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Subject: Never played a war game... I'm curious rss

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Benjamin Benson
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I am curious as to what are good entry-level war games. I know there are all different kinds. I watched a video for Hammer of the Scots and Quebec 1765 (or something like that). So, those are block war-games and those looked really appealing. Plus, I think they are "shorter" war-games, which is a must, I don't want to play a 3-5 hour game.

Mainly, I am interested in learning the systems and maybe being able to bring a modified simple and quick version into my classroom.

I am also curious if there are non-dice "wargames". I have played Twilight Struggle, but I don't think of that as a "wargame". I am also interested in dice as well, but curious if there are non-dice in addition to solid but on the shorter side dice war games.

Thanks for any suggestions for me to research.

Edit 11/7: I just want to say, I am not against dice, I am very happy to play war games with dice. I just know in my mind war games = dice games (though I understand often at a very minimal level in compared to all the critical thinking and analysis that goes on in your head. I was just curious if there were war games without dice, just as a curiosity.) [Hope I didn't offend anyone with that dice comment, please note it is coming from a position of COMPLETE ignorance and personal assumptions, things I hope to remove through experience in the genre.]

EDIT 11/11: Thanks again to all who are helping me out. I created a geeklist to keep track of this and I am allowing the public to add to it so feel free if anyone else stumbles on this and wants to make suggestions. Thanks.

Wargames Suggested to me.
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Robert Wesley
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"War of 1812" by Columbia? arrrh
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adam wilson

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3-5 hours is about average for most wargames. Hammer of the Scots can easily run over 3 hours especially if you are playing it for the first time.

Have you tried some of the lighter conflict games like Memoir 44 or 1775? Even some of the Risk games like 2210 AD or Europe are quite fun. They are all dice based combat games and most of them use cards for movement and special actions.
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Robb Minneman
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Jackasses? You let a whole column get stalled and strafed on account of a couple of jackasses? What the hell's the matter with you?
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The two main questions that always come up in these sorts of posts:

What's your historical period of interest? World War II? Napoleonic? Medieval? Other?

What's your preferred scale? Wargamers generally split games into three levels: Tactical, Operational, and Strategic.

Tactical concerns the movements of small units or individual troopers. It's the realm of individual combat. Operational games cover the movement of large formations over longer time periods, and are concerned with longer timescales. Strategic games pick up where buying and recruiting new formations pick up, and include very large formations and relatively long time periods.

The definitions get a little fuzzy, but a good way to think of it: In tactical combat, weapon types and ranges matter. In strategic games, unit purchasing matters. Operational games concern the space in between.
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T. Dauphin
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Always happy to indoctrinate--er, help out someone who is wargame-curious.
Just be careful about the "Twilight Struggle is not a wargame" stuff, though. That could end badly. shake

robbbbbb's questions are valid.
And what grade would you be introducing these to?

Along the lines of Memoir 44 is Battle Cry. Civil war with plastic minis--but lots of dice. It's just a good introductory level game.
Kinda hard to avoid dice in this realm, not that you have to have lots of them every time, though.

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Kent Reuber
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One recent non-dice wargame is Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan.

Here's a list of GeekLists that might be of interest: Getting Started in Wargaming Metalist.

EDIT: I see you're in Pleasanton, which isn't that far from me. If you're ever coming across the Bay, let me know. I have quite a few low-complexity wargames in my collection.
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Ryan Keane
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I don't think a new gamer to wargames is going to know which he prefers between Tactical, Operational, and Strategic. He/she won't know what that feels like in game terms until he's experienced some.

For dice-based wargames, I personally think the best entry is one of the games in the Commands and Colors systems, whichever matches your interest most - Memoir 44, Battle Cry, Battlelore, C&C Ancients, etc.

Quebec 1765 is a great entry level block game. I found Sekigahara also works really well with non-wargamers and still under 3 hours (most of the card-driven games can take a while). Not sure how easy Sekigahara is to buy right now. Did it just get a P500 reprint?
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Steve
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1765?

