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  • non-counter games?

    Are there any simple games that require nothing more than a board (or even just a piece of graph paper) and a pencil? Something that could be played at the airport when you realize that you've arrived two hours before your flight leaves and you've forgotten to bring the whole box set of Squad Leader. Something quick, uncomplicated, easy to get into (so strangers will be willing to try it) and with a minimum of recordkeeping. Any ideas?

  • #2
    Man that is one nasty difficult challenge hehe.

    If you have the knowledge of what pieces go where, you could probably draw Chess pieces on a grid and just write them into where they are or go to.

    Likely could do the same trick with backgammon.

    Soooooo many people can say they know the basics of D&D. You could use easy to make basic PCs that are really just a set of 6 basic stats, weapon stats, and HP and AC notes in brief, and just fight out gladiatorial challenges. You'd be missing out on some gravy of course, but it wouldn't be impossible. I think the Alternity design would do this the best though. You'd need a set of dice. That could easily be numbers on paper in a cup though.

    Nothing's impossible when you have imagination.

    You could fake most cliche board games. Hex grid paper, draw a quick map, Blue side, red side, some terrain like roads, cities, defensible stuff like woods mountains rivers. Some cliche military units, inf, armour, air support, arty support. Give the units an attack number, and a defense number and a move number. Make the terrain follow cliche combat rules ie woods good for inf bad for armour.

    I realise you said "no counter games", but, I think that leaves you playing cards eh.

    There's Magic the Gathering, Yugi-oh and Legend of the 5 rings. I've played em all, and all play acceptable with a starter. The thing is you have to have already bought these products and stashed them away knowing they are good for travel.

    Hmm now you understand why I am a BIG fan of the Nintendo DS.
    I have a game called Clubhouse Games. It's 42 classic games like Chess, Backgammon and many others. This game supports multiple users too. Eliminates "what to do when you are stuck somewhere". And with wireless, you can be playing against a person on the other side of the planet eh.
    Life is change. Built models for decades.
    Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
    I didn't for a long time either.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by blusock View Post
      Are there any simple games that require nothing more than a board (or even just a piece of graph paper) and a pencil? Something that could be played at the airport when you realize that you've arrived two hours before your flight leaves and you've forgotten to bring the whole box set of Squad Leader. Something quick, uncomplicated, easy to get into (so strangers will be willing to try it) and with a minimum of recordkeeping. Any ideas?
      Wings of War - no dice, no board, just a bunch of cards and a ruler

      Greetz,

      Eddy Sterckx

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      • #4
        tic-tac-toe
        AHIKS - Play by (E)mail board wargaming since 1965.
        The Blitz - Play by Email computer wargaming.

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        • #5
          I think one detail that needs to be stated by the original poster, is limitations on gear, and limitations on space.

          Is the poster looking for something that can be thought up out of their head, or will a proper commercial product be allowed?

          Does it have to be playable in a finite amount of space such as a cafe table suitable only for 2 persons to eat a meal?

          Because, if it has to be within those tolerances, then we can kiss good bye a lot of choices, simply based on either limitations of price tag, or limitations based on space.

          It leaves the person stuck playing cards of the 52 card deck sort or Uno. Or playing Chess/Backgammon/Checkers from a common cheap dollar store shelf in travel size.

          The above games largely explain why hand held game toys like the Nintendo DS are so massively successful. They are miles ahead of the conventional card games and travel games of my youth.

          And you can forget trying to outdo a Nintendo DS with anything regardless of how clever, such as Magic the Gathering, or other clever card games, as they DO require a few minutes to set up, and pick up. And if you are in an airport waiting for a plane, well, the idea of taking 5-10 minutes to collect up your cards is not going to be good enough.
          Whereas, the Nintendo DS, you close it, put it in your pocket, and walk off.

          Additionally, airports and places like it, are very wireless friendly. And the DS games can often be played against others anywhere on the planet if you can get online.

          So really, in the year 2007, I think the real answer to you original question is "no" there aren't any simple board games worth considering. You'll always find a hand held game toy like the DS already does it better. Not to mention, a Nintendo DS likely has the exact same board game available for it.
          Life is change. Built models for decades.
          Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
          I didn't for a long time either.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Aries View Post
            I think one detail that needs to be stated by the original poster, is limitations on gear, and limitations on space.

            Is the poster looking for something that can be thought up out of their head, or will a proper commercial product be allowed?

