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Subject: Looking for thematic historical-themed non-wargames rss

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Matthew Vantries
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Disclaimer: Before I start, I'm not looking for games about the Cold War (unless they fit), it's just that these games are great examples of what I'm looking for.

I'm looking for historical themed games (not wargames, even though I love them) that feel thematic.
The three I've found that fit what I'm looking for are:

Twilight Struggle- Every decision is agonizing (especially when you play a card that gives your opponent a benefit). It really feels like you're fighting over the world.

13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis- The sense of tension, brinkmanship, and walking on a razor's edge come through amazingly in this game! I feel like I'm actually living through those tense October days.

Cold War: CIA vs KGB- It's a light filler game, but the bluffing aspect actually makes it feel like the Cold War.

So, I'm looking for games that are about actual real history (any historical event/era, but not prehistory) and the theme isn't just pasted on.

Thanks!
 
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'Bernard Wingrave'
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Wyoming
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What do you think about 1960: The Making of the President? Does it fit your requirements?



 
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Ryan Byrd
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I know it is a bit early, but 1066, Tears To Many Mothers will likely kickstart 1st half of next year. Very cool alternate history game with the elements of actual history.
 
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Jakub Lucký
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How about trick taking Renaissance Wars? Played it twice and it is not fine... Or partly-deckbuilder A Few Acres of Snow?
 
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Take joy from your wins; take lessons from your losses.
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I'll recommend Wings for the Baron (second edition) and Berlin Airlift.
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Robert Moore
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7 Days of Westerplatte is the first thing that came to mind for me. A fairly obscure co-op game.
Even though you specified "non-wargames", 1812: The Invasion of Canada is another favorite for my group. That company's also done 1775: Rebellion & Freedom: The Underground Railroad.
And from the people you brought us 1960: The Making of the President is Founding Fathers.
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Bill Eldard
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Burnham wrote:
Disclaimer: Before I start, I'm not looking for games about the Cold War (unless they fit), it's just that these games are great examples of what I'm looking for.

I'm looking for historical themed games (not wargames, even though I love them) that feel thematic.
The three I've found that fit what I'm looking for are:

Twilight Struggle- Every decision is agonizing (especially when you play a card that gives your opponent a benefit). It really feels like you're fighting over the world. . . So, I'm looking for games that are about actual real history (any historical event/era, but not prehistory) and the theme isn't just pasted on.


Since your example, Twilight Struggle, does involve armed conflict, I think Princes of the Renaissance fits your bill. It is very true to its theme: Renaissance Italy. I consider it Martin Wallace's finest game, and I understand that it is being republished very soon with some Wallace-approved rules modifications and new artwork.

 
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Robert Moore
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More debatable I suppose: Kolejka, Automobile, Letters from Whitechapel, Lancaster, Nippon.

Also, I don't recommend Moai, but I can say it's one of the more thematically sound games I've played.
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Take joy from your wins; take lessons from your losses.
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Maoi is quite a game.
 
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CARL SKUTSCH
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One of my favorites is Tammany Hall. Very thematic area control game focussed on the immigrants of old New York. It has the drawings of Thomas Nast to evoke the era.

A very thematic WW2 spy game is City of Spies: Estoril 1942. Another spy game, not quite as specifically thematic (more generic Cold War) is Covert.

I just got, but haven't played, the well-regarded Wir sind das Volk!, also Cold War. One of my grail games is Die Macher.

Finally, a couple of extremely thematic games are Pax Porfiriana and Pax Pamir. Loads of history packed into the cards.
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Nicola Bocchetta
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It's mostly a worker placement game, but you could try Three Kingdoms Redux.

Or the just-released Sola Fide: The Reformation.
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Daniel He.
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Days of Ire: Budapest 1956 was just introduced at the Spiel in Essen. One of the guys at their booth described it as Twilight Struggle meets Pandemic, depending which side you are playing (soviets vs. ringleaders of the rebelious forces).

 
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Look on my works ye mighty and despair
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The Republic of Rome, although it's arguably as heavy as many wargames.

Kremlin is more satirical in feel, but a lot of fun.

If you don't mind print and play, Henry VIII: Intrigue in the Tudor Court sounds like it might be right up your street.
 
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Matt Drown
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Sunnyvale
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You mentioned the GMT games, they have other card driven ones

ie, Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001 – ? & Virgin Queen

Or check out - http://www.gmtgames.com/c-2-card-driven-games.aspx

I suspect most historic thematic games are going to be about conflict, so where do you draw the line of things being called a wargame?

Does something like Die Macher count?
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Peter Putnam
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Twilight Struggle is great you should start there if you haven't played yet. 13 Days is Twilight Struggle lite but it's also good. If you like Twilight Struggle and want a multi player historical game check out Forged in Steel https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/32002/forged-steel or maybe Brass https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/28720/brass for thematic historical non war games.

