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Subject: WWIII then and now, are we missing some cool gaming? rss

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Kev.
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Is it just me or is there a dearth of WWIII titles that cover the 80's in a current global/theatre based strategy format?

I just acquired The Third World War, and read this very cool AAR:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/730126/third-world-war-i...


These guys got it going on and having some fun.

I'm excited to play this one!

There is of course Next War, some say its un playable, other wish it covered a larger theatre, other still love it.

I understand a fairly serious Doomsday Project (80-90's theme) is being pursued by Stark Weather! Thats got potential!

There are some fun accessible games from LNL set in the '80s, which use an alt history approach to engage some new countries. This approach has generated passionate voices on both sides. Wether you like it or not is one thing.

What you cannot deny is that the modding community jumped on this one hardcore! Expansions, new countries from Taiwan to Greece. Dozens of scenarios, and the odd crazy October weirdness War of the Worlds space craft....Like I said passionate.

I for one would like to see a new WWIII title. One that is global in scope, either as a series of connectable modules or one big bad boy? I dont know.


Which makes me wonder if the current events / circumstances, are not ripe for a deeply rewarding and rich playing Geo Political WWIII military game?

What is there that is in production or development that covers WWIII (in the traditional sense (Cold War Era) and are there any games out there that are in development to cater to current events?



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I don't know nothing about WWIII, but I'm waiting for WWIV!!
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J Fro
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Lock N Load just posted that WW3 grand strategy was the number one choice given some option in a poll on Facebook
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My guess is a dedicated wargamer will want some degree of geo-political accuracy. The current situation may not provide a balanced game. But, it would not be difficult to design a game where the current political situation is used as a nidus for a balanced global theater game. My guess would probably be Europe/US/Japan/ANZAC/Israel vs. China/Iran-dominated Mideast/Russia. A designer could create a believable narrative to create a balanced WWIII.
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hqbwk wrote:
A designer could create a believable narrative to create a balanced WWIII.

And why would it have to be balanced? Isn't that kind of a gamey concept?
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Patrick Carroll wrote:
hqbwk wrote:
A designer could create a believable narrative to create a balanced WWIII.

And why would it have to be balanced? Isn't that kind of a gamey concept?


Because balance is a generally desirable feature (which shouldn't be confused with asymmetry, of course), and if you're going to get to make up a hypothetical scenario, you might as well do one that's balanced.
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patton1138 wrote:
Patrick Carroll wrote:
hqbwk wrote:
A designer could create a believable narrative to create a balanced WWIII.

And why would it have to be balanced? Isn't that kind of a gamey concept?

Because balance is a generally desirable feature (which shouldn't be confused with asymmetry, of course), and if you're going to get to make up a hypothetical scenario, you might as well do one that's balanced.

Oh, no. The only important thing is that the game accurately simulate the real WW3 in every respect.

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Mike Windsor
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The problem with a WWIII game today is figuring out what the combatants are fighting over. There might be a number of limited war situations, but its hard to imagine any of the bigger players wanting to or having the ability to invade any of the others.
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mwindsor wrote:
The problem with a WWIII game today is figuring out what the combatants are fighting over. There might be a number of limited war situations, but its hard to imagine any of the bigger players wanting to or having the ability to invade any of the others.

Maybe the bigger players are involved in a vast, subtle game of Monopoly: Whoever goes bankrupt first gets blamed for collapsing the global economy and is invaded by the other(s).
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Im waiting for World War Z!
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I've been wanting to play Third World War for a long time. I like the multi-front concept, and I would like it better if it had a World in Flames style political influence system.
For instance, invading on all fronts by the Soviet player would put the US player off balance, but would involve a more difficult victory condition.
Some sides should be neutral and capable of siding with whichever faction is most advantageous at the time, such as China and every middle eastern country.

A rule I would like: If the Soviets reach the Rhine and control all of its major cities by the end of the first summer, France has to commit to NATO and China has to intervene if Allies forces take control of anything in Asia.
This would make it interesting because capturing Vladivostok or Cam Ran Bay may be necessary and decisively influence Naval superiority towards the allies, but would force them to fight a much larger land war. This would effectively make the game better than a simple REFORGER style defend and counterattack in Europe.
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mwindsor wrote:
The problem with a WWIII game today is figuring out what the combatants are fighting over.
I agree. The very idea of WWIII smacks of the 20th Century.

I could be interesting, though, if the changed according to decade. The countries or at least their influence would certainly change from the 50s to 60s to 70s to 80s to 90s.

