Roger Hobden
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Another thread posted recently asking us about patterns in our wargaming choices have made me reflect on the fact that after a few years of returning to the hobby, I am getting a clearer view of the reasons why I prefer to play certain games.

Time frame issues are important, and also the fact that my gaming choice for the moment is playing face to face. I don't' really have the time to play games that last more then a day.

Games that are too complexe means that the time spent understanding the rules will subtract from potential gaming time.

Setting up thousands of counters shortens precious time also.

I have played The Blitzkrieg Legend: The Battle for France, 1940, and I find that the complexity level is manageable because the rules are very logical, self-consistent, and easy to remember, so the only drawback with that system is the length of the scenarios (to say nothing about the campaigns …).

So for me the ideal games that I will want to be playing in 2014 would have the following characteristics:

A) Duration, including set up time, less then a day.

I am looking for three kinds of length:
Short : 1 to 4 hours
Medium : 5 to 8 hours
Long : 9 to 12 hours.

B) Moderate Complexity.
I define complexity as follows:
Easy : Memoir 44, war of 1812, A house divided.
Moderate : Combat Commander, Lock N Load, SCS.
High : OCS, EFS, Musket and Pike, ASL.

I am looking for historical land wargames that are as complex, or more complex then SCS, but not more complex then OCS or Musket and Pike.

I am interested in the following periods:
Antiquity,
Medieval,
16-18th Century
19th Century (except american civil war)
20th Century
So, one or more suggestions in each time period would be welcome.

Edit : modified the wording, and added the part about The Blitzkrieg Legend: The Battle for France, 1940.
Edit #2 : I have at least one game of every boxed tactical WW II system (COH, CC, ATS, BoB, ASL, TOI, LNL, SL, etc), so my search is complete in at least that area of wargaming.
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Mike Szarka
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I'm afraid the games I will suggest are probably already well-known to you

Mr. Madison's War: The Incredible War of 1812
Wilderness War
No Retreat! The Russian Front
Combat Commander: Europe
Hearts and Minds: Vietnam 1965-1975

These are all playable (if you know the rules) in a single session (afternoon or evening).

Amateurs to Arms! is fantastic but longer, perhaps a full-day session would do it.
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Kent Reuber
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Antiquity: Great Battles of History (possibly with Simple GBoH Battle Manual
Medieval: Men of Iron Series
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Gordon Watson
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Antiquity: Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage(short/medium); Successors (third edition) (Medium)

Medieval: Warriors of God (short); Men of Iron/Infidel (short)

16-18th Century: Not really my period but Wilderness War (short/medium) is good.

19th Century (except american civil war): Napoleon's Triumph (medium)

20th Century: Advanced Squad Leader: Starter Kit #1, no more complex than Combat Commander (short); No Retreat! The Russian Front (medium); World War II: Barbarossa to Berlin (medium/long)
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Andrea
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Complexty wise, Lock'n Load can't stay in the same bunch with Combat Commander: is way (way!) more complex.
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Mallet wrote:

I am looking for three kinds of length:
Short : 1 to 4 hours
Medium : 5 to 8 hours
Long : 9 to 12 hours.

B) Moderate Complexity.
I define complexity as follows:
Easy : Memoir 44, war of 1812, A house divided.
Moderate : Combat Commander, Lock N Load, SCS.
High : OCS, EFS, Musket and Pike, ASL.

I am looking for historical land wargames that are as complex, or more complex then SCS, but not more complex then OCS or Musket and Pike.

I am interested in the following periods:
Antiquity,
Medieval,
16-18th Century
19th Century (except american civil war)
20th Century
So, one or more suggestions in each time period would be welcome.


An excellent analysis of the difficulties we all face other than avoiding the tactical-strategic query. I infer that figure miniatures are not included but at the tactical level they would be worth considering.

For simplicity you could invest in the Command & Colors / Memoir 44 line of games bearing in mind the variants such as Samurai.

For more detail perhaps GBOH would be more appropriate. For more recent periods you quote SCS so why not choose those? For more modern period strategic games the No Retreat series is proving popular.

Otherwise strategic games could be well covered by CDGs:
Hannibal
Kingdom of Heaven
Napoleonic Wars
Paths of Glory
Triumph of Chaos
Barbarossa to Berlin
Twilight Struggle

I think we can assume World in Flames and Empires in Arms fall outside the parameters.laugh
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Roger Hobden
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hammurabi70 wrote:

I think we can assume World in Flames and Empires in Arms fall outside the parameters.laugh


Yep !
 
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Roger Hobden
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andymase wrote:
Complexty wise, Lock'n Load can't stay in the same bunch with Combat Commander: is way (way!) more complex.


The rules are written in a more complicated way then necessary (and many people have commented on this), but once you figure them out, I find them in the same league as CC:E.

The ATS rules suffer from the same problem of being poorly written, and complexity-wise, are closer to ASL then the other tactical systems.
 
