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Wilson St.James
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Hello wargamers.
I have never ventured over this way but I am looking for your advice.
I work with some older teens who love, love anything WWII. They are incredibly knowledgable, in fact.
They play video games, Minecraft and all that, but do not play board games.
I would like to get them playing.
Over in the fantasy/dungeon crawl universe I come from there are a couple of absolute standards. Games that have both risen to the top and stood the test of time. Classics.
Whether a new release or an older one, can you please share with me your opinion about which WWII game I should be considering?

As an additional question, I am otherwise a complete and utter solo player. Therefore, if by any chance, the game could also be played solo that would be a bonus.

Cheers. I am eager to hear your feedback.
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Roger Hobden
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Unconditional Surrender! World War 2 in Europe

Look up the comments on BGG.

Possibly the best "WW II game that is also new-wargamer friendly" wargame on the market at this time.

For new wargamers who want something much simpler , I would recommend Hitler's War, which is very easy to find on the second-hand market.

EDIT: Oh yea, also
Spoiler (click to reveal)
.
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Sam Carroll
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theclergy wrote:
Hello wargamers.
I have never ventured over this way but I am looking for your advice.
I work with some older teens who love, love anything WWII. They are incredibly knowledgable, in fact.
They play video games, Minecraft and all that, but do not play board games.
I would like to get them playing.
Over in the fantasy/dungeon crawl universe I come from there are a couple of absolute standards. Games that have both risen to the top and stood the test of time. Classics.
Whether a new release or an older one, can you please share with me your opinion about which WWII game I should be considering?

As an additional question, I am otherwise a complete and utter solo player. Therefore, if by any chance, the game could also be played solo that would be a bonus.

Cheers. I am eager to hear your feedback.


Case Blue. That is all.

But seriously, folks . . .
Even within the genre of WWII games, there are thousands of great games to consider. Do you have a particular scale you would like? There's:
d10-0 Man-to-man - a unit on the map will be a single soldier. This scale is not common, but there are a few notable examples.
d10-1 Tactical - a unit on the map might be a fire team, a squad, or a single vehicle. The game might cover a skirmish of a few hour's time.
d10-2 Grand Tactical - a unit might be a company or so. Games on this scale tend to be very large; probably not great for players new to wargames.
d10-3 Operational - a unit might be a brigade, regiment or division. The game would usually cover a single battle over a week or two.
d10-4 Strategic - a unit might be a division or corps. The game would usually cover an entire front over a period of months or years.
d10-5 Grand Strategic - a unit might be a corps, army or even an army group. The game would cover an entire theater or more likely the whole war.

Note that I've given ground unit sizes. There are also games on naval and/or air warfare; at strategic level or higher, you'll usually be covering all three areas.

If you could give a scale and maybe a setting (east front, west front, north africa, China, Pacific . . .) the denizens of this forum will give you lots of suggestions.
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Sam Carroll
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Now, having said all that, let me give a few WWII games that I love.

On the tactical level, the Band of Brothers is a new system that's pretty easy to play and gives a very good look at WWII tactics. It's less focused on hardware (gun calibers, armor slope) and more interested in soft factors (morale, leadership, training) than many of the classic tactical games. The first one (Screaming Eagles) covers the 101st Airborne Division, and it's out of print at the moment, though they should reprint it before long. The second one (Ghost Panzer) is available, covering Eastern Front battles between Germans and Soviets.

For operational level, I'm a huge fan of the Fast Action Battles Series (FAB). Volume I (The Bulge) is a fantastic game. Very tense, doesn't take too long to play (by which I mean 4-5 hours for the full game), forces you to make choices based on limited intelligence.

At the strategic level, I think it doesn't get much better than EastFront or EastFront II (they're essentially the same game). You might also consider the No Retreat series (particularly vol. 1, The Russian Front), which has gotten rave reviews, though I find it a bit too abstracted for my taste.

