Wargame for a saturday afternoon ?
Simon Johnston
United Kingdom
Isle of Wight
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I've just started board gaming with some three old school friends on a Saturday afternoon. So far I've introduced them to San Juan & LoTR.

They like playing Risk. I'd rather not play that, but I wouldn't mind having something with a light wargame feel that we can play four-player & that takes under 4 hours.

I've done some research. This is what I'm considering so far. Any help choosing would be appreciated. If you think I should get something not on the list, feel free to add it.
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1. Board Game: Age of Mythology: The Boardgame [Average Rating:6.15 Overall Rank:2482]
Simon Johnston
United Kingdom
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Pros :The reviews for this seem more favourable than I would have thought. The others all play AoM online so they would love the theme. The dice rolling shouldn't be a problem - they are Risk players after all.

Cons: Somehow I just feel a game like this should have a map on which we move our armies around. And some of the reviews are strongly negative (eg.g in Chris Farrell's five worst games of 2003).
 
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2. Board Game: WarCraft: The Board Game [Average Rating:6.12 Overall Rank:2687]
Simon Johnston
United Kingdom
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Pros: This one actually has a map, so it must feel more like a wargame. Another theme that they would recognise.

Cons: Wargame theme is presumably diluted by the fact this one comes with cubes not minatures. This game doesn't seem to be as highly rated. Again some of the negative reviews are pretty bad. Maybe the errata / expansions help ?
 
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3. Board Game: A Game of Thrones (first edition) [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:312]
Simon Johnston
United Kingdom
Isle of Wight
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Pros: as the 26th rated game (at time of writing) presumably this game is pretty good. I've read the books - not sure if the others have.

Cons: This is designed to be a five player game. There are concerns about game balance for the Houses. The low luck factor (in combat) seems to lead to accepted correct plays, that I'll bother to look up - I'm not sure if the other will. They might not be so intered in the diplomatic aspect either.
 
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4. Board Game: Heroscape Master Set: Rise of the Valkyrie [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:270] [Average Rating:7.42 Unranked]
Simon Johnston
United Kingdom
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Pros : Another high ranked game. Comes with loads of great looking minatures.

Cons: I'm not sure any of the others are actually into minatures gaming. Does it work as a four player or do you have to form teams?
 
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5. Board Game: Memoir '44 [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:117] [Average Rating:7.54 Unranked]
Simon Johnston
United Kingdom
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Pros: Yet another high ranked game. More great components. Rules & Mechanics seem interesting.

Cons; Four players is team only.
 
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6. Board Game: Wizard Kings [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:1748]
Simon Johnston
United Kingdom
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This turned up as a recommendation in a list of comments on Warcraft. I don't know much about this game.

Cons: Original game only comes with two armies. Models are more wooden blocks.
 
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7. Board Game: Vinci [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:595]
Simon Johnston
United Kingdom
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Pros: I've played this (with hidden VP) & enjoyed it. Clever mechanic that avoids the problem in many games when your army gets wiped out.

Cons: Er, no dice rolling? Also I'm trying not to buy games that somebody else I already game with regularly already own. Lack of nice minatures not such a problem with this due to it's more abstract nature in my opinion.
 
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8. Board Game: Wallenstein (first edition) [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:342]
Steve Leach
United States
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It doesn't really get much better than this gem. Can be had on the net for less then 50 USD. It doesn't take forever to play either, which is good because you will want to more than one game of this. The rules are very simple too, and who can deny the cube tower.
 
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9. Board Game: Risk 2210 A.D. [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:1019]
David Robison
United States
Apex
North Carolina
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I'm surprised that this did not make it on your original list. If they already like Risk, it seems likely they would enjoy this. The 5 turn limit included with this game helps to keep it from dragging on forever.
 
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10. Board Game: Blood Feud in New York [Average Rating:6.12 Overall Rank:4204]
United States
kaysville
Utah
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This has sort of a wargame feel, but a mob war (to the death) theme. The strategy of this is quite different than traditional war games where you mass troops and engage along the boarders. With the vehicle movement there are few safe spots on the board. I wrote a review of this if you are interested in more information, please check it out.
 
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11. Board Game: War of the Ring (First Edition) [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:82]
Simon Johnston
United Kingdom
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Two people have suggested this without giving any reason why. I guess it is the one "obvious" game not on the list.

I hadn't really considered it as I thought it was too complicated, too long, only a team game not a proper four player and there were comments on confusing units (I've certainly no interest in painting them) and components.

Ready some of the review maybe I was too harsh on this??
 
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12. Board Game: Duel of Ages Set 1: Worldspanner [Average Rating:6.57 Overall Rank:1736]
Robert Bowsher
United States
Hilliard
Ohio
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Handles multiple players, and is time-limit based. Personally I think I like HeroScape better, but this isn't bad either.
 
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13. Board Game: Ikusa [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:689]
David J
United States
Waterville
Maine
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First released as Shogun, then changed its name to Samurai Swords. Both are out of print and go on eBay for $40-$70.

And now for the good news. If your friends like Risk, they will love this. Massive dice fests, same ol' "count up your territories, divide by three and round down" to figure out how many resource allocation points you get - only in this game, you have many choices on how to spend them: muster troops is the main one but you can also fortify areas, hire mercenaries (ronin), hire the ninja, or use your points to choose your turn order for the round. Great 16th century feudal Japan theme. And much more strategy than risk since there are 5 different types of units you can hire.

 
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14. Board Game: Sword of Rome [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:846]
Patrick Kairns
Canada
Candiac
Quebec
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Now here's a great 4 player real wargame ;P
It's card driven too. I've played 3-4 times. Takes about 3-4 hours to play. Great fun.
 
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15. Board Game: Mare Nostrum [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:1073]
Robert Martin
United States
Atlanta
Georgia
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Mare Nostrum is a good game with a solid trading and civ building aspect. Not so good with 3, but great with 4 or 5.
 
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16. Board Game: Quest for the Dragonlords [Average Rating:5.57 Overall Rank:12180]
Simon Johnston
United Kingdom
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This is a suggestion of Robartin.
 
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17. Board Game: Viktory II [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:2669]
Ryan Bowling
United States
Unspecified
Texas
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If they like Risk, then they'd like Viktory II. It's a light wargame that can be played in 3 hours or less and can support up to six players.

The game is all about fighting though, with a touch of diplomacy, so it'd be at the opposite end of the spectrum from San Juan.
 
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