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Subject: Welcome to the General Wargaming Forum rss

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P. Al Williams
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Holyoke
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Where to begin?

What's the game that got everyone involved in wargaming?
Did anyone move from designer games to war games?
OR were you always a wargamer?
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j b Goodwin

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My first game of war was Risk. We played all day and into the night sometimes. We especially love that last, world-sweeping turn that made one player king of the world, and everyone else trampled dirt.

The first "real" wargame I encountered were Metagaming microgames, starting with Invasion of the Air-Eaters, and then progressing to the real kickers, my first mail-order games,Ogre and Melee.

The first serious wargame I encountered was Avalon-Hill's PanzerBlitz, and it was all downhill from there. I was ensnared in a web of mounted mapboards and little cardboard chits. And I still am. I play all sorts of games, but it's the wargames that really capture my interest most.

Wargames are generally not "fun" in the same way other games are fun (Although there are a lot of light wargames that can do that with the right crowd). Most wargames don't make you jump and and down and scream, but they engage your mind in a whole different way.

The few. The proud. The chit-pushers.
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Tim McCarron
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Houston
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Game that got me into wargaming - Avalon Hill's Waterloo
always a wargamer from that point on. Dont know what a designer game was even if I played one

All time favorite game - Up Front (AH)
Current favorites to play - Twilight Struggle (GMT), Battlelines (LBG)
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Chris Talbot
Canada
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Northwest Territories
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When I was a teenager in the early 1990s, I was introduced to games like Supremacy and Axis & Allies. While not truly a war game, I considered Supremacy to be one nevertheless, and that was the game I always wanted to play with my friends. Finding enough players and an entire day to set aside for the game was another matter entirely, though.

Back then, I heard about hex-and-counter war games, but I thought they were far too complicated. The guys who introduced me to Supremacy in or around 1991 were also Advanced Squad Leader players. They told me a bit about ASL, and it just seemed far too complex for me. So I never got into hex-and-counter games when I was a young'un.

College came and my war gaming dropped off entirely. I was a roleplayer as well as a board/war gamer, and RPGs started taking up all of my gaming time. Fast-forward to last spring when I found a couple of local groups that had members that played war games as well as designer games (Canucks Amuck and TABS). I joined them and started playing war games of various levels -- The Russian Campaign, Soldier Kings, Ogre/GEV, Target Arnhem: Across 6 Bridges, Sergeants! on the Eastern Front, Paths of Glory and others. Now I own a few more war games, and I'm really enjoying playing the types of war games that scared me off when I was younger.

And next up on my to-learn list is Advanced Squad Leader Starter Kit #1.

Chris
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Dane Peacock
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Stansbury Park
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Risk was first, but I never liked it. It was just a game about my big brother intimidating everyone else to do what he wanted. Now, he doesn’t play war games because he associates them all to Risk. Too bad.

Then it was the Avalon Hill/SPI thing. Big time. Most notably Kingmaker and Magic Realm. My addiction started early.

I am really enjoying the new innovations and mechanics in war games these days. I am also enjoying the trend towards better components. I am becoming less tolerant of paper maps and one sided chits for $60+.
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Mark Christopher
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In the wonderful game, Bonaparte at Marengo, this is how to get nasty Frenchies out of a village.
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My first "wargame" was Risk, which I enjoyed playing right up through high school. However, in 9th grade, I came across a book in the school libary about real wargames (three I remember were a WWII naval game, a Thirty Years War game, and Wooden Ships & Iron Men), and that made me very interested in finding some of these games. A friend told me that he lived near a store that sold games like these, so within a week, I had a copy of WS&IM. From there I went to Ogre, GEV, Star Fleet Battles, and others.

That book made a big impression on me; a few years ago, I was in the Compleat Strategist in Boston and saw both Prussia's Glory and Sweden Fights On. Remembering how neat the Thirty Years War game looked in the book (and yes, I knew PG was a hundred years later ), I grabbed both, hoping that one of them, at least, had a similar feel to the vague impression I had of what I'd read before (I enjoy both games, particularly SFO).

That WSIM purchase is really what started my love affair with games beyond the "Toy 'R Us" variety, and so I purchased Settlers in '95. Since then, I've enjoyed many a eurogame, but wargaming is where my heart lies when it comes to gaming.
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Nick Avtges
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Bridgewater
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While I had played Axis & Allies, Conquest of the Empire, Risk, Broadsides & Boarding Parties and numberous other light wargames as a kid, the first "real" wargame I ever played was AH's Africa Korps. I was immediately intrigued by the one thing that was missing from the other conflict games I'd played...supply and logistics. It's admitting my deep wargame geek to say it, but supply and logistics are one of the most enjoyable parts of a game to me. There is nothing so satisfying as cutting off a large chunk of your opponents forces and watching them wither away to nothing. I suppose I recognized early on that while combat was often aT the whim of a die roll, supply attrition was automatic. After that we tried Squad Leader, which was good with it's somewhat abstracted command and control model. Then we really got into Third Reich. We played a lot of this one. I still have fond memories of vast encirclements on the east front from that game. Again, the supply rules really were my favorite part of the game.

