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Subject: Gateway Wargames?? When is a "wargame" a "WARGAME" rss

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JP LaChance
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In doing some reading I get the impression that many "wargamers" feel that games like Memoir '44, Tide of Iron, Duel in the Dark, andBattleLore are not true "WARGAMES".

We own Memior, Duel in the Dark, & BattleLore and I was thinking Tide of Iron might be the the gateway game, but after reading some reviews mayby not.

My son and I (mostly my son) would like to try out a "Real wargame" what can you recommend for a "Gateway WARGAME"

If I was going to pick an era I'd pick em in this order:
1) American Civil War
2) WWII Europe
3) WWI



Edited to add era
 
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A war game is a wargame when you pull out the tweezers and play with yourself.
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Chris Talbot
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If by "real war game," you mean "hex-and-counter," then I'd suggest getting a copy of Target Arnhem: Across 6 Bridges. It's available from MMP for $5 (which basically pays for the postage). It's basic, fairly simple, cheap and has a few of the key concepts found in war games (like supply).

Chris
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M King
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I highly recommend Tide of Iron. It is a great gateway wargame since it has the gorgeous miniature of a game like BattleLore or M'44, but it also has a lot more of the kinds of rules that are a part of traditional wargames. Some hard-core wargamers disagree with its choices about what aspects of combat to abstract, but I think it does a great job of taking gamers to that next level of complexity.

My son and I started playing this last summer (he was 9 at the time) and we absolutely love it. He enjoys making scenarios with the scenario editor (on FFG site). There are some balance issues with a few of the scenarios, but the official scenarios downloadable from the FFG website are pretty well-balance.
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Mike Kozlowski
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Ask ten people and you'll get twelve answers. The thing is, there's really no set definition, it's more of a Wittgensteinian open concept, and people have their own (often nebulous and hazy) ideas of what a wargame should be.

My own personal criterion is that a true wargame should favor -- at some level, to some extent -- simulation over simplicity, and have rules that are present because they make sense in real-world terms rather than because it balances the game system. By my definition, straight Memoir '44 isn't a wargame (because it's got minimalist abstracted rules), Commands & Colors: Ancients is, and Combat Commander definitely is. But I've seen people say that none of those games are wargames, or that all of them are, or that CC:E is but C&C:A isn't, or whatever.

About the only agreement you'll see is that ASL is a wargame. Because if it isn't, nothing is.
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    Set the categories aside -- play games that you like.

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Where gametime ≥ realtime = wargame.

Where gametime < realtime = kiddie game
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Scott Roberts
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oneoldgamer wrote:
I highly recommend Tide of Iron. It is a great gateway wargame since it has the gorgeous miniature of a game like BattleLore or M'44, but it also has a lot more of the kinds of rules that are a part of traditional wargames. Some hard-core wargamers disagree with its choices about what aspects of combat to abstract, but I think it does a great job of taking gamers to that next level of complexity.

My son and I started playing this last summer (he was 9 at the time) and we absolutely love it. He enjoys making scenarios with the scenario editor (on FFG site). There are some balance issues with a few of the scenarios, but the official scenarios downloadable from the FFG website are pretty well-balance.


I second this. Tide of Iron is a lot of fun. A game does not need counters to be a real wargame.
 
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Will Green
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custom golf clubs wrote:
In doing some reading I get the impression that many "wargamers" feel that games like Memoir '44, Tide of Iron, Duel in the Dark, andBattleLore are not true "WARGAMES".

We own Memior, Duel in the Dark, & BattleLore and I was thinking Tide of Iron might be the the gateway game, but after reading some reviews mayby not.

My son and I (mostly my son) would like to try out a "Real wargame" what can you recommend for a "Gateway WARGAME"


It is true that asking ten different people, on this subject, will generate twelve different answers...with that in mind, it may help those who are interested in suggesting different games for you to toss out your top three "War Eras" "Wars" or "Battles". Part of the allure for those who like and play WARGAMES is that they are really interested in a specific battle, war, theater of war, or general, and thus the "history" of the game comes alive.

If you could refine your personal interest "warwise" the suggestions that you get could be that much more specific to them. It sounds like WWII is your preferred war...

I think that you would really like Combat Commander: Europe. This is a great game, flows well, is fun, has a strong following, has had nearly 4,000 games played, (in just over a year of it being released), and is slightly addictive.

Another game that yo might want to try is The Battle for Germany. This has an interesting dynamic where you are the Allies on the Western Front, while simultaneously you are the Axis on the Eastern Front. Your opponent is the opposite. The race is to "Take Berlin" ~ it's either going to be you, the U.S., Brits, Canadians, on the Western Front, or the Russians, from the Eastern Front.

Both games are quite fun, each in their own way.

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Eric Jome
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custom golf clubs wrote:
In doing some reading I get the impression that many "wargamers" feel that games like Memoir '44, Tide of Iron, Duel in the Dark, and BattleLore are not true "WARGAMES".


