The best wargames ever!

Honza

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#1
Can you recommend what you feel is or are the best wargames ever? Apart from ASL of course. I'm thinking of expanding my game collection and would like some recommendations.

I recommend AD&D; but of course most of you will be very familiar with that. I've also bought the 5th edition D&D set, but have not played it yet.
 

Paul M. Weir

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#3
I would have to strongly recommend 2 series.

The first is GMT's Great Battles of History (GBoH). Everything from Ancient Egyptian vs Hittites in Chariots of Fire to the Mongols in Devil's Horsemen with diversions to India in Chandragupta and naval action in War Galley. While the scale is not ASL in terms of units size, it is the equivalent in terms of theatres and nationalities. Some modules use somewhat different rules as decided as appropriate by the designer, the basic core ideas remain the same, so while someone who has played SPQR will have to take some initial care with the rules before playing CoF, he/she will not find them all that different. There are a small number of add-ons to main modules, but the vast majority can be played straight from the box. Their Men of Iron series, though a separate line, carry on many of the concepts, albeit in a simpler form, reflective of the simpler tactics.

The second is L'n'L's World at War, which covers a '85 WP vs NATO clash. Though the official back story is a little weird it has no effects on the games. It has quite simple rules, is fast moving and fun, ideal for a change of pace from a heavy ASL scenario. While some modules depend upon others, most, like GBoH can be played on their own straight from the box.

As people will have gathered, my main interest is WW2 and after. Partly that is a generational thing (parents' war, recent history, etc), partly some distaste for the the whole Napoleonic thing, not really sure why. Post school, I developed an interest in history as a side effect from my WW2 interest. So I started from the beginning. I have now worked my way up to GMT's Musket & Pike series, another good game series. Whether I will get to ACW and Napoleon is another matter.

Other good series would be GMT's M&P as mentioned and MMP's PanzerBlitz 2. The latter suffers from being a 1 shot game but there is an East Front module in the works. While there have been a lot of platoon level WW2 games produced, I think it is the best. AP's PG series is much more comprehensive, but a lot slower to play, you have to do a lot more softening up to get anywhere. Because of that it is a lot more realistic, even if the armour model is not as fine grained, but it does come across as a better simulation. For a grand tactical or lower level operational pair of games there is GMT's Roads to Leningrad and Roads to Moscow.

In terms of complexity (1-10)
ASL: 9
GBoH: 5-7, depending upon game.
WaW: 3-5
M&P: 5-6
MoI: 5
PB2: 5
PG: 6-8, partly due to pace and need to master combined arms rather than simply the rules.
RtL/M: 6

The usual caveat of those being my opinions and impressions.
 

Yuri0352

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#5
My choices for 'great' non-Asl games would be in no order of preference:

Avalon Hill's American Civil War series
Avalon Hill's area-move, impulse-type games: Thunder At Cassino; Turning Point Stalingrad ( my favorite Stalingrad game); Breakout Normandy.
Avalon Hill's solitaire game, Raid on St. Nazaire.
Avalon Hill's Siege of Jerusalem.
MMP'S A Victory Complete (battle of Tannenberg, WWI eastern front.
 

Honza

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#7
Hi Paul,

Have you tried the Panzer Grenadier PTO scenarios? I was wondering how they play.
 

Paul M. Weir

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#8
I haven't played (solo) PG as much as my collection would justify. While I got my ASL to a level that I was reasonably happy with, at least in my mind, I got nowhere near even that with PG. While the rules are definitely shorter and much easier than ASL, it still takes a fair and time effort to become half way competent and I never got to that stage. The Japanese in PG were basically much higher morale units while in ASL they are quite different beasts due to striping. While the PTO stuff did not seem drastically different from the ETO stuff, I would be not be a good person to ask. ASL would flash her thighs at me and I would be back in her arms.

For many reasons, time and my lack of dedication mainly, I did not rate PG as in my top list. WaW is my fun "blow shït up" and unwind series. GBoH is my medium complexity but still thought required series. While a GBoH battle typically requires as much thought as an ASL scenario, the rules are simpler and due to the nature of linear warfare, often faster to play. The last is because once things go against one side usually that side falls apart tout suite, last stands are rare and no need to dig the 628, LMG and Commissar out of the VP fortified location, definitely no HS bug hunts. GMT's M&P series is similar in that respect. Beside, there I don't have a problem with multiple competing systems covering the same battles and periods distracting me.

