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Sometimes its tough, when someone says to me "Those wargames you play look really interesting". It's hard to not jump up and down at the prospect of a potential opponent and break out a heavier game and say "Oh my gosh this is a crazy game, you have to do this and you have to that, and you really have to watch out for that". Or you end up showing them a different wargame everytime you see them. It's a great hobby, but for a new player it can be an intimidating experience. I remember my first wargames, and I was very lucky to have opponents who only had one game.
One of my favorite games to play with new players is columbia block games. They are amazingly strategic and fun even if you are new to the game. The fog of war is exciting, and the victory objectives are easy to understand. But there is some really cool stuff you can do when these games are well played. One of my favorites is Julius Caesar. Be forewarned though that some of them not as easy, but do your homework. I would recommend for beginners in order Quebec, War of 1812, and Julius Caesar. All excellent games. One of the best block games I have ever played is Hammer of the Scots. I thought this game was simple, until I played someone who knew whet they were doing... all of a sudden I saw the depth of this game, and immediately sold it, because I knew I would never be able to achieve a high level of mastery in this game.
Another great game system is Memoir 44... to me it is the game that hooks players into history. Not a heavy strategic game but all the players I show this game fall in love and that's all they wanna play. Which is tough for me because I have played so many games of this I just want more depth. The campaign system is a great compliment to this system as well. Sometimes I consider introducing Commands and Colors Ancients, but I'm just afraid the era, and the complexity will scare them off.
I love games that have base game rules, and can get more complex as you go. This was one of my favorite features of Hold the line and a House Divided. Hold the line has has rules than an 8 year old can understand. It's a wonderfully easy to understand tactical system that has some fun advanced rules that have a great feel. A house divided is an amazing lesson on the civil war. Its like "For the People" lite edition. Another great game that starts simple, and gets more and more complex as you learn the mechanics of the system.
So as the Holidays approach, and your friends and family consider playing a game with you, take a look at a system you can grow with and they can have a good time. Take time and let them adjust to the mechanics of a game so they can start having fun. And when they start having fun, you will have a wargaming partner for a long time