What are the Top Introductory Wargames? - Best Beginner Wargames? - Review & List | Historical Games - nzwargamer.net

What are the Top Introductory Wargames? – Best Beginner Wargames? – Review & List | Historical Games

Zilla Blitz
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I rank and review my top 6 introductory (beginner) tabletop wargames (historical simulations). What are my favorite beginner historical conflict simulations that I’ve played so far? I also explore ten other introductory wargames that I will be playing soon that I think have a chance to make it into our top introductory wargame list, and then list 5 more upcoming beginner wargames that I think have the potential to be on our top introductory wargame list.

If you’d like to support my work in creating more historical wargaming videos, I have a Patreon page. Support is greatly appreciated.

This review video and ranking list produced by Zilla Blitz.

Games Mentioned, in random order:
Downfall of Empires – Do It Games ()
Tank on Tank Eastfront – Lock ‘n Load Games ()
Tank Clash – Ameba Games ()
Freezing Inferno – Princeps Games ()
Flashpoint South China Sea – GMT Games – Harold Buchanan ()
Votes for Women – Fort Circle Games ()
Field Commander Alexander – Dan Verssen Games – DVG ()
Nemo’s War – Victory Point Games ()
Sherman Leader – Dan Verssen Games – DVG ()
Undaunted North Africa – Osprey Games ()
Hornet Leader – Dan Verssen Games DVG ()
Downfall of the Third Reich – Do It Games ()
1944 Battle of the Bulge – Worthington Publishing ()
By Stealth & Sea – Dan Verssen Games – DVG – David Thompson ()
Memoir ’44 – Days of Wonder ()
Lanzerath Ridge – Dan Verssen Games DVG – David Thompson ()
Halls of Montezuma – Fort Circle Games ()
Tank on Tank Westfront – Lock ‘n Load Games ()
Resist! – Salt & Pepper Games – David Thompson ()
B-17 Leader – Dan Verssen Games ()
Halls of Hegra – Tompet Games ()
300 Earth & Water – Nuts! Publishing – Yasushi Nakaguro ()
The Shores of Tripoli – Fort Circle Games ()
Antietam – Command Post Games ()
The African Campaign – Compass Games ()

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#wargaming #topwargames #introductorywargames

What are the Top Introductory Wargames? – Best Beginner Wargames? – Review & List | Historical Games

70 Comments

  1. Great selection! Knew you were going to pull out Sherman Leader before you showed it 😉 Can't wait for your play through of B-17 FFL! 🙂 You opened my eyes up to a lot more games with this that I need to check out. Oh, my copies of Sherman Leader, Skies Above Britain, and American Tank Ace all arrived this week all in large part because of your videos ! Memoir '44 is a good choice for introductory wargame, and I used to own it along with a boatload of expansions back in the day. Eventually sold it off when I couldn't get it to the table anymore.

    Still would like to see more wargame shelf tours all this video kind of touches on that a bit at the end.

  2. The Undaunted series is very easy for new players. My wife and I never played a war game before plating Undaunted:Normandy, and we picked up the rules within 10 minutes.

  3. Please consider Columbia Games for Block Games

  4. Avalon Hill’s “1776” was my first war game. I learned to play it when I was 10 as the New England Campaign is pretty easy as it just has British and American Troops and none of the special units and rules.

  5. My first "wargame" was Axis and Allies. Still very fond of the whole series of that. After that I got on with the classics of Avalon Hill (D-day, Gettysburg, Afrika Korps, Stalingrad. More recent, I like many games of Worthington because they are easy to access. For example their "The American CIvil War" is an easy to learn and fun to play game.

  6. I don't know if it's still in print, but Avalon Hill put out a series of games starting with Squad Leader that introduced progressively more complex rules for each scenario. the rules for the first one were easily digested and the game itself lasted about 6 turns, so very quick. I thought it very accessible. It had several sequels, so I guess it was also popular.

  7. What about Tactics 2, Age of Sails, or Tobruk?

  8. Always enjoy your videos – you have a warm and generous style. Check out Worthington’s “Keep Up the Fire” – Boxer Rebellion solo game – very good introductory mechanics without being too simple.