After all, nightmares of WWIII have everything to do with 20th Century hardware. Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001 – ? may be the 21st Century version of WWIII!
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J Fro
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I think you could postulate that a WW3 game could be made out of a possible downfall of the Eurozone and a resurgence of nation states in Europe.
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mwindsor wrote:
The problem with a WWIII game today is figuring out what the combatants are fighting over. There might be a number of limited war situations, but its hard to imagine any of the bigger players wanting to or having the ability to invade any of the others.



As far as the GDW game is concerned this is amply dealt with in the copious players notes supplied with the games...the designer has deliberately scripted a perfectly believable premise for the situation if you need that kind of thing to get 'in the mood'...I know I do...
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Seth Owen
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There's a surprising number of games premised on a mid-1980s World War III, and not all of them are from the 1980s, either.

A 21st century World War III is a lot harder to come up with a believable premise for. As someone mentioned, Global state vs. state warfare is so 20th Century. Been there, done that.

The basic problem is that militarily speaking, the United States is so freaking dominating that the only way to have a competitive game is postulate the entire world ganging up on the US all at once. While you can come up with a sci fi game with such a premise, it's pretty hard to Come up with one that's based even loosely on the current situation. Not only does the US have more military capability alone than the rest of the world put together, most of the next dozen or so powers are all US allies as well.

This is not to say that the US is invincible. History shows that it's hard for even a hegemonic superpower to win local low-intensity wars at anything resembling an acceptable cost. BUT if you're taking about global conventional warfare then it's a different story and it's just not possible to craft a credible storyline. Even 1980s World War 3 games usually had to cut the Warsaw Pact some questionable breaks in order to even things up a bit. (For example, the games almost always end after a few weeks of fighting, which would be the USSR's dream scenario. It's like a World War II game that assessed victory after the Polish or French campaigns. In reality, of course, the longer the war went on the greater impact the economic preponderance of NATO would come into play. The Warsaw Pact was in a much weaker position vs. NATO and associated powers than the Axis were against the Allies. It's very hard to imagine a situation where the US would accept a Soviet victory in Europe.)
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wargamer55 wrote:
There's a surprising number of games premised on a mid-1980s World War III, and not all of them are from the 1980s, either.

A 21st century World War III is a lot harder to come up with a believable premise for. As someone mentioned, Global state vs. state warfare is so 20th Century. Been there, done that.

The basic problem is that militarily speaking, the United States is so freaking dominating that the only way to have a competitive game is postulate the entire world ganging up on the US all at once. While you can come up with a sci fi game with such a premise, it's pretty hard to Come up with one that's based even loosely on the current situation. Not only does the US have more military capability alone than the rest of the world put together, most of the next dozen or so powers are all US allies as well.

This is not to say that the US is invincible. History shows that it's hard for even a hegemonic superpower to win local low-intensity wars at anything resembling an acceptable cost. BUT if you're taking about global conventional warfare then it's a different story and it's just not possible to craft a credible storyline. Even 1980s World War 3 games usually had to cut the Warsaw Pact some questionable breaks in order to even things up a bit. (For example, the games almost always end after a few weeks of fighting, which would be the USSR's dream scenario. It's like a World War II game that assessed victory after the Polish or French campaigns. In reality, of course, the longer the war went on the greater impact the economic preponderance of NATO would come into play. The Warsaw Pact was in a much weaker position vs. NATO and associated powers than the Axis were against the Allies. It's very hard to imagine a situation where the US would accept a Soviet victory in Europe.)


Although I posted this , I cant agree with really any of your comments.
When was the last WWII global strategy game published?
so the been there done that with modern mechanics is not over done. Especially compared to the once a week release/release/reboot of the bloody Eastern Front...enuff already my Proud Monster of No retreat....sigh.
So my question was, IS the WWIII of the feared 20th C Cold War something that could be done/rebooted/re thought into a compelling game?

If you play Team Yankee then play LocknLoads Heros of the Gap. Two very different playing games, but the devastation of WWIII hardware is more finely tuned in the weapon systems and mechanics of the games. Same too for the WWIII themed World at War for that matter.

If someone took a similar approach with mechanics/card play/geo political systems / CRT and made a new game, would that be FREAKING AWESOME? or just been there did it 20 yrs ago?

I'd like a situation where the game might unfold unpredictably due to card pulls, or factors based on play....What if Poland became the combat ground of Europe for some reason ?
Or Turkey rose to prominence in the Muslim sector and threatened Russian hegemony in the area?
What if China and the USA really went at it? where would that unfold? Africa? At sea?

Of course a believable story is possible. My Goodness, look at the last 24 months on mayhem in the world. you really feel good about it? You expected it? You knew Egypt would implode, that Libya would change its stripes yet again? That Brasil would become a powerful Sth American force.

