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Subject: My First Wargame rss

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T. Rosen
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I've been meaning to post this question for a while, but have finally been prompted to after reading Matt Thrower's (MattDP) excellent recent GeekList -- Definitive Introductory/Light Wargames (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/22861). I haven't really played any wargames and am not sure if they're for me, but I feel like I should give one or two a try, so I'd like to make sure I give the "right" ones a try to make sure I don't start off on the wrong foot. These sorts of threads are obviously a little silly since all I can hope for is anecdotal evidence and usually it would just be better to go to the game page for each of the games I'm considering and read about and research them there, but since this is branching into a whole different genre that I know almost nothing about I thought this method might prove fruitful.

As a little background, I've played a good number of eurogames (german-style games, designer games, whatever you want to call them) and a couple of games that could be considered wargames, and here are my thoughts on those. First, in case it's relevant for recommending wargames, I like a lot of eurogames but especially area control games (like El Grande, San Marco, Kreta, In the Shadow of the Emperor, Louis XIV). I especially enjoy games with no luck, at least in the way I define it, ignoring the endless debates on what "luck" really means (like Caylus and Through the Desert). I also really like the Kramer-Kiesling action point games (especially Java) because of how much flexibility they give you on your turn. I like the feeling of having so many options and so many different paths I can try. I've been getting more into the longer games recently and do enjoy them (like Die Macher and Dune), but those are a bit long for what I can usually play, and I generally prefer to keep it to 2 hours per game, but something like Age of Steam works well and is something I've been getting more and more into (hence my 12 maps and growing map collection). Alright that's enough about eurogames, what about the "wargames" I've tried.

Obviously I played Risk as a kid and enjoyed it at the time, but fast forwarding a bunch of years, more recently I have played all of the following, which may or may not count as "wargames" depending on your definition: Memoir '44, Commands & Colors: Ancients, Twilight Imperium 3rd Edition, and Twilight Struggle. I don't really want to debate whether those count, I only list them so I can explain why I didn't enjoy them, so you can tailor suggestions based on that (or perhaps tell me that wargames just aren't my thing). I played Memoir '44 and Commands & Colors: Ancients a couple times and didn't really like either. I'm sorry, I know C&C is especially well-regarded and perhaps I'm just missing something, but there was just so much luck with the dice and I could never roll what I needed, plus it was very frustrating if you just had to move units on the left flank and only had cards for the right flank, which just seemed sort of silly. I don't mean to criticize anyone's favorite game, and I really wanted to like it, but just hope to give some useless info for recommendation purposes. I've also played Twilight Imperium 3rd Edition a few times and liked this one even less than the previous two. It looks great and seems like a neat idea, but the ability of players to turtle really ruined it for me. I was far too aggressive in this game, and it ended up just killing my chances and whoever I happened to attack, and the game simply rewarded whoever managed to avoid fighting. I have a pet peeve about games that allow fighting but discourage it by making it so costly and therefore really encourage turtling (e.g., Antike). I gather this problem may be alleviated with the expansion (which I haven't tried), but that's not really the point, because the point is more to guide recommendations for other games. Finally, I tried Twilight Struggle, and really wanted to like it because it's garnered such amazing praise, and perhaps I'd like it more if I tried it again, but the game just didn't do it for me. First, the components (especially the board) left so much to be desired. I mean the components are part of what attract me to some eurogames, so I was amazed/surprised at the poor-quality components for this game (and C&C for that matter). Second, the luck of the dice for the space race was really frustrating, especially because I liked to focus a lot of my efforts on the space race, which was usually in vain. Finally, the randomness of the card draw also detracted from it for me. I mean the random card draw in certain eurogames is annoying but not as bad since it's not the central focus of the game (e.g., Keythedral), but here the cards were the game, and it was impossible to do what you needed to if you couldn't get the cards, then again perhaps the whole point was adapting to use the cards you have (maybe that's why I didn't "get" C&C either come to think of it).

Alright, so those are the eurogames I enjoy and the "wargames" I've tried and why I wasn't smitten. Any suggestions?

