Reboots are in style again these days. Movies, TV shows, music and novels have all been bitten by the reboot bug to varying extents. The reboot craze can be partly attributed to a lack of creativity in the arts, so to speak. We seem to have reached a point where the majority of modern releases look, sound, read, or feel the same. Or maybe I’ve just officially become an old man. 😊 Some reboots have been dizzying failures (2012’s Red Dawn) while others have been successful enough to rejuvenate a franchise, or even an entire genre (2004’s Dawn of the Dead).
Tabletop wargames with World War III themes have not been immune from the reboot trend. In recent years we’ve seen some classic titles updated and released again. As has been the case with other types of reboots, there have been successes and failures. The 2016 release of MBT’s second edition is an example of an outstanding reboot, while Fortress America 2.0 is worthy of being awarded the ‘Worst Tabletop Wargame Reboot of All Time.” There are a handful of games undergoing reboots at present. Most notable is Twilight:2000, the iconic RPG/wargame that takes place in the aftermath of a hypothetical World War III. Right now, this reboot is making its way towards a Beta release and a lot of folks are excited. Twilight:2000 has always had a loyal following and the reboot looks ready to bring a new generation of gamers into the Twilight universe.
There are some titles I think are ripe for reboot attempts owing to a number of factors. Some theaters and conflict areas have become relevant once again in recent years, for example. Nostalgia can also lead to a popular game from yesteryear coming back into favor. Whatever the reason, I can list at least a dozen different games I consider worthy of being rebooted. However, owing to time and space constraints, I’ll only discuss a few of the World War III-related tabletop games I most want to see undergo a mid-life upgrade.
Sixth Fleet– Some members of the Fleet Series are more relevant in modern times than others. Sixth Fleet is certainly one of them. The Mediterranean is no less important today than it was back in the 1980s. In some respects the region is now more volatile and unpredictable. The civil war in Syria and the involvement there of multiple external actors, the rise of Erdogan in Turkey, Libya’s collapse, a renewed Greco-Turkish rivalry, and last but not least, the discovery of massive natural gas deposits in the Eastern Med. Select your poison carefully.
7th Fleet– Another Fleet Series title, a rebooted 7th Fleet could become a significant title for the next decade or perhaps longer. The Western Pacific is a veritable powder keg now with multiple potential hotspots. China’s rise has been accentuated with a massive naval buildup. The time is coming when Beijing could unleash its extensive military power on the region. America, and her Pacific allies will have a difficult time pushing back the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) and putting China in check.
Gulf Strike– This title handled gaming the volatile Persian Gulf region of the 1980s with grace, and power. We could use some of that in a Persian Gulf game system these days. The Arabian Peninsula and Persian Gulf areas are, much like other hotspots around the world, one misstep away from a major conflict. Iran and its nuclear ambitions, Yemen, US-Iran tensions, terrorism. Like the Mediterranean, select your poison carefully in the Gulf.
City Fight: Modern Combat in the Urban Environment– This game is a detailed tactical simulation of post World War II combat in the urban environment. You know, back when the standard practice of most land forces around the world was to avoid being dragged into a city fight at all costs. Things are different nowadays with insurgents, ISIS, and the fact that geographic location of some cities puts them right in the path of a rival’s armies. I’m looking at you, Seoul. City Fight, if updated to cover modern military forces fighting in present-day urban environments, would draw in a respectable number of gamers and reignite interest in a title which has long been considered a classic.