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Subject: Block games rss

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Geoff King
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Can anyome recommend a couple of good ones? Wizard Kings looks pretty cool. I know there are some historical war games also, but I can't do a search for block games.
 
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David Boeren
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Wizard Kings is supposed to be pretty cool because you can buy different armies and mix them. On the other hand, it's kind of a generic game kit more than a game.

I would recommend Hammer of the Scots, which plays quickly and has a well integrated theme. Other smaller 2p block games that are commonly recommended are Liberty and Napoleon. There are some bigger block games that take more like 4-6 hours, but I would start with one of the smaller ones first.

Just bring up Hammer of the Scots and click on Columbia Games, they make almost all of the block games except for the recent Europe Engulfed, which is one of the biggest/longest block games.
 
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A.N. Onymous
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Quote:
So what exactly is a block game? What constitutes one?


In block games the gaming pieces are wooden blocks (normally about 2cm x 2cm x 1cm, but see http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/15839) that stand upright. Only one side of the block contains information about the gaming piece; this means the other player(s) do not know for certain what piece it is. See www.columbiagames.com for more info.
 
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A.N. Onymous
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Quote:
Can anyome recommend a couple of good ones?


See this geeklist:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist.php3?action=view&listi...
 
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Kasper Christiansen
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If you don't mind games that take a full day to complete, then Europe Engulfed from GMT is an excellent choice. It covers the entire European Theatre of Operations (ETO) during the second world war.
 
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Richard Irving
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GuyHill wrote:
Quote:
So what exactly is a block game? What constitutes one?


In block games the gaming pieces are wooden blocks (normally about 2cm x 2cm x 1cm, but see http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/15839) that stand upright. Only one side of the block contains information about the gaming piece; this means the other player(s) do not know for certain what piece it is. See www.columbiagames.com for more info.


A few other minor points:
- They are wargames--if the original questioner hadn't gathered that.
- The blocks not only provide fog of war, they provide an easy method "step losses" (i.e. units take hits get weaker and it takes several hits to eliminate them.)
- Typically they are relatively simple to learn as wargames go. The combat systems are similar from game to game: usually based on a roll # of dice equal to current strength, hit when certain nubers are rolled, stronger units hit on more numbers, faster units fire first.

Aesthetically, the blocks look nicer and less fiddly than wargames with counters, but usually have more depth than wargames with figures without being any harder to play.
 
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James Boyd
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Hammer of the Scots is an excellent game!
 
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Noel
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http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist.php3?action=view&listi...

I've enjoyed Hammer of the Scots. Europe Engulfed and EastFront are fantastic WWII games. Victoria Cross is loads of fun.
 
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Brent Lloyd
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Some of the block games are very good games. I have played many of them, not quite all of them, I am missing a few. Here is a quick synopsys if anybody is interested:

Hammer of the Scots: Great game, medium complexity, high flavour marks.
Rommel in the Desert: Masterpiece game, medium to high complexity.
Quebec 1759: Excellent introductory game for those new to block games.
War of 1812: Another good introductory game, one step higher than Quebec.
Liberty: Good game, same basic system as Hammer, American Revolution flavour.

Those are the ones that stand out for me, all for different reasons and different situations.

Cheers
 
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David K
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Venton wrote:
Can anyome recommend a couple of good ones? Wizard Kings looks pretty cool. I know there are some historical war games also, but I can't do a search for block games.


My first choice would be Hammer of the Scots. It's currently my favorite game. The rules are, for the most part, very well done. A typical game will run about 3 hours (give or take an hour). It's tense, exciting. In short: it's very fun.

Europe Engulfed: If it weren't for the length of the campaign game, this would probably be my favorite. As it stands, however, I can only realistically play this once or twice a year. Getting players to commit to a 20+ hour game, and maintaining that commitment, can be a chore (YMMV, of course). But, beyond that, it's the absolute best WWII grand strategy game I've played. There are scenarios that play much quicker, but they don't have the same *oomph* as the campaign.

