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Subject: Affordable Introductory Wargames rss

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Sam Middleton
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Hey guys,

There are 100 or more beginner wargame threads and lists, but I am looking for specific criteria to pick a good beginner game. I want a game that is in print or copies abound so that the price is less than or equal to $25. There are a ton of games that I've been looking at from D-Day at Omaha Beach to Unconditional Surrender! World War 2 in Europe to Warfighter: The Tactical Special Forces Card Game (and other DVG games) and more. Those aren't really beginner games I am guessing, but they've piqued my interests from reading in these threads. They're more than I am wanting to invest in a wargame right now, before I know I really want to commit. I own Panzer Grenadier: Battle of the Bulge but I've kind of bounced off it, but I'm trying to commit to attempting to learn it again. I am not a huge fan of the scale really, I'd prefer something a little grander in scale as opposed to the platoon size. As far as eras go I prefer WWII, Revolutionary War, Medieval, Ancient. I try to avoid Cold War era and I can't really get into pike and shot era. As far as WWII fronts I am not really picky, but I guess if I had to pick it'd be a tie between Western Front and the Pacific Theater. Solitaire with AI would be a plus, but I suppose I could play both sides of a conflict if I had to.

Some other games I've considered:
Men of Iron (the whole series)
Ambush! (and related games)
The Hunters: German U-Boats at War, 1939-43

Thanks,
Sam
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Lance Runolfsson
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You might try Decision Game Mini and Folio series the WWII ones are fairly simple and they are pretty cheap. The graphics are very basic.
http://shop.decisiongames.com/SearchResults.asp?Cat=67
Note support fire is abstractly delt with in a way that irriates me but there are other guys that like it.
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Steve Willows
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Just like I always do in these topics, I will heartily recommend Battle for Moscow 2nd Edition.

It's fits every criteria that you have in spades and much more. Small footprint, no stacking, and solid straightforward rules.

Further, each side plays differently and teaches different things about hex and counter wargaming. The Germans have all the neat toys, but must learn to use them wisely to achieve breakthroughs along the Russian line. In other words, you learn offense.

Conversely, the Russian player has mostly infantry units at his or her disposal. The task is to then learn about ordered delay and withdrawal using interlocking zones of control and various terrain to advantage. In other words, you learn defense.

In all a solid and exciting game on all fronts!

As for solitaire, just play both sides reasonably. In many ways that is a superior experience to playing a game designed for solitaire, though I admit, I enjoy those too.

Finally, my link above takes you to the VPG page where you can order the game for $19.
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Weston Burk
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Ogre - The pocket version is a whole $3. It is very simple and very fun!!
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Juan Valdez
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Emperor_nero wrote:
I want a game that is in print or copies abound so that the price is less than or equal to $25.


$25 is going to be pretty tough, especially if you include shipping, even more so if you're bent on acquiring "classic" or otherwise highly desirable games. If you could get to $35 or even $45 your options open up tremendously.


Staying in the ~$25 range:

* Decision Games Folio series, as already mentioned.

* One Small Step Folio series, just now started into production.

* One Small Step Millennium Wars series.

* Fiery Dragon Micro-Games, all out of print but many are still available for decent prices.

* Selected titles from Victory Point Games (VPG). (Edit) As noted above, Battle for Moscow is excellent, as is Objective Kiev. Two others in this family, Target Leningrad and The Arduous Beginning are on my personal hit list.

* Metagaming titles which vary wildly in quality and availability, but aren't terribly difficult to find with some effort, and are usually inexpensive.

* (Edit) Revolution Games is building a very nice portfolio of games in the $20-$25 price range.

* Ogre Pocket Edition. $2.95. There's a lot of game there, and with 7/16" counters, you can play GEV on pretty much any random hex map you like.

* Older, less popular Strategy and Tactics games are often inexpensive. Popularity is usually associated with playability, but I think it's a mistake to (in general) assume unpopular implies unplayable. A little research goes a long way here.

