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Subject: Plz review my first wargame big purchase rss

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Brandon Pennington
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Looks like a pretty good set to start with IMO.
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Can't go wrong with any of those choices.

Storms of Steel is supposedly excellent. I have Awakening the Bear and adore it. I probably spent another $70 bucks on pimping my game with lamination, card sleeves, a binder with rules, scenarios, and player aids printed on card stock, etc.

A Victory Denied - Don't know much about it, but it is well liked.

ASK SK#1 - No better way to taste the whole ASL thing. Great way to see if it's your thing or not while still getting a nice wargame for the money.

The nice thing about your list, from what I can see, is that you've picked a variety of game mechanics for each one to find out which you prefer. The difficulty for each is different as well so you can gauge that. Finally, you've picked games with excellent trade / resell value so if you don't like one you can quickly and easily swap it.

Excellent choices and welcome to the geek.
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Leon Major
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ASL SK#1 seems like a lot to chew on for your first wargame. It is also a tactical level game as is Conflict of Heroes. As far as solo play, neither Conflict or Victory is a solo game. I guess they could be played solo but playing your first wargame solo when it is not meant to be solo may not be a whole lot of fun. For a solo game I would suggest looking at Dan Verresen Games(DVG) or Victory Point Games. They both have excellent solo games that are not to complicated. Keep Conflict on your list for a 2 player game.
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Bob
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Very good choices. You should be happy with these games. The hard part "may" be finding a F2F player in your area... gulp

cool
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June Hwang Wah
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Looks like a pretty decent list.

COH: No experience here, but it has received pretty good reviews.

A Victory Denied. An operational level game. Each unit represent a division of thousands of men and equipment. Your units attack enemy units in adjoining (adjacent) hexes. I have not played this as well, but its predecessor, A Victory Lost is good. I believe both games share pretty much the same mechanics. The chit-pulling mechanic makes for wonderful solo play. Will need more than 2 hours, though.

ASLSK1: A good introduction to tactical level games. Each counter represents 1-10 men. At this level, you get to shoot at things across several hexes, so things like line of sight, etc kick in. I hope you like it enough to move on to the old Squad Leader, or even ASL.
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Colin Hunter
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Quote:
Thanks for the additional info. Question, if I do like the ASL starter and I decide to up it to the big boy version, how much playability is there for the Beyond Valor? The thought of spending $140 for a giant rule binder and 1 game makes me a bit nervous.
There is no reason you will necessarily need to get the full ASL, remember there are still another two starter kits and aa scenario pack in addition. Having said that ASL has tons and tons of missions, even beyond valor will give you tons of stuff as well.
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J.L. Robert
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Conflict of Heroes is a good start for any new wargamer. It's not overburdening with rules, and it's structured to be taught in sections.

The other two may seem confusing at first. There are a lot of rules hitting you at once. But if you can hang in there, they're both good games.
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Aaron Silverman
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ponce wrote:
ASL SK#1 seems like a lot to chew on for your first wargame. It is also a tactical level game as is Conflict of Heroes. As far as solo play, neither Conflict or Victory is a solo game. I guess they could be played solo but playing your first wargame solo when it is not meant to be solo may not be a whole lot of fun. For a solo game I would suggest looking at Dan Verresen Games(DVG) or Victory Point Games. They both have excellent solo games that are not to complicated. Keep Conflict on your list for a 2 player game.


CoH: Storms of Steel actually has a few solitaire scenarios. Ambush! they ain't, but they're fine for learning.

I agree that ASL SK is pretty meaty for a first wargame. CoH is at the same scale but much simpler. It's up to you how detailed you want to get, though -- those systems are different enough (not just in level of complexity) that there's plenty of room for both. And both are definitely worth trying.

I haven't played A Victory Denied, so I can't comment on that.
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Justus Pendleton
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I'd buy a single game, say COH, and play it a couple of times. Then you'll have an idea about what you do and don't like about it, which will inform further purchases.

There's no need to buy multiple games yet when you have zero idea what you do and don't like in the genre.

edit: Also, you say time period doesn't matter but all 3 games you chose are WW2. You may find after playing one that you're not that keen on WW2.
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Alan Lynott
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COH: Storms of Steel - I can't comment on this game, but it gets great reviews and I believe the components are excellent.

A Victory Denied - excellent game, and great for both solitaire and f2f play. This was my first chit-pull game.

ASL SK#1 - excellent introduction to the world of ASL. If you like it try and get your hands on SK#2 as soon as possible, I believe the SK#3 reprint is due later this year, and the expansion pack is due out as well.

If you like late war games on the eastern front I would also consider trying Red Storm over the Reich - excellent game well executed. A really desperate game for the germans trying to stem the red army.

Cheers, Al.
 
