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Subject: Best of the Blocks? rss

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Kevin Ryan
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I know this forum is only for HotS, but I just don't know where else to post it.

If someone can tell me, I will happily do so.

Here is my question. I am falling in love with these Columbia Block games all over again (had some back in the day, but regretfully traded a couple of them). I have HotS, Napoleon, and have just ordered Julius Caesar. Are there clear-cut must-haves from among the Columbia catalog? Classics that I need to have to make my Block Game Collection complete?

I understand this is totally subjective. Just looking for a starting point.

Thanks and blessings to one and all.
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Josh Malbon
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Julius Caesar is a must have. That and HotS, so I think you got all your bases covered.
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Josh Malbon
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You might want to check out Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan.

It's not Columbia, but I heard some good things about it.
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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I think highly of Rommel in the Desert, in part because it is so different from the others yet still exploits the advantages of a block game so well. But there's no real point in telling you what I like, because I have no idea whether I'm looking for the same things from a game that you are.

If you were to tell us more about what you like about HotS and Napoleon individually, it would help people to give you useful answers. Are there things you like better in one than in the other? Things you wish were different? Do you ask about Columbia titles explicitly because you don't know that other companies make good block games, or because you've looked at the competition and decided Columbia is the one for you?
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Robert Taylor-Smith
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+1 for Rommel in the Desert
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Rusty McFisticuffs
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There was some recent jibber-jabber about this in this thread, although that's not exactly what you're looking for.

Since you have this and Napoleon, I think the only other Columbia-style block games you need are Rommel in the Desert and EastFront/EastFront II. (That thread has some comments on those.)
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Kevin Ryan
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I actually have Sekigahara. Yup, wonderful game.

Sphere, I guess I was not really aware of the other block-game companies. Here is what I love (in no particular order) about Napoleon and HotS from Columbia.

1. They are so immersive. Probably more than any other war game, I feel like I have been through a war when I am done. Actually mentally exhausted almost. Figuring out the roads and how to move my armies in Napoleon is great fun but draining (in the best sense).

2. The elegance of the system is exceptional. Not a ton of rules, but the strategy and tactics developed on the board from those simple rules seem really deep and taxing to me.

3. Love the fog of war with the blocks.

4. Love the tactile sense of the wooden blocks and wooden dice.

5. The support from Columbia (with rules questions and a component issue) was stellar.

Ok, I am fascinated with Rommel. I actually have a huge biography of the man. Thanks a million for mentioning it, Sphere. Rommel in the Desert was not on my radar.
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Kevin Ryan
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Just saw your posts, Rusty and Robert. Thank you.

Sphere, Rusty, Robert--I just looked at RitD. 3-8 hours? Is this true? Are there variants, official or otherwise, that are shorter? I really want this game because of what you guys have said, but, yikes, it seems 3-8 hours would normally be a deal-breaker for me. What have been your experiences with play time?

And thanks for taking your valuable time with this. I really appreciate it.

But I am off on an urgent errand. Will not see your answers till later tonight.

Blessings to all!
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JS
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Napoleon 1815, Richard III., Hammer of the Scots, Julius Caesar, Rommel in the Desert, EastFront II, Sekigahara... Each of these games is a wonderful experience and worth every Cent/Penny. They are among my all-time-favorites.
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Rusty McFisticuffs
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nat whilk wrote:
I just looked at RitD. 3-8 hours? Is this true?

The game includes several scenarios of varying length; some are 1-2 hours. (That 8 hours is for the longest scenario, which combines both the '41 and '42 campaigns.) And, one thing about this game is that it usually ends early with one side pushing a little too hard and getting wiped off the map, so even a "3-4 hour" scenario can end a couple hours in. (Not like EastFront, where you usually have to wait until the end of a 5-6 hour scenario to total up the points and see who won.)

EDIT: and I've never played the combined '41-'42 campaign. In fact I'm not sure I've even played the '42 campaign at all! Crusader (1-2 hours) and the '41 campaign (3-4 hours) are the ones I've played the most, and they're both a lot of fun.
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Lee Massey
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There's Bobby Lee and Sam Grant if you want Civil War block games.
 
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Nevin Ball
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I like Crusader Rex, 2nd edition as much as Hammer of the Scots and Julius Caesar. Also, I played Liberty: The American Revolution 1775-83 a couple of times and It's also a winner.
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Janus Lin
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Also have been interested in block games, and appreciate this thread. Pretty much open to any time period/era, but my biggest limitation is playing time. What are the shortest intro block games you would recommend?
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Harmonica
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Sphere wrote:
I think highly of Rommel in the Desert, in part because it is so different from the others yet still exploits the advantages of a block game so well. But there's no real point in telling you what I like, because I have no idea whether I'm looking for the same things from a game that you are.

