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Subject: Recommendation for an Operational noob on a 100-ish dollar budget rss

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David Jackman
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Hey hey!

So, my dabbling in wargames thus far has consisted of:

Europe Engulfed (we did a straight 18 hour session with 3 players - and it was actually fun for the first 14 or 15, which is quite a feat! )

Paths of Glory (Someday i'll win as the CP)

and Conflict of Heroes (No one can stop berserking pioneers)

Very satisfied with all three. But, having two strategic games and one tactical, i feel like an operational level game is in order. Something more complex would actually be welcomed, as i found all of these games not too difficult to learn.

Bonus points for something that isnt WWII, but it seems like that is where the games are.

And i would like to only spend around 100 bucks. If its a REALLY good one, i'd spend more, probably. Hell, ill probably spend more anyway. Who am i kidding?
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I think you'll find a lot of good gaming to be had out of EastFront II, and it is right at the $100 mark.

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Andrew Young
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Have you looked into the Standard Combat Series?

Not all games in the series are operational but many are- division, corp sized units, etc. And the titles range from WWI up to Korea (I think).

Andy
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Sean McCormick
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I'll recommend several from different time periods:

The Rise of the Roman Republic This is a bit fiddly at points, but is actually a very solid operational system covering ancient warfare. I tend to prefer playing Pax Romana, which is more abstract but a smoother experience.

OSG puts out a number of very highly regarded Napoleonic operational-level games, though I haven't played any of them myself.

Battle Above the Clouds The Great Campaigns of the American Civil War is one of the great series in wargames. They're not complex at all, but the maps are gorgeous, the games are incredibly fun, and the scale is the most interesting to simulate the ACW at.

There are a number of WW1 campaign games out there now, as the subject matter is hot. I think Ted Racier's Clash of Giants games at GMT are at the lower spectrum of complexity, while there is a big monster game on the 1914-1915 battles in the east that is as complex as anything out there (the name is eluding me at the moment, but GMT produced it).

For WW2, the big heavyweights are the EFS and OCS systems, both of which are excellent, but I'll recommend instead that you check out Mark Simonitch's '42/'43/'44 series, which are a bit lower complexity but absolutely terrific designs. The Caucasus Campaign just released, and it has relatively light counter density and covers a fairly off-the-beaten path campaign, so you might want to check it out.
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Ken Feldman
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Battle Above the Clouds is the latest game in the best series covering Operational level campaigns in the American Civil War, the Great Campaigns of the American Civil War. It's in print, so you should be able to find it for less than $100. Several other games in the GCACW series also sell for less than $100. Two of the games, Roads to Gettysburg and On to Richmond, can be very expensive, but with the other six, you have a lot of scenarios and campaign games available.
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Andrea Olivieri
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Mark Simonitch is one of the best designer for operational game about WW2. One of his game (or maybe one of the upcoming) is a good choise.

Or you can pick up one of the OCS game series. Probably the most famouse operational series around, always on WW2. (i don't really like this series in some aspect but it's still one of the best around)

Clash of is an operational game about 7 years war that i'm goind to play and after reading the rulebook seem really fine. It's a 2-4 wargames so you could play it as a multiplayer game also.
At least is one non-ww2 choise. :-)

About WW1 there's the The Great War in Europe: Deluxe Edition that's a quite good game.
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Leo Zappa
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The Russian Campaign (fourth and fifth editions) A deluxe treatment of one of the best operational-scale wargames of all time, and within your budget. If you have an interest in the Eastern Front, you owe yourself the chance to play one of the best games ever made on the subject.
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Andrea Olivieri
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desertfox2004 wrote:
The Russian Campaign (fourth and fifth editions) A deluxe treatment of one of the best operational-scale wargames of all time, and within your budget. If you have an interest in the Eastern Front, you owe yourself the chance to play one of the best games ever made on the subject.


That's a classic, but it's old! Probably not wath a new wargame players is looking for. I start play wargame 2 years ago and when i try this one seem too me a really old design and i've not so much fun with this.
 
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Arlecchino wrote:
desertfox2004 wrote:
The Russian Campaign (fourth and fifth editions) A deluxe treatment of one of the best operational-scale wargames of all time, and within your budget. If you have an interest in the Eastern Front, you owe yourself the chance to play one of the best games ever made on the subject.


That's a classic, but it's old! Probably not wath a new wargame players is looking for. I start play wargame 2 years ago and when i try this one seem too me a really old design and i've not so much fun with this.


