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Naval War: Arctic Circle

The action in Naval War: Arctic Circle takes place in the near future in the waters off the coast of  Northern Europe and in the Arctic Circle. Gamers fight real-time air, sea and undersea battles, controlling the aircraft and ships individually or grouping them into small formations. Finding the enemy first is essential, and sonar and radar aid players greatly in their attempts to win at this cat-and-mouse game.

Once the fighting begins, each missile and torpedo fired is tracked individually. Aerial combat dominates the game and occurs in rapid succession, while ships and subs are key units but take forever to get into position, even with time compression. Most of the action and movements are shown on the 2-D command and control screen, but a 3-D option provides a bird’s-eye view of the units and combat.

Naval War: Arctic Circle does not allow players to save a game in progress or even pause the action, which can be a bit exasperating. However, it boasts a solid game engine that accurately simulates all the factors of modern naval warfare, so it may provide just the challenge naval war junkies are looking for.


Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear

Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear is a computerized version of a board game by the same name covering the first two years of World War II in the East. The original game mechanics are faithfully reproduced via the computer, saving players the burden of having to remember the rules.

In this turn-based, tactical-level game, players control squads and vehicles on a stylized 3-D hex grid, either moving units one hex at a time or firing until all action points are depleted. Special action cards spice up this routine. Combat results are derived from the roll of a pair of dice (as in the board game), and there’s even a provision to capture actual dice rolls through a web cam.

For those who liked the well-thought-out Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear board game, this computerized version may increase the enjoyment, as the computer handles the line of sight, movement and combat calculations effortlessly. For those not familiar with the original game, this version will be a throwback to an earlier, less sophisticated genre of computer gaming.


 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 January 2013 issue of Armchair General.