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Subject: New to Wargames rss

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Gerald Gan
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Hi. I've been playing board games for awhile now, but only recently has my curiosity been piqued enough to try my hand at wargames. I purchased a copy of Martin Wallace's Waterloo because it was supposed to be a mixture of euro and war gaming, but am just a little intimidated by the long rulebook (the economic games I usually play don't go over 8 or 9 pages), hence I have yet to play it.

I was just wondering if Waterloo is the game I should play to "baptise" me into wargaming, or is there any other game(s) you'd recommend I should try just to get my feet wet? I was looking at games like Hammer of the Scots and A Most Dangerous Time (among others), but I don't really know what criteria's I should really start looking into (ease of play, ease of rules, etc.).

For themes... I really don't have a preference, except I don't like games based on World War I or World War II. Oh, and for the record, I don't like Risk.
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Lee Massey
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Hi, I have been playing Hammer of the Scots and i recommend it because the rulebook is short, a few pages, and the play is easy to learn. The strategy however is a little more complex! I rate it a 7.5!
 
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Michael Edwards
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I would suggest ease of play/rules. Depending on what some of the Grognards think, some war themed euros (waros) may not be wargames in their eyes.

In truth, many of the wargames I've been getting or playing of late are pretty light compared to what I used to play back in the day, but they fit with what I have time for.

For being introduced, especially if you are planning on teaching yourself, I'd look for games with easy of play/easy of rules. Note that some games ease you into more complex rules in steps, so those may work as well.

For wargames, I think the key is finding an area of military history that you have a particular interest in, and then looking for an introductory type game in that genre.

Hammer of the Scots is fairly easy to learn, and an excellent game.
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Gerald Gan
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Actually, time is another equation I forgot to mention. I usually don't have the time to play wargames that last for 5-6 or more hours... its not that my attention span is too short... just can't find the time with 2 kids. Hehehehe...
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Lance McMillan
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Check out the various wargames by Victory Point Games. They're all easy to learn, relatively cheap (in comparison to most other wargame titles), typically only take between 60-90 minutes to play, and have a lot of replay value. Also, several of their wargames are specifically designed for solitaire play.
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Mark Humphries
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I agree with Michael. It's best to start with the military history topic you're most interested in. Any of the members of Philboardgamers would be happy to introduce you to wargames, we have a very wide selection of wargames on just about every topic imaginable.
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Brandon Pennington
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Not liking long rules is really going to limit your possibilities if you ever want to delve further. I highly recommend Hold the Line as it is a quick playing game that really is a lot of fun. It might look like Memoir and Battlelore, but it really is a different game and you aren't bound by cards to determine your moves. Great components as well. Waterloo is actually a hefty wargame, while it may not be rules wise, it certainly is gameplay and strategy wise. I would hold it for later as it really is an excellent game. If you can get a hold of a copy of Bonaparte at Marengo it isn't very complex and is a wonderful game. Some might say to go for Napoleon's Triumph instead as it is still in print, but I find it has a much steeper learning curve than B@M.

Don't give up though if you hit some barriers when trying to learn wargames. I used to play 99% euros and really didn't have a ton of interest in wargames due to the rulebooks and complexity of some. I have since fallen head over heels for wargames and I would say my playing ratio now is about 80% wargames 20% euros, and that is only b/c I can't find more people to play wargames with.
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Gerald Gan
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Mark_WH wrote:
I agree with Michael. It's best to start with the military history topic you're most interested in. Any of the members of Philboardgamers would be happy to introduce you to wargames, we have a very wide selection of wargames on just about every topic imaginable.


Thanks Mark. I actually just missed your meet for this month because I failed to look at the events calendar early on.

Hammer of the Scots actually seems very interesting. It'd be nice to step into Wallace's shoes. Hehehehe...

A Most Dangerous Time seems to have a great theme as well. Same with Warriors of God. I have a chance to purchase all three... but I'm worried that I might not get to play them after purchasing them.

Quote:
Not liking long rules is really going to limit your possibilities if you ever want to delve further.


Its not that I dislike long rules... its just harder to digest everything in it and I'm afraid I'd get a bunch of rules wrong that'd ruin the game for me.
 
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John Bobek
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Try miniatures (watch what rules you pick, some may take forever to play and/or read!)

The rules for the ACW minis game are free on a file from The Games of War on this site.










