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War games

"War is too serious a matter to entrust to military men."
~ Georges Clemenceau, French premier during World War I.

Coming attractions Most games on this page will soon become available for sale via PayPal.

One useful tool to educate people on how wars are fought is wargaming, or "conflict simulation." The following games which I designed over the years are in widely varying stages of completion. In some cases only a map is available, while in other cases, the game sets include a map, counters, and rules. Most of them have not been adequately play-tested. They are listed in reverse chronological order according to when I designed them. Note that the Western Front map is being revised extensively, as explained below. Anyone who is interested in obtaining a copy of one or more of these games may contact me at All of the maps shown on this page are rendered at the same scale, one-eighth of the vertical and horizontal dimensions, or 1/64th of the total area of the original. The full-size versions cover from two to eight full sheets of letter-size paper.

Roll mouse cursor over counter image to see a close up.

Wars in the Gulf:
Iran-Iraq, Desert Storm, and Iraqi Freedom

Gulf Wars map

COMPLEXITY: Difficult?
STATUS: Map & counters

Gulf Wars counters

This is a major revision to "Operation Desert Storm," which I created in 1991. Only a few weeks after I began graduate studies at the University of Virginia, Saddam Hussein conquered Kuwait, an unprecedented challenge to the United Nations. As U.S. forces were deployed to the region, I began working on a map and game to keep track of what was going on. The game has extensive rules on air power, ballistic missile attacks, as well as nuclear, chemical, and biological (NBC) warfare. Politics, diplomacy, and national morale also play a critical role in the game. The major historical campaign scenarios are:


Operation Enduring Freedom:
The U.S. crusade in Afghanistan

Afghanistan map

STATUS: Map only
(rules available from Paul Haase)

This brigade/battalion-level game turned into a sort of collaborative effort with another war game enthusiast, Paul Haase. I made the map in the weeks after the September 11 attacks, as it became clear that the United States was going to intervene militarily against the radical Islamic Taliban government and the associated Al Qaeda terrorist movement, which had bases there. After making an inquiry with the Web site (managed by Alan Poulter and others), I learned that another person had already devised rules for a U.S. intervention scenario, Mr. Paul Haase. His rules were a modification of the Holy War game published by Strategy and Tactics in 1988 or so, covering the resistance by mujaheddin guerrillas to the Soviet occupation forces during the 1980s. Since the map scale of that game was almost the same as the map I drew, the rules are suited for the map I made, which could also be used for a 1980s scenario, with some modifications. An important feature of this map is that each hex is numbered so that the Taliban player can conceal the deployments of his units by writing down orders, and placing "dummy" or "ersatz" counters on the map. The real world war turned out to be something of an anti-climax, however, as the Taliban regime quickly folded and Al Qaeda militants melted away into caves and/or fled abroad.

Serbs Against the World:
Wars in Yugoslavia, 1912-1999

Yugoslavia map

STATUS: Map only

The bloody Balkans are often ignored, but there have been many fascinating military campaigns there over the years, dating back at least to the Battle of Kosovo in 1389, when the Ottoman Turks crushed the Serbs. This game covers the entire 20th century, which necessitates certain special rules to cover changes in railoads and highways. It is on the division/brigade level. The historical campaign scenarios in this game are:


Battle of the Bulge

Bulge map

STATUS: Map & counters

Bulge counters

LEVEL: Division/brigade Almost everyone knows about Germany's last big offensive in World War II, including the fact that it was a long shot: Everything had to go according to plan, or else all was lost. Thus, the main historical question is to what extent the Western Allies would be delayed in their conquest of Germany. A German "victory" in this game would translate into greater Soviet control over postwar Germany. In the game, the German player chooses how much of Germany's precious armored reserve forces to commit to the offensive. The more forces he commits, the higher are the conditions he must achieve to "win." For example, if the German player chooses to repeat history, "going for broke" like Hitler did, he would have to capture the port city of Antwerp to win the game. If he chooses a strategic "feint," on the other hand, he might win simply by inducing the Allied player to redeploy a large enough number of forces from General Montgomery's Second British Army and General Patton's Third U.S. Army to the Ardennes region.

The Korean Wars

Korea map

STATUS: Nearly complete

Korea counters

"Wars" PLURAL? This division/brigade-level game not only covers "the forgotten war" of the early 1950s, but also includes rules for a hypothetical contemporary scenario. It illustrates just how dynamic and dramatic the original Korean "police action" was. Weather, air power, and morale all play crucial roles in this see-saw contest. Reflecting the geopolitical constraints under which the war was fought -- neither side wanted to risk an all-out nuclear war -- the general object of the game is to gain control of as many cities as possible. Each space ("hex") measures almost 15 miles across. Each turn represents about one week of real time; there are four turns every month. There are four scenarios:


Western Front:
Germany vs. the Allies, 1914-1945

Western Front map

STATUS: Nearly complete

Western Front counters

This is the "mother of all war games," covering four separate major military campaigns that were fought in Western Europe during World Wars One and Two. One player controls the armed forces of Germany, and the other plays the supreme commander of the Western Allies' forces. It is on the division / brigade level; Each turn represents about one week of real time; there are four turns every month. Each space (hex) measures 13 miles across. Logistics are a key factor in all scenarios. The game focuses on land warfare, but includes air forces as an option if more than two players participate. The rules on logistics, transporation, and command make this game very realistic, but would be quite challenging for a novice. Players may experiment with hypothetical scenarios, such as a war to save Czechoslovakia in 1938 or an early Allied invasion of France in 1943. The major historical campaign scenarios are:

Operation Barbarossa:
The German invasion of Russia, 1941

Barbarossa Map

STATUS: Nearly complete

Barbarossa counters

This game is derived from the first war game I ever designed, back in the mid-1970s. It was originally on the corps/division level, but that was too unwieldy, and not nearly as playable as SPI's Barbarossa game. I adapted certain modifications to that game over the years, and ultimately decided to use my Macintosh computer to completely redo the rather mediocre map. Thus, this game cannot claim to be a true original, even though the original version I did WAS original. In terms of game mechanics, the major innovation for which I claim credit is the integrated movement/combat phase, which allows mechanized units to repeatedly move and attack within a single turn. That accurately represents the sudden breakthrough attacks of German panzer forces, which Soviet tank armies gradually mastered as the war dragged on. The major historical campaign scenarios are:

Germany 1985:
The War That Never Was

West Germany map

STATUS: Semi-complete

Germany 1985 counters

NOTE: The map shown here has been completely redone. Also, the name has been changed from "Invasion West Germany." This attempt to anticipate a NATO vs. Warsaw Pact World War III showdown was the first original game I ever created on my Macintosh Plus computer. It became obsolete not long after I made it, however, as the Berlin Wall fell in November 1989. I used as a reference the books The Third World War by General Sir John Hackett, and Red Storm Rising by Tom Clancy. It is on the division/brigade level, and includes a variety of hypothetical scenarios, which thank goodness never came to pass.

NOTE: All of the pre-2000 war game maps were created with GraphicWorks 1.1, a very capable (though slightly buggy) graphics program that is no longer published. With it, I actually created COLOR maps on my ancient Mac Plus, which has a black & white screen! The Afghanistan and Iraq maps were made with ClarisWorks/AppleWorks on my iMac computer. The rest of the maps -- Battle of the Bulge, Western Front, Operation Barbarossa, The Korean Wars, and Germany 1985 -- were done using GraphicConverter, based on older versions using either GraphicWorks or ClarisWorks.