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Subject: Introductory level strategy / grand strategy rss

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Steve
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I used to do a fair amount of wargaming (SPI / Avalon Hill) 20-30 years ago (Squad Leader and 3rd Reich included). More recently I've gotten back into board gaming and have been introducing my sons (aged 8 and 10) to gaming. They've tried out Memoir 44, but I'm looking for something meatier and at a higher scale (operational through grand strategy). I don't see anything in the WW2 genre that fits the bill, but I would consider other historical settings. I'm interested in 2 player and 3 player only, preferably with minimal hidden information so I can advise where necessary. Also, while ideally play time would be under 2 hours, if necessary we can leave games set up (we've had a game of Advanced Civilization running for over a month now).

On the 3 player side I'm considering The End Of The Triumvirate and Friedrich.

For 2 player I'm considering Fire In The Sky: The Great Pacific War.

I have one of the Battlecards sets (Pacific) but I would prefer to have a map to help educate the boys on how things really played out (although they did enjoy playing this one).

Any suggestions or thoughts on the games I'm already considering?
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slashing wrote:

Any suggestions or thoughts on the games I'm already considering?


Just one - while Friedrich is absolutely my favourite game of all time, it really plays best with four players.

For a three-player game, I'd recommend Maria, which uses the same basic system and has the same beautiful components as Friedrich, but is specifically designed as a three-player game.
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Jeb
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I think the older out of print games tend to be a bit simpler.

Victory in the Pacific I think would fit the bill nicely thought it is mostly naval focused.

War and Peace and The Russian Campaign work well.

For newer games

I have never played but Europe Engulfed and Asia Engulfed would work well.

Operationally, No Retreat! The Russian Front is well received but not my favorite.
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Steve
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Thanks. Maria substituted for Friedrich.

I think I'd prefer more recent / in-print games. Europe Engulfed looks good. No Retreat: The Russian Front seems to have a bunch of in-game text to read on the cards, which would be a turn-off for my boys (unless cards are open) and generally seems a little heavier than I'm looking for. I've now taken a quick look at the block game series and (as well as Europe Engulfed) Julius Caesar and Hammer of the Scots look interesting.
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Wendell
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Fire in the Sky is a great game but DEFINITELY not one to spring on a ten-year-old newbie.

Some of the simpler block games might be good fits - short rules and not long play times. War of 1812 is a simple old classic still available, or Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan.
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A House Divided is easy to learn and play and covers the whole U.S. Civil War. Europe Engulfed is a great game but a long game if you play the campaign game. just playing the 1st few turns with the attack on Poland and maybe France and the low countries would be a good learning and playing experience for the kids. but this game is a few levels above AHD mentioned above but nevertheless plays well but has a higher learning curve.
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wifwendell wrote:
Fire in the Sky is a great game but DEFINITELY not one to spring on a ten-year-old newbie.

Some of the simpler block games might be good fits - short rules and not long play times. War of 1812 is a simple old classic still available, or Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan.

These both look good, thanks. Not sure War of 1812 is still in print though. Has it been superseded by 1812: The Invasion of Canada?
 
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nhojput wrote:
A House Divided is easy to learn and play and covers the whole U.S. Civil War. Europe Engulfed is a great game but a long game if you play the campaign game. just playing the 1st few turns with the attack on Poland and maybe France and the low countries would be a good learning and playing experience for the kids. but this game is a few levels above AHD mentioned above but nevertheless plays well but has a higher learning curve.

I played A House Divided when it first came out and I'm astonished to see it's still in print. It was innovative in its time, and could well be suitable. Thanks for your suggestion.
 
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The upcoming Blitz! A World in Conflict sounds pretty close to what you're looking for.
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Washington's War, Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan, Julius Caesar and No Retreat! The Russian Front are all strategic level, all introductory, and all fabulous.
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Garfink wrote:
The upcoming Blitz! A World in Conflict sounds pretty close to what you're looking for.

