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Subject: Recommendation for Non-Gamer Husband? (Twilight Struggle?) rss

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Jennie
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I'm still seeking the elusive boardgame that will interest my non-gamer husband. I definitely want something that works very well with 2 player. I've been looking at Twilight Struggle. My husband is a history and non-fiction geek, and I think the theme would appeal to him greatly. But I do wonder if theme is enough to make a game appealing? I do like Homebrewing and Masters' Swimming, for example, but that doesn't mean I want to play games about those topics.

So I'm wondering how appealing Twilight Struggle might be to a non-gamer who happens to be deeply interested in the subject matter. Are the mechanics of the game also appealing? And is it 100% historically accurate, in terms of what stories are told and how they are told? Because a biased or erroneous perspective would bug him too.

Oh, and playing a complicated game is fine. We've played Agricola, Stone Age, Power Grid, Pandemic, 7 Wonders, etc. He'll play them to be a good sport, but he doesn't love it. I am trying to find something he legitimately loves and would choose to play.

When I ask him what he doesn't like about gaming it's "waiting around between turns." He doesn't actively dislike games. He just has things he'd enjoy doing more (reading, watching sports).

I'm also interested in hearing other recommendations besides Twilight Struggle, but with similar genre, theme, and game play. I did buy him Memoir '44 last year. We played it once, and he perked up talking about the historical context, but was fairly ambivalent about the game, and hasn't wanted to play it again.
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Stephen Jacobsen
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I don't know a ton about Cold War history, but I do know that Twilight Struggle is not "Historically accurate." It has cards that represent specific events, but as the previous poster stated, they can be anachronistic.

There is plenty of historical flavor in the game. However, what you are actually "doing" in the game is a little ambiguous much of the time. What does it really mean to "add 2 points of influence?"

As with many war games, they more or less simulate a conflict, but the historical context may or may not have been translated well by the designers.

I have a good bet that
Enrico Viglino
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would be a good person to ask about finding a game with historical accuracy with good playability.
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Moe45673
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Polis: Fight for the Hegemony is a game about the Peleponnesian War that has been called the lovechild of Agricola and Twilight Struggle. Amazing 2p game and plays in a couple hours. Also, the theme does come through.

Despite being about the Peleponnesian War, it's not a wargame. It's a resource management game combined with Area Control. It's brilliant.

I've never played Twilight Struggle but I found 1960: The Making of the President to be a historically flavored and well designed game.
 
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David B
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Many games deeply entertwined with history are going to be rules heavy and may be offputting to a non gamer even if they do appreciate the historicity.

Something a bit simpler that still has history involved may be something from the Railways of the World series.



Other possibilities:

Lewis & Clark (will be out soon)
 
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Mark Langford
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Polis is a great game but I have difficulty getting it to the table with hardcore gamers. It takes time investment to be able to get to grips with how to make your poleis survive before you begin to challenge the other player.

My wife is a casual gamer and there is no way that I would ask her to play this.

By contrast, and given what you've said, have a look at

1775: Rebellion

I think this might be a winner. There is a good video by Marco Arnaudo here

http://boardgamegeek.com/video/31130/1775-rebellion/video-re...

which should help.
 
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Moe45673
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Mark, you recommended Nations but linked to a video about 1775:Rebellion

Also, I recommended Polis because it sounds like the husband's not afraid of complexity
 
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Mark Langford
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Moe45673 wrote:
Mark, you recommended Nations but linked to a video about 1775:Rebellion

Also, I recommended Polis because it sounds like the husband's not afraid of complexity


I have corrected my error many thanks!

Totally agree with Polis as it is an excellent game. The consideration I think is the investment necessary to get your civ engine in Polis running. There are Some great forums to help however.

1775 is also a great game, but easier to get into and even though I had no interest specifically in the US War of Independence, I have now!
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Moe45673
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I agree with you as well. 1775 is a great game, and the rulebook and board help give one that historical grognard feeling, even if the game itself has very little to do with the actual history. Although it's fun to play the Benedict Arnold card and turn some Continental soldiers into Redcoats!
 
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Mark Langford
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Moe45673 wrote:
I agree with you as well. 1775 is a great game, and the rulebook and board help give one that historical grognard feeling, even if the game itself has very little to do with the actual history. Although it's fun to play the Benedict Arnold card and turn some Continental soldiers into Redcoats!


