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Subject: Great Battles of History - thinning the herd rss

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Gordon Watson
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gulp I’m trying to thin out my collection – it’s pointless having quite so many boxes on the shelves unplayed when we're so short on storage space and could do with some funds to allow me to pick up new stuff, which is more likely to get played, without feeling too much consumerist guilt.

surprise I've sold and traded a fair number of things over the last year but now it is time to consider the fate of the Great Battles of History – I picked up Great Battles of Alexander many years ago, played a couple of scenarios (solo), quite liked it and then over the years picked up many of the other games in the series which, beyond having a look over the rules/maps/pieces, have never made it to the table. For a number of years I was short of opponents and simply rationalised this as it being worth owning them so that if I did find someone to play against, I would have them. However, I now do have access to people I could play these with, but they still don’t get to the table – playing time is too long and there is always something else to try ahead of them. I don’t plan to get rid of all of my GBoH titles but it’s time to thin them out a bit – a couple have already gone but some advice from those who have played them as to which 2 or 3 to hang on to would be appreciated.

I would like to hang on to those which have the more interesting, varied, shorter and more balanced battles.

thumbsdown Siege of Alesia (already gone - traded)
thumbsdown Caesar in Alexandria (already gone - sold)
thumbsdown The Devils Horseman (pretty much decided already that this is one to let go – according to the comments the scenarios tend towards the large, long and unbalanced)
thumbsup Cataphract (will definitely be keeping this one – comments are good for the battles, I like Byzantine history and the Attila module allows play of the Battle of the Catalaunian Fields, which is also of much interest).

So that leaves the following 3 titles fighting for 1 (or 2, but it really ought to be 1) shelf place

1 The Great Battles of Alexander (deluxe)
2 SPQR (deluxe)
3 The Great Battles of Julius Caesar
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Eric Lai
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Long live Berg.
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Gordon Watson
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Garfink wrote:
Long live Berg.


Indeed - I wish him well. Been playing Infidel recently which is a bit easier to get played than the GBoH above.
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Marc Guenette
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You should keep Alex and SPQR. Alex with the Tyrant module is fantastic. SPQR is the mother of them all.
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Lawrence Hung
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You should keep all the remaining three. To renew your interest, I highly recommend you to read again the first three chapters of Victor Hanson's excellent Why the West Has Won. You would instantly keep all three games on your shelve and wanting to put them onto table all the time.
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Enrico Viglino
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How about just getting rid of BOXES?

Yeah, it's gonna kill resale value, but these are good games.
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This is so sad Gordon that I cannot advise you one way or the other .... must hold back the tears ..... ack ..... sniffle ....

One thing to consider before items get chucked is trying Simple GBoH. I have not tried it myself, but you mention liking "Infidel" so perhaps a simplified rule set you be more your cup of tea? I have heard mixed things about it; some of my friends think it is the way to go with the series whereas other feel that it is not "simple" enough. Perhaps someone else here can speak to its merits (or lack thereof).

Given your needs, I think you chose wisely with Cataphract as the scenarios are generally smaller relative to many of the others.
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Gordon Watson
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calandale wrote:
How about just getting rid of BOXES?
.......... but these are good games.


Well it would save some space but doesn't resolve the 'unplayed', and likely to remain so, aspect. I should really get rid of them all, but hanging on to a couple of the best on the off-chance they might one day get played, seems a sensible compromise.

My limited exposure to the GBoH system suggests you are right that they are good games so I'm not arguing there.
 
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Gordon Watson
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Capt_S wrote:
This is so sad Gordon that I cannot advise you one way or the other .... must hold back the tears ..... ack ..... sniffle ....

One thing to consider before items get chucked is trying Simple GBoH. I have not tried it myself, but you mention liking "Infidel" so perhaps a simplified rule set you be more your cup of tea?


Stand up straight soldier and stop snivelling - permission to quiver bottom lip denied...and anyway, I'm sure they will all find good homes....I'm not going to do a 'Toy Story 2' on them by driving out into the country and dropping them in a waste bin while the 'Last Post' sounds in the background.

Complexity is not really the issue (I mean I still play ASL) except in so far as it means longer game length. I have also read that the simple GBoH is actually not really that simple, but just different.
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These are good games for solitaire, and perhaps email. I don't recommend them for face-to-face play. I found that very boring.

The battles in the Tyrant module are quite interesting. But honestly I got rid of ALL my GBoH stuff and haven't missed it one bit.
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Rindu wrote:
These are good games for solitaire, and perhaps email. I don't recommend them for face-to-face play. I found that very boring.


Gotta say, I wasn't thrilled with SPQR opposed - but not due to them
being boring so much as from the fiddlyness aspect - two people reaching
for collided stacks to make all the modifications is worse than solo.

I suspect that this is where the simple version shines - it's got a lot
less mechanical activity.
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Yep...I think that GBoH doesn't give players very many interesting decisions to make. When you're playing solitaire, that's ok, because really you're just watching the game play out and constructing a narrative in your head. But playing against someone is pretty awful, especially when the front lines collide and you're rolling twenty pre-shock checks, etc.
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Enrico Viglino
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It's like nearly any tactical game - you either use the stuff right,
or you don't, and that pretty much determines how well you manage.

I find the ancients stuff is a bit more nuanced (or complicated) than
ACW - but less so than Napoleonics or WWII. In the end though, if you
have a feel for managing the pieces and the mechanisms, there's usually
not a whole lot of room for big choices - especially since this series
relies only on casualties.

