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Subject: Hex and Counter Fantasy/Sci-Fi Wargames? rss

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Brandon Kosta
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I'm sorry if this isn't the place for this, but are there wargames that aren't of the Warhammer/Malifaux/Infinity style but more hex and counter tactical play? The play of these games seems like I'd enjoy them (I like heavier/longer playing games [although my collection may not show that]) but as soon as I see World War I/II or any other historical setting, my mind just goes blank and refuses to process any of it. The only posts I ever see are for the historical variety but I'm interested in Fantasy and Sci-Fi. I own Star Wars X-Wing and have looked into Armada, but those aren't quite what I'm looking for. I'd prefer a board and tokens and individual units. Solo play would be a plus. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Brian Train
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There are lots and lots of these around, but not as many are being produced as used to be.
Still you can find many out of print ones cheaply.
Famous tactical hex-and-counter titles, down at the individual level, included
Starship Troopers
StarSoldier: Tactical Warfare in the 25th Century

A couple of Geeklists that will have some sci-fi titles in them:
https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/145219/
https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/187920/
https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/168530/

A current small game title that is getting some attention is Invaders from Dimension X!.

Brian
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Kent Reuber
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GMT has released a couple of space games recently:

Talon: tactical ship-to-ship combat
Space Empires: 4X: strategic level exploration and conquest

A few games I know of, but haven't yet tried:

High Speed Hover Tank: tactical sci-fi tanks
Solar Marine: tactical combat within the solar system. Kerry Anderson has done a number of interesting-looking scifi games.

And of course, there's the classic Ogre and BattleTech.
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Jeb
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Other games include Renegade Legion which includes space, air and land warfare. It also has a ground campaign game that you can use to fight a full planetary war or use the campaign game to fight out each battle separately.

For guerrilla warfare in the far future there is Bloodtree Rebellion
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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As Brian says, things aren't what they used to be on the sci-fi wargames front. The golden age was back in the 70s and 80s, with publishers like Metagaming, GDW and SPI putting out lots of outstanding titles. A few that I'd recommend as still worth looking for:

Imperium
Triplanetary (with a non-combat Grand Tour scenario that's great solo)
Web and Starship (best with 3 players)
StarForce 'Alpha Centauri': Interstellar Conflict in the 25th Century
Throneworld (a bit later than the others, but good stuff)

And of course, there's always the one that inspired Master of Orion and the entire 4x genre of computer games:

Stellar Conquest
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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jeb123 wrote:
For guerrilla warfare in the far future there is Bloodtree Rebellion

Love that game. Thinly veiled Viet Nam experience in an alien setting, but beautifully done.
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Brandon Kosta
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ltmurnau wrote:

There are lots and lots of these around, but not as many are being produced as used to be.
Still you can find many out of print ones cheaply.
Famous tactical hex-and-counter titles, down at the individual level, included
Starship Troopers
StarSoldier: Tactical Warfare in the 25th Century

A couple of Geeklists that will have some sci-fi titles in them:
https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/145219/
https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/187920/
https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/168530/

A current small game title that is getting some attention is Invaders from Dimension X!.

Brian


Thank you! The geeklists were exactly what I was looking for! Starship Troopers seems like it'd be pretty good.
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Brandon Kosta
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Wow! Thanks everyone! I've got tons to look at already. Keep the suggestions coming if anyone knows of some that haven't been mentioned yet!
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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Mrnemo636 wrote:
ltmurnau wrote:

There are lots and lots of these around, but not as many are being produced as used to be.
Still you can find many out of print ones cheaply.
Famous tactical hex-and-counter titles, down at the individual level, included
Starship Troopers
StarSoldier: Tactical Warfare in the 25th Century

A couple of Geeklists that will have some sci-fi titles in them:
https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/145219/
https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/187920/
https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/168530/

A current small game title that is getting some attention is Invaders from Dimension X!.

Brian


Thank you! The geeklists were exactly what I was looking for! Starship Troopers seems like it'd be pretty good.

