Coming In December 2021: World War III Games Holiday Tournament

I wanted to step away from D+18 briefly to talk about my plan for the blog in December, 2021. I really enjoyed setting up and running the March Madness tournament for WWIII genre novels last spring. It was interesting to see how the relative newcomer titles stacked up against the classics of the genre like Team Yankee and Red Storm Rising. And of course, in the later rounds when the classics squared off against one another, some of the clashes were every bit as violent as the battles portrayed on their pages. To sum up the experience, it was a hell of a lot of fun and I was very pleased to see the readers become so invested in the tournament. We all have our favorite WWIII novels, the same way we all have our favorite tournament teams when March rolls around every year.

I’ve been kicking around the idea of doing a similar tournament for December. Only this time the fields will contain World War III table-top, miniature and video games. The format and details still require a lot of work yet, but I’ve begun the process. What I need from readers are suggestions about what games to include. The classics of the WWIII gaming world will undoubtedly be there. Harpoon, NATO: The Next War in Europe and others that we’ve discussed so fondly here over the years. I’m aware that several of this blog’s readers are involved in gaming to one extent or another. Please feel free to throw out suggestions on games or, in the case of miniatures, gaming systems. I’m also certain there are some quality titles out there which seem to have slipped under the radar for one reason or another. Throw those into the mix along with any of the more obscure, lesser-known games you might be familiar with. There is no shortage of titles when it comes to World War III games. 😊

Early in November, I’ll provide an update on tournament preparation and hope to have a field of at least 24 titles ready to go by 1 December.

Okay, brief detour concluded. Back to World War III and D+18 either tomorrow or Saturday. –Mike

35 Replies to “Coming In December 2021: World War III Games Holiday Tournament”

  1. Would you do generalist games with the ability to sim conventional WW3s (ie, Command: Modern Operations, Steel Panthers: MBT, The Operational Art of War, Fistful of TOWs for a tabletop one, etc…) or just use specific games designed just for simming WW3?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Every title you mentioned is one I’d consider a WWIII title, even though they all can simulate other conflicts. In fact, all four of them are titles I don’t think can be left out of the tournament field.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Right off the bat Team Yankee and a Fistful of Tows leap out. Then there’s Seven Days, Battlegroup NORTHAG and so many more.


  2. The GDW Assault series. You could take any Hackett, Clancy, coyle, or Red Army/Chieftain scenario and run it. Had a buddy make up a “desert” map to do desert storm and Iran/Iraq on.

    No FW aircraft as I recall. Probably accurate given how lethal the airspace over the FEBA would be. Rw could die like flies and they could hide in terrain!

    No NBC either. Understandable.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Those games are the obscure underdogs I mentioned in the blog. They offer so much to players and I’m glad there’s no NBC option. Keep it conventional! 🙂


  3. Miniatures Rules: Challenger, Challenger 2, Challenger 2000, Cold War Commander, Force on Force, Team Yankee, Wargames Rules for All-arms Land Warfare from Platoon to Battalion Level (by WRG), Tank Action

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Also …. Close and Destroy I/II, Sabre Squadron, Armour & Infantry 1950 – 1975, Modern Spearhead, A Fistful of TOWs 1/2/3, NATO Brigade Commander, Tankwreck

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m wondering if your looking for Theater level games or more tactical level games (perhaps that is another madness series) such as CM-Cold War, Armored Brigade or dare I say it ‘Tac-Ops’, there is also Flashpoint Campaigns.
    On the air side, I remember with mixed emotions ‘Foxbat and Phantom’
    How about the ‘Fleet series’
    Oh and Red Star-White Star

    … so many

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You know, I think there are going to have to be sub-categories or something like that because it might not be fair to send a title like MBT up against a theater level game like Third World War. There are so many titles to chose from.

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  5. Love this concept, especially as I cut my wargaming teeth starting in 1987 – so there’s a rich seam to mine here.
    Obvious candidates are the Fleet series (2nd Fleet is the closest to my heart), Central Front (controversially Donau Front), and what else? 15 or so years ago I spent an awful lot of time playing Defcon (but maybe that was mainly due to the excellent soundtrack), beyond that I think I’m suggesting strawmen – Air and Armour annoyed me, first edition Harpoon took a lot of effort (made Avalon Hill Jutland feel fast paced), never really got into the Gulf Strike thing, and while I lusted after the GDW WW3 games have never played one – something which maybe should be rectified despite space and time limitations replacing the financial ones of my youth.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The Fleet Series cannot be ignored. Just not possible and the same holds true for the Central Front games. Gulf Strike I loved once they came out with the Desert Shield/Storm expansion. As for the GDW WW3 games…a classic series.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Air Force appreciation game, AKA Tac Air (or the Air Force sponsored FEBA). Living and gaming on an A-10 base you really wanted to believe they got it right. In hindsight, and having been exposed to the actual tempo and potential of RW and Heavy maneuver forces, the designers did the best they could to integrate two radically different scales of time and power. “Real” air tactics paid off though- SEAD was critical to get your strikes to the target, BVR and stand-off munitions ruled the roost, and being outside an air corridor could get you shot down by your own side.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I think you really need to split it up between board and miniature games. There are too many for each category.
    GDW – Combined Arms, GDW – Harpoon, WRG various miniature rules, Fistful of TOWs, Shipwreck, etc.
    Board Game:
    GDW- WWIII, SPI – Firefight, NATO, GDW- Assault Series, SPI- Air War, GDW-Air Superiority, etc.

