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Subject: Wargames with little down time? rss

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Michael R.
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While I enjoy playing euros I'm looking to get into something a little more meaty and detailed and it seems like wargames are right down my street. I like history, I liked complexity, I like chits and bits and strategy. I don't even mind long play times or setting up lots of counters, memorising rules and what not.

However, the one thing that I do mind is having the flow and immersion factor of a game being spoiled by constantly having to refer to endless tables, charts, and modifiers.

Are there any games out there that are detailed yet fairly easily learned/memorised so that the down time and immersion factor isn't spoiled? I'm not looking for fast play as such, simply a game that will flow along with the minimum of disruption and allow me to focus on what's happening rather on the table top than having to constantly refer to 'out of game world' information.

Suggestions greatfully received!

 
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Jeff Thompson
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I would say that most card driven wargames (CDG) have the effect you are after. The turns are quick because each player is doing a very specific thing, not moving entire fronts of units and then conducting many combats.

Secondly, the cards are the game. You are staring at the cards (all the while thinking that your opponent has much better cards) and the board. Your decisions are generaly simple and related to the cards. The situation on the board drives your decisions, etc.

I've not played even half of all the great CDG out there. But from what I have played, I'd say you couldn't go wrong with any of them. Although For the People is the favorite I have played, I'd shy away from it and Empire of the Sun or other more complex games at first. The complexity here is partly in the rules but also in the ramp up to playing well. CDG by nature have a long learning curve, and one of the reasons they are enjoyable to play over and over again.

Paths of Glory is excellent and I believe there are even less complex games with as much playability.

My recommendation is go for the Card Driven Games. There's a lot of variety to choose from. And finding opponents is also easy.

Later,
Jeff
 
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marc lecours
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i agree with Jeff. The card driven game is a great mechanism to introduce details and theme in a game without having too much look up. Other than card driven games,I find that Europe Engulfed is not too bad (not too much look up, once you know the rules). That designer will eventually get a pacific WWII game and a Battle of the Bulge block game on the market.

In general, the classic wargames of the 1980s had a lot of tables to look up. Roll a die, figure out the modifiers,look up a result. I am hoping that future designers will find ways of combining the theme and flavour of meaty wargames with the speed and elegance of eurogames.
 
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oystein eker
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Agree with PoG.

but....

If you have seen the Lord of the Rings movies or read the books -

War of the Rings is the GAME to RULE THEM ALL!! One of my best wargames ever. An awesome 4 hours nailbiting experience with no down time at all.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/9609
 
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Michelle Zentis
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Paths of Glory or Barbarossa to Berlin, baby! There's really only one chart to consult, and it's right on the player aid. Both games have some exceptions, but if you can find an experienced player to play the more complicated side you should be fine.
 
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L Myrick
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The impulse systems used by some wargame systems like LockNLoad and ATS sounds like they would be just what you're looking.

I don't think I agree with the others on this thread who are pushing CDGs over hex as having less downtime. From the CDGs I've played or watched played (Here I Stand for example), there's just as much downtime as a regular hex game. That's not a knock on CDGs, I just don't think the comparison is accurate.
 
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Jeffrey D Myers
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Shifting Sands (an offspring of PoG and BtB) is an excellent choice, and plays faster.

Also consider Friedrich, a wonderful euro-wargame hybrid.
 
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Jon Dieringer
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lmyrick wrote:
The impulse systems used by some wargame systems like LockNLoad and ATS sounds like they would be just what you're looking.

I don't think I agree with the others on this thread who are pushing CDGs over hex as having less downtime. From the CDGs I've played or watched played (Here I Stand for example), there's just as much downtime as a regular hex game. That's not a knock on CDGs, I just don't think the comparison is accurate.


Here I stand does have a lot a downtime because there are 6 players playing. 2 player CDGs are a constant back and forth. Try Wilderness War.
 
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Jeff Thompson
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I was going to suggests ASL as it is the only game I can setup and play all the way through without having to look up rules or charts. Of course the time and commitment to get to this insane point is large.

Tactical games like ATS and ASL are very interactive. However there are a lot of charts and a rules learning curve. If you want to make the commitment to a game like these, then go for it. You will not be disappointed in the interactiveness and non-down time department.

Now that I've played CDG I don't think I'll ever enjoy playing a pure IGO/UGO game if it has more than a dozen pieces a side. Even PBeM with the electronic gizmos like Cyberboard and VASSAL can be tedious with games like this.

Michael,

If you take our suggestions and compile a list of games you find interesting, I'm sure the general public would like to comment on specific games based on your criteria.

Right off the bat, Hammer of the Scots seems like a natural fit. It does not come to mind first when I think of CDG even though it uses cards for activating units.
 
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Pat R
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Heck, I love Axis and Allies best of the bunch. Compromise the detail for the sweep of broad strokes. Whatever you decide don't spend time min maxing and just dive in and play. If your into the min max you can screw up the feel of any game and bog it down to the point of number crunching with no heart. Why people do that it beyond me. Play like a real general. Figure out what you want to accomplish and then balance that with what you are willing to sacrafice to get it. Maybe shed a tear for poor little red piece 1025 and stop to write a letter to his next of kin. (Or is that taking it too far?) I digress.
 
