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Subject: Squad based tacticals rss

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Michael Burke
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I’ve noticed a severe lack of small scale, squad based tactical board games, at least in my gaming exposure. Tannhauser has caught my eye considering it has this quality somewhat, but I do wish there were a better selection.

Final Fantasy Tactics comes to mind. This video game was more addicting to me than any other video game ever made, and it seems to me that it would easily translate over into boardgame form. Though most likely it’d turn out in a miniatures game form. I have nothing against miniatures games (I used to be a player of them), but their financial commitment, vast amount of rules, rules discrepancies, errata, terrain expense, and space to play eventually wore me out. Blood Bowl is as close as I get to them nowadays...but that's practically a board game anyways!

I initially thought Heroscape would be what I was looking for, but its theme displeased me severely – I desire a deeper theme that is more focused on a singular genre…samurai vs men-in-black? No thanks. But the terrain system I found unique and interesting. Even if Heroscape began creating larger ranges of figures that can loosely be grouped together into squads that are similar in theme, it just won’t ever work for me.

If the terrain system of Heroscape could be combined with squad-based tactics and an experience-based leveling system option (evolving characters would be great) along with a great theme, that would be my dream game. I noticed Fantasy Flight is doing a Kingdom Hearts TCG…maybe they should do a Final Fantasy Tactics tactical game next (or something similar!). I can dream, can’t I…

Anyone else desire great squad-based tactical games? Are there some that I’m missing out on?
 
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Ray
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There are some great WWII squad level games. See:

WWII Tactical-Level Wargames
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/17372

Tactical WW II squad level wargames
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/22364

If you prefer non-historical, many of the miniature systems out there are also about small arms tactics.
 
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Tao Wong
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Mutant Chronicles sounds somewhat like what you'd like. Campaign progression. Small unit tactics. Really small though, you only have 2 PCs to move, but there can be a total of 8 figures with 4 other players and the Mutants as the 5th player.

It's definitely a great game. Unfortunately, it's also out of print.

Otherwise, the other one that is vaguely similar that comes to mind is Dungeon Twister but again, it's only vaguely similar.

Tao Wong
Starlit Citadel
www.starlitcitadel.com

 
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Thomas P. Felder
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You should Space Hulk give a try, preferable with the expansions.
If the SF-Setting (Warhammer 40k doesn't mean a drawback... Basically, you play 5-man-Squads with different armement against overwhelming numbers of dumb alien/creatures.

But, of course, Advanced Squad Leader will fit perfectly on your description, as others will soon be keen to mention! cool
 
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Joey Jones
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If you're into miniatures, you may want to try the Dungeons and Dragons Mini's game. The figures are great looking, but there's not a whole lot of depth to the game itself, beyonf building your warband. You can get common minitures online for less that $0.50 each, just to give it a try.

 
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Bob Roberts

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I have recently gotten hooked on Heroscape, in spite of the "theme". I too didn't much like the idea of samurai vs vikings vs robots... But, the game is good. I was very surprised how much fun we had playing, as was the owner of the FLGS and the two younger guys we played with. Both the owner and myself are long time gamers, I have spent most of my gaming time the past 30 years playing historical miniatures games or Avalon Hill and SPI games.
If you can get past the theme you might find the game a fair amount of fun.


For squad based tactical board gaming, Close Assault by Yaquinto was a good one. It was somewhat groundbreaking in its day, concentrating as much on the human factor as the equipment factor most games centered on.

Craig Taylor, who designed Close Assault has a new system out called Soldiers if I remember correctly. Worth a look.

ASL is not a squad based game, you are generally playing a company or more per side.

My best recommendation is a miniatures game, though you could probably play it with plastic figures on Heroscape hexes just by converting inches to hexes (we used to play Close Assault with miniatures by converting hexes to inches).

Nuts! by Two Hour Wargames is one of the best skirmish games I have played.
The generic version of the rules, Chain Reaction 2, is currently available as a free download. Check the Two Hour Wargames site for details on that.
Even though it is a miniatures game, you only need a couple squads per side. Though as stated above, it wouldn't be too hard to convert it to hexes.
I will say that it may take a little effort to wrap your head around it, especially if you have played a lot of other wargames. Two Hour Wargames rules tend to take a little getting used to for old wargamer types. But they are well worth the effort. Ed has hit on some very neat methods that work very well to represent the chaos of combat.
We have played Nuts! for WW2, All Things Zombie for...zombies, Chain Reaction for most anything else and Warrior Kings for ancient/medieval mass battles. Highly recommend em.
 
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Guy Riessen
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badinfo wrote:


ASL is not a squad based game, you are generally playing a company or more per side.


Heh, true you are simulating company-level actions, but you're redefining the meaning of "squad-based games." The term, as is in general use, does not refer to the total scale of the game, but rather to the scale of pieces you are moving around. So squad-based, means that the counters you're pushing around are squads--in ASL those are squads, hence squad level, hence the very title Advanced Squad Leader (note not Advanced Company Leader). Platoon-level (like Panzer Grenadier) means the counters represent platoons. Company-level means those counters are companies, etc. This is standard terminology, at least in hex-based board-gaming. Perhaps they have different definitions in miniatures?
 
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Bob Roberts

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Perhaps I erred in the use of the word "based".
In the military a company level exercise involves one company, not a battalion commander ordering around a bunch of companies.

I have always contended Squad Leader and its offspring Advanced Squad Leader are misnamed. A squad leader is someone in charge of a squad. Singular. SL and ASL were obviously not meant to be played with one squad and should indeed have been called Company Commander, or probably more accurately Battalion Commander given most of the games I have seen/played in.

Here is a bit of a thread from another forum on this topic:
Quote:
Quote:
If used properly it should mean that a Div. is the smallest tactical (or in this case strategic) unit that you have on the table.


Disagree. In military simulations, the level defines the "level of command", not the size of the smallest unit. So a Division level game would be where the players are divisional commanders.


At any rate that's the way we would have used it in the Army.
 
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Jay Richardson
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Bob Roberts wrote:
I have always contended Squad Leader and its offspring Advanced Squad Leader are misnamed. A squad leader is someone in charge of a squad. Singular. SL and ASL were obviously not meant to be played with one squad and should indeed have been called Company Commander, or probably more accurately Battalion Commander given most of the games I have seen/played in.

The "Squad Leader" name is appropriate in that when you play the game you are choosing each individual squad's maneuver path and/or firing target. In real life these decisions are made by each squad's commanding officer as he attempts to implement the much more general orders issued at the company/battalion level.

The focus of the game is on the decisions made by each individual squad leader (or each individual tank commander). A true "company leader" game would not have you micro-managing individual squads & vehicles.

The SL/ASL/ASLSK games certainly do include aspects of company and battalion command (particularly in the massive ASL historical campaign games), but the emphasis in play is always on the individual squads & vehicles.

As an example of what I'm talking about, consider Ambush and Up Front. In Ambush the player takes on the role of each individual soldier and controls their actions, but in Up Front the player is actually the squad leader, because you do not have complete control over the individual soldiers. The force size in both of these games is a single squad, but the emphasis in Ambush is on the squad's individual soldiers, and in Up Front it is on the squad's leader. This difference in emphasis is why Ambush can easily be played by multiple players working as a team (each player controlling just a few of the squad's soldiers), but Up Front is unplayable as a team game unless multiple sets are used (so each player controls his own squad).
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