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Wargaming is the hobby dedicated to the play of simulated military operations in the form of games known as wargames (sometimes also called conflict simulations). The similar professional military study of war are generally either called "military exercises" or "war games" (note that the hobby has run the term together into one word). While there can be occasional disagreements as to 'what is and is not a wargame,' the general consensus is that they are not only games about conflict, or warfare, but they must actually attempt to simulate war to some degree.

The hobby originated around the beginning of the 20th century, with the invention of miniatures games where two or more players simulated battles as a pastime. The 1950s and '60s saw the creation of board games that took on the same subject. At first, wargames were generally historical or contemporary in nature, but science fiction and fantasy have also proven popular subjects. They enjoyed their greatest popularity around 1980, when computer games and role-playing games started eating into their market.


Wargames, like all games, exist in a range of complexities: some are fundamentally simple (so-called "beer-and-pretzel" games), while others (generally in an attempt to increase the 'realism' of the situation) produce rulebooks that may encompass a large variety of actions and/or minutiae. They also exist in a range of sizes, from "pocket" games with a small map and a few counters, to "monster" games that have large maps (with a consequent problem of finding a large enough table) and hundreds, if not thousands, of counters. They also have a range of scales, from games that simulate individual soldiers, to ones that chart the course of an entire global (or even galactic) war.

A major determiner of the complexity and size of a wargame is how 'realistic' it is intended to be. Some can be considered a serious study of the subject at hand, while others are meant as pure entertainment. While there is no direct connection between the two, a more serious study will generally have longer, more complex and detailed rules, and more record keeping. Some less serious games may only bear a passing resemblance to the subject, although many still try to encourage the same types of decision making as the player's counterparts, and therefore bring forth the "feel" of the conflict.

As a class, wargames tend towards a few fundamental problems. Notably, both player knowledge, and player action is much less limited than what would be available to the player's real-life counterparts. Some games have rules for command and control and the fog of war, using various methods. These mechanisms are generally cumbersome and onerous in physical games, and usually increase player frustration, which causes their use to be limited even in computer wargames, where the computer can act as a 'judge' and remove many of the problems associated with most such systems.

All this, of course, merely refers to the modern hobby. In the broadest sense, wargames have existed for centuries—chess could be considered an ancient example. The Chinese philosopher Mencius (Mèng Zĭ 孟子), in a legend which may or may not be true, demonstrated to two kings of ancient China the determinable outcome of a battle using, it appears, a wargame, thus avoiding the shedding of blood.

History of wargaming

Modern wargaming originated with the military need to study warfare and to 'reenact' old battles for instructional purposes. The stunning Prussian victory over the Second French Empire in the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71) is sometimes partly credited to the training of Prussian officers with the game Kriegspiel, which was invented around 1811 and gained popularity with many officers in the Prussian army. These first wargames were played with dice which represented "friction", or the intrusion of less than ideal circumstances during a real war (including morale, weather, the fog of war, etc.), though this was usually replaced by an umpire who used his own combat experience to determine the results.[1]

The first specific non-military wargame club was started in Oxford, England, in the 19th century.[citation needed] Naval enthusiast and analyst Fred T. Jane came up with a set of rules for depicting naval actions with the use of model ships, or miniatures around 1898. The 1905/6 edition of Jane's Fighting Ships includes a revised edition for "The Naval War Game".[2]

H.G. Wells' books Floor Games (1911) and Little Wars (1913) were attempts to codify rules for fighting battles with toy soldiers (miniatures), and make them available to the general public. They were very simple games, and in some ways just provide a context for shooting spring-loaded toy cannons at toy soldiers, but "in his Appendix to Little Wars, Wells speaks of the changes required to convert his admittedly simplistic rules into a more rigorous Kriegspiel."[3] However, Wells also states in his rules that combat "should be by actual gun and rifle fire and not by computation. Things should happen and not be decided," in opposition to the general nature of Kriegspiel play.

