The best VASSAL game modules
Meng Tan
Australia
Bridgeman Downs
Queensland
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As its users know, VASSAL provides a powerful set of tools to play boardgames (especially wargames) live online or by e-mail. Powerful, because it is capable of much more than just tracking the position of counters on a map, or shuffling and dealing cards. The use of shortcuts to automate game functions allows players to achieve with a single click or keystroke what would otherwise require several manual commands. (Yes, in other words, I'm talking about macros.)

Good VASSAL module design goes far beyond scanning the map and counters, although even such minimalist modules serve a valuable purpose. Often, the module designer realizes that what works best on the physical and virtual tabletops are often very different, and re-factors the game components accordingly. The best modules are a result of an ongoing process of refinement, rather than a one-off effort. This list is intended to highlight the best-designed modules currently available.

The contributors who design these modules deserve any credit they receive, and more. Not only do their efforts benefit those who play those specific titles, but these modules are a great showcase for VASSAL in general. The combination of great aesthetics and ease of gameplay is unmatched by any other online gaming tool. (My flame-retardant suit is on, so bring on the hate! )

My experience is limited to titles I've actually played, so I would appreciate your suggestions.
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1. Board Game: Advanced Squad Leader [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:245] [Average Rating:7.96 Unranked]
Meng Tan
Australia
Bridgeman Downs
Queensland
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Not surprisingly, the game that inspired the project itself appears here.

The graphics are clean, and shortcuts for placing/removing markers, downgrading units and many other functions are available. While I haven't played many games, I would wager that playing VASL is quicker and more convenient than playing tabletop ASL.

Speed and convenience is imperative in drawing more players into online gaming. With many other modules, using VASSAL is more cumbersome than breaking out the actual game. But I'm confident that things will improve.
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2. Board Game: A Victory Lost: Crisis in Ukraine 1942-1943 [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:1108]
Meng Tan
Australia
Bridgeman Downs
Queensland
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The graphics are again clean, and appearance of the turn track and chit areas in separate windows was a good design decision (IMO, others may disagree). Most notably, whenever a command chit is drawn, all units eligible for activation are highlighted; calculation of command range, while not particularly difficult, is not entirely trivial either, so this is a very impressive feature indeed.

I've not even punched out my counters for this game, and frankly, I never plan to do so since this module is available!
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3. Board Game: Twilight Struggle [Average Rating:8.32 Overall Rank:5]
Meng Tan
Australia
Bridgeman Downs
Queensland
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(Yes, the graphic does seem to be from wargameroom.com, not from VASSAL.)

Clean graphics (this is a recurring theme, keep in mind that there is a broad spectrum of scan quality among other modules), and many aspects such as tracking DEFCON and military operations, and otherwise implementing card events (1st edition cards, not 2nd edition, although that is on its way), are automated.

I would not go so far as to say that online play of TS on VASSAL is quicker than real tabletop play. On wargameroom.com, however, it is much faster (and you can choose whether to play with 1st or 2nd edition cards too). Still, it's one of the better VASSAL modules out there.
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4. Board Game: Silent War [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:2068]
Blake Phillips
United States
Montague
Massachusetts
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I use VASSAL for Silent War - no way I could leave the board set up for as long as it takes to play a campaign of this beauty. The graphics are excellent - straight scans from the game and it makes some of the functions easy to handle - moving subs to and from the battle board and bases, individual logs for each sub to keep track of tonnage sunk etc, simplified war cups handling... and more. Great way to experience the game.
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5. Board Game: Ambush! [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:757]
Blake Phillips
United States
Montague
Massachusetts
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I also use VASSAL for playing Ambush! And again - I like to leave this game set up for awhile as I play through scenarios and VASSAL works well for this. Like the Silent War module it simplifies some of the game functions and it also enables you to keep track of each soldiers status through his counter. A great way to experience this solo masterpiece. You need to have the rules and paragraph book/sleeve though - they are not included in the module.

