Guide: Wargames for Beginners

If you’re a Wikipedia adept you probably noticed that there is a full list of board/wargames available on this page. Old and new wargames are filling up this non-exhaustive list. You will likely complement this list with the dedicated BoardGameGeek list that also gives you a ranking of those games.While Twilight Struggle is still number 01 on this list, you will quickly discover that it’s maybe not the easiest to start with this “genre” of boardgaming. You should also definitively check out the website of Victory Point Games who’s

Twilight Struggle

What are wargames anyhow all about ?

This type of boardgames are simulating battles (sometimes in a historic context, sometimes just a random imagined battlefield) with a strategic, operational and tactic dimension. Often played by seasoned players, you will have to invest a serious amount of play-time and understanding of the rules and their application.


That said, if you’re a beginner with those games, you will be able to find some accessible wargames that will transport you into the context of one or the other historic or fantastic military conflict. There are some wargames that have a very modern touch, easy rules, fluidity of gameplay and faster play that the “traditional” onces. You’ll even have some eye-catching figurines and/or decor to play with without necessarily  falling into the figurine hobby (ie Game Workshop & co). Below we’ll present you a few games you should give a try.

Conflict of Heroes

You probably want to have a look at a review of this one to check out the material and game mechanics. The Wargamer on Youtube made a good video of 20 minutes explaining how the game works. In 2012 a new edition came out which introduces new units, such as flamethrower tanks, brings the rules up to date with other games in the series, and comes in a redesigned box that is great for storing the components.

Reveil-Ours-detail-plateauThe game is putting the scene during the Winter 1941-42 in a battle between the Soviets against the German invasion. After a victorious Barbarossa operation, on a tactical scheme, the Germans will have to face a counter-attack from the Soviets under -20 degrees celcius !

This wargame provides a good simulation of combat mouvements, with clearly written rules and a constant level of anticipation. For 2 to 4 players (as of 14 years old) you will get good quality material (both the board, cards and pawns) that will come in quantity: You’ll have 5 different boards, 210 pawns, 55 cards, some dices and 16 scenario’s to play with.

1812: The Invasion of Canada

1812: The invation of Canada

This is another title you certainly want to give a try which as also a good BoardGameGeek average score. Here goes the pitch about this game:

The young American nation objects. Eager to defend its sovereign rights and to strengthen its position in North America, the United States declares war on Britain on June 18, 1812. Taking advantage of the British Army being occupied in its struggles against Napoleon, American forces invade Canada in order to drive the British from its last remaining colony on North American soil.

This wargame is part of the series called Birth of America . This is a new style of wargames with all the facility of a modern boardgame, the editor Academy Games managed to keep a fluid gameplay that will keep both beginners and experienced players. Rules are quickly assimilated and a big plus is the fact that you can play up to 5 players (which is not that common in the wargames genre).Check out the vimeo video from Shut Up & Sit Down.

Building on the success of 1812, there is a new game that came out in 2013 called 1775: Rebellion from the same editor. It was launched with a successful Kickstarter funded at 495% (about ~50K dollars collected through 627 backers).

1775: Rebellion

In 1775: Rebellion, players take the roles of the American Continental Army and Patriots against the British Army and the Loyalists. Each side tries to control the colonies, provinces and territories. They call on the aid of Native Americans, as well as the German Hessians and French Army in order to successfully birth a revolution or quell the rebellion. The four factions each use their own deck of cards to move their units into postions. Battles are resolved quickly with custom dice. If you can control an entire colony, province or territory you raise a flag. When the game ends with the signing of the Treaty of Paris, the side with the most flag markers is the winner.

This game uses the same basic mechanisms as 1812: The Invasion of Canada, but to a different end result. The game is quicker (being 2-4 player) and the intermingling of units at the beginning of the game allows the action to start immediately. There are a few core rules that changed in order to better portray the goals of the war. You’ll find a good Dice Tower review or Drive Thru Review to learn more.


Another style can be interesting to try out is the last game from Lost Battalion Publishing called Sergeants Miniatures Game (see SMG). For me it’s a hybrid that does not fit perfectly in the category wargames neither into the category miniature games. The mechanics for this game are quite new; with the game’s engine run by impulse cards managing four broad, basic functions—and randomizing the order—while each player manages a hand of cards constructed by the talents and foibles of the troops under his or her command. If you’re in the USA, you might even be interested in a competition hosted by the Boardgame Players Association – visit:

Unlike many “miniatures” games where you buy the rules and then have to start shopping and painting, SMG is a complete game out of the box. You’ll find 20mm, pre-painted miniatures, plenty of thick, two-sided, colorful mapboard tiles which can assembled in various ways, easy rules, scenarios, player aids… everything else you need to get started on your missions and having fun fast. You can find out more pictures and description on their Facebook page.



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