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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 Call them classics--call them whatever; we like them and, at least in our mind, they have never been superseded.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?
I know, I know, it takes eons and scores of turns to see any progress in this uber-monster game. But what other game out there even comes close to the scope, scale, and epic nature of this title? There just isn't one! Of course, Decision Games knew a good thing when they saw it and just republished the game lock, stock, and barrel! Great game to get familiar with the dynastic struggles of Europe in a highly interactive and interesting way....
This doesn't have to be that long. I've brought it to many many game meetups
with people who would never consider a big wargame, and they've had a lot of fun
with it. It's got such a fluid system that each round is fairly fast. Overall,
you can get scenarios done with newer players in an 8 hour session - much
shorter with people who already are familiar with the game.
Another amazing Strategy and Tactics issue game that has deservedly acheived that status of "wargame classic!" Admittedly, I play the Avalon Hill version of this game, which names the leader counters, gives you scenarios covering each year of the Seven Years War in Europe, and also offered a variant on the War of Austrian Succession/The Silesian Wars within the pages of The General magazine. No matter. All this is merely chrome built on a solid chassis and power train that SPI furnished!
When this game came out in Strategy and Tactics, me and my friends could not stop playing it. My copy of the issue games is falling apart at the seams--the map is disintegrating, the counters rounded and faded. I had to get the Avalon Hill version of the game to keep playing it. Some might wonder if it could be fairly be called a true wargame but I assure you that it is. While there is exploration and economics, it's still highly competitive with a lot of warfare/combat to be had!
If not the best of the BLUE AND GRAY folio games, it certainly deserves a top spot there. Decision Games redesigned and released it but--once again--some will say it doesn't quite stand up to the original in terms of competitive potential and ease of play. Let's face it, BLUE AND GRAY series games are basically NAPOLEON AT WATERLOO transplanted into the Civil War, but at least this was a very successful effort. Nothing else out there that covers this battle as well in such a compact format.
Bill, DG already redid BATTLE FOR GERMANY and it adds a few counters to the game, but basically it's the same as the original. If you've got the old one, you don't need to get the new one. If you missed the old one (and can't get one for cheap), consider getting the DG version.
Regarding the DG version of WAR IN EUROPE, it's greatly, greatly improved over the original. Allies can FINALLY do their own production (vice having a reinforcement schedule affected by the U-boat war) and there are a few other improvements (like adding U.S. Marines!). Plays a lot like the older game, which has its pluses and minuses. DG's pledge is for yet a newer edition with more fixes. The issue with WAR IN EUROPE is that it's basically the old SPI "Divisional Series" system with a strategic frame grafted around it. Unlike other re-releases, DG didn't mess with the basic design. You might wait for the newer edition and see how that compares; you may want the current one and it will go cheaper when the new edition comes out.
WACHT AM RHEIN II--very, very cumbersome beast that looks nothing like the original SPI version (I'll admit I'm not a fan of that version either). Very fiddly. Gorgeously produced, however. Rules will give you a headache!
Sure looks that way! You can never stop tinkering!
When I saw the price of a DG remake of War In Europe on BGG I quickly decided I'd just pledge for the new copy that includes unit IDs! What are your thoughts on DG's pledge attempt to make Battle for Germany a mini-monster? It looks good as is and I am going to buy one on payday but a monster with historical unit IDs sounds compelling.
When you get the new version of WAR IN EUROPE, I think you'll do just fine with the 1944 scenario; think it would substitute for the new BATTLE FOR GERMANY game....