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Subject: Yet another "where to start" thread rss

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Brandon
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I've been lurking on the Wargames forums for a while now and reading up on tons of games. I have some ideas of where to start but I thought I'd present my interests here to see if anyone can provide some further guidance (note: if this would better belong in the main BGG recommendations thread, I'll request that it be moved...I figured I'd get a better response here).

First and foremost: what draws me to wargames is the complexity and the depth of strategy involved. I'm not actually all that interested in war as a topic. Thus, the usual first question of "What era do want to simulate" is kind of moot for me. It honestly doesn't really matter. However, on purely thematic grounds, I would generally be more inclined to try out some ancient (roughly pre-Napoleonic) eras. But really, any game from any era that will fit with what I'm looking for would be fine. Non-historical settings are also fine (I own and love Space Empires: 4X).

Second, and related to the first: I'm mostly interested in something that qualifies as a fun, challenging and interesting game (that is, accuracy of simulation is not a concern). That said, complexity due to simulation is fine, as long as it's fun. Also, since I don't have a regular wargaming buddy (one potential, though he's mostly into ASL), good solo-ability and replayability is a must.

Any age (publication date) is fine, as long as it's readily available. Bonus points if I can find it used for cheap, since I'm just dipping my toes into the waters at this point...

So, some obvious candidates that come up based on what I've said above are Commands & Colors: Ancients and Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan*. And, indeed, those do look interesting to me and I'm keen to give them a try. However, I'm specifically asking about heavier, hex-and-counter games. It's here where I get a bit overwhelmed by all the choices. I see Ancient Battles Deluxe as an affordable possibility...thoughts on that?

Yes, it's all a bit vague...sorry for the long-winded description. Hopefully there's enough info for some specific recommendations.

TLDR: what's the most fun, deep, & solo-able hex-and-counter wargame of any era (but leaning towards ancient) that you would recommend to a newcomer?

Thanks in advance!


* on the topic of block games: based on current sales prices alone, FAB: Sicily looks like a (non-soloable) possibility that I may pick up anyway.
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Jim Bourke
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jakobcreutzfeldt wrote:

TLDR: what's the most fun, deep, & solo-able hex-and-counter wargame of any era (but leaning towards ancient) that you would recommend to a newcomer?


I don't have a lot of experience with ancient games, but if you are interested in WWII simulation then I think any of the SCS-series games are excellent starting points. Going up the complexity scale a bit is Normandy '44.

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* on the topic of block games: based on current sales prices alone, FAB: Sicily looks like a (non-soloable) possibility that I may pick up anyway.


Also consider Holdfast: Russia 1941-42 for a great starting block game.

Jim
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jakobcreutzfeldt wrote:
First and foremost: what draws me to wargames is the complexity and the depth of strategy involved. I'm not actually all that interested in war as a topic. Thus, the usual first question of "What era do want to simulate" is kind of moot for me. It honestly doesn't really matter. ...

Second, and related to the first: I'm mostly interested in something that qualifies as a fun, challenging and interesting game (that is, accuracy of simulation is not a concern). ...

... However, I'm specifically asking about heavier, hex-and-counter games. It's here where I get a bit overwhelmed by all the choices. ...

Pardon my amazement. Your post is very articulate and thorough, and this is the place it belongs and everything--but as an old-timer, I can't help but read the parts I quoted above and scratch my head. To me, it sounds like you're not looking for a wargame at all. Because what you say you don't care so much about is pretty much what a wargame is. Especially those "heavier, hex-and-counter games."

Hex-and-counter wargames get heavy precisely because they make a greater attempt at historical accuracy--at simulating warfare. That's their whole purpose. They're fun for gamers who want that, but I'm guessing they're probably not much fun for those who don't.

Challenging? Well, any game with lots of rules and moving parts is going to be challenging to learn and manage. But that doesn't mean the game is going to be strategically or tactically "deep." IMO rules-simple games like chess and go are deeper and more challenging than any wargame ever designed.

