These are not only games that I've played a lot during the various (for want of a better term) "phases" of my wargaming career, but ones that were my personal introduction to either historical topics (war in the age of sail) or game genres (CDG's, COIN)--I just really love these games. AH's D-Day was, at least in my memory, one of first games that modeled in a fun and eminently re-playable (and solitaire-friendly!) way a unique theme--invasion. And chess, well, is chess. Very difficult to find a game that teaches strategy, tactics, and maybe most of all, HUMILITY, in quite the same way...
I took the liberty of compiling all responses so far. Below are the top 10 frequently mentioned wargames...
Proud and pleased to see that none of the top responses are on my list (or even in my top 50).
To hell with the mainstream!
"Only two things are infinite; the universe and human stupidity....
....and I'm not certain about the universe." Albert Einstein
Okay, I'll play.
Be aware though, that I am an old school wargamer who entered the hobby through miniature wargaming, regarding board wargaming (as we cutely called it) as almost a separate hobby. I also don't buy or play many new wargames - they just won't get the table time a euro will.
So this list will have a strange look to it for many maybe...
It is a wargame in my mind, no doubt. Whilst obviously diplomacy is key, ultimately its results are reflected by the movement of armies and navies and the capture of supply centres. Spent a lot of time in PBM games in the past, fewer face to face. A classic
2. Napoleon's Last Battles
The four-map campaign game is one of the few playable "monsters". Well balanced, simple to play with just enough chrome to satisfy. It may not be the cutting edge in design but it worked. Nice simple command & control rules when they were the exception.
3. Classic Warlord
My relationship with this game go back to around 1975, my Wargames Club owning a now "holy grail" red box version of the game. I then purchased the blue box reprint in the late 70's but loaned it out and it was never returned. So ended up buying the recent self published reprint. An epic classic - rarely have I played the full map version with seven players (it takes all weekend) but the joy of it is the variable map to suit the time and number of players available, and the still unique combat system. Oh, and firing nuclear weapons at each other! Originally designed by a school teacher to demonstrate the futility of nuclear war in Europe to his class, but everyone had too much fun blowing each other up. Hmmmm, something went amiss I think there, Mike!
4. Napoleon at Bay: The Campaign in France, 1814
The Kevin Zucker classic - the first and best of the series in my view. Play balance issues that can be corrected if you own a copy of The Atlas of the Napleonic Wars but a classic system. The original beautiful OSG version too!
5. The Civil War
A masterpiece of command and control tension plus the best integration of land, sea and brown water warfare I have ever played. Afterwards we always swore we should leave out the Far West element of the game completely, as it slows things up too much. But next time we could never resist including it just for fun factor.
Honorable mentions too for Operation Market Garden (GDW double blind joy), La Grande Armée (SPI's design a decade ahead of it's time and an unheralded classic), Stellar Conquest (Metagames' galactic conquest with tech tracks) and A House Divided (Frank Chadwick GDW point-to-point joy) but not quite good enough to make my top five.
- Last edited Thu Dec 10, 2015 3:59 pm (Total Number of Edits: 4)
- Posted Thu Dec 10, 2015 3:46 pm
Arriving late to the party...
1-Amateurs to Arms (Clash of Arms; McPartland/Shiles)
Occupies the pinnacle of the pre-20th century grand-strategic CDGs, with a wonderfully elegant design matched by one of the most attractive, thematic packages of any wargame I've played. The only game that adequately covers all theaters of the war, and yet still is arguably the best representation of the "primary" lakes/lawrence theater along the Canadian border.
2-Founding Fathers (GameCrafter; Heli)
A re-imagining of the Republic of Rome system, covering the first ~70 years of the United States from 1789 forward. As with AtA above, Founding Fathers is a great "story-telling" game, as you are provided a large, engaging sandbox in which to experience the rise and triumph/fall of the major (and many minor) political figures of the era. I'm anxious for a vassal module, as my solo play is not as satisfying as matching wits with the current wargaming tribe around here... definitely worth picking up the "founders & statesmen" expansion, just to increase the depth of the playing field (and add in the historical and solo variants).
3-GCACW Series (AH, MMP; Balkoski, Beach)
I usually prefer the grand-strategic level in my wargaming, but the GCACW series is my favorite Civil War system, and really made me appreciate operational-level games. I honestly don't think there's really a clunker in the entire series, and now that I finally have the elusive On To Richmond, very happy to have all of the games available to play.
4-The Korean War (Victory Games; Balkoski)
Easily my favorite 20th century wargame, on a conflict that might be my least favorite to study. The logistics/supply model is great, and the integration of all of the moving pieces is just fun to play.
5-Toulon 1793 (Legion; Loakes)
Quite an interesting package, particularly as there is so little out there on siege warfare. Similar to AtA, the graphics choices integrate well with the mechanics, and give a great feel for the period. Every time I set it up, my mind wanders towards a great game on Yorktown that has not yet been made...
