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Subject: World war 2 fans - lets be 'avin you rss

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Destiny's got her hand way, way up in their puppets! It's an unpleasant tingling! The deepest of wriggles!
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I think Panzer Command, by Victory Games, is an underrated little gem.

It's Eastern Front WWII and uses a non-traditional turn sequence--draw chits to randomly activate units, with some modifications possible by using command points. Complexity is medium. This makes for an unusual pace and tense two-player games, but also makes it easily adaptable to solo play. The map might be a bit bigger than what you're looking for, but it's not huge.

It's out of print, but it's not super rare or particularly expensive, as far as I know.
 
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Kevin Moody
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Take a look at John Hill's Tank Leader series. I think West Front Tank Leader is the best one to start with -- easy to find, refined set of rules, lots and lots of play value.

It will suit your interest in integrating cards in play and doesn't have the detail that you found in ATS (or ASL/ASLSK).

It will use a small additional display for recording game progress and various game conditions, but on the other hand there's only one small player aid you use during play, so overall the game should be suitable for a small playing area.
 
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Michael Von Ahnen
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I am a fan of The Russian Campaign, Avalon Hill version. But from your other lists of games, this one looks like the odd man out. The L2 version is a traditional hex and counter wargame, regardless of the art on the counters, which seems to be out of favor these days.

What do you want out of a game? Cool looking pieces (not sure of your tastes if you think the M'44 ones look good), the latest fad of mechanisms, or a good game that challenges you tactically and strategically. If it is the later, look at The Russian Campaign.
 
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L Myrick
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From your list, I'd pick L&L:Band of Heroes. Plays very much like ASL, but it uses an alternating impulse system different from ASL.

And speaking of ASL--I think you should check out the ASL Starter Kits, excellent stuff and inexpensive.
 
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Gotthard Heinrici (prev. Graf Strachwitz)
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Dear Owen, I know the problem but here is a small tip:

ROADS TO LENINGRAD!!

Excellent theme, brilliant production, Excellent game play. High replayability value (2 maps, 4 scenario's), affordable (I paid 47 Euro's, Bitter Woods is 75 Euro's).

Roads to Leningrad is my ultimate Hex & Counter game and really surprises me everytime I play it.
 
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Ken Feldman
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Since you're a sucker for pretty counters, you may want to check out the Panzer Grenadier series from Avalanche. It's platoon scale with 15 minute turns, use alternating impulses like ATS and has a variety of theaters (east front, west front, desert, pacific) to choose from.

If you want more detail and better looking maps (but not quite as nice looking counters), the Tactical Combat Series (TCS) games from MMP/The Gamers are nice. They use an interesting orders system where you draw up your plans on a reduced size copy of the map. Bloody Ridge, dealing with the battle for Edson's Ridge on Guadalcanal, is a good game to check out that series.

Ken
 
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Jim Marshall
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(In response to the Tank Leader recommendation) - I'll second this - Tank Leader is often overlooked and works very well. Bear in mind that this was from the guy who originally designed Squad Leader. While others took that game and added layer after layer of complexity, John Hill himself produced this game that stripped back the (I would argue) irrelevant detail that bogged down the SL series and substituted gameplay instead (i.e. the card driven activation system - play them face down for more suspense and bluff/counter bluff effect).

Don't get me wrong, this isn't Memoir 44, but if you're looking for a game that cares that a Panther tank's front armour was significantly thicker than its side and rear armour then this probably isn't it. However, if you want a fast-playing WW2 combined arms game with a real flavour of the period this can be yours on Ebay for a fraction of the price of SL/ASL.

Just to be contrary, I'd probably recommend the East Front version as it has more open terrain allowing more fluid scenarios.
 
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Jeff Paul
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Hmm... if I was just starting out - where would I go...

M44. Don't get me wrong. This is a great game. But the system does not transfer to WWII very well. In this game it is a GOOD idea for infantry to charge across the open field at a tank unit. Now, perhaps it is just me, but that just feels wrong. Maybe the scale is not what I am used to (I have cut my teeth on SL/ASL/UpFront).

Panzergrenadier. Check out the rules online over at www.avalanchpress.com. Gorgeous counters. OK maps. And rules that should have been nice and simple but have just enough ambiguity to make your head hurt. If you follow the discussion group for this over at www.consimworld.com you will see the SAME basic questions come up continously. And though the company gives great support, I had never seen the designer come online to straighten out some of these basic things. I tried it. Fell in love with the counters. But left. Tons of scenarios that have dodgy balance - and somehow they always last longer than I think they should for what appears to be a streamlined system.

East Front/West Front/Tank Leader. Yes this is a neat system. It have recently been introduced to it - and if not for the 1980s era art (and some, now dated, rules mechanisms) this would be AWESOME.

Lock n Load. I am still not used to the white borders. But they are not as bad as they once were :-) The game is very pretty - and fast. Haven't decided yet.

So, what else do we have...

Well, nobody has mentioned any block games yet - there are a couple of options - campaign specific games (like Rommel in the Desert or the soon to be released FAB: The Bulge) - or theatre wide games (like Europe Engulfed). I have recently discovered the joys of block gaming. Me likes it a lot. The gut wrenching feel of not knowing exactly what you are facing adds a lot to the gaming experience.

Up Front. The ULTIMATE squad level WWII game - but only available for big bucks on ebay. Get it if you can. Gut wrenching experience EVERY time - highly replayable - and I love how the cards take complete control away from the commander. In order to win, you must master the chaos of the battlefield.

Combat Commander looks like it will combine the best of Up Front and Squad Leader. The current almost final draft of Combat Commander is available from GMT - I suggest you check it out. Pre-order it now. Really. I don't think you will regret this one! (Course, I have never played it ... :-)

Good Luck in your search
 
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