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Subject: Ancients outside of Europe/Mediterranean? rss

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K S
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Does anybody have any good (preferably strategic-level) wargames to recommend that deal with ancient warfare outside of Europe and the Mediterranean?
 
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kevin halloran
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Three you might look at and see if they suit you both in regards of period and level are Tenkatoitsu, Hexasim's excellent game on feudal Japan; Chandragupta, GMT Great Battles of History game featuring battles in India 319BC-261BC; Devil's Horsemen, again GMT, featuring battles of Genghis Khan and the Mongols.
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K S
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Thanks for the response, Kevin! All three of those look interesting, especially Chandragupta. Have you played them yourself? Tenkatoitsu and Devil's Horsemen looking interesting, but a bit more modern than I was thinking of.

What got me interested in this was that I recently learned a bit about the Han-Xiongnu War in 133 BC – 89 AD and it occurred to me that I hadn't even realized that we had reliable records of warfare of that period outside of the West, which got me wondering whether games had treated these topics.
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Sven Weiler
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wamsp wrote:
What got me interested in this was that I recently learned a bit about the Han-Xiongnu War in 133 BC – 89 AD and it occurred to me that I hadn't even realized that we had reliable records of warfare of that period outside of the West, which got me wondering whether games had treated these topics.


They do exist - the problematic part seems to be obtaining English translations for them.

I've been drooling over The Chu–Han Contention for quite a while now (especially after watching a TV series featuring the period). There's quite a few more listed on BGG - however no translation seems to be available for almost all of them.

However I did obtain a copy of Records of Three Kingdoms 190-280 with an English translation through BGG... so that might be a game you could try.
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K S
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Wow, thanks Sven! Those both seem exactly like exactly the sort of thing I am looking for. But yeah, it doesn't seem like they are very available where I live.
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Pete Belli
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The One World is a rare game about ancient Mexico from Simulations Canada published in the 1980s.

A different sort of Euro-hybrid game is Mound Builders about ancient North America.
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Ed T
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wamsp wrote:
Thanks for the response, Kevin! All three of those look interesting, especially Chandragupta. Have you played them yourself? Tenkatoitsu and Devil's Horsemen looking interesting, but a bit more modern than I was thinking of.


Chandragupta was my entry point into GBOH and I've personally played the first two battles from the game - lots of interesting chrome layered on the system and there is an obvious amount of care and personal interest that the game designer poured into the game.
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Sven Weiler
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wamsp wrote:
Wow, thanks Sven! Those both seem exactly like exactly the sort of thing I am looking for. But yeah, it doesn't seem like they are very available where I live.


Yup, sadly all of these games would have to be imported. And even then setting them up can be a bit of a hassle since, even with English rules, the writing on the counters remains in Chinese characters.

Regarding US based shops Nobleknight has a copy of Records of Three Kingdoms 190-280 available - alas there is no mention of English rules.

If you're not afraid of importing the game I did purchase my copy with the translation a couple of years back after browsing the following thread:

Is this still available somewhere?
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K S
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Pete, thanks for those titles! Have you tried them yourself?

Xenos141 wrote:
And even then setting them up can be a bit of a hassle since, even with English rules, the writing on the counters remains in Chinese characters.

I can actually read Chinese well enough to read the counters (though I doubt I'd be able to tackle the rulebook by myself...) Thanks for the link!
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Geoffrey Burrell
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You may want to look at trying Shogun or a game like Ikusa.
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Robert Bracey
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winheath wrote:
Three you might look at and see if they suit you both in regards of period and level are Tenkatoitsu, Hexasim's excellent game on feudal Japan; Chandragupta, GMT Great Battles of History game featuring battles in India 319BC-261BC; Devil's Horsemen, again GMT, featuring battles of Genghis Khan and the Mongols.


Just some warning that Chandragupta is a complete fiction, essentially no different to playing Warhammer Fantasy Battles.
This is one of the problems with wargames outside Europe/Med, there just isn't much research and wargame designers are not substitutes for researchers.
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Pete Belli
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wamsp wrote:
Pete, thanks for those titles! Have you tried them yourself?


Mound Builders, yes.

The One World, no.

In my decades of wargaming I've seen a copy of the Aztec game once or twice.
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pete belli wrote:
The One World is a rare game about ancient Mexico from Simulations Canada published in the 1980s.

A different sort of Euro-hybrid game is Mound Builders about ancient North America.

And another that's also a hybrid: Azteca. As with The One World, it keeps the players focused on warfare as a means to provide blood offerings to the gods, which feels different than religious wars in the old world.
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pete belli wrote:
wamsp wrote:
Pete, thanks for those titles! Have you tried them yourself?


Mound Builders, yes.

The One World, no.

In my decades of wargaming I've seen a copy of the Aztec game once or twice.

I've played both, but neither one enough times to give much useful feedback. Mound Builders is one of the Victory Point solo formula games, with what appears to be solid research behind it but still ends up with the player in the middle fending off tokens that funnel inwards along multiple tracks leading inwards. However well the flavor is applied, they all feel (to me) a bit the same mechanically. One World is hex-and-counter multiplayer, with various peoples vying for the prime real estate around the central lake.
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Enrico Viglino
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There's a real weakness here. Most of the pre-gunpowder stuff in
the ROTW is fairly late (Feudal Japan, Aztecs).


Here's one which isn't much in the way of a detailed strategic wargame,
but it's at least designed by a wargamer: Dynasty: The Era of the Five Dynasties.