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Tom Hancock
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A lot of the really heavy wargames have little downtime (except looking up rules when you are new to them) because some veteran players play a lot of the turns simultaneously. You don't have to, but for turns with little interaction, why not? ASL falls into this category, as do the OCS games. Tunisia or Korea are good for a starter OCS game, for ASL, look at the starter kits. However, you might not want to jump straight into something that heavy. I'm looking at getting war of the ring myself, and from what I've read it would be a great "transitional" game for someone looking to switch from euro to wargames.
 
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Steve Bernhardt
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I think Panzer Grenadier is an underappreciated system. In terms of downtime, players alternate activations, so you aren't sitting around for long at all. Sometimes, the side with higher initiative will get several activations in a row before you can do anything, but that isn't too onerous.

I like it because the rules are very managable (16 pages), there are tons of scenarios and it does what it intends to do.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/117337 I'll shill the review I wrote.
 
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Mark Gray
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The CDG are a good recommendation, and IMHO a great one would be Twilight Struggle. Most of the block games also have little downtime.
 
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bill betts
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I would recommend MMP's Afrika. Short set of rules and North Africa WWII is a great theatre to wargame. I just played for my first time yesterday. Lots of fun and almost no time spent looking up rules, I found it fairly easy.
 
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Thee Insidius Doktor Glaze & His Sidekick Donut Boy with the Amazing Monkeytime Dancers Ooh!
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There's lots of great wargames with little downtime. Most of them are interesting because they all had to 'break the mold' of the old CRT, hexes, zones-of-control, movement costs and so on. It's no accident that when you dispense with the pedantic factor-counting the games become all about fun and shrewd gambits!

About half of the Columbia block wargames use alternating 'impulses' or activations instead of 'I move every unti on my turn'. The best of the bunch are Hammer of the Scots and War of 1812 if you ask me. Hammer has a little bit of chrome with specific units, but this doesn't bog down play after your first game.

There's a great little D-Day wargame called Victory in Normandy the was published by the same guys who did Command Magazine... it uses a great action-point system. Plus the game is so simple, tense, and exciting that the time just flies by when you play it.

Don't forget the famous area-impulse games like Storm over Arnhem and Breakout: Normandy. They are famous for being nail-biting games that simulate the chaotic back-and-forth struggles in WW2. The rulebook is a bit of the bear the first time through, but once you're on your way you rarely look at it again. `

I happen to think that the card-driven games like For the People or Paths of Glory can sometimes get bogged down... at the beginning of your turns you always have pretty big decision tree to grapple with, and even veterans can get paralyzed.
 
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michael dorazio
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Twilight Struggle is wonderful.
Hammer of the Scots is wonderful.
Rommel in the Desert is wonderful.
War of the Ring is my favorite warrish game. If you like LOTR, this should fit the bill nicely. Tons of options and very smooth.
 
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Jeff Paul
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As many have mentioned, some of the newer systems have very innovative initiative mechanisms, which help significantly reduce the number of pieces one has to move before the other player moves. This often creates a nice flow in the game, with little down time.

One game that I would recommend: Men of Iron: The rebirth of Infantry. There are two pages of charts - but they are fairly intuitive.
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/14683

You can even download a sample scenario (Agincourt) and the rules from the company website and give it a try.
http://www.gmtgames.com/living_rules/living_rules.html#moi

I believe you can do the same for Panzergrenadier (go to www.avalanchepress.com). This game does have a fair number of pages of charts - but only because they are spread over multiple pages. I created a nice condensed version - which is in the file section:
page 1: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/fileinfo.php?fileid=10025
page 2: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/fileinfo.php?fileid=10026
 
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Robert Wesley
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Then we have some with the likes of Across 5 Aprils, and even the NEW Blood of Noble Men: The Alamo of which is a 'block' style game.

Plenty has been said upon the 1st of these, while it may be a tad time before others will 'wax' poetic upon this latest 'contender'.
cool

 
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Nick Avtges
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Breakout: Normandy has got all the complexity, chits, and strategy you could ask for combined with an impulse system, so there is very little downtime. The rules are not terribly complicated, so once you get into it there isn't very much rulebook searching, either. There are a fair amount of DRMs in the combat system, but that table is easily memorized. Furthermore, there is no CRT...both sides roll a pair of dice and the results compared after adding combat strengths and applying any DRMs. Plus, it's just simply a really great game.

Going off the map (literally) a bit, I have to pimp my favorite Up Front. If you can get your hands on a copy, it's great, and really has no downtime and no tables. Any modifiers are printed directly on the cards in play, so no need to look that stuff up. Once you "get" the game, you'll be able to play without looking at the rulebook at all.

I'm also really looking forward to Combat Commander from GMT which looks like it will scratch this same itch, except with a map and chits to boot.
 
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Patrick Donohue
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Block games have been mentionned: no CRT, you roll to hit (on say 5-6). So no need to refer to a table.

And block games have Fog of War, which is the salt of wargaming (and often overlooked in games)!
 
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Drew Simon
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Most of the games mentioned above are worthy. I'd recommend one of the Area Impulse games from Avalon Hill (all out of print):

Breakout: Normandy
Turning Point: Stalingrad
Thunder at Cassino
Storm Over Arnhem

Breakout: Normandy is one of the better ones, but the rulebook is longer than the others.

Thunder at Cassino has easily digestible rules, but can be a long game. On the bright side, there is very little downtime.
 
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Game of Thrones probably has the least downtime I know of, but it's a fantasy wargame. Everyone puts their moves on the board at the same time.
 
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フィル
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Rommel in the Desert is your game. One table, and all it really says is that you don't want to fight a panzer division with a ute full of Kiwis.
 
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