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Subject: Which war games are the best games? rss

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Art Bugorski
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I'd like to broaden my war gaming horizons, but so many games sound so awful. They seem to be obsessed with rules that lead you watching history unfold at a snail's pace as the hundreds of pages of chrome ensure that your knights shit themselves in the exact right place at Agincourt. That or games with few turns of action but with hours and hours of book keeping.

So, which games are relatively light on chrome, have deep and nuanced decision trees, are relatively little book keeping. I already have Conflict of Heroes and Combat Commander Series.

I know many CDG would fit, but I'm looking for more traditional hex and counter games as I already have my CDG wishlist full.
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Brian Morris
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You might look towards some of the MMP area impulse games such as Storm Over Stalingrad. Alternatively there's the Standard Combat Series which includes games like Rock of the Marne and The Mighty Endeavor.

In both these cases the rules are stream lined for ease of play and yet have strong strategic and tactical decisions to be made and strong historical depth.
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Paul Cornelissen
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Maybe VPG's Waterloo 20 (v2) or one of the other Napoleonic 20 games would work for you. These light wargames (8 pages of core rules) might have very little chrome (2 pages of exclusive rules), but they have a nice thematic touch and distinct historical context.
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Ted Spencer
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You won't be disappointed with No Retreat!, either edition. The GMT version has a bigger (and mounted) map and better components. It also has the expansions.

I've said it before, NR will teach you almost everything you'll ever need to know about the hex & counter wing of the wargaming hobby. Brilliant game. Deep decision trees.
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Randall Shaw
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Check out the Commands and Colors: Ancients series.
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Art Bugorski
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Would either SPQR (Deluxe Edition) or The Great Battles of Alexander: Deluxe Edition meet my criteria? The theme is so appealing...

I'll pass on C&C as I have Memoir '44 and already considering Battles of Westeros
 
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Randall Shaw
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I doubt it (unless you played with the 'simple' rules).

I wouldn't pass on CC:A. You'd be missing out on the best of the bunch.
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Leo Zappa
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Are you not adverse to buying OOP games on eBay? If you are OK with this approach, then I heartily recommend the Avalon Hill classics---

The Battle of the Bulge
D-Day (3rd edition)
Waterloo
Stalingrad
Afrika Korps
Midway

The games that started it all. While some have legitimately questioned the historicity of these games, no one has ever accused them of not being fun! I am currently playing Stalingrad solo in my game room and I am having an absolute blast - I will be posting a session report when I'm done. The beauty is the I don't have to fight a huge overhead of rules comprehension in order to play the game - there's like two pages of rules. These can all be had quite easily on eBay for fairly cheap prices, especially if you don't mind getting 'player's copies' that might be a little worn.

The original 'hex and counter' beer and pretzel wargames!
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Paul Cornelissen
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Sokadr wrote:
I doubt it (unless you played with the 'simple' rules).

I wouldn't pass on CC:A. You'd be missing out on the best of the bunch.

Or Commands & Colors: Napoleonics.
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Take a look at some older titles, like The Russian Campaign or The African Campaign. Both of these have only 4-5 pages of rules and many of the rules are the same, even word-for-word (same designer).
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Mike Hoyt

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Band of Brothers: Screaming Eagles

Simple, elegant, fast playing but also may be the best model of WWII small unit infantry actions. That's a heck of a statement, but I think this game can back it up. A 3rd printing is due in October and the sequel game is in pre-order right now. Highly recommended

Band of Brothers: Ghost Panzer
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Will Green
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Napoleon's Triumph More tough decisions, and nuance than you'll get in most ten games combined.
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Warren Bruhn
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AngryStarAnarchy wrote:

So, which games are relatively light on chrome, have deep and nuanced decision trees, are relatively little book keeping.

I know many CDG would fit, but I'm looking for more traditional hex and counter games as I already have my CDG wishlist full.


Personally, I'd say the best hex & counter game is The Civil War. It's not too complicated. Because the initiative swings back and forth in small increments, the game constantly engages both players. Both players have to sweat over the many little decisions that they have to make during the small impulses in each turn. Game isn't scripted. Broadly different strategic options are available and playable. I would say that it is roughly on a par with Paths of Glory, arguably the best of the CDGs, in terms of almost continual player engagement, at least until late in the game when the CSA has less reinforcements. I've played the full game solitaire in 20 hours twice, which means it may be a bit long for some players.
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Hunga Dunga
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AngryStarAnarchy wrote:
I'd like to broaden my war gaming horizons, but so many games sound so awful. They seem to be obsessed with rules that lead you watching history unfold at a snail's pace as the hundreds of pages of chrome ensure that your knights shit themselves in the exact right place at Agincourt. That or games with few turns of action but with hours and hours of book keeping.

