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Subject: Recommendations for first solo wargame rss

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Ryan Keane
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Hi everyone,

I'm looking for advice on what would be the best solo wargame to try first. Looking for something light-medium weight, although game length is not an issue, since I'll be playing solo and can play over multiple sittings.

Here's some info about what I like:
Memoir 44 is my favorite game. It has not been much of a hit with my wife or friends, but my son and I have a blast playing it and I have played it a lot solo, playing both sides (and playing like I don't know what cards the other side has).

Maria and Friedrich are my 2nd and 3rd favorite games. I just love that era, the history behind the event cards, the card play dynamics, and the diplomacy. If there was a way to play them solo, that would be my dream.

Game of Thrones is my 4th fav - love the theme, just wish it played a bit faster so it could hit the table more often. Imperial, although not really a wargame, gets honorable mention - one of my games rated 10, I love how it flips a seeming wargame on its head.

I have not had any experience with serious wargames. I did not particularly like some next level games I tried like Conflict of Heroes, Combat Commander, or Tide of Iron.

Thanks for reading. I hope that background helps. I appreciate any and all recommendations you can provide. I've been eyeing Hold the Line, as a good alternative to M44 to solo and play with my son, but not sure which game in the series would be best.
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CPBelt
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Ryan Keane wrote:
I tried like Conflict of Heroes


Well, there goes my suggestion, so looks like I've been knocked out in the first round. If you want to leave WWII and try horse and musket a bit, I highly recommend the Napoleonic 20 series. Read the reviews to see which floats your boat.
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Ryan Keane
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CPBelt wrote:
Ryan Keane wrote:
I tried like Conflict of Heroes


Well, there goes my suggestion, so looks like I've been knocked out in the first round. :D If you want to leave WWII and try horse and musket a bit, I highly recommend the Napoleonic 20 series. Read the reviews to see which floats your boat.


Thanks for the quick reply and recommendation. I'm definitely open to non-WWII.

Is Fading Glory the best choice to get into Napoleon 20?
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Ryan Keane wrote:
Is Fading Glory the best choice to get into Napoleon 20?

Fading Glory has the advantage that you get four games in the box, but if you just wanted to try one, you could try one of the many available from Victory Point Games, or see if someone's willing to part with their Jena 20 from C3i 23.

Of course, if you're looking strictly for solitaire games, i.e. built for one, there are a lot of options.

VPGs States of Siege series has games that span from really light to more involved (Levee en Masse being probably the most accessible/light and Cruel Necessity at the more involved end of that system).

The Hunters: German U-Boats at War, 1939-43 is a grand solitaire game.

Nemo's War is my favourite solitaire game.

And then there's always the very handy reference geeklist - Solitaire War Games
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Cosmo Kramer
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I know not everyone will agree with this, but how about Advanced Squad Leader: Starter Kit #1? It does play well solitaire and with VASL you can play solo or find a willing partner for FtF play. The rules overhead is not that much (I think something like 3-4 pages to play infantry only scenarios).

My other suggestion might be B-17: Queen of the Skies. Great game if you like a role playing type narrative.
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Ted Spencer
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Dan Verssen designs great solo games for solo play exclusively.
When I really want to fly solo, I go for something in Verssen's Leader Series.

John Butterfield designs great solo games with a two-player option. I enjoy a lot the cooperative options in Butterfield's Ambush! and D-Day at Omaha Beach. Don't know how old your son is, but these might be a bit over his head if he's not in his teens.

And you can find hundreds of two player wargames you can play both sides.

Hold the Line is worth owning, but no toys. When I want to step up from M'44 and keep the toys, it's going to be BattleLore. I never tried BattleLore solo, but I know someone who has. So, it's doable.

Speaking of M'44, in the Commands & Colors family, a lot of gamers prefer Ancients and Napoleonics to M'44. They are two-player block games. Some find block games ideal for solo play. If your son likes M'44 and can give up the toys, this is a reasonable advance.