Sorry, but I can't really give a decently experienced reply to your question.
 

Proff3RTR

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#10
excepting ASL clearly.

PanzerBlitz (old skool).
Combat Commander (GMT Games).
Drang Nacht Osten (again old skool).
War in the East 41-45 (Avalon Hill).
War in the EAST SPI (1st Edition).
Streets of Stalingrad L2 version.
Fire on the Volga/Battle for the factories .
Rhino Games Campaign to Stalingrad.
Panzer & all it's add ons.
Korsun Pocket by People's war games, good 'Ost Front' Monster game

but as in all things it depends on the person, War in the East by SPI was I think the very first 'serious' war game I bought, followed by SL and soon after that ASL, GDW Europa was collected, and like all the rest chucked out! (I know major idiot),
But if a game excites you, it is doing it's job.

I always liked war in the east (SPI) Combat Commander is for what it is worth light fun, but very good IMHO.

Perry

P.S but ASL is without doubt, un-beatable.
 
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Fort

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#11
If you're interested in Napoleonic era navals, I would strongly recommend Close Action in lieu of WSIM. It is a mechanically similar game, but with much better, more historically realistic systems and stats.
Played them both. I much prefer WS&IM.
 

Paul M. Weir

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#14
Honza, it might help if you give us some hints or feelings about what you might be interested in. Clearly you want to explore other things but maybe crossing off certain areas might help.
Ancient, Medieval, Musket & Pike, Napoleonic, ACW, WW1, WW2 or Post War?
Tactical (squad, platoon, company or battalion), Grand Tactical, Operational, Strategic?
A few dozen, around a hundred, low hundreds, hundreds to a thousand, thousand plus units?
 

ecz

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#15
Amazing how nobody has named Paths of Glory and/or Empires in Arms
 
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Honza

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#16
Ancient, Medieval, Musket & Pike, Napoleonic, ACW, WW1, WW2 or Post War?
Tactical (squad, platoon, company or battalion), Grand Tactical, Operational, Strategic?
A few dozen, around a hundred, low hundreds, hundreds to a thousand, thousand plus units?
Yes! ;)
 

Honza

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#18
For the sake of argument; I'm looking for any (war)game from any age/theatre/scale which is intuitive, challenging and has great immersion factor. I really know very little about (war)games - so I'm very open to suggestions.
 

ecz

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#19
Do you recommend them?
Empires in Arms has the highest possible immersion factor. For the duration of the campaign (usually months) you are REALLY Napoleon, Wellington, or the Kaiser. All days of the week.
Diplomacy phase starts even before the setup and NEVER ends until the very last game turn. I cannot imagine a game where players do not phone-email- talk- each other all time during the week before the next session. The balanced bid-system to assign Powers means that Spain have the same chances of France of Great Britain to gain the necessary amount of points to win. All is in the hands of the players and no Power starts in a leading position. Field battles can always change any game and play a key role. So who is in a weak coalition still have the resources to minimize damage with a clever use of his forces (Corps and Fleets). Despite the strategic level, the battles are incredibly fun to play, and there are many tactical choices left to the players, including the Guard commitment that can save the day or trasform a defeat in a disaster. Requires seven expert players because newbies tend to quit as soon as things go bad (usually in the first few turns) and they can easily ruin the game when it appears they cannot reach their victory level. It also requires serious bookeeping efforts.

Paths of Glory is a game of geometric perfection totally balanced that resembles Chess when played at higher level despite it uses cards and die.
A newbie will lose the first xk games when opposed to a veteran and no die or lucky card combination can help him. This is a very good thing.
When skills becomes more or less equal then luck start to have a role, but usually the losing player have made the worst error early in the game.
I love Paths of Glory because the game naturally follows the path of WWI more closely than its WWII counterparts and still the players have tons of different choices at each turn. I could call Paths of Glory as a sort of Advanced Chess game given the effort to theorize at least the opening moves made in the years .
The very static-nature of WWI combat and the key role of reserves are at the best level of simulation. And all is in less than 20 pages of rules.
 
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King Billy

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#20
I like complicated war games, so I recommend Star Fleet Battles and the Air Power/Fighting Wings series of games. Air Power is jet air combat, Fighting Wings is WWII air combat.

For large strategic warfare, World in Flames, with expansion covering from WWII to the Cold War.

On the low end of the scale, Command and Colors Ancients, card based ancients that flows well.