Selection Sunday: 2022 WWIII Video Game Tourney

The field is complete. The seeds and brackets are set and the 2022 March Madness WWIII Video Game Tournament Field is set to get underway on Tuesday. Choosing the field was by no means easy, but the experience was rewarding. I put in some serious research on the more obscure games and came away having learned a lot. I also searched high and low for shareware versions of the older games. was an invaluable wingman for that endeavor.

A standard bracket tournament setup will be utilized. Thirty-six game titles divided into four regions, seeded and bracketed. Each region is a mixture of operational and tactical games covering combat in a hypothetical NATO-WP World War III. The inclusion and subsequent exclusion of certain titles might spark a little controversy or second-guessing. The same holds true for the seeding, but Iโ€™m ok with that. I enjoy lively discussions in the comment section. ๐Ÿ˜Š

March Madness WWIII Video Game Tournament Field

Blue Region Brackets

1.Harpoon- No surprise here. Harpoon is a bona fide classic and deserving of a 1 seed.

8.RDF 1985- An obscure PC game published by SSI in 1983, covering a conflict between Soviet and US forces for control of the Saudi oil fields, set in 1985.

3.Theater Europe- A very detailed and deep (for 1986)  NATO-WP war in Europe simulation.

6.Grey Seas, Grey Skies- A PC simulation of naval warfare in a number of theoretical situations. Combat around the Kuril Islands, Indian Ocean, Baltic Sea, Norwegian Sea, Western Pacific, Mediterranean Sea and Falklands are available.

4.World in Conflict: Soviet Assault- A Third World War in 1989 as seen from the vantage point of a Soviet officer

5.Conflict (NES)- The only Nintendo console game in the field. Conflict was a popular game and fun to play, even if the AI cheated mercilessly. ๐Ÿ˜Š

2. Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm- This game covers ground combat between NATO and WP formations during a hypothetical 1980s conflict in Europe.

7.M-1 Abrams Battle Tank (Sega Genesis)- Another very popular console title from 1990, M-1 wasnโ€™t a wargame in the traditional sense, but a simulation set during a NATO-WP war in Germany.

Gold Region Brackets

1.Steel Panthers MBT- Should come as no surprise. Tactical combat overload and the ability to model any land battles from any conflict, hypothetical or real, from 1946-2020+

8.Mech Brigade- A Gary Grigsby game that simulates a hypothetical conflict between NATO and Warsaw Pact nations.

3.Janeโ€™s Fleet Command- A 1999 game best summarized as Harpoon with good graphics but little depth.

6.Team Yankee- Novel, miniatures, and of course, Team Yankee also had a PC game made in its honor. ๐Ÿ˜Š

4. Strike Fleet- A classic title of naval warfare from the 1980s.

5.NATO Commander- Sid Meierโ€™s attempt to tackle a NATO-WP war in Europe set in the mid-1980s.

2. World in Conflict- Soviet invasion of the United States during a Third World War in 1989.

7. Baltic 85: Corridor to Berlin- Another obscure title from the early 80s covering a NATO invasion of East Germany and subsequent rescue of West Berlin.

Red Region Brackets

1.The Operational Art of War- Operational-level warfare at its best.

8.Fifth Eskadra- Strategic level naval warfare between NATO and the Pact in the Med.

3.Steel  Beasts- The consummate MBT simulator.

6. North Atlantic โ€™86- SSI simulation of naval warfare in the North Atlantic and Norwegian Sea during the late 80s.

4.Bravo Romeo Delta- Nuclear war in the 1980s

5.Armored Brigade- A real-time, wargame simulating modern combined-arms warfare from 1965-1991. Fantastic for simulating NATO-Pact armored clashes.

2.Red Storm Rising- Submarine simulation set in a 1980s World War III. Almost as great as the book. ๐Ÿ˜Š

7. Cold War At Sea: Red Sky at Morning- Obscure but very detailed and well-made WWIII naval war simulation.

White Region Brackets

1.Command Modern Operations- Harpoon on steroids and HGH

8.Norway 1985- Fourth installment of SSIโ€™s “When Superpowers Collide” series.

3.Red Lightning- Another SSI title focusing on a NATO-Pact conflict in Europe. This one was designed by Norm Koger, the genius who put together TOAW.

6.Northern Fleet- Simulation of a naval conflict between NATO and the WP set in 1996. Obscure but very in-depth game.

4.Steel Panthers: Brigade Command- Steel Panthers but commanding a brigade instead of a platoon or company.

5.Conflict Europe- Another title from the bumper crop of NATO-WP operational-level wargames from the โ€˜80s.

2.Wargame: European Escalation- A more contemporary real-time strategy game set in Europe during the Cold War from 1975-1991.

7.Germany 1985- First release of SSIโ€™s “When Superpowers Collide” series.


16 Replies to “Selection Sunday: 2022 WWIII Video Game Tourney”

  1. I enjoyed both Theatre Europe and NATO Commander on the C64 and Amiga …. I keep hoping to run across an emulator so I can play them on PC. In fact, NATO Commander was really the first game in Microprose’s Command series which ‘officially’ had Crusade in Europe, Decision in the Desert, and Conflict in Vietnam in the line-up. I also remember having a game called SDI where you raced to build your SDI anti-nuclear umbrella before a world crisis happened and WW3 kicked off.
    PS. Just found the command series on Steam.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They were both good games and I still enjoy them.
      I love that so many of these older games are available on Steam!


  2. Good to see Jane’s Fleet Command in there – fun game, but did need you to sit for hours with a database editor and JFS / JNWS to make it hang together.
    Rewarded myself with a copy on the day I submitted my PhD in the autumn of 1999 and spent many happy hours building and running some simple scenarios with it over the next few years.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s a new game, but I’m surprised Combat Mission: Cold War didn’t make it. It’s a great tactical level game set in 1979-1982. They only have Americans and Soviets for now, but I think they are planning new forces sometime this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Somebody else asked about that game on Twitter, I think. It’s one that I have not had much of a chance to play. Once that changes though, I’ll either review it or include it in next year’s tournamnent


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