I am continuing the series of articles in which I am describing my own path into wargaming and how nowadays I am introducing the new adepts into that wonderful hobby. Enjoy! 


You presented your beloved hobby – wargaming – to the curious. You probably used some of the light / entry wargames, which have easy to grasp rules, nice components and interesting theme. However, some of the colleagues / family members returned and said they want more! What a wonderful news – actually, you indeed hoped that some of them will be willing to play further.

So what now? Probably it is not yet time for behemoths like Empire of the Sun, Here I Stand or Unconditional Surrender!. We need to progress with something more manageable.

What I am proposing below is my personal choice – pretty subjective of course and limited to games I had pleasure to play. Feel free to argue / present your ideas of games suitable as “follow-up” when introducing into Wargaming hobby!

Combat Commander Europe by GMT Games

CCE – great Tactical Level WWII game

Although Chad Jensen is no longer with us, his great games are still here to give us tons of good time. My personal favorite – which I also decided to present in this article – is Combat Commander series, with special emphasis on Europe version.

D-Day landing in Combat Commander

That game has already 14 years – surprisingly long as I still have a feeling I got it just a couple of months ago – but by no means it become obsolete or not current. That was one of my first more complicated / advanced wargames I started to play and till today I always come back to it with great pleasure. It has one of the best rulebooks I have ever seen – with so many rules in full games, I never had a problem to find paragraph or chapter describing particular rule.

We have possibility to replay here – more or less historically accurate – small scale engagements between major faction of European WWII theater. It gives also a lot of re-playable fun – not only many scenarios in basic version but also Battle Pack and random scenario generator. You can really spend tons of hours playing it!

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A close up on German strong-point after concentrated Russian fire

It has also one more feature which I love – and always stress to new adepts of wargaming – the unpredictability and some luck factor. Due to events and some other mechanics you can see crazy shifts of fate in this game and situation changing completely in split of second. I like it – and thanks to this I also learned that not everything can be controlled. It is also game which taught me how to lose – really, I get a lot of fun from that title regardless of the result – and I think this is also a factor why all my wargaming buddies like to play it with me 🙂 Strongly recommended – you will never regret playing CCE! Just have some distance to all those events happening 🙂

More about game:

No Retreat! The Russian Front by GMT Games

A gigantic struggle of WWII – Eastern Front

We had Tactical level World War II game and now I would like to propose a Strategic one – first installment of No Retreat! series. Not overly complex – once you understand counter blow mechanic 🙂 – this is a great game from thematic perspective to introduce players to more advanced games.

Southern part of the Eastern Front

Rarely we see a game which so flawlessly and completely depicts – on a strategic level – whole WWII on East Front and handles initiative shift so well; it allows to play shorter scenarios should you not have enough time for full game; the density of blocks is low and their quality superb. All this factor result in pretty good position for learning wargamers – my experiences show that people are pretty quickly hooked to that game.

At the gates of Berlin

And there is possibility for continuation – once familiar with Russian Front – go further with the system – African Campaign, France, Poland. Personally, I am awaiting the newest addition to the series, which is still on GMT P500 – No Retreat! Battles 1942. All in all, very interesting system with high replayability factor.

More about game:

C&C Napoleonics by GMT Games or The Great War by PSC

If you read my blog regularly, it is obvious for you that I am a big fan of Commands Colors series – regardless of the publisher and title. So another way for expanding the new Wargamers experience is follow C&C path. As mentioned earlier, I would always start with C&C Ancients – perfect entry game for any player, and the best from C&C system.

But what to do next when the newbie would like to see more of C&C and if possible, more complex implementation? I have two answers here – and which one is correct, depends on the epoch / historical times preferred by the players.

C&C Napoleonics

The first one would be C&C Napoleonics – younger brother to C&C Ancients, published by GMT. And probably the only position in the system which can challenge the popularity of CCA (ok, there is still Memoir but this is different story). It introduces a second deck of cards (Tactician Deck), many more advanced tactics (like combined arms, artillery barrage, garrisons, etc.), new victory points objectives (terrain, exit ones). All this makes experience with CCN much deeper and complex then CCA – and that is exactly the point.  While minimal set of rules perfectly represents ancient warfare, the Napoleonic era requires some more paragraphs. That should be the choice for all fans of Bonaparte and the XIXth century warfare .

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The Great War – C&C system with plastic miniatures

Not so popular but in my opinion very well designed and developed is another C&C game – The Great War from PSC. An interesting battles of maneuver during the trench warfare? Well, I was also skeptical initially. However, thanks to the great system of two decks – this time we get the Combat Deck, introduction of tanks, special personnel the game really shines and is very playable.

The Great War – French expansion

It has now two expansions and you can play with Germans, French and British. It features high-quality miniatures – both for infantry and tanks. Has all the advanced C&C game mechanics and allows for very competitive and interesting battles.

More about game:

SUMMARY

Above set of games was part of my path in wargaming hobby – thanks to it I learnt more advanced titles and was ready to reach really advanced ones (I will write about that later on). Today these are my core games for all those wargamers, who after playing the entry / beginner level games would like to see more and try more. I am proud that so many of them are satisfied and willing to continue with the hobby!

Feel free to share your ideas about medium-complexity games you played / you play with you boardgame buddies!

PS. Just reading the article again, I see that I presented blocks (CCN), miniatures (TGW) and counters (No Retreat! and CCE). Well, that is also good to have overview of different game implementations I think.