I feel like that if a writer or a designer put an effort into even a 1/2 arsed story you would have to be a curmudgeon to not at least give the story the benefit of the doubt.

As for what happened in in the war that never happened, we will never know, so your version is as good as anyone elses. You cannot prove otherwise. Its all conjecture, like most of the commentary on BGG.

WWIII - with modern gaming mechanics, set in the 20th or the 21st C either sound appealing to me!

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jfro wrote:
I think you could postulate that a WW3 game could be made out of a possible downfall of the Eurozone and a resurgence of nation states in Europe.

bingo...or w.e.
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hipshot wrote:


Although I posted this , I cant agree with really any of your comments.

If someone took a similar approach with mechanics/card play/geo political systems / CRT and made a new game, would that be FREAKING AWESOME? or just been there did it 20 yrs ago?

I'd like a situation where the game might unfold unpredictably due to card pulls, or factors based on play....What if Poland became the combat ground of Europe for some reason ?
Or Turkey rose to prominence in the Muslim sector and threatened Russian hegemony in the area?
What if China and the USA really went at it? where would that unfold? Africa? At sea?

Of course a believable story is possible. My Goodness, look at the last 24 months on mayhem in the world. you really feel good about it? You expected it? You knew Egypt would implode, that Libya would change its stripes yet again? That Brasil would become a powerful Sth American force.

I feel like that if a writer or a designer put an effort into even a 1/2 arsed story you would have to be a curmudgeon to not at least give the story the benefit of the doubt.



Hey, like I said, in Science Fiction anything can happen. You can have Martians join up with the Chinese and give them some death rays and maybe Godzilla, too. Whatever floats your boat.

On the other hand, if you want to come up with a story halfway grounded in reality (like the 20th Century WWIII games were) then you have a problem when it comes to the 21st Century.

Yeah, what if China and the US went at it. You have an interesting regional war and someone has even done a game on the topic recently -- Red Dragon Rising: The Coming War With China. But it's hardly a World War III situation or a global war and that's what I thought we were talking about.

Turkey threatening Russia!? Laughable. Turkey hasn't been able to threaten Russia in almost two centuries, man. Turkey is a local power that is not even in the same league as Russia, even the cut-down Russia of 2011.

Brazil!?! Even more laughable. First off, what possible (non-science fiction) basis would there be for a conflict between Brazil and the USA in the first place? Secondly the Brazilian defense budget is around $28 billion. The US defense budget is over $687 billion -- 24 times bigger!. Even if Brazil tripled its defense spending to match the level of US effort it would be outspent 8 to 1! And the gap in actual military capability is far larger than the raw spending would indicate. It's simply silly.

The 20th Century World War III games were based on an actual conflict between nation states who perceived themselves as having differences worth fighting over, if it came to that. The 20th Century World War III wargames were based on actual competing alliances where the two sides were at least in the same ballpark as far as military potential goes. A global war was considered possible and was actually prepared for in the years between 1948 and 1989. There's simply nothing comparable to that situation imaginable in today's geopolitical reality. Even a war between the No. 1 power (USA) and No. 2 power (China) would be, at most, a regional war (albeit a very big and dangerous one). China simply does not have a global reach and is still at least a generation from having it. Yeah, you might create a credible World War III game set in 2050 with imaginative writing, but not 2020.
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wargamer55 wrote:
hipshot wrote:


Although I posted this , I cant agree with really any of your comments.

If someone took a similar approach with mechanics/card play/geo political systems / CRT and made a new game, would that be FREAKING AWESOME? or just been there did it 20 yrs ago?

I'd like a situation where the game might unfold unpredictably due to card pulls, or factors based on play....What if Poland became the combat ground of Europe for some reason ?
Or Turkey rose to prominence in the Muslim sector and threatened Russian hegemony in the area?
What if China and the USA really went at it? where would that unfold? Africa? At sea?

Of course a believable story is possible. My Goodness, look at the last 24 months on mayhem in the world. you really feel good about it? You expected it? You knew Egypt would implode, that Libya would change its stripes yet again? That Brasil would become a powerful Sth American force.

I feel like that if a writer or a designer put an effort into even a 1/2 arsed story you would have to be a curmudgeon to not at least give the story the benefit of the doubt.



Hey, like I said, in Science Fiction anything can happen. You can have Martians join up with the Chinese and give them some death rays and maybe Godzilla, too. Whatever floats your boat.

On the other hand, if you want to come up with a story halfway grounded in reality (like the 20th Century WWIII games were) then you have a problem when it comes to the 21st Century.

