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Subject: Multiplayer wargames without negotiation/diplomacy rss

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Stan Mamula
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I started out as a roleplayer, then I onto CCGs. Now I mostly play miniatures (Warmachine) and euros. But I feel the draw of the wargame. As far as wargames are concerned, I currently own Sword of Rome, Hammer of the Scots, Bonaparte at Marengo, Wallenstein (not a pure wargame, I know), War of the Ring, World in War: Combined Arms and A Game of Thrones. Of the list above I've only played Wallenstein (which I rate a 10), WotR, and AGoT. I'm really looking forward to trying the others soon.

One of my least favorite aspects of multiplayer wargames is the diplomatic negotiations which seems to exist in so many. Is this a requirement for a good wargame? What are some good multiplayer wargames that do not involve diplomacy?
 
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Looking at your list, I think the best choice for you would be Friedrich. It plays very well with either three or four players. The alliance structure is fixed, pitting the other players against Friedrich's Prussians, but only one player can win so it is strictly a marriage of convenience.

Any game with more than two players is of course subject to diplomacy at some level, but Friedrich has far less of this than other multiplayer wargames I've played.
 
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Andrew Young
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I'd second Friedrich. How about Wellington from GMT? I don't think it has those aspects though some of the cards, if used as events, may refer to diplomatic endeavors, etc. But, their execution should simply be to change the board around or game situation.

I need to give Wellington a go!

Andy
 
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Philip Thomas
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Well, multiplayer games often involve negotiating- even if it isn't provided for in the rules. You could strictly enforce the rules- no table-tallk. It would make the games less fun I think, but if you want it that way.

Even Diplomacy itself, the grandaddy of negotiation wargames, can be played 'Gunboat' without any communication other than by your orders. Some people get round this by using the orders creatively, but if you have a DM he can just tell you resulting position...

A Game of Thrones should be alright without diplomacy. You will have to ask people if they intend to Support others, but they can indicate by pointing.


 
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Rusty McFisticuffs
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I think the only way you're going to find multiplayer wargames without negotiation/diplomacy is where the players are divided into two or more fixed teams where you don't have a choice about who to beat on (like Axis & Allies or Friedrich).

For other games, you could impose teams like that; here are some notes on playing A Game of Thrones without diplomacy: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/78733
 
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Andrew Young
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Yes, a Game of Thrones is a good call. It can easily be played without diplomacy.

Gunboat Diplomacy is gross.

 
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Jason Henke
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Quote:
I think the only way you're going to find multiplayer wargames without negotiation/diplomacy is where the players are divided into two or more fixed teams where you don't have a choice about who to beat on (like Axis & Allies or Friedrich).


Quote:
Any game with more than two players is of course subject to diplomacy at some level


I agree with these statements. Often, if you strangle diplomacy and interplay by killing table talk, you may get to see an interesting thing happen in your co-players as they will naturally align with who ever they view as a trusted friend. If you play with couples, this will happen out of hand and without a word spoken. It's a very interesting thing to watch play out.

I think killing alliances and interplay really reduces a level of fun in these games. People like teams and being a part of some cabala dominating the board or standing against the Imperialist war dogs in the east. So Why does the diplomacy suck for you and your players and why do other gamers I've seen hate it?

In my own gaming experience, the anti-diplomacy feelings I've seen develop in other players arise from things like:

--one player is always on the outs and can't get an alliance developed for some reason...either from a perceived untrustability--this may be justly earned by-the-way

--certain players always form an unbreakable bond...and this does get in the way of game balance if it's always true.

--or some real grudges/tension/baggage have developed from broken alliances and betrayls and the players are poor sports who take it personally.

The last one is by far the most common I've seen in games. I've seen real relationships break apart from this...not often mind, but enough. Most people know it's a game.

I can not speak to two of the games mentioned by others, as I have not played Fredrich (I'm really looking forward to it and it's on my 'to purchase list') and Wellington (another 'love to play' hot list item for me--having just gone through the 'Richard Sharpe' novels, I'm in the mood).

So, do I have any thoughts on this multiplayer sans-diplomacy question aside from the forced alliances? nope. laugh

I think the diplomacy is going to be there almost no matter what. People like teams and a lot of war dynamics come out in them and in any subsequent betrayals.

Some games I can think of that can be played sans-diplomacy or with forced alliances (listed in no order of preference or endorsement, just brainstorming):

Wizard Kings
Victory (Columbia Games)
Nexus Ops
Tigris and Euphrates
Wallenstein
Samurai
Shogun (aka Samurai Swords)
Axis and Allies
Vinci
History of the World
Heroscape
Close Action
Age of Mythology
Warcraft
Attack Vector: Tactical
Wellington
Fredrich
Duel of Ages

I haven't played all of them myself, but they're the ones I could think of off the top of my head. I would think that you'll have to live with some interplay betwixt teams, but maybe not.

I hope it helps in some way,

Take care and enjoy the day!
Jason Henke





 
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Andrew Young
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Great points and list, Jason.

