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Subject: Medium weight wargame rss

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Chris Laudermilk
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I'm going to split off my own thread from this one in Recommendations: A Good (But medium weight) Wargame. I don't want to derail him.

I've been looking for a similar target: A good medium weight wargame. Specifically more of a tactical level game as a lighter-weight substitute for ASL. I am easing my son into wargames & overshot a bit in trying ASLSK#1. While he did pretty well in S1, and recently asked to try another scenario (we are on turn 2 of S2 now), I'm looking for something lighter & shorter that would be an easier play. Something along the lines of an hour or so to complete. I also have zero interest in miniatures of any sort for this one (yes, I enjoy minis, but that's outside the scope of my current dilemma).

I've been poking through the forums & database here and have found several possible candidate, but am getting into analysis paralysis on picking "the one" to start with.

I've downloaded the Valor & Victory PDFs and will try to get to fabricating the components this weekend. That looks like a good possibility as "ASL-lite."

For professionally-produced games, I have the following on my list.
Probables:
Conflict of Heroes:AtB.
Band of Brothers:SE.

Maybes:
Fighting Formations
Lock 'n Load:BoH

Probably Nots:
ATS
CC:E
M44
ToI

Aside from the WWII tacticals, I am almost certainly going to grab Command & Colors:Ancients, and possibly Napoleonics.

I've looked at M44 & from the info here thought it was too light. Just setting a demo up at the FLGS confirmed that. Both my son and I were completely turned off right away. CC:E appears to be simply a more complex variation of that without the plastic army men. So, before messing with a card-driven WWII, I'd want to play one as it just doesn't feel right. Yes, there is some cognitive dissonance with my really wanting CC:A--but that just seems to fit the subject matter better for me.

So, in a nutshell, I do have ASL and will continue with that system as I really like it (since SL days). But, I am looking for something fun, shorter play time, but still somewhat complex that my son and I can play.

I welcome any input to push me one way or the other.
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Matthew Barber
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Conflict of Heroes is the way to go IMHO. The scenarios gradually get more complicated, rules for AFVs, hidden units, and the like are all introduced scenario by scenario. All the different map boards and scenarios would also help keep a younger person interested.
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David Dockter
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That image is a little dated (4 years ago), but may be helpful for your quest.

And, Episode XIV: June 6, 2013, of Guns, Dice, Butter may also assist. And, related analysis:

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Tonny Wille
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Indeed Memoir 44 will be to light for you and has nothing to do with WW2 tactics.

Band of brothers is a very good system and pretty easy to learn. Also features realistic tactics.

Conflict of heroes is a beautifull game and easy to learn as well but you do have to keep in mind that it can have gamey tactics. A great deal is all about managing your action points which for some people feel like playing a euro game. I like them but I know people who don't like it just for this fact.

Fighting formations: I wouldn't suggest this game to you. Might not be that hard to learn but the biggest draw back are the scenarios. They will take for ever to finish. This is also platoon level combat in stead of squad level combat.
If you are interested in platoon level... try the World at war or nations at war series. Both use the same game system but the 1st is about WW3 and the 2nd about WW2


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Kent Reuber
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I'd also add Nations at War: White Star Rising to your list. In WSR (and the modern World of War series), units are platoons, rather than squads and individual vehicles.

Another lighter game to consider is War to Axis: Warfare in Normandy. It has some similarity to Memoir '44, though it has a variety of armor and antitank guns. The rules are short and are online at http://giogames.it/
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Chris Laudermilk
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OOoooo... spreadsheets!
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Wendell
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I'm not a tactical guy but there's a lot of love for Combat Commander, though I note you have it in the "probably not" column...
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Russ Williams
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FWIW I wouldn't dismiss CC because of the cards so quickly. There's a reason it's so popular, including among many who also enjoy "heavy serious" wargames. I've played Battle Cry and Memoir 44, and CC is not like them.

That said, it might not be best for a son learning wargames. There's a fair amount of detail (and text on cards) to keep track of. (But I'm not sure how old your son is or how comfy he is with complexity in wargames.)

BoB or CoH are simpler/quicker and seem like good candidates. (Possibly affecting your decision: a new edition of BoB is coming soon with mounted boards.)

===

PS: This interesting geeklist just appeared:
Top 100 Games by Players / Owners
and the ONLY wargame on it is Combat Commander!
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Øivind Karlsrud
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claudermilk wrote:
For professionally-produced games, I have the following on my list.
Probables:
Conflict of Heroes:AtB.
Band of Brothers:SE.

Maybes:
Fighting Formations
Lock 'n Load:BoH


I have not played Fighting Formations, but Lock'n Load is defintitely not easier than ASLSK#1. It is probably easier than ASLSK#3, though.

Your probables are just the ones I was going to suggest. Band of Brothers: Screaming Eagles is probably a good choice, since it has many infantry scenarios. I have only Ghost Panzer, and have played the first scenario (infantry-only tutorial) with my nine year old son. However, the rest of the scenarios in GP uses vehicles, and the vehicle rules do complicate things. I never got to explaining those to my son. SE should have more infantry-scenarios, and the infantry-rules in BoB are great. Since you play ASL, I would like to say that it has the gameplay which is most similar in feel to ASL of all the squad level games I have played.