No toys, no cards, Clash of Giants II lends itself easily to solo play.

For post WWII fun, there's Eisenbach Gap. It's worth taking a look at the Mark H. Walker catalog.

There a so many great wargames to play solo and two-player. D-Day Dice is not a wargame, IMO, but it is fun with a war theme and tons of dice.

In your case, I'd avoid wargames without a video review. Go with the reviewer that speaks to you the most. Not that you should be whatever he (or she) says, but if you like their style, you might also like the same games.

Good luck, whatever you decide.











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Ryan Keane
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Thanks for all the great recommendations! My son just turned 8 and only recently is able to read/remember what the text-based cards in M44 do, so I'm more looking for something to play myself and we can play together as a solo/coop rather than vs.

I've tried Battle Cry, C&C Ancients, and Battlelore, but just prefer to play more M44 over these, although my son did like the Battlelore toys. I was thinking Hold the Line would be different enough and similar at the sane time to grab me.

D-Day at Omaha Beach looks like a great, easily available, and cost-effective choice for me to get into more serious wargames, and I like the theme of Nemo's War as well. Lots to research.
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Ryan Keane
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What about the COIN series, like Cuba Libre? Looks like it works solo but can also provide that asymmetrical multiplayer dynamic that I like so much in Maria and Friedrich.

But Omaha Beach does look like the best choice to play solo/coop with my son.
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Ryan Keane wrote:
Thanks for all the great recommendations! My son just turned 8 and only recently is able to read/remember what the text-based cards in M44 do, so I'm more looking for something to play myself and we can play together as a solo/coop rather than vs.


Well in that case!

Manoeuvre - check out the video by Castelli, but this is a personal favourite.

A block game. Either Julius Caesar or perhaps Napoleon: The Waterloo Campaign, 1815.
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Peter Rich
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Gettysburg 150 by Worthington Games.
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Nathaniel GOUSSET
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Ambush.
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Global Nomad
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Hi Ryan

Maria and Friedrich are quite unique. I can give a few suggestions for you to explore:

1. Cruel Necessity, about the English Civil Wars

Cruel Necessity

2. Labyrinth, about terrorism warfare

Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001 – ?

3. Or one of the COIN series, suggest Cuba Livre on the Cuban Revolution

Cuba Libre
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Ryan
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Ryan Keane wrote:
I have not had any experience with serious wargames. I did not particularly like some next level games I tried like Conflict of Heroes, Combat Commander, or Tide of Iron.

What did you not like about these three games? We may be able to tailor our responses better if we know this.
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Kent Reuber
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The Hold the Line series is simple and plays well solo, as there are no cards or other hidden information. Each side rolls a die for Action Points and then uses them.

Tank on Tank is a simple WWII game with low counter density. There are rules for solo play where you act with 2 units, then roll to see if you can act with a 3rd unit. Then you roll to see if you can act with a 4th unit. So, your turn can end after 2, 3, or 4 activations, but you won't know which in advance.
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Brian Korreck
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soccerref wrote:
Gettysburg 150 by Worthington Games.


This
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Eren Koyunoglu
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IKerensky wrote:
Ambush.


This may not be light or medium light (it was medium heavy for me) but it is THE solitaire wargame imho.
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Andrea
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Ambush! is the way to go. No other options until you've played Ambush!.
Don't even ask. Just play Ambush!

PS: did I say that you should try Ambush! ?
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Ryan Keane
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Ryanmobile wrote:
Ryan Keane wrote:
I have not had any experience with serious wargames. I did not particularly like some next level games I tried like Conflict of Heroes, Combat Commander, or Tide of Iron.

What did you not like about these three games? We may be able to tailor our responses better if we know this.


