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Subject: What's in a Real War Game? rss

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Matt
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I've seen allot of posts where people say that games like Risk and Memoir'44 are not REAL war games. They are games that have a "war" theme to them, but they really aren't considered real war games.

Would someone explain to me, a war game newbie, what makes a real war game? What types of mechanics are used? What is different about the strategies playing a real war game as opposed to a game like Memoir'44? Finally, could you recommend a couple of these war games so I can check them out in more detail on BGG?

Thanks for your help.
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Ken B.
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First, check out the first Point2Point podcast, where they discuss this very thing.


It seems the true "die hard" wargamers only think of games with paper maps and cardboard chits as being 'true' wargames, which more or less excludes me from their midst. I love war-themed conflict games but the heaviest I'll get ruleswise is War of the Ring, and I loves me some plastic and think paper maps are UGLY.

I should also add that wargamers in general are very forgiving of long rulebooks with tons of exceptions. They also often say things such as Memoir '44 is a great gateway into ASL Starter Kit #1, which is such a huge leap that I find that assertion a bit silly. That's like saying, "Well, you've learned Candyland, now you're ready for Puerto Rico!"

Anyway, check out the Point2Point show. Even though I'm not a die-hard wargamer the show is still a good listen. And they answer this exact question in depth in their very first podcast.
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Paul O
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Matt,

You'll get a lot of answers on this. For what it's worth, I'm an old-time hardcore wargamer. I also consider M44 to be a wargame, albeit a very light one.

On a high level, M44 presents me with command & control problems (through the card system) and gives me some of the tools available to a WWII company commander when trying to accomplish my mission. The game encourages the use of combined arms (with the varying strength of armor and infantry when attacking certain kinds of terrain). The scenarios paint a good broad-brush picture of certain situations (have to get out of the water, across the beach, and up to the sea wall or my guys are going to get killed).

Where I think the game falls down for some is that it is almost ALL abstraction and design-for-effect. I'm comfortable with a high level of abstraction in wargames (Up Front is my all-time favorite wargame), but many wargamers want more detail and more exactly-modeled systems in their game. If you look too closely at any given mechanic in M44, the system starts to come apart; it is only when considered as the sum-of-its parts that the game really functions.

Where the game falls short for me, personally, is that it doesn't teach me much about the challenge of command in WWII. The tactical problems and command limitations provided by the game don't always correspond with the same problems and challenges I've read about in history books.

I think the game would benefit from a more explicitly modeled overwatch (defensive fire) system. The game has a lot of "boom and zoom" (shoot at the enemy, and advance on the position, and hope they don't have a card to reply in kind) whereas I would like something that has more "fire and maneuver" (by allowing me to suppress an enemy position with my base of fire, and then close for the kill with my maneuver element).

As for recommendations ... if you like M44, keep playing it. It's a fine game, and one that I genuinely would like to play more often. I am fond of Up Front, ASL, The Russian Campaign, Europe Engulfed, Iron Tide, and many of Columbia's "block" games.
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Gary Christiansen
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Now there's a really loaded question. Usually when someone says 'real wargame' they are issuing their value judgment on the quality of the game has within the range of fluffy entertainment only game to detailed heavy duty serious hard history wargame.

The fact of the matter is it's a pretty subjective qualification. The dictionary says a wargame meant "To simulate (a military operation or a proposed plan of action) in order to test validity or effectiveness under actual or assumed conditions." That may seem a nice pat definition, but it still leaves a lot of room for interpretation.

When I had to define a wargame vs non-wargame recently for someone I came up with my own means of splitting them apart. I wrote the following on my blog, but I'll reproduce it here for you:


Wargamers tend to play any of a number of different kinds of games, and in fact, the serious wargamers consider the light weight wargamers aren't wargamers at all. How best to describe someone who considers things like Risk and Stratego to be wargames? Those titles are pure fluff, barely qualifying as wargames through the theme of warfare. There are games which are barely a step above that which are also considered wargames, which simply make the hard core wargamer cringe.

Yes, that's my very own technical gaming term. Fluff. It's akin to describing candy corn as empty calories. Fluff may be fun and entertaining, yet empty as a gaming experience it is little more than background entertainment.

These questions arise as a philosophic view of wargaming is approached by an objective observer. As a subjective observer, I have my biases, but I'll try to bring out what kinds of things might fit from the objective point of view.

* So what exactly is a wargame?

