Recommend
16 
 Thumb up
 Hide
60 Posts
1 , 2 , 3  Next »   | 

Wargames» Forums » General

Subject: Best 'alt-history' game, as you interpret the expression rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Darren Mac
Canada
Valley
Nova Scotia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I understand that most (all?) history-based wargames are, to some extent, 'alt-history' - we play a historical battle and try to maintain/improve or alter its outcome.

But some games seem to offer a wider variety of options (Triumph and Tragedy)- events can be altered, not just battle outcomes, and historical 'storylines' can be re-written.

Somewhere in that continuum lies your own understanding of what does (and does not) make a wargame 'alt-history'.

I don't really want to debate the expression's meaning - I'm fine with everyon'e interpretation - GIVEN your interpretation, my question is...


What is the best alt-history game out there?


'best' can mean 'what game best fits this category', or, 'of all games that you think fit the category, what is your favoutite?'

I realize that with all of these time-wasting qualifiers, for some people the question just becomes 'What's your favourite historical war game?' - I'm ok with that too.

Ultimately, there's no definitive answer - I just want your opinion
(you can even let me know what makes it 'alt-history' for you)



5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eddy Sterckx
Belgium
Vilvoorde
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Maybe it's just me, but for me the whole purpose of playing ANY wargame is to make those alt-history decisions and observe the outcomes. Otherwise, I could just read a book about it.
25 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Darren Mac
Canada
Valley
Nova Scotia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Not just you at all

I think for me, its a question of scope - a game that represents a single battle may be great, but doesn't usually leave me thinking much in terms of alternate history. A game that 'simulates' an entire time period usually does.

In posing the question, I suppose I was thinking of games that aren't just straight military, but have political components too? (i.e. Churchill)

Again - that's just me though - thanks for the thoughts!
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
United States
Astoria
New York
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It might be better to define "althist" wargames as those where the starting conditions intentionally presume a significant deviation from history.

This would rule out games like Triumph & Tragedy and rule in games like Invasion: America.
37 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sam Smith
United Kingdom
Newport Pagnell
Buckinghamshire
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
For me a true alt-history game would be one where history has already diverged significantly at the start - the ferret of fate having gone up a different leg of the trousers of time. And significantly would mean more than fiddling with the detailed of a particular battle or campaign, such as when reinforcements arrived.

I couldn't think of loads of examples offhand, other than some WW3 type games, so I did a quick search of geeklists. There are a lot more out there than I imagined there would be, e.g. (not exhaustive):

Top 10 Alternate History Games
Alternative history wargames to the first degree
Alternative history wargames to the second degree

Looks like Seth Owen has even done several different ones based on a definition of the degree of divergence.

A fair few WW2 or modern, but by no means all.

21 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Darren Mac
Canada
Valley
Nova Scotia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Interesting stuff - I had only considered a historical start with the 'option' to diverge from history as the game unfolded.

Thanks to the posters above!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Øivind Karlsrud
Norway
Bjørkelangen
Unspecified
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar: My two sons
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It's a difficult question, because I'm not sure which games I would call alt-history. Here I Stand is one of my favorite games, and it can deviate quite a lot from history, but I don't see it as a serious attempt at simulating history. I see it as a great game with lots and lots of flavor. I will probably say Guns of Gettysburg, since it seems like a serious attempt at recreating the Battle of Gettysburg, but with a random reinforcement schedule.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eddy Sterckx
Belgium
Vilvoorde
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
For inspirational purposes :

- A couple of years ago there was a real fad for what got called "A Very British Civil War" in the historical tabletop world. The setting was in an alt-history Britain that got itself into a civil war in the thirties with various factions (pro-fascist, pro-king, pro-communist, ...) Brigadier '38 Jolly Sporting Wargame Rules for A Very British Civil War

- Victorian age steam-punk could be classified as alt-history as well, but that's bordering fantasy - not that I personally care, but you know the drill in here. Dystopian Wars

- Games like Manoeuvre allow you to fight opponents that never really met in our timeline. Especially with the Manoeuvre: Distant Lands expansion. A classic here is Romans vs Chinese - who would win ?
10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pete Belli
United States
Florida
flag msg tools
designer
"If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
(you can even let me know what makes it 'alt-history' for you)


A rare vintage game entitled Sea Lion (published in 1973 by a tiny company called Third Millennia) is probably the grandfather of all alt-history games. It explored a plausible military campaign that never occurred... a workable definition.

A young upstart company called SPI followed up with a game on the same subject called Seelöwe that was published in 1974. SPI also produced Operation Olympic about the hypothetical invasion of Japan at the end of WWII that same year.

Then in 1977 the established, conservative Avalon Hill released a mini-game about the hypothetical Axis attack on Malta in WWII, Air Assault On Crete/Invasion of Malta: 1942.

