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Looking for a strategy wargame I can play with my son

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So I've been trying to get my son more interested into wargaming. We play chess and such. I'm looking at things like Memoir 44, or Battlelore, or any other suggestions. I am told Battlelore is more complex and Memoir 44 is easy to learn/play. I'm leaning toward easier to adopt and play, but FUN as well. My son is 12, so he's sharp and doesn't need an 'easy' game. However, being accessible would be huge! Also a game being 1 hour or LESS would be ideal too to avoid pressing attention spans.

 

Let the ideas flow! Memoir 44 doesn't seem to go on sale ever. The idea is a miniatures strategy wargame with a board basically. I also heard memoir 44 operation overlord expansion adds more players and fun (later on).

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Star Wars: Imperial Assault is basically a themed re-skin of Descent: Journeys in the Dark, which was basically an improved HeroQuest... The combo-hybrid board game / roleplaying game / miniatures game is usually a pretty good starting point. Plus, I’m told the young people like them Stars War movies.

Zombicide is mostly a board game, but uses a lot of minis and has more expansion sets than can be counted. I’ve never played it, but it’s pretty popular, so it must be doing something right.

WarCry and Shadespire both seem to be really popular, but I haven’t played them.

Frostgrave is a “real” miniatures skirmish game, but the investment is pretty low: 8-10 minis per player on average, rarely more than 12; you probably already have a ton of generic fantasy minis and terrain already; and the rules are about on par with D&D 3.x or 5e in complexity... and the rulebook only costs $25. Probably one of the best “intro” miniatures games out there right now.

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Still torn here. The suggested above work, but looking for larger than skirmish type games. I'm actually considering Battlelore now, but purely out of theme (plus it's on sale). Really can't decide between memoir 44 or Battlelore. Other than themed.

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I own both Battlelore and Memoir 44 and are a lot of fun for me and my kids.

Battlore is going out of print so there is a lot of good deals to be found for the base game.  Some of the extra armies have gotten expensive though, so adding more stuff might be a pain.  Battlelore has a cool bluffing element during game set up were you can bluff some with unit placement, but it takes longer to get the game going.  There is a little more going on than Memoir since units have special powers and magic that can be activated. The only real hassle with Battlelore is like most fantasy flight games there isn't enough dice in the base set, not a huge deal but its a hassle to have to re roll dice.  Adding more dice makes the game run a lot better. 

Memoir 44 has faster set up and play and offers a similar game. One nice thing about it is that there is a ton of content for it. A good variety of scenarios and theater/unit boxes add a little complexity and keep the game fresh. The eastern front and japanese boxes are personal favorites.

Both are fun for a lighter hand management/war game type game. Battlelore is really cheap right now, but adding more content might be difficult. If you find the army boxes cheap they are worth picking up. 

As far as strategy goes there is more going on than at first glance. If you think of the card driven actions as more of a logistics/hand management problem it makes some of the abstracion easier to deal with. I actually find the Napoleonics version finds a nice balance between historical and light war game; the at times frustrating command and control issues seeming to fit the time period well. 

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41 minutes ago, Mack said:

I own both Battlelore and Memoir 44 and are a lot of fun for me and my kids.

Battlore is going out of print so there is a lot of good deals to be found for the base game.  Some of the extra armies have gotten expensive though, so adding more stuff might be a pain.  Battlelore has a cool bluffing element during game set up were you can bluff some with unit placement, but it takes longer to get the game going.  There is a little more going on than Memoir since units have special powers and magic that can be activated. The only real hassle with Battlelore is like most fantasy flight games there isn't enough dice in the base set, not a huge deal but its a hassle to have to re roll dice.  Adding more dice makes the game run a lot better. 

Memoir 44 has faster set up and play and offers a similar game. One nice thing about it is that there is a ton of content for it. A good variety of scenarios and theater/unit boxes add a little complexity and keep the game fresh. The eastern front and japanese boxes are personal favorites.

Both are fun for a lighter hand management/war game type game. Battlelore is really cheap right now, but adding more content might be difficult. If you find the army boxes cheap they are worth picking up. 

