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Why We Don’t Have More War Games

Do you want to play a game?

How about ‘Global Thermonuclear War’? That reference may be lost on several people, but that point is why we don’t play a lot of war games. Like they do in the movie Wargames, which is where that reference is from for those keeping track at home. In the movie, a simple game threatens the end of the world and unlike some folks I am not prepared to lose friendships over a terrible war game experience. And, as you listen to our section of episodes based on war game mechanics, we have several tales of woe and fear all based around these war games. We are talking about games where you have clearly lost and are still stuck in a game that has hours remaining. I hate to rage quit in games but if there is no possibility to recover, and you have to wait 30 minutes until your next turn, that level of frustration turns most of us away from those big heavy war games.

Now we are not trying to tear down the love for these games, we are fully aware there is a vast number of people who thrive on war games. Many players out there have the stamina and the thicker skin to take obvious defeat and are willing to continue to play a game for the experience. Many of you are ready and willing to do this week after week. Doug quite aptly called a lot of these games “lifestyle games,” meaning that your collection and your game group can allow for repeated plays of these games. Our group has a combined total of over 3000 different board games, and with only 365 days in the year you can quickly see that we do not have the time to add many of these style of games, plus with the growing list of campaign games, story games, and legacy games that we are all wanting to get to the table, getting all of our games to the table is very much a challenge. So that is why we do not have a lot of these games in our combined collections. That does not mean that we do not have any. When we review the top rated games linked to a game mechanism, we take about the top 35 games and remove what we own and then reflect on what we don’t have. So with that in mind, I am going to discuss some of the games we own and some of the ones we have played. High on my list is Star Wars: Rebellion, and Star Wars: Rebellion - Rise of the Empire. Now for me, I was sold on this game when I read Star Wars. But it does take more than just a name and a great IP to make a game good. Star Wars: Rebellion was released in 2016 and is a 2 player game no matter what the box may lead you to believe. In Star Wars: Rebellion players are put into the core of the Star Wars Conflict. The powerful Galactic Empire under the leadership of The Emperor is trying to crush all forces that stand against the tidal wave of fear and power. The much smaller Rebellion is working to disrupt the Galactic Machine and avoid detection and survive in hopes of gaining escape from the tight grip the Empire has on the galaxy. This game does this so well. There are epic space battles and fierce planetary conflicts, as players vie for control over systems, which in turn help give them resources to use in the colossal conflict. Root is a great game that revolves around the warring critters of the vast wilderness as they combat for control of the forest. What makes this game shine is the vast asymmetric play that each race of woodland creatures uses. Each race plays so much differently from the others. The way they attack, score points, and even build structures is quite unique. Sadly, this game I just culled, not for any dislike for the game, this game is exceptional. The reason I parted with this game is the prep time it takes to learn and teach the game. If you are going to teach the game you should know how each of the races play. When we play hundreds of different games a year, keeping the rules and play styles fresh for this game becomes a challenge, and it would be left sitting on the shelf and gathering dust. If you have a group that will play this game over and over this is an excellent pick.

Mythic Battles: Pantheon, a game that Andy owns, is a war game to the nines. The game begins with players drafting the gods, demigods, and mythical beasts within the Greek pantheon. Once a team has been selected players face off in different arenas in an attempt to eliminate your opponent's god, or to claim the required amount of Omphalos, depending on the set up of the game. The miniatures are amazing and Andy has created terrain that brings the game to life. Even with the basic cardboard, this is still an epic game of combat and battle royale.

One of my early pick ups was another Star Wars game. All based on the space dog fights and including some outstanding models from Fantasy Flight. This is Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game. I had a ton of the first edition series, and the game fell off of my radar with the release of the second edition. I was not about to buy all of those again. But this game was a blast. Players begin on opposite sides of space and use flight patterns in order to avoid collisions and strive to poise themselves to get the enemy in their sights and to be victorious by eliminating the other. This was a blast and with a lot of these war games it is a two-player game. And as such it really did not hit the table a ton when we would have a full house of gamers. Well, that is a short list of some of the higher rated games we own or have played. War games do not fill a large section of our shelves, but there are still some that are on our shelves and hit the game table. What is your favorite war game? Want to hear more about our war game discussion? Tune in to episodes, 496-498, and bonus episode 3 for our take. Until next time, plan ahead, and we will see you at the game table.

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2 Kommentare

salvatore cautela
salvatore cautela
30. Nov. 2023


After reading my post my wife pointed out that the Axis could win by capturing two out of three Allied capitals and didn’t need a total victory. My apologies.

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salvatore cautela
salvatore cautela
29. Nov. 2023

For me it would be Axis and Allies. I played and purchased the game as a young child very soon after its release in the 1980s.

Axis and Allies is one of the best and most admired war games in board game history for a reason. It was one of the first war games that was learnable and accessible to a wide audience. Before Axis and Allies war games were rule heavy administrative nightmares that weren’t a pleasure to look at on a game table.

This ties into some of the problems that you cited in war games that prevent people from playing them.

War simulation end game or victory conditions are usually based on the historical context of a…

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