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Subject: Pen and Paper wargaming rss

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Fabian Schneider
Germany
Hannover
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I understand that seeing the war physically and three-dimensionally unfold in front of your is one of the most rewarding parts of wargaming. At the same time, however, it brings with it enormous needs for space, time and money investment.

Now what I would like to ask all those educated wargamers out there would be this - do you know any "pen and paper"-based wargames, i.e. games which can be played with just the equipment your typical roleplayer would have at home (i.e. dice, pencils, pens of different color, paper, etc.). I am looking for games with a similar approach as Vol de l'aigle for one, which I understand has the player mark their troop movements on an authentic period map, as well as Victory by any Means, which has a more strategic and political approach and resolves all its battles similar to a role playing game.
Maybe there are games which elaborate on that mechanic?

Any pointers would be really appreciated!
 
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Russ Williams
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Wrocław
Dolny Śląsk
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El Salvador is a small solitaire wargame with paper maps you draw on as you play. There were others in the series as well.
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Bob Roberts

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Go here and download all the back issues of the Nugget, and the Wargames Developments handbook, and take a look at the section on Matrix games linked on the front page towards the bottom:

http://www.wargamedevelopments.org/index.htm

They run a lot of different style wargames, and some come very close to what you are describing, plus the Nuggets are an invaluable source of gaming ideas and information.

You could also do a Kriegsspiel type game with little more than pen and paper.

Hope that helps.
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J.L. Robert
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Sherman Oaks
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Battleship was a pen and paper game before plastic pegs and gridboard.
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Dr ?
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J.L.Robert wrote:
Battleship was a pen and paper game before plastic pegs and gridboard.


My late grandpa and Navy vet of WWII taught me this version of the game before I was aware of a plastic version! I wish I would have asked him when he learned it...
 
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Kent Reuber
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San Mateo
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Almost any miniatures wargame can be played with paper and pencil if you're willing to make pieces and the maps.

One system that might adapt well to converting to paper and pencil is the Peter Pig "Rules for the Common Man" system. Many of these rules divide the table into grid and have units fighting to advance from one square to an adjacent square. Terrain is abstracted so that each grid section is either closed (contains significant limiting terrain) or open.
 
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Pelle Nilsson
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Linköping
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When I was maybe 13-14 years old (late 1980's that is), I had some experience with RPGs and Risk, and had seen some hex-and-counter wargames, plus reading a magazine article I remember about Axis & Allies and its production system. From that knowledge I designed a pen-and-paper wargame of some sort. I don't think I ever wrote down any rules, except maybe for a table of prices for things you could buy/build. A map of a made-up continent was drawn on a piece of paper, with numbered areas. Each player (and that means me and my not-really-happy-to-play brother) got a starting territory and some resources. Each player also had a hidden paper used to keep track of production and armies. It was a very heavy fog of war since you never had any units visible on the map. Each turn each player could use factories in his areas to build units (infantry, tanks, fighters, etc... ww2 stuff) or new factories, or defensive structures (for a specific border iirc). You could also declare attacks using either ground or air (or naval, maybe, in some later version) units against some enemy area. There were paratroopers and missiles and radar stations... It is very easy to invent all sorts of stuff when you don't need to draw any graphics for them or anything. Combat system were probably some simple Risk-influenced brute-force kind of not so pretty mechanics.

I also remember that it didn't work very well at all. It is very true that game design is not about adding things, but about removing them. It was a mess of unit types etc, but in the end I remember the most cost-effective thing was to build infantry, factories for building more infantry, and then we spent most of our time with book-keeping moving infantry units towards the front, which was not very funny since each turn you produced a large (increasing) number of units and then had to update the number of units in each area along the way, and possibly spread them out to different areas along the border. Eventually there were no point trying to attack at all... sort of like ww1 at its worse. Then we got bored and never played it again.

Maybe the basic idea could work somehow, but more likely done on a computer or some mobile gaming device ... I found on an old floppy some code I wrote in the early 90's trying to implement a game like that for MSDOS, although the project had been abandoned at a very early stage (I can't even remember it).
 
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Ethan McKinney
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El Segundo
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monsterfurby wrote:
I understand that seeing the war physically and three-dimensionally unfold in front of your is one of the most rewarding parts of wargaming. At the same time, however, it brings with it enormous needs for space, time and money investment.


Or, you could buy small, short, cheap games like those produced by Fiery Dragon Productions or the old Metagaming Microgames.
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J.L. Robert
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monsterfurby wrote:
I understand that seeing the war physically and three-dimensionally unfold in front of your is one of the most rewarding parts of wargaming. At the same time, however, it brings with it enormous needs for space, time and money investment.


What I'd like to know is how this is different from any other type of boardgame?
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