  9. Great stuff…scribed up…thanks my man…

  10. Academy Games has the Conflict of Heroes series. The series is billed as an introduction to hex and counter wargames. Back in the day, I used it as an introduction for my 12 year old. Shortly after we moved on to MMP's Advanced Squad Leader Starter Kit. That lead into Advanced Squad Leader and Flying Pig's Old School Tactical series – and there was no looking back after that!
    Others you might want to consider:
    -Steve Jackson Games offers Ogre.
    -I'm sure there are more titles that GMT Games offers, but right now, only Washington's War comes to mind.
    I see you recommended Halls of Montezuma. I have the 2009 edition by GMT, and it most certainly is not an introductory wargame. It will be interesting to see what it evolves into with this new edition.

  11. By today’s standards I would suggest The third Reich by Avalon Hill. It is supper fast to play. Can also be played on computer.

  12. As the Heroes of Normandie series has already been mentioned in the comments I will add a different game. A House Divided is a great intro wargame depicting the whole of the American Civil War and has been available in multiple versions over decades so is easy to pick-up cheap.

  13. I used Battle Cry to get my godchildren into war games.

  14. If you want to include OOP games – Mustangs by Avalon Hill is a game for beginners.

  15. Thanks for putting this out. I'm recently retired and have been wanting to revisit my youth when I played a lot. I'm a fan of Panzerblitz and some the older SPI games. Wish I still had them around to play again. But I think I'll pick up a copy of Sherman Leader and spend a few nights gaming. Thanks again.

  16. Too bad so many of these are not easily available.

  17. This is the first video I have seen of yours and I subscribed right away. You have an energetic and well-paced approach talking about these games that many others doing wargaming videos lack. The content is so well thought out and researched as well. I can't wait to see other videos by you. Already looking for the top solitaire war games video right now.

  18. need a wargame in period of 1980+ where US empire is the evil nation enacting a brutal regime change coups all over the world , while we the player the protagonist are the resistance with aid from china and russia destroying US military effort and ruining continental USA with revenge strikes

  19. Great list! Could you please make a video about gateway war games for 10-14 yr olds that will teach them about History + War Strategies.

  20. Thank you for sharing this the games look fun

  21. My 1st wargame was a Civil War game published in Life Magazine in 1960(I was in Jr high) for the centenary of the Civil War. You had to cut the playing pieces out and mount the on card stock and take the map out of the magazine.

  22. I think undaunted can be a bit weird for a non-gamer. The deck building mechanic is fun but pretty gamey and not very intuitive.

  23. I just picked up a copy of Bitskrieg to play with my granddaughter. Fantastic game for grognards (and their grogkids!)

  24. As you have a few David Thompson and DVG games in this video I am sure Castle Itter and Pavlovs House you would enjoy. Both easy to play, have a fascinating historical background and the gameplay is not that complex.

  25. I think that you missed a big one. If you want to learn the basics of a typical hex & counter wargame (TEC, odds based CRT, move points, attack points, defense points, asymmetric forces, ZOC, etc). in Steve Jackson Games OGRE.

  26. Great video! Have you played Pavlov's House? It's a great solitaire game. Not sure if it would fit 100% wargame style, but it is worth the while. New subscriber. Greetings from Spain!

  27. YESSS!!! YESSS!!! YESSSS!!! ZILLABLITZ I LOVE YOU!!! YOU CHOSE BY STEALTH AND SEA AS THE FIRST INTRODUCTORY GAME FOR WARGAMERS !!! AND AS AN ITALIAN AND YOUR BEST EUROPEAN FAN, I TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOUR DECISION AND I ADORE YOU FOR THAT, CAUSE USUALLY ITALIAN ARMIES ARE UNDERESTIMATED OR JOKED UPON, WHILE INSTEAD THAT GAME SHOWS CLEARLY HOW MUCH INVENTIVE AND GUTS WE ITALIANS COULD HAVE IF THE CHANCE ARISE!!!

  28. My suggestions that haven't been mentioned are:

    1. "Freeman's Farm 1777." Published by Worthington, this is game is designed for either two players or solitaire. The Battle of Freeman's Farm was one of the earliest in the American Revolutionary War. This game has a good bit of tactical decision-making, while limiting the number of units and locations. It has an interesting push-you-luck mechanic in which a unit can spend morale for more offensive capability, but in so doing, makes the unit closer to routing. Historically, the British achieved a Pyrrhic victory in which they controlled the field after the battle, but were stalled in their march towards Bemis Heights.

