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Richard III: The Wars of the Roses» Forums » General

Subject: Richard III or Hammer of the Scots to begin with? rss

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James Ridgway
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I've had my eye on Hammer of the Scots for a while as an intro to block wargaming, but I've recently followed Richard III as well. My question is, which game should I try first? I understand that many people could believe that it is a matter of taste and that both games have their merits. However, I still want people who have tried both to pick one or the other as a recommendation. I highly encourage posts explaining how the games feel different and why the poster prefers one/believes that one should be tried before the other. I fully expect to end up with both, if I like the first one (and I'm not too hard to please).

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Which game should I use as an introduction to block wargaming?
Richard III: War of the Roses
Hammer of the Scots
      43 answers
Poll created by Vetinari


Finally, I've read the rules to both, but I'm really interested in how intuitive the games are when played.
 
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I imagine it will be difficult to answer this question as Richard III is only just out and apart from playtesters hardly anyone has played it. However, I do think HoS is a better place to start. For one, it is a highly rated classic, and I think you are unlikely to go wrong in buying it. RIII is as yet an unknown quantity. Another thing is that, having looked at the map of RIII, I think this game is going to be a little more chaotic in terms of fronts and lines of battle as many English nobles have lands scattered all over the place and therefore can pop up here and there. HoS really rewards the capture of territory (as this is one of the ways of making Scottish nobles convert to your cause), while (from my reading of the rules) RIII is more about killing off your enemy, as there seems to be less benefit from holding certain territories. RIII, however, seems to be a shorter game, with 21 turns to HoS's 45. What I love about HoS is the way that very simple rules give a totally asymmetric conflict, with the Scots running a guerilla campaign against the heavy hammer of the English, who have to collect their powerful but unwieldy forces and use them effectively before the year finishes. I have a feeling that despite the slight differences in the block strengths RIII will not have this so much. That said, like you, I've only read the rules to RIII, so I really am speculating. I think HoS is a truly great game, and I'm really excited about RIII. However, I would definitely start with HoS.
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Chris Hansen
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Richard the Third has only been out for two days and many people who preordered haven't received their game yet so there may not be too many detailed opinions out there yet.

That being said, Hammer of the Scots is a great game and I highly recommend it. I'm expecting Richard the Third to be fun as well when it arrives but I haven't done much more that a cursory glance at the rules.
 
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James Ridgway
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This will probably end up on my Christmas list, so I'm fine if I don't get real feedback until November. I just wanted to start the thread before I forgot about it. That said, the feedback from Salo sila is excellent and exactly the type of perspective I was hoping to hear.
 
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Michael Edwards
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Well, in that case, you won't really have an answer for a few months. I own both, but haven't played Richard III yet. However, I'd currently recommend HotS primarily due to it having been out for a longer period of time.

Not only is it highly regarded vs. an unknown reception (as others have pointed out), but perhaps just as importantly, there's more resources available (user files, rules question posts, users who are familiar with the game and can assist).

Having said that, I'd recommend your interest in the subject matter be the driving force - pick the one you are most interested in. If you truly equally interested in both, then I'd pick HotS for the above reasons.
 
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nolan Guthrie
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I was able to play two campaigns of Richard III. It feels very different from Hammer. Your options are a little more numerous. Hammer is more straight forward. There is a definent front that happens in the middle of the board. I feel the Scotts are favored in games with experienced players. Richard III will definantly be a shorter game as their are only three turns as opposed to like seven or eight with Hammer. I fear for the replay ability of Richard. Bottom line I always recomend Hammer to start out with. Hammer of the Scotts is the classic we shall see with Richard III.
Nolan
 
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Bill J
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I consider Hammer of the Scots to be a classic. It has a proven track record and there is supposed to be a new, improved map coming out soon. Having said that, Richard III also looks promising. But then again, it is new and untested. I'd go with the known commodity.
 
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Eddie B
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Richard III seems, after reading the rules, to have a much shorter playing time. I also like the heirs system and the fact that nobles don't switch after they have been killed. Then again I have only read the rules for Richard III and have very little experience with HotS (played it once).
 
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Paul Franklin-Bihary
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I think that, for ease of play, Richard III would be your best choice for a 'first' block experience. It seems to be simpler than HotS. However, if you want to go REALLY simple, get Napoleon from Columbia games as an intro. block wargame. It is VERY easy to learn, and is great. It is very different in terms of play than either of the games you mention above, but a great intro to blocks. BUT...HotS is one of the best games of all time, so getting it wouldn't be a bad thing, either.

Man, am I ambivalent!
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Bill J
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The previous poster identified another classic block game - Napoleon. I'm not sure if this is something to consider or not, but I've really enjoyed the block games that use irregularly shaped areas or point to point movement on the map (Napoleon, HOTS, Crusader Rex). On the other hand, I've found hex based games to feel a little stilted in comparison (Athens and Sparta, Sam Grant, Pacific Victory). This may be because you have to factor in hex sides versus hex terrain and what not. This *may* be a factor to consider a first-time block gamer. Has anybody else had this experience?

[edit: not that this will be an issue for the OP since both HOTS and Richard III use areas]
 
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Paul Kemp
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I would also recommend Hammer of the Scots, but with time, Richard III may usurp the earlier game.

Seriously, Hammer of the Scots has a long history of play and is probably the best start. Richard III will develop, but in the meantime, you can't go wrong with the older established game.

Don't forget Crusader Rex, I played this for the first time three weekends ago. Also a great game. Played two games, I won one, lost one as the Saracens. Both games went right down to the wire. Point to Point map for this game.

Ahhh...why not get all three of Jerry's games, each is a fresh look on an excellent system.
 
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Eddie B
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I love Crusader Rex as well, but it is a little more complicated than the others (sallying, harrying, storming, retreating into a stronghold etc.) and wouldn't recommend it as a first block game. Then again the 3 game package might be a good idea (RIII, CR and HotS).
 
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James Ridgway
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Thanks again to everyone for the excellent discussion. I find this very helpful.
 
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Chris Hansen
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Pulinski wrote:
Ahhh...why not get all three of Jerry's games, each is a fresh look on an excellent system.

Don't forget Liberty: The American Revolution 1775-83. Not one of his games but uses the same system. It adds in a hex map, which none of the others has and focuses on the American Revolution.
 
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Krishna Sampath
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I haven't tried Richard III yet, so I have little to add to the discussion, but thanks for letting me know about the game! I love Hammer of the Scots, and Richard III looks intriguing...

-K
 
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