In 1940 Fletcher Pratt's Naval War Game was published. This was a more arbitrary system than Jane's (but generally gave more realistic results), and was played by many clubs at that time.[4]

All of these games were meant to be accessible to the general public, but actual play was made difficult owing to the expense of purchasing an army or navy's worth of miniatures. As leisure time and disposable income generally rose through the 20th Century, miniatures games slowly gained a following. In 1955 Jack Scruby started producing miniatures using RTV rubber molds, which greatly reduced their expense, and he turned this into a business (Scruby Miniatures) in 1957 and started publishing War Game Digest which served as a vehicle to put members of the fledgling hobby in regular contact with each other.[5]

Meanwhile, the first modern mass-market wargame, based on cardboard counters and hex maps, was designed and published by Charles S. Roberts in 1952. After nearly breaking even on Tactics, he decided to found the Avalon Hill Game Company as a publisher of intelligent games for adults, and is called "The father of board wargaming". The modern commercial board wargaming industry is considered to have begun with the publication of Tactics II in 1958, and the founding of The General Magazine by Avalon Hill in 1964. In 1961, AH published Roberts' Gettysburg, considered to be the first board wargame based entirely on a historical battle.

Avalon Hill had a very conservative publishing schedule, typically about two titles a year, and wargames were only about half their line. By the end of the 1960s, a number of small magazines dedicated to the hobby were springing up, along with new game companies. The most important of these were undoubtedly Strategy & Tactics, and the company founded to save it from failing: Simulations Publications, Inc. (SPI). Under SPI, S&T started including a new game in every issue of the magazine, which along with the regular games SPI was publishing vastly increased the number of wargames available.

Coupled with an aggressive advertising campaign, this caused a tremendous rise in the popularity of wargaming in the early 1970s, with a large number of new companies starting up. Two of these would last for some years: Game Designers' Workshop (GDW), and Tactical Studies Rules (TSR). The latter started a new phenomenon that would later grow much bigger than its parent hobby, role-playing games. Simulations Canada was another major company formed in 1977, out of a frustration born of the policies of SPI, GDW, and Avalon Hill at avoiding the publication of unsolicited game designs.[6]

This period can be considered the 'Golden Age of Wargaming', with a large number of new companies publishing an even larger number of games throughout the decade, powered by an explosive rise in the number of people playing wargames. Wargames also diversified in subject, with the first science-fiction wargame appearing in 1974; and in size with both microgames and monster games first appearing during the decade.

The boom came to an end, and was followed by the usual bust, at the beginning of the 1980s, most markedly with the acquisition of SPI by TSR in 1982. The hobby has never truly recovered from this bust, and is today much smaller than it was in 1980. There are a number of theories given for this extended slump, and all probably identify some of the actual causes.

The early 1980's...saw the spectacular rise of role playing and computer gaming as a major force in the (wargaming) hobby. While some wargamers found a home in these new forms of wargaming, for many this was a time of soul searching...High school wargamers went away to college and found little time to game. Those college students who did wargame graduated, found jobs, and got married. Sadly, this meant that the wargames were put away in closets and life went on.[7]

The personal computer gave gamers the ability to just 'sit down and play' without clearing physical space, finding and then co-ordinating schedules with opponents. Additionally, the early adopters of personal computers were drawn from the same demographic group as wargamers: middle class males between youth and middle age.[citation needed]

Miniature wargaming

Main article: Miniature wargaming

Miniature wargaming typically involves the use of miniature plastic or metal models for the units and model scenery placed on a tabletop or floor as a playing surface. Games with miniatures are sometimes called tabletop games, tabletop wargames, miniature wargames, or simply wargames.

Miniatures games are generally concerned with rule sets that can be used for any battle in a particular period or war, instead of a particular set situation, as is common in most games. This is directly attributable to the fact that miniatures games require the player to assemble their own terrain and armies, often going to quite a bit of expense and effort to produce both. This makes miniatures gaming much more flexible, but more labor intensive than other forms of wargaming.

Board wargaming

In the United States, board wargames are the part of the hobby that popularized the term initially, and are what often come to mind first when 'wargaming' is mentioned. In Europe, and especially Britain, they are a minor part of the hobby. The genre is known for a number of common conventions that were developed early on, but none of these appear in all wargames.

The early history of board wargaming was dominated by Avalon Hill, even though other companies, such as SPI, left their own permanent marks on the industry. With the purchase of Avalon Hill by Hasbro, many wargamers long for 'the old Avalon Hill', and no one company is identified with the hobby as a whole.