That's a sampling. Games are VERY flexible. Unless you're into epics like I am, games can be easily under an hour!
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Gerald Gan
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I don't think I have the space or money to spend on collecting miniatures. And I never ended up liking Heroscape.
 
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John Bobek
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I don't think I have the space or money to spend on collecting miniatures. And I never ended up liking Heroscape.


I'm not a fan of heroscape either. Anyway, I started with the old toys I never threw out. If you're content to keep the scale small, it's not expensive and there are paper minis that dirt cheap. Believe me, it's doable if you have the desire!
 
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Mark Humphries
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Raiyfe wrote:

Thanks Mark. I actually just missed your meet for this month because I failed to look at the events calendar early on.

Hammer of the Scots actually seems very interesting. It'd be nice to step into Wallace's shoes. Hehehehe...

A Most Dangerous Time seems to have a great theme as well. Same with Warriors of God. I have a chance to purchase all three... but I'm worried that I might not get to play them after purchasing them.


We have all three of those, although I don't believe any of us has yet tried A Most Dangerous Time. BTW, in addition to the Yahoo Group, we've setup a Facebook group http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=61374458515 for the club.
 
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David Rauscher
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Apologies, but I can't give an opinion on Waterloo. As someone introduced to wargames just 2 years ago (converted to the dark side, one might say), I can think of a number of other good gateways where there is a bit of a fusion feel.

Quote:
I would recommend [GAMEID=21050Combat Commander] if you really want to get in the thick of it (not a long rulebook, but it takes a couple of plays before you really "get it"), which plays in 90 minutes or less. (some find the newer installation, Combat Commander: Pacific a little more user-friendly, and as each is a complete game, you can start with either). Combat Commander is often considered a little random for many die-hard grognards, but it's a really beautiful and clever system.

There's also [GAMEID=24800Conflict of Heroes], which also plays in under 2 hours (closer to an hour for the smaller scenarios), and is a little easier to grok. Both of these will introduce you to what is arguably the "core" of wargaming - hex and counter. I don't think that Tide of Iron or a Command and Colors game such as Memoir '44 are what you're looking for (the first being more an AT take on wargames, and the later being a very fun game series - I particularly enjoy Commands & Colors: Ancients - but probably a bit more abstract than is appropriate if you want to get a wargame experience).

Combat Commander has a card mechanism that players with a more Euro background often enjoy - it's as much about hand management as it is about squad-level tactics.


Edit: Instead of the above, I would recommend Bonaparte at Marengo. A beautiful and intellectual game, and fairly accessible. Also consider Command and Colours: Ancients. I would STRONGLY recommend Manoeuvre - it looks simplistic, but it's actually quite engaging. Very simple rules, but you can do a lot with them. Easy to learn, and everyone I've ever played with, regardless of background, has really enjoyed it. Also relatively abstract.

You'll find the difficulty is that, while there's a few good middle-weight WWII wargames, the hex-and-counter games for other eras tend to be relatively complex. Otherwise I'd recommend, e.g., Savannah. Perhaps Hold the Line would be appropriate, though I haven't played myself.

On the epic battle scale, I would recommend a good CDG, preferably one of the GMT titles. A think these are also better for those with a diverse background because they a moderated by a number the abstractions. I would suggest Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage (the recent 2007/2008 version) for two players, or Successors (third edition) for multi-player. Both of these are driven by play of cards and movement of armies on the grand scale.

Quote:
If you're ready for a step up from that on the grand tactical scale, World War II: Barbarossa to Berlin is good. Paths of Glory is a penultimate example, but would be really hard for someone new to the genre.


Edit: Ignore above: WWII and WWI games, respectively. For a slightly more advanced CDG, instead try For the People, a Civil War game.

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Vlad See
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raiyfe wrote:
Its not that I dislike long rules... its just harder to digest everything in it and I'm afraid I'd get a bunch of rules wrong that'd ruin the game for me.


Its usually ok to get the rules wrong the first time since the first game is a usually considered a learning session. Sometimes, you have to play the game a couple of times to internalize it especially the complex ones. Thats how I approach both euro and wargames rules.

Lancer4321 wrote:
Check out the various wargames by Victory Point Games. They're all easy to learn, relatively cheap (in comparison to most other wargame titles), typically only take between 60-90 minutes to play, and have a lot of replay value. Also, several of their wargames are specifically designed for solitaire play.


I have to agree with Lancer on the VPG titles, thats why I bought some of this stuff. Mark and I have some Victory Point Games titles including Waterloo 20. Rules are short (same lenth as other economic eurogames 8-9 pages, 10-12 pages with optional rules I think) and counter density is as stated only 20 counters. I played this game 3 times and lasted 2 hours at the most.