You don't have to be an amateur historian or military buff to enjoy wargames. But I think you have to like the idea of re-creating battles and campaigns on the tabletop. Otherwise, all you're doing, in effect, is playing Taikyoku Shogi instead of regular Shogi--i.e., playing a game that's big and complicated just because it's big and complicated.

Maybe you'll find that fun. If so, more power to you. It just seems to me that getting into wargaming without an interest in war or military history is like taking up photography even though you don't like pictures or cameras.
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I always recommend D-Day at Omaha Beach. You can play it co-operatively if someone wishes to join you, but it's got enough chrome on it to please most people, but is random enough to be unpredictable (some people don't like). It's not representative of most hex and counter games, mind you, but it is a great, all-in-one-package game.

Barring that meeting your requirements, Chariots of Fire, being one of the less-complicated GBoH games was a lot of fun for me to break into.
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Simon
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The Solitary Soul speaks truth.

It depends on what you mean by depth. Most designer board games are less deep than the classic abstacts, and this includes war games.

If you want something that can be considered more strategically depth in the euro gamer sense of these terms (i.e. low luck and lots of apparently different strategies) you need to look at the inherent randomness of the game. War is chaotic, so most war games are chaotic. THe better player does not always win. With this in mind, i would avoid what are commonly termed tactical games as they are in my experience the most random. So don't get ASL, or a battle game like Men of Iron, or possibly even GBOH. Its quite common in such games to make a clever move to roll bad and watch your dudes run screaming to the hills. Consequences are harsher with smaller groups of men because their staying power and survivability is lower. On a side note, this is why Napoleon developed the corps system.

I recently picked up the Caucasus campaign after being recommended it on a thread. Having played it a couple of times this might fit the bill. Its definitely a middleweight in terms of complexity. There is randomness but because many units are divisions and the combat results table, you don't tend to get catastrophic results. As such its a game about forcing retreats and is a bit of a thinker. The German player once they have broken out does have options on which way to push as well.

Rommel in the Desert, a block game, also a middle weight might fit the bill. It has got hexes, but also blocks rather than counters. It is basically a game of resource management, bluff and encirclement and so has thinky elements to it.


Most of the pre nappy games I have played have not been hex and counter so i cannot really advise on that.
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I wouldn't discount C&C: Ancients. It's a lot of fun!
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Brandon
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Patrick Carroll wrote:
jakobcreutzfeldt wrote:
First and foremost: what draws me to wargames is the complexity and the depth of strategy involved. I'm not actually all that interested in war as a topic. Thus, the usual first question of "What era do want to simulate" is kind of moot for me. It honestly doesn't really matter. ...

Second, and related to the first: I'm mostly interested in something that qualifies as a fun, challenging and interesting game (that is, accuracy of simulation is not a concern). ...

... However, I'm specifically asking about heavier, hex-and-counter games. It's here where I get a bit overwhelmed by all the choices. ...

Pardon my amazement. Your post is very articulate and thorough, and this is the place it belongs and everything--but as an old-timer, I can't help but read the parts I quoted above and scratch my head. To me, it sounds like you're not looking for a wargame at all. Because what you say you don't care so much about is pretty much what a wargame is. Especially those "heavier, hex-and-counter games."

Hex-and-counter wargames get heavy precisely because they make a greater attempt at historical accuracy--at simulating warfare. That's their whole purpose. They're fun for gamers who want that, but I'm guessing they're probably not much fun for those who don't.

Challenging? Well, any game with lots of rules and moving parts is going to be challenging to learn and manage. But that doesn't mean the game is going to be strategically or tactically "deep." IMO rules-simple games like chess and go are deeper and more challenging than any wargame ever designed.

You don't have to be an amateur historian or military buff to enjoy wargames. But I think you have to like the idea of re-creating battles and campaigns on the tabletop. Otherwise, all you're doing, in effect, is playing Taikyoku Shogi instead of regular Shogi--i.e., playing a game that's big and complicated just because it's big and complicated.

