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A Comparison Guide to Four Favorite Columbia Block Games

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31 Jul 2018 23:30 #278875 by Jackwraith

A look at four of Columbia's block wargame offerings.

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01 Aug 2018 07:25 #278876 by Whoshim
Thanks for this write-up!

I have only played Hammer of the Scots, which I enjoyed, but not as much as Napoleon's Triumph. I did enjoy it enough to be interested in getting a Columbia game sometime.

I also like to design games, so I appreciate your insights into what you like and don't like about each game.
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01 Aug 2018 08:11 #278877 by Matt Thrower
Nice comparison. I've played them all bar Shenandoah, and most of your commentary is spot on.

Rommel I found too stressful to enjoy. If you guess a bluff wrong it can be absolutely devastating. That's fine in a short game but it's not fun at all when you have to put that much time and effort in to play.

Hammer is my favourite and the one I've played the most. It can be irritatingly capricious though: I've seen the English player win in the very first turn. And even when the Scots get rolling a lot can hinge on how Wallace rolls, since he goes first in most battles.

Curious if you've played Julius Caeser and how you feel it compares. Don't have time for block games much any more, but I think it might be the best of the bunch.
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01 Aug 2018 09:13 - 01 Aug 2018 09:21 #278878 by lj1983
my first block wargame was Napoleon:The Waterloo campaign, I had the Avalon Hill 1977 edition given to me by a friend's dad. Friend's dad took us to AvalonCon for two years(we lived relatively close by in NOVA), and that was my first introduction to boardgaming/wargaming really, and he gave me a bunch of his older wargames after I expressed interest.

Napoleon uses a neat battleboard instead of just straight dice, and uses it to help differentiate cavalry/infantry/artillery. Its been years since I've played, but I remember it being fun. It also can play (at least in the edition I owned) 3 players. I eventually lost some pieces, and gave it away to another wargamer to 'complete' his copy.

I really liked Hammer of the Scots (and have owned it twice...and probably looking to acquire it again.)

I want to try Julius Caeser.
Last edit: 01 Aug 2018 09:21 by lj1983.
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01 Aug 2018 09:30 #278880 by Matt Thrower

lj1983 wrote: my first block wargame was Napoleon:The Waterloo campaign, I had the Avalon Hill 1977 edition given to me by a friend's dad. Friend's dad took us to AvalonCon for two years(we lived relatively close by in NOVA), and that was my first introduction to boardgaming/wargaming really, and he gave me a bunch of his older wargames after I expressed interest.

Napoleon uses a neat battleboard instead of just straight dice, and uses it to help differentiate cavalry/infantry/artillery. Its been years since I've played, but I remember it being fun. It also can play (at least in the edition I owned) 3 players. I eventually lost some pieces, and gave it away to another wargamer to 'complete' his copy.


Oh hell yeah, that's an absolute classic. The battle board gives it much deeper strategy than the quick rules would suggest. Picked up a second-hand copy of the silver box edition for a song years ago: love the screen printed blocks. Such a shame they're seen as an unaffordable luxury in block games nowadays.

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01 Aug 2018 10:40 #278886 by Gary Sax
This is really useful, I'll bookmark it in my head. The view in my own head is all of these games smushed together as a single game so it's good to have something to sort them out if I ever want to dip my toe into Columbia's line.
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01 Aug 2018 20:23 #278951 by Sevej
This is great! More articles of not-new games!
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01 Aug 2018 22:53 - 01 Aug 2018 22:53 #278968 by jeb
I've always heard good things about QUEBEC 1759. I think that's been on my Want In Trade list at BGG for like ten years.
Last edit: 01 Aug 2018 22:53 by jeb.

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01 Aug 2018 23:13 #278969 by Jackwraith
Matt, I've actually not tried Julius Caesar. Similarly to Jeb, I've had it on my Want in Trade list for years and almost succeeded in landing it recently for Small World and most of its expansions, but the guy backed out at the last minute for fear of trading away something he really liked and regretting it. (That's why I never put anything on the trade/sale list that I'm going to regret later. If I'm done with it, I'm done.)

Jeb, I also haven't gotten to Quebec. There are a lot of block games that I'd like to get to, but my regular 2-player partner has limited time these days. I'm going to follow this piece with a look at GMT's offerings, like Sekigahara and Hellenes, and there are a couple that they have that I haven't gotten to, as well.

Thanks, everyone, for the feedback. I'm glad these are hitting the right spot for some of the site's audience.
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