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Subject: Wargames: What have I been missing? rss

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Matt Connellan
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So, the crux of this thread is: are most wargames more like Axis and Allies, or Battle of the Bulge?

Back when I was younger, I pretty much stopped at the wargame threshhold, because Axis and Allies was so god-awful. I played a few others that may or may not be considered wargames (Samurai Swords, Field Command, Battlemasters?) but the closest I came to a true wargame was A&A and I absolutely hated it. 5 or 6 years back I tried another foray into light wargaming: Memoir '44/Battle Cry. I didn't really like them either - the setup was too long for what amounted to a wispy little skirmish that was basically decided by complete randomness.

Skip ahead to earlier this week, when I downloaded Battle of the Bulge for my iPad. This game is amazing. The area impulse movement to prevent 30-minute turns, the time-based game end, the easy differentiation between unit types. What I'm afraid of, of course, is that it's the digital implementation that I'm so in love with. It eliminates setup time and applies all the wonky date-specific rules without you having to look them up.

So what I would like to know is: if board-based wargames are a natural extension of BotB, I think I would like them a lot, but if they're closer to how A&A plays, I won't be interested at all. Advice?
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Tyler
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There's a lot you've been missing. What era are you interested in? WW2, presumably? What scale? Strategic? Operational? Tactical? There are hundreds of games on the subject in a variety of designs, nearly all of them better than Axis & Allies. Your request is so open-ended, and the scope of the subject so vast, that it's difficult to know where to begin.

-OR-

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Jeff K
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I think if you dig but a little, you will find that wargames are FAR more varied than you have supposed here.
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Tyler
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For examples of WW2 games built on area-impulse, see:

Storm Over Stalingrad
Storm over Arnhem
Breakout: Normandy

And many more. I don't really play any area-impulse games, so these are just the ones I know off the top of my head. I've recently become addicted to Lock 'n Load: Band of Heroes. It's a squad-level WW2 tactical game played on a hex map, and it is loads of fun.
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Pintsizepete wrote:
So, the crux of this thread is: are most wargames more like Axis and Allies, or Battle of the Bulge?


No. They used to be more like BoB. But both are on the light end
in today's hobby.

Quote:
Back when I was younger, I pretty much stopped at the wargame threshhold, because Axis and Allies was so god-awful.


It's not terrible, but about the best I can say is that it's
more interesting than Risk.


Quote:
Skip ahead to earlier this week, when I downloaded Battle of the Bulge for my iPad.


Ah. We're not talking the same game. I assumed you meant the AH classic.

Quote:
This game is amazing. The area impulse movement to prevent 30-minute turns, the time-based game end, the easy differentiation between unit types. What I'm afraid of, of course, is that it's the digital implementation that I'm so in love with. It eliminates setup time and applies all the wonky date-specific rules without you having to look them up.


There are plenty of computer wargames. Many of them quite good. They
ain't my taste, but for me, it's the interface. You should probably
look into them.

You may want to also look at the area-impulse boardgames, which
are very popular. But, with them, you need to learn the rules,
and spend some time setting up.
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Pintsizepete wrote:
Are most wargames more like Axis and Allies, or Battle of the Bulge?

Most wargames aren't a whole lot like either. I'd say those are a couple outliers.


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Pintsizepete wrote:
So, the crux of this thread is: are most wargames more like Axis and Allies, or Battle of the Bulge?

Back when I was younger, I pretty much stopped at the wargame threshhold, because Axis and Allies was so god-awful. I played a few others that may or may not be considered wargames (Samurai Swords, Field Command, Battlemasters?) but the closest I came to a true wargame was A&A and I absolutely hated it. 5 or 6 years back I tried another foray into light wargaming: Memoir '44/Battle Cry. I didn't really like them either - the setup was too long for what amounted to a wispy little skirmish that was basically decided by complete randomness.

Skip ahead to earlier this week, when I downloaded Battle of the Bulge for my iPad. This game is amazing. The area impulse movement to prevent 30-minute turns, the time-based game end, the easy differentiation between unit types. What I'm afraid of, of course, is that it's the digital implementation that I'm so in love with. It eliminates setup time and applies all the wonky date-specific rules without you having to look them up.