Maybe you'll find that fun. If so, I view a lot of the strategy here as figuring out how to mitigate some of that luck and lack of knowledge to prevail.more power to you. It just seems to me that getting into wargaming without an interest in war or military history is like taking up photography even though you don't like pictures or cameras.


I anticipated this response

It's true, on the surface I feel like I shouldn't bother with wargames. In fact, I largely ignored them for a long time because they seemed like something that I wouldn't be into. However, slowly but surely, they've been attracting the hell out of me, to the point where there the only games I'm reading about these days. Given my general disinterest in war, I've of course been trying to pin down what interests me about the games, I guess that forms a bit of an undercurrant to this thread.

So, when I say I'm not interested in war, I guess I mean I'm not interested in the historical aspect of it; when I read about history, it is other aspects of civilization that capture my attention. I think what is appealing to me, though, is the notion of combat strategy. This includes, to respond to Simon, things like fog of war and luck. I'm not expecting Go-like strategic depths, but I am looking for a different kind of strategic situation than what an abstract like Go or Chess can provide. I view a lot of the strategy here as figuring out how to mitigate some of that luck and lack of knowledge to prevail, which is interesting.

When I say the accuracy of the simulation isn't important, I just mean that I'm not picky if there are historical or technical inaccuracies. Of course I understand that these are, in effect, playable conflict simulations, so I know that simulation is what to expect. Just, again, I'm not picky if it's not perfect, as long as it's fun.

And most of all, I just want to give it a try. Who knows, maybe it will awaken some latent interests? Or maybe it's not for me in the end (partly why I don't want to invest a lot up front).
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Daniel Kaufman
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If you have a friend who is into ASL, the gods of wargmaing are speaking to you. Pick up SK1 for 20 USD + shipping and get reading. Lots of replayability and solo potential. Your friend will help you and you'll figure out how to play a game in no time. You will find other friends who play around the world on Vassal. These will be become your best friends.

Don't go against the gods.
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Brandon
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DuneTiger wrote:

Barring that meeting your requirements, Chariots of Fire, being one of the less-complicated GBoH games was a lot of fun for me to break into.


Thanks, that one looks really nice.
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Brandon
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kaufmad wrote:
If you have a friend who is into ASL, the gods of wargmaing are speaking to you. Pick up SK1 for 20 USD + shipping and get reading. Lots of replayability and solo potential. Your friend will help you and you'll figure out how to play a game in no time. You will find other friends who play around the world on Vassal. These will be become your best friends.

Don't go against the gods.


I hadn't realized it's so cheap. Hmmm....

Wait, they say the same thing about crack, don't they?
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jakobcreutzfeldt wrote:
It's true, on the surface I feel like I shouldn't bother with wargames. In fact, I largely ignored them for a long time because they seemed like something that I wouldn't be into. However, slowly but surely, they've been attracting the hell out of me, to the point where there the only games I'm reading about these days. Given my general disinterest in war, I've of course been trying to pin down what interests me about the games, I guess that forms a bit of an undercurrent to this thread.

So, when I say I'm not interested in war, I guess I mean I'm not interested in the historical aspect of it; when I read about history, it is other aspects of civilization that capture my attention. I think what is appealing to me, though, is the notion of combat strategy. This includes, to respond to Simon, things like fog of war and luck. I'm not expecting Go-like strategic depths, but I am looking for a different kind of strategic situation than what an abstract like Go or Chess can provide. I view a lot of the strategy here as figuring out how to mitigate some of that luck and lack of knowledge to prevail, which is interesting. ...

And most of all, I just want to give it a try. Who knows, maybe it will awaken some latent interests? Or maybe it's not for me in the end (partly why I don't want to invest a lot up front).

Well, if you want to give it a try, you certainly should. If I were you, I just wouldn't jump into the deep end, burdening myself with a monster like Case Blue. Then again, I might not start with an intro-level game either. It depends on what you're up for.