As far as strategy goes there is more going on than at first glance. If you think of the card driven actions as more of a logistics/hand management problem it makes some of the abstracion easier to deal with. I actually find the Napoleonics version finds a nice balance between historical and light war game; the at times frustrating command and control issues seeming to fit the time period well. 

 

Thanks. So it really does sound like the extra setup and extra rules for battlelore are pretty minor and really just comes down to which theme we'd want. Do you feel Memoir missions and Battlelore missions are all balanced well?

 

I don't plan to do much around 'expanding' at all. Really just looking at a core set, something to kill time (likely less than 10 plays), done. Plus with Battlelore being clearanced, miniature market has it for $27+$6 shipping, that's cheap.

 

My real drive was, as a kid I remember owning and playing battlemasters. Was a blast. These seems like that on a small scale.

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1 hour ago, Mack said:

I actually find the Napoleonics version finds a nice balance between historical and light war game; the at times frustrating command and control issues seeming to fit the time period

Grognard senses tingling... There’s a Napoleonic version of Memoir ‘44!? 

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So it's not a self contained boardgame style, but there's a game called Song of Blades and Heroes by a Ganesha Games that a lot of people have had great luck with their kids with. It's a full on minis game, so as I said, not self-contained, but you can use any miniatures you want, and it's flexible in scale. The rules are super simple and very accessible, and the base rulebook is like $20. I'm a member of the worldwide Facebook group for the game (and its spinoffs) and a LOT of people play it with their kids. If you can dedicate a 3x3 table with a few trees and maybe a building or two, and you can scrounge up 4-5 minis per side, you have a great start on the game. I've been looking to try it out when I have more time, the battle reports I've watched/read all point to it being a really great system.

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 Sorry I was running around a bit today, but I thought about your question. As far as balance goes Battlelore is more balanced because a big part of the game is drawing and secretly selecting objectives, then taking turns placing terrain, mustering forces, placing tokens that represent units face down (a certain number being decoys). Then units are revealed and the game begins.  There is also a scenario tool online but I haven't used it. So for the most part each game is different and fairly balanced, but it takes some effort to get the game going. A lot of the scenario could be created before hand, but some of the fun is not knowing what you are up against.  

Memoir is selecting a scenario from the hundreds in books and online. The scenario will give exact set up instructions, forces, and any special rules for that game. The best scenarios are based on actual historical battles that are often not really balanced. In those cases they suggest to play the game twice switching sides and then comparing the total scores. Online there is a database for the scenarios that show relative win lose ratios for each side, if you want a balanced game select one that is about 50/50. For example awhile back we played a scenario that was on the eastern front, I think the russian player used most of the pieces in the box for their forces and the out numbered germans had to play a holding action. It was fun but not really balanced. But its easy to set up the game ahead of time and there are also campaign books.

With such a good sale I would pick up Battlelore.  You can always pick up Memoir 44 and wait to find a sale. Also the miniatures for Battlelore are nice, Memoir's are simply functional for the game.

 

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@Ish the Napoleonic version of Memoir 44 is the Command and Colors Napoleonics, 

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/62222/commands-colors-napoleonics

It is one of Richard Borgs later versions of the basic system so it is a little more complex than his previous games. But the command cards work for the period and usually let you activate more troops, and troops can battle back and slowly degrade in fighting power as they lose units. I can actually get my friends to play this since they also enjoy Memoir and the games have been fun. It uses wooden blocks with stickers instead of miniatures, it works for such huge armies with so many troop types but its daunting because the stickers do not come attached. Not as grand as a table of miniatures but I can actually get a game in once in awhile. It still gives the feel of the massive armies of the period.

The system is abstracted like all the Command and Colors games but if you play within the system it actually gives a period feel in a reasonable amount of time. If you think of the cards as a kind of fog of war and command tempo it works. One thing I liked is that to form square you have to place one of your command cards aside, so for each unit in square you end up playing with on less card until they come out of formation. Worth checking out if you like the period and don't mind a lighter abstracted game.