So what I would like to know is: if board-based wargames are a natural extension of BotB, I think I would like them a lot, but if they're closer to how A&A plays, I won't be interested at all. Advice?


Actually, wargames are not like any of the things you mention here. There were a few good suggestions made in this thread that are not overly complex for someone wanting enter into the world of wargaming. You might also want to try picking up a copy of Avalon Hill's "The Russian Campaign". Of course it's out of print now but can easily be found online at prices cheaper than what most new games sell for. Once you learn the ropes on any of these you'll be hooked!
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Matt Connellan
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whisky_bear wrote:
There's a lot you've been missing. What era are you interested in? WW2, presumably? What scale? Strategic? Operational? Tactical? There are hundreds of games on the subject in a variety of designs, nearly all of them better than Axis & Allies. Your request is so open-ended, and the scope of the subject so vast, that it's difficult to know where to begin.

-OR-



Second post Case Blue. I feel like a rock star.

I actually don't really care about era. Scale... I'm not sure how to answer that. I like Horus Heresy... that's almost a war game, right? I just thought that all wargames were stodgy, rules-laden affairs wherein I would spend an hour watching some guy scratch his beard and moving every single one of his pieces and checking the rules for each one.
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Pintsizepete wrote:
I just thought that all wargames were stodgy, rules-laden affairs wherein I would spend an hour watching some guy scratch his beard and moving every single one of his pieces and checking the rules for each one.


Your mileage may vary. I, however, would not describe Axis & Allies as "stodgy" or "rules-laden" -- so this seems a bit inconsistent with your first point. There's a learning curve to (most) wargames, so choose the right complexity to fit your interest/commitment level. Don't jump straight into ASL, for example, if you don't want to first absorb a brick of a rulebook.
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Matt Connellan
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whisky_bear wrote:
For examples of WW2 games built on area-impulse, see:

Storm Over Stalingrad
Storm over Arnhem
Breakout: Normandy

And many more. I don't really play any area-impulse games, so these are just the ones I know off the top of my head. I've recently become addicted to Lock 'n Load: Band of Heroes. It's a squad-level WW2 tactical game played on a hex map, and it is loads of fun.


Hmm... Storm over Arnhem actually looks pretty sweet. Is that a good one? Do you guys play that one, or is that one "for kids"?
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Tyler
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I've never played Storm Over Arnhem, but I understand it to be Grognard®-approved.
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Matt Connellan
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whisky_bear wrote:
Pintsizepete wrote:
I just thought that all wargames were stodgy, rules-laden affairs wherein I would spend an hour watching some guy scratch his beard and moving every single one of his pieces and checking the rules for each one.


Your mileage may vary. I, however, would not describe Axis & Allies as "stodgy" or "rules-laden" -- so this seems a bit inconsistent with your first point. There's a learning curve to (most) wargames, so choose the right complexity to fit your interest/commitment level. Don't jump straight into ASL, for example, if you don't want to first absorb a brick of a rulebook.


Yes, I realize A&A isn't like that, but my only exposure to wargames between these two events was seeing wargamer posts in forums, referencing Case Blue and Campaign for North Africa and Advanced Squad Leader. I looked at those games, and... didn't get a down-low tingle, let's say.
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I agree that the Battle of the Bulge ipad app ("BoB") is an amazing game.

In some ways it is alot like many wargames out there. Even a simple wargame, though, will be more fiddly then BoB. Personally, when playing BoB, I sometimes feel it's a bit too streamlined, and I want to "look under the hood" and see how all the odds are calcuated etc. The great thing about BoB is that you can do just that. The complete rules are right there along with all the charts and tables. It provides all the information you need to make really informed decisions. It even makes me want to purchase a boardgame version of the game.

If you have looked at BoB's charts and rules to see how things work exactly, or find yourself wanting to, then I think you'll enjoy many of the board wargames out there. If not, and you simply log in, and take the options the game gives you on the surface, then you might find boardgames fiddly by comparison.

