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Subject: Need some recommendations for my first wargame! rss

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MFK
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I own Memoir '44 and love it, but I want a REAL wargame now (not sure if Twilight Struggle counts...I'm looking for combat). Ideally, it would play well with 2 in under 4 hours. I've been looking at Combat Commander: Europe, but I'm a little concerned with the 120-minute playing time as I don't want something even remotely watered down. Any suggestions? I'd be willing to try something on the PC, too...
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Enrico Viglino
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'Real' is relative. I'd call Combat Commander a
wargame (haven't seen Memoir, so there's no
comparison).

One safe choice, to make sure you're not 'watered down'
is probably ASL. Plenty of under 2 hour scenarios in it.
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olivier R
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It is quite a leap from Memoir44 to ASL...
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Enrico Viglino
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pepe le moko wrote:
It is quite a leap from Memoir44 to ASL...


Well, Case Blue seemed a bit longer than
he wanted....
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olivier R
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ASL it is then.

Might I suggest something with banzai charges, kunai, caves, amphibious attacks and island fighting?
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rexbinary
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Combat Commander: Europe is not watered down and would be a great choice in my opinion. Other recommendations would be Fighting Formations: Grossdeutschland Motorized Infantry Division, Advanced Squad Leader: Starter Kit #1, and maybe Conflict of Heroes: Storms of Steel! – Kursk 1943.
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MFK
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pepe le moko wrote:
ASL it is then.

Might I suggest something with banzai charges, kunai, caves, amphibious attacks and island fighting?


Suggest away!

Are there any good PC wargames that play like board wargames?
 
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Philip Yaure
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metalfacekevin wrote:
I own Memoir '44 and love it, but I want a REAL wargame now (not sure if Twilight Struggle counts...I'm looking for combat). Ideally, it would play well with 2 in under 4 hours. I've been looking at Combat Commander: Europe, but I'm a little concerned with the 120-minute playing time as I don't want something even remotely watered down. Any suggestions? I'd be willing to try something on the PC, too...


Whether Combat Commander would feel 'watered down' to you depends on your use of the term. If you're worried about gamey mechanics (such as hand management) 'watering down' your hardcore simulation, Combat Commander may be problematic.

If you're worried about Combat Commander's strategy being 'watered down' in some way, there I'd say you shouldn't be concerned. Perhaps every mechanic in the game doesn't offer a one-to-one correspondence to real world combat, but they sum together to create a game that the better player will usually win at (which is really what one should expect from a meaty game, IMO). And, despite the abstraction, Combat Commander scenarios still offer a good narrative-- which seems to imply that while the mechanics do not directly resemble their real world counterparts, they do not 'water down' the experience.
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MFK
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rexbinary wrote:


Which of these offers the purest wargame experience? I mean to ask which employs mechanisms found in most wargames. I like Memoir '44, but I realize that the Commands & Colors system is not common (and is rather polarizing).
 
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Mike Kreuzer
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There is no pure wargaming experience, I hate to have to tell you.

Assuming you wanted to stay with WW2 some recommendations for decent wargames a beginner should be able to tackle with a bit of effort follow. But always remember there have been other wars.

Tactical: Advanced Squad Leader: Starter Kit #1. There are a lot of tactical games, but that's cause it's easy to make bad ones. I want to be diplomatic, but avoid the weak kneed imitations, they aren't any good and if you play them people will laugh at you behind your back and call you names.

Operational: Normandy '44 or The Caucasus Campaign

Theatre: maybe No Retreat! The Russian Front (though I haven't played it). I want to say The Russian Campaign but that's long out of print.

Strategic: I've got nothing in print to recommend for a beginner. Rise and Decline of the Third Reich, but that's not in print and I can't think of an equivalent.

Computer wargames are a dying breed for reasons I can't fathom, but SSG made the cream of the boardgame-like crop, you can buy them from Matrix. They're operational games.



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Bill Ash
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metalfacekevin wrote:
Are there any good PC wargames that play like board wargames?


Checkout the various gameboxes available for game playing utilities like ZunTzu (http://www.zuntzu.com/index.htm) or VASSAL (http://www.vassalengine.org/).

Lot of game demos and some free systems available on both. Check out my ZunTzu gamebox of the demo for the War Storm Series: Operation NIWY: La Bataille de France 1940

Get the gamebox here: http://cid-cea3b91d62da7850.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/Publ...

