Friday, January 2, 2009

Current wars engender surprisingly little wargame attention

One of the surprising things to me about the current state of the wargame hobby is the lack of attention to current contingencies.

Back in the 1970s and 1980s during the peak of the wargame hobby back then there was no shortage of games that dealt with actual contemporary military actions or the recent past. One of the early S&T games was Grunt, which depicted Vietnam combat even as fighting was still going on. Year of the Rat came out just a few months after the 1972 campaign it depicts. At least one Arab-Israeli wargame had to be redesigned because the 1973 war broke out just before publication. Test of Arms was published while some of its campaigns were still in the news. And, of course, the whole NATO vs. Warsaw Pact was an unending source of games until 1990. Even the first Gulf War prompted a batch of real-time depiction and immediate post-war titles.

In contrast, despite the fact that we're currently fighting TWO wars, there's very little to show for it. The initial march on Baghdad phase generated a little bit of action, such as Back to Iraq, but almost nothing since. Likewise the Afghanistan fighting hasn't provoked much in the way of wargame design, not even at the skirmish or tactical level. Where's the Grunt! for 2009?


  1. For miniature players, there's AK47 Republic.

  2. MCS Group is coming out with Battle for Baghdad (though it appears it may be more Euro, but looks interesting - multi-player, different victory conditions for each faction)..

  3. For one thing, these have been pretty depressing wars, considering we swept in with relatively little fighting, took the country, and then had a terrible time holding them. Look at the paucity of games on Viet Nam - I can think of six total, and three were magazine games in Command in the 90's (the others are Fields of Fire, Lock'n'Load, and Victory Games' Vietnam). As Americans, we much prefer games covering wars that we won honorably.

    Perhaps the Fields of Fire system will yield up a 21st Cen Warfare expansion - if it can cover 1944 through 1972, it should be able to handle 2003, certainly at the squad level.

    I'd also like to see the World At War try tackling this topic as well. What would be particularly interesting would be a fictional Mideast conflict with the opportunity for a variety of countries to get sucked in, including the Russians (and us, of course).