One thing I like about (most) board wargames is that the rules can be (at least in theory...) fully understood and all the numbers you need are usually printed on the counters, the CRT and other tables readily available. It is all very abstracted, but often results in a playable game were you can predict the results of actions and easily see what is going on.

It seems to me all the time since the 70's when the first computer wargames emerged everyone doing those have made maximum use of the ability of computers to crunch numbers and keep track of the ammo/fuel etc down to single units, but I have seen no examples of anyone abstracting things down to a level where the human player can easily manage it.

Even the less realistic games (like Panzer General; very good, but... no supply lines etc), insists on having loads of parameters; often you need to bring up dialog windows full of numbers. Supply are no easy trace you can follow manually to see what hexes are good and not, but some (often unknown) mathematic formula resulting in a % for each hex/unit. "CRT" is unknown, etc. Of course all that makes for a much better SIMULATION than any boardgame, but most often I feel that it makes it a worse GAME. I would prefer something more boardgameish, abstracting combat to a simple known CRT (preferably shown on screen during game), displaying simple supply-lines whose rules are fully described in the manual, having all numbers on the counter (attack-defend-move is enough really, I don't need a screenfull of low-level stats and 7 different fatigue/supply/readiness values) etc. Are there any such games? Older games are interesting as well.

I would also find it interesting to hear what thoughts others have about this. Am I the only one not happy about the 1991 windows 3.11 style multi-windows user iterfaces still in use for computer wargames, when most other games and applications have evolved much more useful interfaces showing you the information you need without requiring multiple dialog windows?

I do like TOAW3, and several other games, but sometimes (as in "often") I would rather play something where I can spend more time moving units, less time clicking through dialog windows, preferably with the feel of a board wargame (standard IGOUGO etc).

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Have you tried any of the Schwerpunkt games? If not take a peek at

They might be what you're looking for.

I have Schwerpunkt's Eastern Front game. It is very good. Ron
Thanks, it does look like a lot of digits on the counters, which is nice. And it does provide all the info you need to easily predict supply and combat results?

However, I must mention a realated reason (apart from the price and that they are about WW2 Eastern Front) why I will not buy those games:
The user interfaces with standard operating system menus and buttons. I'm all for standard user interfaces, except when playing games. If I want to play a commander in Russia 1941 I don't want to constantly in front of me on the screen have lots of things reminding me of early Windows 95 Visual Basic applications (or reminding me of any other operating system).
Have you played Battlefront, or any of its predecessors such as Korsun Pocket, Battles in Normandy, or Battles in Italy, from Matrix Games? They sound like the games that you want.

Here's my online review of Battles in Normandy, if it helps.
I had a look at Battlefront. From what I could make out it was a lot of information all over the screen, not quite the simple interface I was hoping for with all the information easily available on the counters/map like a board wargame, but I may be wrong.
I know what you mean about the computer being opaque when it comes to the rules. One of the reasons for this is to make the AI look better than it is! Another problem some suffer from is the sheer number of things you have to do - lots of allocations, phases and so on. Again, this helps the AI, as the computer can do lots of small calculations and decisions very easily, thank you very much.

There are some wonderful silicon games out there for sure, but I too would like to see more accessible rules and a simple style of gameplay. So much so I decided to write my own game - WarFor2 catch a trial here

I have tried to make the gameplay and decision making process enjoyable above all else. So I have gone for an easy to use interface, plenty of visual feedback, and made sure there are no benefits to be had by players tweaking around seeking to optimise the situation in small ways. That way, the gameplay remains reasonably quick and fun, I think.
I like the graphics of that game, Richard! Very nice with all the values visible on the counters, and clear map graphics.

Not a game for me for other reasons: resource management, no AI, windows only (, and allergy to using standard widgets in game GUIs). Especially the lack of AI is a problem to me.

Seems worth keeping an eye at any future projects you may have.
Thanks for that Pelle.

Resource management is actually pretty minimal. Lack of an AI is not .... however I personally think that a good AI is almost impossible to write for a open ended strategy - turn based wargame with transparent and explicit rules. All the AIs I have come across operate, almost inevitably, in a spread out numerical haze, where nothing is crucial, just another number added to or subtracted from the pot. I wouldn't know how to begin writing an AI for WarFor2 .... not because it is complex, but because it is transparent.
Yes, I know about implementing AI is a pain, and it is a reasonable decision to not have one (much better than to put a really bad one in to sell more games).

About resource management, I'm just not that interested in the kind of strategic games were you have to worry about production, even though it looks from the docs as the complexity level is really good. It's not that it looks like a bad game in any way, it's just that it's not a pure wargame.
You're right - it's quite abstract. But it doesn't half feel like war when you're playing it!

I am planning a WW2 and ACW version which will give a feel for the era, but without being particularly realistic. For example, the WW2 will have armour, artillery, infantry etc -even divisional cooperation, but there will be no attention paid to scale or time.

I think it is quite possible to play a game that is not realistic in a simulation sense, but is very realistic in terms of the decision making and planning experience.
Fully agree to that. Realism by adding more data and more rules will not make the experience of the game more realistic.
An alternative way of making computer wargames I have thought of lately, is to do an extremely asymmetric game, inspired by solitaire boardgames. Enemies would very obviously appear at semi-random places along the front, and move by very simple rules (or not move at all,), and the game would be very unfairly balanced against the player. Instead of trying to make a game that feels like playing a two-player game against an imaginary enemy, it would have more of the puzzle feel of a one-player game, to try to make players don't consider it a very unfair cheating two-player game (which it wouldn't be), but still have some wargame-feel.

Might work for a free web-based game or something, but possibly not as a full PC game.


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