The two I most have my eye on (besides C&C and Twilight Struggle because I'm still tempted to get either those so I can try them out more) are:
-Bonaparte at Marengo
-Hammer of the Scots
They're both high on my list of possibilities to consider because I've read a lot of praise for both on here and they showed up on Matt's GeekList which I mentioned at the beginning of this thread. I've searched for both online (using the wonderful http://www.boardgameprices.com/) and am surprised to see that they both cost over $40 (even with the discounts provided by online retailers). Am I right in assuming that both of these games also have components that leave a lot to be desired (it's hard to tell exactly from the photos on here), which makes the price even less appealing, since otherwise $40 wouldn't be too bad? The non-mounted paper boards of Twilight Struggle and C&C were especially what bothered me. I can deal with less than ideal cards, but a real board would be nice (especially since I'm not about to invest in a sheet of plexiglass yet). Is that possible... are there wargames with real boards (I'm not sure if there's a better term for standard eurogame boards besides "real" so I apologize for implying that wargame boards are not "real." Perhaps "mounted" is what I'm looking for).

If you want to suggest something other than those two, obviously feel free, but keep in mind my goal that it be playable in 2 hours... and I haven't yet downloaded the rules for either of those games mentioned, but ideally the rules for "My First Wargame" wouldn't be longer than perhaps about 15 pages. I suppose I'd also like it if I didn't have to refer back to the rules during the game much, if that's possible to avoid.

Alright, I think that's enough detail to get you started. I suppose I'm nothing if not verbous, so you have your mission, have at it.
 
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I was going to recommend C&C: Ancients but then I saw you've tried that.

I'm not a diehard wargamer (yet) but I would say you might have to shift paradigms a little. From what you've said, you already have begun to realize that wargames are often pretty different from eurogames.

The components may not be as high-quality, you may be required to put stickers on hundreds of blocks, you will likely get only just a thick paper map rather than a mounted board, etc. As someone who hasn't been an avid grognard, I'm a little astounded by these things myself. ("Plexiglass? Snipping chit corners? What the... ?")

As far as randomness -- Most wargames I know of do have a far amount of randomness (dice, etc.) - to simulate the uncertainty of war. I would say you are right about how to think about that it. It seems to me that, as you've already mentioned, often in wargames the point is to adapt to an unexpected situation (your cards, the die rolls, etc.) just as a commander in battle must do that. Wargames almost never give you as much control as some eurogames do - you have to go along for the ride and enjoy the experience.

If you think of wargames from a eurogame perspective then you may continue to be disappointed. What I enjoy about wargames is the chance to play out combat, and to re-live a historically important battle, or at least understand better how the technology, tactics, etc. all play out on an actual battlefield. I guess, too, that while one side of me loves the combat, another side of me is fascinated/appalled that things in this world can and do go as far as people institutionally killing each other, and wargames are a way to explore that paradox within myself.


Others more knowledgeable than I can recommend games that might fit you. But one question - how important is theme or historical setting to you? Or do you care most about mechanics, regardless of the theme?

Best of luck!

[Edited several times, as you can see...]


 
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T. Rosen
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cull wrote:
Others more knowledgeable than I can recommend games that might fit you. But one question - how important is theme or historical setting to you? Or do you care most about mechanics, regardless of the theme?


That's a very good question. I had meant to include that info in the original thread, but somehow lost my train of thought and went off in a different direction. So I'll add here that theme/historical setting are not at all important to me. I have noticed with more than a little amazement that wargamers appear to care a great deal about whether the game is based on WWII or the Vietnam War or some naval battle at sea or what have you. Coming from a eurogame background that is a very novel idea to me because I'm happy to play a game about hunting woolly mammoths, farming beans, racing hot air balloons, and piloting a boat down the Mississippi river all in the same night. I suppose this has a lot to do with the fact that themes in eurogames are "pasted on" (and I'll leave the debate about themes being "pasted on" for another time, except to note that I really enjoy Reef Encounter despite having no prior interest in coral reefs and the theme there is obviously not pasted on since Richard Breese was inspired by "The Blue Planet" on the BBC, and I enjoy Tigris & Euphrates and may be the only one who believes Knizia when he says the theme preceded the mechanics), whereas the themes in wargames are more integral to the game. Nonetheless, for the purposes of this recommendation request, I really don't care if the game is set in ancient or modern times, at sea or on land, or whatever you can throw at me. I suppose this is because I know very little about the historical setting for these games, so it doesn't matter to me what that setting is. To summarize, I definitely care much more about the mechanics than the theme.

