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Subject: Best Bang-for-the-Buck Wargame Series rss

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Phil Lewis
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Wrapping up the Combat Commander Stalingrad Campaign this afternoon, my opponent commented that I'd certainly gotten my money's worth out of the series. Given the investment--around $230 for the Europe and Mediterranean games and the four expansions--my 38 plays break out to just over $6 per session. There are plenty of CC players who top that, but it's my best return on investment for a wargame series. What's your best bang-for-the-buck series?
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Greg Schmittgens
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ASL, hands down. Several hundred plays, years of enjoyment, no end in sight.

CC is good, but no comparison.
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Bill Lawson
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Operational Combat Series
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Sean McCormick
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I think I spent $60 for the combination of Up Front, Banzai and Desert War, and have gotten many, many plays out of them.
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David Janik-Jones
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Up Front fan, Cats were once worshipped as gods and they haven't forgotten this, Combat Commander series fan, The Raven King (game publisher) ... that's me!, Fields of Fire fan
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Up Front. Owned since 1983 (29 years) with thousands of plays. That's got to be hard to beat for value considering the original price.
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Joe C Faust
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Thirding the Up Front series - although Combat Commander is now giving it a run for the money, with some 75 games logged. Great scenarios - but oh my, that RSG is a thing of beauty!
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Joseph Boeke
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For me, I'd have to say it was the Assault Series. Probably spent about $120 on all 5 of the games/supplements and played the various combinations of scenarios at least 50 times over the years (we played a lot in college and we used it as a "training aid" in my reserve unit (we also played a lot of Ranger).

That works out to $2.40/play (and I'm sure we played more than 50 times so that is probably a bit high).

Made me think of what game I played the most, and far and away I think the answer would be B-17: Queen of the Skies, which I am sure I am just paying pennies per play now (even with all of the various mods and expansions)...
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Jeff Perrella
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GS in KS wrote:
ASL, hands down. Several hundred plays, years of enjoyment, no end in sight.

CC is good, but no comparison.


Your notebook of ASL plays was impressive!!!! Thanks again for teaching me ASLSK on Thursday, I had a blast!

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Eric Walters
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What makes for "best bang" when comparing it to "the buck?" Is it purely the number of hours played divided by the cost of the series? I suspect there is a qualitative aspect that is hard to characterize in way that one series can be easily compared to another.

For example, I'd be tempted to immediately say a tactical game series--doesn't matter which one it is, or even whether it's air, naval, or ground. Doesn't EVEN matter whether it's a 20th century game series or far earlier (Great Battles of History, anyone?).

But most of these games--certainly not all--are played with two people. If that's your bag, then it's a relatively easier calculation. But what if I'm playing some of these systems in a multi-player format? Suddenly, game series like Fighting Wings, Birds of Prey: Air Combat in the Jet Age, The Ironclads, or Close Action start to complicate matters. How many players can play? If I get six players to have a ball with one game in six hours, isn't that more value than if I just had two players having a ball with another game for six hours, all else being equal?

And we've not even attempted to qualify the game experience in a way that we can relate value. There are some games that are prized because they are such mental contests...if that were the sole criterion, than I'd have to say my beat up old copies of the Avalon Hill Classics (wait, that's a series, isn't it??) trump absolutely everything, given how many hours of play I've logged in them since I began wargaming at the tender young age of 14!

The tactical gamers will talk about the incredible narratives in their games. Of course, devotees of Kevin Zucker's Campaigns of Napoleon System: 1x Series/Campaigns of Napoleon System: 2x Series -- etc.-- might say the same thing. Then there's the devotees of Great Campaigns of the American Civil War. Someone has already mentioned the venerable/revered Operational Combat Series. How about GMT East Front Series or even Europa Series? Those games generate some pretty compelling narratives, too!

This isn't as easy as I thought!

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Jack Bennett
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Good question. I'd probably say Ambush!. Every year we go to the beach for a week for Thanksgiving (there right now, actually!), and I always bring Ambush! with me and get at least one game in. I got the base game for $40 or so, and probably have 20 or more hours playing the game. Wish I could get my hands on the expansions!

If bang-for-the-buck is defined less monetarily, I'd probably pick Combat Commander: Europe. I've haven't gotten in nearly the number of plays I'd like to, but all of them that I've played have been down-to-the-wire, nail-bitingly close, with cheers accompanying the wins. Can't beat that.
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Phil Lewis
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Quote:
(ericmwalters) This isn't as easy as I thought!


Great points, Eric. My model was based solely on my number of plays--solo, two-player or multi-player. Of course, the time invested is significantly different between a Wings of Glory / Wings of War dogfight with a game of EastFront II. From a quantitative standpoint, hours logged seems like the better measure. The qualitative enjoyment of those hours, of course, is a lot more difficult to measure. By any standard, I think that Combat Commander will remain in the top spot for me.
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Scott Smith
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ducks...

But seriously:

we must have played a BILLION times in the '80s; unable to realistically calculate bang-for-the-buck.
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Dan Owsen
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For me it's gotta be ASL. But beyond that, I could also say Star Fleet Battles, SPQR/Great Battles of History, Musket & Pike, Fighting Wings and Close Action have also been great values.
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Enrico Viglino
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DaveyJJ wrote:
Up Front. Owned since 1983 (29 years) with thousands of plays. That's got to be hard to beat for value considering the original price.



boddekker wrote:
Thirding the Up Front series - although Combat Commander is now giving it a run for the money, with some 75 games logged. Great scenarios - but oh my, that RSG is a thing of beauty!



Series?

I guess that would make SFB my best on plays per $ - though
it cost a decent amount. With actual series-style, I'll probably
go with GBoH - I've not been big on series' before, but SPQR
was SO big - it ate up about as much time as some of my oft
played monsters do (none of which were in a series). CWB is probably
up there too, but most games in it only have one or two plays per
box.
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Andrew C
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Jay Kiley
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This one is easy: No Retreat.
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Read the rulebook, plan for all contingencies, and…read the rulebook again.
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Commands & Colors: Ancients, no question.
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Hunga Dunga
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Battles from the Age of Reason (BAR)
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Magister Ludi
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ASL for sure...playing for over 20 yrs, with nearly 400 games logged...lets see....

400 games x at least 3hrs of butt numbing per game = 1200 hrs divided into about $2000 or thereabouts...hmmm...still don't think I can convince the wife on this one.
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Magister Ludi
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billyboy wrote:


Just on Case Blue no doubt.
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Eoin Corrigan
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For me, ASL, without a doubt. And I've only been playing ASL for 3 and a half years.
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Christopher Taylor
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Cleitus the Black wrote:

If you include the stickering time, it's pennies per hour. ^_^

Star Fleet Battles cost a couple hundred bucks for the entire series and I probably got 200-ish games during high school. Ogre was much cheaper and was worth a hundred plays or so.

ASLSK is great value for the investment. Of course, so is ASL.
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Erik Syvertsen
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Another vote for Up Front, Banzai, and Desert War. I really have no idea how many plays it's been throughout the years.

I see a lot of votes for ASL, and I did briefly own the original ASL rules binder, but my second vote is instead for Squad Leader, Cross of Iron, and Crescendo of Doom. Definitely my second most-played series.
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Eric Lai
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Advanced Tobruk System is hard to beat as well as the previously mentioned ASL.
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Darrell Hanning
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usrlocal wrote:
I probably logged about 900 hours on the GDW Europa series back in the day. Given the game prices back then, that probably works out to something like 10 cents an hour per person for the games we played.


Ditto. Easily over 2000 hours, for a total of less than 200 bucks.
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