Grognard Wargamer Thread!

I’m pretty much over the AGE engine at this point. I’d like to see them move on to something else.

In general, me too, but damn, the Thirty Years War…one of my favorite eras. And one that actually fits the AGE engine, much better than most. Still, I have Civil War II and The War to End All Wars sitting on my PC and languishing, so…

Are there any good and recent (or semi-recent) WW1/WW2 naval sim games out there? I played a bunch of games like these in the 1990’s but don’t recall anything recent. I know about the modern Harpoon, etc. games but prefer WW2. Don’t make me try to download SSI’s Great Naval Battles!

Depending on how much free time you have there’s always War in the Pacific.

I really enjoy NWS stuff, this one is the latest.

I love it. Line up a bunch of fleets from lots of lists and have at it, but it is a really acquired taste :)

Make sure you download the screenshot pack from here first to make you you like the style of game and check out the gameplay vid

The Android thread has talked about Pacific Fleet and the just launched Atlantic Fleet. Discussion from about here:

If you have a windows box, try Lost Admiral Returns.

Despite loving various sorts of strategy and tactics games over the years, proper wargames have remained a blind spot for me that I’ve been meaning to address for a while now to see what great experiences I’ve been missing. The closest I’ve come is enjoying the Fantasy Wars / Elven Legacy games, which I gather are direct descendants of Panzer General by way of Fantasy General.

I’m hoping to use momentum from the Slitherine Humble Bundle to remedy that gap. So far I’ve been playing and enjoying Battle Academy, which seems to be geared as a good entry point, and I’m contemplating next steps. With the Steam summer sale about to start, I figured I would check in with you guys to make sure I know what to look out for and don’t get lost in the weeds somewhere.

I’m not really attached to any particular scale or historical period, and am fine with learning tricky rules systems. I don’t have a lot of pre-existing knowledge of real-world unit types and historical tactics and conditions, though – hoping to pick up some of that from osmosis while playing, but would rather avoid games that assume a lot of baseline knowledge just to get started. An option for asynchronous multiplayer is a plus.

From bundles, I already have Frontline: Road to Moscow, Rise of Prussia Gold, Close Combat: Gateway to Caen, five different Ironclads, and Achtung Panzer: Operation Star (an orphaned direct-download-only version likely missing current patches, if that’s relevant). Are any of those particularly worthwhile?

I’d rather just buy something known to be great than waste a bunch of time with mediocrity, especially with an unfamiliar genre where it’s hard to know if problems are due to the individual game, or me just not grokking the genre conventions yet. The games I don’t own but have passively noticed the most positive buzz about are Unity of Command, Panzerkorps (and/or its 40K spinoff Armageddon), Combat Mission: Normandy, and Ultimate General Gettysburg. Is that a good starter sale wishlist?

Oh, it’d be nice to have something on my phone as well. I’ll probably pick up Atlantic Fleet, anything else to recommend on Android? I see that there are dozens upon dozens of highly rated games from Joni Nuutinen and John Tiller, but have no idea where to start with either of those series.

Thanks for any suggestions!

That’s a great cross-section to start with. Good mix between tactical and operational challenges and you’ll learn which types of war games you like. You’ll pick up tactics from each of those games as you play.

Combat Mission will be the most fiddly by far.

YES YES YES! (I am slightly obsessed with UoC, one of my favorite games of the last 10 years)

Tiller has a rep, and may be something I avoid personally. They are decidedly not modern in UI, and have the obsessive often confusing detail that often throw others out.

Are the Shenandoah games on Android? Battle of the Bulge, Drive on Moscow, etc? If so get those.

From what I hear Order of Battle Pacific is also pretty neat and approachable. That’s next on my list.

Thanks! Tim, I’m amused by the way that every time I decide to dip a toe into a new genre (shmups, brawlers, and now wargames), you’re there ahead of me serving as an ambassador for the genre. Is there anything you don’t play? And what’s going to catch my attention in 2016?

Thanks. Yeah, UoC was probably the one that I’ve heard the most good stuff about. Sadly, the Shenandoah games seem to be iOS-only.

