Posts tagged ‘war games’

What Genre Gamer Are You?

You may like action movies, or romances, or documentaries, or comedies, but very few people would say that they don’t enjoy movies at all. Games are the same way; some people enjoy big Ameri-war games with lots of dice rolling like Risk, while others may prefer a party game like Apples to Apples, but most people will enjoy at least one or two genres of game, and often more.

So the question is: What do you like?

I Like Strategy!

Many players come to a board game looking to exercise their minds. If you want to out-plan, out-think, and outwit your opponents with a superior strategy, you’re not alone. While children’s board games tend to have a lot of luck, many of the world’s most popular adult board games minimize randomness and focus on strategic planning and decision-making. If you like strategy, you might be a(n):

Abstract Gamer

Perhaps the purest form of strategic board game, abstract games tend to have little or no theme. They also tend to have little or no luck, which means that they end up as a pure contest of mental powers between you and your opponents. Generally speaking, there are pieces, a board, and you move them around following the rules until you win. Classic games like Chess fall into this category, but newcomers may be hard-pressed to enjoy a game of Chess against someone who has played hundreds of times. There are many newer abstract strategy games such as Blokus which can accommodate 2-4 players, and allow for players to explore the game together.

Euro-Gamer

More complex and themed strategic board games have become more popular in the past few decades, with a huge influx in Euro-style games spawned by the success of Settlers of Catan. Although Settlers itself uses dice, most Euro-style games do not. They tend to have a very small amount of randomness, but like Settlers, offer a wide variety of choices every turn, often with a final goal of accumulating victory points in various ways. Most Euro-games also have multiple mechanics in play at once, such as resource management, worker placement, bidding, tech trees, or role selection. The combination of innovative rules often leads to a wide array of possible strategies and multiple paths to victory, allowing each player to follow her own approach and still have a decent shot at winning. The two top-ranked board games in the world on BoardGameGeek currently both fall into this category: Agricola and Puerto Rico. Both are shining examples of what make this genre great.

I Like Fighting!

Fighting in real life may not be so fun, but in the realm of fantasy, many people find it entertaining. For the same reason that action movies always have combat and young boys often pretend to be in a heroic fight, many players come to their games looking to have their characters go out and win some battles. If this describes you, you might be a(n):

War Gamer

War games are just what they sound like: Two or more players commanding opposing armies attempting to defeat each other, generally by killing enemy soldiers. If this sounds violent, remember that Chess could be described the same way. War games tend to feature a large map, large numbers of army units that move around on this map, and you roll dice to determine successful attacks. A few of the hardcore “war games” are incredibly detailed affairs, with lots of miniatures, 3-D terrain, and measuring lines of sight. But many war games (also known as “Ameri-games”) are much more accessible. Most people are familiar with Risk or Axis and Allies, but newer war games like BattleLore offer a deeper strategy.

Adventure Gamer

Adventure games often play like a fantasy epic. If you don’t mind spending a few hours on a single game, adventure games let you become the hero of your own little story. You’ll likely be exploring a large map, upgrading your character, acquiring items, completing quests, and participating in a grand adventure. Arkham Horror , World of Warcraft, or Descent are popular examples of the genre, with many rules and pieces, but many die-hard fans as well.

I Like Hanging Out!

Not everyone wants to spend a whole evening playing board games. You might view them as a fun way to kill time before the movie, or just an excuse to spend time with your friends. And that’s a fine use for board games! You might be a:

Light Gamer

Light games are great when you want a game to fill the time before your evening’s next big event. Light games should have simple rules, and be playable in less than a half-hour. Some old games like Yahtzee would qualify as a light game. But light games don’t have to mean no strategy; there are plenty of highly-strategic light games that are still simple and fast, such as Lost Cities. If you like light games, look for the estimated play-time.

Party Gamer

Who wins? Who cares! In party games, the point of the game is just to enjoy hanging out with your friends. Charades is probably the most classic party game, and requires no special equipment. If you’re looking for more entertaining games to get your guests laughing without overly heavy competition, you may want party games like Apples to Apples.

May 24, 2009 at 2:40 am Leave a comment

War Games – Using War Gaming as an Education Tool

Author: Piper Kilpatrick

Some might suggest that using board games for teaching is a waste of time. I would suggest that if you asked most of these people what they thought of high school history class they would say it was pretty boring. They would completely miss a wonderful teaching opportunity provided by all kinds of board games that are available. War games provide an easy way to interact with history and learn many powerful lessons about not only history, but themselves and their peers.

I would argue that introducing kids to the history of warfare through the use of war games can provide a successful way to provide not only an educational experience regarding a specific conflict in history, but also provide the children a way to learn about many aspects of why the conflict was resolved the way it was. While accomplishing both of these the game can actually stimulate the child to engage with the event itself by attempting to “manipulate” history by seeing what could have possibly occurred with a different strategy.

When a war game is used the event can be described historically with a visual aid in the form of the game itself. Teachers can show children exactly what occurred during the battle by using the board and its pieces to describe the battle. This provides the children a way to see exactly why things occurred the way they did.

But more importantly, if the children are allowed to get their hands dirty by taking the game and actually playing it they cease to be passive recipients of information and begin to be active in their learning. They must learn why artillery is used. They must take into account movement and range. They see why “flanking” was used and why cavalry is so important through much of history.