Yep, it is a lot of fun, and playing against the arachnids is very different than playing against the skinnies so good variety.

Also, here's one more geeklist for you, created by a designer you'll recognize if you're into air warfare: Science Fiction Games I Admire
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Enrico Viglino
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For fantasy, a few of the better ones:

Scandinavia
Dragon Pass/Nomad Gods
Dark Emperor
Albion: Land of Faerie
War of the Ring
Swords & Sorcery


Not quite as much a wargame feel, but hex and counter:

Wizards
Dragonhunt
Magic Realm

There are some nice strategic area movement ones as well:

Barbarian Kings
Elric
Borderlands


And, although a lot of SF is well covered, I'd add:

Star Fleet Battles
Starfire
Federation & Empire
Fifth Frontier War
BattleFleet Mars
Outreach: The Conquest of the Galaxy, 3000AD
WarpWar
Diadem

I've a whole slew I haven't tried yet, which really caught my interest too,
but I'll leave off from suggesting them.
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Pelle Nilsson
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Starship Troopers: Prepare For Battle! (1997, based on the movie), not to be confused with the older Starship Troopers game mentioned by others, is a simple fun ameritrashy hex wargame with about one page of rules for the first scenario and then a page or two of rules is added for each new scenario. 12 scenarios plus 4 more official available for download. Played the first 4 scenarios with my 8yo over the holidays and we both enjoyed it. Also played it with older opponents in the past and it is a great game for rolling dice and drinking beer (probably the later scenarios with more rules are better without the beer though).

We have also played War of the Worlds several times. A bit higher level with a map covering London, so not as tactical, but good fun. There have been other tactical wargames included in the new Ares magazine, but I have not played them yet. They have very nice production quality at least. Invasive Species is a squares-and-counters game about an alien sneaking around a ship trying to kill the crew, but perhaps a bit far from traditional wargames. There is a hex-and-counter game in a recent issue that I can't find on bgg yet, called Extractors, with several tactical scenarios of various units fighting each other on some alien planet hex-map.

Forlorn: Hope is another one we played recently, twice. A bit too complex for an 8yo that can not read English, so we had to ignore some rules, but still fun. Very Aliens-inspired, moving around a space ship/station and blasting bugs (or eating marines, if playing the other side). Squares, not hexes, but a detailed tactical game with a lot of chrome.
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David Dockter
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Sphere wrote:
jeb123 wrote:
For guerrilla warfare in the far future there is Bloodtree Rebellion

Love that game. Thinly veiled Viet Nam experience in an alien setting, but beautifully done.


Fun, interesting game. We gave it spin not long ago: 1st MN Fights the London Fog: Bootcamping BloodTree Rebellion

Also liked: Get This Game, Will Robinson: 1st MN Gives VPG's Imperial Stars 2 a Go...and Digs It: Oct 16, 2015

Been hoping to take the one below for a spin:

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Edmund Proctor
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The Awful Green Things From Outer Space
Ogre

And if you like to print and Play;
http://dwarfstar.brainiac.com/
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Ron A
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+1 for Ogre-- 6th edition recently came out and it is affordable in terms of size/cost.
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Rory McAllister
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I just got Warparty by a board wargame company called Lock and Load Publishing and I'm hoping to play it this weekend. The only negative things I've read about it is the use of counters instead of minis. Of course, wargamers don't bat an eye when it comes to that!

Another very popular (although hard to find) game is Divine Right. This is one of the better 70's era fantasy wargames and offers a memorable narrative every time you play it.
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Jason Cawley
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Talon
Space Empires (4X, which you will see a lot of in this list)
Imperium (1st edition)
Ogre
Godsfire (sort of 4X, heavily planet management but hexes in 3D + counter)
Outreach (4X, whole Milky Way map)
Starship Troopers
Starfall (4X, a bit too symmetrical)
Stellar Conquest (4X, dated but fast playing)

I can also recommend the computer shareware/abandoned 4X game Stars!

Most fantasy hex and counter games aren't very good, unfortunately.
You can find things like SPI Sorceror or Battle of the Five Armies or Wars of the Ring from SPI, but frankly they just aren't great.

