I like wargames but haven't played one in more than a year. So I searched around the office and found my copy of Talonsoft West Front, a classic wargame from several years ago. Then I remembered that I needed to patch it before it will run on Windows XP. No problem. I'll just hop over to Talonsoft website and download it as I did last time I had an urge for a nice tank battle. Oops. Talonsoft merged with some company so I ended up at some other game company's website where I couldn't find patches for old games. There wasn't any mention of the old games either.
Discouraged, I googled far and wide but came up empty. Aren't there archives/graveyards for old wargames where I could find patches for old games? One bright spot among old war games is SSI's Steel Panthers, which outlasted its original publisher and still popular among wargamers. I never like Steel Panthers because it's graphics sucked and it's gameplay was overly tedious. Besides, I have some fond memories of playing Talonsoft wargames with opponents by e-mail. Now I will have to survey the latest wargames to see if there is one worthy playing.
If you are into realistic wargames in full 3D, the Combat Mission series from Battlefront.com is what you should be playing. There is now three volumes in the series. Volume one, the classic, covers the Western Europe theatre (Americans and Brits against Germans). Volume two, Barbarossa to Berlin, covers the Eastern Europe theatre (Russians against Germans). Volume three, Afrika Korps, covers the Mediterranian theatre.
I haven't played the second volume, but I think I'll give Afrika Korps a try because while the Eastern Europe theatre is where most massive tank battles took place, the desert is where the really fun tank battles are. An added bonus is the release of Afrika Korps Companion Book which not only includes details about 150 small-unit battles but the author has converted the battles into Combat Mission: Afrika Korps game scenarios! Whoa!
If you haven't played wargames before, replaying a historical battle with a stack of history books, maps, and photos about the battle offers absolutely fantastic experience. Only problem is that history books typically cover only the large and famous battles and give only a line or two about small actions like the ones detailed and simulated in the companion book. If you can appreciate the amount of time and effort the author must have spent to write a book like that, the book is an absolute steal IMHO. Woohoo! I am going to order the game and the book right now.
Here are some screenshots to tease you.