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Subject: Historical games rss

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Jeff Johnson

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Hello all. I’ve been listening to Mike Duncan’s History of Rome podcast lately and started thinking about how I don’t have any board games with a historical theme. Thought I’d throw it out here to see what people’s favorite games based on history are.

I know that probably encompasses a ton of games (and basically all war games) so to narrow it a bit I’ll give some criteria that I’m personally looking for in my collection currently.

A) Relatively quick set up/play, ideally under 90 minutes. I’m looking for games that I can set up and play after work when I work evenings.
B) Bonus points if it involves the Punic wars and double bonus if it involves fighting against or as Hannibal
C) Tactical play (although this does not have mean war/fighting)
D) I probably have room for at least one WWI or WWII game in my collection but am particularly interested in games that deal with history further in the past
E) This definitely doesn’t need to be limited to games about Ancient Rome but since that’s what inspired my post I am interested to hear about games with that theme

Some games on my radar were Hoplomachus: Rise of Rome, the Field Commander series (particularly Alexander and Napoleon sounded cool), Comanchería: The Rise and Fall of the Comanche Empire and Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! – Operation Barbarossa 1941 (second edition). I’ve also been enjoying the SGOYT posts about Undaunted: Normandy lately but am not sure about playing two handed.

Hoplo may be close to the top as I’m a CTG fan and although I don’t believe it is meant to be historically accurate in any way it might be enough to scratch my itch.

Anyway, thanks for reading, I’d appreciate any input.
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Oda
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Comancheria is an excellent game but I'm not sure it hits many of your criteria. Wholeheartedly recommend it, but I'd recommend watching a video (there is a great series of videos from the designer that run through the tutorial that will give you a good idea of how it plays).

Of those listed Hoplo is probably closest to what you are looking for, though not entirely historical.
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Colin Taylor
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You should research Agricola, Master of Britain, or its bigger brother Charlemagne, Master of Europe. I think either would work for you.

Colin
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Drew Scott
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Evanston
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Subscribing to this, because I recognized the same thing about my own collection. The most historical thing I owned was 1775: Rebellion, which was a great game, but I couldn't get takers to play it, so away it went. More suggestions please!
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Joe Pilkus
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While I haven't played it, many people enjoy Memoir '44
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Jason Brown
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I’ve heard great things about Hands in the Sea and Hannibal & Hamilcar.
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Andy
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I think there are war games (command and colors?) that deal with Hannibal and the Punic wars. Also check out Donning the Purple which was inspired by the very podcast, and is basically a year-of-Five-emperors theme. It’s actually on Kickstarter now with a new expansion. Very thematic and good exciting solo rules
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Jeff Johnson

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Thanks for the suggestions so far!

Hannibal & Hamilcar, and Hands in the Sea look cool but these are 2 player only correct? Looks like the same for Memoir '44. Maybe someday I should jump in and try playing both sides.

Donning the Purple is one I remember seeing on KS, but the initial description as a king of the hill game didn’t sound like it would be great solo. Does anyone have any experience with it? I do like the theme.

Agricola, Master of Britain looks great. I’ll see what comes of this list but I think I want to try this one. Charlemagne, Master of Europe also looks cool but at 3-4 hours may be a bit too long.

Thanks again, I appreciate everyone’s input and look forward to hearing any others!
 
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Oda
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Another game from Hollandspiele (of Agricola and Charlemagne, mentioned above) is Wars of Marcus Aurelius: Rome 170-180CE. It's a bit different than the others (which are iterations on the same system), being card driven. I loved the theme (Marcus Aurelius intrigues me) but I found it a bit light on thematic flavor for my taste. That said, the system is very cool and mechanically I found it very fun. Definitely recommend taking a look.
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Alex
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Hellenica: Story of Greece is one I regret not backing. It turned out very well reading the reviews. You can pre-order it, but it's kinda pricey I think. SOmething to look at! Looks good though.
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Paul Dodds
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With regards to ancient Rome solo games, you might find this thread from a couple of months back helpful.
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Jeff Johnson

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Wars of Marcus Aurelius: Rome 170-180CE looks good too! That and Agricola, Master of Britain may be about the weight/length I’m looking for.

I remember debating backing Hellenica: Story of Greece when it was on KS. The game still looks cool but at 2 hours may be a bit long for what I’m looking for currently. I could see picking it up in the future at some point though.

I missed that thread regarding Roman Empire games so thanks! I’ll have to look back thru it.
 
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David Aldinger
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On the Ancients front, There is Falling Sky and also Mark Hermans Peloponnesian War and Pericles from GMT.

If you have an opponent to play with then your field widens up quite a bit.

Sword of Rome
Genesis
Commands and Colors Ancients
Hannibal
Hands in the Sea
Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea
Great Battles of Alexander
Time of Crisis
SPQR
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C S
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Falling Sky: The Gallic Revolt Against Caesar

Peloponnes Card Game (not very thematic though)
 
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JW van der Meulen
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davetheswabian wrote:
If you have an opponent to play with then your field widens up quite a bit. (...)
Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea
Which reminded me, that this game includes solo scenarios. I don't know anything about gameplay, as I only put it on my "to research" list, but the Punic Wars are included.
 
