What games and what techniques do you favor for getting new players into the hobby? I have two approaches--much depends on the age and experience of the player. Basically, there's the adult players who have more than an average interest in military history and then there's the kids who naturally gravitate towards games on conflict.

For the latter, having those easy games with figures of some sort work best. Find out their likes regarding subject matter--be it tanks, planes, or aliens--and get them into a game on that subject. Tactical games seem to work best, but some of the strategic ones can work provided they have a very tactical flavor in combat resolution. We all know these games--the latest incarnation of BATTLE CRY! MEMOIR '44, TIDE OF IRON, AXIS AND ALLIES: D-DAY, etc.

For the adults, naturally I try to cater to their historical preferences and scales, but the best lure I've found is running a double-blind tactical game with two new players. My favorite system as of late had been ASLSK, but I think Mark Walker's LOCK 'N LOAD tactical system (BAND OF HEROES, DAY OF HEROES, FORGOTTEN HEROES, HEROES OF THE BLITZKRIEG, KELLY'S HEROES, ANY ONE BUT THESE HEROES--I'm joking on those latter two "titles") has more "glitz" and interaction. What I like about this is that you can provide the minimum of rules to get the players spun up and running and teach the rest as you go. Players then want to try another double-blind session or two but quickly get into regular face-to-face play. After just one win, they're irretrievably hooked.

I'll also admit to bringing in military types into operational-level games using PANZERGRUPPE GUDERIAN, although I'm thinking I'll use MMP/s A VICTORY DENIED from now on. One of the problems I often see in budding tacticians (whether uniformed or not) is that they can't focus as an attacker, especially when they think they have a lot of superiority. A couple run throughs as the Germans in PGG against thoughtful, competent Soviet play usually cures that and the lesson sticks in other games, other systems. The only problem with both games is that they can take a relatively long day to play to conclusion once people get the hang of it--and that can put some folks off.

Some other favorites for getting people interested in board wargaming:

Lost Battalion Games: SERGEANTS! (I used to use SNIPER! but no longer).
The ever addicting Steve Jackson game, OGRE (who can resist it?)
The AH version of the block game, NAPOLEON
Columbia's block game, ROMMEL IN THE DESERT

One caveat must be added. While they are fun games in their own right, I think it's unreasonable to expect that using STRATEGO, RISK (of any flavor) or BATTLESHIP will create wargame newbies alone and unaided.

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Comment by Roger Morley on November 3, 2009 at 11:44am
Mike, I may well have a snoop around to see if there are any clubs, and if I find any, I will go along to one of their meetings to have a chat with them. I have visited the websites some of the remaining game manufacturers and have found most of them sell internationally, and there are quite a few retailers in the UK too. But before I buy, I will hunt out any clubs first, and then take it from there.
Comment by Mike O'Brien on November 3, 2009 at 9:53am
Roger, the club I'm in has miniatures and boardgames. Hook up with a miniatures group and sound out the members for interest. As for not having any games, well if you need some cardboard crack there are plenty of vendors including GMT games that will send internationally.
Comment by Roger Morley on November 3, 2009 at 7:59am
Mike, There are probably clubs in the town I live in, but I have not seriously looked, mainly because I no longer own any strategy games. I used to have over 20 when I lived in Inverness, but I moved away to the other end of Britain and my stupid brother (who still lived there at the time) threw them away (even though he was supposed to look after them). That was a long time ago.
As I said, I may well look to see if any clubs exist, but I am not into miniatures, only hex counter games, so I think I will be lucky to find any. Mind you, I will feel like a newbie if I ever joined one, as I have not played any games for years...lol
Comment by Mike O'Brien on October 30, 2009 at 11:49pm
Roger, I'm really surprised you can't find anyone. Unless they are all into miniatures? You can always start your own group by advertising at local game stores, the library and on the Net. That's how we started the Miniature Wargaming Society of Sacramento and it's still going 23 years later.
Comment by Roger Morley on October 28, 2009 at 7:13pm
Southern cross - I understand what you are saying and I agree
Comment by Roger Morley on October 28, 2009 at 6:56pm
Mike - one of the biggest problems i had was finding people interested in these games. I only found 1 person who was into these games and he moved on to Uni. Never have been able to "convert" anyone, and where I live there is no such club.
I used to play some of the games I had on my own, playing the role of both players, but that has only a certain amount of appeal.
In that respect, I am so grateful to the computer game like Panzer General and Third reich
Comment by Mike O'Brien on October 28, 2009 at 6:50pm
The first problem is in finding people interested. My club meets at a library. The lobby has a great view of the meeting room. Lots of people come in and ask questions. We have a "business card" to hand out that has our information on it including our yahoogroup and facebook page.

Once you get people in the door then there are all kinds of options. For miniatures, KISS works. Give them a small unit, lots of advice and get them rolling dice.

For boardgames; Battlecry, Command and Colors, Combat Commander, ASLSK
are all good starting points.
Comment by Roger Morley on October 28, 2009 at 4:56pm
Forgot to say, i agree with you on games like Risk and Stratego. They are too commercial and are aimed at a far wider audience (if that is the right word), and as a result, these games tend to be limited in variable strategies that can be employed.
Comment by Roger Morley on October 28, 2009 at 4:52pm
I think that if you are bringing in newbies (who do not have a terrific knowledge of military history/warfare) into wargaming, I would always try to use a non-complex game. Tactics 2 would be ideal, especially for teenagers, as this game utilizes basic concepts of many hex-based without over-complicating it, thus you wont scare them off! If the newbies have Military/warfare interest, I would suggest something like Napoleons last battles (SPI), as this type of game has more realistic characteristics, plus the types of units are limited (due to the time period) but with enough difference to allow different types of tactics to be employed (cannons, cavalry and infantry)

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