Then we discovered Up Front. What a great game. While missing my favorite logistics, it had concentrated tactical combat down into a glorious 30-45 minute card game. Still my #1 favorite game.

We discovered other goodies along the way, mostly from Avalon Hill, but eventually people moved away, got careers, etc, and so my wargame playing dwindled. After a few years of drought (well...not entirely dry, there was Magic) I discovered Settlers of Catan, which was great fun, and got into euros. Now, though my euro gaming group, I've met others who still enjoy war games and we get together occasionally to play. So, I've come full circle.

Current fave's include East Front with it's brilliant command and control mechanic and lovely supply rules and Napoleon at Marengo, just for the beauty of it and simplicity of play.
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Martin Siebel
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Hi all,

I still hesitate to call myself really a wargamer because I did not play too many games I would really consider 'serious' wargames. As many other's have already claimed, I, too, started with Risk when I was maybe twelve. Six years later, my first games of Shogun and Civilization followed. Maybe I would consider Civ my first wargame, although it is rather about civ building. My first 'real' wargame I would say was AH's War & Peace which I still like very much, maybe only for this very reason.

However, it's difficult to find opponents for this kind of games, so most of the wargames I explored solitarily and indulge in the interesting aspects on how the simulatory aspects are achieved. The closest thing to a real wargame besides civ, which I played against a real opponent was Phalanx' Age of Napoleon which I like very much. Would be happy to hear if there are some players in the Geneva area.
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Philip Thomas
United Kingdom
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My first real wargame, discounting Risk, Diplomacy, Fortress Amercia, Axis and Allies and 4000 AD, was Lion of the North. Also my last wargame for many years, as it turned out to be too complex and lengthy for my tastes. I did play Samurai Swords and More recently I have got back into wargaming, or at least dipped my toe in with such fare as War of the Ring and Twilight Struggle. And I have Unhappy King Charles on preorder...
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Steven Packard
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Palmdale
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My first wargame was Arab-Israeli Wars (the AH game). A friend of mine in High School loved wargames and had just bought that one and thought I'd love it, too. I was hopelessly confused. We'd play a scenario and he'd quickly wipe me out. Then we'd swap sides and play the same scenario ... and he'd quickly wipe me out.

Even so, there was something that greatly appealed to me. I loved the maps and the counters and the historical recreation, etc., etc. I graduated and moved a couple months later, and never was able to play a second time with him. (I've never been in touch with him since. If any of you know of a John Fleck who graduated from Oak Hill in Indiana in the early 80's, I'd love to let him know about the obsession he's responsible for.)

About a year later, I read about The Awful Green Things From Outer Space, and was intrigued by the gameplay and humor. I bought it and loved it. I'm sure all you purists are groaning and saying "THAT'S not a wargame!".

Well, to me it kind of was, in spirit. It was a much gentler introduction to wargaming, and from there I was able to bounce back in with more confidence.

Soon after I was buying and playing several hex and counter games, with my favorite being Pacific War, which my wife gave me as a gift when I graduated from college. It was brand new at the time....

A couple of years ago at a game convention, I saw a used copy of Arab-Israeli Wars for sale, and I was quick to buy it for nostalgia, since I consider that to be the game that started it all for me. Maybe I've got a mental block, because it still confuses me.
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Lee Williams
United States
Raleigh
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I have played games for as long as I can remember. I consider my first wargame to be played when I started playing "Tactics II" in 1961. My brother was 5 years older than me and started me on this quest (My brother and a friend of his alternated playing "Tactics II" and "Gettysburg" - both Avalon Hill, of course). Before the end of 1961 I owned 3 wargames of my own: AH's "Tactics II", "Gettysburg", and "Blitzkrieg" (I still own them, by the way). It just grew from there. "Jutland" followed, as well as others. I didn't buy all of the games, because my friend also got hooked and we split the purchasing of games. SPI joined the list, along with an S&T subscription. GDW and others followed.

