To Hex Or Not To Hex

Written by Phil on . Posted in Battle, Latest

 

When I first started this blog I wanted to find complex, strategy and tactical games to get into. Over the last couple of years I have certainly found a few. Inevitably hex games came to the fore and I have always turned them down. Why? Because I felt they were more mathematical rolls of the dice and they felt too much like an old fashioned board game. I know historically that’s where these types of games come from and that there is a direct linage to those games. In my ignorance I didn’t know that until I started reading up about them to find out what the appeal was.

I always enjoy reading AAR’s from various blogs I read and enjoy the obvious enthusiasm that people have for them and I suppose in a way I’m a little jealous of that. One other thing that seems to always come up is that a lot of the people who play these games are very much into history and are obviously fascinated and have a great knowledge of military history in particular. That is of course just an observation and it also put me on the path to reading some really great books on the subject.

So where does that leave me and my endeavor to really find a good game? Well I have started by getting Unity of Command as a starting point. I have to admit I’m finding it difficult because I simply don’t get the mechanics of it all but I do enjoy this process. I want to dive in at the deep end and get Gary Grigsbys War in the Est but the price tag is killing that idea for the moment. I have watched a few tutorials and some game play videos and really like the huge scale of it all. I know I won’t be able to cope but I would love to spend some time trying.


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Comments (6)

  • John

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    I have never understood the appeal of hex based wargames. They’re just not fun to me, like you said, the mechanics are mostly a mathematical die roll. I think you have to really be into a specific historical battle or theather of war to enjoy these games. If you know all about the setting you can compare the historical outcome to what happens in the game, or play “what if” scenarios. I prefer turn based 3D-games, I love the Combat Mission series.

    Reply

    • Phil

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      Thanks for the comment John. I agree. I’m going to give them a go though. Some are huge in scale and the challenge of that is what draws me in. I also really enjoy the more tactical Combat Missions series. I have many battles to finish in that.

      Reply

  • Chris

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    Hi Phil. Another game series to look at is the Decisive Campaigns Series. There are two releases in the series (Case Blue and Warsaw to Paris) of it and the third is coming out soon. I really like this designer’s stuff. Encourage you to take a look.

    Reply

    • Phil

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      Thanks Chris will do. This is all your fault anyway 🙂 I’m in the middle of a great battle in Command Ops 2. Really enjoying it.

      Reply

  • Doug Miller

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    I would challenge the idea that the mechanics of more traditional war games are nothing but “mathematical die rolls.” Well designed game systems use a die roll for some random number input, but that’s at the end of a process that is accounting for a host of other combat influencing factors. If you believe that the same process isn’t going on in a game like Combat Mission, just inside a “black box” of software, you should spend some time with actual game designers.

    I’ll very much second Chris’ recommendation of the Decisive Campaign Series games. In fact, I’d recommend them over Grigsby’s games. They are a great deal more accessible and affordable. The next one in the pipeline looks like it’s going to be fantastic.

    The games from John Tiller Software are also worth a look. Given your interests, though, rather than going straight to something like Panzer Campaigns, you might grab the old but classic John Tiller’s Campaign Series package from Matrix. The game includes the original East Front, West Front, and Rising Sun games, which alone are hundreds of scenarios from 1938 to 1945 and every conceivable theater. There are also probably hundreds of player made scenarios, too. Where else are you going to be able to game the Imperial Japanese invasion of French Indochina (Vietnam)?

    Don’t get me wrong, I love Combat Mission too. But there is a vast universe of really good, very playable and extremely enjoyable games covering a huge sweep of history that follow the top down, hex-grid turn-based model. You might even one day find yourself, as Chris and I have, playing and enjoying those old-style board games!

    Reply

    • Phil

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      Thanks Doug and points taken on board (mathematically speaking ) 🙂 I’ve added some of those games to my steam wish list.

      Reply

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