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Roger S
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ACBez wrote:
Hellenica: Story of Greece is one I regret backing. It turned out very well reading the reviews. You can pre-order it, but it's kinda pricey I think. SOmething to look at! Looks good though.

You regret backing it? Or regret NOT backing it?
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Miguel Angel Fernandez Gomez
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+1 to Donning the Purple. Though prepare yourself to a lot of Chaos and to lose disastrously.
You also have Tetrarchia. Very fast setup. More simple than previous one.
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Jeff Johnson

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Ananda74 wrote:
+1 to Donning the Purple. Though prepare yourself to a lot of Chaos and to lose disastrously.
You also have Tetrarchia. Very fast setup. More simple than previous one.

How is the single player? Is it against an AI? What are the win conditions?

Play time is stated at 70-90min which would be exactly what I’m looking for. I’ll have to do more research on this one!

Thanks again for everyone’s input!
 
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Andy
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Donning the Purple solo is really good. There isn’t really an AI. You play the emperor and have to survive (by keeping the emperor...ship(?) in your family) by making sure grain supply keeps flowing, dealing with enemy invasions, natural disasters, and assassination attempts from the senate. Each round the senate will gain more power so you also have to keep them in check while dealing with the above. Good times! Can see some posts on SGOYT. Also got a KS update that they’re doing a solo playthru on their Facebook pge today. Other solo videos exist on YouTube too
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Miguel Angel Fernandez Gomez
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BiggityBogle wrote:
Ananda74 wrote:
+1 to Donning the Purple. Though prepare yourself to a lot of Chaos and to lose disastrously.
You also have Tetrarchia. Very fast setup. More simple than previous one.

How is the single player? Is it against an AI? What are the win conditions?

Play time is stated at 70-90min which would be exactly what I’m looking for. I’ll have to do more research on this one!

Thanks again for everyone’s input!

Win conditions jeje...that's funny. Don't think about winning but getting to finish the play. To resist is a victory by itself.
Playing time is less than multiplayer. About 30-40 minutes. And you'll chain one play with other. It's very easy to play, funny. You try to supress the fires that appear each round.
Now there is a kickstarter campaign with base and expansion, but the expansion doesn't worth for solitaire.
 
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Alex
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schiavonir wrote:
ACBez wrote:
Hellenica: Story of Greece is one I regret backing. It turned out very well reading the reviews. You can pre-order it, but it's kinda pricey I think. SOmething to look at! Looks good though.

You regret backing it? Or regret NOT backing it?

Woops. Regret NOT backing. Let me change that!
 
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Jeff Johnson

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Thanks all, once again, for the input. I'm still researching before I pull the trigger on anything.

I was close to purchasing Donning the Purple but then saw one-stop Coop shop's review. They didn't recommend it for solo only since they felt that victory/loss was basically out of the player's hands and primarily due to which event cards come out.

Despite this I'm still considering the game as it checks off a lot of my criteria. Those who recommended the game, do you agree/disagree? Since it's such a fast play does it not matter that win/loss is mostly luck?

I'm still also considering Wars of Marcus Aurelius: Rome 170-180CE and Agricola, Master of Britain and if/which I get will probably depend on if I can work out a trade for one.

Finally my recent infatuation with Cloudspire has me convinced that I'll likely end up with Hoplomachus: Rise of Rome in my collection someday. I may hold off for a little bit as I just pledged the recent TMB kickstarter and feel that maybe I've given CTG enough of my money for the time being. Or maybe I'll cave next week, who knows?

I should know better than to post in this forum though...I was looking for 1 maybe 2 games (I feel like I'm at a good place right now with the number of games in my collection/on the way) and now I'm considering 4 new games! At least I can feel good that I recently purged a bunch of games on ebay...
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Andy
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BiggityBogle wrote:
they felt that victory/loss was basically out of the player's hands and primarily due to which event cards come out.

That happens. I played it last night and had my heir die, and then an earthquake hit in the province I was in, which cost me my last 2 stamina. Game over, haha. When that happens it’s dumb luck but I don’t mind it in this game. It gives a gambling-with-fate vibe, which somehow feels Roman. And a win really feels like a win, because sure bad luck can kill you before you have a chance to name an heir, but you won’t win without thinking things through and being strategic about making the most out of the moves you have.

Edit: just to add - I realized what it reminds me somewhat is Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game, if you've ever played that ... in the way that it feels like bad luck can kill you (a lot), but winning requires solid play and good optimization of actions. In Space Hulk I always felt like smart play improved your chances of winning from 1 in 50 to 50/50, which may be roughly the same in Donning the Purple (not that I'm winning half of the time in Donning, haha..).

Both games bring out that sense of disaster lurking right around the corner, but in a way that still keeps you invested in your moves and decisions, instead of throwing up your hands and proclaiming "O cruel fates, over which I have no agency!" or whatever.
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