* Offbeat or large run titles from Avalon Hill can often be found in the $15-$25 range. It may take a bit of work to find, but I have copies of PanzerBlitz, Panzer Leader and Arab Israeli Wars purchased at the $20 price point. Patience pays off here. I find these are still fun games to play despite pushing 40-45 years old.


Getting into the $35-$45 range, you will find it easier to acquire at least "players copies" of all sorts of great games from Avalon Hill, SPI, GMT, MMP, etc etc as well as good condition copies of really popular magazine games.

The more you can narrow your interests, the easier it will be. For example, if your main interest is in WWII Western Front, you can get Brian Train's "Autumn Mist" (Fiery Dragon) for about $20, and I'm pretty sure VPG has a Bulge title for about the same price. At some point, though, you're just going to have to pull the trigger and deal.
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Judd Vance
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By "affordable," I'm saying about $30 or less. Edit: I just saw you said $25, so if that extra $5 is too much, ignore them. Or go to Coolstuff and you get stuff for cheaper and shipping is free if you buy $100 (be sure to go in on an order with some buddies).

Operation Battleaxe: Wavell vs. Rommel, 1941: Folio game you can buy from the publisher. 10 pages of rules.

MedWar Sicily: On the Geek Marketplace for less than $20. Has about 8 pages of rules. Really easy.

Paul Koenig's The Bulge: 6th Panzer Army: I got it retail for $30. Clever little game covering a portion of the Battle of the Bulge.

Clash of Wills: Shiloh 1862: Nice intro Civil War game on Shiloh.

Patton's First Victory: Tunisia: On the marketplace for less than $21. I got it retail for $25. Thin box game. 4 pages of rules. Get this: it has a (Windows-based) CD with the game included and it enforces the rules and walks you through each step. How's that for an easy way to learn the game?

Anzio/Cassino: two games in one. It's on the market place for $24. Don't believe comments about Anzio being unbalanced. I'll play you on Vassal if you think it is.

Don't Tread On Me: The American Revolution Solitaire Board Game: Solitaire folio game. Buy it from the publisher for about $30.
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Steve Arthur
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Battles of the Bulge: Celles

..don't know how much it is over there but it's a top little game...easy to learn and no great time commitment required
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Minden Games has a whole slew of games in the price range.
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Sam Middleton
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mtngrown wrote:
Emperor_nero wrote:
I want a game that is in print or copies abound so that the price is less than or equal to $25.


$25 is going to be pretty tough, especially if you include shipping, even more so if you're bent on acquiring "classic" or otherwise highly desirable games. If you could get to $35 or even $45 your options open up tremendously.




$25 is pre-shpping. I'm expecting some money from my school in the next month or so and I am hoping to pick up a couple of board games and I want 1 to be a wargame. So if it turns out that I can budget out more then I am open to options that are in the $35 - $45 range. I am really wanting to pick up Unconditional Surrender! World War 2 in Europe after watching Marco's video review of it. I also really want D-Day at Omaha Beach. I've also looked at the COIN series of games, but we probably shouldn't discuss them. I've read the heated argument over in the GeekGold thread. Haha.
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Judd Vance
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Emperor_nero wrote:
mtngrown wrote:
Emperor_nero wrote:
I want a game that is in print or copies abound so that the price is less than or equal to $25.


$25 is going to be pretty tough, especially if you include shipping, even more so if you're bent on acquiring "classic" or otherwise highly desirable games. If you could get to $35 or even $45 your options open up tremendously.




$25 is pre-shpping. I'm expecting some money from my school in the next month or so and I am hoping to pick up a couple of board games and I want 1 to be a wargame. So if it turns out that I can budget out more then I am open to options that are in the $35 - $45 range. I am really wanting to pick up Unconditional Surrender! World War 2 in Europe after watching Marco's video review of it. I also really want D-Day at Omaha Beach. I've also looked at the COIN series of games, but we probably shouldn't discuss them. I've read the heated argument over in the GeekGold thread. Haha.