Hah, that’s cute. I actually don’t play many genres these days. I’m trying to cut out most of them as I wrap up my backlog. Frankly, it made me realize how bored I am with them: linear first person shooters, 4X, RTS, etc. It’s only deep and new-to-me genres that hold my interest now. They are games I always wanted to try and they kind of grabbed me on the way out the door.

I’m still on that upward slope of the curve where I love digging into the depths and discovering new things. I’m sure at some point I’ll be ready to wrap them up too. To be honest, I’m already in maintenance mode for wargames, just waiting for the next all-time classic that compels me to use my limited time.

Oh, and next year I’ll be going hard at blocky Early Access multiplayer survival crafters.

Just kidding. Only other major genre on my list would be driving sims, but that takes equipment investment. Anyway, you’ll have a lot of fun with those wargames. If you’re still interested once you’re done, we can revisit where to go from there.

And be sure to post impressions. That’s the only reason I’m such a cheerleader: I’m discovering the joys and I want to share that on the forum. Unfortunately, these genres are pretty low traffic here and I don’t want to join a new forum.

Didn’t see a link to the bundle so here it is: Bargain Thread Post

Battle Academy is a fun fairly light war game and a good place to start. From the other games you mention, I’d go with Unity of Command. Very simple to understand but still provides a challenge. Plus there is no weird UI to battle with. I played some of the earlier Close Combat games and enjoyed them a lot at the time.

Reading this reddit thread I was surprised to see that an M8 has a confirmed kill of a Tiger.

Read the third paragraph down. Reminds me of the times I’ve tried to do this kind of thing in wargames, especially when I used to play Close Combat 24/7.

Frontline is a panzer general effort, so that might not be a step forward in terms of more depth and complexity.

Rise of Prussia is an Ageod title, that plays a lot differently to most other wargames. If you can come to terms with the Ageod system, and its emphasis on logistics and manoeuvre then you open up a whole world of gaming exploring all the other Ageod titles. They are all based around the similar AGE engine, just refined for different era’s and evolved up with additional features in the likes of Civil War 2, and To End All Wars. Birth of America is said to be a good gateway title into the Ageod system, although I cut my teeth on Civil War 1 (ACW).

Close Combat is all about the tactical, and if you can get over the pixellated units, top down presentation that they’ve only souped up a bit for modern systems, then you can have some excellent tactical battles. Some of the pathing for vehicles leaves a little to be desired, but the top down lends itself to seeing the bigger picture, rather than the more “beautiful” 3d view that the Combat Mission series do.

Achtung Panzer is a 3d tactical game, I’ve not put much time into these, but I do know the UI is a bit obtuse, and it takes a while for someone to “get it”.

Unity of Command is a very polished and modern take on an operational wargame. Well worth the effort.
Ultimate General Gettysburg is pausable real-time, and a slick drag and draw mechanic for commanding your troops. It looks amazing and plays fluidly. Again worth picking up.

If you want something more hex and chit, with depth and soaked in History, I’d say pick up one of the Decisive Campaigns games on Steam.

Blitzkrieg from Warsaw to Paris, or the more refined Case Blue. They are entertaining operational titles, that give you a lot of scope to plan out your attacks and use combined arms to push through and take objectives. They support event cards that really do add to the historic content, because events exert modifiers on the current situation (and example of which is in the German taking of the Netherlands, there is an event card where the lowlands can be flooded and it prevents a significant barrier to the German invasion). Leader units also play a part in boosting troops at the focal point of an attack or defensive play. Air support, artillery, supply lines, are all modelled and work well together with the system. I unlocked the secret to Operational Wargaming on the Warsaw to Paris title. I’d dabbled in The Operational Art of War previously, but couldn’t get to grips with it, however the Decisive Campaigns series where engaging enough and with help from the wargaming community I was able to step into the realm of grognardery.

Tiller’s android ports are very much like the PC versions. Lots of UI buttons, lots of units, each unit one at a time, one hex at a time. I like some Tiller titles, but I have to be in the mood for them, and I’m not convinced they transfer all that well to the mobile platform.

Joni’s Conflict Series are my favourite Android wargames. They are well presented, easy to play and quite detailed in their mechanics. I would recommend something like “Rommel and Africa Korps” title first, it does an excellent job of modelling the supply issues you have in the desert environment, and its a battle to push along the coastline and maintain supply line integrity. Everything is about the Opel truck supplies getting to your spearheads.