The following components are common to many wargames:

  • Map: The map shows the terrain over which the battle/war is fought, and generally comprises the bulk of the board for the game (with charts or administrative 'holding boxes' sometimes included on the board). Movement is regulated by the type of map that is used:
    • Hex maps are by far the most common in wargames, and allow reasonably realistic movement (some games, generally earlier ones, use squares instead of hexagons on the board).
    • Area maps would be the next most common, taking a more abstract approach that can show more 'natural' (or perhaps political) divisions easily, and is also often seen in simpler, mass-market games such as Risk.
    • Point to point is effectively a type of area movement, but typically defines the available routes by which movement is done in more detail.
    • geomorphic mapboards are used in tactical wargames to simulate terrain in different combinations.
  • Counters: These are typically cardboard squares marked to represent armies, military units or individual military personnel, they generally include information on nationality (by color scheme), unit type (by symbol), and statistics such as movement or attack strength as a number or symbol, as well as a particular unit designation in historical games. Some variations on this theme are:
    • Double-sided counters are used in some games to show a unit in a disordered state, or in a weakened/damaged one in a step-reduction system.
    • Wooden blocks are used in block wargames. By standing the blocks on one side, these counters limit the enemy knowledge of friendly units (simulating fog of war) and can be rotated to a different side to show changes in strength in a more complex step-reduction system.
    • Plastic miniatures are used by some mass-market games. They generally display no information other than side and type (by color and shape).
    • Chits: These are a sub-class of counters used for random draws, or as informational markers.
  • Dice: These are generally used to add the element of chance. Given that many military actions have been influenced or even decided by odd events, straight-forward strategy games such as chess and go may be considered too deterministic to represent real warfare.
  • Cards: A (relatively) recent trend is card-driven games. These use cards that have events outside the area of the map or events outside the straightforward scope of the game play. Cards are also sometimes used to generate random number draws instead of or in combination with die rolls.
  • Rulebook: Rules vary in complexity and depth from 1 page for some games to over 200 pages for others.
  • Scenarios: Most wargames depict a single conflict, with only one starting state. More flexible systems use a separate scenario book, or cards, that define separate scenarios for the game.

Card wargaming

Card games are not generally well suited for wargames. Because of their nature, cards are well suited for abstract games, as opposed to the simulation aspects of wargames. Even when nominally about the same subject (such as the game War), traditional card games could not be considered a wargame in even the broadest sense. This does not mean there are no card wargames however.

The first card wargame would probably be Nuclear War, a 'tongue-in-cheek game of the end of the world', first published in 1966 and still published today by Flying Buffalo. It does not simulate how any actual nuclear exchange would happen, but it is still structured unlike most card games because of the way it deals with its subject.

In the late 1970s Battleline Publications (a board wargame company) produced two card games, Naval War and Armor Supremacy. The first was fairly popular in wargaming circles, and is a light system of naval combat, though again not depicting any 'real' situation (players may operate ships from opposing navies side-by-side). Armor Supremacy was not as successful, but is a look at the constant design and development of new types of tanks during World War II.

The most successful card wargame (as a card game and as a wargame) would almost certainly be Up Front, a card game about tactical combat in World War II published by Avalon Hill in 1983. The abstractness is harnessed in the game by having the deck produce random terrain, and chances to fire, and the like, simulating uncertainty as to the local conditions (nature of the terrain, etc).

Computer wargaming

Computers have changed wargaming, just as they have many other aspects of modern life.

Play-by-Mail (PBM)

Main article: Play-by-mail game

Due to the scarcity of opponents for some people, wargaming has a tradition of people playing games by sending lists of moves, or 'orders', to each other through the mail. This meant that it was not so strange for the first use of computers with wargaming to be a computer-moderated game where people mailed in orders, the computer determined the outcome, and the results were then mailed back to all the players.

The first of these was Nuclear Destruction, by the Flying Buffalo company in 1970. The most popular game of this type would be their later game, Starweb from 1976. This type of game enjoyed a burst of popularity for a few years, with several competing companies and games springing up. Today, Flying Buffalo is the only one still offering computer-moderated games of this type.

Computer wargames

See also: Computer and video game genres#Strategy

The computer gaming industry generally evolved with minimal reference to board games, or board game genres, so the term 'wargame' is generally not heard in discussions of general computer game genres. However, the wargaming community saw the possibilities of computer gaming early and made attempts to break into the market, notably Avalon Hill's Microcomputer Games line, which lasted from about 1980 to 1987 and covered a variety of topics, including simple adaptations of some of their wargames.