Yeah, what if China and the US went at it. You have an interesting regional war and someone has even done a game on the topic recently -- Red Dragon Rising: The Coming War With China. But it's hardly a World War III situation or a global war and that's what I thought we were talking about.

Turkey threatening Russia!? Laughable. Turkey hasn't been able to threaten Russia in almost two centuries, man. Turkey is a local power that is not even in the same league as Russia, even the cut-down Russia of 2011.

Brazil!?! Even more laughable. First off, what possible (non-science fiction) basis would there be for a conflict between Brazil and the USA in the first place? Secondly the Brazilian defense budget is around $28 billion. The US defense budget is over $687 billion -- 24 times bigger!. Even if Brazil tripled its defense spending to match the level of US effort it would be outspent 8 to 1! And the gap in actual military capability is far larger than the raw spending would indicate. It's simply silly.

The 20th Century World War III games were based on an actual conflict between nation states who perceived themselves as having differences worth fighting over, if it came to that. The 20th Century World War III wargames were based on actual competing alliances where the two sides were at least in the same ballpark as far as military potential goes. A global war was considered possible and was actually prepared for in the years between 1948 and 1989. There's simply nothing comparable to that situation imaginable in today's geopolitical reality. Even a war between the No. 1 power (USA) and No. 2 power (China) would be, at most, a regional war (albeit a very big and dangerous one). China simply does not have a global reach and is still at least a generation from having it. Yeah, you might create a credible World War III game set in 2050 with imaginative writing, but not 2020.


Read the next 200 years.
Then talk about Turkey. I did not say Turkey would threaten Russia, that locations like Poland and Turkey become important.
Brasil as a regional player could impact decision making, given regional instabilty down there....I've spent the last 3 yrs in and out of every major country down there, I did not say they would 'invade' the usa that is laughable.
agree on your point about regional-ization of a China/US conflict.
...well I shall read the rest of your post in the am . its late here. Great points thanks for sharing
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Interesting topic.

Quote:
The basic problem is that militarily speaking, the United States is so freaking dominating that the only way to have a competitive game is postulate the entire world ganging up on the US all at once. While you can come up with a sci fi game with such a premise, it's pretty hard to Come up with one that's based even loosely on the current situation...


Good analysis.

However, having military capacity and having the will to use it are two different things.

I made a few predictions with my Sword of the Prophet prototype 5 or 6 years ago. Most of the stuff hasn't happened yet and probably never will.

One of these predictions was a decline in the political will required to get the US involved in regional conflicts. There are four factions in the scenario (China plus Chinese allies in Africa, Russia, the Islamic nations, and a coaltion that included Britain, Japan, Australia, Ukraine, and the USA) and America was a minor partner in the alliance.

The map covered Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia but the conflicts took place between powers along the fringes each players domain. It wasn't a truly global war, but rather a series of smaller struggles like the Seven Years War.



The problem with creating WWIII games is complex, but in the 21st century it is cheaper to undermine an enemy with economic power than crush him with military power. Why should China invade Taiwan when they'll probably get it anyway in another decade? They're a patient civilization; they can wait.
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Seth is right on. One could imagine myriad scenarios, but none would be WWIII — at least not a compelling WWIII scenario.

The reason why WWIII games died out is that the Cold War ended. Why does that matter? Because for many wargamers, if a conflict never happened and has no chance of happening, they aren't interested. WWIII was popular during the Cold War because it was a perceived possibility. Once it ended, it was no longer a possibility. Thus, a large proportion of the demographic lost interest.

Thus, if you were to make a 21st century WWIII game that was completely unrealistic in the scenario it presupposes, you're going to encounter the same problem: a relative lack of interest among the demographic.
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Another possibility:

A warlike 21st century version of Pax Britannica with China, India, Brasil, the EU, the USA, Russia, Japan, the Islamic nations, etc.

Imperial 2030 nibbles around the edges of the Pax concept but this extremely interesting title isn't a true wargame.

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I have pretty much zero interest in WWIII scenarios/games, but you all's discussion is quite compelling. To answer Kevin;s op, yes I think you could use current war game mechanics to generate an interesting global WWIII game based on the 20th century geo-political situation. I agree with those who say that how much interest it would generate today may be limited.
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pete belli wrote:

Imperial 2030 nibbles around the edges of the Pax concept but this extremely interesting title isn't a true wargame.


Even more : if you treat it as a wargame, i.e. start thinking about defending or expanding "your" country you start with, you're sure to lose this game as it's is all about smart investing, noticing from where the wind blows and making sure you get your cut. Oh, and getting the Swiss banks on your side at the right time. Freakishly like the Real World (tm) actually.
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