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Subject: "Strategic" game wanted rss

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Ted Kostek
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I'm interested in getting a few more games that have a strong element of long-term, big-picture planning versus short term calculation. For lack of another term, I am substituting the term "strategy" for the concept of this kind of multi-turn planning.

I love T&E, but the board changes too much to really allow long-term planning.

Go and chess, however, both allow "positional" play such that a piece will have a specific meaning for many turns, even though you don't know specifically what the piece will do. They are two of the most strategic games around.

I have read that Duel of Ages actually has a decent amount of "strategy" because you need to form a team out of your characters. This overall organization of your players then informs all your other decisions through the whole game.

Beowulf, while including a lot of randomness, has a decent amount of strategy. You need to have the big dragon battle in mind almost from the first turn, although granted it might not be a primary factor until late in the game.

Eastfront by Columbia, and to a lesser extent Wizard Kings, provides a lot of strategy. While most decent size wargames have a good bit of strategy, I'm a little leery of most wargames. I want something that's a good game first, and everything else second. I like Columbia games because they usually hit the right balance for me.

I hope these examples clarify what I'm looking for, as well as giving a representative idea of the types of games I like.

I look forward to any suggestions.

 
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J C Lawrence
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kostek wrote:
I'm interested in getting a few more games that have a strong element of long-term, big-picture planning versus short term calculation. For lack of another term, I am substituting the term "strategy" for the concept of this kind of multi-turn planning.


1856: Railroading in Upper Canada from 1856 (used as a representative sample for all the 18XX)
Neuland (only play with 3)
Clippers
Kaivai
Roads & Boats
Stephenson's Rocket
Age of Steam
 
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Bill Morgal
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I really enjoy Vinci. There is very little luck and an awful lot of planning and strategy. You may want to try it.
 
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Curt Carpenter
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There is virtually no planning in Vinci in my experience. You can plan maybe your next move (vaguely). But nothing long term.
 
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Mark Bigney
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Princes of Florence is commonly mentioned as a game requiring long-term planning; I would recommend Goa or Leonardo da Vinci as similar games that I find superior.
 
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Hunga Dunga
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curtc wrote:
There is virtually no planning in Vinci in my experience. You can plan maybe your next move (vaguely). But nothing long term.
No offense, but maybe you're not playing it right.
 
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Hunga Dunga
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I'd recommend Power Grid as a good multiplayer strategy game.
 
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Les Marshall
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Many of Columbia's Block games are good for strategy though they tend to be 2 players only. Try Hammer of the Scots, Napolean, and Victory.

GMT recently offered up Europe Engulfed which offers up a more intense block type game experience. It's so popular that Asia Engulfed is soon to be released to allow the pacific theatre and the two can be joined to cover the whole war. They also have Twilight Struggle which has fairly deep strategy though card play can cause many short term adjustments to decisions.

GMT also has a number of multi player games like Medieval, Sword of Rome, Pax Romana, Manifest Destiny and others. The games all tend to be heavily influended by event cards.

If you don't need a "heavy" rule set, there is nothing wrong with Axis & Allies which forces you to select strategic choices for unit production, use of naval and air assets and deployment if ground forces to support your selected strategies.

Also from Avalon Hill is the classic of strategy games, Diplomacy, still played world wide after 40 years. No luck here. Another great AH title, though out of print, is Age of Renaissance, also card driven but, still requiring significant long term strategy.

Happy Gaming
 
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Scott
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Here's a few that I thought of:

Dungeon Twister: Lot's of people compare it to Chess, I'm not so sure about that but it does have a fair amount of long term planning-although the board can change on you.

Squad Leader and ASL Starter Kit: Despite what some people say, these are good games first. They only get chrome-heavy in the full-on ASL. But they have at least as much long term planning as the wargames you mentioned (lot's of chaos though). They might be worth a look.

Gipf Series: If you are into abstracts at all but are sick of some of the traditional ones these are great. I'm a huge fan of Yinsh. I've only played a couple but they all seem to balance strategic and tactical decisions pretty well. See Dvonn, Zertz, Gipf, Tamsk, Punct.

Acquire: The proto-eurogame that has quite a lot of strategic planning, a great 3+player game. You can get 3m version pretty cheap.
 
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Bill Morgal
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curtc wrote:
There is virtually no planning in Vinci in my experience. You can plan maybe your next move (vaguely). But nothing long term.