I suppose the other thing I meant to include in my original thread and forgot to include, and I suppose it ties in well here in response to the rest of your reply, is that the reason I'm on this quest is because I feel like there's a chance I'm missing something. There's a chance I'm missing an entire side of board games that I could otherwise be enjoying. I always see and usually don't pay a whole lot of attention to the wargaming content posted daily on this site, but since I consider myself a fan of board games, I figured I owed it to myself to see whether there was another genre of board games that I might enjoy trying and learning more about. Then again, as you point out Mark, I'm relatively entrenched in my way of thinking about games, so getting used to the components and luck of wargames will be tricky. You may be right that it's an entirely different paradigm and I need to learn to compare wargames just to other wargames rather than to what I'm more familiar with (at least in terms of the components and the luck involved). Then again, it wouldn't hurt to ease the transition if someone could suggest a wargames that had a mounted board and no dice (because for some irrational reason I can deal with the luck of cards and tiles more than with dice).
 
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I've only played a very few war games, and those are on the light side, but I'd say take a look at Tide of Iron. It has the least amount of luck while leaving you scads of strategic/tactical options.

I love C&C: A even though the cards and dice can give me fits. It's fun and you have to keep in mind--it's only a game, it's only a game.

ToI gives you more control over what you can do but you still have to deal with the luck of the dice rolls.

Happy Hunting, Tommy. I hope you find one that happily leads you down this divergent path.
 
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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Components
Both Bonaparte at Marengo (BaM) and Hammer of the Scots (HotS) have nice wooden playing pieces. HotS has a heavy paper map, much like C&C:Ancients. BaM has a mounted mapboard.

Luck
HotS has several luck elements: what units the English draw, what cards both sides draw, the dice rolled in combat. A good player can manage these and be successful, but if it bothered you in C&C:Ancients it will bother you in HotS as well.

BaM has near-zero luck. The only random element is in the placement of the initial French defenders, which is necessary to make the hidden unit values meaningful. There are no dice.

Given your stated preferences I have no doubt that BaM is the better choice for you.
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Brad Miller
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WEll, first off, you are not allowed to not love paper mapboards if you want to be a wargamer these days. And really, paper boards are just sooo much better than those cruddy mounted ones every other game you buy comes with.

Not sure you could finish HotS in two hours, BaM, probably. BaM is very different from most wargames, but given you didn't like the ones you mentioned, that might be a good thing.
 
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Todd Pytel
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Given your comments about what you tried, I think you're just wasting your money buying wargames. Your tastes appear to run almost exactly opposite to the way most wargames are designed. Specifically:

1) Most wargames are a blend of luck and skill. Between two opponents of roughly equal skill, luck will decide the game. Skill comes in manipulating the odds in your favor. Neither TS and C&C:A are particularly "dicey" as wargames go - they're probably somewhere in the middle. Perhaps you would like Bonaparte at Marengo, as it's 99% strategy, but I think it will fail on other counts.

2) Components. C&C:A and TS both have very nice components by wargame standards. If you're not happy with these, you're going to much less happy with most other wargames out there.

3) Theme. For all the rules and technicalities, wargamers are actually much more interested in theme than other gamers, even AT fans IMO. People play wargames because they want to gain some kind of insight into a historical period they find interesting. It's the history and the theme that makes the rules make sense and be readable. If you're not interested in the history, the game system isn't going to "click" for you and it will be a drag.

Seriously, don't waste your money. Just because I love wargames doesn't mean everybody should...
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Thommy8 wrote:
Is that possible... are there wargames with real boards (I'm not sure if there's a better term for standard eurogame boards besides "real" so I apologize for implying that wargame boards are not "real." Perhaps "mounted" is what I'm looking for).
In case it might matter to you, and so that you are not surprised, I'll mention that Bonaparte at Marengo does have a mounted board but, unlike the eurogame boards to which you are accustomed, it has valleys at the folds. Just so you know...
 