    These are just what I can think of off the top of my head. How many people used GHQ micro-armor with these games. They aren’t a game per se, but they were used with the games all the time. Too many flashbacks from my youth…must stop…ugh…the premise to Red Dawn doesn’t make any sense, but it was cool…ack 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The air superiority/air strike series were pretty good for their time. Like assault you could do a lot with them; would have been cool to find a way to link them. We used the games to do a massive “El Dorado Canyon” game over thanksgiving ‘89. Ironically we’d picked up “Air Strike” at the RAF Lakenheath Stars and Stripes Bookstore!

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  9. Boardgames (Published):

    NATO (SPI), NATO – The Next War in Europe (Victory Games), NATO – The Cold War Goes Hot (Compass Games), The Fulda Gap – The Battle for the Centre (Compass Games), The Doomsday Project, Episode 1: The Battle for Germany (Compass Games), MBT (Avalon Hill), Air and Armor (Avalon Hill), The Fleet Series (Sixth, Second, Fifth, Seventh, Third) (Victory Games), Air Cobra (OSG), Air Cav (West End Games), Air War (SPI), MBT Series (MBT, FRG, BAOR, 4CMBG) (GMT Games), Brezhnev’s War (Compass Games), Central Command (SPI, S&T 98), Central Front series (Fifth Corps, BAOR, Hof Gap, North German Plain, Donau Front), Dawn’s Early Light (Lock ‘n Load Publishing), Storming the Gap (Lock ‘n Load Publishing), Drive on Frankfurt (Pacific Rim Publishing, Counterattack No. 1), Fail Safe (S&T 283), Fire Team (West End Games), Flight Leader (Avalon Hill), Group of Soviet Forces Germany (GSFG) (S&T 220), MechWar ’77 (SPI), Red Star, White Star (SPI), Stalin’s World War III (Compass Games), Stalin’s Final War (One Small Step), Superpowers at War (S&T 100), Tac Air (Avalon Hill), Seven Days to the Rhine Series (Objective Nuremburg / Munich / Frankfurt / Kassel / Hamburg) (MW 47 / 49 / 51 / 53 / 55), Nordkapp (S&T 94), Red Tide West (MW 15), Red Tide South (S&T 315), NATO Division Commander (SPI), NATO Air Commander (Hollandspiele), The Next War (SPI), 1985: Under an Iron Sky (Thin Red Line Games), Assualt – Tactical Combat in Europe: 1985 series (Assault, Reinforcements, Chieftain, Bundeswehr, Boots & Saddles), Firefight (SPI), Warsaw Pact (Jagdpanther), Revolt in the East (S&T 56), Quartermaster General Cold War (PSC Games), Red Storm Rising (TSR), Red Storm (GMT Games), The Red Storm (Yaquinto), Objective Moscow (SPI), The Third World War series (The Battle for Germany, Southern Front, Arctic Front, Persian Gulf) (GDW), Bundeswehr (SPI – featured in the Modern Battles II quad), Wurzburg (SPI – featured in the Modern Battles quad), Wurzburg Pentomic (S&T 263), Strike Force One (SPI / Victory Games)

    Boardgames (To Be Published):

    The Doomsday Project, Episode 2: The Balkans (Compass Games), The Third World War – Designer Signature Edition (Compass Games), Air & Armor – Designer Signature Edition (Compass Games), Kontact Now – Red Eclipse (Compass Games), The Long Road (Flying Pig Games)

    Sorry for the long list!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Video Games:
    Theatre Europe (PSS), NATO Commander (Microprose), 1953 – NATO v Warsaw Pact (Wasteland Interactive), The Operational Art of War series (Matrix Games / Slitherine Ltd), Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm (Matrix Games / Slitherine Ltd), Wargame: European Escalation (Eugen Systems), Wargame: Air-Land Battle (Eugen Systems), Operation Flashpoint – Cold War Crisis (Bohemia Interactive), Steel Panther II: Modern Battles (SSI), Steel Panthers III (SSI), WinSPMBT (Shrapnel Games), ARMA – Cold War Assault (Bohemia Interactive), RDF 1985 (SSI), Baltic 1985 (SSI), Germany 1985 (SSI), Mech Brigade (SSI), Norway 1985 (SSI), North Atlantic ’86 (SSI), Reforger ’88 (SSI), Red Lightning (SSI)

    Coming Soon: Combat Mission Cold War (Battlefront), Regiments (Microprose)

    (Note: Some of these are for older computer systems like the Commodore 64, Apple, BBC and Spectrum)

    Liked by 1 person

      1. 😀 I think I’ve got the later Gulf Strike with the Desert Shield expansion.

        I also have War in the Ice (SPI) and Marine 2002 (Yaquinto) …. plus there’s a game on Kickstarter called 2 Minutes to Midnight by Plague Island Games which is accepting late pledges. It looks a bit like Twilight Struggle by GMT Games.

        I didn’t include these as they are more USA vs USSR / Superpower vs Superpower games, rather than NATO vs Warsaw Pact.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I looked through quickly….but i havent seen my current favorite listed: John Tiller Software Modern Campaigns Fulda, North German Plain, and Danube Front
    company and battalion level unit

    Liked by 1 person

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