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My New Favorite Store . . . . Plus, Christmas Game Recommendations
Coyote Blog ^ | December 10, 2012 | Warren Meyer

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.


TOPICS: Books/Literature; Hobbies; Music/Entertainment
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 12/10/2012 11:04:14 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: 1rudeboy

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.


2 posted on 12/10/2012 11:06:21 AM PST by Nowhere Man (It is about time we re-enact Normandy, at the shores of the Potomac.)
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To: Nowhere Man

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.


3 posted on 12/10/2012 11:08:05 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: 1rudeboy

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!


4 posted on 12/10/2012 11:08:58 AM PST by VanDeKoik
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To: 1rudeboy

Bump!


5 posted on 12/10/2012 11:20:08 AM PST by Mr. Silverback (Cigarettes are like squirrels: Perfectly harmless until you put one in your mouth and set it on fire)
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To: 1rudeboy

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.


6 posted on 12/10/2012 11:20:51 AM PST by Colonel_Flagg ("Don't be afraid to see what you see." -- Ronald Reagan)
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To: VanDeKoik
Most recent AH game I've played is Raid on St. Nazaire. I recommend it . . . one of the nice things about it is that it was designed from the ground-up to be played solo.

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."

7 posted on 12/10/2012 11:22:08 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: 1rudeboy
I remember one particular Avalon Hill game I use to play with my friends back in the 1980’s, it was called “Wilderness Survival” or something like that. There were various scenarios, such as “escaped convict” and “lost in the woods”. The game was incredibly tough and you virtually always ended up crawling through the woods getting attacked by animals and dying of thirst. Which, for some reason, was hilarious after an evening of drinking.
8 posted on 12/10/2012 11:24:37 AM PST by apillar
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To: apillar
Before 3M was purchased by AH, it published a sailboat-racing game called Regatta. Very fun to play with friends, and a dice roll of 7 (very common) resulted in a, ahem, "puff bonus."
9 posted on 12/10/2012 11:28:06 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: apillar

Rail Baron. The best game ever to play when you’ve had a few.


10 posted on 12/10/2012 11:32:35 AM PST by Colonel_Flagg ("Don't be afraid to see what you see." -- Ronald Reagan)
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To: 1rudeboy

LoL!

I remember many games where a table “earthquake” mysteriously took out my army overnight.


11 posted on 12/10/2012 11:36:34 AM PST by VanDeKoik
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To: 1rudeboy

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.


12 posted on 12/10/2012 11:38:30 AM PST by bravo whiskey
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To: VanDeKoik
Hung around with some AH and SPI fans. One Christmas vacation, we got the idea to pile five of us in a car and drive from Fargo, N.D. to New York where we actually met James Dunnigan.

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.

13 posted on 12/10/2012 12:06:23 PM PST by Vigilanteman (Obama: Fake black man. Fake Messiah. Fake American. How many fakes can you fit in one Zer0?)
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To: 1rudeboy

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.


14 posted on 12/10/2012 12:19:19 PM PST by BudgieRamone (Everybody loves a bonk on the head.)
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To: 1rudeboy
Magic Realm.

-PJ

15 posted on 12/10/2012 12:29:18 PM PST by Political Junkie Too (If you are the Posterity of We the People, then you are a Natural Born Citizen.)
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To: apillar
Outdoor Survival.

-PJ

16 posted on 12/10/2012 12:31:02 PM PST by Political Junkie Too (If you are the Posterity of We the People, then you are a Natural Born Citizen.)
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To: 1rudeboy
Speed Circuit was another 3M game acquired by AH.

-PJ

17 posted on 12/10/2012 12:34:35 PM PST by Political Junkie Too (If you are the Posterity of We the People, then you are a Natural Born Citizen.)
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To: 1rudeboy
I've always enjoyed Solitaire .. much improved since the leap from 16 to 32 bit architecture !


18 posted on 12/10/2012 12:38:45 PM PST by tomkat
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To: VanDeKoik

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.


19 posted on 12/10/2012 12:40:31 PM PST by discostu (Not a part of anyone's well oiled machine.)
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To: Colonel_Flagg
Of course, there is also this Flying Buffalo classic, which I own and still pull out from time to time.


20 posted on 12/10/2012 12:43:21 PM PST by Colonel_Flagg ("Don't be afraid to see what you see." -- Ronald Reagan)
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To: Colonel_Flagg

It’s always important to be the owner of Nuke War in your crowd of gamer friends. I myself have never played a game where I didn’t go first.


