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Episode 60 - Critical Strike

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Short Cut to Remote Gaming Forum (29 Aug 2020)

Since remote gaming has now become a significant part of how we play board games, we have added a short cut to this forum in the menu on the left.

An Introduction to Block Wargames

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26 Jun 2018 23:30 #276339 by Jackwraith

What makes a block wargame and how to start blocking

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27 Jun 2018 10:27 #276340 by ubarose
Thank you. This was really helpful.
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27 Jun 2018 10:46 #276344 by Sevej
Strangely, the thing I really like from my first block wargame was the limit on how many units can cross a border (instead of the simple but brilliant fog of war). This made me organize attacks from multiple regions and this somewhat reminds me of epic movies in which a battle have armies coming from multiple regions.

Also, I like the dynamic on the cards. The going first with few OP or later with more OP thingy is definitely a choice (instead of random, since you have to read your opponent) and makes for interesting decisions.
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27 Jun 2018 11:05 - 27 Jun 2018 11:06 #276349 by Gary Sax
Similar to Sevej, the thing I like about block wargames is incidental to the fog of war. Since the pieces are so large for each unit, these games tend to fall into a scale that I really like. You can't do an OCS size game with hundreds of units in block form... or you can but it would be cramped and difficult.
Last edit: 27 Jun 2018 11:06 by Gary Sax.

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27 Jun 2018 11:13 - 27 Jun 2018 11:16 #276352 by Gary Sax
Oh, also, to add to but not overlap with this excellent introduction---people often think of a certain style of game, the Columbia block style, when they think about these games. But this style is *very* flexible. You can do 3 player games (Triumph and Tragedy), blocks are great for naval games (Seas of Glory and PQ17), block *and* traditional hex and counter games that combine the two (Fast Action Battle series from GMT), loads of other stuff... a frequent feature of more unusual types of block games is that they'll often have phantom or fake blocks to enhance the fog of war.
Last edit: 27 Jun 2018 11:16 by Gary Sax.
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27 Jun 2018 11:37 #276357 by Colorcrayons
I am by no means a block wargamer, or even a wargamer by the Avalon hill standard.

But I've played a few like wizard Kings and sekigahara. I wish sekigahara was around during my beginning, because not only is it a truly great game, but a maybe one of the best beginner games for blocks. Just magnificent.

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27 Jun 2018 13:29 #276384 by fightcitymayor
Some thoughts:

A) Block games in the traditional sense (that include Fog Of War) can be something of a non-starter if you plan on gaming solo. Meaning so much of the meaningful decisions in the game are wrapped up in Fog Of War effects that omitting them basically leaves you with an unsatisfying gimped version of a hex-and-counter wargame. Just a fair warning to anyone expecting a rewarding "play both sides" experience. YMMV.

B) With the rise of GMT's Commands & Colors games, it's funny to talk to people who say "I love block games!" but they actually love C&C Ancients, or C&C Napoleonics, or the recent C&C Tricorne. It's interesting to note how times change, and how the hobby language changes with it. That being said...

C) I feel like Columbia's block games library is too stale for modern tastes. Realizing that grognards are typically very attached to games they've played since childhood (or for simply a long time) I wonder if the latest generation of Kickstarter minis gamers would ever give a game like Hammer Of The Scots a second look. Or to put it another way: I have no idea how Columbia sells Wizard Kings to anyone under the age of 30. I guess this also gets to a more fundamental question of how some of these "legacy" publishers (no, not Pandemic Legacy, I mean old publishers!) plan to compete with the more modern throw-buckets-of-plastic-minis-at-them approach.
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27 Jun 2018 16:11 #276405 by Josh Look
I wish there were more block games that interested me. I really like the idea of them, and I’ve even enjoyed playing a couple, but I need that level of immersion and escapism, and historical stuff doesn’t do it for me in the least. I’m aware of Wizard Kings but it seems little too old fashioned for my tastes. If I’m wrong or if there are other block games without historical (alt history doesn’t do much for me either) themes, please let me know.

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