I'd bear two things in mind as you're exploring the mysteries of military strategy and tactics:

1. A famous military theorist, Carl von Clausewitz, wrote that military maneuvers are actually child's play on paper. Basically, all you're ever doing is outflanking or enveloping an enemy if you can pull it off. The simplest chess move is usually more complex than a military maneuver, if you only look at it on paper--or on the mapboard. The problem faced by real-life commanders is what Clausewitz calls "friction": all the myriad things that need to be managed all at once, under trying conditions, and can't be completely managed. This includes what wargamers call "fog of war." When I started out in wargaming, I thought military maneuvers were more complex than chess moves; I was wrong. In real life, they're much more difficult, but they don't require as much brain power.

2. Wargames don't simulate military command very well. Even the best designs only do a so-so job of it. So, when you're playing a wargame, you're always primarily just a board-game player. Don't fool yourself into thinking you're doing the kind of decision making that actual military commanders do.

Those two things said, many wargames do provide interesting challenges. The mapboards usually have a lot of room to maneuver; you get a lot of game pieces to move around; the rules can be complex; and the victory conditions can be hard to achieve. So, wargames can and do test the players' intellect, and it can be fascinating to work one's way through learning and playing a good wargame.

But which one? That's your question.

Unfortunately, I really haven't a clue. I'd suggest you rely on other replies instead of mine. If I named some games, my biases would show up and get in the way.

For example, I hate cards in my wargames, so I'd argue against Commands & Colors, CDGs (card-driven games), and the Combat Commander Series. I like to control my own troops; I don't want cards telling me what I can and can't do.

I'll suggest that you pay attention to game scale. If your main interest is in strategic thinking (which is what I'm hearing from you), you'll want to go for an operational- or strategy-level game. In those, you have more time and space for thoughtful maneuver. In tactical games (especially ultra-tactical games like Advanced Squad Leader), your time and space is usually very limited; and sometimes all you can do is drive straight ahead and keep your fingers crossed.

In ancient-era tactical games, if the command rules are halfway accurate, you'll find yourself just setting things in motion, after which much runs on automatic. It's hard to stop or turn a phalanx once it's on its way to clash with an enemy.

A final word: I find the popular games are usually the best. That's false in many areas of life, but it seems to be true in wargaming. If a game is highly rated and heartily recommended by wargamers, you can bet it's a great game.

Hope you find what you're looking for.
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Roger Hobden
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I strongly suggest you try

Guelphs and Ghibellines



moderate-simple complexity (4 on a scale from 1 to 9)
hex and counters
pre-napoleonic
available and affordable
similar to Great Battles of History but simpler
etc.

cool

EDIT : added a few items.
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Brandon
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First, thank you for your very thoughtful replies.

Patrick Carroll wrote:

1. A famous military theorist, Carl von Clausewitz, wrote that military maneuvers are actually child's play on paper. Basically, all you're ever doing is outflanking or enveloping an enemy if you can pull it off. The simplest chess move is usually more complex than a military maneuver, if you only look at it on paper--or on the mapboard. The problem faced by real-life commanders is what Clausewitz calls "friction": all the myriad things that need to be managed all at once, under trying conditions, and can't be completely managed. This includes what wargamers call "fog of war." When I started out in wargaming, I thought military maneuvers were more complex than chess moves; I was wrong. In real life, they're much more difficult, but they don't require as much brain power.


That is extremely interesting and captures more or less what is intriguing to me about military strategy. It's a bit of an unknown world to me, coming more from the realm of largely non-random games. I want to see how I'd fare...

Quote:
2. Wargames don't simulate military command very well. Even the best designs only do a so-so job of it. So, when you're playing a wargame, you're always primarily just a board-game player. Don't fool yourself into thinking you're doing the kind of decision making that actual military commanders do.


