Gateway Wargames: Top 10 Ways to Recruit New Players
#5 We the People (Avalon Hill)
The first of the true card-driven games, WTP has both a political track where you try to control the "hearts" of the people through a GO-like mechanic and a point-to-point battle system where you move armies about based on your card play (and battle, based on your card play). It’s terrific for people who are interested in history and want to play, but don’t want to spend too long. Should be the kind of game for spouses or significant others to guarantee you don’t end up experiencing Valley Forge in the bedroom.
With counters representing political influence within the
major cities of the colonies, We The People features a
GO-like mechanic for controlling the colonies. Of course,
political influence can be affected by combat and combat is
controlled by maneuvering generals and stacks of army counters.
#4 Hammer of the Scots or Napoleon (Columbia Games)
These are the simplest of the block games. They have the advantage of allowing interesting movement across the map (area in the former and point-to-point in the latter). In addition, they don’t LOOK like war games and they occasionally allow lopsided battles to go the other way by the luck of the dice. I prefer the Scottish version, but the French experience is definitely worth playing. Should be the most fun you can have without lifting a kilt (unless you make a blockhead move as you’re playing).
LONGSHANKS AND BRAVEHEART
Once you teach the basics of maneuvering blocks across the
board and using the pips on each "domino" as the number
of dice to be rolled, the rest of the Columbia Games
lineup becomes accessible. The blocks work
great for providing fog of war, plus they look more
impressive across the map than cardboard counters.
#3 Blue Max (GDW Games)
World War I air combat is probably one of the most visually iconic eras of warfare. GDW created a sparse playing map with big (Grand Illusion size) hexes. It also has VERY simple rules (much more simple than Richtofen’s War (Avalon Hill) or Fight in the Skies/Dawn Patrol (TSR)) and oversized (VERY attractive) airplane counters. PLUS, it is scenario-based so you can do a quick learning dogfight and then, have very evenly-balanced games. Be careful, though, playing this game with a special someone may add new meaning to the term, "wing over."
The map is pure blue "sky," but the oversize plane counters
are colorful and the action is fast and fluid in this classic WWI
air combat game from now defunct GDW. Because it can
be interesting with only two airplanes, it is a great learning game.
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