Perhaps the first was Avalon Hills' TOBRUK game, which was basically a miniatures game dressed as a board game. More on that in a bit. Then came SPI's FIREFIGHT on a hypothetical Soviet-U.S. conflict in 1976, although Avalon Hill's SQUAD LEADER on WW II combat came the following year. SPI followed up with RAID (using much the same system as FIREFIGHT) on SpecOps and CITY FIGHT, which was something COMPLETELY different (and very intriguing. Avalon Hill did the SL gamettes--three of them--that got so convoluted they had to eventually publish ADVANCED SQUAD LEADER in 1985 to bring everything back into line and start over. Meanwhile West End published FIRE TEAM (a great game)...what many of us wished FIREFIGHT should have been. Yaquinto did PANZER, 88, and ARMOR, which were basically miniatures games and very much focused on the tanks--Jim Day would carry this on into MBT and IDF for Avalon Hill years later. Critical Hit would redo and republish TOBRUK as ADVANCED TOBRUK and the ADVANCED TOBRUK SYSTEM/ADVANCED TACTICAL SYSTEM as a refinement of their earler prototype COMBAT! system. billed as an alternative to ASL. And now we have the COMBAT COMMANDER series which is enjoying a tremendous amount of critical and commercial success. The Lock 'N Load series by Mark Walker also enjoys a following after its initial offering on Vietnam and now WW II and other era games. So many games to choose from--what is your favorite? Why? How does it differ from the others?

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Tobruk(AH) - Own, never played and probably never will since I have Advance Tobruk. Acquired at the same time I bought Squad Leader back in high school so it stayed on the game shelf.

Advanced Tobruk System - Own and played many of the modules except the first one, Advanced Tobruk. I like the impulse system and the armor system has just enough detail to make it interesting while not being to difficult. I dropped out of wargaming between 1986 - 2000. When I got back into it this became my replacement for the Squad Leader series.
Advanced Tobruk - Unplayed, the first of the series but this was my third or fourth purchase having bought D-day Rangers and Against All Odds or Arnhem first.
D-Day Rangers - Played all of the scenarios, one of my favorites
Against All Odds - Played most of the scenarios. This is the large hex version, one of my favorites
Scottish Corridor - Played most of the scenarios. Another one of the large hex versions and one of my favorites.
Arnhem; Defiant Stand - Played, my favorite module of the series, and another large hex version.
Santa Maria Infante - Played one or two of the scenarios, don't like the smaller (standard) hex sizes. Toughest line of sight maps in the series I believe.
Darkest December - Played one or two of the scenarios.
Stalingrad: Dzerhezhinsky Tractor Works - unplayed, am I tired of stalingrad games?

Firefight(SPI) - Own, played once or twice back in the 80's. Maps are kind of boring with the simplified terrain and the game system is too simple for my tastes. Will probably never play it again.

Cityfight(SPI) - Own, played a few times. The modern combat aspect makes me want to like this game. I think there is a good game in there somewhere and I am still interested in playing it. I like the fog of war with the hidden units.

Squad Leader(AH) - Own all the modules, Cross of Iron, Crescendo of Doom, GI: Anvil of Victory. Some of them I bought twice. Played this a whole heck of a lot when it first came out. It was my favorite WWII tactical system for a long time. efused to buy Advanced Squad Leader when it first came out.

Advanced Squad Leader(MMP) - bought a 1st ed rulebook and Beyond Valor back in 2001? when I got back into wargaming. Still haven't played it. I don't own but have played some of the starter kits.

88 (Yaquinto) - Own, played it a lot way back in the 80's. Liked the armor system didn't care much for the programmed movement though.

Combat Commander - Own both modules and the Paratrooper battle pack. Enjoy playing this one. Probably the one I will grab first now if I want to play at this scale. I don't mind the randomness of the system as it is probably more realistic than most of the other offerings at this scale.

Lock 'N Load - Don't own but have played the WWII version a few times. Nice system but probably will not buy it myself unless I find it for a bargain.
Valor & Victory--FREE! If you've not found this yet, it's worth a look. A WW-II squad level system that seems to be the simplest of nearly all out there, yet containing enough color and detail to provide an exciting and satisfying game experience. A DTP game that has rules and components (counters and map) that you download and print off on a color printer. But it's FREE.

Why is it FREE?? No, it's no gimmick--the designer, Barry Doyle, intends to keep it this way and expand it...and keep all expansions and improvements FREE. Check out his website at:
Combat Commander has a lot of potential, but it could be improved both as a game and a simulation by allowing players to choose their starting hand and even allowing constructed decks.

LnL has the best combination of coverage, realism, and playability.
But there is one thing I haven't figured out - and V&V is a good example. The combat tables of board games are much more dependent on luck than of most miniatures games. That's always bothered me.


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