A sobering thought, but another interesting point to make. While I have no illusions of bypassing West Point via wargaming, I'm curious to find out more about that grey area between the gaming/simulation and the real thing. Now that (unlike military history accounts) is something that I could imagine myself reading about. Anyway, it's surprising to me that they don't simulate military command very well, since that's what I've had in my head that they're doing; I guess it's more correct to say that they simulate combat well on a variety of levels, but the player agency is less like that of an actual commander but more like an invisible guiding hand on the battle field?

Quote:
I'll suggest that you pay attention to game scale. If your main interest is in strategic thinking (which is what I'm hearing from you), you'll want to go for an operational- or strategy-level game. In those, you have more time and space for thoughtful maneuver.


Yes, long-term strategy is more interesting to me than seat-of-your-pants tactics. That said, I'm not about to start playing any huge operational games either (assuming all operational games are a huge as the ones I've read about).

Quote:
A final word: I find the popular games are usually the best. That's false in many areas of life, but it seems to be true in wargaming. If a game is highly rated and heartily recommended by wargamers, you can bet it's a great game.


Excellent advice. Thanks again.

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jakobcreutzfeldt wrote:
TLDR: what's the most fun, deep, & solo-able hex-and-counter wargame of any era (but leaning towards ancient) that you would recommend to a newcomer?


I discovered Red Winter: The Soviet Attack at Tolvajärvi, Finland – 8-12 December 1939 on this geeklist for games rated by solo gamers: Top Rated Solo(-able) Games as Rated by Solo Gamers. It's a fun game that is easy to learn. It is WWII, though.

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jakobcreutzfeldt wrote:
I'm curious to find out more about that grey area between the gaming/simulation and the real thing. Now that (unlike military history accounts) is something that I could imagine myself reading about. Anyway, it's surprising to me that they don't simulate military command very well, since that's what I've had in my head that they're doing; I guess it's more correct to say that they simulate combat well on a variety of levels, but the player agency is less like that of an actual commander but more like an invisible guiding hand on the battle field?

That's a good way to put it.

A real-life military commander has to deal with real life; it's not a game, and it can't be treated as a game (even though, from a mental perspective, it has features in common with games). For one thing, the commander has to deal with others in the chain of command, above and below. The commander's orders are just one factor in determining what gets done. And on the front line (when there is one), the reluctance of soldiers to march into danger is quite the opposite of the pawn's indifference about advancing on the chess board.

So, no matter how well designed a wargame is, the person playing it is still basically just sitting at a chess board, not consulting with staff officers to sort out confusing intelligence and issue orders (which one hopes are timely and not misdirected).

In a sense, the wargamer is cast in various roles all at once, controlling things at various echelons of command. In ASL, the player can decide the exact path and timing of every good-order soldier.

Wargame designers know all this, of course, and they use various methods to create at least a good illusion of command. In some games, players are deprived of information; in others they're limited in how much they can control. In the Civil War, Brigade (CWB) Series, players have to write orders in advance--orders that may not apply by the time they reach the units they're issued to. In the Combat Commander Series and Commands & Colors, cards show (and limit) the options a commander has at any given time.

It's interesting to see how wargame designers attempt to capture the reality of commanding forces in battle. Still, I'm pretty sure it ends up being a far cry from the real thing.
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jakobcreutzfeldt wrote:
Yes, long-term strategy is more interesting to me than seat-of-your-pants tactics. That said, I'm not about to start playing any huge operational games either (assuming all operational games are a huge as the ones I've read about).

They're not all that way. From what I've heard, the Operational Combat Series is like that. But there are many other choices.

I'm not that familiar with all the choices, but the Great Campaigns of the American Civil War series is quite playable. Some of the maps are big, but there aren't too many units on the board at one time, and the rules are moderate in complexity.

Classic wargames like Afrika Korps, The Battle of the Bulge, and D-Day are operational, and yet they're about as simple and easy to get into as any wargames. If you don't mind oldies, I'd recommend all three of those games. But there are more recent games that cover the same subjects and are also manageable.

Actually tactical wargames tend to be the hardest to get into. They typically have a lot of very fiddly rules, and they require players to micromanage everything. They're more for fans of military minutia than military science.