All sorts of honorable mentions in my mind, but the four games and GCACW series listed above are my current favorites...
- Last edited Fri Dec 11, 2015 2:29 am (Total Number of Edits: 2)
- Posted Thu Dec 10, 2015 9:40 pm
Lots of blocks and cards in that list.
1. Breakout: Normandy (AH)
2. No Retreat - The Russian Front (GMT)
3. A Victory Lost (MMP)
4. A Victory Denied (MMP)
5. Rise and Decline of the Third Reich (AH)
5. War of the Ring
Maybe not a wargame, so I'll keep it at number 5. As a Tolkien fan, this is in my top 5 of all games.
The implementation of the front along with the fog of war makes you feel like the OKH or STAVKA.
3. Twilight Struggle/1989 (cheating with the double mention)
Twilight Struggle is only better because the events are better known.
2. C&C Ancients
My most played on this list for obvious reasons. Prefect entry level for new wargamers (well, Memoir '44 is a tad more accessible)
1. Here I Stand
One of the most interesting periods in European history and an incredible multiplayer wargame.
Kept thinking I had replied to this but never did. Have really enjoyed looking at these lists. Reminds me there's plenty of games to try still.
1. Clash of Monarchs - To me, nothing beats playing Frederich in this game. Just an intense experience where you appreciate Frederich's ability to keep Prussia going with so many enemies around her not to mention the importance of leadership in this game.
2. Virgin Queen - I really like HIS, but this just clicks with me more. Maybe it's the Anglophile in me. Maybe it's all the neat things you can do in this game. Just a lot of fun.
3. War of the Ring - Like the books, an epic experience.
4. Don't Tread on Me - Just nudged out RAF as my favorite made for solo experience. Feels like playing a game rather than playing against a solo system.
5. 1775: Rebellion - Sure, it's the antithesis of Clash of Monarchs in terms of depth and complexity, but this is a light, well-balanced, fun game to play.
Honorable Mentions: Churchill, Victory in Europe, U.S. Civil War. 2015 has been a tremendous year for games.
I've struggled with this tough topic looking back over the years and decided to go by a quick gut check of what I'd like to play today, anytime. My eyes and table space have moved on towards cards from the hex map stacks I guess
- Up Front
- Attack Sub
- Spearpoint 1943
There are lots of others I could put in instead if I change some criteria of time, space, etc... that's why I have them.
my top five:
1- D-day at omaha beach
2- No retreat
3- Fields of fire
4- A distant plain
Lots of blocks and cards in that list.
Well, no blocks, no cards (arh...there are cards in Nr.2 but they serve differently.)
#1: Peloponnesian War
#2: Storm Over Stalingrad
#3: Great Campaigns of the American Civil War
#4: Advanced Tobruk System
#5: Star Fleet Battles
2) Virgin Queen
3) Axis & Allies
4) War of the Ring
5) Twilight Struggle
That's one I wish I still had. "Liftwood" wasn't it?
Yep. I'm glad I hung on to this one.
This is one that I wished I kept.
Here is a list of 5 favourite games, both in my return to playing war games and also before I took the slightly extended 20 year break. Some of these games I haven't played since I started up again, but, I did play them so often and enjoyed them so much that I still fondly think about playing them again in the future. In no particular order;
Star Fleet Battles
War of 1812
Holdfast: Russia 1941-42
As an honourable mention because some my say it is not a war game;
When it is your turn to send a VASSAL move, the wait is excruciating. When it's my turn, well, I've been busy.
Saw this list a few weeks ago, thought about it and then forgot about it. Oh well. Part of the reason I struggle is because I'm so much of a "grazer" and I won't list a game that I've only played a couple of times, as I don't know if it will have "staying power". So with that in mind, here's my list:
1) Amateurs to Arms!. An epic CDG in every sense of the word. A wonderful design and one of my three wargame 10s.
2) Combat Commander: Europe. An absolute riot to play, every single time. A brilliant design, where crazy things happen but almost always have a believeable game context. Expandable, almost infinitely variable. My desert island game.
3) Triumph & Tragedy. This game has earned its way on the list in only a couple of months. I have played it now about a half-dozen times and have only scratched the surface. Variability, great depth, and a total fun sandbox. My newest "10". Also makes me feel less guilty for leaving EastFront off the list.
4) Now it gets a bit harder, but I will say World War II: Barbarossa to Berlin. I have had incredible fun playing this game over and over with a good friend. Yes it's somewhat scripted but not completely, as the Allied invasion choices can make for very different games. Is Paths of Glory objectively a better game? I'm not sure as I haven't played it as much, but so far it has a more "chess-like" feel that I don't like quite as much.
5) Here I could add a slew of other strategic-level CDGs, but I should be fair and list the venerable Up Front. I've had an enormous amount of fun playing this game, and it has a great deal of variability, even if the French and Italians suck. Lots of excellent fan scenarios too.