The easy answer to this first question is any game in which victory conditions are determined through some kind of military action. That leaves out a few games with some military elements, such as the army and bandits in Settlers of Catan, but clearly are not resolved by the actions of the military bits.

So technically, yes, Risk and Stratego fall in the category of 'Wargame', even if they really are just the most vague form of military action to fit the mold in arriving at the outcome. Those two are clearly very much at the fluff end of things.

Something more obvious is where the element of military action is far more serious in copying real world combat is going to be taken much more seriously as a wargame though.

*What makes a wargame serious or fluff?

Here is where the game mechanics and the system modelling the military action start to show a bit more about the nature of the game. Is it at the fluff end of the scale or the serious end of the scale where the mechanics of the game use hit points to destroy the ships in MB's Battleship? Clearly there are little models of ships.

The answer has to rely in the sense, the feel, the connection to realism that exists in the game. It should be apparent very few gamers are doing Think Tank type games, where every activity is reduced to mathematical formulae, and carefully modelled on the real world behavior in terms of scientifically measurable results, though clearly that would be the extreme end of serious.

At the other end, and just outside our definition of a wargame is the traditional card game of War which in reality is an abstract card numbers game that hasn't even a theme of warfare, just the name. You can't get much more fluffy than that. It doesn't qualify even for Fluff.

So what we get out of this is that the closer we come to modelling the game as something which is simulating real world events, the more seriously we can view it as a wargame. Conversely, the more abstract and unrelated to simulating real world events the mechanics are, the more Fluffy it is.

* Does Serious or Fluff wargaming really make any difference?

No. But the wargaming community does tend to consider the fluff end to not really be wargaming, but a kind of kids gaming to be discounted out of hand as not real wargaming.

The people who tend to stick with the fluff end, also tend to play the other genres of gaming a lot more, the Euros, the classic things like Scrabble, and so on. Wargamers also play those other games, more than is generally acknowledged publicly by the more common discussions would lead one to believe. So the division between Wargames and non-Wargames actually tends to occur a bit further into the wargaming side than most people consider to really be wargaming.

The end result is that wargamers end up with an odd stigma, that warmonger, Hawkish identification in terms of generalization. This puts off some non-wargamers, while some wargamers look upon a number of non-wargame titles with contempt as being titles intended for simpletons. This small group of some wargamers view those other games as tending to be too simple minded because of questionable intellect of the gamers who play them, while some other gamers view wargamers as being a bunch of bloodthirsty maniacs who are simple minded in context of only having an interest in games about killing.

It's wrong, but those attitudes exist in a few vocal and argumentative folk on either side of the aisle.

* So then when you talk about wargames, what does it say about the people who play them?

It says they are gamers. There are divisions in the wargaming community just as in the non-wargaming community. Historically there's a lot of different kinds of games people play for wargaming. In the non-wargaming community, there's things like rail games, economic games, trading games, racing games, sports games, and on and on.... in Wargaming, there's a lot of divisions too.

What it doesn't say is what they believe in politically. It does not say they are into warfare or into pacificism. It doesn't equate to being a gun nut, nor does it equate to liking dogs as pets. The generalizations people like to make about other people's interests kick in with a high gear when you connect them to something they assume automatically is an extreme.

As it happens, I'm not a pacifist nor a warmonger either. I think of every soldier in the US Army as my own guard... so I really want them to be used only for the most unquestionably necessary activity that calls for military intervention. That means I tend to disapprove of almost all uses of the army for anything that puts their lives in jeapordy. Guess what? That includes almost every war. Hmmm, warmonger, or someone who believes in peace through strength?

Thomas Jefferson once said, "We confide in our strength, without boasting of it. We respect that of others, without Fearing it," by which I take his meaning to be that in showing we are strong enough to fight and respecting that others can fight, we avoid fighting. There's no way I can be accounting for people with other viewpoints though.

Yet, more wargamers seem to understand that premise than most other groups I've ever met.

* So what are the divisions in Wargaming?

Setting aside the fluff vs serious, and keeping in mind that basically says there's a range of games that run from light weight to heavy weight, we've got a load of different kinds of wargaming.

o Miniatures - games played with scale models of military figures. - normally tactical in nature.
o Re-enactments - not a game, but a history reproducing activity.
o Paint Ball - tactical live action recreation of tactical warfare
o Card game - card based mechanisms for military modelling.
o board game - the common wargame model a step off Miniatures, permitting greater ranges of scale.
o Numeric Modelling - simulation modelling in detail for the purpose of setting policy, usually a government activity.
o Live Role Play Event - again a simulation modelling policy decision processes to judge how best to prepare for events, normally a governmental activity

* Whoa, that's a lot of categories, are you really interested in all that?

