2021 WWIII Holiday Tournament Update #1

With the marathon that was D+18 now entirely in the books, I thought this would be a good time to bring everyone up to speed on plans and progress regarding the 2021 World War III Holiday Tournament. Before we get to that, however, I want to thank everyone who shared their views and opinions on WWIII game titles over the last month. As is always the case, your knowledge and expertise have proven to be invaluable, helping to keep me well-grounded through the initial planning stage for the upcoming tournament. In short, this means I’ve reached the conclusion that setting up a tournament including PC, miniatures and tabletop WWIII wargames would inevitably end up turning into a major league goat-rope. The most efficient way to do a holiday tournament will simply be to include tabletop games only. Then in 2022 we can set up another tourney for PC games and miniatures. Possibly around the same time as March Madness.

For the 2021 Holiday Tournament, I think we can extend the field from what it was in the previous tourney.  Right now, a 64-game tournament divided into 4 brackets seems quite doable. There are more than enough WWIII tabletop titles to choose from.  For the brackets, figure one would be exclusively for Operational Level games with Air, Naval and Tactical/Small Unit filling out the rest. At least at first glance. There’s plenty of time to tinker with the number of games, bracket layout and seedings.

And then there are the potential #1 Seeds…😊 Personally, I can think of a baker’s dozen just off the top of my head. I won’t mention any of them right now, but rest assured, the wheels are turning in my mind.

Please feel free to share any titles that you feel should be considered for a coveted #1 Seed, as well as any other ones you’d like to see included or left out. Actually, on that note I would like to request some input from the readers on a specific topic…..

Twilight 2000: RPG or wargame? And if you consider it a wargame, is it a bona fide World War III game, or one set in the aftermath?

I can already hear a guy named Wayne furiously typing up his answer. 😊

10 Replies to “2021 WWIII Holiday Tournament Update #1”

  1. So Twilight:2000 actually falls into both categories. Twilight:2000 *and* The Last Battle can be interconnected, and indeed some of the modules for T2k indicate that the larger firefights can be gamed out with The Last Battle. It is a very, VERY simple wargame; if you use GDW’s difficulty scale from 1-5, I think they self-rate it at a “2”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, that’s a very strong argument in favor of. It’s just one of those unique games that is a hybrid of RPG and wargame. A bastard child, if you will 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s beyond the scope of your comments threads, but I have had a lot of discussion about the origin of role-playing games over on my youtube channel. One notable bit of history worth sharing is that the root of them all is Chainmail, by Gary Gygax. Although it is a wargame for medieval period battles, the “Fantasy Supplement” (11 of it’s 40+ pages) details rules that we would all come to understand as D&D in later years: various types of beings other than human (halflings, elves, orcs, goblins) iconic monsters (dragons, chimerae, etc.), spells, even the Alignment system (although at this point it was limited to Law, Chaos, and Neutrality). Yet it’s used in the framework of fantasy battles using Chainmail mass combat rules, rather than creation of single characters and parties of them. The one other place TSR dabbled with this formula was Warriors of Mars, which came out in the same year, and is based on the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs (and, subsequently, went away pretty quickly as back in ’74 his estate still held copyright).

        The Last Battle kind of “puts the car in reverse” and goes from RPG (Twilight:2000) *back* towards wargame (TLB) by bringing skirmish rules in that focus on units rather than individual characters.

        I tend to feel that without TLB, Twilight 2000 on its own isn’t really a wargame hybrid, but I’m really really getting out of scope for a single reply on a ‘blog. Wish we had a better forum for it!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Nice post, Bill and thanks for contributing. I really have to go back and play TLB. If anything, just to relive part of my childhood. 🙂 As for D&D, I never really got into that as a kid. Axis and Allies though…..oh yeah. And Fortress America. But never really was much for the fantasy or RPG genre back then. I at least try it out from time to time nowadays


  2. I agree that Twilight 2000 has elements of both a wargame and an RPG, especially if combined with The Last Battle board game, but if taken separately, I think Twilight edges slightly more towards the RPG end of the spectrum, while The Last Battle edges slightly towards the wargame end of the spectrum.

    As to the setting, I think it leans more towards being in the ‘aftermath’ than it does WW3 as the main events of WW3 are narrated via the background, and the game kicks off following NATO’s last offensive into Poland, with the lead elements (including the players’ parent formation) being cut off and surrounded by a Pact counterattack. At that point, both sides are too exhausted and civilisation too near the brink of collapse to effectively continue hostilities, except at a very local level.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. PS. I recently got hold of the Twilight 2000 4th Edition by Free League Publishing as well as picking up a copy of GDW’s 2nd Edition rule booklet, as I still have the Merc 2000 material which I thought was quite a good alternative setting (and a lot closer to what happened in reality).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really want to try the 4th Edition. Please share your thoughts as you dive deeper into it

      Merc 2000 was more like a standalone reality-based game, I think. Enjoyed it, from what little exposure I had to it


  4. Long time lurker on this magnificent web site. I feel very strongly about this topic so I had to give my two cents. Mike, you may recognize the handle from the T2K Julhin forum – I’m the guy who plagiarized the excellent work you did on Going Home for the campaign I run with my sons. I feel strongly that T2k was designed to work as both. Granted, there’s no provision for fighting operational level engagements. However, there are multiple occasions where the designers provided information that suggested (or, in two places, explicitly stated) that tactical level engagements are possible. Red Star/Lone Star (which I’m running now) explicitly states that the purpose of the final battle of Brownsville, with it’s attendant point system, “is designed to show the effectiveness of a small, determined, and highly-trained band of defenders against a larger attacking force in an urban battle.” To me, that seals the deal. If we are going to call ASL a war game, then T2K is a war game. I will pile on with several supporting facts. First, the RDF Sourcebook explicitly provides the framework for an organized military campaign within a command structure. Sure, we are looking at squad to company level engagements but these can be combined armed arms events (with air support!) in pursuit of a defined military objective. Second, it never dawned on me until this conversation but why else would the US Army Vehicle Guide provide MTOE tables for Army and Marine formations? To me, that’s so the enterprising GM can run pre-TDM engagements. I’ve done that and I know that many on the Julhin forum have as well. Third, the Ruins of Warsaw explicitly provides “complete macro combat rules for Twilight 2000”. While these are by no means perfect, I successfully ran this module with a few tweaks in college. For these reasons, I strongly request you include Twilight 2000 in your holiday tournament!

    On another note, I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve borrowed Captain Resper and his DIA directorate. He’s got another team operating in South Texas now! Thanks again for the great work that you do on both of your blogs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lurkers are always welcomed, Ancestor 🙂 And I do recognize the handle. Good to see you over here. Awesome take on this topic and just a fantastic contribution.
      And no problem borrowing Resper and his buddies. Use them in good health and thanks for checking in! 🙂


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