I wasn't too thrilled, but my expectations were for something more
like a traditional wargame.
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Emperor of China goes much further back, to the Warring States period. It's more like Diplomacy than a wargame, but I've always liked it. Pete wrote an excellent review: Cult Of The New? A deluxe Euro with cooperative play and elements of a card-driven wargame… published in 1972
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Eddy Sterckx
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GeoffreyB wrote:
You may want to look at trying Shogun


I think you linked to the wrong "Shogun" there - the Queen game is a lot of fun, but it's an area control game with almost no connection to actual Japanese history. It's a re-theme of Wallenstein (first edition), which also has nothing to do with the 30 Years War.
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Ken Chase
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RobertBr wrote:
winheath wrote:
Three you might look at and see if they suit you both in regards of period and level are Tenkatoitsu, Hexasim's excellent game on feudal Japan; Chandragupta, GMT Great Battles of History game featuring battles in India 319BC-261BC; Devil's Horsemen, again GMT, featuring battles of Genghis Khan and the Mongols.


Just some warning that Chandragupta is a complete fiction, essentially no different to playing Warhammer Fantasy Battles.
This is one of the problems with wargames outside Europe/Med, there just isn't much research and wargame designers are not substitutes for researchers.


Many wargames on ancient or medieval battles in Europe are essentially fiction as well. There are very few battles for which any kind of detailed contemporary description survives.
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Enrico Viglino
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Ken X wrote:

Many wargames on ancient or medieval battles in Europe are essentially fiction as well. There are very few battles for which any kind of detailed contemporary description survives.


True enough - BUT, I think the models serve as more than pure fiction.
They are thought experiments to show how the forces might have been used.
I find the exploration of the tactical systems the most interesting thing
about playing out these ancient battles. From that stance, the more detail
(even if there isn't much evidence for it) the more pleasure I often get
from them.
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Robert Bracey
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Ken X wrote:
RobertBr wrote:

Just some warning that Chandragupta is a complete fiction, essentially no different to playing Warhammer Fantasy Battles.
This is one of the problems with wargames outside Europe/Med, there just isn't much research and wargame designers are not substitutes for researchers.


Many wargames on ancient or medieval battles in Europe are essentially fiction as well. There are very few battles for which any kind of detailed contemporary description survives.


Just to clarify as you may not be familiar with the material in question. There are no sources for any of the battles that appear in Chandragupta. They are not referred to in any contemporary or non-contemporary material. Everything about the game (terrain, force composition, objectives, etc) is made up. There are very few sources for the type of units that might have been involved and no meaningful literature, and in some cases the designer makes up units.

By contrast a battle like Crecy has hundreds of pages of sources, many of them written by participants or people who knew participants, in some cases administrative documents surviving from the period. And there is a huge literature on the subject which a designer could tap.

So while it is true that many wargames are essentially fiction they do not all have to be equally fictitious. You can make up a fictious version of Crecy with tanks and space aliens, but you can also make a passable shot at representing the battle itself. Something like Chandragupta can *only* be tanks and space aliens.

So while there are very few battles for which a lot of evidence survives - the point is that that there *are* battles for which evidence survives and the possibilities of reconstruction differ accordingly.
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Carel Teijgeler
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What about Cortés et la Conquête du Mexico 1519-1521, recently publishe din Vae Victis magazine.
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Not sure whether it is still available, but The Dragon and the Pearl is a Britannia variant set in China.
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RobertBr wrote:
Ken X wrote:
RobertBr wrote:

Just some warning that Chandragupta is a complete fiction, essentially no different to playing Warhammer Fantasy Battles.
This is one of the problems with wargames outside Europe/Med, there just isn't much research and wargame designers are not substitutes for researchers.


Many wargames on ancient or medieval battles in Europe are essentially fiction as well. There are very few battles for which any kind of detailed contemporary description survives.


Just to clarify as you may not be familiar with the material in question. There are no sources for any of the battles that appear in Chandragupta. They are not referred to in any contemporary or non-contemporary material. Everything about the game (terrain, force composition, objectives, etc) is made up. There are very few sources for the type of units that might have been involved and no meaningful literature, and in some cases the designer makes up units.

By contrast a battle like Crecy has hundreds of pages of sources, many of them written by participants or people who knew participants, in some cases administrative documents surviving from the period. And there is a huge literature on the subject which a designer could tap.

So while it is true that many wargames are essentially fiction they do not all have to be equally fictitious. You can make up a fictious version of Crecy with tanks and space aliens, but you can also make a passable shot at representing the battle itself. Something like Chandragupta can *only* be tanks and space aliens.

So while there are very few battles for which a lot of evidence survives - the point is that that there *are* battles for which evidence survives and the possibilities of reconstruction differ accordingly.


I guess the question then becomes do we even try to create games about battles we know happened but have little source material.

I’m not sure where I stand on this topic.

In some cases I could not care less about a game like Chariots of Fire. It doesn’t interest me as these are battles for the most part that are known though the Bible or clay tablets. I do have an interest in Chandragupta. I guess part of my interest comes from the fact that I might know as much as the game designer about some of the biblical battles but I absolutely am sure the designer knows more than me regarding Chandragupta and I’m curious to learn more through the game.
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Tom Willcockson
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Not really much of a simulation, but Conquest of Paradise is a lot of fun with a nice thematic feel.
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TomW731 wrote:
Not really much of a simulation, but Conquest of Paradise is a lot of fun with a nice thematic feel.

Oh, I really like that one! Doesn't get enough recognition, I don't think.
 
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