Strategic Simulations, Inc. (SSI) and Strategic Studies Group (SSG) were computer game companies that specialized in games that obviously borrowed from board- and miniature wargames. They enjoyed a certain popularity throughout much of the 1980s and into the 1990s. TalonSoft started in 1995 with a similar focus, until bought and later shut down by Take-Two Interactive in 2002.

Still, most computer strategy games today can be considered wargames (in the sense that they are a simulation of warfare on some level). The mechanics and language have little in common with board and miniature games, but the general subject matter is popular.

The most popular computer strategy game sub-genre, real-time strategy, generally consists of fast-paced games of snap decisions, reflexes, and coordination. While a few that concentrate on realistically simulating real battles without any real unit replacement system are known as real-time tactical games, most use a common formula of building structures (or a base), which can then build additional units. This is generally done in a way so that the game has a brief period of build-up followed by an extended period of fast-moving conflict with each side trying to gather resources, deny them from the enemy, maintain an armed force in the field, and expand its capabilities, both in production, and the quality of units produced.

E-mail and wargaming

Since e-mail is faster than the standard postal service, the rise of the Internet saw a shift of people playing board wargames from play-by-mail (PBM) to play-by-email (PBEM) or play-by-web (PBW). The mechanics were the same, merely the medium was faster.

At this time, turn-based strategy computer games still had a decent amount of popularity, and many started explicitly supporting the sending of saved-game files through email (instead of needing to find the file to send to the opponent by hand). As with all types of video games, the rise in home networking solutions and Internet access has also meant that networked games are now common and easy to set up.

Computer-assisted wargaming

In recent years, programs have been developed for computer-assisted gaming as regards to wargaming. These can be considered as extensions to the concept of PBEM gaming, however the presentation and actual capabilities are completely different.

These are generally designed replicate the look and feel of existing board wargames (and some success has also been had with miniatures) on the computer. The map and counters are presented to the user who can then manipulate these, more-or-less as if he were playing the physical game, and send a saved file off to his opponent, who can review what has been done without having to duplicate everything on his physical set-up of the game, and respond. Some allow for both players to get on-line and see each other's moves in real-time.

These systems are generally set up so that while one can play the game, the program has no knowledge of the rules, and cannot enforce them. The human players must have a knowledge of the rules themselves. The idea is to promote the playing of the games (by making play against a remote opponent easier), while supporting the industry (and reducing copyright issues) by ensuring that the players have access to the actual physical game.

The three main programs that can be used to play a number of games each are Aide de Camp, Cyberboard, and Vassal. All of these date from the mid- to late-'90s and have their own followings. Aide de Camp is available for purchase, while the other two are offered free. Vassal is in turn an outgrowth of the VASL (Virtual ASL) project, and uses Java, making it accessible to any computer that can run a modern JVM, while the other two are Microsoft Windows programs.


While all the 'computer assisted' programs were created with the idea of converting published games into a computer or online format, Dan Verssen has pioneered the concept of "Vassal-only" games (called "virtual tabletop games") in which the original subject material was created and distributed exclusively for play in this new medium.[8]

Types of wargaming

While wargaming is a genre itself, it can be categorized into a number of sub-genres. The most obvious division is by the categories given above. i.e., miniatures, board, computer, etc. This is so obvious, in fact, that most people verbally (and mentally) skip over it. A person might discuss (depending on context) 'board games' or 'wargames' and assume the other element without feeling any need to state 'board wargames'.

Beyond this, there are a few other characteristics that are used to define wargames. Another element that tends to be assumed is the environment, or type of warfare (land, naval, air) depicted, at least if the subject matter is land warfare (a game on naval or air warfare will specify such if not immediately obvious). The most common genres that categories are explicitly based on is the period or era of the game, and then the scale of the game.


  • Land - Land warfare is the oldest of all types of warfare, and is what the vast majority of all wargames of any type concentrate on.
  • Sea - Navies are nearly as old as organized warfare, and naval wargames go all the way back to the beginnings of the hobby.
  • Air - Air combat is relatively recent, and while there are tactical games dealing with it, there are relatively few dealing with just the air war of a larger conflict.
  • Combined arms - Dealing with multiple elements complicates the model of the simulation side of a wargame, so games dealing with more than one element tend to be strategic in nature, where all aspects are abstracted to a greater degree.
  • Space - While this can include studies of actual near-future possibilities, in wargaming, this almost universally refers to subjects that are purely in the realm of science fiction.

