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Subject: Best magazine games of the last fifteen or so years rss

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Wilbur Whateley
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I kind of gave up on magazine games a long time ago. I used to enjoy the early years of Command Magazine, but it seemed the quality went down the tubes after awhile when their publishing schedule greatly accelerated. And I can't remember the last time I heard someone recommend a magazine game from Decision Games. I think the last one I tried was Sealords, which looked really cool but was a huge disappointment in play. All those beautiful counters, buried in megastacks or upside down, and concentrated in a few places instead of spread out all over the map like I hoped. I haven't read anything good about games from Against the Odds either.

But perhaps I am misinformed. What do you consider the best magazine games of the post-Command era? Ones with clear rules, minimal errata, nice graphics, interesting subjects, and preferably, good solitaire suitability (i.e. no piles of upside-down counters everywhere).

Let's hear your recommendations please.
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Tony Doran
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The original Desert Fox was one of my favorites, and I like Desert Fox Deluxe even more. Covers all of North Africa from the Italian invasion of Egypt, through Torch, to the end in Tunisia.
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Benny Bosmans
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You are right that Command Magazine had several jewels of wargame design.

Like 1918 or Glory's End which was republished by GMT.

I only have a few magazine games played but,

To me the best magazine wargame in the Decision range is Operation Jubilee: Dieppe, August 1942

Great introduction game to the DDay series by John Butterfield.

I still have to play some magazine games though...
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Reverend Uncle Bastard
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I have enjoyed both games in Against the Odds Islands of the Damned: Wake Island and Peleliu.
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Lance McMillan
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I thought that Crete 1941 was a remarkably good solitaire game, even with its flawed (nearly impossible to win) victory conditions. DG says that they're working on a fix, but the game's still a lot of fun without it.
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Randall Shaw
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Not War But Murder is a great game from Against the Odds (if you like that one, check out its sister game Birth of a Legend).

Storm Over Normandy is excellent as well.

Solo-friendly these are not tho.
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Neal Durando
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Hmm. I was going to recommend Sealords when I saw the thread subject. Although I take in your comment about stacking, that is easily alleviated. (But I think every game with as much hidden information needs to be a block game.) There is a great deal of depth here that can't be gotten at via solo play or just by scanning the rules. Playing the VC is just too much fun.
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Wilbur Whateley
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Defense Linguistics wrote:
Hmm. I was going to recommend Sealords when I saw the thread subject. Although I take in your comment about stacking, that is easily alleviated.


No idea what you mean by easily alleviated.

I really dislike games with upside down counters, where even the owning player can't see them easily, and to the other player they just look like ugly blanks.

Defense Linguistics wrote:
There is a great deal of depth here that can't be gotten at via solo play or just by scanning the rules. Playing the VC is just too much fun.


Actually played it two player.
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Juan Valdez
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Defense Linguistics wrote:
Hmm. I was going to recommend Sealords when I saw the thread subject. Although I take in your comment about stacking, that is easily alleviated. (But I think every game with as much hidden information needs to be a block game.) There is a great deal of depth here that can't be gotten at via solo play or just by scanning the rules. Playing the VC is just too much fun.



Haven't solved the stacking problem with SEALORDS yet, probably some markers and index cards would do it. For 1-2 counters, counter sleds work fine.

And it is a fine game, for people who like games like this. =)

Our games usually end up in a draw, or a very slight win to one side or another.

Also, I've played the VC in this game enough to understand how to develop a general strategy (logistics!), so I usually "just know" where my active pieces are and what they're supposed to be doing.
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Jason Sadler
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I very much enjoyed Ukraine '44.
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Nicola S
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My recommendations (in descending order of preference):

The Hardest Days (it's John Butterfield and works even better than RAF: The Battle of Britain 1940 IMHO).

A Week In Hell: The Battle of Hue (and if you like it you can then graduate to Phantom Fury)

Ghost Division: The 7th Panzer Division's Drive to the Sea (a bit of errata here but easily fixed on CSW)

Panzers East Solitaire (tied with the above)

Special Mention (and probably my favourite one, but it is older than 15 years):

First Team: Vietnam

All of the above are SOLO games from the ground up.

In terms of two-player games, I am keeping an eye out for the next Battles magazine that will feature an adaptation of Night Drop: 6 June 44 to the Red Devils' assault on Pegasus bridge.

