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Subject: Good "Gateway" CDG Wargames rss

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Tony H
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So I have played Pax Ren and Pax Porfiana and love the card driven aspects.

I'm curious about trying a COIN, and so far seen that Cuba Libre is widely suggested as a first COIN game.

The group I game with is a little intimidating to commit to the length of COIN not having anyone who has played a COIN game before. Another thing is 2 player games are pretty rare within our group.

What other 3-5 CDG wargames should I look into?

 
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Daniel Blumentritt
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The best introductory CDG is probably Washington's War, but it's for 2 players.
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Mike Szarka
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Popular Front is a unique game that might suit. Will play 2, 4, or 6. Also any of the Quartermaster General series are good "gateway" wargames with a card-driven aspect. I like Quartermaster General: 1914 best, plays any number 2-5 although best with 5.
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Simon Appleyard
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The Napoleonic Wars (Second Edition) is actually simpler than it looks but it does take a few hours to play.Good game though.

Churchill is an excellent 3 player game
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Kai Mölleken
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Sword of Rome is a good one for 4 players. It could also handle 5 but for that everybody at the table should have a bit of experience with the game.

If you want to try a COIN game, then Cuba Libre is certainly the easiest one to get into.
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Enrico Viglino
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One will be coming quite soon that appears to be a very light entry: 1918: Brother Against Brother.

There are many 'flavors' of CDGs. This is the lightest in the Paths of Glory lineage.

The lightest overall is probably 1955: The War of Espionage, with 13 Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis
closely following it; both (more or less) in the Twilight Struggle
family. I find these ultra-light CDGs much harder to engage me though.
They also don't simulate military matters, if that's an issue.
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Alexander Künzle
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If you don't mind two player only I suggest a non-wargame: 1960: The Making of the President. It's the most forgiving Twilight-Struggle CDG like game, lots of fun and always tense.

And while I adore Churchill it's definitely not for beginners.
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Luka Kovač Plavi
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sappleyard wrote:
The Napoleonic Wars (Second Edition) is actually simpler than it looks but it does take a few hours to play.Good game though.


Good game, yes. Gateway, no.
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Lorenzo Chiappini
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If you're coming into COIN by the way of the Pax series, Cole Wehrle's Root is going to come out this year, and feels very much like a lighthearted take on COIN.
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Jim Cavallari
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if your mind is set on a COIN game, I'd go with Falling Sky: The Gallic Revolt Against Caesar
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Simon Appleyard
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Avtomatik wrote:
sappleyard wrote:
The Napoleonic Wars (Second Edition) is actually simpler than it looks but it does take a few hours to play.Good game though.


Good game, yes. Gateway, no.


I think the challenge is that there are not that many multi-player CDG wargames and those that do exist do tend to be a bit more complex. So while neither Napoleonic Wars or Churchill are gateway I have played both with inexperienced groups and they worked ok (if slowly). I would agree that the QMG games are good light card driven games and certainly worth starting out with, but they are an exception.
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suPUR DUEper
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If you can wrap your head around the rules in Pax Po or Pax Ren, I don't think you have anything to fear from any CDG. I think playing time is going to be your chief constraint.

COIN would be perfect for a group that likes the Eklund stuff. They might run a bit long though. Fire in the Lake has a shorter scenario as does A Distant Plain if memory serves.

Churchill might be a good fit (though some may quibble it is not a CDG or a wargame).

1812: The Invasion of Canada and 1775 are awfully light and not card driven in the generally accepted use of the term. Both play very fast and scale particularly well.

Successors (third edition) could work but, again, is not as short Po or Ren.

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Jason Roach
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If it's "Gateway" CDG Wargame for a group, then I would try Wellington. It's completely off-the-rails as a "simulation", but plays 2 per side (so 4), and is pretty easy to learn. I think it’s fun because it's such a rollercoaster ride of game; sort of a grab some snacks, roll a lot of dice, play odd-ball cards, move armies around kind of thing. It’s not that long and does have some basic mechanics that should be transferable to a few other games mentioned here.

As to the history, it will at least give you the basic idea of who was who and basically where.
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Daniel Blumentritt
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Quote:
So while neither Napoleonic Wars or Churchill are gateway


Churchill is far, far closer to one though, albeit not really a wargame.
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Fred W. Manzo
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"Quartermaster General" is a great 5 player game. In fact, it plays much better with more people than with fewer. If you haven't played many CDG wargames I'd start with it.
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Maybe Commands & Colors: Ancients with the Commands & Colors: Ancients Expansion Pack #5 – Epic Ancients II expansion? It turns the single board 1v1 battles into 2-boards battles pitting up to 4v4. Only ever played with 2 players myself but iirc, the 4v4 sees each side with a player managing each section (left/centre/right) and a general who actually gets the cards and distributes them to the other 3. Card management is critical in the normal game, the epic variant seems to add to that by adding another layer to it.
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Andreas Lundin
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Fred 100 wrote:
"Quartermaster General" is a great 5 player game. In fact, it plays much better with more people than with fewer. If you haven't played many CDG wargames I'd start with it.


+1
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Roi Espino
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I will go with Wellington if you want to try a simpler multiplayer CDG. A bonus point its that its in stock and cheap while Sucessors or Napoleonic wars are not.

If you want to try a COIN I would recommend Cuba Libre, the board its smaller than in other games of the series and that makes the game easier to follow.
 
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Øivind Karlsrud
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baldgeek wrote:
I'm curious about trying a COIN, and so far seen that Cuba Libre is widely suggested as a first COIN game.