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I agree a bit with todd. I wouldn't suggest you completely avoid them, but dive in hesitantly, from what you say I don't know if you will be a big wargame fan.

Luck: personally I'm not conviced wargames are decided a lot more by luck than SOME euros (sure caylus, PR and a few others are quite low luck, but others are not). So I wouldn't let luck completely put you off. However if you have an adverse reaction to dice, there are lots of dice in most wargames.

Time: This is the biggest barrier I see. Most wargames are long. Personally the best wargames tend to be rather long and involved. This is the biggest appeal for me. I'n not a big luck fan, but I will put up with it if the game evolves over time.

Components: Wargames, except Friedrich (and a few others) have bad components. Go buy some plexiglass and get used to it

Theme: I'm a wargamer who isn't big into theme. I could often care less. I think though that the theme of a wargame can help determine what sort of mechanics you will be dealing with (as well as scale and other factors).

Good Luck I hope you enjoy it, don't be disappointed if you don't like them, as todd points out they are not for everyone.

Friedrich might be a good place to start, there are no dice and the map is absolutely beautiful. It might be a bit long though (3-4 hours, you can shorten the game by reducing the event deck).
 
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Thommy8 wrote:
The two I most have my eye on (besides C&C and Twilight Struggle because I'm still tempted to get either those so I can try them out more)
I just noticed this bit. If you are still on the fence about C&C Ancients, then here are couple thoughts that I hope might tip the balance toward that:

1. Don't forget that you can often battle back. So unlike in Memoir 44, you are not automatically powerless if you don't have cards in a sector at the moment.

2. Also, the fact that your opponent may battle back adds an interesting tactical aspect - an incentive to plan your attack so he/she can't battle back. If you can make him retreat then he can't battle back.

3. Unlike the tanks in Memoir 44, I presume soldiers in ancient days did have to rest. Hefting all that armor and swinging those swords must have been hard to keep up non-stop for a whole battle. So the fact that everyone can't fight at once makes sense with the mechanic.

4. Elephants. If you don't know about the elephants, then download the PDF and read the secion on "Rampage." :-)

 
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If components are important to you (and they are to me), I might suggest you try some of the Phalanx series of wargames. These are fine games and the physical quality is very, very good - check these out:

Age of Napoleon

Waterloo: Napoleon's Last Battle

A House Divided (Phalanx edition!)

Italia

The First World War

All of these games are on the lower end of the complexity scale (no Advanced Squad Leaders here!), are slickly produced, and are simply great games. Start here!
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I forgot to include in my original post, but perhaps it doesn't matter since no one has suggested it (probably because I already said I wasn't a fan of C&C), but I'm not eager to get into BattleLore because knowing myself I know I'd just have to have all the expansions, and that would be quite an investment, so I'd rather steer clear of that altogether (which may be a bit silly, but well, that's me). I'm a recovering Magic addict and have already been suckered into way too many Carcassonne expansions, so BattleLore is probably not a good idea.
 
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sodaklady wrote:
I've only played a very few war games, and those are on the light side, but I'd say take a look at Tide of Iron. It has the least amount of luck while leaving you scads of strategic/tactical options.

I love C&C: A even though the cards and dice can give me fits. It's fun and you have to keep in mind--it's only a game, it's only a game.

ToI gives you more control over what you can do but you still have to deal with the luck of the dice rolls.

Happy Hunting, Tommy. I hope you find one that happily leads you down this divergent path.


Thanks for the suggestion Mary, I'll have to look into Tide of Iron more. I've certainly seen a lot of excited anticipation/discussion of it on here, but have generally not payed much attention to it since I didn't think it was "my type of game" (whatever that means). But now that I'm thinking about branching out (or at least trying branching out to see if it's for me), it may be worthwhile to go back and look at all the excited Tide of Iron talk. I'm a bit put off by the price, but have a feeling that the components won't leave as much to be desired, given that it's a Fantasy Flight game.

