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Author Topic: suggestions for a fun military-themed game?  (Read 5918 times)

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Brando Commando

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suggestions for a fun military-themed game?
« on: April 27, 2012, 04:00:18 pm »
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Recently I've had the hankering for a new game, but I don't know what it would be exactly. Here's what I'm looking for:

1. It can be played in about 1.5 hours on average.
2. It's military-themed and you have armies of some sort that you move around the board and with which you invade other people's territories or battle their armies.
3. The rules aren't too complex -- maybe about as complicated as Dominion -- and don't assume a bunch of investment beyond the game itself and maybe some expansions.

I think the kicker would be if it were as replayable and interesting as Dominion...but that's probably a wish too far.

Any ideas? I guess I'll post at BGG, too, but I know this forum better.
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Kelume

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Re: suggestions for a fun military-themed game?
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2012, 04:48:02 pm »
+1

If you don't mind investing some time to learn a new set of rules, Chaos in the Old World is a fairly deep military-esque game with a couple very interesting twists (gods have unique play styles and largely balanced, units are somewhat disposable, victory can be earned two ways). It doesn't quite satisfy the easy learning curve requirement but IMO most wargames that do are not particularly deep, whereas Chaos has a heck of a lot of replay value. :)
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theory

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Re: suggestions for a fun military-themed game?
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2012, 05:09:11 pm »
+1

Small World seems to fit what you want perfectly, but that game can be polarizing.
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Davio

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Re: suggestions for a fun military-themed game?
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2012, 05:57:18 pm »
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I love Small World, it's like Risk, but more fair and fun.
In Risk, you're constantly looking to knockout opponents and generally playing until one player has dominated and the others are asleep or for the short version, you stop after someone has Australia.

In Small World, you pick a race which has been randomly coupled with a special power (hello replayability) and use them for a couple of rounds. If you find you've extended as much as you can, you can pick a new race to play with.

In Small World, players will generally take the road of least resistance (they get more points this way), but the board is so small (hence the name) that you will have to seek confrontation with other players.
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DG

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Re: suggestions for a fun military-themed game?
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2012, 06:50:46 pm »
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Memoir '44 might interest you. It's the Command and Colours system but with slightly simpler rules and a world war II setting. Two player.  http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/10630/memoir-44 .
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ftl

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Re: suggestions for a fun military-themed game?
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2012, 06:57:08 pm »
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Yeah, I'll second M44. It's pretty fun.
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Brando Commando

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Re: suggestions for a fun military-themed game?
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2012, 09:17:23 pm »
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Thanks for the suggestions, these look good -- I'll give at least one a go with my friends.
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Kirian

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Re: suggestions for a fun military-themed game?
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2012, 04:46:11 am »
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Domaine would fit this general bill, though I am not a fan of it personally.
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Kuildeous

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Re: suggestions for a fun military-themed game?
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2012, 09:03:09 am »
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I love Small World, it's like Risk, but more fair and fun.
In Risk, you're constantly looking to knockout opponents and generally playing until one player has dominated and the others are asleep or for the short version, you stop after someone has Australia.

Risk: Legacy actually removes this issue. Well, sort of. The thing with Risk: Legacy is that it starts off like regular Risk (except that you vie for 4 victory points instead of utterly wiping out everyone else, though that works too). Each game that you play permanently changes the landscape. As play progresses, you eventually even change the rules. If you have a core group of players, then you can even purposefully jack with the board to benefit you in the future.

So, the Australia rule? It could be nullified by someone lowering the reward from 2 to 1. Of course, it's possible that the Australia reward could be bumped up to make it even stronger. There are other ways to make regions more appealing than just the continent bonus, though. It's a fun twist on a classic game. It's still Risk, though, and if the 3 dice vs 2 dice mechanic pisses you off, then this game isn't for you. If you hated Risk because the way to win was to take Australia and wipe everyone out, then you should give this a try, as this isn't always a viable strategy (though it's still a strong strategy early on). Make no mistake, though: This game can still be swingy.

Small World is a very fun game. It's very swingy, which means that players need to keep an eye on runaway victories. I just played a game last week where I could see how one guy was raking in the points, but we were too busy fighting each other to put him in his place. Kingmaking is a distinct possibility, but I think that's true of any army game.

If you want something less fantastical than Small World, you could seek out its precursor, Vinci. It's a little trickier to play since it's more icon-based, but once you get past that, it should be fine.

And of course, there's always Axis & Allies. I'm not a diehard A&A player, but it seems to me that one problem with this game is that each country has in ideal starting strategy. If you don't follow that strategy but your opponents follow theirs, then you get trounced. That's just my observation, part of it stems from how I usually don't like playing the formula and end up getting crippled. Maybe I just suck at A&A.

