Scourge of War: Antietam
Scourge of War: Antietam is a real-time tactical wargame covering the September 1862 Battle of Antietam. Gamers take command of a brigade, division or corps as part of the larger Union or Confederate army.
Antietam’s game engine realistically re-creates the challenges Civil War commanders faced as they coordinated thousands of men on the battlefield. Using tactical formations typical of the era, players move commanders, regiments and artillery batteries over the rolling hills of Maryland. As the Confederates, they can attempt to stop the Union advance through “the Cornfield” on the morning of September 17; or as the Yankees, they can command the Union division that storms “the Bloody Lane” that afternoon.
The scope of the game is grand, and the 3-D battlefield looks like an animated painting full of smoke and surging lines of blue and gray. In this atmosphere players can quickly become overwhelmed when trying to control individual regiments, therefore relying on the chain of command is a must. To be successful, players must also master the timing of a coordinated attack and understand the importance of a well-placed reserve.
Scourge of War: Antietam is a splendid game. It convincingly whisks players back to September 17, 1862, and drops them into the midst of the bloodiest day in American history.
Combat Mission: Fortress Italy
Combat Mission: Fortress Italy in Sicily depicting American, German and Italian is a gripping game set troops as the Allies try to knock Italy out of World War II in the summer of 1943.
Players maneuver squads, teams and individual combat vehicles across a 3-D battlefield in either real-time or turn-based mode. Orders are resolved simultaneously, and the fighting unfolds as tense, heart-pounding action. The game generates a movie of the action, which players can then view repeatedly from different angles.
Fortress Italy’s superb new game engine depicts realistically animated soldiers and tracks the path of every bullet, resulting in captivating combat sequences. However, there’s more to the game than just combat. To be successful, players also must understand the importance of key terrain, the ballistics of World War II weapons, and the effect stress has on soldiers’ morale.
Fortress Italy boasts all the realism, historical accuracy and excitement of earlier Combat Mission games, yet it also includes useful new commands and a graphics upgrade. The result is that the series continues to set the standard in tactical wargames.
Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Jeffrey Paulding is a lifelong student of military history and science. He has been playing wargames since he was a child.
Originally published in the March 2013 issue of Armchair General.