All of his titles are worth exploring, they are all tweaked versions of his engine towards the specifics of the battles he covers. It even works well with the American Civil War titles, and Joni is very prolific in keeping all of his titles up to date with new concepts. So he often retrofits titles with new mechanics that have emerged from his development.

He does have a lot of titles with free versions that you can try out before stumping the few quid for the real version. And if score tables are important to you, each game has a league table for people’s efforts.

Also look for titles created by DK simulations, they are worth investigating and purchasing on Android.

Anyway, I’ve waffled on a lot here.

It’s great to see a newcomer taking steps towards understanding and enjoying wargaming! Stay with it, theres a lot of hidden excitement tied up in these dusty old hex and chit games!


Command is in the Steam Monster Summer Game specials today and is 50%. Probably the best deal we’ll see for that in a while, though that means it is still $40

Thanks for the recommendations! I liked the demo of Rommel and Afrika Korps, and will probably pick up the full version soon, maybe after trying a few more demos for comparison’s sake. And I’ve added Decisive Campaigns to my wishlist for future consideration.

I’ll make sure to give Close Combat and Rise of Prussia a fair shot as well at some point. I did try out the first couple missions of Frontline. The Panzer General formula is still relatively fresh to me, but the game felt pretty sloppy, and I’d rather just buy Panzer Corps than put time into a store-brand version just because it was in the bundle.

Thanks. Yeah, I’m poised to pick up Unity of Command Trilogy for $4.50 and Ultimate General Gettysburg for $6 on the last day of the sale assuming they aren’t dailies. Graviteam Tactics, which is apparently the sequel to Achtung Panzer, is also 85% off / $4.50 and has very positive reviews, so I’m considering that as well.

Sure thing!

Battle Academy is the only one I’ve spent much time with, and I’ve just finished the first of three included campaigns (with six more available as DLC). I’m enjoying it quite a bit, and it is indeed making for a good entry point, with pretty manageable mechanics and unit counts. I don’t know how accurate it is to the source material, but the battles definitely have a very different flavor from any other tactical game I’ve played.

Tanks are the crux of most of the battles, and they have an interesting mix of hardiness and vulnerability. Most shots have a pretty low chance of penetrating their front armor, but it only takes one lucky shot to destroy them, and if you can manage an ambush on the side or rear they have a good chance of going down. There’s also a surprisingly large gulf in ability from one model to the next. And from an educational perspective, I’ve expanded the number of tanks I can name severalfold since starting the game.

It’s interesting that many shots are actually taken as reactions on the opponent’s turn when your units see theirs moving. Trying to close in for a high-percentage shot will often result in getting destroyed before you can get there, so most engagements consist of a lot of 10-25% kill shots from several squares distance.

Infantry is fragile and easy to interrupt if crossing open ground, but can hide in buildings and forests, and is only revealed by being adjacent to other infantry (or spotted when shooting). But even hidden units an be suppressed if the enemy shoots enough at a suspicious hiding spot, which makes for an interesting dynamic of shifting from building to building, trying to get to stay safe while getting close enough for a surprise attack on enemy vehicles or guns.

The scenario design is nicely varied, with different unit availability and goals. There’s no carryover of units, so each scenario is completely self-contained. I have mixed feelings about this – from a pure game design standpoint it’s simple and pure and of course balancing it to come down to a tense and closely-fought end is a lot easier when you’re dealing with static forces. But it also reduces the sense of investment in troops, and means that casualties don’t make that big of an impression on me.

Also, it’s not strictly impressions and not sure if it belongs in this thread, but I wrote up my first multiplayer battle over in the Leaguelet thread in an attempt to recruit more players:

So Revolution Under Siege Gold was released today for $25. Owners of the original get an 80% discount - PROVIDED they purchased it directly from Matrix/Slitherine after the merge with Aegeod.

Those of us who bought it on Day One (when Aegeod was still independent) from either Impulse or GamersGate get a raised middle finger.

All I can say to that, Erik, is back atcha. I know we should have had the foresight to wait until you acquired the company, but my crystal ball was in the shop that day being cleaned.

As a long-time (soon to be former) Matrix supporter, all I can say is it will be a long long time before Matrix or Slitherine ever gets another dime of my money.