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Lite war/conflict games?


Hi, guys.

Looking for some recommendations here. My friends and I are interested in trying to get into some more war game type stuff, but because of everyone’s time I’m trying to decide on something that isn’t too rules intensive and can be condensed to a decent 1 1/2-2 hour experience. I would LOVE to play some TI 4, but there’s no way I’ll ever get everyone together for something like that.

So far I’m looking at stuff like Kemet, Cyclades, Inis, Eclipse, and Battlelore. Is there anything else I should be looking at, or anything you have to share about any of these I’ve mentioned which might help inform my decision?

Thanks, all!


Although they’re mostly the same system, I’d recommend Memoir 44 over Battlelore. Partially for theme, partially because Memoir 44 has been better supported (it’s 15 years old and still getting expansions). It’s primarily a 2-player game, however.


Being 2-player is the only thing holding me back from Memoir. We’ll have 3-4. Thanks, though. I’m definitely going to try it out at some point!


The space of war/conflict games is quite large. Can you be more specific about what you and your friends are looking for?

I believe Eclipse is the most like TI4: it’s a strategy game about developing your empire that eventually comes to blows because people need to stop someone running away with the game. It’ll be hard to fit a game into 2 hours unless you have 4 or fewer people and everyone knows what they’re doing.

I’ve played various cousins of Battlelore (Battle Cry, Memoir '44, C&C Ancients). While they are fine games, I found myself doing and thinking about things to win, things different than what the historical commanders would rather be concerned with, which left a weird taste in my mouth.

Other games to consider:

  • A dungeon crawling game like Gloomhaven, Star Wars: Imperial Assault, or Descent.
  • Root
  • Star Wars: X-Wing or Armada
  • The 1775: Rebellion family
  • Quartermaster General


We’re looking for something more “Every man for himself. You’d better not do that… You BASTARD! You did that! That’s it, all bets are off!” Hopefully that makes some sense. I’ve had Imperial Assault for nearly two years and I’ve not been able to get any of them to play it or show any interest (though I’ve been able to play with one or two others, and I love the game). It’s a fairly competitive group, and the appeal of having one winner above all is what fuels us in this kind of thing. Even in pen and paper RPGs everyone ends up arguing about who “won” in shared endeavors.

The insight on Eclipse is helpful for sure. I think I am going to have to rule that one out. None of them are really dedicated enough to stay invested after about 2-2 1/2 hours.

I have the same problems with historical games I’ve played in the past, and I completely understand the “weird taste.”

I’ve not looked into The 1775 or Quartermaster General, but I will. Cheers!


Battle for Rokugan … is the good version of A Game of Thrones. Plenty of intrigue, takes a third as long. You’ll still piss off your friends, but at least that knife you’ve lodged between their thoracic vertebrae doesn’t take five hours to still their wiggling. And in place of dragons, this one has, I don’t know, shadowy barbarian lands or something.”

[https://youtu.be/AkdQkQSVJcw](No Pun Included)


I have not played any of them, but sounds like Kemet, Cyclades, and Inis are in the ballpark you’re looking for. Another game in that vein is Blood Rage. SU&SD did not review it favorably, but I’m not in a place where I can rewatch the review right now, and other than the poor representation of women I forgot why they didn’t give it a pear of approval.


I just watched that review, and this could definitely be a great game to cause us the joyful kind of frustration and annoyance we’re looking for. Thanks!


Thanks for the feedback. I’ll check out Bloodrage!


Having played Inis and Kemet once each, I would say Kemet is more aggressive. I thought they were both excellent, but Inis was more about the conflict you don’t have rather, than the ones you do (much like Scythe).

Another fan of Memoir 44 here. It scales well - you could buy 2 base sets and shove the boards together and have 2v2.


inis, inis, inis, inis or el grande …


Conquest of Paradise kind of fits. It’s the shortest true 4X I can think of. Four players would be about two hours


Other than the ones mentioned:

  • Quantum, if you can get it cheap. Straight forward game.
  • Birth of America - I have only played 1775: Rebellion and we love it. Very light and fits within the time frame you want.
  • Meeple War - under rated game for me. It has an explorable map like Archipelago. You score points by mostly attacking units and buildings, and holding VP hexes. Although it has low ratings so have a look first.

I still havent played these conflict games but very interested at them: Blood Rage, Rising Sun, Warpgate, Shogun/Wallenstein.


Yeh, I’d be wary of Inis if you’re expecting a wargame. Matt mentioned a while ago about a game that lasted for ages because his friends treated it as such and turtled away in corners, trying to amass forces.

My recommendation would be Cyclades. Super straightforward, but the auction mechanism gives it a unique twist.


It’s my #1 fave game ever but this is my main criticism of it. If players do not advance towards the victory conditions - especially by not acquiring deeds - then the game drags on.


@Boydesian may have some good suggestions on this, he’s a big wargame dude.

Also, another vote for Memoir 44 from me.

Not to mention Blood Bowl may at least fit your 2p game!


This is all great! I think I’m going to lay off Inis for the moment. Part of me wants it so desperately because it’s gorgeous. I’ve looked more into El Grande, Quantum, and 1775, and it looks like any of them could really fit the bill. Conquest of Paradise also looks delicious.

The love for Kemet and Cyclades seems very real, and honestly, I have a feeling that I’m going to end up buying more games than I had planned. Oh dear…


Imperial and/or Imperial 2030 would be another recommendation(s). They are primarily investment simulators, not wargames per se, but do involve taking and holding territory. They are also fairly simple to learn and can take about two hours to play once everyone is up to speed. As for wargames, the scope of conflict simulation is large, but in the same vein as 1754, 1775, and 1812 (which are all very good), I would recommend 878 Viking Invasions of England over those. Same rule set, but with lots of expansion potential should you want to go down that route. Dominant Species is a good wargame/worker placement hybrid too, but can induce crippling analysis paralysis.

For 2p, I would pick any of the Command & Colors variants, or (even better) GMT’s excellent Sekigahara. That is a block game, and one of my favorites.


I think this was probably the correct answer.

I’ve been looking at 878 recently. Part of its appeal for me is it plays 2 and 4 players.


I love Dominant Species forever and ever, but the damn thing takes a long time to play.