Historical period

All periods of history have their wargaming enthusiasts. Historical games are generally by these periods:

  • Ancient history (Greeks, Romans, etc.)
  • Middle Ages (pre-gunpowder)
  • Early gunpowder
  • Napoleonic Era
  • Early modern war (American Civil War)
  • World War I
  • World War II
  • Modern war (Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War, etc.)

Wargames can also be used to simulate fictional situations:

  • Hypothetical (World War III)
  • Alternate history (fantasy or science-fiction "what if" worlds, such as SteamPunk, Gothic Horror, and fantasy Napoleonic)
  • Futuristic / Science Fiction war (including space marines, spaceships and directed-energy weapons etc.)
  • Fantasy war (including magic, magical creatures and monsters, enchanted items, heroes, fantasy terrain, fantasy constructions, etc.)

Wargames do not necessarily have to involve traditional concepts of warfare and battles and games can enact typical film genres such as gang battles, crime and law enforcement. Similarly martial arts or even non-combat situations and adventures can be gamed where there are other objectives that require strategy combined with the elements of chance (dice/cards etc) to be achieved.

Unit or map scale

  • Grand strategy — focus is on a war or series of wars, often over a long period of time. Individual units, even armies, may not be represented; instead, attention is given to theaters of operation. All of the resources of the nations involved may be mobilized as part of a long-term struggle. The simulation typically involves political and economic as well as military conflict. At the most extreme end of this is the branch of strategy games in which the player assumes the role of the government of an entire nation-state and in which not conducting war is a possibility. Due to its complexity, this is rarely seen outside of computer games.
  • Strategic — military units are typically division, corps, or army-sized, and they are rated based upon raw strength. At this scale, economic production and diplomacy are significant. The simulation typically involves all branches, and often the entire forces of the nations involved, and covers entire wars or long campaigns
  • Operational — units are typically battalion to divisional size, and are rated based on their average overall strengths and weaknesses. Weather and logistics are significant. The simulation typically focuses on one branch of the military forces, with others somewhat abstracted, and usually covers a single campaign.
  • Tactical wargames — units range from individual vehicles and squads to platoons or companies, and are rated based on types and ranges of individual weaponry. The simulation almost always focuses on a single branch, occasionally with others abstracted, and usually covers a single battle or part of a large battle.
  • Skirmish — units represent individual soldiers, with possible tracking of wounds and ammunition. The simulation usually covers a small firefight. Also known as "Man-to-Man" scale, the first such games in the modern era of board wargames include Patrol and Sniper!. Early role-playing game were derived from skirmish wargames, and many are still played as such.

Notable wargamers

  • H.G. Wells - Known as the "Father of miniature wargaming"[citation needed], author of Little Wars.
  • Jack Scruby - After H.G. Wells, he did the most to make miniature wargaming a respectable hobby. He also popularized miniatures wargaming with a cheaper production process for miniature figures, publishing the first miniature wargaming magazine, the War Game Digest, and community building. Jack Scruby, an American, is the true heir of H.G. Wells and thus is the father of the modern miniature wargaming hobby.
  • Don Featherstone - Known in the UK as the "co-father" of modern miniature wargaming.
  • Charles S. Roberts - Known as the "Father of modern board wargaming", designed the first modern wargame, as well as the company most identified with modern wargames (Avalon Hill).
  • Richard Berg - Designer of Terrible Swift Sword, and worked at SPI.
  • Larry Bond - Designer of Harpoon, and best selling author
  • Frank Chadwick - Founder of Game Designers Workshop, one of the first major competitors to Avalon Hill, and himself a prolific wargame designer and inovator.
  • Joe Dever - computer and video games designer, author of Lone Wolf.
  • Jim Dunnigan - considered "The Dean of Modern Wargaming", founder of SPI and the most prolific print wargame designer in history. His designs included many firsts in wargaming, including the first tactical wargames.
  • Charles Grant - Author of The Wargame.
  • Gary Gygax - Designer of several miniatures and board wargames who went on to create and publish Dungeons & Dragons.
  • John Hill - Designer of Squad Leader, Johnny Reb, and other well-received designs.
  • Curt Schilling - Founded Multi-Man Publishing to keep Advanced Squad Leader and other Avalon Hill titles alive after the company was dissolved. Funded ASL publications and conventions out of his own pocket.
  • Redmond Simonsen - Co-founder of SPI and introduced many advanced graphics design elements to wargame designs.

