Skip to comments.My New Favorite Store . . . . Plus, Christmas Game Recommendations
Posted on 12/10/2012 11:04:11 AM PST by 1rudeboy
My New Favorite Store, and I Haven't Even Been There. Plus, Christmas Game Recommendations
In my high school days, I used to play a lot of wargames from Avalon Hill and SPI. I once spent an entire summer playing one game of War in Europe, which had a 42-square-foot map of Europe and 3500 or so pieces. Each turn was one week, so it was literally a full time job getting through it in a couple of months.
All that is to say I spent a lot of time hanging out at game stores, particularly Nan's in Houston (a great game and comic store that still exists and I still visit every time I am in Houston). I play fewer wargames now, but I still like strategy games that are a bit more complicated than Monopoly or Risk. But it is hard to find a game store with a good selection (if there is one here in Phoenix, I have not found it).
But I definitely want to try this place -- the Complete Strategist in New York City. Click through for some good game pr0n.
His list of games is good, though I have never played Gloom and I have never been a huge fan of Carcassonne. Ticket to Ride is an awesome game and is perhaps the most accessible for kids and noobs of either his or my list. If you recognize none of these games, it is a great place to start (there is also a great iPad app). To his list of games I would add:
All of these games tend to present simple choices with extraordinarily complex scoring implications. In most cases, one must build infrastructure early to score later, but the trade-off of when to switch from infrastructure building to scoring is the trick. Five years ago Settlers of Catan would have been on any such list, but it is interesting it is on neither his nor mine.
Once you catch the bug, there are hundreds of other games out there. My son and I last summer got caught up in a very complex Game of Thrones expandable card game. Recommended only for those who love incredible complexity and are familiar with the books. There are also a couple of games I have liked but only played once so far. My son and I last summer played a fabulous though stupidly complex game of Twilight Struggle (about the Cold War, not hot vampire teens). This is considered by many to be one of the greatest war / strategy games ever. We also tried Eclipse (space game, again not the teen vampires) which we liked. I have played Le Havre and Puerto Rico as iPad apps. They were OK, but I think the fun in them is social and the of course does not come through in the iPad app. In the same vein, tried to play Agricola with my kids and they were bored stiff.
Update: When in doubt, research it on Board Game Geek. Their game ranking by user voting is here.
Cool! Do you ever play any Role Playing Games? I like Twilight 2000 and The Morrow Project. I did a lot of time with D&D too.
I used to play D & D when I was in high school. Played a little bit of the Baldur’s Gate series on PC later, but I drifted away from role-playing. I like to blow stuff up.
Those Avalon Hill games were an epic challenge to play. Charts, Stat sheets, reference booklets, forms to fill out, and tons of pieces.
I’m tempted to dust some of mine off until I see that it will take hours to just to make sure all the pieces are there!
Grognard of long standing here.
I’ve played Advanced Squad Leader for about fifteen years now. If you want complexity, it’s hard to beat Red Barricades or Valor of the Guards for good old-fashioned Stalingrad cardboard street wars.
Might take a look at Game of Thrones though. My whole family has read, or is reading, the series.
I have a compartmented, Klein Tools storage box (think tackle box) that I use to segregate the pieces. It makes gameplay a lot easier, and enjoyable.
Good luck "winning" the game, though . . . I think that in all the years I've played it, I've come close once. (And that's because of a long series of "lucky" dice rolls).
Oh, and you better not own a cat, or have small children. Nothing is more annoying than to return to a game where the counters have been "rearranged."
Rail Baron. The best game ever to play when you’ve had a few.
I remember many games where a table “earthquake” mysteriously took out my army overnight.
cool. i started playing ah games in 1960 when i eas 9. we had a discussion, i think in the matrix games forum about how we younguns were so much better at geography and arithmetic in school through high scholl because we played wargames, and reading up on what we were playing.
SPI was a great innovative company in those days and Dunnigan was a large part of the reason. One of the keys to their success was open play testing where war game aficionados from all over the country were invited to walk in during very generous hours and spend time play testing and advising the designers on how to tweak the games.
The design staff from Dunnigan on down hung around late into the night to not only listen to, but solicit this advice. If they ever published a bad title, I wasn't aware of it. Even their entry level games for beginners were awesome. There was one title in particular called "Napoleon at Waterloo" which was so good that even the advanced gamers would sometime take a break from the advanced play testing just to get a little recreation.
This was a cult I could have happily stayed in were it not for the interference of life, graduating, jobs, family and responsibilities which came along to persuade me to apostatize.
AH used to make an rpg called Tales from the floating Vagabond. This wawas a blast if you had a suitably crazy game master. I used to enjoy D&D (boxed sets), Shadowrun, and Battletech. Getting a real job and Magic the Gathering killed game night. I really miss it sometimes.
I’m surprised they haven’t spawned a web presence. With computers to handle all the paperwork behind the scenes AH games would become actually playable instead of merely brilliant.
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