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.
#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.
#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