7.82 Overall Rank:135]
Jeremy K
Australia
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Although it's only for 2 players, this is the game I'm most interested in based on everything I've read. It looks like a great blend of important decisions, short(er) playing time and not overly complex rules. There are copies around but most seem a little overpriced ($60+) when the original retail was $40.
 
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2. Board Game: Hammer of the Scots [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:299]
Jeremy K
Australia
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The whole Columbia series looks like a decent option for both simplicity and elegance of rules, and shorter game times. They're almost all well-regarded by the ratings on this site too. I'm not sure if the block-style games would really work for more than 2 people, since if you're playing teams you'd need to whisper all the time so that you don't give away which blocks are which to the other team.
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3. Board Game: Battle Cry [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:615]
Jeremy K
Australia
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I nearly didn't include this on the list since I doubt most purists would consider this a wargame. It also looks less complex than Axis & Allies which we already play. But it has such high ratings that it is probably worth a look at even if it isn't a step up on the wargame scale for us. On the surface seems a little too light to qualify for this list.
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4. Board Game: Wilderness War [Average Rating:7.75 Overall Rank:572]
Jeremy K
Australia
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This game looks historically interesting and has gotten some good writeups. It seems a little bit hardcore for an intro to wargaming though.
 
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5. Board Game: Victory: The Blocks of War [Average Rating:6.34 Overall Rank:3802]
Jeremy K
Australia
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Another Columbia block game. This one looks interesting because it supports up to 6 players, and apparently has a variety of scenarios that range from very short to very long. The criticisms are that the rules favor defensive positions, and that there aren't enough good scenarios out there. Neither seems like a major problem for us.
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6. Board Game: Breakout: Normandy [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:941]
 
Jeremy K
Australia
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Lots of good press but again seems a bit complex and inaccessible for a first foray into "real" wargames.
 
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7. Board Game: EastFront [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:1339]
Jeremy K
Australia
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Another Columbia game. This one looks really cool but same concerns as above. Probably too ambitious for a first shot.
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8. Board Game: Up Front [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:374]
Jeremy K
Australia
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Looks like a novel cardgame/wargame. Short playing time. Apparently you can play it with four players if you have two sets. Some serious downsides though -- the rules are supposedly a nightmare if you don't have someone to teach you, and it may be hard to find a good+cheap copy these days.
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9. Board Game: The American Civil War [Average Rating:5.68 Overall Rank:13128]
Jeremy K
Australia
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This one looks interesting, it plays with 2-4 players, apparently has simple mechanics. It's listed with a 4 hour playing time but some say it takes longer. Negative reviews seem to center around some significant issues with the gameboard, and historical accuracy. And it's by Eagle Games who don't have a great record with inadequate playtesting and rules being clear and well-tested. I'd like to research this one a bit more.
 
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10. Board Game: A House Divided [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:945]
Jeremy K
Australia
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A late entry. While I'm leaning heavily towards Hannibal, Battle Cry and/or a Columbia Game, this one actually looks pretty good. Only 2 players, but simple, plays under 2 hours and has good reviews, including a good session report from Greg Schloesser.
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11. Board Game: Napoleon: The Waterloo Campaign, 1815 [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:1016]
Jeremy K
Australia
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See the comments below "Hammer of the Scots" above. I'm adding this properly to the list because I bought and played it as a recommendation from this list. This is a very good game but as I mentioned above, not really any more of an introduction if you have already played a "war boardgame" like Axis & Allies. Nevertheless, it is a great game and I think for a boardgamer who has never played any wargame it would be a much better introduction to the concept than, say, Axis & Allies.
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