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James Lowry
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GeneralDelivery wrote:
Thanks for the additional info. Question, if I do like the ASL starter and I decide to up it to the big boy version, how much playability is there for the Beyond Valor? The thought of spending $140 for a giant rule binder and 1 game makes me a bit nervous.

ASLSK#1 has two boards and six scenarios. BV has 24 scenarios and 10 boards. (More boards means more varied situations because of different terrain combinations.) Also, several scenarios from ASL Classic (available free on MMP's site) can be played with just BV, boosting the count towards 30. This is still less per dollar than the SK, but BV will continue paying off as you get Journals and other products (the mass of counters is not to be underestimated).
 
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It's always a good idea for an aspiring wargamer to start out with a card-driven game, e.g. Washington's War or Twilight Struggle.
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Michael Klein
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I am not sure if I would really buy CoH and ASL SK1, since they both are tactical WW2 games, and I would prefer to have more variety to get an idea what I really like. How about "Washington's War" or "A House Divided" as an alternative to one of them?
 
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Andrea Olivieri
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What you really miss is a CDG, like Hannibal or Washington wars.
Of the two tactical game that you take, the best is for sure ASLK#1 but the easiest for a new player is COH.

Ok if you enjoy wargames, next go for a CDG. ;-)
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nice! I really like the ASLSK series. ASLSK hits my WW2 tactical game sweet spot! Don't fall prey to the fallacy that it is mandatory to graduate up to the full-blown ASL!
 
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Aleksander R. Nordgarden Rødner
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Keep in mind, I have not played any of your picks.

My two cents: Grab A house divided as well. It's a great game, and a lot of fun.
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Kent Reuber
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Both ASLSK and COH are squad level WWII games. You might want to choose something slightly different in scale. Maybe a game from the Panzer Grenadier series or Panzerblitz: Hill of Death which are platoon level games.
 
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Michael Zehnal
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I like your choices.

ASLSK is a great choice and the beauty of the Starter Kits is nothing needs to be unlearned if you ever graduate up to ASL. ASL justs adds on rules. The ASL community is pretty active and they encourage new players at all of their events.

Hope you find opponents, at least you are not in North Dakota.
 
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Richard Maurer
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I've heard good things about Conflict of Heroes and Victory Denied. The ASL series just doesn't do it for me though.
 
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Stephen Harper
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ASL I would stay away from. As many others above have said, it is very similar to COH in scale. It is really a whole separate way of life, as you have started to consider by mentioning the $140 price tag just to start.

Again as others have recommended, select a CDG, which will most likely be at a more strategic level. In addition to others already mentioned, if you are interested in the American Civil War take a look at For the People, which to my mind protrays that conflict extremely well. The current GMT 2006 edition is a third revision, and the designer Mark Herman (also designed We the People and Empire of the Sun) has stated that it has evolved into its final form, and its rules are extrememly clean and clear.

For that matter, if you prefer WWII you might want to consider the before-mentioned Empire of the Sun, which is a CDG strategic treatment of the Pacific war. It has gone through a 2nd revision, so again the rough spots have been smoothed out.
 
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Stephen Harper
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I do not have A House Divided, so I cannot comment on it. However, I can the others.

For the People and Hannibal: Rome vs Carthage use the same CDG system, whose ancestor is Mark Herman's We the People. Both are strategic-level games, one portraying the American Civil War, and the other the Second Punic War. Mark designed For the People, with the latest edition (2006) published by GMT, and it is still in print. Rome vs Carthage was designed by Mark Simonitch, but it is based upon Mark's system. I believe it was originally published by either Avalon Hill or Victory Games, and was recently reprinted by Valley Games. In this system, movement is point to point, and each player is dealt so many cards in a turn, and they alternate playing a card and acting upon it. For each card played, you can either play it as an event or as an operations card, with the latter allowing one to three operations as determined by the operations number on the card (1, 2, or 3). For the People is the more complicated of the two; there are more different types of operations, movement is more varied (three types: Army, Corps, Division), a bigger deck of cards, and longer playing time. One big difference is that in For the People combat is resolved with a CRT and die roll modifiers, whereas Hannibal uses another set of cards to resolve battles. If you go on the GMT website, you can download the rules for For the People and get a feel for what I am trying to describe. I am not sure if you can view rulesets on the Valley Games site, as I have not visited their site in a few years.