Quote:
"I had the pleasure of joining an early playtest of Forged in Steel. When Ananda and I designed Twilight Struggle, we hoped that it would inspire other designers to innovate with card-driven game mechanics, and create playable games that also were rich in theme. Forged in Steel is a prime example of what we had in mind. Most serious historical gaming has focused on military and diplomatic history. Sometimes we see elements of political and economic history. Forged in Steel is the first game that looks to incorporate the world of “public history” into gaming. It does so in an extremely clever and engaging fashion. Like most people, I have no background in turn-of-the-century developments in Colorado. But by the end of one game, players will have absorbed an enormous amount of history effortlessly, and have a great time doing it." JM, 2015
 
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Jae
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Bryan
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KingRob wrote:
7 Days of Westerplatte is the first thing that came to mind for me. A fairly obscure co-op game.
Even though you specified "non-wargames", 1812: The Invasion of Canada is another favorite for my group. That company's also done 1775: Rebellion & Freedom: The Underground Railroad.
And from the people you brought us 1960: The Making of the President is Founding Fathers.


Founding Fathers and Underground Railroad are the notables here.

In addition to these, I recommend:

Blood Royale a very good simulation of medieval European political intrigue.

much like Cold War CIA/KGB, Article 27: The UN Security Council Game is a good simulation of how the UN works.



There are also game that attempt a historical theme, but are barely passable on that front (even if they are good or terrible games otherwise):

Mr. Jack - England during the period of Jack the Ripper
Boomtown - Westward US expansion
Homesteaders - also Westward expansion
El Capitán - sailing age
Cleopatra and the Society of Architects - Egyptian monument building
Colonial: Europe's Empires Overseas - as titled...this one actually tries REAL hard...too hard almost
Puerto Rico - Colonial Triangle Trade
Apollo XIII - events of the Apollo XIII mission (I have not played it due to bad reviews)
Mali Powstańcy: Warszawa 1944 - courier running during nazi occupation of Poland
 
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Matthew Vantries
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Woodbury
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Matt Drown wrote:
You mentioned the GMT games, they have other card driven ones

ie, Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001 – ? & Virgin Queen

Or check out - http://www.gmtgames.com/c-2-card-driven-games.aspx

I suspect most historic thematic games are going to be about conflict, so where do you draw the line of things being called a wargame?

Does something like Die Macher count?

I have nothing against wargames (I love them) but I think I'd have about a zero percent chance of getting something like Paths of Glory to the table with my friends.
So theoretically wargames would be fine, but it's been my experience that the really thematic ones are generally more complex and longer than what my friends want to play.
 
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Justus Jonas
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Wir sind das Volk! +1
well balanced, thematic, antagonistic
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(ɹnʎʞ)
Germany
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Freedom: The Underground Railroad


Letters from Whitechapel


Leaving Earth
 
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Carel Teijgeler
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You can also include:

Civilization
Source of the Nile, or Terra Incognita (a PnP)
Revolution: The Dutch Revolt 1568-1648
 
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Jake Blomquist
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Columbus
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So, I notice that a unifying theme of the three games you mention is the tension, and I'm not sure my suggestion has that (though I'm also not sure it should to fit with the theme) but my first thought was De Vulgari Eloquentia. It's a game I love because of the theme.

You all start out as merchants looking to create a unified Italian language, and throughout the game you have the option to join the Catholic church and work your way up the ranks. And there are a lot of historical events, literary works, and figures which you can interact with on your journey. I think each play does a good job telling a story. Really cool game. Best of luck.
 
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Matthew Vantries
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Woodbury
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jblomquist wrote:
So, I notice that a unifying theme of the three games you mention is the tension, and I'm not sure my suggestion has that (though I'm also not sure it should to fit with the theme) but my first thought was De Vulgari Eloquentia. It's a game I love because of the theme.

That is a good obvservation, but I like the thension in those games because it fits the theme. It's not like I'm looking specifically for tense games.

I think De Vulgari Eloguentia sounds great, and sounds like exactly the kind of game I'm looking for. I'll definitely look more into it. (Although to be fair I'm looking at every game that's being suggested. There are many that have been suggested that look to fit the bill. I appreciate all the suggestions and I gladly welcome any more that come!)
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Wesley Jones
United States
Utah
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thumbsup De Vulgari Eloquentia
Hard to learn. Use the player aids. A great, great game.

I also highly recommend Expedition: Northwest Passage. Very thematic and based on historical event.

You may have already thought of the heavy co-op: Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island loosely based on the true castaway Alexander Selkirk (A new version is just about to be released)

Edit: Also just thought of Lewis & Clark and the push your luck game Roll to the South Pole (perhaps less thematic) and also SOS Titanic (less thematic) if you can find it.
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Jeff Kuhn
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Garner
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I think that Churchill would be right up your alley. It also appeals to wargamers quite a bit, and, since you mentioned that you enjoy wargames, I think it is one you will quite enjoy.
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Adam Gordon
Canada
Lethbridge
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I feel like your world war 1 game would be The Grizzled
 
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