Thursday, July 27, 2006

Card-Driven Wargame Heaven!

With For the People 2, Barbarossa to Berlin, and Shifting Sands all on their way to my house, I seem to be going through card-driven wargame phase in my board gaming hobby career.

Many times during the 90's I would pick up a gamebox like Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage at a store and then put it down, thinking it was just another wargame I'd probably never get around to playing. It took a little knockoff like Twilight Struggle to get me to take a serious look at the genre.

Ted and I recently enjoyed a wonderful game of Wilderness War, and now I find myself thinking about when my next card-driven wargame experience will be. I still hope we get a 4-player game of Sword of Rome or Wellington to the table some time, but in the mean time, I hope those of us with an interest in these games keep pairing up to experience all the fun they seem to offer.

Key things I enjoy about these games are:
  • Rulebooks are typically 20 pages or less, which I consider medium-to-light for a wargame
  • Counter density is low, which makes set-up and tear-down fast
  • The cards add a nice gotcha factor with hidden information and just the right amount (in my opinion) of randomness to the games
  • The mechanics of the games are similar enough that they seem to build on each other.
  • The games are complex enough that skill counts and each game seems to feel like an epic struggle
  • Most are playable in an evening or long afternoon


At 10:01 AM, July 28, 2006, Blogger Mark said...

I'm interested in being at the table assuming I can get a copy of the rulebooks ahead of time so I can be prepared.

At 12:45 PM, July 28, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

Just go to under the living rules section. If nothing else, looking over the rules will give you a better idea of what the game(s) are about. From what I've seen so far, the card-driven games (CDGs) seem to be in two major schools:

1. Wilderness War, Sword of Rome, Wellington, Napoleonic Wars, which seem to be just a bit simpler in their depiction of units and combat on the map; and,

2. Paths of Glory, Shifting Sands, Barbarossa to Berlin, in which the units have specific attack, defense, movement, and other factors, i.e., a bit more complexity.

I'm still new to these games, so this could be a major overgeneralization.

At 1:55 PM, July 28, 2006, Blogger Mark said...

Will read up on both games. Happy to play either but the subject matter of Sword of Rome appeals to me more. Bring either game Monday and hopefully two more will join us.

At 2:38 PM, July 28, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

Oh are doing Sword of Rome? Brian (he has a copy)?

I was planning on doing Pacific Victory on Monday.

Mark, glad to know you are interested in these.

Ben: another thing I like about CDG besides the "take that" and randomness elements....the pictures on the cards. They add a lot of flavor to the game. It makes the game feel more "alive", as events unfold. It just makes it easier to forget that I'm just pushing around cardboard pieces on a paper map.

At 4:29 PM, July 28, 2006, Blogger Brian said...

Well, I won't be at DL on Monday (c'est la vie) but I do have SoR. [Designer Wray Ferrel was in my NC gaming group, although I've never played the published game...I'd like to try it].

I'd also be up for a game (or two) of whatever during "The week without a family" (details forthcoming).

At 6:16 PM, July 28, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

I will be out of town most of next week, so Monday is out for me. Still, I think Sword of Rome, being a 4-player game of around 4-6 hours, if not longer, length is better suited to an all-day gamefest rather than a weeknight.

Plus, it might be better for folks to get comfortable on one or more of the various 2-player CDGs before we try a 4-player one. Heck, I have the 5th player expansion on pre-order, so I'm definitely motivated to play.

Nonetheless, I'm up for Sword of Rome whenever we can get 4-players together who have read the rules and have the time to play.

A high priority for me is to play more Wilderness War and to get Shifting Sands on the table once Mr. Mailman brings it to my door.


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