I don't see how you can say that. There is no 'luck' involved. You must gage your force for expansion during your turn, decide when it is time to go into decline, and choose from amongst the civilizations available to you. You make your play based on the position and possible areas of expansion of other players. You redeploy to help dissuade others from expanding towards you or into you. It is all about planning and if you do not plan correctly, you lose.
 
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Ted Kostek
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Thanks for the suggestions!

Re: war games

I have a variety of Columbia games, and I keep pretty close tabs on their P500. Of the GMT games, I'm most looking forward to Conquest of Paradise, although not so much as pure 'strategy' game. It looks like a cool blend of civilization, discovery, strategy, tactics, and warfare.

Re: abstracts

Gipf et al is intriguing, but for abstracts I'll probably stick to chess and go. The main difference between them and the newer abstracts is the deep "installed base," and I view that mostly as an advantage.

Re: Vinci

The back and forth comments here are pretty interesting. I've never played, but it sounds like there's an interesting aspect to the game, although it also sounds like there's not a lot of long-term, big-picture vision. It sounds like you have to make judgement calls about when to end an empire, and the basis for this decision is (apparently) not something you can calculate. I'd call that "strategy," although I didn't include it in my original description.

Re: Goa, Princes etc

Thanks for the tips. I've also heard that Taj Mahal and Modern Art have elements of strategy.
 
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Hunga Dunga
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kostek wrote:

Re: Vinci...it also sounds like there's not a lot of long-term, big-picture vision. It sounds like you have to make judgement calls about when to end an empire, and the basis for this decision is (apparently) not something you can calculate.

Please don't sell Vinci short based on one comment from someone who doesn't know how to play the game! You need a long-term big picture vision if you want to stand a chance of winning.

You have to choose and play your empire wisely, scope out future empires based on the characteristics and success of your opponents' empires, and choose allies judiciously.

Unless, of course, your'e playing with a bunch of boneheads.

 
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Jorge Montero
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Vinci is not purely tactical, but I'd not call it a highly strategic game. Given that everything is influenced heavily by the civ traits that are available, and there are not enough of them in plain view to go past one, maybe two civilization changes. So it's not possible to have a master plan for world domination: It's impossible to set up a middle game right when you start.
 
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Ray
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I'm of the opinion that Eurogames aren't very strategic. Compared to a game like Chess or Go they have too few turns (instead relying on a few turns with a broad number of options to optimally choose from). Most are of the "what move will give me the most victory points" immediate nature (ands even when the victory points aren't awarded until later in the game the move often can't be undone).

The most strategic games often have pre-committed actions (e.g. I plot to have my reinforcements enter on the western flank on turn four because I'm trying to execute the western flank strategy). The strategy is something you can make up your mind to use before you start the game (because when you adjust it you are playing tactically). Look for hidden information games that allow you to hide your long term plan if you want strategic.
 
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J C Lawrence
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Myrdin T Sasnak wrote:
I don't see how you can say that. There is no 'luck' involved. You must gage your force for expansion during your turn, decide when it is time to go into decline, and choose from amongst the civilizations available to you. You make your play based on the position and possible areas of expansion of other players. You redeploy to help dissuade others from expanding towards you or into you. It is all about planning and if you do not plan correctly, you lose.


Board play in Vinci is largely (almost entirely) tactical. Most (almost all?) the strategy occurs around the civilisation track, and that is very heavily influenced by luck of the draw and the intersection of small tactical decisions by various players and turn order.
 
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Shane Beck
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Try Empires In Arms (but only if you have seven people and a spare few weeks)
 
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Bill Morgal
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clearclaw wrote:
Myrdin T Sasnak wrote:
I don't see how you can say that. There is no 'luck' involved. You must gage your force for expansion during your turn, decide when it is time to go into decline, and choose from amongst the civilizations available to you. You make your play based on the position and possible areas of expansion of other players. You redeploy to help dissuade others from expanding towards you or into you. It is all about planning and if you do not plan correctly, you lose.


Board play in Vinci is largely (almost entirely) tactical. Most (almost all?) the strategy occurs around the civilisation track, and that is very heavily influenced by luck of the draw and the intersection of small tactical decisions by various players and turn order.


