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The Operational Art of War–Volume 1: 1939-1955, a Windows CD-ROM (Pentium, 16MB RAM) available from TalonSoft Software for $54.95.

The Operational Art of War–Volume 1: 1939-1955, created by noted designer Norm Koger, is one of the most powerful military simulations yet produced. Essentially two separate systems, it is both a game and a scenario designer. Players have a high level of control over units, from company to corps level, with a wide array of command choices.

A unique element of the game is its fluid turn system. Instead of fixed phases for movement and combat, players can resolve attacks at any point in their turn, reacting in a more realistic way to situations as they develop. The game has good graphics, although the main map can be difficult to navigate. Units are represented by “counters” using standard military symbols, which beginners may find confusing. Scenarios included are World War II, Korea, Middle East and hypothetical East-West conflicts.

The scenario editor is extensive, enabling the user to re-create almost any historical or “what if” engagement of the period. The manual and online help system is thorough, but scenario creation requires research and preparation. The Operational Art of War may not be for novices, but for the serious wargamer and military history buff, this game is definitely a must-have.

Michael Breen