Release mid-2013... won't really meet the patience requirement for my boys.
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Axis & Allies: 1942

This seems an obvious choice for 8 to 9 year olds. Not as simplistic as some would claim, and certainly fits the bill in terms of scale.

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desertfox2004 wrote:
Axis & Allies: 1942

This seems an obvious choice for 8 to 9 year olds. Not as simplistic as some would claim, and certainly fits the bill in terms of scale.


A&A's sat in the back of my mind for a while. I've never played any of the many A&A products, but this might just hit the spot.
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slashing wrote:
wifwendell wrote:
Fire in the Sky is a great game but DEFINITELY not one to spring on a ten-year-old newbie.

Some of the simpler block games might be good fits - short rules and not long play times. War of 1812 is a simple old classic still available, or Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan.

These both look good, thanks. Not sure War of 1812 is still in print though. Has it been superseded by 1812: The Invasion of Canada?


War of 1812 is still in print - you can buy it directly from Columbia Games and probably from on-line game shops.
http://www.columbiagames.com/cgi-bin/query/cfg/allblockgamei...

1812: The Invasion of Canada is an entirely different game. Actually it might be a good choice too, it's supposed to be fairly easy and pretty good.
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slashing wrote:
Garfink wrote:
The upcoming Blitz! A World in Conflict sounds pretty close to what you're looking for.

Release mid-2013... won't really meet the patience requirement for my boys.


It would be a bit much for 10-year-old newbies.
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The challenge is keeping hidden information to a minimum. Most of my operational level and above games are card driven.

If you can live with some degree of hidden information, any of the Columbia Games block games are great starters. Lots of WWII choices there, but my personal favorite is Hammer of the Scots. Also agree that 1812: The Invasion of Canada is a solid choice. Simple enough for newer players, but with enough depth to keep you engaged.

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I imagine a revealed pieces block game wouldn't be a problem. But the hidden information isn't that complex. It's more a case of hidden information with complexity of interpretation that's the issue. Even in Memoir 44 I can occasionally get the "What does ambush do?" type of question, which kind of ruins the whole point.
 
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I bought fire in the sky aged 37 and it took a while for the rules to stick in at that age! i'd have probably had a nervous breakdown aged 10..
when i was 11-12 though i used to play SPI's westwall quad series against my dad, alongside the original Squad Leader - and SL was a winner, i know your looking for grand tactical, but I loved seeing counters and relating to each counter having only 10-12 men, with the officer counters plus you had counters depicting flame throwers, MG, individual tanks, Wire, boards with buildings, hedges etc etc..It's all got meaning, if you move a counter with 3 men drawn on it, you grasp your moving a small team of soldiers, but with scenarios like Guards Counter Attack etc, and the whole guided learning, it seemed you didn't need to learn much to be fighting in the rubble of stalingrad etc..

I think Grand Tactical games when that young tend to overwhelm, as you are simply not thinking about building reinforcements, moving HQ's, spending resource points, research etc, you tend to look at the board, think - those are my men, let's attack, you can comprehend reinforcements sat on a turn track ready to come in, but i think the whole making more armies, paying oil points etc would simply be too much..
I enjoyed the westwall series as often we would watch a corresponding film as well - which helped lend a reality to what we were about to do - bridge to far for arnhem etc.. battle of the bulge.. so on..
 
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StuDecay wrote:
I bought fire in the sky aged 37 and it took a while for the rules to stick in at that age! i'd have probably had a nervous breakdown aged 10..
when i was 11-12 though i used to play SPI's westwall quad series against my dad, alongside the original Squad Leader - and SL was a winner, i know your looking for grand tactical, but I loved seeing counters and relating to each counter having only 10-12 men, with the officer counters plus you had counters depicting flame throwers, MG, individual tanks, Wire, boards with buildings, hedges etc etc..It's all got meaning, if you move a counter with 3 men drawn on it, you grasp your moving a small team of soldiers, but with scenarios like Guards Counter Attack etc, and the whole guided learning, it seemed you didn't need to learn much to be fighting in the rubble of stalingrad etc..