Be aware that COIN-games are not CDGs. The cards are used in a very different way from CDGs. In CDGs each player has his own hand of cards, unknown to other players. In COIN-games a random card is drawn each turn, and there's a system for deciding who gets to play it (actually 2 players out of 4 get to act on each card). You always know the next card in addition to the one being played, so you can try to plan a little bit ahead. I like Cuba Libre, but as games, I think real CDGs are superior: In a CDG you can plan what you want to do with your hand of cards, so you can think further ahead (of course, that plan might change as others act). Also, you can bluff the others as to what's in your hand.

That said, Cuba Libre is a good place to start. Falling Sky is another small one, I think, so that's probably also a good place to start. As for real CDGs, there aren't many for more than 2 players. I love Here I Stand, but you really need 6 players, and it's pretty complex. If you want to try a 2-player CDG, I suggest Twilight Struggle. It has very simple rules, and is an extremely good implementation of the CDG mechanism, probably the best, IMO. First, it has events and operations on each card. Second, you are forced to play the opponent's events (you still get operations points from the card). This leads to a very tense game, where most events will eventually get played as events.
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Trevor Kvaran
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Not a wargame at all, but I think Forged in Steel is a very interesting take on the CDG genre. It's about the development of Pueblo Colorado. If a city-building game with a lot of interaction sounds fun, give it a try.


baldgeek wrote:
So I have played Pax Ren and Pax Porfiana and love the card driven aspects.

I'm curious about trying a COIN, and so far seen that Cuba Libre is widely suggested as a first COIN game.

The group I game with is a little intimidating to commit to the length of COIN not having anyone who has played a COIN game before. Another thing is 2 player games are pretty rare within our group.

What other 3-5 CDG wargames should I look into?

 
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Ryan Keane
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As fellow fan of Pax Ren and relatively new to heavier wargames, I think for multiplayer that will scale well from 3-5, your best bets are Quartermaster General or 1812. They’re light for wargames and not full-on traditional CDGs, but will give you enough of the flavor and feel and be very playable.

Successors, Sword of Rome, Nappy Wars would all be good additional steps up and require more specific player counts.

COIN (the 1 version I’ve played) is amazing and I consider it pretty much an improvement over hand-of-cards CDG’s, but I agree it’s quite different - more like card drafting than card driven.

Very different than CDG, but I would also suggest checking out Maria (3 player) and Friedrich (4 player). Great mixture of card-driven battles and event cards (better implemented in Maria where you vote on which way the events go, or if they even occur).

I personally feel the event “drafting” of COIN and Maria depict historical events better than hand-based CDG’s, but game-play-wise CDGs have proven they can incorporate history while still creating a dynamic, non-scripted system that plays different every game.
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Joel Covey
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OK, now for the bad news... CDG's are not "wargames", their card games. The person that spends the most time memorizing all the cards and is best at card counting, i.e. figuring out what cards have been played, what's left, and what you probably have in your hand, is going to win.
I personally hate it that Twilight Struggle is listed as the number one "wargame" when it's a freaking political-historical card game (my pet peeve).
But to answer your question the best CDG game is Terraforming Mars.
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Enrico Viglino
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Valnar wrote:
OK, now for the bad news... CDG's are not "wargames", their card games. The person that spends the most time memorizing all the cards and is best at card counting, i.e. figuring out what cards have been played, what's left, and what you probably have in your hand, is going to win.


Even if we accept your critique where it applies (say Paths of Glory),
there are plenty of CDGs where it absolutely does not. The huge
deck in Amateurs to Arms! comes as the most blatant counter-example.

Of course, one could just as easily say that most older games aren't
wargames - they're just dice games, in which one players luck can
outweigh any strategy. The CDG mechanism may be less suitable for
some aspects of simulation that you are used to, but it does provide
for others which you have learned to overlook.

Quote:
I personally hate it that Twilight Struggle is listed as the number one "wargame" when it's a freaking political-historical card game (my pet peeve).


Yep. Just like The Plot to Assassinate Hitler isn't a wargame, even though it
uses the mechanisms designed with armored warfare in mind.
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Barry Setser
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I would highly suggest "The Expanse" - it is one step up from when you've been card play wise and a bit easier than what you've played so far. It's still available (WizKids oddly enough) It is a bit Twilight Struggle (a great CDG) and a smidge of COIN as well - you'll get a taste of both worlds.

The Expanse

COIN wise - I would suggest Cuba Libre. Another great game is you can get is (doubtful) is Shifting Sands by MMP on the North Africa war. Sadly though, it's hard to come by. If you happen to see it and are still a fan of this genre of games, grab it if the price is reasonable.

Shifting Sands
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Øivind Karlsrud
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Valnar wrote:
OK, now for the bad news... CDG's are not "wargames", their card games. The person that spends the most time memorizing all the cards and is best at card counting, i.e. figuring out what cards have been played, what's left, and what you probably have in your hand, is going to win.
I personally hate it that Twilight Struggle is listed as the number one "wargame" when it's a freaking political-historical card game (my pet peeve).
But to answer your question the best CDG game is Terraforming Mars.

CDG means a specific type of game to most people, and I don't think Terraforming Mars is that kind of game. AFAIK, cards represent project, you don't play cards to activate. People even disagree whether or not the Command & Colors games or Combat Commander are CDGs, because they don't have both events and operation points.

I think your opinion is very much influenced by your experience with Twilight Struggle. In Twilight Struggle it is important to know the cards to play well, that is true. You should play it against someone with the same experience as you. But Twilight Struggle is an extreme example. Most CDGs have more generic events, or events which are not as game-changing as some of the events in TS. In other words, the thing you describe as an issue with CDGs in general is an exception.

And Empire of the Sun is without any doubt a wargame. It is also a CDG.
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