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Roger Hobden
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hammurabi70 wrote:

For more recent periods you quote SCS so why not choose those?


The ideal game for me would be either:

between SCS and OCS complexity-wise, or

as complex as OCS, but playable in say 3 to 8 hours, depending on the scenario.

I am looking for a balance between complexity and time, I guess.
 
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Roger Hobden
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hammurabi70 wrote:

I think we can assume World in Flames and Empires in Arms fall outside the parameters.laugh


But if there is such a thing as a 9 to 12 hour scenario for World in Flames Deluxe Edition, or even A World at War, I would try that out with great pleasure … even if only once in my lifetime. arrrh
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Red Winter: The Soviet Attack at Tolvajärvi, Finland – 8-12 December 1939 I believe meets your criteria for moderate complexity (though perhaps on the high end), and its many scenarios (aside from the full four-day battle) can be played in a few or several hours. It's also the first installment in a system that (with some module-specific rules) will cover the tank battles of Normandy (Operation Dauntless: The Battles for Fontenay and Rauray, France, June 1944), more of the Winter War and, per the designer, the Invasion of Poland (Mokra '39) and Guadalcanal.
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Roger Hobden
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whisky_bear wrote:
Red Winter: The Soviet Attack at Tolvajärvi, Finland – 8-12 December 1939 I believe meets your criteria for moderate complexity (though perhaps on the high end), and its many scenarios (aside from the full four-day battle) can be played in a few or several hours. It's also the first installment in a system that (with some module-specific rules) will cover the tank battles of Normandy (Operation Dauntless: The Battles for Fontenay and Rauray, France, June 1944), more of the Winter War and, per the designer, the Invasion of Poland (Mokra '39) and Guadalcanal.


Playing that game is one of my projects for 2014.
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Tyler
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Mallet wrote:
whisky_bear wrote:
Red Winter: The Soviet Attack at Tolvajärvi, Finland – 8-12 December 1939 I believe meets your criteria for moderate complexity (though perhaps on the high end), and its many scenarios (aside from the full four-day battle) can be played in a few or several hours. It's also the first installment in a system that (with some module-specific rules) will cover the tank battles of Normandy (Operation Dauntless: The Battles for Fontenay and Rauray, France, June 1944), more of the Winter War and, per the designer, the Invasion of Poland (Mokra '39) and Guadalcanal.


Playing that game is one of my projects for 2014.


It was -- to show you what a wargame neophyte I am -- my very first proper hex-and-counter wargame (and my first preorder!), following a handful of CDGs (Paths of Glory, Sword of Rome, Wilderness War and ... shhhh ... Twilight Struggle) and several wasted teenage years playing Axis & Allies.
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Band of Brothers: Ghost Panzer (short). The best tactical system bar none, and quite simple in execution (on par with Combat Commander).

FAB: The Bulge (medium). I think the FAB series is the best operational system around, and it is no more complicated than SCS.
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I'm not familiar with many of those games and so my be getting this wrong but would Age of Napoleon fit?
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Roger Hobden
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seanmac wrote:
Band of Brothers: Ghost Panzer (short). The best tactical system bar none, and quite simple in execution (on par with Combat Commander).


By coincidence' I played my first scenario of Band of Brothers: Ghost Panzer yesterday !

This is indeed a great system. I enjoyed every minute of it.
I will want to play again very soon !
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Others have already recommended several of these, but for what it's worth here are my picks:

Antiquity: GBoH, either with the original rules (which I prefer), or the Simple GBoH Rules which greatly lower both complexity and play time. An amazing range of battles to choose from.

Medieval: Men of Iron or Great Medieval Battles (two of the battles were reprinted in S&T a few years back).

16-18th Century: Unhappy King Charles!. Caveat: I've only played this PBEM using Vassal, so I'm not sure about the play time. Less complex than Here I Stand or Virgin Queen, and requires less schizophrenia to play solitaire.

On the lower end of the mid-complexity range is the Battles of the American Revolution series.

19th Century: The Wars of the Imperial Age Series by Joseph Miranda, of which my favourite is the excellent The Franco-Prussian War. For something more recent and more tactical, there's Deathride: Mars-la-Tour 1870 from ATO.

20th Century: So many to choose from. I strongly second the recommendation for A Victory Lost, which has the distinction of being my most-played game of the past five years. World at War: Eisenbach Gap is fast playing and on the lower end of moderate complexity. I've had quite a bit of fun with this one.
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Eric Walters
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Here's my mix of games--these are about as eclectic as I can make them:

#1: Panzergruppe Guderian. SPI or AH version. Doesn't matter.

#2: Napoleon's Triumph. Or any other of the Bowen Simmons games. They're just that different--and play fast yet with great depth!

#3: Iron and Oak. Before this game came out I would have said The Ironclads. Cool when linked with Rebel Raiders on the High Seas.