Indirectly, yes. Keeping in mind I've left out some of the thematic material so far. There's Historic, Fantasy or Science Fiction based warfare. There's varying levels of warfare such as Grand Strategic (including economic), Strategic, Operational, and Tactical. There's the medium for the warfare, Land, Air, Sea, and recently, Space. Then with historic or fantasy, you also get era, so things from Ancients, Romans, Age of Horse, Middle Ages, Age of Sail, Early Gunpowder, Civil War era, World War I era, World War II era, Modern era, the era of modern hegemony, the combat of revolutionary tribalism. And you also get some odd things like specific battles.

What interests me is history, most 20th century warfare events, the age of Napoleonic, and the era of the America Civil War. I'm not big on naval or air warfare, but I do play some games in those themes.

---
On the whole, I'd like to say it's easy to lump all wargamers together. But there are exclusions that happen. Miniatures guys don't play a lot of boardgames. The tactical fans of Advanced Squad Leader tend to get deeply drawn into doing just that and little else. Towards the fluff end of wargame players rarely pick up and play anything more serious than Memoir '44 or Axis & Allies. Some people won't even look at a wargame that will take more than 4 hours to play.

I'd say we still have a larger number of wargamers around than people think. We just suffer from being broken off into sub-groups that aren't as supportive as they might have been of each other 30 years ago.


Ultimately, I think you may get the better impression that when someone says a game isn't a real wargame, they are pointing out they feel it's so lightweight they cannot categorize it in the class of serious wargames they believe are real.

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Kevin Roach
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To me, a real war game would have pieces that represent actual units/leaders/equipment that was used(will be used) in the original that is trying to be represented in the wargame. Though I lean more to the simulation than game. M44 for myself, would rank with chess or connect 4, axis&allies. One of the things I like most about wargames is the possibility of recreating history and possible rewriting it. Finding out why battles/campaigns were fought as they were. Like stepping back in time. M44 may be a good game, but to me it's not a wargame. Hope that helps some.
 
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Richard Smith
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Re: What's in a Real War Game? <--- knowledge!
I enjoy both light and heavy wargames but to me the thing that separates the two is "can you learn something by playing this game?"

A real war game tries to simulate some part of history and thus tends to have more complex rules to model what really happened and all the complexities and interrelationships of the real world.

Light wargames abstract to make them more playable but as they become more simple they can teach you less.

Note that science fiction and fantasy games might teach you something about physics, command & control,
intelligence, logistics, etc. so they are not excluded from my 'definition'.

So using this way of viewing things, Risk teaches you almost nothing. Whereas Memoir '44 will teach a few things (some incorrect angry ) about WWII. Die hard wargame fans will learn nothing from the game and be angered by its flaws, while newcomers to militiary history will learn some of the broad stroke basics.

I FIRMLY believe that we need simple war game to keep people entering our hobby. I think that snobbish contempt towards easy, fun wargames only hurts the hobby I've enjoyed for many years.

Warm regards, Rick.
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Richard Irving
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matt71 wrote:
I've seen allot of posts where people say that games like Risk and Memoir'44 are not REAL war games. They are games that have a "war" theme to them, but they really aren't considered real war games.

Would someone explain to me, a war game newbie, what makes a real war game? What types of mechanics are used? What is different about the strategies playing a real war game as opposed to a game like Memoir'44? Finally, could you recommend a couple of these war games so I can check them out in more detail on BGG?

Thanks for your help.

Here is the best deinition: A wargame is a game that models warfare is an suitably realistic manner.

"Suitably" is a one heck of a weasel word. Suitably realistic mechanics, however, do NOT have to be complicated. However, a mechanic is a game may be too simple to be realistic--but this is often a matter of opinion.

As for Memoir'44, I would say it is wargame:
- The card play simulates command & control difficulties. (In a very simplified way, to be sure--OTOH many "real" wargames ignore this element altogether.)
- Infantry, tank and artillery units have different rules to model each type of unit. (But not in a very detailed manner--mainly because the scale is not specified--How many men does an infantry unit represent? 4, 100's, 1000's, etc. Same with tanks & artillery.)
- Terrain effects limit capability of various units in different ways.