Once the children begin to grasp the basics of military strategy they will begin to see why decisions were made and why battles occurred and why victory was achieved or defeat could not be avoided. Thus later lessons in military actions will become that much clearer for the children since they already have the basic understanding of military workings in the field.

All of these benefits show how clearly board gaming can be beneficial in the classroom setting. Once basic war games are utilized, games involving markets can be used to show the basics of economy or diplomacy.

Many war games include aspects of all three to maximize the fields of learning that the child must utilize. By introducing more and more aspects to the games the children begin to learn about all kinds of different fields without even realizing they are doing so.

Lastly, not only can the children learn from the simple rules of the game, but also they can take lessons away from their own victories and defeats.

In victory they can not only glean how history could have been different, but also they learn simple life lessons about how to treat others who are close to them and suffer defeat.

In defeat, the students see how history was shaped by decisions that were avoided, but also they learn how to lose graciously.

The interactions of the students in the classroom can be monitored and manipulated to help students learn not only the lessons of the game itself and its lessons about history, but also many lessons regarding personal interactions between peers in a controlled environment that the instructor can manage successfully if prepared to do so.

Thus a “simple game” can become a very powerful teaching tool in the hands of someone who is willing to take the time to introduce his/her pupils to it and engage with them in history both learning from it and from each other.

Good war game for use in learning:

February 25, 2009 at 2:25 am Leave a comment

Board Games – Playing Single-Player Board Games

Author – Jimmy Okolica

I love to play games.  While many people lost interest in games when they left Sorry and Memory behind, I have always been on the lookout for new interesting games to play.  While some people might think continually finding new interesting games to play would be difficult, what I’ve found more difficult is finding people to play them with.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I do have friends (and a wife) and I can even get them to agree to play games every couple of weeks.  However, for me, that just isn’t enough.  So, what is a gamer to do?  Although once upon a time, the only game a person could play alone was the card game of solitaire, that is no longer the case.  There are many games specifically designed for one player and many more that can be easily modified to be enjoyable solo games.

“Personal Best” Games

There are basically two different types of solo games.  The first are “personal best” games.  In these games, the object is to beat your personal best.  Many traditional board games can be played solo.  For instance, in Scrabble you can play with one set of tiles and try to beat your own personal best.

“Race Against Time” Games

The second type are “race against time” games.  For instance, in Arkham Horror, the object is to close the inter-dimensional gates in Arkham before the Ancient One wakes up and destroys humanity.

Within these two categories, there are also several different themes of games.

Abstract Games

The first theme is abstract.  These are the traditional puzzle games like the traditional Peg Solitaire where you keep jumping pegs until you can’t jump anymore.

Story Games

A second theme is story game.  In these games, which are generally of the “race against time” sort, after each move, you read either a card or a paragraph in a book that develops a story as you play.  While not a solo game, the traditional Dungeons & Dragons games are one of the best known story games.

War Games

A third theme that, although it fits within story game, that is usually separated is war game.  These use the same mechanic as story games, but due to the size of the genre and the time to play, they are usually separated.

Games Based on Mechanics
Finally, many solo games do not fit into any of these themes and are known by their principal mechanics, or by how they work.  For instance, resource optimization games reward you based on how few of something you use.  For instance, in Agricola you are a farmer who must use your scarce resources to feed your family and increase the size of your farm.

Another mechanic common to card games is hand management where you must make optimal use of the cards in your hand to either maximize your score or avoid disaster.

Co-Operative Play

A final mechanic that is helpful in finding games that work well solo is called cooperative play.  These are multi player games where the object is to work together for a common goal.  In these games, either everyone wins or everyone loses.  As a result, these are very easy games to convert into solo games.

Length of Time to Play
The last characteristic that is important to solo games is how long do they take to play.  War games can be fun but unless you have somewhere between 2 to 6+ hours to spend, you are out of luck.  Other games, like the traditional card of game of solitaire, can be played in a 10 minutes.

Here is a short list of a few of the solo games I’ve played in no particular order:

  • Arkham Horror: a cooperative multi-player where the goal is to save humanity by closing the interdimensional gates before the Ancient One awakes; race against the clock; story based; 2 – 4 hours
  • Lord of the Rings: a cooperative multi-player game where the goal is to help the hobbits destroy Sauron’s ring in Mount Doom before he can resuce it; race against the clock; hand management; 1 hour
  • Pandemic: a cooperative multi-player where the goal is to save humanity by curing pandemics before the Earth’s population dies; race against the clock; hand management; 45 minutes – 1 hour.
  • Ghost Stories: a cooperative multi-player where the goal is to save the village by killing ghosts and the evil Wu Feng; race against the clock; hand management; 1 hour
  • Red November: a cooperative multi-player where the goal is to stay alive aboard a submarine by fixing broken systems until help arrives; race against the clock; hand management; 1 hour
  • Battle Hymn: a solo game where the goal is to complete assigned missions without dying; race against the clock; war game; 1 – 4 hours
  • Agricola: a multi-player and single player game where the goal is to build the best farm over four years; personal best; resource optimization; 1 hour
  • San Juan: a multi-player game where the goal is to build the best town; personal best; hand management; 1 hour.
  • Dungeoneer: a multi-player game that can be adopted for single player where the goal is to complete 3 quests; race against the clock ; dice rolling and hand management; 1 hour
  • Set: a multi-player and single-player game where the goal is to complete sets where 3 cards either all have one thing in common or all have one thing different; personal best; abstract; 1 hour

January 12, 2009 at 10:30 pm Leave a comment


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