Liberty: I just picked this up and played my first game. The jury is still out, but my initial impressions are: not as elegant, or as exciting as hammer -- but a damn fine game regardless. Also, my very limited experience suggests that the arrival of the French has more impact on the game than anything else -- though I know there's folks who would strongly disagree with that.

Napoleon & Rommel in the Desert: Both look fantastic, but I haven't had the chance to play 'em yet. I'm hoping the RitD gives all the excitement of EE, but in a much more condensed playing time.

Definitely keep an eye out for Crusader Rex -- same designer as Hammer of the Scots (Jerry Taylor). If it's anything like Hammer, it should be pretty awesome.

I would, loosely, define block games as: wargames with an emphasis on playability.

-V
 
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Geoff King
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Wow, thanks for all the response. Now to do some reading up on your suggestions.
I guess I could have been more specific about what I was looking for, but I wasn't even sure what's available. My friend and I have played mostly Civil War and 18th century battles so I'm leaning in that direction, although Hammer of the Scots sounds pretty cool.
I like the idea of using blocks for units instead of being able to see all the counters on the map.
 
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Kevin Nesbitt
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"Bonaparte at Marengo" not only plays great, it looks great too with its blocks being shaped like rectangles. Definitely recommended.
 
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Seth Owen
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If you're interested in the 18th Century, then Quebec 1759 is a good starter game. It's one of the less expensive block games, plays quickly and is eay to learn. Another good starter is War of 1812. Hammer of the Scots, Liberty, Napoleon and Pacific Victory are all just a little more involved than the first couple I mentioned, but still easy for a first-time player to learn. Bonaparte at Marengo is a good choice from another company, also roughly comparable to this group.
If you're interested in the American Civil War then Gettysburg: Badges of Courage, Bobby Lee and Sam Grant are good choices. They're more expensive than the other games I mentioned and also take longer to play, so they may not be the best palce to start. None of the block games are all that hard to learn to play, really, but I wouldn't recommend starting with the Front Series games.
 
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Geoff King
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So, after much reading and head scratching I went with Hammer of the Scots.
It has the highest rating for a Columbia game (except Rommel) and I don't think I've played any other games from this period in history.
I might get Bobby Lee next. I like CW games but my friend I usually play with doesn't go for the large scale strategic style. Bah, I'll get my bro or one of the other guys to play it.
Anyhow thanks for all the advice. Next weekend I hope to be busting some English heads.
 
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Tim Franklin
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This might be a silly question, but how do these games stand up if you don't have any particular background or strong interest in the conflict or period they're covering?

I'm not a military history buff (especially the hardware side that some people seem to be so into), although I'm not averse to picking up some history as I go along, but some of these block games do look intriguing.

Any recommendations for someone who's less wary of rules complexity (I digest technical manuals for fun shake ) and more of coming unstuck by not knowing who fought who where and with what?

TIA,
Tim.
 
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Seth Owen
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As a group the block games are definitely more "gamer's games" than simulations, although some of them are reasonable simulations as well. None of them are awful history, as one sometimes comes across with simpler wargames.
That said, probably the best "games" for those with just a passing (or less) interest in history are Hammer of the Scots, Liberty, Napoleon. Quebec 1759, Wizard Kings and War of 1812. While you might learn some history (except for WK, of ocurse), historical inclination i not required to get a lot of enjoyment out of the game. Rommel in the Desert, Pacific Victory and EastFront are all excellent games, too, but I think someone uninterested in the history may find some of the details tiresome.
 
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David K
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tim-pelican wrote:
This might be a silly question, but how do these games stand up if you don't have any particular background or strong interest in the conflict or period they're covering?


Actually, that didn't have any effect on me personally. I love military history, but had no particular attraction to the Wars of Scottish Independence. But, after playing Hammer, I spent a goodly amount of time on wikipedia reading about the conflict and the "players" involved. As Seth pointed out, the strength of block games is that they're, primarily, games -- the simulation aspects, while certainly present, appear to take a backseat to the former.

-V
 
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