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one of the major differences between real life and games is numeracy. In games, the game system tells you the odds and comparative strengths. In real life units don't have movement points parsee, or strength factors. The basic skill of a solid general is knowing the strength and abilities of his units. In games this is given to you on a plate.
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Patrick Carroll wrote:

Pardon my amazement. Your post is very articulate and thorough, and this is the place it belongs and everything--but as an old-timer, I can't help but read the parts I quoted above and scratch my head. To me, it sounds like you're not looking for a wargame at all. Because what you say you don't care so much about is pretty much what a wargame is. Especially those "heavier, hex-and-counter games."

Hex-and-counter wargames get heavy precisely because they make a greater attempt at historical accuracy--at simulating warfare. That's their whole purpose. They're fun for gamers who want that, but I'm guessing they're probably not much fun for those who don't.




I don't really agree, and I see where the OP is coming from. I'm a wargamer, but I play them because I think they are the best kind of games. No euros or ameritrash or other kinds of games give you the kind of experiences wargames do. I like that they are about something and that you can learn something from them, too; but I don't pick games based on what historical whatever they "simulate."

And to answer the question, I'd recommend Under the Lily Banners or any other Musket and Pike series game. Extremely fun, deep, gamey, and soloable if you want. You should also get into ASL, but ASL doesn't solo well.
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Quote:
1. A famous military theorist, Carl von Clausewitz, wrote that military maneuvers are actually child's play on paper. Basically, all you're ever doing is outflanking or enveloping an enemy if you can pull it off. The simplest chess move is usually more complex than a military maneuver, if you only look at it on paper--or on the mapboard. The problem faced by real-life commanders is what Clausewitz calls "friction": all the myriad things that need to be managed all at once, under trying conditions, and can't be completely managed. This includes what wargamers call "fog of war." When I started out in wargaming, I thought military maneuvers were more complex than chess moves; I was wrong. In real life, they're much more difficult, but they don't require as much brain power.

2. Wargames don't simulate military command very well. Even the best designs only do a so-so job of it. So, when you're playing a wargame, you're always primarily just a board-game player. Don't fool yourself into thinking you're doing the kind of decision making that actual military commanders do.

I'm sorry, but this is utter crap.

Quote:
The simplest chess move is usually more complex than a military maneuver

Really? The simplest chess move?

I thought you'd given up on chess and wargames and devoted your life to Cribbage.
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Rindu wrote:

Under the Lily Banners or any other Musket and Pike series game.


Be forewarned, though, that those wargames are on the higher end of "moderate complexity" games (6-7 on a scale from 1 to 9), comparable to The Blitzkrieg Legend: The Battle for France, 1940 and other OCS games.

 
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Rindu wrote:
Patrick Carroll wrote:

Pardon my amazement. Your post is very articulate and thorough, and this is the place it belongs and everything--but as an old-timer, I can't help but read the parts I quoted above and scratch my head. To me, it sounds like you're not looking for a wargame at all. Because what you say you don't care so much about is pretty much what a wargame is. Especially those "heavier, hex-and-counter games."

Hex-and-counter wargames get heavy precisely because they make a greater attempt at historical accuracy--at simulating warfare. That's their whole purpose. They're fun for gamers who want that, but I'm guessing they're probably not much fun for those who don't.

I don't really agree, and I see where the OP is coming from. I'm a wargamer, but I play them because I think they are the best kind of games. No euros or ameritrash or other kinds of games give you the kind of experiences wargames do. I like that they are about something and that you can learn something from them, too; but I don't pick games based on what historical whatever they "simulate."

That's another perfectly valid viewpoint, and one I hear every now and then. Frankly it always baffles me, though. I've been loving wargames for decades, but it has been many years since I've seen them as "the best kind of games."

When I did see them that way, it was because I believed they were so good at simulating warfare. A game that could do that was worth more than other kinds of games to me.