If you want what other people consider to be a true wargame, you'll need to find a game with the following properties;

1) Made before 1994, possibly made before 1984
2) The game portrays a historical war in a very historically authentic and detailed way
3) The map is covered with hexes
4) Units are printed on square paper chits about 1cm per side
5) Actions in the game are resolved using dice and a combat resolution table in the rulebook

For many older players, this is a "wargame". There are no cards to resolve actions. There are no action points. There are no miniatures.

The real question is, why would you want to do what other old fashioned, unimaginative people think is right instead of what you enjoy?
 
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Darrell Hanning
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BradyLS wrote:
Where gametime ≥ realtime = wargame.

Where gametime < realtime = kiddie game


That makes World in Flames a kiddie game. Interesting.

I'm not one to waste my time dithering about whether I can fit the nine hundred and thirty-second angel on the head of a pin, so my criteria for "wargame" is:

1) Is it a game?
2) Is it about war?

Yes to both equals "wargame".

Now, "conflict simulation", that's a different matter...
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Chris Talbot
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DarrellKH wrote:
1) Is it a game?
2) Is it about war?

Yes to both equals "wargame".

Sometimes the simplest definitions are the best. This is one of those times.

Chris
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M King
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tyvek wrote:

...

I think that you would really like Combat Commander: Europe. This is a great game, flows well, is fun, has a strong following, has had nearly 4,000 games played, (in just over a year of it being released), and is slightly addictive.

Another game that yo might want to try is The Battle for Germany. This has an interesting dynamic where you are the Allies on the Western Front, while simultaneously you are the Axis on the Eastern Front. Your opponent is the opposite. The race is to "Take Berlin" ~ it's either going to be you, the U.S., Brits, Canadians, on the Western Front, or the Russians, from the Eastern Front.

Both games are quite fun, each in their own way.



CC:E is certainly enjoyable, but it is substantially more complex than TOI. It also has a randomness level that it is, I think, greater than, and more frustrating than, that in M'44. In M'44 you can usually do something, even if you can't do anything in the area of the board you want to. But in CC:E you can have turn after turn in which all you can do is discard. And the random events can suddenly swing a battle due to a sniper event or the return of a dead unit as walking wounded. My son got very frustrated with this after a while, though beating dad (did I mention how random events can swing a battle) made up for it. I think TOI leads to CC:E nicely, but I wouldn't pick CC:E as a first wargame.

I'm glad to see Battle of Germany recommended. I just became aware of this game and am trying to hunt it down.
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Michael Edwards
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BradyLS wrote:
Where gametime ≥ realtime = wargame.

Where gametime < realtime = kiddie game


Wait, so World in Flames is a kiddie game, because each turn doesn't take a season? [Edit - d'oh, too slow, this was already pointed out!]

Actually, one of the things that always amused me about wargames, was that the realtime could vary so greatly compared to game time. An hour spent taking a turn in Air War: Modern Tactical Air Combat equates out to, like, five seconds of simulated time. But some grand strategy monster like WIF could have that same hour equal months (or a years).
 
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Andrew C
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For the Civil War, check out A House Divided. Its a "real wargame" (whatever that is) but is an excellent gateway game.

For WWII, try A Victory Lost.

Sorry, I don't have any suggestions for a WWI gateway game.
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Steve Cole
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Sagrilarus wrote:
Set the categories aside -- play games that you like.

Sag.



I absolutely agree with the spirit behind this suggestion, but in this case I think making a distinction is helpful. The original poster is looking to expand his horizons and is searching for something that's perhaps a bit more hardcore than what he has been playing. He wants to make sure he's making a big enough step towards "those" kinds of wargames. (You know the ones.) "Play games you like" only works when you know what you like.

And BTW, it's always good to see people branching out. BGG needs more omnigamers to keep the fanatics from tearing each other apart.
 
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Chris Geggus
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Someone has briefly alluded to wargames pre-1984 or pre-1994. There are very sensible reasons for these arbitrary breaks. Wargames nowadays are very different fish to what was produced from the '60s through to the early '90s. More recent games are probably more gateway orientated or more user friendly, simply because there is now greater competition and variance out there in the market place and users are expecting a better introduction to the genre.

What I am trying to get to is my personal belief that good examples of introductory wargames appeared with some frequency during the " Golden Age " (if I may call that 60s/90s era by such a name). There are obvious ones such as The Battle of Waterloo produced by SPI and used as a free gift to support S & T subscriptions. It did exactly what it said on the tin - small map, few counters, short, clear rules, ease of playability and end result was a game that beginners could pick up and be playing their first wargame within a few minutes. It was also a good game in its own right. S & T in large numbers, Avalon Hill in it's better designs and The Wargamer(3W) in variable degrees of quality, all produced games that could and did serve as introductory wargames to many thousands of gamers during that era. These are the games that you could hunt down if you can still find any of them.