Things went downhill from there.


Quote:
What is the best alt-history game out there?


I used to be a fan of alt-history games like this. Now they almost never hit the table, although wargames about potential future conflicts do hold my interest.

The sad truth is, most of the published games have been uninspired. In addition, there was a period when the subjects were trending in the direction of Germany winning WWII. That might have soured a number of potential customers.
17 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tony Doran
United States
Columbia
Tennessee
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
The Next War. History that never happened.
13 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eddy Sterckx
Belgium
Vilvoorde
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
pete belli wrote:

A rare vintage game entitled Sea Lion (published in 1973 by a tiny company called Third Millennia) is probably the grandfather of all alt-history games. It explored a plausible military campaign that never occurred... a workable definition.


War Tactics or Can Britain Be Invaded? - 1911



26 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rich Perez
United States
Miami
Florida
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
A) Invasion: America - the whole world after the USA Makes my skin 'pimple-up.' Might it ever happen

Easy and fun to play too . . .

B) Bloodtree Rebellion - well it may happen on a another planet: but it plays like a spruced up Vietnam . . . so, "alt- [actual] history" repackaged?

Just a thought . . . ninja


7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nick West
Scotland
Edinburgh
Midlothian
flag msg tools
"Only two things are infinite; the universe and human stupidity....
badge
....and I'm not certain about the universe." Albert Einstein
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
After the Holocaust probably also belongs in this niche.
11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pete Belli
United States
Florida
flag msg tools
designer
"If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
eddy_sterckx wrote:
pete belli wrote:

A rare vintage game entitled Sea Lion (published in 1973 by a tiny company called Third Millennia) is probably the grandfather of all alt-history games. It explored a plausible military campaign that never occurred... a workable definition.


War Tactics or Can Britain Be Invaded? - 1911





Of course! That game was the surprise hit of the convention at Gen Con Minus 56 back in 1912.
26 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
marc lecours
Canada
ottawa
ontario
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
All games that simulate something historical are alt-history. The alternative would be a game with no decisions and no randomness at all. The game would just recreate history on the game map. I don't know of any game like that.

On the other hand there is a continuum of games: Form games that stick pretty close to history (assuming players play well) and games which can diverge pretty quickly from actual history.

The OP gave Triumph & Tragedy as an example of alt-history even though the starting situation is roughly historical. In triumph and tragedy the alliances are not fixed (Germany can work WITH Britain), so most gamers I know would consider it an alt-history game.

In general, the longer the time period being simulated the more chance it has of allowing history to diverge significantly. Here I Stand and Virgin Queen represent about 50 years of history each, so it is normal that history will diverge a lot.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eddy Sterckx
Belgium
Vilvoorde
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
pete belli wrote:
eddy_sterckx wrote:
pete belli wrote:

A rare vintage game entitled Sea Lion (published in 1973 by a tiny company called Third Millennia) is probably the grandfather of all alt-history games. It explored a plausible military campaign that never occurred... a workable definition.


War Tactics or Can Britain Be Invaded? - 1911





Of course! That game was the surprise hit of the convention at Gen Con Minus 56 back in 1912.


As I remember it it was GenCon Minus 55 whistle

There was a gathering at Gygax' place in 1967 that was later dubbed GenCon 0 in 1967.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gen_Con#Early_years
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ron A
United States
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb


The more I thought about it, the more I realized I've played almost half a dozen alt-hist games.

Yugoslavia from SPI's Modern Battles II quad. I bought it because I wanted a cheap way to explore an 'untried units' game. US, Italians and SOviets fight over central Yugoslavia.

Air Assault On Crete/Invasion of Malta: 1942 In high school, we never played Crete even once, it was always the Malta game. The sheer numbers of AAA units the Brits had wsa very intimidating for the Axis player.

NATO: The Next War in Europe At the time (1980s), I went with Victory Games take on WWIII vice SPIs. Not really inspiring.

Many, many years later, I got this through a math trade

NATO Division CommanderIt might be an underdeveloped game, but it is truly different. It is also not really a monster game, only one map and not too many units (but there are a TON of markers). I really like the unit modes and the way combat, movement and fatigue are intertwined.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Darren Mac
Canada
Valley
Nova Scotia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
rubberchicken wrote:
All games that simulate something historical are alt-history. The alternative would be a game with no decisions and no randomness at all. The game would just recreate history on the game map. I don't know of any game like that.

On the other hand there is a continuum of games: Form games that stick pretty close to history (assuming players play well) and games which can diverge pretty quickly from actual history.

The OP gave Triumph & Tragedy as an example of alt-history even though the starting situation is roughly historical. In triumph and tragedy the alliances are not fixed (Germany can work WITH Britain), so most gamers I know would consider it an alt-history game.