The only squad level game I have played which does not have a completely new set of rules for vehicles, is Conflict of Heroes. In Conflict of Heroes, all units have red (foot), blue (tracked) or green (wheeled) movement, and terrain cost is given for each of these three. Every unit has red (High explosive and small arms) and a blue (armor-piercing) firepower, and each unit has either red or blue defensive rating. When firing, you use the firepower with the same color as the defensive rating on the target. That's it. No new set of rules to introduce vehicles and armor. There are obviously nuances to vehicles which are not represented in the game, but my son is able to play any scenario in Conflict of Heroes: Infantry, vehicles, AT guns, mortars, etc. That's the advantage of CoH.

My dream is to make my son play ASL, though. Even just ASLSK#1. If there were no other ASL-products, ASLSK#1 would be my #1 tactical WWII-game. None of the others are as fun, to me.
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Chris Laudermilk
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Thanks for the input.

My son is very much a gamer, and so far has done fine with the little bit of ASLSK I've gotten him to play. S1 literally went down to the final roll of the final CC phase (my paratroopers failed to chase his last squad out of the last building hex) . S2 is in progress now in which his Russian center has collapsed in the face of my well-aimed FT & LMG fire, but the flanks are holding strong. I gave him some pointers on setup to help get a better starting point, but for the most part, he's on his own with me just moderating rules.

The reason for the search is he wants a quicker game. At 10, he's already doing darn good with hobby games, but the longer wargames are a stretch right now. It's also hard to get a play in the evening during the week, so they would be limited to weekends.

So it sounds like I'm barking up the right tree with my search parameters. I can focus on CoH and BoB for now. I'll keep CC:E in mind, but it just doesn't sound like it's up my alley.
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Claudio Hornblower
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I wanted to answer you in the other thread, but I think it's better to do it here, between ourselves

I've played SL (a lot)/ASL (less), CoC:AtB, BoB:SE, Fighting Formations and I'm an avid CC:E enthusiast. I mainly play CC:E with my Sweet Half and it's easily her tactical wargame of choice (I know I'm a lucky chap).

I just wanted to tell you that CC:E plays absolutely nothing like the C&C system - you could say that, in a sense, C&C is better if you seek control: maybe you want to activate your units on the right side, but you only have cards for the left, that's too bad but you can still move them and fight with them.

You cannot do that in CC:E, if you haven't a Move Order in your hand you're absolutely unable to move (well, you can still melee - if you have the Order); same for shooting.

You are at the mercy of luck then? Well, strange as it may seems, no. There's always something that you could do, a shape that you can mold from the chaos around you, and use it to achieve your goals. A land mine. An op fire. A retreat check. A hand discard at the right time.

So the triangle forms between your hand of cards, the map with all the units, and your draw deck of exactly 72 cards (2 series of 2D6 pair results: 1-1, 1-2...6-6). Inside this polygon, you and your foe are both actors and directors of a war movie which speeds up and then slows sharply, always different but with the same wild camera swings.

CC:E is a narrative tactical experience, maybe not historically accurate and absolutely not as rich and modular as ASL, but it's highly playable without the need to keep tons of rules in mind, it's fast - and more than anything else, it's fun (imho).

... Plus, the built-in scenario generator is simply awesome and makes the core box alone hugely replayable.

Having said that, have you ever considered Heroes of Normandie? Silly as it may seems, I think it's still reasonably within the boundaries of a "realistic"(-ish), attractive and fast system.
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Storm Over Stalingrad or Warriors of God
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David Dockter
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Another vote for a club favorite: VERY, VERY, VERY Late to the Party: One 1st MNer FINALLY Comes in from the Cold: Codes at Sunrise: CC July 24, 2015
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Chris Laudermilk
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laugh LOL, you guys are like a frickin' cult! And they say the ASL crowd is bad...

OK, OK, I'll keep CC:E on the "maybes" list. Happy? I pulled up a review video & watched it through. There's some aspects that do look pretty cool, but I'm still not convinced on the cards and random stuff they bring up. In the end, I'll have to look for someone to let me play a game to see for myself. I will add it to the PDF rules/VASSAL tryout queue.
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Pete Pariseau
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I'll jump in to counter the cult: CC:E is a bad wargame coupled to a so-so card game. Much less fun than the Memoir you already dislike, and with its own serious distortions of WWII tactics.

Try Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! (second edition) if it must be squad-based, or the one I found enjoyable, light, and reasonably historical (but platoon level) Nations at War: White Star Rising. I call it "neo-PanzerBlitz".

Hey, how about Panzer Leader? Shouldn't be too hard to find. Again, platoon level.
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Tom
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Panzer Grenadier.
 
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Russ Williams
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Tango Papa Delta wrote:
Panzer Grenadier.

I found it to be medium weight, but not short.
 
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John McLintock
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claudermilk wrote:
I'm going to split off my own thread from this one in Recommendations: A Good (But medium weight) Wargame. I don't want to derail him.