See if you can try them out first. That's a lot of money to throw around. Don't let box or theme make it an insta-buy. Too many of us can tell stories of dogs we wasted on money on. See, I was hot to trot for Unconditional Surrender after Marco's review, then a guy pointed out that the game plays pretty historically and you are just trying to see if you can end the war a month or two earlier. Hmmm. That's not quite was I looking for. Point is: better to try it out, especially if you are on a limited budget.

Find players who have the games and play with them. Learn Vassal. You can play games on there if one of you own it.
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Sam Middleton
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airjudden wrote:
Emperor_nero wrote:
mtngrown wrote:
Emperor_nero wrote:
I want a game that is in print or copies abound so that the price is less than or equal to $25.


$25 is going to be pretty tough, especially if you include shipping, even more so if you're bent on acquiring "classic" or otherwise highly desirable games. If you could get to $35 or even $45 your options open up tremendously.




$25 is pre-shpping. I'm expecting some money from my school in the next month or so and I am hoping to pick up a couple of board games and I want 1 to be a wargame. So if it turns out that I can budget out more then I am open to options that are in the $35 - $45 range. I am really wanting to pick up Unconditional Surrender! World War 2 in Europe after watching Marco's video review of it. I also really want D-Day at Omaha Beach. I've also looked at the COIN series of games, but we probably shouldn't discuss them. I've read the heated argument over in the GeekGold thread. Haha.


See if you can try them out first. That's a lot of money to throw around. Don't let box or theme make it an insta-buy. Too many of us can tell stories of dogs we wasted on money on. See, I was hot to trot for Unconditional Surrender after Marco's review, then a guy pointed out that the game plays pretty historically and you are just trying to see if you can end the war a month or two earlier. Hmmm. That's not quite was I looking for. Point is: better to try it out, especially if you are on a limited budget.

Find players who have the games and play with them. Learn Vassal. You can play games on there if one of you own it.


That's disappointing. From the sound of Marco's review I thought you could do a sort of 'Choose your own WWII' kind of thing. I also like the all-in-one battle chart.
 
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Emperor_nero wrote:
That's disappointing. From the sound of Marco's review I thought you could do a sort of 'Choose your own WWII' kind of thing. I also like the all-in-one battle chart.


You can, e.g. by going West-first or aiming at different than historical alliances. But the game has quite a few checks and balances to keep the outcome close to what I assume the designer regards as the plausible result: a military win of the Germans against the 3 Allies was very unlikely. That being said, I think the game is well designed within the above restrictions and is a lot of fun to play solitaire or against an opponent. As Judd wrote, give it a try if you can.
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James
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Unconditional Surrender is fantastic. It is absolutely not just about playing the war out as it happened and hoping to end it a bit earlier. It has hundreds of little stories within its grand narrative and there is plenty of scope for non-historical happenings.

Unconditional Surrender! Case Blue is a small, stand-alone scenario so you can try out the system. You can print out your own copy but its also included in the soon-to-be-published new issue of C3i magazine. Might not be a beginner game though.
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James
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My beginner games were

Wilderness War
Napoleon at Waterloo
Battle for Moscow (second edition)

Nap & Moscow are cheap, WW is worth the cash.
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Thomas Ryan

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Bastogne: Screaming Eagles under Siege

Is available from NWS for $24.00 plus shipping.

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Andrew N
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Men of Iron is cool, Blood & Roses isn't too hard to find for a good price. You could also download the rules and Agincourt for free. There are also a couple of MoI stand alone spin-offs published by Against the Odds, Suleiman the Magnificent and Kulikovo 1380: The Golden Horde.

In addition, I'd really recommend checking out Invasion 1066: The Battle of Hastings. It's not MoI, but another light medieval ruleset. It's cheap, it looks nice, it's small, it plays quickly and easily, and most importantly... it's FUN!

