Where the Boardgames Are
How about a game that uses sharply detailed, prepainted miniatures and simple rules to re-create World War II squad-level battles? Give Axis & Allies Miniatures a look at Wizards of the Coast (www.wizards.com). Or if you want a bit more detail but no less fun, GMT’s (www.gmtgames.com) Combat Commander or my own company’s (www.locknloadgame.com) Band of Heroes are accessible yet tactically challenging games. (Combat Commander is one of my favorites.)
The cards are the stars of the game in Combat Commander – each action requires one.
But this piece isn’t so much about a list of games as it is about a reawakening of feelings – the excitement of planning a detailed strategy, executing it and seeing it through to triumph. The immersive vista of beautiful miniatures and well-drawn counters on a colorful map let you re-enact a fascinating slice of history. Better still, boardgames bring back the jibes, barbs and laughter of a gaming night with friends and family. And best of all, they give you what you want – immersive games that allow you to take the time to learn each nuance and calculate every move.
Wings of War: Dawn of War allows players to use some of the world’s most famous aircraft to re-create exciting dogfights and hair-raising bombing runs in the latest from this esteemed franchise.
PC and video games are great. I enjoy them immensely, and they are often inspirations for boardgame designs. However, let’s face it – the days are gone when a front-line computer game publisher is going to put Haloesque resources into a turn-based game modeling conflicts in the Ardennes. Yet those days continue at publishers like Fantasy Flight Games (www.fantasyflightgames.com), the publisher of Tide of Iron and Wings of War, and at Days of Wonder (www.daysofwonder.com), the folks who created the fabulous card and minis game Memoir ’44.
Attractive cards display ship information in Axis & Allies Naval Miniatures.
So why fight the feeling? Go back to the days of playing what you want to play, how you want to play it. Next time you get that strategy itch, don’t pop a ROM in your Xbox 360. Instead, slap a board on your kitchen table.
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