If you do want to try some wargames, then I recommend starting with something lighter, with few pieces, impulse movement (where you move just a few of your guys a turn) areas instead of hexes, and no plastic miniatures. I'd recommend as a great starting point two games that fit the bill and are inexpensive:

Iwo Jima: Rage Against the Marines
edit: Iwo Jima may be out of print and expensive now

Storm Over Stalingrad


If you like them, then a great next step, particulary if you are at all interested in tactical games, is Band of Brothers: Screaming Eagles. You can read the infantry only rules and set up your first game within 20 minutes, turns are short, no downtime etc. Great game.


edit: If solo gaming is something you are interested in, then of these three Band of Brothers is the best, but you should also look at some of Dan Verssen's recent solo games, which are pretty good too.

Field Commander: Rommel and its brethren
Hornet Leader: Carrier Air Operations and others in the line






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Cleitus the Black wrote:
I agree that the Battle of the Bulge ipad app ("BoB") is an amazing game.

In some ways it is alot like many wargames out there. Even a simple wargame, though, will be more fiddly then BoB. Personally, when playing BoB, I sometimes feel it's a bit too streamlined, and I want to "look under the hood" and see how all the odds are calcuated etc. The great thing about BoB is that you can do just that. The complete rules are right there along with all the charts and tables. It provides all the information you need to make really informed decisions. It even makes me want to purchase a boardgame version of the game.

If you have looked at BoB's charts and rules to see how things work exactly, or find yourself wanting to, then I think you'll enjoy many of the board wargames out there. If not, and you simply log in, and take the options the game gives you on the surface, then you might find boardgames fiddly by comparison.


The first thing I did was look at the full rules and examine the charts for how much time passes each turn and what the hit rates were for each unit, so I guess I'm on my way.
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Pintsizepete wrote:

The first thing I did was look at the full rules and examine the charts for how much time passes each turn and what the hit rates were for each unit, so I guess I'm on my way.


Attaboy.

What about:



It's basically a Wargame 101, distilling the essence of hex and counter games to about 8 pages.
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Pintsizepete wrote:
Yes, I realize A&A isn't like that, but my only exposure to wargames between these two events was seeing wargamer posts in forums, referencing Case Blue and Campaign for North Africa and Advanced Squad Leader. I looked at those games, and... didn't get a down-low tingle, let's say.


Well, wargames are every bit as varied as the Euro category, and there are games to suit every temperament and interest.

You may want to start here and see if anything grabs your attention Starter Wargames.
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Something else you can do: browse here under the wargames domain for the archives and start looking for 1-player, 2-player, hex and counter, area move, impulse, tactical, operational, strategic, etc., etc., and you will find a HUGE variety of games.
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Pintsizepete wrote:

Skip ahead to earlier this week, when I downloaded Battle of the Bulge for my iPad.


Do other BGG wargame regulars find that this game is worth the purchase ?
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Mallet wrote:
Pintsizepete wrote:

Skip ahead to earlier this week, when I downloaded Battle of the Bulge for my iPad.


Do other BGG wargame regulars find that this game is worth the purchase ?


At first I thought it was way, way too simple, but goddam I haven't even managed to get to the Meuse yet. Easy to dip in and out of; I can play a game while my girlfriend is doing her hair. Which may explain why I haven't won yet.
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Mallet wrote:
Pintsizepete wrote:

Skip ahead to earlier this week, when I downloaded Battle of the Bulge for my iPad.


Do other BGG wargame regulars find that this game is worth the purchase ?

Taking the question one step further, given the support and popularity of BotB with bonafide grognards, are there any OTHER iOS Wargames even worth considering?

I desperately wish this was a reality; instant purchase IMHO: http://www.consimworld.com/post/15829058554/sneak-peek-at-co...
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Pintsizepete wrote:
So, the crux of this thread is: are most wargames more like Axis and Allies, or Battle of the Bulge?

So what I would like to know is: if board-based wargames are a natural extension of BotB, I think I would like them a lot, but if they're closer to how A&A plays, I won't be interested at all. Advice?