I continued to play regular games (card and board) as well, and ultimately expanded into designer/ euro games. Wargames are still a significant part of my games budget.
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Robin
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glennallen
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I didn't grow up playing Risk or Axis and Allies. My first wargame was Battle Cry. Then I moved on to the Columbia block wargames, starting with Napoloen, Hammer of the Scots, Wizard Kings, and Rommel- in that order. Finally I got a chance to try out Axis and Allies, which I later decided I hated. My husband and I expanded are collection into some older games like Squad Leader, which I absolutely love because of its many tactical choices to make and new percentile rolls.

I feel like I've tried out every wargame possible ranging from simple games like M'44, to block wargame, to diplomatic power struggles like Twilight Struggle, to complex hex and counter games.

But I'm still a newbie!

EDIT: When I think about this some more, I think the game that got me interested in wargaming was Chess. It isn't a wargame but in some ways, it has similar goals. To me, chess relates easily to combat.
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Matt Burchfield
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Virginia Beach
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I would have to say Gettysburg '88 was the game that really got me into it all. A few years after that Across Five Aprils came out and that was HUGE for me. Of course I played Axis and Allies and Conquest of Empires with my brothers but those two games were what really got me started.
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Chris Prysock
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St. Louis
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I started out like most of the people posting playing Risk, Stratego, Carrier Strike and other such light fair. In high school I was mostly playing RPG games but in my Senior year I was introduced to hex and counters...

The very first hex and counter game I saw was Richthofen's War. That intrigued me and with my history teacher's encouragement I picked up Squad Leader and started playing that. The addiction only got worse after college after moving to Chicago as I got active in the wargaming community there playing D-Day, WSIM, Third Reich and ASL (among others too many to remember). Slowly life got in the way and I played less and less...

I've started playing and enjoying many of the euro-style games lately, but still love and crave the mental battle of wits that you experience when pushing cardboard!
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Paul O'Connor
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San Marcos
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For me it was the four original American Heritage games from Milton Bradley -- Broadside, Hit the Beach, Dogfight, and Battle Cry.

From there I moved into Avalon Hill games when I inherited Midway and D-Day from my brother.

My interest really took off in the early 1970s when some of the first science-fiction wargames hit the market. Games like Stellar Conquest and Triplanetary really got me into wargames.

I briefly subscribed to Strategy & Tactics magazine in the late 1970s, which reintroduced me to historical wargames. And despite continued (and continuing) forays into CCGs, miniatures games, sports games, and Euros, I always come back to historical wargames, sooner or later.
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Mattias Fall
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I bought Avalon Hill´s War and Peace when I was 10 or so. I was deep into Napoleonics, and when we were on vacation in Stockholm I found the game in a game store. It looked awesome. I remember the guy in the store pointing out that it was a rather complex game and asking if I had ever played wargames before. Of course, that didn´t stop me. When we got home, my father suggested that we´d try one of the scenarios, but I insisted that we should play the campaign game, and I would play France. I remember the French lifting a lot of British blockades, but the game soon bogged down of course. Don´t know how many turns we played, but I would guess three Many years later, I played some scenarios with a couple of friends and liked the game well enough. We also played War at Sea. I was an extremely slow player back then. Our games of War at Sea took all night.

I don´t get the chance to play many wargames these days, but that will change when the children get a little older. I love games that depict a single battle, Napoleonic or other.
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Ken Feldman
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I played alot of Risk and Carrier Strike as a kid. A friend then introduced me to Avalon Hill's Starship Troopers. He was into ancients, so we played Caesar at Alesia and Alexander too.

I went on to many other Avalon Hill classics, D-Day, Bulge, Bismark. From there into the SPI games, especially Terrible Swift Sword and the Great Battles of the American Civil War games (Pea Ridge was my favorite.)

Since we were all interested in fantasy and sci-fi, we found out about GDW, which produced alot of sci-fi games.

If only I had the time to game now that I had then!
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Andrew Abney
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Wargaming has long been a passion, and despite some dry gaming patches in the last few years, it still remains a passion.

My first real foray into the traditional hex and counter wargame game with Metagamings Ogre, Melee, and Sticks & Stones. From there I moved onto Chainmail, which lead to Fire & Steel (GDW rules for 15mm Napoleonics). From there I jumped AH's War and Peace (I miss that game), which led to a long love affair with the AH games (they just aren't the same anymore). After having lost much of my AH/3M collection, I am in the process of rebuilding my original collection.

Now my tastes tend to run to smaller scale table top games. We play Kampfgruppe (squad and armor combat in WWII), Hoards of the Things (5 stars and two really big thumbs up for these rules), and War P.I.G.s. We also play Warsaw Pact, Bull Run, Rise and Fall of Third Riech, Clash of the Gladiators, and Diplomacy.
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robin goblin
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Toronto
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AH Waterloo was my first. Must have played it 150+ times as a kid!