I like Advanced Civilization, but that's not really a war game. It happens to have war in it, and it usually punishes people who get too aggressive.
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WanderingWinder

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Re: suggestions for a fun military-themed game?
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2012, 09:42:38 am »
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The reason I don't like risk, as with so many other games, is the kingmaking, and specifically, that one player playing really badly (i.e. early all-out aggression in a game with lots of players), can take out not only his own chances, but also those of a good player, who can't do a thing about it.

Brando Commando

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Re: suggestions for a fun military-themed game?
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2012, 10:44:58 am »
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And of course, there's always Axis & Allies. I'm not a diehard A&A player, but it seems to me that one problem with this game is that each country has in ideal starting strategy. If you don't follow that strategy but your opponents follow theirs, then you get trounced. That's just my observation, part of it stems from how I usually don't like playing the formula and end up getting crippled. Maybe I just suck at A&A.

I think I eliminated A&A right off because it was my impression it's often an all-day affair. That means that getting strategically creative like you want to do means you lose for a long time before you start a new experiment with a fresh game. One of Dominion's strong points is it's relatively short play time.
 
Another point in Dominion's favor is this the whole modular quality of the set-up -- known elements rearranged for yet another variation -- and having seen the ingenuity of this, I'm surprised no popular game I can think of has tried something quite like it before. Now that I've played Dominion, chess -- as totally well balanced and designed as it is -- doesn't seem quite as fun anymore. (Then again, I'm not genius in either, so maybe that has something to do with it...) I mention all this because it sounds like A&A is kind of like this, with the strategies being a bit set from the beginning.

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theory

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Re: suggestions for a fun military-themed game?
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2012, 10:56:35 am »
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Small World does this: there are X races, and Y special powers that can be attached to those races.  Shuffle them up, and you have a choice of 5 X+Y race/power combos.  Some race/power combos are stronger than others, and they'll get grabbed quickly, and others are weaker, which gets compensated for by the fact that you get paid to get it.
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Kuildeous

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Re: suggestions for a fun military-themed game?
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2012, 11:11:34 am »
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and others are weaker, which gets compensated for by the fact that you get paid to get it.

I think this portion is especially emphasized in the Curses mini-expansion. The Cursed power really hoses you if you take it, but it costs 3 points to avoid it instead of 1. It can become very profitable at the end of the game to take this. I once played it where Cursed was the first choice at the very beginning. It was slightly awesome in how much of a pain it was.

I think it was Cursed Dwarves, which is a really pathetic combination.
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Wingnut

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Re: suggestions for a fun military-themed game?
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2012, 02:47:57 pm »
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Have to agree with the Small World sentiment here though I think I would start with the Underground version (think Intrigue to the Base set of Dominion) as I feel like there is more replay value on its own than the base game.
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chwhite

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Re: suggestions for a fun military-themed game?
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2012, 10:04:50 pm »
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If you want something less fantastical than Small World, you could seek out its precursor, Vinci. It's a little trickier to play since it's more icon-based, but once you get past that, it should be fine.
...

I like Advanced Civilization, but that's not really a war game. It happens to have war in it, and it usually punishes people who get too aggressive.

I've played both Small World and Vinci- and despite preferring the quasi-history of Vinci to the fantasy theme of Small World... Small World completely supercedes Vinci in every way.  The Column A/Column B system ensures that the powers on offer are at least somewhat well-balanced, the expansions add a lot of replay value, and most importantly playing a set number of turns rather than up to a certain score eliminates the horrible bash-the-leader problem that always bogged down Vinci's endgame.  Never actually played Underground, though.

...

Advanced Civilization is what I often call my favorite game of all time, however since it requires 12-14 hours and 6-8 players it's not really a game I expect to play much if ever anymore.  It totally features in many of my favorite college memories though.  The group I was with was incredibly friendly, probably too friendly, being super-honest in trades and not really attacking until the last two turns.  So it felt like an epic trading/optimization game with a map attached rather than a wargame, which many other groups seemed to play it as. 
« Last Edit: April 30, 2012, 10:09:49 pm by chwhite »
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dondon151

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Re: suggestions for a fun military-themed game?
« Reply #15 on: May 01, 2012, 01:09:54 am »
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Advanced Squad Leader.
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Davio

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Re: suggestions for a fun military-themed game?
« Reply #16 on: May 01, 2012, 03:19:03 am »
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Have to agree with the Small World sentiment here though I think I would start with the Underground version (think Intrigue to the Base set of Dominion) as I feel like there is more replay value on its own than the base game.
Another strong aspect of Small World besides its random races and powers is the fact that you can go in decline. What this means is when you have a race on the board and you feel you can no longer expand it (no extra tokens), you can flip them over. You can no longer actively play with this race, but you will still score tokens for the regions they hold. This gives you an opportunity to start fresh with a new race next turn and begin conquering anew. I like this and it adds a tactical timing choice of when to switch.

So even when you're not doing so great, you get another chance to have some fun with another combo.
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