2022 WWIII Video Game Tournament: Round 1, Blue Region

Author’s Note: Please excuse the absence of a tournament bracket for this post. The digital tournament template I have used in the past is no longer available, it would seem. So, I have to look around and find a new one. Hopefully before the next tournament entry, but definitely by the start of the next round.

Blue Region

#1 Harpoon vs   #8 RDF 1985

The first tournament matchup is a prototypical David vs Goliath. Harpoon is a classic title, responsible for introducing an entire generation of gamers to PC wargames. It also helped bring wargaming out of the shadows and into the mainstream. On the other side, there’s nothing really wrong with RDF 1985. It was a solid game for its time though the graphics are rather ancient by modern standards. This matchup wasn’t even close.

Winner: Harpoon

#3 Theater Europe vs #6 Grey Seas, Grey Skies

Theater Europe is a turn-based strategy game that looks at a NATO-Warsaw Pact conflict in Europe in the late 1980s. It was released in Great Britain in 1985 and in the US the next year. The game’s ability to use nuclear weapons caused some controversy with nuclear disarmament groups and select newspapers in Great Britain. Overall, however, Theater is an excellent game that was ahead of its time in many ways.

Grey Seas, is a tactical game simulating modern (as of mid 80s) battles between surface and submarine forces. It has no graphics but makes up for this with an extensive and accurate database. Players set up their ships, aircraft and subs and then set off, taking control of courses, sensors and weapons. A very entertaining game, all things considered. Unfortunately, when put up against Theater Europe it comes up short.

Winner: Theater Europe

#4 World in Conflict: Soviet Assault vs #5 Conflict (NES)

Two very interesting games here.

World in Conflict: Soviet Assault tells the story of a hypothetical WWIII breaking out in 1989 from the Soviet point of view.  The game is not very deep and an argument can be made that it is not a traditional wargame, but an RTS (real-time strategy) game disguising as something deeper. What it lacks in depth, however, it makes up for with graphics.

Then there’s Conflict, a 1990 release for the Nintendo Entertainment Console. It is a turn-based hex-grid wargame where two sides, (Blue and Red) armed with weapons and capabilities modeled on real world NATO and Warsaw Pact armies, battle over 16 separate scenarios. There are some problems with the AI but Conflict is a true-to-life wargame that has aged remarkably well.

Soviet Assault, on the other hand, is remembered simply for its graphics, rather than its gameplay.

Winner: Conflict (NES)

 #2. Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm vs #7 M-1 Abrams Battle Tank (Sega Genesis and PC)

Flashpoint Red Storm is a game set in an alternate history of the 1980s in which the Cold War turned hot and the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact clashes with the US-led NATO forces in West Germany. The game is laid out as a PC-based tabletop wargame in some respects. It includes impressively detailed maps and unit counters. Turns are broken up into phases that will appear very familiar to veteran tabletop wargamers.

M-1 Abrams Battle Tank is a tank simulator, let’s get that out of the way now. But since the background story for the game’s scenarios are a NATO-Warsaw Pact war in West Germany, we can overlook it. Rolling an M-1 Abrams through Central European terrain, tearing up Russian armored vehicles was vividly brought to life. The scenarios and the related cut scenes are also worth noting. Moselle Defense and Siegen Infiltration are the two I remember most fondly.

Unfortunately, Flashpoint turned out to be one opponent the M-1 Abrams could not defeat.

Winner: Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm

Closing Note: Schedule for the rest of the week

Thursday- D+21 Entry

Friday- Remainder of Tournament Round 1

8 Replies to “2022 WWIII Video Game Tournament: Round 1, Blue Region”

  1. I hate to say it, but the Gulf War has made the M1 Abrams into something like Derek Jeter or Sandy Koufax-undeniably great, but hyped to the point of still being overrated.

    (Meanwhile the T-64/72/80 is like Michael Spinks, who was one of the best boxers of his, if not all time, but gets remembered as just another Tyson victim).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gotta admit, I think Jeter was hyped to the point of being overrated and felt that way since 95. And I’m a die hard Yankee fan.

      I like the comparison between the T-27 series and Spinks. Very appropriate. Guy was a basher but after he ran into the buzzsaw that was Iron Mike in ’88, he was remembered with sorrow. Very similar to the T-72 post 1991

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was wondering which version of Computer Harpoon you were using here, because there are two distinct versions – I/Classic/97/Commander’s Edition and II/III. They’re two entirely different games, each good in their own way.

    Fun fact – I had a hand in getting the original version of III for PC off the ground, which given that Harpoon II was wholly incompatible with Windows NT (and thus XP) and the programmer had the Mac version of II (from which he had already done III for Mac) as his base instead of the final PC-only Admiral’s Edition, was no easy task.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I decided to use 97. It has all of the Cold War WWIII scenario sets and I figured it was the best version to use.

      Oh, that’s pretty awesome I know some of the folks in the Harpoon community and getting those versions off the ground was no small endeavor. Thanks! 🙂


      1. Mike – I have a special place in my heart and head for Classic 97 as I was a beta tester for that one myself. A great time spent playing computer wargames for.hours on end. Truly a great time in my personal history. No pressure for you to have crowned champion.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Lou, I really think Classic 97 is the best Harpoon game to showcase what naval combat would’ve looked like in the 1980s if the Cold War went hot. I first started playing it in college and developed a mini-game called ‘Drunk Harpoon.’ I’d come back at 3 AM from the parties, pretty well sloshed and start adding Nuclear Weapons release and a couple Ohio class SSBNs to a random scenario. Loads of fun. Wish we could’ve livestreamed back then


  3. I would have gone with that family as well, especially since the community basically built the Commander’s Edition (the most-complete/finished of all the Harpoons IMHO). Byron can tell you all the stories.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve heard some and the community should write a book about everything that went into building Commander’s Edition. 🙂


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