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Subject: What are the best middle weight hex and counter games? rss

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Simon
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Its a recommend me list!

What do you think are the best middle weight (so 2-6 hours play time and a rule book comprehensible after 1-2 reads and understood after about an hours play) hex and counter games?

Just hex and counter, none of these blocks or card malarkey.

An emphasis on game, i.e. both players feel they can have a shot at winning. It doesn't need to be perfectly balanced, or dump on history, but it should feel mentally engaging and not just a good historical story.


Also no WW2 tactical games, anything else goes.


Too much love for Monsters and entry games around here. Wheres the middle ground?
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Bill Lawson
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Any Mark Simonitch games Ardennes '44, The Caucasus Campaign......
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Rex Stites
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billyboy wrote:
Any Mark Simonitch games Ardennes '44, The Caucasus Campaign......


This was the first thought that came to my mind.
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Mike Szarka
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Gamers' SCS series.
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Leo Zappa
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mcszarka wrote:
Gamers' SCS series.


+1
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Carl Way
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billyboy wrote:
Any Mark Simonitch games Ardennes '44, The Caucasus Campaign......


+1

I might add France '40 to the mix.
His games are relatively easy to learn and are a lot of fun - 2-6 hrs about right time wise.
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Evelin Auger
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How about Men of iron?
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James
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desertfox2004 wrote:
mcszarka wrote:
Gamers' SCS series.


+1


Agreed.
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Roger Hobden
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moujamou wrote:
desertfox2004 wrote:
mcszarka wrote:
Gamers' SCS series.


+1


Agreed.


+ 2
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Zigi Hogan
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Glory III was a recent buy for me and is very quick and (relatively) easy to play. Not a lot of exceptions and very quick to get into the thick of things. It has gotten played a LOT in the three weeks I have had it.


No Retreat! The Russian Front is my all time favorite Eastern Front game. It has a somewhat simple ruleset however, it is all of the exceptions that typically befuddle people. If you have any experience with wargames it isn't all that hard to learn (remembering all the cases is another thing entirely!). I think the somewhat hard to read GMT rulebook along with loads of exceptions is what frustrates people about this game when they first get to playing it.


Squad Leader is very middle of the road, I think it is due to ASL that this is seen as a more complex game by those not in the know than it really is. Most scenarios are fairly fast to play and with the programmed learning a new player should be into the first scenario and playing after one read through of the rules.

There are many others: Germantown (and the rest of the Great Battles of the American Revolution Series from GMT), Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! (second edition), the Clash of Giants series, any of the aforementioned Mark Simonitch games (I only have France '40 but if the others are as good that says it all) and loads of others.

I just noticed EXACTLY where the complexity of my collection tends to hover!
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Stephen Harper
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rstites25 wrote:
billyboy wrote:
Any Mark Simonitch games Ardennes '44, The Caucasus Campaign......


This was the first thought that came to my mind.


Mine too. Couldn't go far wrong with any of Mark's WWII games.

I need to edit this to include the SCS series and Battles of the American Revolution series. The former I was thinking "heavy-light", but in retrospect should probably think "medium". And the latter I just plain overlooked, although I am currently playing one via VASSAL PBEM and I enjoy the series.
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Roger Hobden
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DukeofChutney wrote:

Too much love for Monsters and entry games around here. Wheres the middle ground?


+1

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Eric Walters
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2 to 6 hours really cuts down the options. Just hex and counter? No area movement? No blocks? Wow. And especially since learning many of these games means that it takes more than this kind of time window to play...

So here's a list--one that assumes you've spent the time learning the system before playing:

Arnhem: The Farthest Bridge

Paul Koenig's Market Garden: Arnhem Bridge

Hell's Gate

Leuthen: Frederick's Greatest Victory 5 December, 1757

Franco-Prussian War 40

Fading Glory

Hold the Line

Nations at War: Desert Heat or Nations at War: White Star Rising

Anything in the World at War Series

Anything in the Conflict of Heroes series

Combat Commander Series

A Victory Lost: Crisis in Ukraine 1942-1943 and/or A Victory Denied: Crisis at Smolensk, July-September, 1941

A Victory Complete: The Battle of Tannenberg, 1914

Guilford

Saratoga

Should be enough to get you started!
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Warren Bruhn
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DukeofChutney wrote:
What do you think are the best middle weight (so 2-6 hours play time and a rule book comprehensible after 1-2 reads and understood after about an hours play) hex and counter games?


That sounds very lightweight to me.
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Pokey 64
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Blitzkrieg using the basic and tournament rules.
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Judd Vance
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Go to 29:05

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Robert Fox
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I'd go with Normandy '44 over Ardennes '44. Ardennes '44 has more rules exceptions, more units on the map, and overall takes more time. I think Normandy '44 is a lot more straight forward, with the Cherbourg scenario a viable and balanced option for a 2 hour game.