It's been a while since I played these. IIRC I did not like the card driven mechanics in Combat Commander. My wife and I felt even more restricted than in M44, but I concede I probably wasn't picking up on a lot of the strategy. We did enjoy Tide of Iron, but felt it was a bit too long for the level of depth, mainly in the list of phases each turn becoming cumbersome after a while. But I also think some of the issues I find with these 2 player wargames I'd be ok with in a solo.
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Leon Major
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Case Blue or Ambush
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Ryan Keane
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Not sure about Ambush - I think it might be too heavy or fiddly for me.

My friend has Manoeuvre, so I'll try to borrow it sometime and see it's future potential to play with me son.

I like the deep historical aspect of Cruel Necessity.

So, is Gettysburg 150 considered the best choice using the Hold the Line system? It looks good, my only concern is that is doesn't offer the infinite scenario potential that I love so much in M44. I'm not sure what the support is for new scenarios for other Hold the Line games.

Right now I think I've narrowed it down to the following 3, depending on what I'm looking for most:
1. D-Day at Omaha Beach - best choice for solo-specific game that I can also eventually play co-op with my son. Seems like the best gateway for me to hex-and-counter wargames.

2. Gettysburg 150 or another in the Hold the Line system - best choice for a 2p game I can play both sides solo, and eventually play 2p with my son. This is basically what I'm missing from M44 now, as it's not ideal for playing both sides.

3. Cuba Libre - best choice to play solo but also play multiplayer with my game group. Probably a while before my son can join us. This fills the niche of what I want from Maria - a solo version to play when my friends aren't available.
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Nathaniel GOUSSET
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We started playing Ambush with my brother while we were teen. It was among our first wargame right after Crusade from the Cry Havoc series.

I dont rate it as highly complicated as there is instruction so you dont have to learn everything before starting to play.

And, as it is designed to be played alone it is actually less complicated/heavy than taking a multiplayer wargame all by yourself.
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Paul Aceto
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Much as I love D-Day at Omaha Beach, be aware that it is a very tough game to win. It might be a turn-off for a young gamer who perhaps is not prepared to enjoy losing many games in a row. That said, it does have two divisions, so would be easy to split between you and your son.

The Hold the Line series and Gettysburg 150 seem perfect for what you are seeking.

I'm also thinking that Band of Brothers: Screaming Eagles is worth a look, beause it has tanks, bazookas and other cool things that young boys would like, all in a very well-regarded game system. There is some hidden info though, so not sure it's an optimal choice for solo.

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Ted Spencer
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Ryan Keane wrote:
Not sure about Ambush - I think it might be too heavy or fiddly for me.
Trust yourself. I think you're son is too young. In the game, you name soldiers, and they die. That's tough.

Quote:
Right now I think I've narrowed it down to the following 3, depending on what I'm looking for most:
1. D-Day at Omaha Beach - best choice for solo-specific game that I can also eventually play co-op with my son. Seems like the best gateway for me to hex-and-counter wargames.
Sure, it's tough. What do you want to teach your son? Historically, D-Day wasn't easy. Also, this game tends to demythologize the romance of being a soldier. People die in war. Sometimes, it's you. Sometimes, it's the other guy. No romance.

Quote:
3. Cuba Libre - best choice to play solo but also play multiplayer with my game group. Probably a while before my son can join us. This fills the niche of what I want from Maria - a solo version to play when my friends aren't available.
I like the game a lot, but it is not a wargame. It doesn't claim to be. IMO, COIN games are terrible solo choices. You'd be better off with a wargame.
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Rich Trevino
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Try A Blood-Red Banner: The Alamo by VPG. Built on an elegant, solid system, for only 15 bucks. And I hear the designer is a great guy!
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Ted Spencer
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Richard T wrote:
Try A Blood-Red Banner: The Alamo by VPG. Built on an elegant, solid system, for only 15 bucks. And I hear the designer is a great guy!
Victory Point Games States of Siege Series is a love/hate design. But then, it's worth $15 to find out if you love it or hate it.
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