Choosing a Tabletop War Game
All you have to do is lean over the board to imagine yourself in the position of one of the great generals of history. When you're playing a war game, that's exactly the position you're in.
What is a Wargame?
Made popular by companies like Avalon Hill, Victory Games, and Game Designer's Workshop, a war game is a usually a two-player strategy board game that replicates some aspect of conflict, whether from history or fiction. Most games feature a number of common characteristics:
- Hex Grid: The game map features a hexagonal grid to allow for movement in all directions.
- Turn Based: Each player takes turns moving and attacking according to an often complex set of rules.
- Results Table: Most games use dice rolls for combat, with the results applied to a table based on the combat odds.
What Types Are There?
While people normally think of historical games first and foremost, there are actually a variety of different games available for interested players. War has always fascinated people, and a game is a way to play out that interest time after time without hurting anyone. Some popular game types include:
- Abstract: Games like Stratego abstract the nature of war so that you play from first principles. It's all about the underlying tactics and strategy. Risk is another one, where drawing a card at the right time can totally upset the battlefield. Axis and Allies is another popular board game that introduced many people to the hobby.
- Historical: Historical wargames put you in the place of real generals so that you can see if you would have made better decisions in the same situation. The North Africa campaign from World War Two is a very popular subject of these games.
- Fictional: In a Star Wars board game, you can field the forces of the Rebellion against the Empire; in other games, you can recreate the War of the Ring. Many people enjoy these games because they can divorce the game from the reality of history.
Playing the Game
Whether you are recreating the Cold War or playing through the War of 1812, there is a board game for every interest. You can refight Jutland, or recreate Trafalgar with your ships spread across the table. Let your dice rule the map as you take the battle to your foe. A strategy game can be slow and deliberate, or fast-paced and exciting. Some feature a core game and then a series of expansions to add new armies and theaters of war. It's all an exciting part of the gaming hobby, and it's suitable for any player with an interest in history or strategic thinking.