The key point is that theme is not enough to make a game a wargame. Risk isn't wargames--mainly because no attmept is made to simulate warfare. Compare Risk to History of the World: Both use generic armies and a similar combat system (roll multiple dice and compare only highest ones), but HotW is a wargame becuase:
- Each player gets an "empire" which starts in a specific historic location and must expand from that location and gets a cerain number of units proportional to its historic strength.
- There are options on how to deploy their units in a more defensive manner (forts).
- The Victory Conditions encourage historic expansion to various areas (points are scored of occupying an area, controlling and dominating it.)
- Certain borders between provinces are more difficult to attack across funnelling expansion alon historic lines.

A typical history of the world game ends up folowing the ebb and flow of hisory quite well, whereas a Risk game game usually won't.
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steven richard
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I believe I speak for a lot of folks when I say that stressing the difference between "Wargames" and "war-themed games" is not a matter of snobbery but of clarification.

In other words, I don't judge anyone by the level of complexity involved in the games they enjoy, but the differences between games like ASL and games like Risk certainly warrant them separate classifications.

To answer your request, however, I don't think you can do better than to check out Chris Farrell's geeklist, "Chris' Introductory Wargame List". Not only is it a great list of examples, but the commentary and the discussions it generates helps shine a brighter light on what is meant by "Wargame".

 
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Mark Crocker
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If you are reading rule number 17.2.A.2.b exception 3...you are probably reading real wargame rules. When you see it corrected in the inevitable errata, then you know it's a real wargame.

Don't get me wrong...I used to love wargames, and was a charter S&T subscriber. Now I long for the simpler life.

Other key acronyms: MP, CV, DRM, CRT, Stacking limit.
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Ken Feldman
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In general, a wargame shows a differentiation in unit capabilites. Infantry should be different from cavalry or tanks or artillery.

In risk, you may have pieces that represent cannons or soldiers, but they all operate the same. They move the same and they fight the same.

At the next level up, Attack or Axis and Allies, there are distinct differences between the units. They cost a different amount and they move and fight differently. These are light wargames.

In BattleCry, the units can take a different amount of punishment, with infantry taking 4 hits before you get the flag, cavalry 3 and artillery 2. They also have different ranges and number of dice they roll in the attack, so BattleCry would be a wargame. I haven't played Memoir '44 or C&C: Ancients yet, but I'm guessing they would be the same.

For me, the tough games to categorize are the "tweeners", games that are more Euro oriented but have a war theme. Twilight Struggle and Wallenstein are classifed as wargames on the 'geek, but they don't real fit a traditional wargame definition. Wallenstein is closer because you have actual armies, but like risk, there is no differntation in them. They all cost the same amount, move the same and fight the same. There's nothing to distinguish one from another. In Twilight Struggle, there aren't even military units, but the game has a war theme and was produced by a company that does mostly wargames, so it's been classifed as a wargame and shows up in the wargame ranks.
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(With apologies to Grognads) What's in a Real War Game is Big Asplodin' Goodness!!!
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Richard H. Berg
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The term "wargame" is, sadly, a misnomer . . .

What most people are talking about when they use that term are Conflict Simulations that model Historical events. The conflict does not have to be - but usually is - warfare of some kind; it can be political, economic or some other type of conflict.

And the game, to be a historical simulation, must (or should) model or reflect some basis in history. It doesn't hev to be historically accurate, in that it recreates excatly what happened - for that, you can reasd a book - but it should put the player - with the level of xdetail, complexity and player decision-making up to what the designer wants to do - in the role of a participant in the simulated event.

N ow, chess is conflict simulation . . .but it is not what you would call a wargame (and neither, for that matter, is RISK). I would call chess a conflict simulation . . . and a game like GETTYSBURG a historical conflict simulation.

Two problems here . . . the present-day compulsion to reduce everything to a simple term which, ultimately and not that often, does not apply to everythign so "labelled".

And, more importantly, if you don;t say what you mean, you will never mean what you say.

RHB
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Mark Humphries
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More insights, less fluff.

There's no true dividing line of course, it's all driven by a more or less general consensus in the hobby.

Just as there is a spectrum from a light and fluffy boardgame and a 'real' Euro, there is a spectrum from light and fluffy war-themed game to wargame.

I doubt most Euro-gaming Hobbyists would consider Mille Bornes a real Euro-game, just as most Wargaming hobbyists would not consider Risk a real wargame, a few would consider Axis & Allies and Memoir'44 wargames, and almost all would consider ASL or Europa wargames.


 
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alex w
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I have asked this questioned to the local gamers in my country.

