I’m part of a local gaming group that has four, maybe five, members whom I would consider to be primarily wargamers and three or four others that are “wargame friendly”. In the past we’ve been able to get together to play things like EuroFront, Sword of Rome, The Napoleonic Wars, and a few other multiplayer games over a weekend or a few weeknights. Unfortunately these gatherings have been few and far between and organized in such a way that, for a lot of us, the very first experience playing the game was the big event itself.
In order to resolve the “few and far between” aspect of the problem we’ve decided that we’re going to get together every other month for a wargaming weekend. The host, specific weekend and play times, and the game to be played are all figured out well in advance so that everyone has a chance to prepare. We also try to have one or two learning sessions where we’ll play a small scenario from the game so that everyone is going in with at least some experience with it.
That’s the plan anyway…
We had our initial get together a few weekends ago and it worked out pretty well. Three of us played the It Never Snows campaign game over a two day span and two of us got together the week before to play through one of the smaller scenarios. For the next event, which will take place in late August, we’re going to be playing Flying Colors – specifically the two larger Trafalgar scenarios found in C3i #20. I’ve read through the Flying Colors rules and from what I make of it so far is that it appears to be a simple enough game that looks like it will work well for group play. Should be fun and it looks like we may have five players participating.
Of course I’m already thinking about what our options are for the game after that. So far our process for selecting games has been for each person to propose a few games and we discuss and debate from there. The only real requirements for game selection are that the rules are available online and that the game can handle multiple players without too much work. It seems to be a workable system and unless some issues come up we’ll keep using it.
Since we’re also trying to introduce a few newer players to the wonderful world of wargaming, we’re initially staying away from some of the more complicated stuff – which explains our two choices so far. Eventually I envision a group of us gathered around the table playing La Bataille de la Moscowa using the full regs. Doubtful that will ever happen, but if all goes as planned, we will eventually move on up to some of the more complicated stuff. The question is what?
There have been a couple suggestions from the GBACW series, Three Days of Gettysburg and Dead of Winter, which I think would work out rather well. Each player can be assigned a corps (or two), not a lot of down time with the chit pull activation, and a few of us have plenty of experience with the system to help the newbies along. My only issue with TDoG is that during the first day there aren’t a lot of forces on the map initially, which could lead to some pretty bored players. Anyone out there have any experience playing this with multiple players?
Another suggestion has been None but Heroes which uses The Gamers’ Line of Battle rules. Again, it would be easy enough to split up the forces and it doesn’t have the problem of not having a lot of forces on the map initially. My worry about this game is the order system. I really, really, like the way the order system works, the problem is that it is possible that someone will get stuck with a command that never gets to carry out any orders. The idea behind these gaming weekends is to get people playing and sitting around failing to take on orders for an entire game would really suck. I’m sure there are easy enough ways to work around that, but then you’re kind of breaking the whole point of the system.
Of course, being that I’m an OCS fanatic, various OCS suggestions have been made as well. Thinking about it though, other than playing something like Case Blue, or Guderian’s Blitzkrieg, which games in the series would make for a good multiplayer, weekend event? If we know we have three players Sicily is an obvious choice. Korea, which is my favorite OCS game, is almost strictly two player. I just can’t think of a good way to split the forces in that one. Burma might work well as a three or four player game though as the campaign is really just like two or three separate actions on one map.
Der Weltkrieg has also crossed my mind. I don’t have experience playing any of the games in the system multiplayer, but I can’t imagine it would be too hard to come up with something, especially as units are generally assigned to specific armies at the start. First thing that jumps out to me is the Tannenberg & Galicia combo. Western Front would be doable as well, although it might be a little cramped with three or four players around a single map.
So any suggestions out there? We’re looking for bigger games that have rules available online and can be played with multiple people without too much extra work. Hex & Counter, non-CDGs games would be preferred, but if you have a suggestion outside of those parameters that you think would work well I’d love to hear it. Hell, these meetings may be the only way I actually get to try something like Here I Stand or Virgin Queen, so I won’t rule anything out.