There are those SPI games that have bit the dust over time--some for deservedly good reasons--and others that we still keep playing even after all these many years.  I thought I'd devote a section to those that we break out now and then to sit down and play.  Call them classics--call them whatever; we like them and, at least in our mind, they have never been superseded.  

What SPI games have you kept over the years and don't think you'll ever replace with anything newer or shinier?  Why?

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If someone would have told me I'd still be playing this game for over 35 years after its initial release, I would have smiled and shaken my head.  Yes, it was fun in its day, even with the si-move plot.  But here it is--with many sci-fi games published since--and I won't let go of it.  Still feels and plays as fresh as when I first opened the box.  If there was ever an SPI title that demanded a reprint, this is it.  While other sci-fi games seem to have been one-time fads (especially those with Star Trek and Star Wars themes), this one basically defines "timeless" in the sci-fi wargame genre.

My favorite science fiction game of all time. Even the star-map has stood the test of time, even in the face of the  Hipparchos Mission data. I wouldn't sell mine for controlling shares in Microsoft.

But if you had controlling shares in Microsoft, you could finance the reprint!

True. But then I'd have to hire a mob of Psychics to conduct a seance to contact Redmond Simonsen, get his permission and ideas, etc. Messy.

This is one of the very best Strategy and Tactics issue games.  Typically, magazine games never are as well received as their boxed brethren, but SPI proved that not need be the case.  Here is a very good example of that.  Decision Games updated the game but it still plays very much like the original.  Great "beer and pretzels" competitive game with the twist that put players as both the Allies and the German defenders--the Soviet player also taking the Germans facing the Western Allies, the Western Allies taking the Germans that defend against the Soviets.  Also could be played three-player, but the German tends to be the "spoiler" in such situations.  

Kevin Zucker's venerable NAPOLEON'S LAST BATTLES. was reissued with TSR took over SPI with practically no changes (save for the box art).  Joe Beard did a marvelous in-depth review of the game in his Map and Counters blog that goes a long way in explaining why this game still survives, and even thrives!  This title is just so versatile (you can play the folios separately or link them all together), is graphically pleasing as well as quite functional, and is exciting to play (and can handle four players in the campaign quite easily).  I'd consider this game one of the most successful SPI games of all time.

I certainly agree with that assessment. And the added optional rules for combined arms and leadership control, IIRC, REALLY added to the further enjoyment of the campaign game.

For a few years, I had the opening position of "Quatre Bras" on the map mounted as a poster in my wargame room.... Such a classic!

With all the OPERATION MARKET-GARDEN games out there, both in print and long OOP, this little gem has survived and even prospered in comparison.  Perhaps no greater tribute was the attempt by Decision Games to "update" this title.  While the map art is enhanced but not changed, the system was but one is hard-pressed to find anyone who has played the original SPI game who thinks the revision is better.  This game is a design feat, distilling a complex operation to its bare essentials with 100 counters and yet creating a fast, furious, and fun game that nevertheless is a solid recreation of the possibilities in the campaign.

Hi Eric.

Looking at the date of your original message, I am coming late to this particular thread, but I'd agree with you, for me this is one of SPI's best games - and one which, as you say, also captures the essence of the campaign. I bought the folio edition back in 1978/9 (I forget which) and was looking at it again only this week, wondering if I could really do better than the Allied 1st Airborne Army and the British 2nd Army's XXX Corps. I suspect not though. The operation was fundamentally flawed, and even if the good guys had got across the Rhine - what then? There were simply too many high-quality German units left to drive into the heart of the Reich in late '44. 

Best Tim

The Road to Richmond:

Of all SPI's American Civil War games, this is my personal favorite. It has just never grown old. And with the optional 'disordered' rule, one has to be damned careful of when he chooses to shoot his bolt. I love this game - you have got me pining for those bygone days of impatiently waiting every two months for that manila envelope to appear in the mail drop, Eric. And you are spot on with the Napoleon's Last Battles quad - my brother and I still play Quatre Bras regularly after all these years. And Battle for Germany! I foolishly loaned my folio copy to a SSgt I served with in the Corps - who soon thereafter mustered out along with several of my games. Years later I was fortunate enough to obtain a mint copy off of the internet from a gentleman in Delaware who was selling off his game collection (along with mint copies of Breitenfeld, Dixie, and Revolt in the East).

This title was supremely fun to play--a real blast--and it spawned a host of followups and imitators.  Not only did SPI do OBJECTIVE: MOSCOW in response to the success of this game, but Jagdpanther Publications also published JACKSONVILLE: BEACHES OF DOOM with a similar theme (albeit at a much smaller scale).  But the sincerest form of flattery came with the publication of FORTRESS: AMERICA which bore more than a passing resemblance to the SPI title, despite a very different system and some novel twists.  For many of us, when we've watched the RED DAWN movie one too many times, this is the game we reach for first.

My email said "A new set of posts by Eric Walters at Consim World."  !!!


Excellent! Before opening, I tried to think what SPI games would I consider timeless. I decided "Star Force" would have to be the top choice - and for once, I guessed correctly! I have my list, but since anyone who knows me knows what they are, I will shut up and listen - and learn!  Thank you for posting these - GREAT choices so far!


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