Notable wargames

Board wargames

While a comprehensive list will show the variety of titles, the following games are notable for the reasons indicated:

  • Diplomacy - (1954) a classic multi-player game from the "golden age" of wargames in which strategy is exercised off the game board as well as on it.
  • Tactics II (Avalon Hill, 1958) - the wargame that launched Avalon Hill.
  • Risk (game) (Parker Brothers, 1959) - Widely accepted as the first mainstream wargame.
  • Gettysburg (Avalon Hill, 1961) - the first modern era wargame intended to model an actual historical event, published after the success of Tactics II, which was a non-representative strategic game.
  • Tactical Game 3 (Strategy & Tactics Magazine game, 1969) the very first tactical wargame, re-released as PanzerBlitz by Avalon Hill in 1970. The game pioneered the use of "geomorphic mapboards" and PanzerBlitz was a game system rather than just a game in that forces could be used to depict any number of actual tactical situations rather than one specific scenario.
  • Sniper! (SPI, 1973) - along with Patrol, the first Man to Man wargames where game pieces depicted a single soldier. An adaptation of Sniper! also became one of the first multi-player computer wargames.
  • Wooden Ships and Iron Men (Battleline Publications, 1974) - the definitive game of Age of Sail warfare for many years, and later successful games on the genre are 'fixed' versions of the original, as opposed to whole new designs.
  • Rise and Decline of the Third Reich (Avalon Hill, 1974) - The first serious attempt to model WWII in Europe in it entirety, including (in a limited way) the economic and industrial production of the nations involved. It has seen numerous versions and editions, and is currently available as John Prados' Third Reich from Avalanche Press, and as a far more complex descendant game, A World at War, published by GMT Games.
  • Squad Leader (Avalon Hill, 1977) and Advanced Squad Leader (1985) have become the most prolific series of wargames, including 3 add-on modules for the former, and 12 for the latter, with additional Historical modules and Deluxe modules also having been released. ASL also sets the record for sheer volume of playing components, with thousands of official counters and 60+ "geomorphic mapboards" not counting Deluxe and Historical maps.
  • Star Fleet Battles - (Task Force Games, 1978) one of the older still actively played wargames today, it is also the only successful tactical science fiction ship combat system that does not rely on miniatures.[9]
  • Storm Over Arnhem (Avalon Hill, 1981) - pioneered the use of "point to point" or "area movement" in tactical wargames.
  • Axis and Allies - (Nova Games, 1981) the most successful of Milton Bradley's (1984) 'GameMaster' line in an attempt to bring wargaming into the mainstream by appealing to non-wargamers through simplicity and attractive components.
  • Ambush! - (Victory Games, 1983) the first solitaire board wargame depicting man to man combat, in which each game piece represented a single person.
  • We the People - (Avalon Hill, 1994) this game started the Card-Driven wargame movement, which is very influential in current wargame design.

Miniature wargames

  • Chainmail (Guidon Games, 1971) - the fantasy supplement to this game was the predecessor to Dungeons & Dragons.
  • Warhammer Fantasy Battle (Games Workshop, 1983) - a fantasy based wargame popular around the world.
  • Warhammer 40,000 (Games Workshop, 1987) - A futuristic wargame popular internationally.
  • Warmaster (Games Workshop, 2000)
  • Warmachine (Privateer Press, 2003)
  • Flames of War (Battlefront Miniatures, 2002) - a World War II based wargame with a devoted following.

