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Old September 1st, 2010, 09:53 AM

dpendery dpendery is offline
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Trophy Question about good historical theme games

I have a general question for gamers and designers. I am a college teacher and I am designing a class on "alternative histories." In addition to alternate history novels, film, cultural history events/museums, the Internet, etc. I want to do a section on games that re-enact historical events (most likely wars). I want to ask your opinion on some of the best and most realistic such games. These games would have to have real historical figures, but they could also have unreal and made-up characters in the narratives about actual historical events. That they are actual historical events, or closely related, is important. In other words, I don't want wholly fabricated events, space games, and the like.

Thanks very much if you can help me with what I think is going to be a very fun course.

David Pendery
Taipei, Taiwan
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Old September 1st, 2010, 10:54 AM
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Default Re: Question about good historical theme games

This is a good place to ask.
There is also a usenet group (newsgroup) called comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical
which is full of very knowledgable (and always willing to voice their opinions) grognards.

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Old September 1st, 2010, 08:07 PM
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Default Re: Question about good historical theme games

Quote:
Originally Posted by dpendery View Post
I want to ask your opinion on some of the best and most realistic such games. These games would have to have real historical figures, but they could also have unreal and made-up characters in the narratives about actual historical events.
Are you looking for computer games or board/miniature games?

The requirement of having historical figures can be an issue. Many games do have historical leaders represented, but for the most part these are nothing more than another unit with different bonuses. Essentially, it's up to the player to create a narrative around that figure, otherwise he's just another stat on the board. The majority of games don't tend to go down to that level though. For example, most strategic level games don't worry about actual generals or such, you're just pushing stacks of armies/corps around the map.

Off hand the PC series Hearts of Iron is the only game I can think of that really includes a lot of historical figures, though gameplay falls way into the counterfactual history.
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Old September 1st, 2010, 09:34 PM

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Default Re: Question about good historical theme games

I am thinking board or computer games could be possible--but actually board games may be best, for play in the classroom. I am not a big fan of miniatures--although it could be possible. I have tended toward the chit games myself, moving units that way.

I mentioned "historical figures," but moving units around could be just as well. Moving Civil War battle units with players being Robert E. Lee, as opposed to their actually being a Robert E. Lee unit, would be okay. Thanks for clarifying that.
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Old September 2nd, 2010, 04:42 AM
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Default Re: Question about good historical theme games

I don't know how well these fit your bill, but I liked the references to alternate realities in the "Red Alert" games of Command and Conquer. A lot of their units and characters in the cutscenes have been inspired by real historical counterparts, sometimes matching them as closely as possible, while others were wildly fantastic imaginations (Tesla coils for example).

Everybody probably knows Command&Conquer. It doesn't reenact historical conflicts, though.

Another thing that springs into mind are the computer games which center on the "Romance of the Three Kingdoms". One bearing the same name, another prominent example is Dynasty Warriors/Tactics. Look here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romance...ms#Video_games
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Old September 2nd, 2010, 08:48 PM
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Default Re: Question about good historical theme games

Ok, well, honestly there is such a huge number of games that could fit what you want that it's impossible to list them all. To get an idea just browse grognard.com, or check out boardgamegeek.com and do a search for wargames.

So let's narrow down the fields. What time period are you looking for? What scale? What complexity? I assume you wouldn't want something too complex since it's for a classroom project.
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Old September 2nd, 2010, 11:14 PM

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Default Re: Question about good historical theme games

Yes, good questions. Complexity should even be fairly low, because my students are not native English speakers. But a good touch of realism would be nice, and actually referring to historical events. Which events could be open, one person even had what looked like a very good suggestion about a game that reenacts the Constitutional Convention. This is history and even non-native speakers can be fairly up on, and the political angle in such a game is nice. But war games would be fun--some games set around China and Taiwan, or Japan, might be best and most applicable. I'm in Taiwan--a Taiwan/China conflict game would be perfect. WWII is always possible. Perhaps some ancient war, which students might not know a lot about, but since it's so removed from current times, we could perhaps take ourselves there and revel in the history making. You are right that there are endless ideas, and I hope this might spur a few comments and suggestions
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Old September 3rd, 2010, 02:45 AM
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Default Re: Question about good historical theme games

Quote:
Originally Posted by dpendery View Post
This is history and even non-native speakers can be fairly up on, and the political angle in such a game is nice. But war games would be fun--some games set around China and Taiwan, or Japan, might be best and most applicable. I'm in Taiwan--a Taiwan/China conflict game would be perfect. WWII is always possible. Perhaps some ancient war
Then you really should look at "The Romance of the Three Kingdoms", as it's a historical novel about the end of the Han Dynasty and the Three Kingdoms era of China, so it's not entirely modeled on historical events, but then again a lot of the things that are in there actually are based on real historical figures and you immediately have creation of legends with events and especially wars and conflicts so long ago. As Wikipedia states, it is arguably the most widely read historical novel in late imperial and modern China.
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Old September 5th, 2010, 10:13 PM
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Default Re: Question about good historical theme games

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Originally Posted by dpendery View Post
I'm in Taiwan--a Taiwan/China conflict game would be perfect. WWII is always possible. Perhaps some ancient war, which students might not know a lot about, but since it's so removed from current times, we could perhaps take ourselves there and revel in the history making.
There was a recent magazine (Strategy & Tactics) game, Red Dragon Rising, that featured a modern Asian conflict, though Taiwan was only part of it. There is an older magazine game on a hypothetical Taiwan/China conflict but it is long OOP and is hard to acquire. Supposedly there is a Chinese game on the subject which looks to be a plagerized version of the OOP magazine game but other than seeing one forum post on it a long time ago I don't know anything more about it.

Victory Point Games has Fleets 2025 which is a low complexity game on a modern naval clash around Taiwan.

Battle For China covers the China/Japan conflict. There is a version from Fiery Dragon that is physically small in size and then there is a later magazine version from Decision Games that is the same game, but with a larger map and counters. See Strategy & Tactics issue 259.

A Most Dangerous Time is a game on Feudal Japan from Multiman Publishing. They actually have a couple of upcoming games that would also be of interest, Warriors of Japan and War of the Suns, but I'm not sure when they will actually get published.
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