Examples are many, but I would just pluck out of the air the following:
Battle for Germany (already mentioned, but still excellent)
Forward to Richmond (simple, but very playable)
Midway (definite ease of play, perhaps too much)
WWI (slow moving, but pretty representative)
Russian Campaign (one of the early big hitters)
PanzerGruppe Guderian (originality with good game = success)
Aces High (possibly the best of the aerial games - imo)
Stalingrad (dated now, but effective in its time)
Any S & T Quad games (all roughly basic, learner level)
Gettysburg (big, but popular)
War at Sea or Dreadnought (simple naval for some variety)
Dresden (excellent feel for a simple game) and so on.
Plus most of the AH production from that period together with a good number of the SPI and 3W offerings. If you can look through their records you will find something of interest. Run them through us on the Geek and we can give some advice as to usage for beginners etc.

Good luck.
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A Victory Lost is an excellent introduction to wargaming, in my opinion. The rules are crystal clear, while still including many of the fundamentals also present in wargames of much higher complexity.
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Chanfan wrote:
BradyLS wrote:
Where gametime ≥ realtime = wargame.

Where gametime < realtime = kiddie game


Wait, so World in Flames is a kiddie game, because each turn doesn't take a season? [Edit - d'oh, too slow, this was already pointed out!]

Actually, one of the things that always amused me about wargames, was that the realtime could vary so greatly compared to game time. An hour spent taking a turn in Air War: Modern Tactical Air Combat equates out to, like, five seconds of simulated time. But some grand strategy monster like WIF could have that same hour equal months (or a years).


When I think about the blood, toil, sweat, and tears of the real deal...

Kiddie game.

If you're parsing over how much fuel is left in your F-4 Phantom after 2 hours at the table to cover a dogfight. Okay, I guess you've earned it...

warGAME.
 
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A 'WARGAME' can have different meanings to different people! SOme think Stratego and Risk are WARGAMES. They reflect conflict of military-type units. In the beginning, many games I looked at were WARGAMES...but as time went on and I built my own opinion of games and gaming in general, my definiton of wargames changed.

I do consider Tide of Iron a wargame as well as Memoir '44 due to it's capability of introducing someone to a war themed game as AH's Tactics II did for me in the mid to late 70's. I have quite a few WARGAMES in my collection most dealing with a specific conflict rather than a broad spectrum. But there are broad games like Axis & Allies and The War Game: World War II which I play that I consider war games with Eye candy!
Minature games are also WARGAMES. I play Flames of War: The World War II Miniatures Game and GW's Epic Armageddon on a fairly regular basis and I DO consider these WARGAMES. So...I guess it comes down to the individual....I like the '10 people 12 answers' theory!!!!
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JohnnyD wrote:
I like the '10 people 12 answers' theory!!!!

Of course you do! You just covered about 4 of the answers for us and we still have room for 9 people!
 
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To me, a "real" wargame is something that attempts to simulate the reality of warfare as closely as possible. Simulation of topic is more important than playability of game in this respect.

People who love "real" wargames revel in the layers of rules in the game that cover the minutia of combat, resupply, etc, and will not mind at all if this decreases the ease of playability. Often there will be bookkeeping involved. (And I used to be one of the people that played these things, back in the 80's when I was in high school and had the time and spare neurons available to play them... )

The best gateway wargame? I'd go with Axis and Allies; it gives newbies the cool miniatures to play with, it feels like a wargame, but the rules are easy enough to digest and gameplay moves along fairly well so that they won't be overwhelmed by it.

 
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If you analyze the mechanism and goal in a wargame conquer terrain and kill - then Chess and Go are wargames.

But a pure wargame is with a historical setting. Or sci fi with detailed physic laws and fantasy games based on well known alternate world (War of the Ring)

Your priority is Civ war. This is a good starting point. Not a strong cavalry as in Napoleonic = no rules for nappy tactics. No aircraft or heavy artillery.

You should first try to find Battle Cry. The cards simulates very well the delayed orders and lack of control.

And you must buy The Gamers Civil War Brigade series (CWB) from MMP. Not a beginners game. But they are cheap. And there is a nice introduction to new gamers of how to read and learn the rules. A pure wargame with attention to historical detail. There are no exceptions to rules so once you have learned the flow of game you can put the rules away. All rules makes sense in real life - no artificial rules for the game mechanism.

Even when struggle through your first turn and scratch your head, I am certain you will enjoy the ride up the learning curve.

http://www.multimanpublishing.com/theGamers/cwbs.php
 
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Erik Nicely
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DarrellKH wrote:


1) Is it a game?
2) Is it about war?

Yes to both equals "wargame".

Now, "conflict simulation", that's a different matter...


Exactly.
 
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civil war----- 'house divided', spi now sold by decision games 'civil war quads', 'across 5 aprils', and 'battlecry'.
WWII-----'onslaught' and any of the 'axis and allies' series.
 
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