“ Would you play a ‘WARGAME’? Or for that matter, would you play a game with a ‘War-like’ title? Or in a different perspective, a game or Eurogame, that plays in such a way, that eventually… you have to ‘Kill’ off another player’s pieces.”

I was wondering, how do you guys actually rate games like EVO, ANTIKE, SHOGUN or MobCITY?

So, basically, I'm quite interested to know, what makes a wargame 'tick'.
 
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Paul O
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alexisW wrote:
I have asked this questioned to the local gamers in my country.

“ Would you play a ‘WARGAME’? Or for that matter, would you play a game with a ‘War-like’ title? Or in a different perspective, a game or Eurogame, that plays in such a way, that eventually… you have to ‘Kill’ off another player’s pieces.”

I was wondering, how do you guys actually rate games like EVO, ANTIKE, SHOGUN or MobCITY?

So, basically, I'm quite interested to know, what makes a wargame 'tick'.

I like Antike a lot. Shogun was fun once or twice, but I usually ran out of fun before I ran out of game. Never played Evo or Mob City.

If you're asking if any of these games are wargames, then, yes, in my opinion, both Antike and Shogun are wargames.

If you're asking if I'm squeamish about playing a game about war, or that includes killing, then the answer is no, I'm not remotely squeamish about it. To me, they're just games.
 
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Matt
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Thanks to all of you.

After reading all of the posts, it seems that I'm probably the light war game type. I can't see myself playing a heavy war game that goes on for hours. Although, if I was asked to play a heavy war game, I would give it a try. That's the only way to find out if it's something I would enjoy playing.
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Paul O
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matt71 wrote:
Thanks to all of you.

After reading all of the posts, it seems that I'm probably the light war game type. I can't see myself playing a heavy war game that goes on for hours. Although, if I was asked to play a heavy war game, I would give it a try. That's the only way to find out if it's something I would enjoy playing.

It helps to play what your friends play; if you're interested and committed, length of play becomes less of an issue. This past weekend I spent eight hours playing just a few turns of Europe Engulfed. I was the Western Allies and I didn't do much more than skirmish in the Med and botch a 1942 Normandy invasion. It was a long session but it was still fun because I like the guys I played with, I valued the intellectual exercise of puzzling out the game rules, and I'm interested in the history of what the game portrays.

It also helps with wargames to have a patient tutor to get you up to speed. Having to go it alone with a long game full of unfamiliar concepts presents a pretty stiff learning curve. I'd offer to teach you something, but it looks like we live on opposite coasts. Maybe we'll meet up at a con someday. Enjoy your games!
 
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surprise there's "WAR"-'play', and then there's "WAR"-'game'!
RISK, 'A&A', M-44, Wallenstein = "WAR"-'play'
ASL, Europa-series, Historical "miniatures", many 'Sci Fi' as well = "WAR"-'game'!
LEARN the "differences"
KNOW the "distinctions"
LIVE the "experiences"
"THIS is your 'brain' on 'WAR'-'play'!" = "E&T"
"THIS is your 'brain' on 'WAR'-'games'!" = "the Russian Campaign"
`nuff said!


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It may be a 'real' wargame if it answers the question :

"am I facing challenges and seeing outcomes that reflect in some way (no matter how abstracted or simplified) the challenges and outcomes faced by a commander in the war this game seeks to represent?"

This tends to be a requirement of many of those who actually play 'real' wargames and they will criticise a game along the lines of 'this game does not play or feel like the way this war reads in the history books' if it does not.

Similarly those who set out to design such games tend to start off with the premise 'I'd like to design a game that reflects this war or period in history'.

In order to get that effect the game may require a longer rule book than a very abstract conflict game like Risk (to keep it simple there is only one type of army, no national characteristics etc). It may require a board that reflects many types of terrain - this all depends on the level of detail both designer and gamer demand.

But in essence I think it's all about how a game feels in relation to the war it seeks to represent. It may do this with only a few pieces and a simple rule book or it may do it with a great number of components and some complexity - at the end of the day which game you choose will simply depend on your playing style and preference.