Get Sekigahara.
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Actually Quebec 1759 (which I'm sure must be the one you meant) would be a very good choice as a starter. It was the original block wargame; I still have my Gamma Two copy (Columbia came later) and am still happy to play it.

It's quite manageable - listed as having a 60 minute playing time (which sounds right) and has a small number of pieces. Simpler and faster than War of 1812, Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan, or any other block game I can think of.

Orders are written and revealed simultaneously, but the orders allowed are quite simple. That might work well with your class split into two groups, who would need to discuss the situation and agree on their best move each turn.

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Timothy Young
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Hammer of the Scots would not be a good one for making a 'quick and simple' version of - as the English for example, you have to make slow moves for several years before building enough forces to actually carry out a major offensive and there can be very little action for turns at a time as both sides try and avoid conflict.

A fascinating game to play, but not ideal for this situation.

I think one of the C&C games would be best - miniatures and simple rules will work well in a classroom and they are often used in team play settings. Yes they use dice, but depending on the class ages you are aiming for, this will teach luck management and again are easy to understand. Deterministic combat often lacks this 'thrill' and tension that keeps people interested.
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Daniel Krauklis
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How about Samurai? It's basically a Euro, diceless, under an hour's worth of playing time, abstract, "easy to learn, difficult to master", clever in its own way with blocking and whatnot, with some historical connection.
 
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Leonardo Martino
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IMHO War of 1812 is the same level of complexity of Quebec 1759(in fact Quebec 1759 has an heavier bgg weight) only a little longer and grander in scope. Best no luck game for beginners is for me Bonaparte at Marengo.
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Andrew N
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For a quick, diceless game, I'd recommend 2 de Mayo.

I'll echo earlier recommendations of Memoir '44, 1775, and 1812, and add Commands & Colors: Ancients and Commands & Colors: Napoleonics.

If you're interested in the American Civil War, A House Divided, Battle Cry, Test of Fire: Bull Run 1861, and Clash of Wills: Shiloh 1862 are all good places to start.

For some basic hex and counter games, that also play quickly, look at Battle for Moscow (second edition) and Objective: Kiev. Victory Point Games also publishes several other games that would probably be suitable.

Revolution Games (II) also has some good ones (cheap too!). Invasion 1066: The Battle of Hastings, Invasion 1066: Stamford Bridge, Operation Battleaxe: Wavell vs. Rommel, 1941, Last Battle: Ie Shima, 1945.
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Andy Loakes
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OhBollox wrote:


That was going to be my suggestion too - especially for classroom use. Playable in 15-20 minutes by experienced players so would probably allow the explanation of the (3-pages of) rules and a demo game within the time allowed for a class.

Not a hardcore wargame by any means - but an option if you want to demo history translated into game form.
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Marco Arnaudo's Top 10 Introductory Wargames
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https://www.boardgamegeek.com/video/94893/outside-scope-bgg/...

Spoiler (click to reveal)
#10 The most advanced Intro Wargame = A Victory Denied
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Alan Richbourg
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andyloakes wrote:
OhBollox wrote:


That was going to be my suggestion too - especially for classroom use. Playable in 15-20 minutes by experienced players so would probably allow the explanation of the (3-pages of) rules and a demo game within the time allowed for a class.

Not a hardcore wargame by any means - but an option if you want to demo history translated into game form.

But impossible to acquire now, right?
 
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Andy Loakes
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chargetheguns wrote:
andyloakes wrote:
OhBollox wrote:


That was going to be my suggestion too - especially for classroom use. Playable in 15-20 minutes by experienced players so would probably allow the explanation of the (3-pages of) rules and a demo game within the time allowed for a class.

Not a hardcore wargame by any means - but an option if you want to demo history translated into game form.

But impossible to acquire now, right?


Possibly OOP but not impossible to get - there are two currently listed in the BGG market place - though the price suggests they may be rare and sought after.
 
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Nick West
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Classic Warlord

Was originally designed as a class room exercise. Can last ages with many players and multiple boards - but with a single or two boards and two to three players...