Honourable mention to Wilderness War and Hearts and Minds: Vietnam 1965-1975, both really excellent games. Also 1775: Rebellion is a lot of fun, but not simulation-ey enough to make the list. Warriors of God is also lots of fun. And I almost put No Retreat! The Russian Front on the list. But it's just too short.
- Last edited Sat Dec 12, 2015 3:53 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Sat Dec 12, 2015 3:51 am
Academy Games Conflict of Heroes (specific game Awakening The Bear, but the whole system is very well done)
AH Breakout: Normandy
AH Victory In The Pacific
GMT Commands and Colors: Ancients
AH Up Front
Napoleon: The Waterloo Campaign, 1815
Raid on St. Nazaire
Fire in the Lake
That's if I make a conscious effort to not just list old AH games...
If anyone reads this and wants to play these games in Stockholm, Sweden, drop me a line - I need opponents!
1 Russian Campaign
2 Victory in the Pacific
3 Combat Commander
4 Struggle of Empires
5 A House Divided
After the geeklist based on this... I will put my 5 as well
1 OCS Tunisia/Burma to name the 2 games that gave me the most fun so far (best hex and counter)
2 No Retreat! The Russian Front (best game that uses cards. I'm not a big fan of CDG)
3 Breakout: Normandy (best area impulse)
4 Band of Brothers: Screaming Eagles (best squad level game)
5 FAB: The Bulge (best block game)
This list is subject to change at a daily basis (depends on the mood). Just didn't make it today:
Red Winter: The Soviet Attack at Tolvajärvi, Finland – 8-12 December 1939
To The Last Man!
Runs with scissors
The die is cast.
You say OCD like it's a bad thing.
EastFront II - I love the fog of war that the blocks introduce. Movement and encirclement. I'm constantly learning how to play better.
Advanced Squad Leader: Starter Kit #1 - For me this game is amazingly intuitive and flows cleanly.
GTS Series - The Devil's Cauldron: The Battles for Arnhem and Nijmegen and Where Eagles Dare. Made it through a campaign game of TDC and working on WED now. Buying your activations and the chit pull mechanism adds a lot of tension
B-17: Queen of the Skies A great solo game, except that all of a sudden a ME-109 comes at you straight on, fires into the cockpit and you've got a dead pilot and a wounded co-pilot. Or a flak shell exploding in your bomb bay.
Axis & Allies 1940 Global using the Axis & Allies Europe 1940 and Axis & Allies Pacific 1940. I think this is underrated because it's pushing plastic, but it's a great way to spend a day with 6 people who aren't deep into wargames.
As of this writing (in no particular order):
1. Band of Brothers series
2. No Retreat: The Russian Front
3. Commands and Colors: Ancients
4. Combat Commander: Europe
5. Julius Caesar (but really any Columbia Games- and recently Worthington-block game)
- Last edited Sat Dec 12, 2015 7:15 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Sat Dec 12, 2015 7:14 pm
Call me Mr Old Fashioned but my list seems to reflect the past more than the future!!
1. Korsun Pocket
Difficult to explain the experience this game, even now, still provides. I guess its a combination of factors that provides such a deep and rich event. I have read extensively about this campaign and sense a familiarity with the protagonists. The detailed battalion level combat system. Lots of flavorsome specialist units and equipment. Most of all is the sense of tense desperation that builds up, heightened by the personal relationship that develops with the units involved in the pocket and rescue forces. There is a real sense of emergency and drama and struggle across fields of mud, flooded rivers, dug in enemy entrenchments all heightened by the lack of supply and ammunition that is ever present. As one reviewer said, its not paper and cardboard counters, its real men down there fighting and dying in an epic attempt to rescue their trapped comrades.
2. Atlantic Wall
Same old school system and grand tactical scale as my number 1 choice, and again the same type of experience is provided.
3. White Death
"Welcome to our Eastern Front!" Another classic, this time the legendary Mr. Chadwick provides a fantastic winter thriller with a Red Army avalanche of an assault followed by increasingly desperate Wehrmacht rescue attempts across a frozen landscape.
4. Battle for the Factories
Stalingrad at company level. Accurate unit markings, not NATO symbols. An accurate map with named landmarks. A peiod photo terrain and unit ID chart. A terrifying combat system where limitless attacks can be mounted resulting in WW1 style gambling with attrition and the eventual ruination of entire divisions. I particularly like the rule whereby attacking units that loose in combat suffer another attack from the defenders as they run back to their lines, kind of sums the bitter nature of the struggle up for me.
infantry, pioneers, SS, demo charges, flame throwers, Tigers, Sherman's, Su152's, rubble, smoke, trenches, MG's, etc. etc. what more could you ask for?
- Last edited Sat Dec 12, 2015 10:17 pm (Total Number of Edits: 2)
- Posted Sat Dec 12, 2015 10:15 pm