In addition to Invasion 1066 and Battles of the Bulge: Celles (mentioned by a previous poster), almost all of Revolution Games (II) products would be good intro wargames and are inexpensive. Maybe don't start with Washington's Crossing, but the aforementioned games, Operation Battleaxe: Wavell vs. Rommel, 1941, The Road to Cheren, and Gazala: The Cauldron would all be good places to jump into wargaming.
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Rex Stites
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There is a copy of The Civil War in the marketplace for $25 and copies routinely sell in this range on eBay. It's generally considered one of the best strategic Civil War games out there, despite its age.

Although not a beginner wargame per se, its rules are considered well written and with the exception of some of the river rules is relatively straight forward. But its fairly comparable complexity to some of the other games you've listed as being interested in.
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Rex Stites
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I would also say that most of the games that are in print that are within your price range are going to be smaller, relatively simpler games. Given what you've said you're interested in, these may not be a good fit.
 
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Michael Carter
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It's higher than your $25 limit and it covers an obscure war, but Pax Baltica is a fairly cheap way to try out a block wargame. CSI has it for $36. Block games tend to cost more because of the wood cost.
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Steve Willows
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moujamou wrote:
My beginner games were

Wilderness War
Napoleon at Waterloo
Battle for Moscow (second edition)

Nap & Moscow are cheap, WW is worth the cash.


Along with Battle for Moscow, Napoleon at Waterloo is the other 'standard' introductory game that is often recommended. Myself? I think it has good points and bad.

The bad? It employs something called soak-off attacks which is so old school that it is rarely (if ever... trying to think of an example, maybe I just don't get out as much as I should lol) seen these days.

The good? It is available as a Print and Play. Check the files section of the BGG Page. In that regard it might fit just because of low cost. And its still a good game!
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I've already thumbed the posts, but I'll reiterate that picking something like Unconditional Surrender! World War 2 in Europe as your first wargame has the potential for never-getting-through-the-rulebook, only-making-it-halfway-through-turn-1 or the worst of the lot: my-friend-fell-asleep-after-a-40-minute-explanation-of-zones-of-control.

+1 Battle for Moscow (second edition)
+1 Paul Koenig's The Bulge: 6th Panzer Army

I'll add Fading Glory to the mix, $39 on MiniatureMarket.com -- 2 double-sided mounted maps, nice counters, 4 games in a nice mid-entry level system.
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Judd Vance
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Sam,

Take a look at this Geeklist:

https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/134875/my-war-games-sorte...

I took every game I ever owned and sorted them by how difficult they were to learn. Not play well, but play correctly. So even though I'm a lousy chess player, if it were on this list, it would be one of the lowest, because I could play it correctly when I was in 3rd grade.

The reason I say that is because there are some recommended games on this thread that I think are anything but introductory and I don't want to see you get burned. People love their games and can't put them into perspective, and this same type of irrational exuberance burned me on what might have been a really fine game (see entry #214).
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Kent Reuber
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All of the DDH games are under $30. Most are under $25.

http://shop.ddhgames.com/main.sc
 
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Ben Bosmans
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A starter's wargame needs to be GOOD to start with though.

Here is my list of GREAT starter wargames for beginners.


- Tactical:

Advanced Squad Leader: Starter Kit Expansion Pack #1

On these pages you will find an excellent post of how to skip rules even to start with just the first 2 scenarios.

This # 1 kit is not difficult at all, not even for noobs.

Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! – Russia 1941-42: the same: the first few scenarios can be learned by anyone.

If you really don't like the counters, try the very intro things like Tide of Iron or some dabbing into Memoir '44 or Axis & Allies: D-Day.

These last 3 are not really "wargames" but perhaps it can lure you in by use of the miniatures. Actually ... I hate basic Mem 44 and basic Axis and Allies but you know you have to start somewhere and the miniatures look nice and D-Day is much better than the usual Axis and Allies really.


Operational: I still think that The Russian Campaign is excellent with 6 pages of rules.

Strategic I think War of the Rings (fantasy) and Age of Napoleonare the best of the bunch.

Also the Commander series of DVG games are nice, with the Field Commander: Napoleon game a clear winner.

-----------

I think we should only limit ourselves to actually GOOD games instead of mediocre games with easy rules.

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