    2. "Nubia: Egypt's Black Heirs." Published by White Dog Games and designed by Ben Madison for solitaire only play, this game is a good introduction to the "States of Siege" family of games. It also deals with a rather overlooked piece of history – the decline of the Christian Nubian kingdom in the face of the advance of Islam.

    3. Another solitaire White Dog Game by Ben Madison that I would recommend is "Mrs. Thatcher's War." It covers the Falklands War – another bit of history often overlooked. Both this game as well as "Nubia" are actually quite simple once one learns the game, but the rulebooks could be better. However, learning how to read wargame rulebooks is a skill in and of itself, and everyone needs to start somewhere.

    4. "Quebec 1759" by Columbia Games (not to be confused with "1759 Siege of Quebec" by Worthington – another good choice). This game is the granddaddy of the "block wargame" which simulates fog of war by representing units by upright blocks so that only the controller knows exactly which units are present and how strong they are while the opponent gets a general idea based upon how many blocks are at a location. Units are only revealed in battle, and the rotating of the block simulates casualties. "Quebec 1759" has simultaneous action selection, but other good introductory block wargames from Columbia without simultaneous action selection might be "Richard III," "Julius Caesar" and/or "Hammer of the Scots."

  29. Hello, anybody knows where I can get Memoir 44?

  30. We bought "Downfall of the third Reich" but it was much too complicated for us (we play expert games but no wargames usually) so we sold it back ! Just for info !

  31. Just found your channel yesterday and im really enjoying your videos. Great recommendations well presented, and enjoyable to watch

  32. lets play shores of tripoli on rally the troops 🙂

  33. Good video, I'm not into more specific or hardcore war games as they don't have enough replayability for me (like 1775 rebellion or the Shores of Tripoli). However I do like combat focused games like Spheres of Influence, Memoir 44, Undaunted, Star Wars Armada/X-wing. Nearly all of popular games focus on land combat with some air combat and the very rare sea combat. Do you know of any good titles that emphasize airplane and/or especially naval combat? Undaunted Battle of Britain is one I grabbed and Memoir 44 had the new air pack but that's all. Axis and Allies has a lot more interesting naval combat + positioning but it's still way too long for a game + it feels a little cheap/antiquated. Sorry for the long comment but would love to check out these neglected areas of more accessible war/fighting games in the sea and air.

  34. Thats really awesome that the game designers are commenting

  35. Great recommendations.

    Some other ones:
    13 Days a Cuban missile Crisis.
    Blitzkrieg!: World War Two in 20 Minutes.
    Brave Little Belgium.
    Celles: The Ardennes, December 23-27, 1944.
    Conflict of heroes Series.
    Heroes of Normandie Series or Heroes of Blackreach.
    Flights of the Pacific.
    Julius Caesar: Caesar, Pompey, and the Roman Civil War – Columbia Block wars games are great!
    Napoléon 1806 – any of series.
    1775: Rebellion – 2v2 dice chucker but great 1v1 and lots of good strategies.
    Washington's War.
    Wild Blue Yonder.
    Twilight Struggle: Red Sea.
    Lincoln – Same designer as Brass Birmingham.

  36. Tank combat, art of tactics, fixed tutorial scenario.

  37. Endorsement for Pub Battles Antietam: I volunteer at Antietam National Battlefield, and to date IMO the simplest tactical Antietam game with reasonable historical accuracy given the simplicity is Pub Battles Antietam. I (1) had the small map scanned and printed double-sized on vinyl, (2) cut and spray painted, clear coated, and labeled my own double-size blocks, and (3) created general cards printable on pre-perforated Avery business cardstock; each has the general's image and birthplace to add an extra bit of light education. This created a game large enough for 6-8 players to play with elbow room. I have even run this in a pub, and intend to do so again.

  38. Thanks for all the thoughtful comments and suggestions, too! I'm working my way through these and hope to be all caught up in the next day or so. And I've got a bunch of good ideas for more challengers to the list. Much appreciated!

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