#4: Birds of Prey: Air Combat in the Jet Age. Yes, it's moderate complexity. It really is. Far easier to learn and get into than many other of the "latest generation" manual air combat simulations!

#5: Lincoln's War. Nothing else quite like it.

#6: Rommel in the Desert. If I have to pick one block game, this is the one.

#7: Valor & Victory. The best balance between ease of play and narrative power in a tactical squad level WW II war-game.

#8: Lost Battles. Perfectly scaled for the role the player takes on as a decisonmaker for his side.

#9: StarForce 'Alpha Centauri': Interstellar Conflict in the 25th Century. Still my all-time favorite Sci-Fi game!

#10: RAF: The Battle of Britain 1940. My one solitaire game listing--and the competition is really stiff, believe me (so many other worthy titles out there!)
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Battles of the Bulge: Celles a nice little game that can be easily played in a day..
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Lawrence Hung
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Quote:
A) Duration, including set up time, less then a day.
I am looking for three kinds of length:
Short : 1 to 4 hours
Medium : 5 to 8 hours
Long : 9 to 12 hours.

B) Moderate Complexity.
I define complexity as follows:
Easy : Memoir 44, war of 1812, A house divided.
Moderate : Combat Commander, Lock N Load, SCS.
High : OCS, EFS, Musket and Pike, ASL.

I am looking for historical land wargames that are as complex, or more complex then SCS, but not more complex then OCS or Musket and Pike.


According to your criteria, the following jumps to my mind:

Antiquity: Lost Battles - agreed with Eric, a definite game on the period with numerous scenarios to choose from, majority of which are certainly completable in one day. You can always choose the scenarios according to the available time you have, while GBoH is less elastic in terms of time of gameplay. You didn't tell whether you are going to play solitaire game or not. If yes, my choice would go to Peloponnesian War by Mark Herman instead.

Medieval: Warriors of God - Excellent game. Highly recommended from both the persepctives of historical level of simulation and competitive gameplay. Game system is highly streamlined and flows smoothly without too many abstraction. Everything makes sense. The insignia of all factions in fighting are marvellous research achievements. You really feel you ARE in command, and from a high level of command - Commander-in-Chief.

16-18th Century: Thirty Years War: Europe in Agony, 1618-1648 - It has all the colours and flavours of the period and features you want from a game, a historical simulation, an intense battles model. Many strategic options and very very nice action and event cards which drive the game mechanics smoothly and realistically along the complex historic and political line. Systems and sub-systems are nicely and perfectly integrated. All in all, this is the best game on a subject much less covered with and you can't afford to miss.

19th Century (except american civil war)- Bittereinder. I don't game this period often except the ACW (and you are not asking for ACW in this period!) The only game I played worth to mention then is this on the Boer War. As to the game, the rulebook is well written and organized, much better than some of the other ATO magazine games. There are many wits of design sprinkling all around the system. Only one minor drawback so far that can't meet your requirements is the lack of scenarios suitable for an afternoon. Either you play the short introductory scenario of 2 turns only in an hour, or a 32-turns campaign game long.

20th Century - There are too many choices out there. I would suggest to start with Mark Simonitch's timeline series like Normandy '44, Ukraine '43, and had I played them before but not yet, France '40, Ardennes '44. His designs are always highly playable, with the right amount of rules and chromes, and adjustable complexity scale by basic, intermediate and advanced rules, special rules, etc. You won't disappoint with any one of these games. They are really excellent wargames on WW2.
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Dave Long
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If you like solitaire games then The Hunters would be an excellent choice. You can run a single patrol in about 10 minutes, and a full campaign, depending on your luck in under 90 minutes.
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Skip Franklin
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My list
Not in order.

Ardennes '44 (a loss)
Cobra (a win)
Grand Illusion: Mirage of Glory, 1914 (a win)
Proud Monster: The Barbarossa Campaign (a win)
2nd Fleet (a win)
Iwo Jima: Valor of Arms, 19 Feb. – 25 March 1945 (a win)
Operation Olympic (a win)
Panzergruppe Guderian (a loss)
Sicily: The Race for Messina (a win)
Stalingrad Pocket II (a win)
NATO: Operational Combat in Europe in the 1970's (a win)
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Bill Lawson
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Ancients:
Commands & Colors: Ancients (Whole Series)
Julius Caesar

WWII:
Nightfighter
The Hunters: German U-Boats at War, 1939-43

20th Century:
World at War: Eisenbach Gap (Whole Series)
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June Hwang Wah
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Antiquity
Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage
Xenophon: 10,000 Against Persia

Medieval:
Crusader Rex
Hammer of the Scots

16-18th Century:
A Most Dangerous Time: Japan in Chaos, 1570-1584
Samurai

19th Century:
Bonaparte in Italy
Age of Napoleon
The Sun Never Sets

20th Century:
Breakout: Normandy
Bitter Woods (fourth edition)
Panzerkrieg
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