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Writing this discussion thread up to mirror the same one for the "All That is SPI" discussion thread. What are the Avalon HIll games that--not only do you still play them--but they generally have not been superseded? These games are not only classics, but they endure beyond those titles intended to replace them. Some of them might get newer editions by other companies after AH went away, but it still counts so you can list them here!
So heree they are, those timeless AH wargames:
This title already had something of a cult following among ancients gamers but it took Avalon Hill's colorful and evocative graphical treatment and marketing to bring this title into wider exposure. Considered by many to the be ultimate siege game, there is nothing on the subject before or since that can even come close to this title. Probably one of the best ancients board wargames ever made.
I always wanted to try this game, but my brother (who was my only face-to-face opponent at the time) was strictly a Napolenic or World War II gamer - he had no interest in ancients. :(
Well the game itself has some interesting mechanics and I had fun, but any recommendation of this title without mentioning the 'monster size' is grossly negligent!
I have even played a campaign game of 'Siege of Jerusalem' once, well at least we started . 4 men, 2 for each side, each commanding half of the units, playing 8-12h per day for full 2 weeks( 2 students, 2 employees took vacation for this), we stopped after the 3rd or 4th scenario of 12.
A horribly garish cover and a fun little mini-game inside does much to conceal the tense, nail-biting contest of the main game. There have been other games on the Crete campaign published since but none compare to this old title. Another under appreciated war-game that deserves better than it gets. The Malta mini-game is a fun diversion and still gets some play, but too many played that and not the main event.
Wonderfully evocative of the science fiction novel it intended to simulate, this edition of STARSHIP TROOPERS is the most successful of all of them. There were other games on sci-fi tactical ground combat (SPI's rival STAR SOLDIERS comes to mind) but it could not best the color and gameplay of this title. Still tremendous fun.
Now in a deluxe edition with expansion by L2, THE BITTER WOODS was a minor sensation among Battle of the Bulge players when it came out given it's playable treatment of a difficult subject to simulate. Many previous designs had tried and failed to do what this game delivered. It's really only been recently, with the publication of GMT's ARDENNES '44, that we at last have a game that rivals this title and--arguably--may supersede it. Because the die hards are divided on the subject, I am listing it here.
The "classic" AH Battle of the Bulge was the 2d game I ever purchased. It has always been my fave. Even when I use to travel, it's the game I would bring with me. BW is a better game and I no longer have a copy of the old classic. I play BW regularly, to include having purchased the mounted "uber-board" (and counters) from Big Board Games, LTD. BW is a GREAT "game". Ardennes '44 is THE better "simulation".
One of AH's successful republication of venerable Battleline game company titles, SUBMARINE was not as popular as their other naval games (WOODEN SHIPS & IRON MEN and FLAT TOP being the outstanding examples). Despite this, there really is no other submarine game that can rival this one. SPI tried with UP SCOPE, GDW attempted it with SSN, and there have been others but none as good as this one. Still sought after by many in the collectors market--and for good reason!
Certainly those other AH classics--AFRIKA KORPS and WATERLOO in particular--deserve that categorization. Unfortunately, they aren't on the list because they aren't exactly timeless; other games have superseded them. But they are nevertheless marvelous to play. I'm sure you saw George Phillies' exceptional e-book on the old STALINGRAD game; could we but get the same treatment for AFRIKA KORPS and WATERLOO. I also am a fan of the AH BULL RUN game and don't understand why it didn't get more attention than it did. Sigh.
Originally one of the earliest titles from Operational Studies Group (and since the resurrection of that company, this game has been revised and republished as well), Avalon Hill had the good sense to pick it up and create a marvelous physical production (save for the garish box art). Definitely timeless--there's no other game like it. Clash of Arms SIX DAYS OF GLORY only covers a small part of the overall campaign. Simply a masterpiece.
It wasn't often that Avalon Hill would tread into the detailed simulation world with titles worthy of serious historical inquiry/study, but this was one such wargame. Beautifully produced, it was nevertheless physically awkward with the map arrangement and the tiny, tiny hexes and diminutive unit counters. The rules were not the clearest Avalon Hill has ever published, either. There have been other games published since on this campaign, but none with the scope and scale of this one, which endures.
Despite the atrociously written rulebook, this game created a following that still exists today. Certainly nothing approaches the game design style of this worthy tactical treatment. Squad versus squad combat played through cards that contains a high level of tension and interest play after play. Expansion games lent more variability--there are currently efforts to republish this title; we'll see if they are successful.