I think Grand Tactical games when that young tend to overwhelm, as you are simply not thinking about building reinforcements, moving HQ's, spending resource points, research etc, you tend to look at the board, think - those are my men, let's attack, you can comprehend reinforcements sat on a turn track ready to come in, but i think the whole making more armies, paying oil points etc would simply be too much..
I enjoyed the westwall series as often we would watch a corresponding film as well - which helped lend a reality to what we were about to do - bridge to far for arnhem etc.. battle of the bulge.. so on..


When I was 11-12 years old I was playing the Avalon Hill classics Afrika Korps, D-Day and such. There were no small unit tactical games. I had no problem at all imagining I was moving large groups of men around. I don't think scale has anything to do with it.
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Consider Attack! The basic game is a step up from Risk. But, not as constrained as Axis & Allies. Lots of plastic goodies.

Heroscape and all its breathren should be up your kids ally.

VPG has a re-issue of Strike Force One. Take a look at their Battlesson line of games.

http://victorypointgames.com/results.php?category=21

I actually think you're pushing a little too hard too early for your boys. I'm sure there are exceptions in terms of aptitude, but the objective right now is to simply imbue that love of gaming. Take them to the game store and let them take a look. Also, have your gaming buddies over and you guys play the big games. When they see you guys having fun, they will emulate it. For me, if Memoir '44 is working for them, keep working it.

Patience.
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jeb123 wrote:


I have never played but Europe Engulfed


This isn't my favorite either, but might be perfect for you guys.... not too complex, you get a good "view" of the war, awesome to look at when set up, which should help grab their attention.

Being able to leave it setup is great as the game takes a while to play, and what hidden info there is (blocks) hardly matters due to the sheer amount of the things (blocks).

The boys will get to think about war production, u-boats and a bunch of other WW2-y stuff that is handled through non-complex means and abstractly represented with counters on a track.

Throw all this together with buckets of dice combat resolution and you have yourself an awesome hobby/educational/wargame that I'm sure will keep em wanting to come back for more.
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slashing wrote:
nhojput wrote:
A House Divided is easy to learn and play and covers the whole U.S. Civil War. Europe Engulfed is a great game but a long game if you play the campaign game. just playing the 1st few turns with the attack on Poland and maybe France and the low countries would be a good learning and playing experience for the kids. but this game is a few levels above AHD mentioned above but nevertheless plays well but has a higher learning curve.

I played A House Divided when it first came out and I'm astonished to see it's still in print. It was innovative in its time, and could well be suitable. Thanks for your suggestion.


I'll add in my two cents for a house divided, it is great. I do greatly prefer the previous Phalanx/Mayfair version over the newer Mayfair only version, the smaller blue box you can buy today, which doesn't seem as nice to me. I tried to play it with my six year old a while back, but we didn't get very far with it. He was able to handle Hammer of the Scots though.
 
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Thanks everyone for the great suggestions.

It's often a tough call to pick the right sort of games to play with children. There are many games supposedly aged 10+ that I wouldn't leave it to my 10 year old to learn and play properly by himself, and others labeled 14+ that my younger son was playing fine, with adult supervision, when he was barely 7.

If I can guide the rules, and they can manage their own hidden information, then we can tackle most games. After that, it becomes a question of management complexity. They will happily play heavy games such as Advanced Civilization, Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization, and Arkham Horror, but managing 100+ cardboard chits, combat results tables and modifiers would probably be over-whelming for them. My boys aren't especially precocious, but they do live in a gaming household, and that makes a big difference.

There's also the small matter of my own tastes to consider too...
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slashing wrote:


There's also the small matter of my own tastes to consider too...


Not a small matter at all. If you aren't enthusiastic, it will be hard to get them to be.
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I just posted this in another thread but my 10 year old really enjoys Battle for Moscow (second edition)

Simple, fast and feels like a "real" wargame.

I would suggest you playing the Soviets with your sons each commanding half the German forces.
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