Computer wargames

  • Panzer General - (Strategic Simulations, Inc., 1994) - probably the most widely popular computer game that is recognizably a traditional wargame. It spawned several sequels, some of which explored different subject matter.
  • Steel Panthers - (Strategic Simulations, Inc., 1995) - an early tactical wargame on the same scale as Squad Leader, which led to two sequels, and a complete revision of the title for free release.
  • Close Combat - (Microsoft, 1996) - not the first wargame to break out from hexes, and still presented in a 2-dimensional format, Close Combat nonetheless uniquely addressed factors such as individual morale and reluctance to carry out orders. The original title led to 5 very successful sequels for the general public, as well as being developed into a training tool for military use only. Close Combat stemmed from an early attempt to translate the Squad Leader boardgame to the computer.
  • Combat Mission - (Big Time Software, 2000) - not the first 3D tactical wargame (titles such as Muzzle Velocity preceded it), but a groundbreaking game series featuring simultaneous order resolution, complete orders of battle for numerous nationalities, with three titles based on the original game engine. As of 2006, a campaign layer is in testing as well as a revised game engine to be released before 2007. CM's genesis was also as a failed attempt by Avalon Hill to translate Squad Leader to the computer.

Unique Game Systems

  • Ace of Aces - (Nova Games, 1980) - this flip-book system has long been considered one of the best simulations of aerial dogfighting.
  • BattleTech - (FASA, 1984) - initially printed as a board game, it primarily exists as a set miniatures rules today.
  • Car Wars - (Steve Jackson Games, 1982) - initially printed as a board game, it quickly evolved to work as a mix of both.
  • Up Front - (Avalon Hill, 1983) - the most popular of the very small class of card wargames.


  1. ^ Origins of the Kriegsspiel by Bill Leeson
  2. ^ Jane's Naval War Game: Jane's website
  3. ^ Greg Costikyan, Little Wars & Floor Games: An Introduction, Hogshead Publishing Ltd. (1995)
  4. ^ History of Historical Miniatures Wargaming
  5. ^ The Courier's Timeline of the Historical Miniatures Wargaming Hobby
  6. ^ article on SimCan
  7. ^ Szymonik, Peter. Collecting Wargames, article in The Wargamer, Vol.2 No. 16, Nov-Dec 1989.
  8. ^ Sidebar - "Announcing new VASSAL-only releases from Dan Verssen Games!" - retrieved October 16, 2006
  9. ^ ADB weblog, May 19, 2006 - "SFB was the only successful space game that was not miniatures based, something nobody at ADB realized"

See also

  • List of wargame publishers
  • Tabletop game
  • Computer and video games
  • Simulation game
  • Nation-simulation game
  • Role-playing game
  • Eastbourne Redoubt Museum Houses half of the national collection of the British Model Soldier Society, with 1,531 soldiers of all periods and armies permanently on display, and holds Wargaming events.

External links

  • The Game Manufacturers' Association
  • Board Game Players Association, noncommercial group manages the Avaloncon convention and other board wargame events
  • Web-Grognards has a listing of most every game and publisher, usually with reviews, extra scenarios, after action reports, etc.
  • The Wargamer War & strategy games website, tabletop, miniature, and computer.
  • The Complete Wargames Handbook on-line, by James F. Dunnigan.
  • Society of Ancients
  • Free Computer Wargames A directory of free computer wargames.
  • Free Wargames Rules, A site that hosts and links to hundreds of free rules for miniature gaming.
  • E-Mail Games Website
  • Tom's Spaceship Miniature/Game List, an attempt to list all games and miniatures used in games that deal with spaceships.
  • The Miniatures Page, a tabletop wargaming site providing daily hobby news, manufacturers and other directories, forums, etc.
  • The Gamer Hotsheet - News and information about wargaming
  • You And Whose Army Wargames Club Directory, Worldwide Store Directory, Weapon Dictionary
  • Point2Point - Podcast
  • The Naval Wargames Society the home page for the Naval Wargames Society.
  • David Helber's Major General Tremorden Rederring's Colonial-era Wargames Page has done more for the upsurge in interest in colonial wargaming than any other website.
  • Wargame Developments, an international group of wargamers dedicated to the development of new ideas and concepts.
  • Colonial Wargaming - Bob Cordery's colonial wargaming website, which includes free colonial wargames rules, battle reports, and a large section on Victorian and Edwardian Military Miscellany.
  • The Universal General - Rudi Geuden's wargaming website. It includes links to lots of free, downloadable wargames rules as well as information about Tony Bath's famous Hyboria campaign and Rudi's own Afriboria colonial campaigns and battles.
  • Homefront Wargame Center - largest information website about Wargaming in German (with a smaller English section)
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