Aside from VPG titles, there are quite a number of easy to play wargames. Most if not all of the games mentioned and more are owned by various philboardgamer members. You could contact some of the guys and ask to play it one day.

Not liking WW1 and WW2 will also definitely limit your choice of wargames since the bulk of the games fall on these historical periods. Any reason for disliking to play these periods? Just curious...
 
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Donald Walsh
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There's a free print a play game called Napoleon at Waterloo. It's purpose was to be an intro wargame. Either the files are here on BGG or the links to all the files are.

Also, another good intro wargame is A House Divided. I don't know what your opinion may be on the American Civil War, though. AHD has a really playable basic ruleset and many advanced and optional rules that increase complexity.
 
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David Bohnenberger
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TGov wrote:
Not liking long rules is really going to limit your possibilities if you ever want to delve further.


There are LOTS of games with shorter, simpler rulesets than Wallace's Waterloo. I'm not sure I would recommend that game to a newbie.

I recommend any of the simpler "Block" games: Napoleon: The Waterloo Campaign, 1815 is a good one. It takes about an hour and has about 4 pages of rules (at least the old AH version does). Also Quebec 1759 and War of 1812 take no more than an hour and have about 4 pages of rules each.

Also try some of MMP's "IGS" series games: Storm Over Stalingrad, A Most Dangerous Time: Japan in Chaos, 1570-1584, and Warriors of God are all excellent.
 
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Jason Roach
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There are some good recommendations here for wargames for beginners, but I would not recommend “A Most Dangerous Time” by MMP. It is a lot more complex than one would think and the rules book needs work. Also, don’t go on page count alone because not all rules pages are created equal, (there is font size, number of columns, examples or lack there-of, etc…).


-Jason
 
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Brandon Pennington
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Jason Roach wrote:
There are some good recommendations here for wargames for beginners, but I would not recommend “A Most Dangerous Time” by MMP. It is a lot more complex than one would think and the rules book needs work. Also, don’t go on page count alone because not all rules pages are created equal, (there is font size, number of columns, examples or lack there-of, etc…).


-Jason


I would agree with that, [GAMEID=28181 has some of the easiest to understand and well written rules I have read in a wargame. I think its rules are about 20+ pages if I remember correctly, but those 20+ pages are much easier to read and grasp than many other shorter rulebooks out there.
 
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Mitch Willis
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A couple more recommendations for Hold the Line and Manoeuvre...
 
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James Palmer
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I would recommend any of the Commands and Colors games as an introduction to wargaming:

Commands & Colors: Ancients
Memoir '44
BattleLore

Are all good games.

For WWII tactical combat, an easy-to-get-into game with programmed instruction (so you only need to learn a couple pages of rules at a time) is Conflict of Heroes.

Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! – Russia 1941-42 is a fantastic game, and its sequel, Conflict of Heroes: Storms of Steel! – Kursk 1943, should be out within the next few weeks.
 
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Matt Thrower
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A few more to check out, all simple and playable in an evening:

Totensonntag
Napoleon: The Waterloo Campaign, 1815
Battle for Germany
A House Divided
España 1936

Might also be worth your while checking out these two geeklists of mine:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/22861
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/42898
 
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Gerald Gan
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Felkor wrote:
I would recommend any of the Commands and Colors games as an introduction to wargaming:

Commands & Colors: Ancients
Memoir '44
BattleLore

Are all good games.

For WWII tactical combat, an easy-to-get-into game with programmed instruction (so you only need to learn a couple pages of rules at a time) is Conflict of Heroes.

Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! – Russia 1941-42 is a fantastic game, and its sequel, Conflict of Heroes: Storms of Steel! – Kursk 1943, should be out within the next few weeks.


I've actually been reading up on Conflict of Heroes, but I'm not a big fan of the WWII theme. I know I'm in the minority when I say that though.

Hammer of the Scots seems very interesting and I'd love to try (and be taught) a game or two of it some time.

I'm saddened to hear that A Most Dangerous Time: Japan in Chaos [1570-1584] is not for beginners, because I really dig the theme of the game.

I looked at some VPG games, but I'm not really sure what to think of 'em. Hehehe...
 
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Lee Massey
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If you get Hammer of the Scots, you can play it on abovethefields.com. I have played numerous games on there!
 
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