Wow. Yes, a lot of consideration must be paid to the civilization track, And yes, the only luck or more appropriatly randomness involved in the game has to do with drawing the civilizations. That being said, each player knows what civilizations he has to pick from when his turn begins. If a player goes into decline causing a new civilization to be drawn, the new civ may be a 'good' civ people may want or a 'bad' civ few would want. The next player choosing decline will again know what there is to pick from and if the new civ is picked, it will cost that player points to obtain it and add points to the other civilizations already on the track making them more inticing.

One must also consider how likely it is other players will choose to enter decline during their turns when considering if you will go into decline during yours. In two or three turns, will the now prominent civ on the border be declining opening up a ripe starting point for a new civilization presently far down the track that can make use of that area?

To me anyway, this game is very much like chess in the sense that, except for your opponent's moves (something you can anticipate just like in chess), the outcome at the end of your turn is exactly where you planned it would be at its beginning (assuming also that you are thinking and not just winging it).

Without falling into semantic traps, I mentioned trying Vinci because of its lack of luck and its chess like 'what you do is what you get' mentality. If that is not strategic or if it is too tactical to qualify for my recomendation under this thread, my apologies.

 
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Bill Morgal
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hibikir wrote:
Vinci is not purely tactical, but I'd not call it a highly strategic game. Given that everything is influenced heavily by the civ traits that are available, and there are not enough of them in plain view to go past one, maybe two civilization changes. So it's not possible to have a master plan for world domination: It's impossible to set up a middle game right when you start.


Ted said he considered Go and Chess to be strategic. I did not post here in the intent to start a semantic discussion on what constitutes a strategic or tactical game or whether or not Vinci is a strategic or tactical game. Those words mean different things to different people anyway. Ask a wargamer to define those words and a non-wargamer to define them and you might get two different answers.

A lot of what has been said here about Vinci concerns whether it is a tactical or strategic game, which was not what I intended nor what it was I thought Ted was after. I recomended it because of what it was he considered stategic.

Can you set up a 'middle game' when you start a game of chess? I recomended Vinci because of its lack of luck and the chess like thinking (oops, I almost used the word strategy there) that is required to do well at it.
 
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Martin
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In-print (or at least readily available) games I think would suit your needs:

Age of Steam
Antike (and probably the newer Imperial, which is similar and getting good reviews)
Struggle of Empires
Conquest of the Empire

Out of print:

Princes of the Renaissance
1830: Railways & Robber Barons (or, I assume, most of the 18xx games. I've only played 1830)
Advanced Civilization
Titan

Your ability to control events is quite different in some of these games, and therefore the chances for sticking with your original strategy, but they can all be approached with a plan that can be carried out rather than making the best of where the wind has taken you each turn.

Martin
 
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Frank McNally
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As others have said, broad strategy is often an attribute of wargames (or older style american games), while euros tend to focus on detailed tactics. In most old AH games one has many turns to accomplish a goal and many equivalent (or at least similar) ways of tactically doing it.

If wargames are not your thing, then the 18xx games are a pretty good option.

These stereotypes are not rigid. One thing that will tend to move a game from strategic to tactical are special scoring rounds which occur only a few times/game as opposed to a more contiuous scoring. Good examples of failry continuous scoring are 18xx, Puerto Rico, Emipires in Arms. Examples of discrete scoring is History of the World and Manhattan.
 
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J C Lawrence
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Myrdin T Sasnak wrote:
Wow. Yes, a lot of consideration must be paid to the civilization track, And yes, the only luck or more appropriatly randomness involved in the game has to do with drawing the civilizations. That being said, each player knows what civilizations he has to pick from when his turn begins.


True. But when picking a civilisation you can't effectively plan out what civilisation you'll be picking next, let alone the sequence you'll use through the rest of the game.

Quote:
If a player goes into decline causing a new civilization to be drawn, the new civ may be a 'good' civ people may want or a 'bad' civ few would want. The next player choosing decline will again know what there is to pick from and if the new civ is picked, it will cost that player points to obtain it and add points to the other civilizations already on the track making them more inticing.


In a four player game each player will typically run between 4 and 6 civilisations. That's an average of 20 civilisations over the course of the game. The civilisation track is 6 long, meaning it will rotate compleatly a little more than three times. Strategic planning for the civilisation track, while definitely present, is not all that long as your look ahead is so limited.

I do like the game though.
 
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Andrew Prizzi
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China
Colossal Arena
History of the World
Axis and Allies
Domaine


All of them require you to think about the endgame from the very beginning. Decisions have long term consequences and big moves require some groundwork to set them up.
 
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Tony Chen
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Hex
 
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