If you think about chess and its predecessors, they could be seen as the first simulation games. However, modern wargame design principles didn’t start to take shape until 19th-century games like Kriegsspiel, and they really took off in the post-World War II board game boom from designers like James Dunnigan. Wargames are a mix of two things that people are naturally curious about: patterns and war.
With the help of digital technology, wargames have kept their focus on realism and historical accuracy. Computers are a powerful tool for making complex models of war more realistic. Hardcore wargaming has taken a back seat to more action-oriented strategy games like classic RTSs, but it still has a lot of fans and a lot of advantages over more casual strategy games. We put together a list of the best strategy games of all time that best show off this type of game.
1. Command: Modern Operations
Developer: Warfare Sims, Command Development Team
Publisher: Slitherine Software
Command: Hardcore is one of the most difficult hardcore wargames. For a simulation game, Modern Operations is the very best. It has a lot of detail, accurate simulation, and a wide range of scale. The Command series of strategy games is what would happen if Google Earth was turned into the best war simulator ever.
In this game, there is so much attention to detail that it is hard to believe. For example, this game shows every single street in a city, as well as the radar detection profiles of different types of planes. Unlike most wargames, Modern Operations doesn’t try to make strength ratings easier to understand by making them into numbers. This makes the game ideal for military use.
Such attention to detail comes at a high price, though. Most people either turn away from the mountain of learning in front of them or start to climb it slowly and steadily. Command: Modern Operations isn’t for the faint of heart, but it’s a great game for wargamers who want to play out modern conflicts with great accuracy.
2. Gary Grigsby’s War in the East 2
Developer: 2By3 Games
Publisher: Matrix Games
To play a game that’s more like a board game, Gary Grigsby’s War in the East 2 is an operational level game about the Eastern Front in WWII. Unlike games like Hearts of Iron 4, this game doesn’t focus on politics or big decisions like those in Hearts of Iron 4.
If you want to play a game like a tabletop wargame, this is the one to choose. It has a lot of detail and a sense of scale, and it’s not just about small battles but big campaigns with long-term goals in mind. In Command: Modern Operations, units don’t have as much precision as they do in Command: Modern Operations, but the overall game system is set up so that future generals will be able to make well-thought-out decisions based on that time in history.
A look at the game from a graphics and presentation point of view isn’t all that appealing, and it might be hard to learn because of all the symbols and a very busy map. On the other hand, wargames have a lot of pride in their historically accurate gameplay, and War in the East 2 by Gary Grigsby has a lot of this, too.
3. Shadow Empire
Developer: VR Designs
Publisher: Slitherine Software, Matrix Games
The setting of a wargame doesn’t have to be on Earth, and it doesn’t even have to be based on or model real-life events and conflicts. It doesn’t matter if the game is set in a sci-fi or fantasy world. As long as it does a good job of illustrating military operations in a sophisticated way, it can be called a simulation wargame.
Shadow Empire is one of these sci-fi wargames that, even though it takes place in the future, still has a lot of the things that make a good wargame, like detailed logistics systems and supply lines. Shadow Empire’s most impressive feature is how much control players have over their armed forces, how they look, and how well they work together. It’s a modern-day game with a futuristic twist.
Shadow Empire has simple graphics and a steep learning curve that can scare away strategy gamers who aren’t ready for them. However, Shadow Empire’s 4X game design approach to simulation wargames and great planet customization options make it one of the most interesting wargames on the market.
4. Dominions 5: Warriors of the Faith
Developer: Illwinter Game Design
Publisher: Illwinter Game Design
Platform(s): PC, macOS, Linux
4X strategy design is the main thing that drives Dominions 5: Warriors of the Faith, a wargame that lets you play with spells, monsters, and empires from long ago. In this type of strategy game, all players start out about the same. The game progresses over time to huge scales, giving budding generals a lot of time and space to get used to the game’s mechanics and intricacies.
Dominions 5 is unique as a fantasy wargame because it has so many different types of content for the player to choose from. This ranges from the huge grimoire of spells and deity creator to the detailed army command and artifact crafting systems. There are so many different empires with their own strengths and weaknesses that it’s almost impossible to keep track of them all. Players will be able to play for hundreds or even thousands of hours to get good at each one.
Expect some frustration from the combat system, because the army order system can be hard to figure out and make the hands-off battle simulations look a little different than they would in person. However, the fantasy setting alone makes Dominions 5 one of the best wargames of all time, making it one of the best games ever made.
5. Strategic Command: World War I
Developer: Fury Software
Publisher: Slitherine Software
Strategic Command is a game that is more like a traditional war game. Wargame: World War I is a strategic scale simulation of the bloodiest conflict of the 20th century. It takes place during the first war of the century. Playing as the Entente, which is made up of England, France and Russia as well as USA later in the game, is what players can expect. They can also play as the Central Powers, which are made up of the German and Austro-Hungarian empires.
From a mechanical point of view, Strategic Command does a good job of showing how war changed and became more grueling over time with new fortifications, innovative war machines, and horrific technologies of death. Because this is a game about World War I, the setting is what makes it stand out from the rest of the strategy games out there. Because this is a game about World War I, the setting is what makes it stand out from all the rest of the strategy games out there.
Perhaps the most disappointing thing about Strategic Command is that it doesn’t pay enough attention to the complicated diplomatic situation that surrounded the events of the war. This wargame takes a more simple approach to political connections and plotting. If you look at the big picture, though, the simplified depiction of diplomacy doesn’t hurt Strategic Command in the long run. It’s one of the best WWI simulation wargames out there.
Release Date: August 16, 2021
Sprocket isn’t the same as some of the other games on this list in terms of how they work. Player have a tank to design and put together in this game and they have to put it together. So, you can make tanks that you like. You have the tools. It’s possible to change everything from the hull and armor design to the cannon and tracks. The engine, exhausts, vents, and other parts can be changed as well. The good news is that it’s not all about design. You can also compete in different situations, which is a good thing. In that case, it turns into a tank battle game. Right now, this game is in early access. As the developers add new features, you can expect to see some bugs and changes.
7. War Thunder
Platform : PC, MacOS, Linux, PS4, Xbox One, PS5, Xbox Series X/S
Release Date : December 21, 2016
PC August 15, 201 / PS4 June 3, 2014 / April 17, 2014 / Linux November 6, 2014 / Android June 2, 2015 / Official Release December 21, 2016 / Xbox One June 19, 2018
Genre : Action, vehicular combat, combat flight simulator
In War Thunder, players don’t fight each other as soldiers on the ground. Instead, they fight each other with different vehicles. Many different types of cars and trucks can be found here for players to get in and drive. Players will be able to choose from tanks, naval warships, and planes that can be used in a wide range of situations. So not only does it have a lot of content and DLC for players to pick up, but it also has a lot of people who play it. The game is free to play, so there’s no reason not to try it out today.
When it comes to the game modes, some modes break up the different types of vehicles that players can use, whether they want a more arcade-like experience or more realistic battles, to more historic missions that try to give a little more of a sense of what happened in the past. You might be interested in World of Warships and World of Tanks, which are both vehicle-based military war games. Players will be able to drive different types of cars and trucks in these games, as the names of the games show