UPDATE: this module does not work with current version(s) of VASSAL... to bad... wish the maker would fix it.
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6. Board Game: Raid on St. Nazaire [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:1986]
Blake Phillips
United States
Montague
Massachusetts
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I also use VASSAL for this solo game and I find it works well... again, you can leave it and come back to it over time without having to leave the board set up in the house - something I can not do. The functions are straight forward and I find that it is easier to deal with than using the actual counters and map. There are a few small problems with the sheet used to keep track of your ships and commandos but they are minor. Art work is straight scans which is good as I like the board as is. Chits are simple but effective. Another solo masterpiece and a great way to enjoy the game.
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7. Board Game: RAF [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:1927]
Blake Phillips
United States
Montague
Massachusetts
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And finally - RAF - another beautifully done solo masterpiece. As you can tell I use VASSAL for solo gaming. Again - the wonderful thing is being able to play this over a few days. Straight scan of the board and chits which is good - the originals are good as is... game play straight forward and the VASSAL engine actually makes playing the game easier over using the actual board, chits and cards. Don't get me wrong - nothing ever replaces actually handling the real components but VASSAL is a great way to play these if you cant leave the boards set up for several days due to kids or animals.
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8. Board Game: Memoir '44 [Average Rating:7.55 Overall Rank:122] [Average Rating:7.55 Unranked]
'Bernard Wingrave'
United States
Wyoming
Ohio
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Memoir '44 is the best module I have played so far. Very well-designed.
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9. Board Game: Triumph of Chaos [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:2561]
David Dockter
United States
Minnesota
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I'm biased, but Mr.Beninger did an outstanding job on the ToC {Triumph of Chaos} Vassal module. His module looks outstanding and he didn't miss a thing with my complex (and chaotic arrrh ) design. It has allowed many of us USA ToC players to play against European ToC fans.

Same with Mr.Setser and the ToC Cyberboard module (it was the top downloaded module in 2006 and 5th in 2007) http://loakes.game-host.org/limeyyankgames/downloadchart.htm... and Mr.Jones with the ToC ADC2 module. These guys are making a great contribution to the hobby, allowing many of us to play anytime against anyone.

I really enjoy playing games via Vassal and Skype these days - next best thing to being there and ALOT different than the old days when we played PBEM and used stock tables to resolve die rolls
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10. Board Game: Pacific War: The Struggle Against Japan 1941-1945 [Average Rating:7.61 Overall Rank:1928]
Michel Boucher
Canada
Ottawa
Ontario
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This one was just posted recently.
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11. Board Game: Commands & Colors: Ancients [Average Rating:7.78 Overall Rank:108]
Paul Duroni
United States
Parsons
Kansas
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Command and Colors: Ancients is a module I like to play solitaire on Vassal. It is an awesome game, and the Vassal module does a good job simulating gameplay.
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12. Board Game: Breakout: Normandy [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:1118]
Michael Lucey
United States
Ellington
Connecticut
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Area / impulse works perfectly for Vassal.
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13. Board Game: World in Flames [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:1047] [Average Rating:7.54 Unranked]
Wendell
United States
Yellow Springs
Ohio
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I'm relatively new to Vassal. I got it in order to be able to play World in Flames with a friend in Oregon.

As you may know, WIF is a big game - lots of maps, thousands of counters, many many expansions, etc. Ken Griffiths has done a great job of getting all this stuff into a Vassal format, and IMHO it works very well.

WIF is particularly suitable to Vassalization because of the large physical footprint. I know of people playing solo games with Vassal because it doesn't require leaving the whole game set up for months.

Ken, thanks!

Edit: I should specify we have mostly played this game live, with free internet phone. That's more because the nature of WIF requires a lot of back-and-forth decisions. I know of people playing by email but I think that would be a bit clunky. Oh and I say this as somebody who once played WIF by email in the days before Vassal and Cyberboard...
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14. Board Game: Paths of Glory [Average Rating:8.02 Overall Rank:117]
Mark Ernst
United States
Morrison
Illinois
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To be honest, I've only played two games on VASSAL and this is one of them. The other is Twilight Struggle. That said... I've been very happy with the performance of Paths of Glory on VASSAL, though we do use Warhorse for the card tracking.
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15. Board Game: Combat Commander: Europe [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:119]
Steve Bishop
Portugal
Lytham St. Annes
Lancashire
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Surprised no one has mentioned this one as a Vassal tourney was run using it.

It now also includes every scenario from CC:Med and the Paras battle pack.
Lots of extras that you just don't get playing the actual board game such as marking of activated/finished units, automatic application of leadership bonuses to unit stats, automatic recording of VP's and a lot more.

Only downside is the size of the module allied to the (currently) RAM hungry Vassal program which can kill off an underequipped PC!
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16. Board Game: Red Star Rising: The War in Russia, 1941-1944 [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:3668]
Bill Lawson
United States
Rutland
Vermont
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This has a great vassal module!It has the sequence of play all the charts and tables everything you need on screen.All the scenario setups are ready to go the reinforcements are all set.Just load it and your ready to go.I have played other vassal modules that took quite some time to setup and get going.This is also a good game.
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17. Board Game: Warriors of God [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:1188]
Tanks Alot
United States
Fort Mill
South Carolina
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Auto VP Scoring
Clickable control area. Very nice module!
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