Well said!
 
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Kyle Smith
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So, what I gather from your post is that it's not mechanical complexity or time commitment that drives off your husband from games, but a lack of interest in the subject matter, and boredom at waiting for his turn. The fact that he perked up playing a game like Memoir 44, but found it's gameplay lacking doesn't shock me. Did you just play the first scenario with nothing but infantry and no special rules? I'd suggest, before anything else, trying Memoir 44 again, but instead choosing a mission towards the back of the rulebook. The one where the Axis powers are attempting to cross a long bridge into Paris is especially fun, and shows off the system much better than the weaker teaching scenarios. Scenarios 1-3 are truly for people who've never played a game before, ever. They are not meant for accomplished (if disinterested) gamers.

Also have you considered that maybe you suffer from AP? Have you tried to quicken the pace at which you take your turns?

If he enjoys the more interesting scenarios of Memoir 44, I'd strongly recommend Commands & Colors: Ancients, as well as Commands & Colors: Napoleonics. They build on the systems in Memoir 44 wonderfully, and are truly leaps and bounds above it. Most importantly, they actually offer the non-active player some decisions on the opponents turn. There are strong support and counter attack mechanics which give the defensive player some options to mull over when he's attacked.

One of my best games of Commands & Colors: Napoleonics involved the battle playing out almost completely historically, just because we were both doing the most pragmatic thing we could. It was amazing seeing history organically unfold, without any heavy handed rules to force it along. It's something I've only ever gotten out of Commands & Colors.

Twilight Struggle is also a fantastic game. I really appreciated reading the designers notes, and how they talked about how the mechanics of the game revolve around domino theory and brinkmanship that both super powers ascribed to. The only downside to Twilight Struggle is that it can easily run over 4 hours. But there is always the Late War scenario if you want to get a guaranteed quick game in. Quick still being 90 minutes or so. It also suffers from there not being much for the inactive player to do.

If he really is taken to historical wargames, I'd also highly recommend the No Retreat series of games which takes place during World War II. It includes one of the most amazing mechanics I've ever seen in a wargame, counterblows. This is another option the inactive player can exploit to mess up the attacking players carefully laid plans. It also has a good event card system, giving the inactive player even more options on his opponents turn.

I'm also a huge fan of the Columbia Block game, Hammer of the Scots, although Julius Caesar is also a great entry point in the series. Frankly they have a block wargame for just about every war and time period. It also involves both players in rolling dice during battles, keeping both players involved on every turn.
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Matt N

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7 Wonders should be a low downtime game; I'm a bit surprised that it's not working out for him. If you don't mind a bit of a learning curve, Race for the Galaxy has low downtime and has a science fiction theme where you're allowed to make up history.

Hoity Toity is a fast game with low downtime (another simultaneous action game) but it's best for 5-6.
 
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Jennie
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Thanks for all these great suggestions. A few responses to all:

-I think you are right that Memoir '44 may need another try, and we'll choose a better scenario.
-AP isn't really an issue between the 2 of us, however, it is with our extended family who enjoy playing games with us. Since these delays affect his enjoyment of the game, I'm seeking 2 player games that we can enjoy together instead of pressuring the poor guy to join in every family game.
-Yes, you are right that he fears boredom more than complexity.
-I'm still quite interested in Twilight Struggle, and your comments have made me even more so. I appreciate all the other game options. This is not really my genre, so I'm not familiar with most of these suggestions, but I am just happy to play any game, so if I can find one he really digs, I get more game time, and that's a win-win.
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Russell InGA
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More Memoir may or may not work.

However, Commands & Colors: Ancients has a lot more interesting stuff going on. (Yes, this is my opinion.) There are nearly ten different types of Foot units and nearly ten different types of Cavalry / Mounted units. This is what I really like about the game - the subtle differences between different kinds of units, and how they all interact together.

From what you have written it's hard to judge what game might or might not go over well. CCA has little "downtime". (CCA could devolve to NO FUN against someone that takes minutes each and every turn to decide what to do.)

As to T.S. (and a lesser extent CCA), a question for you is: Are you the type of person that considers all seven of their cards and then reconsiders and reconsiders what to play? What I am asking is, are you prone to AP? In your last post you indicate not. If you have a tendency towards AP then TS might not be a good choice because I think that it is going to bring it out.
 
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