But if I blew off the simulation part and compared wargames to Eurogames, traditional abstract games, Ameritrash games, and others, wargames would come up very short in my view. They'd just be too fiddly and tedious, and many of them would be too long and complicated. Just the hassle of setting up some wargames would be enough to make me not want to play them. And if setup didn't put me off, unit stacking and number crunching would. Purely as games, wargames leave a lot to be desired IMO.

But you see it differently, and I respect that. As I said, every now and then I hear someone say what you're saying. I don't get it, but that's just me. There's no accounting for taste.
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Justin F
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oivind22 wrote:
jakobcreutzfeldt wrote:
TLDR: what's the most fun, deep, & solo-able hex-and-counter wargame of any era (but leaning towards ancient) that you would recommend to a newcomer?


I discovered Red Winter: The Soviet Attack at Tolvajärvi, Finland – 8-12 December 1939 on this geeklist for games rated by solo gamers: Top Rated Solo(-able) Games as Rated by Solo Gamers. It's a fun game that is easy to learn. It is WWII, though.



This game is awesome. I picked it up last month and was blown away by how easy the mechanics are to handle, but how amazingly deep the strategy is.
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David Morneau
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jakobcreutzfeldt wrote:
I've been lurking on the Wargames forums for a while now and reading up on tons of games. I have some ideas of where to start but I thought I'd present my interests here to see if anyone can provide some further guidance (note: if this would better belong in the main BGG recommendations thread, I'll request that it be moved...I figured I'd get a better response here).

First and foremost: what draws me to wargames is the complexity and the depth of strategy involved. I'm not actually all that interested in war as a topic. Thus, the usual first question of "What era do want to simulate" is kind of moot for me. It honestly doesn't really matter. However, on purely thematic grounds, I would generally be more inclined to try out some ancient (roughly pre-Napoleonic) eras. But really, any game from any era that will fit with what I'm looking for would be fine. Non-historical settings are also fine (I own and love Space Empires: 4X).


You remind me of me. I was interested in trying wargames for a lot of the same reasons.


I ended up starting with SPQR (Deluxe Edition), which, in hindsight, was not the best choice. The Great Battles of History series is great, but the extra rules for the Romans in SPQR were a little much for a first go at wargames. Cataphract is a more playable choice (though next to impossible to find). I've heard good things about Chariots of Fire, but haven't played it yet.

Others have mentioned Musket & Pike Battle Series. I like these games a lot (more even than GBoH), but again there's a real commitment to getting into the rules.

The Men of Iron Series is simpler, though I've never played them.

Good luck.
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Stephen Harper
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ToddK wrote:
Hungadunga wrote:
I wouldn't discount C&C: Ancients. It's a lot of fun!


Especially if I had an opponent to play it with



You want to give C&C Ancients a try via VASSAL PBEM? Moves turn around really quick, and can average two turns on each side a day. It is a great game system, and to my surprise Napoleonics is just as much fun. So if you are dying to give Ancients a try, drop me a line and we can start a game!
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jakobcreutzfeldt wrote:
When I say the accuracy of the simulation isn't important, I just mean that I'm not picky if there are historical or technical inaccuracies. Of course I understand that these are, in effect, playable conflict simulations, so I know that simulation is what to expect. Just, again, I'm not picky if it's not perfect, as long as it's fun.


I don't think there is anything unusual about this perspective. There has been a long-running conversation in the hobby about how to balance the gaming or playability element of wargames versus the simulation element. Some people want more of one. Some people want more of the other.

In 1975 Don Greenwood was the editor of The General, so I assume it was him saying:

"The Avalon Hill philosophy has always been one of approaching wargames as games first and simulations second. Other companies tend to take the other course, emphasizing the historical replay or puzzle over the game aspects. While we attempt to make our games as realistic as possible we attempt to do so without sacrificing the fun of a game environment. This is not a knock against those who take the other tack, but a statement of our own design philosophy."

"Avalon Hill Philosophy part 49," The General vol. 11, no. 6 (March-April 1975).
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