I am extremely pleased to announce the development of my first new computer wargame in over twenty years: General Staff. The decision to write a new wargame came about because I simply couldn’t find a computer wargame that I wanted to play. Yes, I know, there are dozens – if not hundreds – of really good computer wargames out there; but none of them appealed to me at the moment.
Most computer wargames have taken advantage of the ability of the computer to handle scores of complex rules and hundreds of units. This often resulted – and I want to make clear that as a designer I was also guilty of this – in massive wargames that weren’t all that fun to play. Sure, they were incredibly accurate. Indeed, I would market my wargames as simulations; because that’s what they were. And, truth be told, they were as good, if not better, than many computer simulations currently used by the world’s largest armies, Defense departments and ministries.
However, what I was looking for was something simple and fun. When I taught Computer Game Design at the University of Iowa I would tell my students that these kind of games were sometimes referred to as, “Beer & Skittles” games. They were simple, fun and addictive. Yes, I wanted to think (I didn’t want just a twitch game). I wanted something strategic or tactical; but I certainly didn’t want to get involved in micro-management of logistics, factory production and national will. I just wanted to have fun.
About this time I read an article about wargaming in Nautilus magazine. The one thing that caught my eye was an illustration for the article of Kriegsspiel. Kriegsspiel was a wargame invented in 1824 and used by the Prussian staff for training. A very good article about the original Kriegsspiel can be found here. It has been recreated from time to time and I recently found this picture of a modern version.
I don’t think there’s been a modern computer version done of Kriegsspiel; at least I haven’t been able to find one. So I decided to create it.
This blog will be about the development of General Staff. Your comments and questions will be greatly appreciated.