You say it like it's a bad thing.
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Enrico Viglino
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AngryStarAnarchy wrote:
Would either SPQR (Deluxe Edition) or The Great Battles of Alexander: Deluxe Edition meet my criteria? The theme is so appealing...



Hmm...the base games tend to have a fair amount of rules.
The big thing that the 'simple' version cleans up though
is the amount of mechanical actions one has to take. On
the bigger battles, these can be quite a chore (if you
don't like such things).

They're fantastic representations, but you do have to
want a level of detail you don't sound as though you
desire. Still, once you get into the flow, the smaller
battles move pretty quickly.
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Paul Cornelissen
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Hungadunga wrote:
AngryStarAnarchy wrote:
I'd like to broaden my war gaming horizons, but so many games sound so awful. They seem to be obsessed with rules that lead you watching history unfold at a snail's pace as the hundreds of pages of chrome ensure that your knights shit themselves in the exact right place at Agincourt. That or games with few turns of action but with hours and hours of book keeping.

You say it like it's a bad thing.

I don't have the depth of knowledge of many of the ('70s and '80s) Grodnards on BGG, but bookkeeping and wargaming don't seem to fit together to me. I'm trying to think of a wargame I consider too fiddly, but I'm at a loss. Does anyone have one or two in mind?

Now chrome is a whole nother issue. I've found I can't easily get through some games without a player aid because of all the obscure exceptions used to make the game play out in a historically accurate manner. Thankfully, some games get around this dilemma by adding reminders to the turn track or boundaries to the map. But, all too often, too many games leave such matters to memorization. Not good.
 
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Enrico Viglino
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superflat wrote:


I've said it before, NR will teach you almost everything you'll ever need to know about the hex & counter wing of the wargaming hobby.



I can't agree. It's definitely an interesting game.
It may be a great game - but it doesn't touch more
than half of what even just operational theater games
in this hobby are about - much less having any insight
into the tactical or grand strategic.

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Enrico Viglino
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Largo68 wrote:

I don't have the depth of knowledge of many of the ('70s and '80s) Grodnards on BGG, but bookkeeping and wargaming don't seem to fit together to me. I'm trying to think of a wargame I consider too fiddly, but I'm at a loss. Does anyone have one or two in mind?


Since 'fiddly' is not clearly defined, I can't be sure.

For me, it means a lot of mechanical activities serving
little in terms of the grand decision making. Many many wargames
seem to fit into that definition. One system (Battles of the Age
of Reason) managed to put my capacity for coping with such to
the test. But I hear the complaint leveled against a lot of
games that I like (say GBoH) as well.
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Pokey 64
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Don't ignore the "sandbox" style of wargames.

Designed like the original kriegspiel to game future war rather than the "historical simulation" type game which (oddly enough) is designed to give you a historical result of some past war.

Wargames like Blitzkrieg, Tactics II, Strategy I.

The sides tend to be even at the start and they have many options and scenarios to keep things interesting.
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Björn Hansson
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The Mighty Endeavor
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Nigel Swan
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Lock 'n Load: Heroes of the Gap..easy to play in about an hour and a half. Good expansion pack too.
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Jan van der Laan
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superflat wrote:
You won't be disappointed with No Retreat!, either edition. The GMT version has a bigger (and mounted) map and better components. It also has the expansions.

I've said it before, NR will teach you almost everything you'll ever need to know about the hex & counter wing of the wargaming hobby. Brilliant game. Deep decision trees.
+1!
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Eric Lai
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The fun ones.
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Lawrence Hung
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Games designed by Mark Simonitch. For examples,

The Caucasus Campaign
Ukraine '43
Ardennes '44
Normandy '44


For OOP, try to secure one of these:
Campaign to Stalingrad
The Legend Begins

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Dan Taylor
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Games that have tournaments of them. These are games that are apparently relatively balanced, have a sane ruleset and can be played to completion in a few hours.
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