And the necessary rules etc. here: http://www.warstormseries.es/OPNIWY/opniwy.zip
 
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Tanks Alot
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I highly rec this geeklist!

http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/57322/simple-but-deep-warg...

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Ted Spencer
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Haven't played anything in the Combat Commander Series, but I have played a lot of No Retreat!. That will give you enough of the real wargame you're looking for. After about 30 plays, it's true I am finally looking at other wargames, but I would always play No Retreat without hesitation. Great game!

PC-wise, The Operational Art of War III is a little over my head and probably yours, but not having to set up and tear down make the challenge worth taking. A lot of fun. I've played the tutorial scenario 20 times or more. Probably the best value in PC wargames.

That said, you're going to have to play a lot to know what you like. Some people hate Combat Commander. I've got friends who hate the wargames I love and vice-versa. So you have to learn what you like and play that.

Good luck. It's a great time to be getting into wargaming!



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if you want PC games then visit Matrix Games' website.

I also recommend ASLSK 1, it fits. A Victory Lost or A Victory Denied...hex and counter goodness. Try a game in the standard combat series.
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Judd Vance
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I played Combat Commander: Europe and it didn't do much for me. It was just too "gamey." Guys are charging my defensive positions and I can't fire because I don't have a fire card? That's a bit on the lame side. Even Memoir doesn't tend to cripple your effectiveness that badly (it can, but often does not). Then, I was dumping cards, going for a timer event to try and end the game. That was also on the lame side.

It's not a horrible game by any means, but it was too gamey, and I mean gamey in a cheesy way.

If you play solo or have a face-to-face partner and don't care about playing VASSAL (online gaming), then I would recommend one of the Panzer Grenadier games. The rulebook isn't that long. The 3rd edition rules are written quite clearly and concepts are explained multiple times, so that you can hit the ground running, and there are a lot of scenarios of varying lengths. The bad thing is that the company is anti-VASSAL, so don't look to put in an online game anytime soon.

If you like the plastic of M44 and want to take the next step up, try Tide of Iron. If you want to push cardboard, I'd go with a Panzer Grenadier game.
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Kev.
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metalfacekevin wrote:
I own Memoir '44 and love it, but I want a REAL wargame now (not sure if Twilight Struggle counts...I'm looking for combat). Ideally, it would play well with 2 in under 4 hours. I've been looking at Combat Commander: Europe, but I'm a little concerned with the 120-minute playing time as I don't want something even remotely watered down. Any suggestions? I'd be willing to try something on the PC, too...


Do you have an era in mind?
There are many posts for first time gamers seeking the next challenge.
Do a search.

OR watch a bunch of video reviews by Enrico and Marco.

I like at the simpler end World at War (World at War: Eisenbach Gap )
If you are going to go tactical and all ASL look at tactical combat series : (GD '42 ) or similar.

similarly in teh tactical squad vein - LocknLoad (Lock 'n Load: Heroes of the Gap ), also WWIII, but they have WWII titles, and other modern titles like Falklands War (Ring of Hills)

For more strategic or Operational stuff I like A Victory denied, the Russian Campaign, the SCS series from MMP/Gamers, covers many operational WWII situations.

do you like Ancients?
American Civil War?

Drop into my blog www.meshtime.com for a wide range of AARs written by a variety of folks, on several topics and eras.
sometimes it helps to see the games before you commit.




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MFK
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Thanks for all of the replies, everyone! I guess this won't be an easy decision after all...I may start on the cheap side with No Retreat or the ASL Starter Kit.

I don't have a specific era in mind; I'd like to try a variety.

Can someone help me understand what the words Operational, Theater, Tactical, and Strategic mean in relation to wargaming?

Any thoughts on Washington's War?
 
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Mike Kreuzer
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metalfacekevin wrote:
Thanks for all of the replies, everyone! I guess this won't be an easy decision after all...I may start on the cheap side with No Retreat or the ASL Starter Kit.

I don't have a specific era in mind; I'd like to try a variety.

Can someone help me understand what the words Operational, Theater, Tactical, and Strategic mean in relation to wargaming?

Any thoughts on Washington's War?