At grand-strategic, I love Europe Engulfed and Asia Engulfed.

These are all relatively new games (i.e. made within the last 15 years); there are some classics that you might want to check out as well. For example, Panzergruppe Guderian and The Russian Campaign. These are great games, but older wargames will tend to have much worse graphics than newer. This may or may not matter to you.
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Robert Stuart
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You're looking for a classic or potentially classic game for older teens who love WWII and have never yet played a wargame. I have three recommendations, on the tactical, operational and strategic levels.

1. Tactical: Band of Brothers: Screaming Eagles. A living classic. This game is the first in what will undoubtedly become a long series. Game two in the series is Band of Brothers: Ghost Panzer (Eastern front) and game three, not yet published, is Band of Brothers: Texas Arrows.

2. Operational: Bitter Woods (fourth edition) (and Bitter Woods (fourth edition): Expansion Kit), a game about the Battle of the Bulge. I recommend this game because, although I prefer Ardennes '44 and Fast Action Battles: Bulge, as Battle of the Bulge games, this game has a truly classic feel, is very enjoyable to play, is probably more suited to an enthusiastic group of new wargamers all with the same level of experience, and is a great game in its own right. A newer edition is coming out, Bitter Woods: Designer Edition, in case you have trouble finding the 4th Edition.

3. Strategic: EastFront II, WestFront II and/or EuroFront II. This is a classic game / game series covering the war in Europe; very enjoyable to play; very replayable. The older Eastfront, Westfront and/or Eurofront are equally good -- you don't have to acquire the Second Version, in my view.
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Steven Koblinsky
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Panzer Blitz, Panzer Leader, and Squad Leader (not ASL). Start the boys off with that. Many here did. The Panzer games (Panzer Blitz in particular) are simpler compared to today's games. Squad Leader not so much but it has a graduated learning system. They can move to newer games once they explore these. My two cents for something tactical.

Also: War at Sea (my first), Midway, Afrika Korps; old Avalon Hill games that are easy to get on Ebay.
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Ahmed Hadzi
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Try to get some of the C3i magazine games on WW2 like this or some PnP stuff to see if the kids might like it. They all have 2-3 pages of rules and few basic pieces.

Band of Brothers is a boxed game and it has 8 pages of infantry rules.

I would avoid EVERYTHING else listed above as all of those games are WAY above someone who never played a board game, and even more a war game.
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Dan Owsen
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Conflict of Heroes may have the production and play value teens would be interested in. I haven't played it, but some of my buddies have and seem to like it (these guys also play more detailed games like OCS, so there must be something to COH).

When I was a teen, I was very attracted to Squad Leader because of the detail, but I'm not sure teens today would get past the relatively primitive production values.

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Osprey
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You asked for it, you got it. The Game

The War Game: World War II

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If they want to refight the entire war and play the role of countries I would go with Europe Engulfed. Fairly straightforward and easy to get into. Pretty thematic.

If they want to push around small units like individual tanks and squads of 12 guys, then either Combat Commander: Europe or Conflict of Heroes: Storms of Steel! – Kursk 1943. CoH is probably easier than CC.

I don't play many battle games (e.g. Battle of the Bulge, D-Day, Battle of Midway) so I will leave that to others to decide.
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suPUR DUEper
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Mallet wrote:
Unconditional Surrender! World War 2 in Europe

Look up the comments on BGG.

Possibly the best "WW II game that is also new-wargamer friendly" wargame on the market at this time.

For new wargamers who want something much simpler , I would recommend Hitler's War, which is very easy to find on the second-hand market.



I would be very cautious about using either of these two as gateway games.
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Wilson St.James
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spartax wrote:
theclergy wrote:
Hello wargamers.
I have never ventured over this way but I am looking for your advice.
I work with some older teens who love, love anything WWII. They are incredibly knowledgable, in fact.
They play video games, Minecraft and all that, but do not play board games.
I would like to get them playing.
Over in the fantasy/dungeon crawl universe I come from there are a couple of absolute standards. Games that have both risen to the top and stood the test of time. Classics.
Whether a new release or an older one, can you please share with me your opinion about which WWII game I should be considering?