Robin
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Matthew M
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I haven't moved from designer games to war games, perse, but the former has definitely opened up the world of the latter for me. After a while the designer games all start to taste the same whereas war games offer new and interesting challenges.

My first war games (back before I even knew about euro games) were Risk (of course) and Samurai Swords. One might also consider Tom Clancy's Politika a type of war game, while othres might not consider it to be a game of any type at all

Nowadays I have opened my heart to such games as C&C:A, Hannibal:RvC, EastFront, TI3, War of the Ring, and others. I'm not at a place where I'd want to delve into the world of ASL (it seems like a scary place) but at the same time I wouldn't even consider giving up the new genre I've added to my collection. They certainly scratch an itch that designer games just can't reach.

-MMM
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Brian Morris
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Raytown
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I must have been 7 or 8 when I first played Dogfight which would be my first wargame. I use to also play parchisi, Life and a few other games with my grandmother and always enjoyed them. I later discovered Risk which I played a lot when I could drag someone else into playing with me. It was however my discovering roll playing games (Fantasy Trip and then Runequest) that led me to discover a store called Viking Hobby in Sacramento (It's still there 25 years later from my understanding) and I discovered Avalon Hill games. My first two Avalon Hill games were Kingmaker and Third Reich which I got on my 15th birthday. It has led to a lifetime hobby for me.
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David Turner
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Tactics II and Risk
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Robert Wesley
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For myself, then as a 'kid', it was the 'Milton Bradley' kinds, along with the 'Parker Bros.' game of "CONFLICT". I don't know how many others recollect upon some "model kits" from 'Aurora' about "Anzio Beachead" and "the RAT Patrol", but we took those and 'made' our very OWN "game" from them! My DAD was the person to get behind on this 'notion' for them, and it was just akin to "Hit the Beach" back then. Later on in 1969-(I was 11 at the time), then I was playing "Diplomacy" with our neighbor's 'kids'-(they were the "brain children" of our 'street'), and it would then be a couple more years before I actually did get the 'Avalon Hill'~"Waterloo" game in a "Hobby Shop" at the "Frandor Shopping Center" in 'Lansing, MI'. Only when we moved back to SEATTLE in 1974 did I 'discover' about OTHER "gaming companies" at the "American Eagles Hobby Shop" in the 'Greenwood' district. I have to thank a couple of "Bookstores"-(the 'University' & now defunct 'Washington' ones) as well, since they also had quite the selection of "games" and when the latter was going "out of business" then these were HALF-"off" for 'clearance'! Good times. . .
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Leo Zappa
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Aliquippa
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What's the game that got everyone involved in wargaming?
Did anyone move from designer games to war games?
OR were you always a wargamer?


Like many here, I came from humble wargaming beginnings. Checkers led to Stratego, which begat Risk, which preceded the American Heritage series (Battlecry, Broadside, Skirmish, Dogfight), which in turn was superceded by my first foray into "real" wargames - my buddy's brother's copy of Avalon Hill's "Waterloo" (I now own that copy through a trade we made several decades ago!) Waterloo sent us running down the path of Battle of the Bulge, Afrika Korps, Midway, and even 1914! There was that brief fling into some obscure alleyway called, what was it again, oh yes, Dungeons and Dragons, but that soon subsided, and it was back to panzer pushing. Third Reich opened our eyes much wider (we horribly screwed the game up the first time through, but hey, we were 12 years old)! Panzerblitz was the next revelation, and on and on. However, after awhile, other matters crept into the picture (college, girls, parties, beer, girls, beer, beer...) and the games took a break for about ten years. Then, in 1990 or thereabouts, I spied a big box of army men with a map of the world - yes - Axis and Allies. This started things up anew, and soon we were back at it again. Now about three years ago, flush with winnings from my fantasy football league, I thought about looking for some of the old wargames I missed the first time around. It was while researching my desired purchase of Avalon Hill's "Chancellorsville" that I stumbled across both eBay and this fine site. Now, three years later (and poorer), I have vastly increased my collection, and I game with a group of 7 to 9 fellow gamers once or twice a month.

I have always been a wargamer, but due to this site, I have at least dipped my toe into designer games, with two card games, BattleLine and Citadels. I might consider some designer board games, but conflict driven games are my favorite type of game - I'm not much interested in crops or power grids or colonists or building cities, other than to overrun and crush them with my tanks! That's just me!
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Michael Von Ahnen
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My first war-ish games were Battleship, Chess, and Risk. I played those for years, but at some point was gettin bored with limitations of the games.

Then I was introduced to my first true wargame, The Russian Campaign. This was the Avalon Hill version and I have gone through 3 sets of pieces. While I have since bought and played many others, this game still is my favorite.
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