I don't see that as a negative opposed though. Maybe had some of my
most enjoyable sessions opposed with such games. Probably more to do
with the divide between competitive and non-competitive gamers, than
solely opposed vs. solo (though obviously if you solo games for the
experience, you may straddle that line).
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Pete Pariseau
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It sounds as though you like balance in your GBoH - if that's the case, you can safely let Caesar go. Neither of the Caesar boxes (Civil Wars or Gaul) offer many balanced battles. Actually, they have none that I can think of.
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Jim F
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Act in haste.... I didn't realise you were keen on the system
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You'll get good resale values for 1 and 3.

2 is worth keeping as the "core" of the rule set. You never know when you'll find someone who is interested.

As for me, Alexander holds the most historical/play interest. It also took ages to track down a copy, so you'd have to tear it from my cold, dead fingers before it was resold.
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Gordon Watson
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Ashiefan wrote:

Act in haste.... I didn't realise you were keen on the system


Well I'm not entirely sure how keen I am, having only dabbled with Alexander. The subject matter I know I like, and the concept of the GBoH games, i.e. detailed coverage of ancient battles, I also like, but how 'playable' they actually are, especially ftf, I'm not sure.

From the advice above I think I will add GBoCaesar to the sale pile then try solo'ing a Cataphract battle or two - I've got out of the habit of soloing non-solitaire designs in the last few years, due to having ftf opponents. The fate of Alexander and SPQR can be deferred until after that.
 
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Keep GBoA:D and SPQR:D. Those two games are what the system is really about (well not counting Gustavus Adolphus but who actually plays LotN especially now that there is the MPBS). I am a Byzantine History fanatic but compared to any number of miniatures systems Cataphract is just not very good at that. If you had to keep only two of those three I would say let Cataphract go and start buying miniatures foryour Byzantine fix.
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Gordon Watson
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IrishBouzouki wrote:
....I am a Byzantine History fanatic but compared to any number of miniatures systems Cataphract is just not very good at that. If you had to keep only two of those three I would say let Cataphract go and start buying miniatures foryour Byzantine fix.


I'm not a miniatures gamer - they cost too much; the battle scenario's you set-up tend to be constrained by the mini's you have; they take a large amount of space to play; I don't want to spend the time painting and preparing the figures; and I much prefer the exactness you have in terms of movement and range imposed by a hex grid, over measurement sticks and 'just-in'/'just-out' of range arguments following 'fuzzy' placement of units.

Mind you, they look great when someone else has put the time and effort in.
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Since when a wargame is good only if there is a big choice on the players? A large part of wargaming is to recreate history, an authentic ancient warfare history. To that end, the series and the system serve it good. Besides, I do think there is a choice in the initial phase before both sides close in and contact - and that is, whether to withdraw a sector (be it center, left or right flank) for a subsequent envelopment. Ancient warfare is all about this. And whether that envelopment can happen depends on the leadership on the battlefield. The process of modifications in GBoH is mechanical without question and to a certain extent dry. SGBoH is pretty much a perfect streamlining model and feel-the-flow stuff. If you want more movements, Lost Battles is an excellent choice with more abstraction of the ancient warfare and easier forces disengagement process. It does give you more choices (at least on paper however illusory it is), less goofs.laugh
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Rindu wrote:
Yep...I think that GBoH doesn't give players very many interesting decisions to make. When you're playing solitaire, that's ok, because really you're just watching the game play out and constructing a narrative in your head. But playing against someone is pretty awful, especially when the front lines collide and you're rolling twenty pre-shock checks, etc.

I was about to start getting other GBoH titles before I found this topic. Now, I'm going to just keep my Devil's Horsemen and Mamluk.
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domus_ludorum wrote:
Capt_S wrote:
This is so sad Gordon that I cannot advise you one way or the other .... must hold back the tears ..... ack ..... sniffle ....

One thing to consider before items get chucked is trying Simple GBoH. I have not tried it myself, but you mention liking "Infidel" so perhaps a simplified rule set you be more your cup of tea?


Stand up straight soldier and stop snivelling - permission to quiver bottom lip denied...and anyway, I'm sure they will all find good homes....I'm not going to do a 'Toy Story 2' on them by driving out into the country and dropping them in a waste bin while the 'Last Post' sounds in the background.

Complexity is not really the issue (I mean I still play ASL) except in so far as it means longer game length. I have also read that the simple GBoH is actually not really that simple, but just different.


Actually significantly shorter playing time and less "fiddliness" are the big draws. You should try SGBoH before you sell any more boxed games.
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Gordon Watson
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Arghhh - just when I thought I'd decided what to do - Devil's Horsemen and GBoCaesar to the sale pile - I read a thread on the DH forum about someone playing DH via the Infidel rules.

That sort of appeals - the MOI/Infidel rules may not 'fit' for earlier periods but if it's easy to convert DH that might be interesting - especially as DH appears to have little resale value.
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domus_ludorum wrote:
Arghhh - just when I thought I'd decided what to do - Devil's Horsemen and GBoCaesar to the sale pile - I read a thread on the DH forum about someone playing DH via the Infidel rules.

That sort of appeals - the MOI/Infidel rules may not 'fit' for earlier periods but if it's easy to convert DH that might be interesting - especially as DH appears to have little resale value.

DH on Infidel's rule? That's really going to excite me. Would you post the link here? Thanks.
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Gordon Watson
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dahusband wrote:
domus_ludorum wrote:
Arghhh - just when I thought I'd decided what to do - Devil's Horsemen and GBoCaesar to the sale pile - I read a thread on the DH forum about someone playing DH via the Infidel rules.

That sort of appeals - the MOI/Infidel rules may not 'fit' for earlier periods but if it's easy to convert DH that might be interesting - especially as DH appears to have little resale value.

DH on Infidel's rule? That's really going to excite me. Would you post the link here? Thanks.

The Battle Of Liegnitz - Played With Men Of Iron/Infidel Rules
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