Grand Strategy Games
Supremacy is a Grand Strategy Game. One of our favorite types. What is that? Mostly a matter of scale. A Grand Strategy wargame is the biggest scale. We aren’t talking brigades, divisions or even the entire theater of operations. We are talking the whole freaking war!! Yes…. Release your own inner megalomaniac. You know you want to. 😉
When playing smaller scale games, I always wonder: Why are we fighting this battle? I don’t want to fight here under these terms. Why don’t we fight somewhere else? Grand Strategic games give you that choice. They let you make the BIG decisions. In addition, you are also in charge of the economy. How best to grow the best military industrial complex? What do we build? Land, air or naval forces? Infantry or Armor? Aircraft carriers or boomers? Do we invest in technology? Economic growth? How much? What about energy? How do we secure our source of oil? How do we restrict enemy access to this?
On top of all that, we have politics. In wargames, I often feel that the war has already been won and lost before we begin. This is really where things happen. Once Nazi Germany was at war simultaneously with the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States, the war was over really. It took several years to grind out the inevitable tactical results in the field. A politically negotiated peace with any one of those powers would have turned things around. Clausewitz and Sun Tzu both talked about this. “War is merely the continuation of political conflict through violent means.” -something to that affect.
One of the primary attractions of wargames, is to explore “what if?” What if Stonewall Jackson was at Gettysburg? What if the Germans won the Battle of the Bulge? Forget Stonewall Jackson. What if the British joined the Confederacy and declared war on the Union? What if the US stayed neutral for another year in WWII? Now we’re talking. THAT’s how you win wars. The big stuff. Grand Strategic games allow you to explore these big options. Things that would have made huge differences in outcomes. As a result, you are likely to end up on very non-historical paths.
Some complain that Grand Strategic games aren’t very realistic. This is often true but it doesn’t have to be. I have seen Grand Strategic games that are very realistic. It always strikes me that the people that make this claim usually play games like: Advanced Squad Leader. Really? By what measure? How do you define realism? Realism of what? Do NCO’s spend their time looking up firepower factors and comparing them to armor thickness ratings and odds charts in the middle of a fire fight? What is the game trying to model? How weapon systems compare or how military leadership and command functions? How economies and political systems interact? Grand Strategic games can be very realistic, at what they do. At what they model. At the scale they represent it. All too often, people equate realism with complexity.
We believe complexity is more an indication of lazy and uninspired design work than of realism. Again, all this mostly boils down to a matter of scale. What do you want to learn? What role do you want to play? Who do you want to be? A soldier in the trenches? An NCO? A mid grade officer? Or the top political, economic and military leaders running the whole war? A worker, a middle manager or an executive? Grand Strategic games put you at the top!