Some on the list I wouldn't consider wargames myself but that's a discussion for another day, perhaps. Or never... as I've had millions of "what comprises a wargame" conversations.

devil


 
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Stan Mamula
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Thanks for all of the thoughtful responses so far. Friedrich has been on my radar for some time now, but I wasn't so sure of the 3 versus 1 arrangement.

I agree that some level of negotiation and diplomacy will always exist in these games. I'm okay with that. I have no intention of trying to stifle table talk. Games can be very boring with no discussion. The problem I have is with strong versus passive personalities. A "bully" can seem to get his way more often than not. I'd much rather play a game where smart decisions and clever gameplay decide the winner, not the words of a better salesman. Don't get me wrong, I love games with confrontation and sometimes I'm the bully. It's just that I don't enjoy games that stress negotiation.

I did enjoy A Game of Thrones although some diplomacy is absolutely needed by a few houses. Is there a game out there like AGoT where it is not required to talk your way out of a precarious starting position? I'm also looking forward to playing Sword of Rome. Should I expect heavy diplomacy?

Keep the recommendations coming. Thanks.
 
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Philip Thomas
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Hmm. Well you don't actually need alliances in Mare Nostrum+Mythology expansion. In fact I have never seen an alliance per se, though temporary coalitions to stop the leader are common enough. If you discourage Diplomacy the onus is even more on everybody to pay attention to the whole board and stop any likely wins.

Struggle of Empires is a game I haven't played which might work. There are 3 Wars, and in each one the players are formed into 2 alliances by a bidding system, which could be done with minimal negotiation. During the war you can't attack your 'ally'.

 
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Stan Mamula
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Philip Thomas wrote:
Struggle of Empires is a game I haven't played which might work. There are 3 Wars, and in each one the players are formed into 2 alliances by a bidding system, which could be done with minimal negotiation. During the war you can't attack your 'ally'.

I've only played this game once and found the forced alliances to be fascinating. I may have to play this one again soon.
 
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Andrew Young
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Yes, SoE is a GREAT game. I guess I didn't think of it b/c I was thinking of pure wargames. But, this should be included, indeed.

arrrh
 
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Stan Mamula
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medievalbanquet wrote:
Yes, SoE is a GREAT game. I guess I didn't think of it b/c I was thinking of pure wargames.

Agreed. SoE falls into a similar category as Wallenstein... closer to a war-themed euro than a straight up wargame... but the alliance mechanic is close to what I'm looking for.
 
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Michael Von Ahnen
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World War II grand strategy games might be good for you, since it breaks down to US, France, Britain, Russia, China versus Japan, Germany, and Italy. The only diplomacy is over tactical issues. Here are some options

Third Reich (The Rise and Decline of the Third Reich)
Advanced Third Reich
World in Flames
Kreig
Totally Kreig
and many others

Empire in Arms (Napoleon grand strategy) is a game with diplomacy, but the game rewards players for keeping their alliances and penalizes them for breaking them, so it changes the way you do diplomacy.
 
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Giles Pritchard
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I'd go with a game like Nexus Ops, with the secret mission cards it encourages fast, non-diplomatic, and aggressive play. devil
 
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Jason M. Brown
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I would also suggest Nexus Ops!
 
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Stas wrote:
Thanks for all of the thoughtful responses so far. Friedrich has been on my radar for some time now, but I wasn't so sure of the 3 versus 1 arrangement.


I'll put in another recommendation for Friedrich. The 3 vs. 1 is actually one of the particularly fun aspects of the game. Prussia/Hannover is stronger than any other single player, but the psychological pressure is neatly intense when playing them, as that player has to contend with 3 enemies. Naturally, if players can't deal with that, Friedrich may not be the game for you, but if at least one player will thrive in such a role, it's a fantastic game.
 
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Alan Kaiser
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I'll throw in another vote here for Friedrich although if you're interested in it I'd probably wait for the Rio Grande version that is due out sometime early this year I believe. Another I'd recommend is Wizard Kings.
 
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Paul Boos
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Here are my thoughts on these...

Struggle of Empires is an obvious choice as you do alliance building by bidding and all you can do is ask for support on those units present in teh same region. This is probably the best example.

Friederich is another goo dchoice since the allies don't really have to work together cohesively (and for good reasons not to...)

To some degree Joan of Arc doesn't necessarily require any alliances or not, but you woudl probably find people doing so.

Lastly, for a tactical level air combat game - you could go with Wings of War or Sopwith; but this is a different animal than I think you after.

Interesting thread...

Paul
 
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Stan Mamula
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Still in the process of finding a non-negotiation wargame and need a bit more feedback. I've heard Revolution: The Dutch Revolt compared to Wallenstein (which I love). How much of a role does making/breaking deals play in R:TDR? The game sounds fascinating, and I'm hoping to hear that the diplomacy factor is similar to Wallenstein and less like A Game of Thrones. Or that the diplomacy is simulated by card play and not through verbal negotiation. Opinions?
 
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