Quite a simple system - strategic level (with nukes!) - with a unique combat system involving dice but not dice rolling.
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Mike Hoyt

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It used to be (1960's) that all wargames used roughly the same set of mechanics, so there really was such a thing as an Introductory Game. Target Arnhem: Across 6 Bridges being a more modern incarnation of those games (and a good introduction to "classic" mechanism that are still widely in use. Worth a look).

There are so many other mechanisms nowadays that it no longer possible to really try any one game and think you've sampled the hobby. Quebec 1759 is a great game, and simple and short, but other than the obvious use of blocks it bears little resemblance to more sophisticated block games like EastFront II. I'd encourage you to not lump all games with blocks together.

1775: Rebellion is another simple, short, but nevertheless fun game. It uses cards, but much like the blocks, not all Card Driven Games (CDGs) use cards the same way (and in the general case 1775 would not be considered a CDG).

Battle Cry and Memoir '44 are the beginnings of the Command and Colors series (CC) and use plastic miniatures which can be quite attractive to beginners, gives you a glimpse of playing with army men but in a more serious manner. The series has since expanded to other eras, so which subject interests you becomes a consideration. I like the Commands & Colors: Ancients game (which, BTW,uses blocks,but is not a block game)

Poke around a bit, and keep asking questions, this is a fascinating hobby and there are all sorts of entry points, we'll be happy to help
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Benjamin Benson
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Sardauk wrote:
How about Samurai? It's basically a Euro, diceless, under an hour's worth of playing time, abstract, "easy to learn, difficult to master", clever in its own way with blocking and whatnot, with some historical connection.


Interesting idea. Makes me wonder if even something as simple as Sun Tzu would be an interesting starter game.
 
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Benjamin Benson
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robbbbbb wrote:
The two main questions that always come up in these sorts of posts:

What's your historical period of interest? World War II? Napoleonic? Medieval? Other?

What's your preferred scale? Wargamers generally split games into three levels: Tactical, Operational, and Strategic.

Tactical concerns the movements of small units or individual troopers. It's the realm of individual combat. Operational games cover the movement of large formations over longer time periods, and are concerned with longer timescales. Strategic games pick up where buying and recruiting new formations pick up, and include very large formations and relatively long time periods.

The definitions get a little fuzzy, but a good way to think of it: In tactical combat, weapon types and ranges matter. In strategic games, unit purchasing matters. Operational games concern the space in between.


My preference would be anything that had to do with Colonialism, Cold War conflicts, French Revolution, and then probably for personal curiosity: Medieval or Ancient.

As far as the three options... tactical, etc. I guess I would have to look at three examples and see which looks most appealing.
 
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Benjamin Benson
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kentreuber wrote:
One recent non-dice wargame is Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan.

Here's a list of GeekLists that might be of interest: Getting Started in Wargaming Metalist.

EDIT: I see you're in Pleasanton, which isn't that far from me. If you're ever coming across the Bay, let me know. I have quite a few low-complexity wargames in my collection.


Cool. Thanks. I will probably hit you up for some weekend war.
 
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Craig H
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What about any of the "Mini Series" from Decision Games ?

https://shop.decisiongames.com/SearchResults.asp?Cat=84

Cheap and a good introduction to hex and counter games, which, everyone knows are the only Real Wargames.

(ducking)

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I'd recommend having a look at Victory Point Games small scale hex and counter stuff. As said, era is a matter of taste but I picked up Hundred Days 20 a while ago and while struggling with the rules and theme for a while, it suddenly clicked recently and now I absolutely love it. Take a look at something like Hell's Gateor The Last King of Scotland if you're looking for unique themes. Strike Force One with the expansion is really one of my favourite games when it comes to having a quick game without worrying about the cat.

I started with the States of Siege games from VPG and myself I do consider them wargames of a sort. There's a great historic feel to games like Hapsburg Eclipse and Ottoman Sunset and best of all it's possible to play a full game on a whim since you usually lose anyway cry

Whatever you're interested in, be sure to enjoy the game and learn something from it too!
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