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Subject: Absurd "What should I..." question - Still, I ask. rss

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Steve H.
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West Virginia
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See, I received a $75 Amazon gift card for Christmas, so I am able to pick up one of the games that has long been on my list. Or, perhaps something newer. If you had to choose from the list below (unless you have a better idea), which would you choose. It doesn't matter if the $75 will not cover the entire cost.

Must be solitaire friendly. Playing both sides is fine. Must be war game or war/military themed.

Considering (in no particular order)

- Phantom Leader (Edited to say I am leaning toward this at the moment. I do not own any of the Leader series and this appeals to me.)
- Apache Leader
- Field Commander Napoleon
- Last Blitzkrieg (Probably the most tempting but I am very frightened)
- Enemy Action Ardennes (still unsure if the quality is worth $150)
- Your own suggestion

Before you reply with the inevitable "choose the theater you like best," please know that doesn't enter into my decision (or yours, as it were). I can enjoy any of the above, and all will fit nicely in my collection.

Thanks all!
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Alfy Burger
Mali
Bamako
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I'm sure you'll get a thousand suggestions, but both the Leaders you cite are very nice.

As for EA: Ardennes, I suggest you browse one of the rule books first (the German solo is usually the first, as that game is simpler): mine is on its way, but I bought it before quite realizing how complex the rules are. Nothing insurmountable, but much more than I expected from a Butterfield game nevertheless.
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Andrew N
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Rochester
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Stonewall's Sword: The Battle of Cedar Mountain is an easy-playing, solitaire friendly game, and the most innovative approach I've seen to ACW tactical. There's also Thunder in the Ozarks: Battle for Pea Ridge, March 1862.
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Ron A
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I own Phantom Leader and EAA.

Right now I prefer EAA, simply because I just got it, and am still in the honeymoon phase. PL is easier to learn, faster playing, and might have more depth. Although they share some planes, playing the Air Force is very different from playing the Navy, so there is a lot of replayability. Some of the campaigns take place in the 60s, so you won't get unlimited standoff weapons, lots of the time you are using iron bombs, which means your planes will have to be right on top on their target, which will increase stress and damage and
losses. Phantom Leader will be more of a challenge than Apache Leader. There is a lot of pre-mission planning in Leader games: choosing aircraft and weapons loads, and balancing stress among pilots. Pre mission work is actually more engaging than flying the missions-- that is a plus for me. Flying is somewhat abstract.

EAA is more of a standard land battle game. It is card driven, and you can use cards to activate units or play events-- building bridges, etc. You can also use cards as a way to gain combat adds. This ramps up the tension via a via how to use your cards-- which there are never enough of. The entire combat system is very innovative, and unlike most wargame combat systems you've seen.

I've only just started my 1st game of EAA, so I'm not sure what the final verdict will be. Of course, you can play either side solo, or play the game 2 player, so there is some built in replay value.

If I were forced to choose just one I think it would be EAA, but Phantom is very good in its own right.

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Riccardo Fabris
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Having played both Thunderbolt/Apache Leader and Phantom Leader, I always lean towards the former rather than the latter. It's personal preference but I enjoyed creating the battlefield and seeing ways of approaching it/using cliffs to your advantage on approach, rather than the slightly more binary nature of Phantom.

I also prefer the way that TAL separates pilots from their airplanes, which if I recall correctly is not something modeled within Phantom Leader.
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L. SCHMITT
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Alsace
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Phantom Leader. All titles in the series are worth having a try, excepted Tiger Leader. Even if not in your list, stay away from this one : it is so wrecked ( IMHO, some like it as it is ) that a massive patch is still to be released to correct it.
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Tim Korchnoi
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Richmond
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I really enjoy Phantom Leader(make sure it is the deluxe edition) and Field Commander Napoleon and would highly recommend either.

As far as Enemy Action: Ardennes is concerned I would just say make sure you really are interested in the Battle of the Bulge. I really like John Butterfield's designs but I tried EAA thinking it would actually be a Bulge game I enjoy. I tried it once and now it sits on my shelf.
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Rory McAllister
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Derry
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Tekopo wrote:
Having played both Thunderbolt/Apache Leader and Phantom Leader, I always lean towards the former rather than the latter. It's personal preference but I enjoyed creating the battlefield and seeing ways of approaching it/using cliffs to your advantage on approach, rather than the slightly more binary nature of Phantom.

I also prefer the way that TAL separates pilots from their airplanes, which if I recall correctly is not something modeled within Phantom Leader.


This is a common theme I have heard pertaining to PL versus TAL and one that I largely agree with. However, both will provide many hours of enjoyment.

You really cannot go wrong with a John Butterfield-designed solitaire game (EAA). I have not played EAA but I have played most of his games through the years and they are all outstanding solitaire games. As an added bonus, John Butterfield is one of the best at writing clear and easy-to-understand rules.

If you can afford it, I don't think you can go wrong with EAA. If you can't afford EAA, then TAL and then PL are good games as well.
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Mike Hoyt

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I'd be tempted by Last Blitzkrieg. And frightened, yes, that is a good word. Enough that I'd be very hesitant to risk "my" money, but with a gift certificate? What the heck, take a chance, it's better than an ugly sweater right?
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Jim Jackson

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Field Commander Napoleon
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Jim F
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Who knew trench warfare could be such fun?
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Last Blitzkrieg. Several small scenarios to learn it from. Well worth the effort.
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Phil Hatfield
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Helena
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Of the games you list, I'd choose either Field Commander: Napoleon or Phantom Leader.

For a game not on your list, I'd suggest the game Battle Above the Clouds (or Stonewall Jackson's Way 2... or any game in the GCACW series of games).

I own the first one, and Hornet Leader, and they are both entertaining. But I really have great fun with the civil war games in the GCACW series. It's a two player game, but can be played solo (that's how I learned to play).
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Brent Pollock
Canada
Saskatoon
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Apache Leader, because attack helicopters are way cooler than all the themes of the other games...combined!
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James
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A lot of people have been wetting the bad over Last Blitzkrieg so, if it was me, I'd go with that one. I wouldn't bother with the others on the list, out of a general dislike for solo-only games.

OR, I'd wait until Next War Poland is published.
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Dan Cunningham
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Another vote for Last Blitzkrieg.
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Aaron Silverman
United States
Halfway between Castro and Mickey Mouse
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Pedro M wrote:
You really cannot go wrong with a John Butterfield-designed solitaire game (EAA). I have not played EAA but I have played most of his games through the years and they are all outstanding solitaire games. As an added bonus, John Butterfield is one of the best at writing clear and easy-to-understand rules.


I'm a Butterfield fan as well, but I kinda lost interest in EAA when I saw the size of the rules. I'm not saying it couldn't be a great game, but it's a real project!
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