It's kind of an odd setup for your thread. Let me put what you've asked in another context. Would you walk into a music store and ask:

Are most musicians like Nickelback or Creed?

You'd get some angry stares. A lot of confusion about what you've plucked two mainstream and similarly surface-level musicians to act as avatars for all musicians.

I will take a more enlightened path and hope that's what you're after and not just a kneejerk reaction.

1 - Both games in question are entry level games. Your examples with Memoir '44 also represent really light games. I won't debate wargames or fun or quality. I've enjoyed M'44 and I've enjoyed A&A.

2 - There are something like 2,000 wargames at this point that have ever been released. You might have more success by picking a topic, battle, era, or even a sliver of something that might narrow down your focus so the folks here can assist with a greater degree of confidence.

3 - Most importantly... WELCOME!!! You've made the last worst mistake you'll ever make. Wargaming is incredibly fun and the time you'll invest in it will more than pay for itself in friendships and enjoyment.

Explore the Top 100 Wargames for ideas on where to get started!
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Cleitus the Black wrote:


edit: If solo gaming is something you are interested in, then of these three Band of Brothers is the best, but you should also look at some of Dan Verssen's recent solo games, which are pretty good too.

Field Commander: Rommel and its brethren
Hornet Leader: Carrier Air Operations and others in the line

You should also consider games by the designer of Battle of the Bulge, John Butterfield.

His most recent is D-Day at Omaha Beach, though it's currently out of print, waiting for a reprint. Then there are other out of print games like B-17: Queen of the Skies that are probably cheaper to find.

And of course, the Dan Veersen games.

I'm a fanatic for Combat Commander: Europe, so of course I'll recommend that, over Band of Brothers, even. I enjoy tactical, smaller unit games much more than operational games, however.
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medlinke wrote:
3 - Most importantly... WELCOME!!! You've made the last worst mistake you'll ever make. Wargaming is incredibly fun and the time you'll invest in it will more than pay for itself in friendships and enjoyment.

Explore the Top 100 Wargames for ideas on where to get started!


Yes. You could just start at the top of the list with Twilight Struggle (we can argue endlessly over whether or not that is a wargame) and Paths of Glory. Regardless of whether or not the BGG rating system is good (we've argued endlessly over that too), there is some merit in just picking the #1 BBG ranked wargame, trying it, and then trying the #2 BGG ranked wargame. Paths of Glory is particularly magnificent. Enormous tension in the play of that game. Of course, the "Card Driven Games" are just one subset of the enormous variety in wargame mechanics.
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Warren Bruhn wrote:

Yes. You could just start at the top of the list with Twilight Struggle (we can argue endlessly over whether or not that is a wargame) and Paths of Glory. Regardless of whether or not the BGG rating system is good (we've argued endlessly over that too), there is some merit in just picking the #1 BBG ranked wargame, trying it, and then trying the #2 BGG ranked wargame. Paths of Glory is particularly magnificent. Enormous tension in the play of that game. Of course, the "Card Driven Games" are just one subset of the enormous variety in wargame mechanics.


Seconded. Wargame or not, TS is a fantastic introductory strategy/wargameish game -- one of the most addictive I've ever played, and the title that convinced me to buy Paths of Glory (which in turn convinced to be a wargamer).
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whisky_bear wrote:
Warren Bruhn wrote:

Yes. You could just start at the top of the list with Twilight Struggle (we can argue endlessly over whether or not that is a wargame) and Paths of Glory. Regardless of whether or not the BGG rating system is good (we've argued endlessly over that too), there is some merit in just picking the #1 BBG ranked wargame, trying it, and then trying the #2 BGG ranked wargame. Paths of Glory is particularly magnificent. Enormous tension in the play of that game. Of course, the "Card Driven Games" are just one subset of the enormous variety in wargame mechanics.


Seconded. Wargame or not, TS is a fantastic introductory strategy/wargameish game -- one of the most addictive I've ever played, and the title that convinced me to buy Paths of Glory (which in turn convinced to be a wargamer).


And 3rd'ed with really only about 8 pages of rules (plus a few pages of easy intro) Twilight Struggle is a great strategy game/wargame.
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