            Does it have to be playable in a finite amount of space such as a cafe table suitable only for 2 persons to eat a meal?
            Either a something thought up or a commercial product (provided it is compact enough).
            Finite space, yes. I can't just spread a huge board where people are walking. I'd say about four person table, the kind you find at nice sit-down restaurants. I could always push two tables together if it came to that.

            Originally posted by Aries View Post
            You'll always find a hand held game toy like the DS already does it better. Not to mention, a Nintendo DS likely has the exact same board game available for it.
            I don't think Nintendo has rolled out any shiny combat simulations as of yet

            P.S. Sorry about the specs, I guess i was a bit vague.

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            • #7
              "I don't think Nintendo has rolled out any shiny combat simulations as of yet"

              You need to then look at these more closely

              Steel Horizon, a genuine naval combat game, it ain't kid stuff.

              Age of Empires Age of Kings. This isn't the RTS clickfest at all. It's turn based, and has all the qualities of a good turn based wargame.

              Panzer Tactics. This will be a genuine no if and or buts about it wargame too. Hexes, turns, tanks the whole deal.

              Brothers in Arms. A bit tricky to play if you're old and not used to shooters, but, it has incredible graphics.

              Now, in the realm of board games, actual board games. I think I can say, that Up Front rules the roost in card using genuine wargames. Sadly the MMP people have not made any progress in getting it back into circulation, so a used copy is all you can work with. But, it has all the thrill of Squad Leader, but it's a card game (1st edition had some counters, the re release converted to all cards though).

              In the field of collectible trading card games, Legend of the 5 Rings is a thinking serious gamer's card game. I like Yugi-oh myself, but I only play it against my son.
              Life is change. Built models for decades.
              Not sure anyone here actually knows the real me.
              I didn't for a long time either.

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              • #8
                hmm, might wanna try this one: http://www.triumphgames.com

                pretty simple and fast.

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                • #9
                  Cards - thousands of games available for you to choose

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                  • #10
                    Check out some of the games in Panzerschreck magazine.

                    http://www.homestead.com/minden_game...rschreck0.html

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by blusock View Post
                      Are there any simple games that require nothing more than a board (or even just a piece of graph paper) and a pencil? Something that could be played at the airport when you realize that you've arrived two hours before your flight leaves and you've forgotten to bring the whole box set of Squad Leader. Something quick, uncomplicated, easy to get into (so strangers will be willing to try it) and with a minimum of recordkeeping. Any ideas?
                      I've long sought this sort of thing myself, but in vain.

                      Sounds like you're looking for something wargamey, so I need not mention classic board, card, dice, and domino games -- many of which would otherwise fit the bill.

                      Battleships is about the closest thing to a pencil-and-paper "wargame" that can be played on the fly. But maybe it's too much a kids' game or too abstract.

                      Some skirmish-level wargames might be adaptable to your purpose. You only need a dozen miniatures -- or chits, or checkers, or any other convenient objects in contrasting colors or shapes, and you can quickly hand-draw a "battlefield" on paper (or forgo that and call it a desert or sea battle so you don't need any terrain features). However, these games usually require more record keeping than most people are up for. You'll find fun, fast-paced rules for many periods here:
                      http://www.angelfire.com/az3/twohourwargames/index.html

                      Another option is Hero Clix and its spinoffs. These are miniatures with built-in record-keeping devices: you just turn the dial as the character loses hit points or gains strength or uses up ammo or whatever. But you'd have to carry a bunch of these special miniatures around.

                      There have been some tiny board wargames published. SPI did a series of "capsule games." And there's a free, tiny, intro-level wargame called Strike Force One that's now available free here:
                      http://www.alanemrich.com/PGD/Week_05/PGD_SF1_rules.htm

                      All that said, I'd have to say traditional games are, IMO, highly underrated and all but forgotten these days. Many of 'em are ideal for the situation you describe. Take dominoes, for example: you can carry a set with you anywhere; there are a variety of games you can play with them; they're suitable for most any number of players of any ages; and they're durable and weatherproof. I've enjoyed playing dominoes in coffee shops several times within the past few years. With some imagination, you can probably even design a simple wargame that can be played with dominoes.

                      Then, as Aries has pointed out, there's the Nintendo DS. I got one for my wife last Christmas and just got one for myself recently. If your taste runs to electronic games or games with more complexity than is appropriate for a classic board or card game, the DS is a great way to have access to them anytime, anyplace. You can play a decent wargame by yourself or against anybody else, using this very compact, portable device. Or you can switch cartridges and play an RPG, a classic game, an arcade game, a puzzle game, or something else. It's like having a whole closet full of games in your pocket, and a ready opponent as well.

