Historically, wargames have been developed and played to train officers and to test war plans. The testing of war plans by wargames was used extensively by the Germans in the first half of the 20th century. After World War II, the technique of employing wargames as an analytic tool was developed in an attempt to answer military questions pertaining to the battlefields of the future. With the advent of computers, wargamers acquired a tool that permitted more comprehensive and complex games to be played.

Panzer Combat II is a miniature wargame of World War II ground combat that can be played computer-assisted. The software can be downloaded from What else do you need to play? The miniatures of course! And a gaming terrain.

The game is suitable for different scales as distances are expressed in distance units. A distance unit corresponds to the length of a medium tank like the Sherman tank, or 5 meters in real world.

I recommend the 1:48 scale however, which recently found renewed interest from manufactures like Tamiyatm and Gaso.linetm. In this scale a distance unit roughly corresponds to 10 cm. A wooded and hilly gaming terrain of 2 meters or more is required at this scale. The gaming terrain can be as simple as a piece of carpet with some books under it and stones on it to simulate hills and rocks. Add miniature houses, trees and painted rivers in order to improve gaming experience. Why not play outside? Panzer Combat II is available on both Windows and Mac OS X. I recommend the Acer Iconia Windows 7 tablet for playing outside.

In contrast with a computer wargame, Panzer Combat II does not recreate the battlefield inside the computer. It uses the computer as a game master by storing the unit characteristics and applying the game rules. It tracks unit status and distances and animates the game with sounds and voice. The game is webcam enabled meaning that shooting is resolved with computer vision. The external webcam is placed behind the unit selected for action (third-person shooter) and aims at the target unit. Object detection algorithms allow to estimate the distance to the target and to resolve fire damage.

Panzer Combat II computer assisted wargame Furthermore you can play PanzerCombat II with 2 tablets or portables. At start-up Panzer Combat II checks for other computers running Panzer Combat II on the same network. The first computer to start the game transfers the selected units of both camps to the other computer. From that moment game actions can be performed indifferently on both computers : both will remain in sync.

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In the video game industry, "wargames" are considered a subgenre of strategy game that emphasizes strategic or tactical warfare on a map. These wargames generally take one of four archetypal forms, depending on whether the game is turn-based or real-time and whether the game's focus is upon military strategy or tactics.

[edit] Comparison with traditional versions

On the right is a small vertical panel witch icons and a small map. The remaining three quarters of the screen is a digital depiction of grass plain, with black and grey areas to represent unexplored regions. Three metallic looking buildings are placed on the plain, surrounded by military vehicles and personel. Certain units have gauges above them, representing their state of damage.
Panzer Combat II is a computer-asssited wargame of World War II ground combat.

Many contemporary computer strategy games can be considered wargames, in the sense that they are a simulation of warfare on some level. The mechanics and language have little in common with board and miniature games, but the general subject matter is popular. That said, most war-themed computer and video games are generally not considered wargames by the wargaming hobby. This usually occurs because of if there is a perception that slavish attention to 'realism' it will cause a game to be rejected as 'uninteresting' or boring so the mass-market video games tend to be easier to get into, and quick to play.