 

 

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@Ish I wasn't thrilled by the idea of using blocks but I think they work well.  The game has somewhat abstracted units but still manages to represent a period army.  AI like the art work and the name of each unit printed on them clearly.  I know my friends would be annoyed trying to tell light infantry from light infantry rifles, or sorting out various cavalry units.  The red box is loose sorting of the British and French units in the base game, it doesn't include the Portuguese forces. Most infantry are similar but there are small rules changes for each unit that help the units not feel the same, light rifle units have a little better range but get a minus on hits in melee/close combat.  Certain cards have different effects on what type of unit is ordered, so units would have to be clearly marked especially for players not really into the period.

The other picture is some of French artillery and calvary units. Its kind of chunky but massive groups of soldiers do give the feeling of large masses of soldiers.  Also they are big and chunky and easy to move, even when there is one troop left on a hex its still clear what it is and doesn't feel like a lone soldier standing there in a field. If you used smaller models I would maybe have several columns or lines of troops and remove a whole section when it takes hits. Its also easy to buy another nationality army other than the tedious process of carefully adding a hundred stickers or so. But if you have the troops sitting around it would look awesome with added mini terrain features.

 

IMG_0314 2.JPG

IMG_0316.JPG

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Wooden blocks on a map does have a very Gentlemanly Pursuit feel to it. Feels like we should break out the croupier sticks, smoking jackets, a pouch of our finest tobacco, and a snifter of brandy...

...come to think of it, except for the brandy and the game, I’ve got all that already.

 

image.jpeg

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Catalyst current offers two boxed versions of Battletech. There's the $19.99 MSRP Battletech Beginner Box and the $59.99 MSRP Battletech A Game of Armored Combat

The Beginner Box comes with two plastic `mechs (a Griffin and a Wolverine), one map sheet, a twelve-page heavily abridged rulebook, and some other gubbins. The AGoAC set comes with eight plastic `mechs**, two map sheets, a 56-page less abridged rulebook, and other gubbins. I've been looking at leaping back into Battletech and the AGoAC set seems to be a much better deal. 

There's two "core" rulebooks, the BattleMech Manual includes only the rules for `mech versus `mech gameplay, whereas Total Warfare includes `mechs and everything else.

* A Griffin and Wolverine.

** An Awesome, BattleMaster, Catapult, Commando, Locust, Shadow Hawk, Thunderbolt, and Wolverine.

 

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Oh, could always try Ninth age. It's basically WHFB if GW wasn't playing favorites or trying to push model sales.

https://www.the-ninth-age.com/

Free rules and complete freeform model selection. Rules only really cover putting them on the right bases. And the bases are all simple squares and rectangles, so no fancy purchase requirements there.

And some people just go with Historical minis and match up the equipment/martial style to the army they select, rather than matching fantasy races. Was reading about someone using Warlord Spartan Hoplites to represent elves. It was a good fit.

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I've been poking around the internet, trying to learn more about De Bellis Antiquitatis. Currently in it's third edition, Amazon has the rulebook for under $20 USD. It's a historical game that's been around since the late Eighties and seems pretty interesting. One notable "selling point" to the game is that it only involves twelve "elements" in any given army, no more and no less. It's also usually played with 15 mm scale figures (although the rules can be easily adapted to 2 mm, 6 mm, 28 mm, or whatever else...) with multiple figures mounted onto standard sized bases. Consider this Third Crusade era army:

968849411_e38dbc668e.jpg

The Knights (with lances) and the General (the knights with hand weapons) are mounted three riders to a base; the spearmen are mounted five to a base; the Swordsmen, up front, are five to a base; there are two groups of Archers three to a base... That's it. That's an entire army. Based on some very rough "back of the napkin" math and prices for 15 mm figures from places like Old Glory Miniatures, Essex Minitures, and so forth... I'm guessing that's maybe $40-50 USD. Give or take.

Scotia Grendel sells "DBA Army Kits" that contain complete armies designed for the system, all you gotta do is slap some paint on `em, average price is about £25.00... Roughly $30 in Imperialist Yankee Freedom Bucks.

And, of course, just as @Mack did with Command and Colors, it seems a fair few people enjoy playing DBA with simple blocks.

pic2593228.jpg

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