HTH


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David Brown
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Quote:
The original Desert Fox was one of my favorites, and I like Desert Fox Deluxe even more. Covers all of North Africa from the Italian invasion of Egypt, through Torch, to the end in Tunisia.


At £50, whilst it was in a magazine, it hardly qualifies for what I would consoder a magazine game.

Also the rules are vague and lack much needed examples and there needs to be more playaids
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Tony Doran
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thirtybrowns wrote:
Quote:
The original Desert Fox was one of my favorites, and I like Desert Fox Deluxe even more. Covers all of North Africa from the Italian invasion of Egypt, through Torch, to the end in Tunisia.


At £50, whilst it was in a magazine, it hardly qualifies for what I would consoder a magazine game.

Also the rules are vague and lack much needed examples and there needs to be more playaids


Since it came in a magazine (S&T #300) it qualifies.

As to the rules, I will note here what I have noted elsewhere. I have found them to be excellent, though that may be because of my familiarity with the original. I find that most of the time when folks find rules to be "vague" it has to do with the reader, not the writer. And lest I be taken as simply being ad hominem about this I should note why I feel this way. My own experience is like that. The best example of this for me is World in Flames. Here is a game played and loved by hundreds (maybe more?) around the world. A game I really wanted to get into. But I just could not get the rules. They seem vague and totally opaque to me. Since so many are clearly not having that problem, I conclude the difficulty lies with me, not the designers, but with me.

I quite agree that more examples of play would be useful.
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Zigi Hogan
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Keren is one I have enjoyed quite a bit but hasn't hit the table in a couple years for some reason. It is about a little known battle between the British and Italians in Eritrea in Africa. Due to the terrain there are some very interesting choices of who fights and who will carry supplies.

Operation Anaconda is a decent attempt but suffers from much of the same all magazine games seem to suffer from; not enough player aids (count for this game is zero!), and the rules aren't as clear as they could be which shows lack of development. I have enjoyed this game but there are the typical problems to be expected with a magazine game.


Into a Bear Trap: The Battle for Grozny, January 1995 is a great game that is a decent simulation of the event as it happened with pretty low rules overhead and a reasonable playing time. It comes with a decent player aid but again the rules have a few blind spots. I am yet to play any magazine game that has a perfect rule book (few games have) but some are better than others.
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Ron A
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C3I #29 had Mark Herman's Plan Orange: Pacific War 1930 - 1935, based on Empire of the Sun, but set a decade earlier. C3I #30 will include another EotS spinoff, South Pacific, which will have a much smaller map/counter set.

One drawback to both games is that each player has a hand of cards, so this might not fit with your 'good solitaire suitability' criterion.
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Neal Durando
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chuft wrote:
Defense Linguistics wrote:
Hmm. I was going to recommend Sealords when I saw the thread subject. Although I take in your comment about stacking, that is easily alleviated.


No idea what you mean by easily alleviated.

I really dislike games with upside down counters, where even the owning player can't see them easily, and to the other player they just look like ugly blanks.

Defense Linguistics wrote:
There is a great deal of depth here that can't be gotten at via solo play or just by scanning the rules. Playing the VC is just too much fun.


Actually played it two player.


A colored post-it as a force pool with a corresponding wooden marker is what I do. Maybe not everybody's idea of easy, but this kind of stuff goes in my bag whenever I play wargames.

I dislike games with upside-down counters, too. I use small poster clips as counter sleds. Yeah, it can put some wear on your counters, but I tend to give away old games, not resell them. I'm vaguely offended that bits of paper will outlast me. Fully intent to have all of my games thrown in the long ship when they tow me and it, in flames, out to sea.
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brant G
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I enjoyed Cold War Battles: Budapest '56 & Angola '87 - the Angola one more than the Budapest one.
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Zigi Hogan
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bayonetbrant wrote:
I enjoyed Cold War Battles: Budapest '56 & Angola '87 - the Angola one more than the Budapest one.


I haven't even cracked the magazine for mine; glad to hear it isn't one of the stinkers!
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Eric Walters
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My favorite magazine game of late:



I'm sure there are others, I just don't get to play them all that often since there are so many boxed games to get into!
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Wilbur Whateley
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Thanks for all the recommendations.
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