Maybe I'm not crazy for wanting to try a wargame or two, heh... if you can have a Ra and Attika microbadge, but also a Tide of Iron microbadge, then there's hope for me yet to enjoy this other side of the hobby.
 
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I think I'm with Todd--unfortunately it looks like you just aren't that into wargame mechanics and probably won't enjoy wargames.
 
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T. Rosen
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Sphere wrote:
Components
Both Bonaparte at Marengo (BaM) and Hammer of the Scots (HotS) have nice wooden playing pieces. HotS has a heavy paper map, much like C&C:Ancients. BaM has a mounted mapboard.

Luck
HotS has several luck elements: what units the English draw, what cards both sides draw, the dice rolled in combat. A good player can manage these and be successful, but if it bothered you in C&C:Ancients it will bother you in HotS as well.

BaM has near-zero luck. The only random element is in the placement of the initial French defenders, which is necessary to make the hidden unit values meaningful. There are no dice.

Given your stated preferences I have no doubt that BaM is the better choice for you.


Thanks George for the breakdown of HotS and BaM (I suppose I should try out the acronyms) in terms of Components and Luck, that is very much appreciated. It does sound like from what you say that BaM would be the better choice, not only because of the components but also because of the lack of luck. Since you've done such a nice breakdown of those two games though, I was wondering if you might want to throw another game or two into the mix because perhaps neither HotS nor BaM is the right choice, since I just sort of came up with those on my own without knowing much about the genre, so definitely feel free to expound on the components and luck of other possibly introductory wargames.
 
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Windopaene wrote:
WEll, first off, you are not allowed to not love paper mapboards if you want to be a wargamer these days. And really, paper boards are just sooo much better than those cruddy mounted ones every other game you buy comes with.

Not sure you could finish HotS in two hours, BaM, probably. BaM is very different from most wargames, but given you didn't like the ones you mentioned, that might be a good thing.


Well, the two hour limit isn't really hard and fast. I mean I love a good game of Die Macher or Dune, and Age of Steam and Reef Encounter and Wallenstein and such can certainly go over 2 hours, especially with certain people. It's just that I could get the game to the table more if it were 90-120 minutes, whereas a 150-180 minute game is going to get played less unfortunately.

That's a good point that BaM might be a good choice since it's different from most wargames, but then again if the goal is to get a window into this whole wargaming thing, then perhaps it's not a good choice. I wouldn't want to go playing BaM and realizing I love wargames, only to find out that there's nothing else like it, heh... except for the fact that discovering a game I love would be a nice upside!

Hmmm, I think you'll have to do a bit more convincing on this whole paper boards thing. I can see how it would work and they'd be all well and good if I did have a nice sheet of plexiglass, but since I don't, they aren't all well and good for me. Maybe one of these days I'll actually go to a convention, and try one out, and see the plexiglass, and then spring for it all and really get into it.
 
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GROGnads wrote:
Your "GROG-FU" is WEAK! shake


So true, so very true...
 
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tppytel wrote:
Given your comments about what you tried, I think you're just wasting your money buying wargames. Your tastes appear to run almost exactly opposite to the way most wargames are designed. Specifically:

1) Most wargames are a blend of luck and skill. Between two opponents of roughly equal skill, luck will decide the game. Skill comes in manipulating the odds in your favor. Neither TS and C&C:A are particularly "dicey" as wargames go - they're probably somewhere in the middle. Perhaps you would like Bonaparte at Marengo, as it's 99% strategy, but I think it will fail on other counts.

2) Components. C&C:A and TS both have very nice components by wargame standards. If you're not happy with these, you're going to much less happy with most other wargames out there.

3) Theme. For all the rules and technicalities, wargamers are actually much more interested in theme than other gamers, even AT fans IMO. People play wargames because they want to gain some kind of insight into a historical period they find interesting. It's the history and the theme that makes the rules make sense and be readable. If you're not interested in the history, the game system isn't going to "click" for you and it will be a drag.

Seriously, don't waste your money. Just because I love wargames doesn't mean everybody should...