21 posted on 12/10/2012 12:50:43 PM PST by discostu (Not a part of anyone's well oiled machine.)
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To: 1rudeboy

Myself, I was a “Wizardry” and Ultima junky on my Apple //e. Modern stuff, blowing things up, I like the basic game of “Continuum,” sort of like an online team version of the old “Spacewar” game, some “Anarchy Online” and I love “World of
Tanks.” My best tank is the basic, no-frill Sherman with the 105mm gun, I won the game for my team with that a few times.


22 posted on 12/10/2012 12:52:13 PM PST by Nowhere Man (It is about time we re-enact Normandy, at the shores of the Potomac.)
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To: tomkat

Freecell is fun too.


23 posted on 12/10/2012 12:54:35 PM PST by Nowhere Man (It is about time we re-enact Normandy, at the shores of the Potomac.)
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To: 1rudeboy
Here's my all time favorite. I wonder if we could get seven people together for a Freepmail round??


24 posted on 12/10/2012 1:00:05 PM PST by Notary Sojac (Only liberals believe that people can be made virtuous via legislative enactment.)
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To: discostu

You are a true aficionado, and a reader of the rules. :)


25 posted on 12/10/2012 1:06:33 PM PST by Colonel_Flagg ("Don't be afraid to see what you see." -- Ronald Reagan)
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To: 1rudeboy

Have you tried Total War series - it’s a computer game, but provides both strategic and tactical down to the individual unit for a number of historical eras.

I wasn’t able to do much RPG when younger due to be out in the boonies and very few others interested, but was able to find a few others once I hit college and the fleet...good times.


26 posted on 12/10/2012 1:37:50 PM PST by reed13k (For evil to triumph it is only necessary for good men to do nothing.)
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To: Colonel_Flagg
Rail Baron. The best game ever to play when you’ve had a few.

Spent many a weekend playing Rail Baron. For shorter terms we did a lot of King Maker. And for real short terms Acquire. I also liked Star Fleet Battles but never really found a good group.

27 posted on 12/10/2012 1:45:16 PM PST by John O (God Save America (Please))
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To: Political Junkie Too

Speed Circuit was a blast!


28 posted on 12/10/2012 1:48:01 PM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: 1rudeboy

Jutland!


29 posted on 12/10/2012 1:51:35 PM PST by fattigermaster
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To: fattigermaster

Jutland was fun, too, although my brother traditionally plays German . . . and I would get shot to pieces.


30 posted on 12/10/2012 1:53:28 PM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: bravo whiskey

Now, wait a minute. In the 60s the AH boxes were clearly labeled for 10 years and up. Do you really want to confess that here?

(I also started playing AH games in the 60s at 9 years old - Battle of the Bulge... good times)

The NappyOne


31 posted on 12/10/2012 2:01:05 PM PST by NappyOne
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To: NappyOne

My mom bought me PanzerBlitz when I was in 7th grade.


32 posted on 12/10/2012 2:06:33 PM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: NappyOne
My first game was a brand new Richtofen's War.

-PJ

33 posted on 12/10/2012 2:10:53 PM PST by Political Junkie Too (If you are the Posterity of We the People, then you are a Natural Born Citizen.)
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To: Nowhere Man
Yes it was, thanks !

I'm actually not a 'games' kinda guy, and had never played that one, even tho it's been lurking on this 7 machine since purchase .. lol

34 posted on 12/10/2012 2:12:46 PM PST by tomkat
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To: John O

I never played Kingmaker, but always wanted to try. SFB was another one but the ship charts always put me off.

This from a guy who has the overrun FP formula in ASL committed to memory. Who knew.


35 posted on 12/10/2012 2:29:50 PM PST by Colonel_Flagg ("Don't be afraid to see what you see." -- Ronald Reagan)
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To: 1rudeboy

Panzerblitz, or as we liked to call it, “Panzerbush”. I loved the idea of gaming at that scale. Then came Squad Leader and Advanced Squad Leader, and hundreds of pages of rules in fine print. Good stuff. About the time ASL came out I ran out of time to spend on gaming. Maybe after i retire in a few years ...

Cheers,

The NappyOne


36 posted on 12/10/2012 2:37:10 PM PST by NappyOne
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To: Political Junkie Too
Outdoor Survival. -PJ

Yeah, that was it! I just looked it up on Amazon. They actual have a listing for it and some used copies reasonably cheap. I might have to order a copy for old times sake.

37 posted on 12/10/2012 3:34:26 PM PST by apillar
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