I was talking about scale. Definitions vary, especially across different eras, and different people use the terms to mean slightly different things, but I broke my recommendations down that way in case you had particular preferences.

It's also about how big an area a game covers relative to how big the units in the game are, and consequently how big the game is. A big area and small units means a big game. A smaller area and bigger units means a smaller game. So for a beginner I'm recommending stuff with bigger units relative to area covered (generally), as well as simpler rules.

So...

Strategic - the whole world or a whole continent, eg all of Europe. Units might be armies or corps, but they go down to divisions in a monster (ie really big) game. A player would have choices about production and probably policy too at this scale.

Theatre - a whole theatre, eg the whole East Front, but you're no longer dealing with production, units just arrive when the guys upstairs send them to you. Units as above, the smaller the units the bigger the game. The East Front with armies is a small manageable affair, with divisions it's enormous. (And enormous fun, but not for your first wargame. )

Operational - a campaign or operation, eg the D-Day landings. Generally divisions and regiments, but might be battalions and companies in bigger games.

Tactical - if I can see you I can shoot you, units are squads or platoons in WW2, but sometimes up to brigades in say a civil war game where units stand in lines and can't shoot that far. Really big tactical games get called grand tactical games.

Don't know about Washington's War, sorry.


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Joe Thompson
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metalfacekevin wrote:
Any thoughts on Washington's War?


While Washington's War is an excellent game, it's not really a war game. The primary focus of the game is placing political control markers to gain influence. You do have combat units and generals, but their actions are totally subservient to the political control game. This isn't a bad thing, and in fact is very elegant. As I gained experience with the game I found there was less and less combat.

I second the recommendation above for A Victory Denied.
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Andy M
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airjudden wrote:
It was just too "gamey."


maybe because it's a game? i don't know, i might be wrong, but i am pretty sure it is.
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Andrea Olivieri
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metalfacekevin wrote:
Which of these offers the purest wargame experience?


Go for Advanced Squad Leader: Starter Kit #1 for a real pure wargame experience.
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Eric Lai
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Not knowing what sub-genre you like, I just finished a game of Case Yellow, 1940: The German Blitzkrieg in the West and I think its not too complicated but still a fairly hardcore experience.

I highly recommend Lost Battles, its ABSOLUTELY beautiful (Possible the best components of ANY game I've ever seen!) and the game is thoughtful and deep, yet remaining simple to learn. The "designer notes" (actually the book that comes with the game titled "lost battle" as well) are in-depth and really gives you an insight to thought behind the design of wargames and the WHY of many wargaming conventions, as well as the many battles scenarios of the game itself. A MUST for ALL wargamers and not just beginners. I think I will order a spare copy now....
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Pete Westmore
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If you don't mind relatively plain looking components you could try one of the old SPI games reissued by Decision games such as
Arnhem: The Farthest Bridge
or pick up an original second hand. They are cheap, generally have short rules and are quick to play but give a good grounding in traditional wargame mechanics.

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Eric Lai
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Just to add... if you don't mind old games... I can highly recommend almost any games of the old GDW 120 series, they have low counter count, still relatively cheap, covers many topics, rules are simple and fun to play. Here is a geeklist of the games in the series: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/1538/gdw-series-120-ga...
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metalfacekevin wrote:
I own Memoir '44 and love it, but I want a REAL wargame now (not sure if Twilight Struggle counts...I'm looking for combat). Ideally, it would play well with 2 in under 4 hours. I've been looking at Combat Commander: Europe, but I'm a little concerned with the 120-minute playing time as I don't want something even remotely watered down. Any suggestions? I'd be willing to try something on the PC, too...


It really depends how one defines a wargame. I guess you can't go wrong with Combat Commander as hex&counter game.

As for the block games, Columbia games has some pretty good block games. I have highly rated Julius Caesar but I can't still vouch for it since I haven't played it yet.

As for point to point movement & card driven you should check out Wellington, it's pretty cheap and should be playable in 3-4 hours.

For area movement& card driven I would suggest to check out Age of Napoleon and Hearts and Minds: Vietnam 1965-1975.

Washington's war isn't really a wargame. It's army manouvering and placing political control. Combat is also very random. The game is mostly placing and removing potical control and dancing with your armies. The feel is very abstract. It's a decent game but abstract elements and too random battles are the biggest downsides for me.


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