 
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Ray
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A 'real war game' is another label for a conflict simulation. To constrast, a Eurogamer sees fun in the mechanics of the game and usually has an analytic background. A consim gamer enjoys the study of history and enjoys being immersed in the history as further means to study that moment (often without caring if the mechanics are as uninspiring as rolling a die over and over again and reading results off of many charts). With few exception the two gaming motivations don't overlap. I always wince when someone who has played Euros asks for a recommendation for a real wargame as the two camps of gamers IMHO stem from different mindsets (Although I play and enjoy wargames I'm too analytical to really get into all the book reading and study that my history major wargame friends have)

If a Eurogamer is interesting in discovering this type of game (and can't find some consim gamers to play with or talk to) the best approach IMHO is to pick up a wargame included magazine like Strategy & Tactics (see http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist.php3?action=view&listi... as an excellent starting point and the BGG ratings will guide you the rest of the way). It will have the game, the designer notes, articles about the history, and a bibliography of further reading. Then read up on the historic moment and use the game to augment or roleplay your research.

Oh and one more word of advice. Consims are learned differently than Euros. Read the rules and play the game and if you think you got a rule wrong or missed it just wing it and keep playing (you can reread the rules after you have finished playing). This is true because the mechanics are about creating the feel of the historic moment and unlike Euros getting them wrong usually doesn't hurt the game. If you try to learn consims the same way you learn Euros (by knowing all the rules properly before playing) you'll be overwhelmed by all the little theme laden rules.

Good luck!

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Matt
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You guys were a great help, thank you. Now I have a much better understanding of war games.

Happy Gaming,
Matt
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John Richert
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I just want to throw in a few things here. I recently started up with ASL, which many people label as a morass of rules, a game for rules lawyers, etc., etc.

The basics of the game really aren't that difficult. Additionally, if you play smaller scenarios, the game can move quite quickly. Yes, it is possible to play a quality scenario in two hours. On the flip side, some of the big scenarios will take 6-8 hours to play.

One of the last posters hit the nail on the head. You really have to learn how to play the different genres of games differently. In Euros, if you miss a rule, it changes the course of the game. In most wargames, if you miss the one exception to the rule, by and large, it will not impact the game in any meaningful way.

What I like about most heavier wargames is that they are much more flexible than Euros in a winning strategy. In PR, we all know the 4-5 basic strategies. But, in a wargame, there are different paths you can follow to victory. I have more ability to force my opponent down a certain path, and he changes his strategy and I may be forced to change mine. This can happen several times through the course of a game. In most Euros once you get to a certain point, any change in strategy is suicide.
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Paul Dawson
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Some really different points of views and good posts on this subject.

Wargaming to me will always mean playing with miniature figures on a table - there are a number of periods I would play but only really one main game ( although I play a few periods)for me and that is DBM - which is played in 15mm or 25 mm usually in a fixed point format - its ancients- in comps these are played as 3.5 hours ( which when you do 3 in a day is going some.)

I have been involved in playing board games for a couple of years - and although I play and enjoy light games e.g M44 I could not get into the heaps of stacks and CRT format type games - these do not appeal at all ( I did once own some SPI games though). I see board gaming as a different hobby for me but with cross overs e.g. 3 other wargamers play in my group.

I am not sure if there are a clear set of guidelines that you can lay down for what's in a real wargame - like most things in life it comes down to preferences and how you can view the game- some people want to be in at the tactical level and others want grand strategy.

The most interesting wargame I ever played was a Kreigspeil game set in the 1860s where you played as commanders in isolation to the other commanders sending communication via umpires unless in the same place..... you got to see what happened in the debrief.











 
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Philip Thomas
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Quite a lot of the focus of this discussion seems to about tactical combat simulation, like Memoir 44 or ASL or miniatures games. What about the Strategic level? Someone said History of thew World is a war game- but it surely isn't a consim! or what about Diplomacy, or Here I Stand, or Twilight Struggle, or War of the Ring , ok I'll stop now.
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Ken B.
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Warhammer wrote:
In most wargames, if you miss the one exception to the rule, by and large, it will not impact the game in any meaningful way.


Which begs the question...if missing the exception doesn't impact the game in any meaningful way...then why have it? Isn't that truly the definition of chrome or fluff?

I mean, I take a game that I consider a wargame, such as War of the Ring. There are very few rules in there that I would say you could just disregard and it not be "meaningful". But then you have your "real" wargames, whatever that means, with huge tomes or codexes or paragraph 1.b or whatever, with so many rules just added for having rules' sakes...and now, an assertion that those rules don't even matter?


When I was in High School, I thought, "more rules = better". Now that my tastes have evolved I like to think "every rule = important". So it can't be both ways. Either the rules do matter, and there are so many that only a die-hard fan will be able to grok them all, or they don't matter, in which case you wonder why they're there in the first place.
 
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