I'd disagree heartily, but debating about which games are the best wargames is half the fun of being wargamers in the first place!

oh, and by the way, you're wrong!

PS - if the OP wants to try it for himself while spending only a fraction of the money of the current L2 Games version, I'd recommend just going on eBay to pick up a copy of the Avalon Hill original version, which typically goes for around $20. The Russian Campaign
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Andrea Olivieri
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Yeah and try to don't die after he see how ugly are the counters and the map!
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Brandon Pennington
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If you like the eastern front then Eastfront II or Red Star Rising are good choices.
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Jason Russ
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OCS was mentioned above and I'll second that. Here's a link to the latest: Baltic Gap

I think Battle Above the Clouds is an excellent recommendation as well.

While I haven't played it yet, The Battle for Normandy looks quite good.

And just to throw out a monster, here's a biggie at the "grand tactical" scale which is really more like operational scale than tactical: Highway to the Reich (third edition)


Cheers,
Jason
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Peter
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East Front series from GMT, Kiev to Rostov is a classic Operational wargame for less than 100% and it's a great system from my point of view.
 
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Sam Carroll
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If you're looking for a smaller operational-level game, you couldn't go wrong with FAB: The Bulge, especially since you enjoyed Europe Engulfed. Of course, it's WW2, but then most entries on this thread have been.
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David Jackman
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So many interesting looking suggestions! Ive been reading up on your links, and many of them look rather impressive. Looks like OCS would be great, but i dont know if i can swing 200+ dollars. Plus, i'd have to get a new table for my basement (i never thought id say my six foot long table wouldnt be big enough for a game :P )

Still, id like to try something more on the monster-esque side of things, and hex-and-counter is something that looks interesting.

Are there any African theater WWII hex-and-counters more in the 100 dollar range?
 
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Max
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leroy43 wrote:
I think you'll find a lot of good gaming to be had out of EastFront II, and it is right at the $100 mark.

+1
 
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BAH!! Charlatans! Only Andrew Y came remotely close. Go get yourself Afrika II, part of the Standard Combat Series from MMP. No need to kiss my rings, a simple thanks will suffice.

Seriously, it's really good.
 
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John Bobek
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Time to expand your horizons and add miniatures. Sounds expensive, right? Not really. The Games of War has 39 sets of rules for less than many single sets.

Minis? Go to juniorgeneral.org and print whatever you need on cardstock for free. For the cost of an ink cartridge, cardstock and one book, you've added unlimited wargames and scenarios!cool





 
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desertfox2004 wrote:
The Russian Campaign (fourth and fifth editions) A deluxe treatment of one of the best operational-scale wargames of all time, and within your budget. If you have an interest in the Eastern Front, you owe yourself the chance to play one of the best games ever made on the subject.


Ironically, I'd not consider this an operational scale game at all. It covers a whole theatre of war from start to beginning; each scenario includes dozens of operations by both sides. It's almost purely strategic level.
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M St
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Saan wrote:
Still, id like to try something more on the monster-esque side of things, and hex-and-counter is something that looks interesting.

Are there any African theater WWII hex-and-counters more in the 100 dollar range?


I would look for a copy of The Legend Begins; it's relatively recently out of print and many stores would have a copy. It's not as detailed as OCS but has more detail than Afrika II (which, with monthly turns if I recall correctly, is again mainly strategic [theater] level). Make sure you get the (boxed) 3rd or Deluxe version. The smaller historical battles in the desert (Operation Battleaxe, Operation Crusader etc.) make nice one-evening scenarios. And you can do the campaign if you want.
 
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Doug Epperson
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I know this is a WWII Campaign Game, but if you want an outstanding Monster Game that contains Hex Based System and will fill up your newly acquired gaming table, try the newly released GMT game NORMANDY.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/32838/the-battle-for-...





 
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Leo Zappa
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M St wrote:
desertfox2004 wrote:
The Russian Campaign (fourth and fifth editions) A deluxe treatment of one of the best operational-scale wargames of all time, and within your budget. If you have an interest in the Eastern Front, you owe yourself the chance to play one of the best games ever made on the subject.


Ironically, I'd not consider this an operational scale game at all. It covers a whole theatre of war from start to beginning; each scenario includes dozens of operations by both sides. It's almost purely strategic level.