                      Hope something here helps.
                      --Patrick Carroll


                      "Do all you have agreed to do, and do not encroach on other persons or their property." (Richard Maybury)

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                      • #12
                        The smallest space is a card game like flux or gru.

                        Avalon hill did some nice navel games that were card and their are several card games that cover land/air and sea combat.

                        Small boardgames that will make you laugh and kill time are things like the awful green things from outer space it fits in a video box and is playable inside an hour loads of reply time and other Steve Jackson games However I think the best game to travel with is Magic the gathering but be warned you can end up spending alot of cash on more and more games. I would buy a few pre-constructed decks and carry these as you can walk into any games club in the world and get a game.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by verbaluzi View Post
                          The smallest space is a card game like flux or gru.
                          So, one question is, How small a space are we talking about? Do you want to be able to play a game on an airplane's food tray? Or do you expect to have something the size of a small card table?

                          If you want really small, I'd suggest dice games, because you can play them in an area about the size of a dice cup. If traditional dice games don't float your boat, try some of the many newfangled proprietary dice games, such as Pass the Pigs.


                          Avalon hill did some nice navel games that were card and their are several card games that cover land/air and sea combat.
                          Then again, there are lots and lots of great games that use a standard deck of playing cards. Check out http://www.pagat.com/.

                          And as I said last time, dominoes are a great alternative to cards. You'll find domino games at the above Web site too. Domino games don't usually require any more space than most card games. It is a little less convenient to carry dominoes around (they're heavier and bulkier than cards), but on the positive side dominoes are very durable and weatherproof -- you can play them outdoors in the wind and rain, or even underwater, for that matter. And there's something satisfying about the weight of the tiles and the tinkling sound they make when shuffled.


                          Small boardgames that will make you laugh and kill time are things like the awful green things from outer space it fits in a video box and is playable inside an hour loads of replay time and other Steve Jackson games
                          Steve Jackson Games also makes Tile Chess -- a flexible version of chess played with tiles instead of pieces and a board, suitable for various numbers of players and very portable.

                          However I think the best game to travel with is Magic the gathering but be warned you can end up spending alot of cash on more and more games. I would buy a few pre-constructed decks and carry these as you can walk into any games club in the world and get a game.
                          Some M:tG collections get pretty big and bulky, though. That's the trouble with anything collectible -- it grows.

                          If you can tear yourself away from all the thematic eye candy of so many games on the market, you can probably find a traditional card or domino game that you really like -- maybe more than one. Then all you ever have to lug around is a deck of cards or box of dominoes.

                          The next big question is, Who are you going to play with? If you pick a little-known game, you'll probably have to teach it to someone; and if you're traveling, there may be little time for that, so it has to be an easy game with few rules. This is where traditional card, domino, and dice games again come into their own: most everybody has played some kind of card, dice, or domino game and is therefore already familiar with the components at least. You have a decent chance of finding a game that the other person already knows or can quickly pick up. And if you fail to find an opponent, you can always resort to solitaire!
                          --Patrick Carroll


                          "Do all you have agreed to do, and do not encroach on other persons or their property." (Richard Maybury)

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                          • #14
                            huh. I'd given this thread up for dead a while ago...but thanks for all the new posts! Please don't not suggest something just because you think there might not be enough space or time to teach someone else. Im looking for all possibilities at this stage (within reason, of course - no 16x16ft monsters!)
                            Last edited by blusock; 15 Oct 07, 21:22.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by blusock View Post
                              huh. I'd given this thread up for dead a while ago...but thanks for all the new posts! Please don't not suggest something just because you think there might not be enough space or time to teach someone else. Im looking for all possibilities at this stage (within reason, of course - no 16x16ft monsters!)
                              You might want to try checking out some demo-type games that are out there. For instance, I dowloaded and assembled Lock 'N Load:Band of Heroes demo, and bring it with me when I go on business travel. The board is one 8-1/2X11 page that I mounted in hard plastic; the minimal counters (just enough to play the one demo scenario) fit in a very small fastener-type storage box (craft-type would work well too, like bead boxes, that are even smaller) along with dice. The whole shebang fits snuggly in a carry on or suitcase pocket; and small eough to even set up at a small table in the airport food courts. Sets up nicely on hotel desks. And they're generally replayable enough to warrant keeping around for a long time.
                              http://www.militarywargaming.com

                              "The Golden Rule of War, Speed - Simplicity - Boldness" -- General George S. Patton, Jr

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