A Victory Lost: Crisis in Ukraine 1942-1943 and A Victory Denied: Crisis at Smolensk, July-September, 1941. Good games with small rulebooks. I think A Victory Lost is the better game, but it takes longer to play.

The Supreme Commander for the rare strategic option. Playtime will be on the upper limit of your range, but the rules are very easy to learn. After a few turns, I was plugging along playing both sides at 15 minutes or less a turn. The 1944 scenario could be done in a couple of hours.

Flying Colors for some Age of Sail fun. The rules aren't particularly hard (the only hard one is the pass through rule). Some of the scenarios are only a few hours in length. Adheres more to history, so a lot of the scenarios aren't very balanced.

Stonewall Jackson's Way II, which I'm using as a placeholder for the entire Campaigns of the American Civil War series. Very playable, many scenarios, easy to learn rules, and the best wargame maps around.

Fighting Formations: Grossdeutschland Motorized Infantry Division, although it's a tactical game, the scale might be high enough to be of interest. Some feel the orders cubes are a bit too eurogame, hampering what is otherwise a fine medium weight system that can handle large battles.

No Retreat! The North African Front is a playable, easy to learn game on the North African front. It might not meet your criteria as there are cards that do not drive the game, but still have large game influence.

The Russian Campaign (fourth and fifth editions) is one of the more playable WWII east front games. It's a true stalwart of the wargame hobby that still holds up well. If you are looking for more traditional hex-and-counter, it'll be more up your alley than No Retreat! The Russian Front.

Fire in the Sky: The Great Pacific War 1941-1945 is the non-card playable game for the Pacific War. Hard to recommend over the superior Empire of the Sun, but if you are dead set against cards, Fire in the Sky is the way to go. Nothing wrong with being the second best game on the subject. Fun, but six hours might be a stretch.

If I had to pick three out of the group, I'd pick Stonewall Jackson's Way, Normandy '44, and The Supreme Commander.
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Mark Drake
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Ardennes 44 and Normandy 44 were first two games I thought of.....also SCS It Never Snows.
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Dan Taylor
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Another vote for SCS. If a counter with attack, defense and movement on it doesn't need explanation, neither will the rules require much reading.
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Gerry Palmer
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OK...I didn't get the memo but I guess it's my turn to play the fool:



Case Blue whistle
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Jeff K
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Some great suggestions. From what I have, know and play, I'd say Advanced Squad Leader: Starter Kit #1, Bitter Woods, Grand Illusion: Mirage of Glory, 1914 (well, not classically hex and counter but close enough), Panzergruppe Guderian (a bit longer than your time scale but not terribly complex).

Also many, many CDGs, notably Wilderness War, For the People (if you are feeling a bit more epic). Most are not hex, though. I wouldn't let that stop me!

Series like Battles of the American Revolution, apparently GCACW,

I'd say you have described the light end of middle weight, as Warren indicated. But the middle weight games are really the best, this is by far where I spend most of my gaming hours.
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Sean McCormick
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I must say, I don't really care for the parameters, as I think area-impulse, block games and hybrids tend to be where the cutting edge is these days. (Ironically, the only hex and counter games I play consistently at this point are WW2 tactical, which you said you were not interested in.)

However, I would definitely recommend these:

No Retreat! The Russian Front. Simple and elegant distillation of the best of hex and counter systems, with low unit count.

Here Come the Rebels. Any of the GCACW would work, but the early ones are simpler and cleaner designs.

Clash of Giants. Interesting battles, simple rules, does run a bit long.

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Jeff K
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seanmac wrote:
I must say, I don't really care for the parameters, as I think area-impulse, block games and hybrids tend to be where the cutting edge is these days. (Ironically, the only hex and counter games I play consistently at this point are WW2 tactical, which you said you were not interested in.)

However, I would definitely recommend these:

No Retreat! The Russian Front. Simple and elegant distillation of the best of hex and counter systems, with low unit count.

Here Come the Rebels. Any of the GCACW would work, but the early ones are simpler and cleaner designs.

Clash of Giants. Interesting battles, simple rules, does run a bit long.



+1 Clash of Giants, very good call. Can't believe I overlooked that. Soon to be coming out with an ACW offering too?

Agree here also about the format. Probably a lot more area impulse, block, P2P systems in the midweight category perhaps than even hex n counter (at least lately) Hard to tell, but a wide offering for sure.
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J Macc
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airjudden wrote:


Go to 29:05


Judd, you promote this game so much, I just might have to get it.
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Lawrence Hung
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They have been mentioned many times above. Just to let you know my current picks for you and to narrow your choice down to just one game:

A Victory Complete: The Battle of Tannenberg, 1914



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