In general, the longer the time period being simulated the more chance it has of allowing history to diverge significantly. Here I Stand and Virgin Queen represent about 50 years of history each, so it is normal that history will diverge a lot.


Thanks for articulating more clearly what I was thinking and also for the suggestions! My original intent (though I didn't describe it well), I guess, had been as you say - starting out roughly historical but allowing for wide divergence. Hadn't really thought of games that started from a divergent point (which honestly fit the term 'alt history' so much more clearly - I feel like I had been misusing the term, given the great feedback here)

Thanks to all so far for providing both comments as well as games worth investigating.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
suPUR DUEper
United States
Villa Hills
Kentucky
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
In the 70's I would have answered The East is Red: The Sino Soviet War. I was young and new to wargaming then and found the topic fascinating.

More recently, I have been playing 2nd Fleet and 7th Fleet. Both are pretty cool due to the subject matter. Not only are they portraying conflicts that could have happened but they are based on weapons platforms that have never been widely used in anger.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Richard Murray
United States
Kenosha
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I personally like the alt-history game line of Avalanche Press, with this being one of my favorites:

8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
oystein eker
Norway
Unspecified
sola
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb


Nuklear Winter `68

The theme (kind of) makes sense.
Detailed background story brings it to life.

Germany heavy nuked in WWII. Nazi goes underground.
Wasteland fallout makes Germany dead until 1968 - Nazi units surface and want to wage war again.

Joint force of NATO and Soviet moves in.
Mix of `68 NATO/Soviet (T-72, - Apache helicopters) units vs Nazi Tigers. Throw in some mutants too.

Designers have full freedom to make short, well balanced and exciting scenarios.

Recommended operational level game!
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael McCalpin
United States
McKinney
Texas
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
samwise46 wrote:
...the ferret of fate having gone up a different leg of the trousers of time...

You win the internet today. I didn't even read the rest of your comment because I was too awestruck by that quote above.
18 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Timothy Young
United Kingdom
Keighley
West Yorkshire
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Alt history for me is a game that starts off with an existing deviation from history. Otherwise all games will inevitably deviate into alt history, strategic scale multi-year games obviously more than others. A game like Eurofront is good as a lot of extra pieces are included to allow neutral countries like Turkey to join either side of the war.


Alt history is popular topic for magazine war games, I've got the recent Sealion: The German Invasion of England, September 1940 and Hinge of Fate, also been eyeing up Operation Gertrud: The German invasion of Turkey and France Fights On

My favourite at the moment though is Freikorps, which I think is being reissued as a magazine game at the moment. Early Soviet forces push on Berlin, with Polish Army and Freikorps, along with some British and French forces joining in. Random events allow Spartacist uprisings in the German cities, which can completely throw plans out of line.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Stimpson
United States
Westminster
Colorado
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
pete belli wrote:
eddy_sterckx wrote:
pete belli wrote:

A rare vintage game entitled Sea Lion (published in 1973 by a tiny company called Third Millennia) is probably the grandfather of all alt-history games. It explored a plausible military campaign that never occurred... a workable definition.


War Tactics or Can Britain Be Invaded? - 1911





Of course! That game was the surprise hit of the convention at Gen Con Minus 56 back in 1912.



Boy - I didn't think cartography was still that primitive just over 100 years ago...
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bill Gates
United States
Essex
Maryland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
My favorites are the Great War at Sea alternate history games by Avalanche Press mentioned earlier in the thread (Great War at Sea: U.S. Navy Plan Black, Great War at Sea: U.S. Navy Plan Red, Great War at Sea: U.S. Navy Plan Orange, Great War at Sea: U.S. Navy Plan Gold), all which depict naval combat between the United States and Germany, Great Britain, Japan and France, respectively, in the 1920's and 30's and are loosely based on actual U.S. Navy plans for fighting each nation;

And Joe Miranda/Ty Bomba's alternate history games: Tomorrow the World and it's tie-in games like Mississippi Banzai (Germany and Japan duke it out in the midwest, with St. Louis standing in for Stalingrad) and Black Gold (Texas Tea) (Japan and Germany fight over the Middle East oil fields), all of which are based in a world where the Axis won WWII and divided the world between them, and then war breaks out between Germany and Japan; and the awesome NATO, Nukes & Nazis, where WWII ends with a peace treaty (the successful assassination of Hitler leads to more competent overall strategy, German super-weapons are starting to turn the tide, the Allies nuke two German cities and Germany sues for peace); Germany still occupies a good chunk of Europe, and the ensuing Cold War is between that universe's NATO and Greater Germany and eventually leads to a shooting war in the 1990's.

America in Flames uses the World in Flames system to show an Axis invasion of the United States after defeating the Allies in Europe and the Pacific.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2 , 3  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.