Commands & Colors: Ancients is a game designed by Richard Borg, and IMHO is the most successful of all his games based upon his C&C system. Other C&C games he has designed are Battle Cry, Memoir 44, Battlelore, and a soon to be published Napoleonic game through GMT. C&C is strictly a battlefield game system. In C&C Ancients, a given scenario will depict a famous ancient battle, such as Cannae or Raphia, and each army has a fixed setup, one on each side of the board. Movement is hex-based. Each side is dealt so many cards, and this can vary to represent for example better command/control on one side, with the better side getting more cards. The battle then proceeds with first one player and then the other playing a card. As each player plays a card and performs his action, he then draws another from the deck. The units in C&C Ancients are blocks with stickers, with the sticker indicating the type of troop, such as slingers, archers, light infantry, auxiliary infantry, medium infantry, heavy infantry, warrior infantry, elephants, chariots (three different kinds), and cavalry (archer, light, medium, and heavy). The blocks with sticker illustration of troop types gives the game a "miniatures" feel. The battlefield is divided into three sections, left, center, right, and the card played will limit you to which section you can activate units and also how many. Compared to the two games above, C&C Ancients plays quick, in an hour or less. You can go to the GMT site and download these rules as well to see if the system appeals to you.

Incidentally, to get a good feel for how the C&C system plays, you can go to gametableonline.com, which offers Battle Cry (American Civil War battles) as one of its games that you can play online against other players or against the AI. It costs about $5 to purchase access to the game, but play is unlimited after that. I have played about 600 games so far. A game usually takes 30 minutes or less to finish.
 
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Aaron Silverman
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If "above average solo play" is still a criterion, then I wouldn't bother with a CDG (including the C&C games).

Unless you're interested in playing them against online opponents, in which case go for it.
 
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James Lowry
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Well, first of all, A House Divided is not a CDG. It is a simple, strategic area/point-to-point movement game with no cards.

It's also a classic of 'elegant design'. I highly recommend it, though the full game does go a bit long.

I haven't played For the People or Hannibal, but they are 'true' CDGs that feature the Ops/event choice that many people consider to be the definition of the type. Hannibal and Washington's War are both simpler ones in the genre, and are very popular and in print.

CC:A is a tactical game of Ancient battles that uses cards to determine what actions you can take. It's a very fun lightweight game, and once you're in practice takes about an hour. Also highly recommended.
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Alan Lynott
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GeneralDelivery wrote:
Thanks for all the suggestions. So far I am still liking my list but I do agree about needing to add a CDG. Besides era, what are the main differances between For the People, A House Divided, Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage, and Commands & Colors: Ancients? What are the pros and Cons of each game?


I have yet to play a CDG, though I'm currently eyeing up Paths of Glory to try as my first game of this type.
 
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Paul Aceto
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Re your original three: I have not played A Victory Denied but I have played A Victory Lost, which uses a similar system. AVL is a fantastic game which is a great entry to grognard-dom. It plays well solitaire, has a great rule book and is an exciting, tense situation. If AVD is the same, then I'd go for for it. Or, perhaps consider finding AVL instead.

I played a couple of scenarios of CoH: Awakening the Bear, and for some reason I was not as taken with the game as others have been. Plus, it's hard to play many of the scenarios solitaire. Storm of Steel may be different.

I've got ASLKSK, and have not tried it. I used to play ASL, which was fun but took an enormous investment in time. ASL is such an important part of the hobby, the SKs are probably worth picking up just to see what all the fuss is about and to give youself some wargaming cred.

Some other suggestions: Worthington Games has a bunch of solid offerings that would be great for new wargamers. Hold the Line (battles from American Revolution, plus an expansion that adds battle from the French and Indian War) is fun and has gotten great reviews. They also have a new WWII series with campaigns in Egypt and Sicily, and some card driven games.

Someone already mentioned Victory Point Games. They do have a great line of solitaire games (my favorite: Soviet Dawn, on the Russian Civil War and after). Others cover Rorke's Drift (Zulus), French and Indian War, Barbarossa Campaign (a fantastic game), and American Civil War. Plus they have a line of ancients and Napoleonic games that have gotten good reviews. The components are very good for such a small company and low price.

Someone else also mentioned Panzergrenadier. This is my favorite gaming system. It's platoon level rather than squad level, so it plays a bit differently than games like ASL. It's less bloody, and requires some careful planning and preparation to take your objectives. They have an intro game called Airborne, but I think the best intro (and one of the best modules) is Battle of the Bulge II: Elsenborn Ridge. The nice thing about the sysytem is that the rules are short and solid, and if you like the system, then there are modules covering all kinds of WWII situations (from Italians on the Russian Front to Australians fighting the Japanese in New Guinea).

Finally, if you have not done so already you should check out www.consimworld.com, which has folders discussing all kinds of games, plus a very active marketplace where you might be able to pick up some of these titles for a very low price. Whenever I'm looking for a game, whether new or out of print, I post a Want to Buy message on the marketplace folder, and usually get 3-4 offers for much below retail price. One of the (sad?) things about this hobby is that many of us buy way more games than we could ever play, and periodically need to trim down our collections to make room for more.




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