I've been looking for a similar target: A good medium weight wargame. Specifically more of a tactical level game as a lighter-weight substitute for ASL. I am easing my son into wargames & overshot a bit in trying ASLSK#1. While he did pretty well in S1, and recently asked to try another scenario (we are on turn 2 of S2 now), I'm looking for something lighter & shorter that would be an easier play. Something along the lines of an hour or so to complete. I also have zero interest in miniatures of any sort for this one (yes, I enjoy minis, but that's outside the scope of my current dilemma).


This is your shortlist ordered according to playing time:

- Memoir '44: 30 − 60 minutes.
- Commands & Colors: Ancients: 60 minutes.
- Lock 'n Load: Band of Heroes: 60 minutes.
- Valor & Victory: 60 minutes.
- Band of Brothers: Screaming Eagles: 90 minutes.
- Commands & Colors: Napoleonics: 90 minutes.
- Advanced Tobruk: 60 − 180 minutes.
- Combat Commander: 60 − 180 minutes.
- Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! – Russia 1941-42: 120 minutes.
- Tide of Iron: 120 minutes.
- Fighting Formations: Grossdeutschland Motorized Infantry Division: 180 minutes.

Of these, you've ruled out M44. I'd say avoid ToI- too simple, and FF:GD- takes too long and not ASL-lite. You've done the right thing by downloading V&V- it's a free game that fits your criteria. Of the rest, although CC is my personal favouite, and your cognitive dissonance notwithstanding, I'd suggest CC:A as your first buy. The Commands & Colors games are by far the lightest in your shortlist and all play quicker and more easily than ASL. The other games might be lighter than ASL, but they're all still a class heavier than any C&C game. I've played M44, CC:A and BattleLore, and CC:A is my favourite. Let down only by some iffy dice, GMT's CC:A games are quality productions that will stand the test of many replays. And Ancients is the game that so exactly fits your criteria that it'll see a lot of play I'm sure.

The cards are key to the simplicity of C&C games. The IGO/UGO turn sequence of one card per turn means you don't have to figure out how to order your entire army each turn, just the units for which you have an order card. This simplified decision making eases new players into the game. The resulting hand management promotes forward and contingency planning, creating the tactical arts of the well-timed combo among other tricks.

If the cards themselves are the key to C&C's lightweight simplicity it's the specifics of deck design coupled with unit differentiation that give each iteration of Borg's basic engine its unique flavour, for better or for worse. And that engine is just much more finely tuned for the tempo of swords and sandals than it is for men and tanks.

I can only add that my recommendation of Ancients is in the hope that you'll enjoy card-driven tactical gaming so that you'll be more encouraged to take a look at Combat Commander: Europe for a future purchase.
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Chris Laudermilk
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Thanks for the excellent response. On the whole I think I'm heading the direction you are nudging.

V&V - files downloaded & rules being read. I'll fabricate components over the weekend.
CC:A - I think this will be the first buy. The weight & time fit the criteria perfectly. It also gets me into a different era than I usually play in, so that should be fun. As you mentioned, it will introduce me to the card driven games. The want is strong with this one.

BoB and CoH I think are the next in line. Not sure which way to jump on these. I'll have to play some solo test games on the VASSAL modules.

CC:E is on my maybe list now. There's too many of you guys singing its praises for me to completely discount it out of hand.

ToI is well outside what I'm looking for, so is a definite no. As is Tobruk & FF. Those are just too much for what I'm looking for right now.

I'm unsure on LnL. I'm reading a lot about sketchy QC on the games, and the overviews of the game just aren't grabbing my like CC:A, BoB, and CoH are. So, I'll pass on that one for now.

So, in a nutshell, I have one definite purchase lined up, and two others to evaluate & grab. Probably I'll end up buying both in the end. whistle

The suggestion on Panzer Grenadier is interesting. While it's battalion-level, that would add a different take to the collection. It's now on my radar.
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Chris Laudermilk
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Let me expand, or at least laterally change the games involved a bit. It seem BoB:SE is effectively OOP. At least I'm not really seeing it on the main OLGS, and there's I think exactly one copy on the BGG Market. So, how does Ghost Panzers compare?
 
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John McLintock
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claudermilk wrote:
Let me expand, or at least laterally change the games involved a bit. It seem BoB:SE is effectively OOP. At least I'm not really seeing it on the main OLGS, and there's I think exactly one copy on the BGG Market. So, how does Ghost Panzers compare?

The entire BoB series has just been kickstarted for a reprint.
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Chris Laudermilk
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Uh oh... <heads to KS for a look> whistle

Edit: oh. Already done, but nearly to delivery. So retail should be soon. Anyway, the question stands.
 
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Maggie Pinto

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Odd possibilties: Maybe not all medium weight but fun to explore. Affordable

GMT: Fading Glory
GMT: Battles of the American Revolution Series
The Gamers: Standard Combat Series
 
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Roger Hobden
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La bataille de France 1940, by Compass Games.

cool
 
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Roger Reisinger
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Didnt you say you didn't like M44?

CCA and CCN are in the same family of games so not sure. You should really be considering them ahead of CoH and BoB, CoH is an excellent entry level game and I think the solo expansion only makes it a stronger game, BoB is the next step in terms of realism/ complexity.
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