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Thursday, April 21, 2005


Warming to Wargames

Back in the day, when I was a kid growing up in a very rural town in Montana, Monopoly, Scrabble and Sorry comprised my boardgame universe. Dungeons and Dragons, and Car Wars were played by many kids, but those two games held no appeal for me. When I got older Risk, The Farming Game, and Axis and Allies got played some.

Wargames meant hex and counter/Avalon Hill/ encyclopedic rulebooks, and generally weren't available to me. The few that I did play (don't remember any names) left me disappointed. I mostly remember being bored waiting for the guy who owned the game to search the rulebook to find reasons that I couldn't do what I had just done. I tried to read the rules several times and instantly fell asleep each and every time that I tried.

After I graduated high school I joined the Army. I participated in a few war-boardgames, but was creamed by opponents who knew the rules inside and out and made no attempt to help me learn. They just pulled rules out of their butt, knowing in advance what I was planning and failed to warn me that there was an exception to the exception to the main rule.

Needless to say, wargames pretty much sucked in my opinion.

After I discovered German games I completely and happily forgot about wargames. Simple rules, fun, and fairly immune to rules lawyers, what wasn't to like about them? Then, right when I'm starting to read good things about card driven games such as Wilderness War, and block games I meet a guy who plays a lot of wargames in addition to German games.

Since then I've played several war games, and not just the euro-ized ones like Serenissima, Mare Nostrum and such. He even talked me in to some ASL, which is starting to grow on me. (I've tried Paths of Glory, but I still haven't advanced to the level that I find it to be fun. Still too fiddley, too many units, too many exceptions to the rules.)

I looked back on some of the comments I left for wargames on BGG and it kind of surprises me how far I have come. Although I rated most of the games as average or better I left disparaging remarks. "Not bad for a historical simulation game", for example. One night, when I have some time at work I will have to go back and change some of those comments, the games are starting to grow on me.

Good gaming,

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