War/Battle/Territory Games: Multiple Aspects, deep, but not too long: Like Mare Nostrum, War of the Rings
Justin Gortner
United States
Egg Harbor Township
New Jersey
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Hi,

Okay, I'm honing in what kind of conflict game I'd like to buy. A serious thanks already to those who have helped! It's most appriciated! Just a little more help and I'll be there...

What I'm looking for:
1. Depth
That is, a game with multiple and directly evident aspects. I'm not talking strategy at all, I mean players have various things to 'manage'. Examples include (but not limited to), mutiple types of combat units that perform differently, resources other than combat units to acquire / manage / fight for, rewards / enhancements / upgrades as the game progresses, various different territory, ecetera. The almost perfect analogy is Risk (combat units, territory) versus Risk 2210 (..., ..., commanders, money, bidding for turn order, commander cards, space stations, water, the moon, etc). I don't like Risk. I love 2210. I'm looking for more similar, but with even more depth.

2. Short relative time play
Looking for a game that can be played in one gaming session. That means under 3 hours (3 1/2 hours tops). The perfect time in my eyes is 2 1/4 hours.

3. Non-tedious or Unique combat resolution
It's okay if the game involves die rolling as long as it't not overbearing (as in Axis & Allies and the original Risk). Also I've read of some interesting mechanics involving resource cards and influence that interest me.

4. Wide range of players
A two-player option would be great, but it's not required. Range must include at least 3 - 4. Range 2 - 6 or 7 would be perfect, but I'm expecting responses with range 3 - 5. Please no only 2 or only 3 player games.

5. Non-abstract theme
Must have a least a pinch of theme. The more the better, but definitely not required to have a lot of theme.

6. 3-Dimentional combat pieces
No games with cardboard counters representing combat pieces. Cardboard pieces with stands are okay, but the more 'miniturey' the better.

7. No 'Bash the Leader' or 'Runaway Leader' problem
Avoid games that are known for having a runaway leader or gang up on the leader problem. I know this exists in many games, I'm just looking to eliminate the ones with serious problems like this.

8. **Enjoyable!**
I've seen plenty of wargames out there that seem almost mechanically perfect, but they don't look any fun! The boards are black and white, pieces are cardboard, and there isn't any fantasy involved. I am NOT a purist or anything and I don't need to be reliving WWII (this is not to say my perfect game doesn't simulate WWII; I think you get the point

9. Rules are at most moderate in difficulty
The game should be at least somewhat (gamer) newbie friendly. It's okay if there are deep / difficult aspects, and if it takes some serious concentration to explain to others, but just not so much information people forget they are playing a game.

Some examples of games that are really really close to what I am looking for are as follows:

Mare Nostrum
Got terrible reviews, but seemed to have many various aspects (resources, buildings etc), great play time (just over two hours), a unique goal, upgrades - but game reviews describe some serious flaws (gang up on the leader, game too short for goals / mechanic, etc).

Civilization
Sounded perfect! Just way to long ...

Risk 2210
I own this game and like it very much. Just looking for something with a little bit more complicated combat pieces, battling, or goal.

War of the Rings
This may be a potential candidate, but I'm not sure if it's too long, too complicated, or too connected with the books / movies. I didn't really follow LotR and don't want to have to had to enjoy the game (which is why I think I wouldn't like it).

Cheers all, and thanks so much for your help.

JustinG
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1. Board Game: A Game of Thrones (first edition) [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:312]
Steve Hope
United States
Woodside
California
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This game didn't grab me the time I played it (though it wasn't bad), but it seems like it fits your criteria pretty closely.
 
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2. Board Game: A Game of Thrones (first edition) [Average Rating:7.27 Overall Rank:312]
pronoblem baalberith
United States
Pleasantville
Massachusetts
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Is it just me or do my balls itch?
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I'll throw this out there because I have been looking at this and Mare Nostrum for the same reasons that you mention in the list and would like to see what people think about this one. Feel free to delete this entry if it is not suitable.
 
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3. Board Game: Blood Feud in New York [Average Rating:6.12 Overall Rank:4204]
Cap'n Howdy
United States
North Hollywood
California
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Check this one out. Our group likes 2210 as well, and this one quickly found its way into our list of favorites. You have multiple units, great theme, and fun player interaction ("Youse step inta Brooklyn, I'll whack yer family member I'm holdin' hostage!"). Play time is around what you're looking for--couple of hours. Not too complex, but plenty of decisions to be made. Sides aren't fixed, so player alliances can be forged and broken. Fun game--might be in the vein of what you're looking for!
 
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4. Board Game: Wizard Kings [Average Rating:6.71 Overall Rank:1748]
Kevin Felker
United States
Oxford
Mississippi
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Wizard kings uses block combat, and can accommoate 2+ players if you buy more races/maps.
 
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5. Board Game: World in War: Combined Arms 1939-1945 [Average Rating:6.59 Overall Rank:5992]
Henry Vogel
United States
Raleigh
North Carolina
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If you don't go for Struggle of Empires, this would be my next recommendation. The game is dead easy to learn but has surprising depth for such simple rules. The game is much less luck dependant than Axis & Allies. It only supports 2 to 4 players, though, and with four players you have pairs of allied player. It does support a single victor even when playing with four, which is a nice addition.
 
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6. Board Game: Friedrich [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:469]
Kevin Felker
United States
Oxford
Mississippi
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I don't know a lot about this game, but it's climbing the charts fast. 3-4 players. 150 minutes play time.
 
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7. Board Game: Magic: The Gathering [Average Rating:7.45 Overall Rank:156] [Average Rating:7.45 Unranked]
Kevin Felker
United States
Oxford
Mississippi
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I love multiplayer games of Magic: The Gathering...you can always get cards cheap off ebay if you're not lookin for tournament play.

Plus it's extremely portable.
 
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8. Board Game: Heroes of Might & Magic IV Collectible Card & Tile Game [Average Rating:5.14 Overall Rank:13713]
Kevin Felker
United States
Oxford
Mississippi
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I also have my eye out for this game.

It's like Magic the gathering with a spatial and diplomatic element.

I have a starter set preordered.
 
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9. Board Game: Wallenstein (first edition) [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:342]
Thomas Franke
Germany
Nuremberg
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I think Wallenstein meets alomost all your requirements, at least to some extent

1. Depth:
You definitely have to manage different resources in this game. This means not only your armies and territories, but you also have to build different kindes of buildings for majorities and harvest enough grain to be able to feed your troops.

2. Short relative time play
ca. 2-2,5 hours


3. Non-tedious or Unique combat resolution
I think Wallenstein has the "most unique" combat resolution ever: You simple throw the troops into a dice tower, and depending on which troops emerge from the bottom of the tower the winner is determined.

4. Wide range of players
3-5 out of the box. Well working variant for 2 on the Geek.

5. Non-abstract theme
Theme is great, at least for us Germans.

6. 3-Dimentional combat pieces
It certainly has 3-diomensional combat pieces. Although it's the simplest 3d-form available: little (3mm) wooden cubes.

7. No 'Bash the Leader' or 'Runaway Leader' problem
Defintely no serious problenms here. Your forces are simply not mobile enogh to send them across the map to hit the leader. Also, the final score is made up by relatively many variables, so the leader is not always completely apparent.

8. **Enjoyable!**
Big fun here.

9. Rules are at most moderate in difficulty
As Wallenstein is not so much a wargame than a eurogame with troops, the rules a realtively short and not too complex, although they are not prefectly written.

 
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