Lots of kids played with toys in a way that involved interacting with other kids, whether that involved dolls, toy soldiers, or Legos. Being kids, the tendency to disagree on what could or could not be done was often pretty high. I often had arguments with my brother about whether my tanks managed to hit his soldiers, or whether his infantrymen successfully overran my artillery!
That being the case is it any wonder that people came up with sets of rules that defined how to determine whether a hit was successful and how much damage was done? It’s believed that wargaming (beyond chess, of course) first originated around 1780, but didn’t really become widespread until 1898. Here are some of the most popular war games available to everybody today:
The original tabletop war game! With the earliest form believed to have originated between 280-550AD, chess is hands down the oldest tabletop war game still played today! A solid foundation for critical thinking, chess shows budding tacticians how an army is made up of different units with specialized functions, and forces them to maximize the unique strengths of each piece to win the game.
Whether you prefer the gothic sci-fi of the 40k universe, or the high fantasy version, Warhammer is undoubtedly one of the best and most popular tabletop war games available today. Rather than following chess and giving the players mirrored teams, Warhammer has players build their own army from one of the many unique races or factions, with each one having a signature strength and weakenss.
While it doesn’t use armies in the traditional sense, Heroclix has players build a team of superheroes, super villains, or a mix of the two. Players then try to earn points by knocking out opposing characters. What makes ‘Clix so unique is that rather than having set stats defined by a rulebook, each character has a dial that represents their stats and abilities which change with damage.
With a huge selection of heroes and villains to choose from, Heroclix is a lot of fun that’s easier for younger players to get into as compared to games like Warhammer.
Attack Wing comes in two different flavors that are distinct enough that they feel like completely different games.
The first is Star Wars which has players put together squadrons of fighters, either with the Rebellion or the Empire, and has them battle. What’s unique about Attack Wing as compared to other war games is that Attack Wing has a more realistic take to movement, with fighters being able to accidentally collide with space debris, or even each other.
The other version is D&D, with players controlling dragons rather than starfighters. The biggest difference comes in the supporting armies that players can field to support their dragons, adding a whole different level of strategy.