Thank you so much for your comments Todd, I really appreciate them! This may be exactly what I need to hear, although just like so many other true/correct things, hearing it may not be enough, I may have to experience it firsthand to really learn the lesson. Now I suppose I've kind of already experienced it firsthand given the wargames I've already played and not enjoyed, but I've seen those games so often referred to as "not real wargames" on this site that I have a desire to try a game that is hands-down a real wargame to make sure they're not for me (or alternatively discover that they are for me).

Then again, you make some excellent points, and perhaps this whole idea of discovering a new side of board games is not such a good idea after all. I suppose my tastes do run almost eactly opposite to the way wargames are designed in terms of luck, components, and theme... which may be a very sure sign that this is folly.

I definitely appreciate your candor, and will certainly approach this idea with caution. Ideally I'd try BaM or HotS or whatever else people recommend out with someone else's copy (as I was able to do with Memoir '44, C&C:Ancients, Twilight Struggle, and Twilight Imperium), but I'm not sure that's going to be possible. I suppose I could always try to trade away either if I bought one, but per your recommendation, I agree it would be a bad idea to dive in head first and buy multiple wargames, given my experiences so far.

Thanks again!
 
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seandavidross wrote:
Thommy8 wrote:
Is that possible... are there wargames with real boards (I'm not sure if there's a better term for standard eurogame boards besides "real" so I apologize for implying that wargame boards are not "real." Perhaps "mounted" is what I'm looking for).
In case it might matter to you, and so that you are not surprised, I'll mention that Bonaparte at Marengo does have a mounted board but, unlike the eurogame boards to which you are accustomed, it has valleys at the folds. Just so you know...


Hmm, thanks for pointing that out Sean, I appreciate it. It doesn't look too bad from that photo, but then again perhaps I need to see it in person. I guess the moral is that I really just need to get over this whole components thing and stop complaining that the boards aren't as pretty as San Marco or Keythedral! Then again, I really enjoy Through the Desert, and that board is terrible.
 
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ibn_ul_khattab wrote:
I agree a bit with todd. I wouldn't suggest you completely avoid them, but dive in hesitantly, from what you say I don't know if you will be a big wargame fan.

Luck: personally I'm not conviced wargames are decided a lot more by luck than SOME euros (sure caylus, PR and a few others are quite low luck, but others are not). So I wouldn't let luck completely put you off. However if you have an adverse reaction to dice, there are lots of dice in most wargames.

Time: This is the biggest barrier I see. Most wargames are long. Personally the best wargames tend to be rather long and involved. This is the biggest appeal for me. I'n not a big luck fan, but I will put up with it if the game evolves over time.

Components: Wargames, except Friedrich (and a few others) have bad components. Go buy some plexiglass and get used to it

Theme: I'm a wargamer who isn't big into theme. I could often care less. I think though that the theme of a wargame can help determine what sort of mechanics you will be dealing with (as well as scale and other factors).

Good Luck I hope you enjoy it, don't be disappointed if you don't like them, as todd points out they are not for everyone.

Friedrich might be a good place to start, there are no dice and the map is absolutely beautiful. It might be a bit long though (3-4 hours, you can shorten the game by reducing the event deck).


Thanks for sharing your thoughts Colin, I appreciate it. I definitely understand what you and Todd are saying, and will be very cautious, and not expect too great things from this excursion or get my hopes too high. I actually know someone who has Friedrich but have never had a chance to play it, so perhaps that would be a great place to start since I wouldn't need to buy it. I looked over his copy once, but didn't know much about the game at the time, and don't remember much about what I saw or what I thought at the time. I guess it seemed a little odd but kind of neat that one player was the superpower that the other three players were teaming up against, but the other three weaker players weren't quite working together since they had independent goals or victory conditions.

Yeah, you may be right about the time being an even bigger barrier than the components, luck, or disinterest in theme. I guess I just figured that 2 hours would be enough, but maybe I was off by an hour or two. I suppose that would be alright, and I'd still be willing to get a wargame or two to play from time to time then, but couldn't quite introduce it into normal rotation then.
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I'm with the poster who suggested you should proceed with caution. Maybe wargames just aren't your thing. That's OK.

On the point of luck, I have found two things to be critical in helping me cope with swings of luck.

1. Understand the statistics well. When you don't understand the risks you are taking it's easy to get upset about the outcome.