Better for fantasty tactical are things like Battlelore - more mininlegacy than hex and counter - or the medieval historical setting games. In the latter category check out -

Cry Havoc series
Men of Iron series
Simple Great Battles of History and its huge series (mostly ancient warfare)
Caesar at Alesia

Then there are historical ancient empire Card driven strategy games like -

Sword of Rome
Successors
Assyrian Wars

As for the high fantasy genre, hex and counter doesn't really have great ganes, but there are others that are decent -

Middle Earth Quest
Mage Knight
Descent and its expansions (board game RPG really)
Magic Realm (ditto basically)

I hope those help.
 
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Gotthard Heinrici (prev. Graf Strachwitz)
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I can recommend Dragon Rage; a hex & counter fantasy siege game.
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Bill Gates
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Out of print and probably hard to find: Azhanti High Lightning. Man-to-man tactical combat on board a starship. Also in that genre: Snapshot and Asteroid.

Dragonstar Rising is tactical man-to-man (and alien) combat between soldiers in power armor (and without, although they don't tend to last long against the power armored troops). Alas, also out of print.

Armored Assault and its companion game Space Master: Star Strike are tactical science fiction ground combat and space combat, respectively. Detailed rules for designing your own vehicles and starships. Out of print.

Dragonhunt is a fun, light fantasy combat game. OOP.

The Beastlord is fantasy tactical ground combat. OOP.

The Forever War and Hammer's Slammers are tactical sci-fi ground combat based on the books of the same name. OOP.

Greyhawk: Wars is a fantasy wargame set in the D&D world of the same name.

Knight Hawks is tactical starship combat. Used with the old TSR RPG Star Frontiers, but playable as a standalone boardgame.

All of these are hex-and-counter. And OOP, but most can be found on the secondary market.
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Wizard Kings is a fantasy block game. It uses geomorphic boards with hexes. Instead of counters, you have wooden blocks that rotate to indicate damage.
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A pair of Tolkien inspired games, old and out of print, but you could probably make your own is is inclined. Very hexy-and-countery:

The Siege of Minas Tirith

The Battle of Helm's Deep
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Michael Sommers
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Someone should mention The Creature That Ate Sheboygan.
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Ed123play wrote:


If adding non-hex tactical (with a wargame feel):

Azhanti High Lightning
The Wreck of the B.S.M. Pandora
Rescue from the Hive

None are anywhere near the fun of the Tom Wham game,
but they do manage a more 'realistic' flavor.
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I would also recommend Nuklear Winter '68.
It takes place in a sci-fi alternate-universe post WWII setting.
NATO vs. Nazi/Wehrmacht forces vs. the mysterious mutant Black Hand.

Not specifically a solo game, but it does play well solo....and anywhere up to 3 players.

I enjoy it very much. It is scenario based and does create a good narrative, if playing the campaign.

Check out the great session reports posted by:
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https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1065192/zone-68-unautho...

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Since Albion: Land of Faerie was mentioned, this one is a recent sister game to it, expanding the background to a larger and more colourful setting:
Fornaldar: Nordic Saga

Albion came out in Ares magazine, and some of those games have been mentioned, but another very colourful one (in every regard) is this:
The Omega War

And a link to the Dwarfstar games has been posted, but several of these are excellent and deserve individual mention:
Grav Armor
Star Viking
Demonlord

There is a whole set of fantasy wargames set around the Glorantha fantasy roleplaying world, the most refined of which is Dragon Pass.

Then there's SPI's space empires game, The Sword and the Stars and their dystopian future game, After the Holocaust.

Another GDW game emphasising orbital mechanics that hasn't been mentioned:
Double Star

And here's a personal favourite - brilliant hex-based game on ramship combat, gold for anyone who's read Niven's ramship stories and novels, but good luck finding a copy:
Orion: Combat Near the Speed of Light

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Bob Zurunkel
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The old SPI Dawn of the Dead is a fun game that plays well solo.
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