As an additional question, I am otherwise a complete and utter solo player. Therefore, if by any chance, the game could also be played solo that would be a bonus.

Cheers. I am eager to hear your feedback.


Case Blue. That is all.

But seriously, folks . . .
Even within the genre of WWII games, there are thousands of great games to consider. Do you have a particular scale you would like? There's:
d10-0 Man-to-man - a unit on the map will be a single soldier. This scale is not common, but there are a few notable examples.
d10-1 Tactical - a unit on the map might be a fire team, a squad, or a single vehicle. The game might cover a skirmish of a few hour's time.
d10-2 Grand Tactical - a unit might be a company or so. Games on this scale tend to be very large; probably not great for players new to wargames.
d10-3 Operational - a unit might be a brigade, regiment or division. The game would usually cover a single battle over a week or two.
d10-4 Strategic - a unit might be a division or corps. The game would usually cover an entire front over a period of months or years.
d10-5 Grand Strategic - a unit might be a corps, army or even an army group. The game would cover an entire theater or more likely the whole war.

Note that I've given ground unit sizes. There are also games on naval and/or air warfare; at strategic level or higher, you'll usually be covering all three areas.

If you could give a scale and maybe a setting (east front, west front, north africa, China, Pacific . . .) the denizens of this forum will give you lots of suggestions.


Wow. I'll give this some thought.
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Wilson St.James
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Thanks everyone. This is a fantastic start for my research. Helps me cut to the chase and avoid judging the game by its cover.
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Roger Hobden
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TedW wrote:
Mallet wrote:
Unconditional Surrender! World War 2 in Europe

Look up the comments on BGG.

Possibly the best "WW II game that is also new-wargamer friendly" wargame on the market at this time.

For new wargamers who want something much simpler , I would recommend Hitler's War, which is very easy to find on the second-hand market.



I would be very cautious about using either of these two as gateway games.


Obviously you never checked out the training scenarios of Unconditional Surrender! World War 2 in Europe.
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suPUR DUEper
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Mallet wrote:
TedW wrote:
Mallet wrote:
Unconditional Surrender! World War 2 in Europe

Look up the comments on BGG.

Possibly the best "WW II game that is also new-wargamer friendly" wargame on the market at this time.

For new wargamers who want something much simpler , I would recommend Hitler's War, which is very easy to find on the second-hand market.



I would be very cautious about using either of these two as gateway games.


Obviously you never checked out the training scenarios of Unconditional Surrender! World War 2 in Europe.


Quite the contrary, that is how I learned to play the game. I have also played just about every WWII ETO game out there. USE is big and it is long and it is heavy.

50 pages of rules
13 phase turns
13 types of actions (6 air missions, 2 ground, 5 naval)
4x 8.5"x11" pages of charts and tables
A fairly robust diplomatic sub game.
About 50 different action chits each with its own rules.
An integrated move and combat system.
The campaign game takes 40+ hours.

Yes, compared to Totaler Krieg it is more manageable but I hardly recommend committing a few teens who have never played a wargame before to 50 pages of rules and 5 training missions to be able to play their first campaign game.
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Zigi Hogan
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I would think the perfect game would be (and I am surprised no one else mentioned it yet):



Advanced Squad Leader: Starter Kit #1 is (somewhat) easy to learn, doesn't have the baggage of full ASL and has a HUGE support base here on the Geek and elswhere online. It may not be the most historically accurate game but it does give great insight to small tactical skimishes without being a "simulation".

I am a huge fan of all things ASL but I have several new wargamers playing it and I am yet to go beyond starter kits with them and after a couple plays they are giving me a run for my money!