2. Use the theme. It's not just a bad dice roll or card draw. Maybe your troops got hit w/ influenza. Maybe your supply dried up because a crucial politician died on the homefront and public sentiment turned against you. Maybe your squad didn't move right because a guy stepped in a hole and broke his leg. "Luck" in wargames is designed to capture all the imponderables.

One of my favorite examples is that in the War of 1812 a naval invasion failed because all the oars got put in the first boat and the other guys were all stuck.
 
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cull wrote:
Thommy8 wrote:
The two I most have my eye on (besides C&C and Twilight Struggle because I'm still tempted to get either those so I can try them out more)
I just noticed this bit. If you are still on the fence about C&C Ancients, then here are couple thoughts that I hope might tip the balance toward that:

1. Don't forget that you can often battle back. So unlike in Memoir 44, you are not automatically powerless if you don't have cards in a sector at the moment.

2. Also, the fact that your opponent may battle back adds an interesting tactical aspect - an incentive to plan your attack so he/she can't battle back. If you can make him retreat then he can't battle back.

3. Unlike the tanks in Memoir 44, I presume soldiers in ancient days did have to rest. Hefting all that armor and swinging those swords must have been hard to keep up non-stop for a whole battle. So the fact that everyone can't fight at once makes sense with the mechanic.

4. Elephants. If you don't know about the elephants, then download the PDF and read the secion on "Rampage." :-)


That's alright that you didn't notice that parenthetical bit before. There's probably a bunch of stuff buried in that overlong post that I would be surprised by if I went back and read it laugh

Thanks for trying to help me "see the light" on C&C Ancients. Given that it's ranked in the Top 12 here, and I really like most of those 12 games (except BattleLore which I haven't tried, Twilight Struggle as mentioned above, and Power Grid as mentioned elsewhere), I keep thinking I should enjoy C&C, and there must be something I'm missing... and the thing is, I'm sure there's something I'm missing. In fact, I'm sure there's lots I'm missing. I mean I've only played the game a couple times, and it looks like it has so much to offer, especially with all those scenarios. So I'd be happy to try it out mere. Heck, if I'd managed to snag Ava's cheap copy (see http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/172728) then I'd have definitely played at least a few more times, but it's hard to go out and pick up something that I know I already didn't really "get" without playing someone else's copy more times until I do "get" it. Thanks though, you do make a good point about battling back, and maybe I should give the slackers on the left flank a break, heh!
 
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desertfox2004 wrote:
If components are important to you (and they are to me), I might suggest you try some of the Phalanx series of wargames. These are fine games and the physical quality is very, very good - check these out: Age of Napoleon, Waterloo: Napoleon's Last Battle, A House Divided (Phalanx edition!), Italia, The First World War
All of these games are on the lower end of the complexity scale (no Advanced Squad Leaders here!), are slickly produced, and are simply great games. Start here!


Thanks for the recommendations Leo, much appreciated! If the Phalanx series has good components than that might be a good place to start, in order to wean me away from my eurogame biases, before diving right into paper maps, plexiglass, and cardboard chits.

A couple of them are listed as two hours, but most seem to be listed as 3-4 hours, have you found that the listed times are generally accurate, or that some of the games listed at 3-4 hours actually take less time (at least on repeated plays)? And as for luck, are there certain ones of those five that you think have noticeably less luck involved than the others?
 
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Thommy8 wrote:
Thanks George for the breakdown of HotS and BaM (I suppose I should try out the acronyms) in terms of Components and Luck, that is very much appreciated. It does sound like from what you say that BaM would be the better choice, not only because of the components but also because of the lack of luck. Since you've done such a nice breakdown of those two games though, I was wondering if you might want to throw another game or two into the mix because perhaps neither HotS nor BaM is the right choice, since I just sort of came up with those on my own without knowing much about the genre, so definitely feel free to expound on the components and luck of other possibly introductory wargames.


Having read your preferences, I would have suggested BaM myself if you hadn't mentioned it. Given your description, I think it's a perfect fit for you. Have a look at this website and see what you think:
http://www.simmonsgames.com/products/Marengo/index.html
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