If you were to tell us more about what you like about HotS and Napoleon individually, it would help people to give you useful answers. Are there things you like better in one than in the other? Things you wish were different? Do you ask about Columbia titles explicitly because you don't know that other companies make good block games, or because you've looked at the competition and decided Columbia is the one for you?

I traded away Rommel in the Desert. It was a good game in its days, but belongs to another era. The same goes more or less for Napoleon: The Waterloo Campaign, 1815.

Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan can't hardly be called a simulation. It is certainly not in the same league; way too bland.

I do recommend Crusader Rex.
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janus19390 wrote:
Also have been interested in block games, and appreciate this thread. Pretty much open to any time period/era, but my biggest limitation is playing time. What are the shortest intro block games you would recommend?

Quebec 1759
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Sphere wrote:
janus19390 wrote:
Also have been interested in block games, and appreciate this thread. Pretty much open to any time period/era, but my biggest limitation is playing time. What are the shortest intro block games you would recommend?

Quebec 1759

Hardly any replay value.
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anemaat wrote:
I traded away Rommel in the Desert. It was a good game in its days, but belongs to another era. The same goes more or less for Napoleon: The Waterloo Campaign, 1815.

I couldn't agree less, but that's why I tried to find out what the O.P. was looking for.

anemaat wrote:
Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan can't hardly be called a simulation. It is certainly not in the same league; way too bland.

I do recommend Crusader Rex.

Nobody said anything about simulation up to now, and I'm not sure what opening that can of worms contributes to helping the O.P. pick a game. In my experience, people say it about wargames they don't like, but give it a pass for ones they do. Or are you saying you think Crusader Rex is a simulation?
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kuhrusty wrote:
nat whilk wrote:
I just looked at RitD. 3-8 hours? Is this true?

The game includes several scenarios of varying length; some are 1-2 hours. (That 8 hours is for the longest scenario, which combines both the '41 and '42 campaigns.) And, one thing about this game is that it usually ends early with one side pushing a little too hard and getting wiped off the map, so even a "3-4 hour" scenario can end a couple hours in. (Not like EastFront, where you usually have to wait until the end of a 5-6 hour scenario to total up the points and see who won.)

EDIT: and I've never played the combined '41-'42 campaign. In fact I'm not sure I've even played the '42 campaign at all! Crusader (1-2 hours) and the '41 campaign (3-4 hours) are the ones I've played the most, and they're both a lot of fun.

I agree with Rusty 100%

I'll add that the truly awesome thing RitD brings to the party is uncertainty about supply, which is critical to move and fight with your units. In RitD, players draw supply cards, some of which are real and some of which are blank. You know what you have, but you don't know what your opponent has, and that little wrinkle amps it up to 11.

Uncertainty about what blocks are where is part of the fun in most block games, but in RitD, having them there isn't enough, you need the supply to use them. This sets the stage for monumental bluffs and tests of nerve, on a scale few other games can match. Supply was a big deal in this campaign, and the game captures that magnificently.



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anemaat wrote:
Sphere wrote:
janus19390 wrote:
Also have been interested in block games, and appreciate this thread. Pretty much open to any time period/era, but my biggest limitation is playing time. What are the shortest intro block games you would recommend?

Quebec 1759

Hardly any replay value.

Yeah, I only played all those times because I'm slow.

Seriously, I don't know what your trouble is here. Somebody asks for an intro game, and I offered one that was my intro to block games. It must have served the purpose, because 40 years I'm still playing block games. I've kept this game after selling off probably more other games than you've owned, and I'll be replaying it in future.

How about you offer your own suggestion for a short intro block game?
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chris schott
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Hellenes: Campaigns of the Peloponnesian War was almost a Columbia game, but something happened and Craig Besinque brought the game to GMT instead. It's a good one.
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Luis Abril
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Rommel in the Desert
East Front
Hellenes

AND

Pax Baltica, which seems to be an overlooked gem.

All IMHO, of course.
 
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dyvim tanelorn
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I have Hammer Of The Scots, Julius Caesar and Sekigahara. I love all of them. I think I would buy Napoleon's Triumph if I'd find it under 100$.
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With 8 pages of rules Julius Caesar, Hammer of the Scots, Crusader Rex and Texas Glory are good choices. They are elegant games with a very high replay value.

Note that many of the older Columbia Games titles lack the elegancy.

I still like Victory: Blocks of War and Wizard Kings. And am stickering the blocks for Victory in Europe.
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Shayne Richards
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My picks; they are all damn fine however if I was forced.

Hammer is a solid not too complex game.
Julius as above but with different feel,
but the best two columbia games are....

Shenandoah and Borodino.


For an easier more basic game 1812.

Worthy mentions;
Texas Glory

and if you want to create an epic multiplayer
Wizard Kings with a number of expansions.
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Declan Breen
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It is also worth checking out these block war games.

Holdfast Russia,Holdfast Korea, Strike of the Eagle and Guns of Gettysburg.
 
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