None of the above are bad suggestions either but I would start with ASLSK#1 (it is cheaply available for now) and then check out Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! (second edition) (which I have and play but it is a very distant second to ASL) and possibly the Combat Commander series (great game, I am just not a big fan) or Band of Brothers: Screaming Eagles/Band of Brothers: Ghost Panzer.

Glad to hear we are getting a new generation into wargaming and welcome to the dark side!devil

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Tom Willcockson
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Second ASLSK. Not at all mega complex like full ASL, a much stripped down version of the big game with everything you need right there in the box. And it is pretty cheap as well. ASLSK is a blast to play and I have had a lot of sucess taking new players through it. Unlike SL which is a dead end system, if they do get into it there are multiple expansions and a large player base out there. I'm sure the ASL detractors are going to chime in, but do check it out and decide for yourself.
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Brad Miller
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I will second Combat Commander.

No good for solo, but fast and fun.
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Andrew N
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Windopaene wrote:
I will second Combat Commander.

No good for solo, but fast and fun.


I think Combat Commander works as well solo as any other tactical wargame, it just looses some of the fog of war.
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Bernard Hopkins
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This is the first step game I'd be looking at... Holdfast: Russia 1941-42
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Arctic Jack wrote:
This is the first step game I'd be looking at... Holdfast: Russia 1941-42


I'll second that! Only 4 pages of easy to understand rules.

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Salvatore Vasta
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Mallet wrote:
TedW wrote:
Mallet wrote:
Unconditional Surrender! World War 2 in Europe

Look up the comments on BGG.

Possibly the best "WW II game that is also new-wargamer friendly" wargame on the market at this time.

For new wargamers who want something much simpler , I would recommend Hitler's War, which is very easy to find on the second-hand market.



I would be very cautious about using either of these two as gateway games.


Obviously you never checked out the training scenarios of Unconditional Surrender! World War 2 in Europe.


I appreciate the support for Unconditional Surrender! World War 2 in Europe, but I would also have to say that starting into wargaming with it may be too much.

It may be more helpful to William if he answered some questions first.

- How long of a play time is acceptable? If you're looking for a board wargame done in less than 2 hours, that significantly reduces your options. If you can leave a board game set up for days and don't mind it taking 8+ hours to finish, that opens up most of them.

- What is your (and your teens) general interest in scope regarding WW2? I have found that introducing wargames to people, especially younger ones, is more successful if the new player can visualize the action on the game board. In that regard, games with small miniatures or tactical in scope (e.g. a unit represents a tank, gun, or 6-10 soldiers), adds a visceral element that makes it more enjoyable. But there are even strategic level games, such as Axis & Allies, can have this.

- This is more of a rhetorical question. If your teens play any board games now, what is their temperament when they play? For example, would they have more fun teaming up against dad or going against each other?

Sal
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A couple of points that might be worth noting are;
Is the board wargame thing your idea or have the teenagers showed an interest in it? I know how it feels to desperately want someone to learn a game which thay have no interest in. Board wargames are usually a bit more sedate than video games and might seem boring to them. I know there are some younger board wargamers but the majority are of an older age.
Secondly the Sci Fi and fantasy genre is massive and is subdivided as I am sure you are aware. These subdivisions are genres in their own right, Gothic, Medieval, Post Apocolyptic, Greek Mythology. Space etc. In wargaming there are also subdivisions but these are all clumped together under wargames. You have noticed by the answers given in the thread that you have multiple answers, all of them are good but you could still add a hundred or so wargames that would fit the criteria.
There was some good advice given in a previous post regarding scale. I think, but am not positive, that a lot of the top rated video games are at the tactical scale. If this is true then going for a tactical scale boardgame would be a good idea. Most 2 player games are ok for solo play, I play Combat Commander solo with no problem.
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Igor Radic
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Don't listen Salvatore,you will be fine with Unconditional Surrender! World War 2 in Europe
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sacha cauvin
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You play videogames?

Try Heroes of Normandie

Fun, graphic And easy to learn.
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