Depends upon your definition of operational. I generally stick to the US Army definition:

"Operational - the operational level of war uses available military resources to attain strategic goals within a theater of war. Most simply, it is the theory of larger unit operations. It also involves planning and conducting campaigns." US Army Field Manual FM 100-5 Operations

FM 100-5 also goes on to define strategic level of war:

Military strategy employs the armed forces of a nation to secure objectives of national policy by applying force or the threat of force. US Army Field Manual FM 100-5 Operations


Using Avalon Hill games as examples, think of it this way:

Strategic: Third Reich
Operational: The Russian Campaign

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David Jackman
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VonEpp wrote:
I know this is a WWII Campaign Game, but if you want an outstanding Monster Game that contains Hex Based System and will fill up your newly acquired gaming table, try the newly released GMT game NORMANDY.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/32838/the-battle-for-...







Wow that game looks amazing. Those session reports are incredible! id have to buy ANOTHER six foot table to hold it, but it looks like it might be worth it :O

The Legend Begins looks like a good time, and is cheap too. Hrm...
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James Lowry
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desertfox2004 wrote:
M St wrote:
desertfox2004 wrote:
The Russian Campaign (fourth and fifth editions) A deluxe treatment of one of the best operational-scale wargames of all time, and within your budget. If you have an interest in the Eastern Front, you owe yourself the chance to play one of the best games ever made on the subject.


Ironically, I'd not consider this an operational scale game at all. It covers a whole theatre of war from start to beginning; each scenario includes dozens of operations by both sides. It's almost purely strategic level.


Depends upon your definition of operational. I generally stick to the US Army definition:

"Operational - the operational level of war uses available military resources to attain strategic goals within a theater of war. Most simply, it is the theory of larger unit operations. It also involves planning and conducting campaigns." US Army Field Manual FM 100-5 Operations

FM 100-5 also goes on to define strategic level of war:

Military strategy employs the armed forces of a nation to secure objectives of national policy by applying force or the threat of force. US Army Field Manual FM 100-5 Operations


Using Avalon Hill games as examples, think of it this way:

Strategic: Third Reich
Operational: The Russian Campaign

While that may be technically correct, that is not how I think of them either. For me, strategic is anything where the game is... self contained. In Russian Campaign, there's no 'edge of the world' problems, the edges are either neutral areas, or you've go so far as for further progress to not really be any more meaningful (past the Urals, for example), and it covers the theater from start to finish. Operational, on the other hand, is confined to a single operation or campaign (Operation Barbarossa, is kind of stretching the point, since it covers the same ground, but the amount of time covered is still very different, Operation Saturn and Case Blue are much better examples however).

Basically, operations & campaigns are operational, entire theaters are strategic.
 
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David Jackman
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Rindis wrote:
desertfox2004 wrote:
M St wrote:
desertfox2004 wrote:
The Russian Campaign (fourth and fifth editions) A deluxe treatment of one of the best operational-scale wargames of all time, and within your budget. If you have an interest in the Eastern Front, you owe yourself the chance to play one of the best games ever made on the subject.


Ironically, I'd not consider this an operational scale game at all. It covers a whole theatre of war from start to beginning; each scenario includes dozens of operations by both sides. It's almost purely strategic level.


Depends upon your definition of operational. I generally stick to the US Army definition:

"Operational - the operational level of war uses available military resources to attain strategic goals within a theater of war. Most simply, it is the theory of larger unit operations. It also involves planning and conducting campaigns." US Army Field Manual FM 100-5 Operations

FM 100-5 also goes on to define strategic level of war:

Military strategy employs the armed forces of a nation to secure objectives of national policy by applying force or the threat of force. US Army Field Manual FM 100-5 Operations


Using Avalon Hill games as examples, think of it this way:

Strategic: Third Reich
Operational: The Russian Campaign

While that may be technically correct, that is not how I think of them either. For me, strategic is anything where the game is... self contained. In Russian Campaign, there's no 'edge of the world' problems, the edges are either neutral areas, or you've go so far as for further progress to not really be any more meaningful (past the Urals, for example), and it covers the theater from start to finish. Operational, on the other hand, is confined to a single operation or campaign (Operation Barbarossa, is kind of stretching the point, since it covers the same ground, but the amount of time covered is still very different, Operation Saturn and Case Blue are much better examples however).

Basically, operations & campaigns are operational, entire theaters are strategic.


I just always considered strategic to be situations where your goal is to 'win the war', where operational games the goal would be more specific.
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