Sales mean a whole lot more in this niche of a niche. Wargaming is not a cheap endeavor, but with the Christmas season nearing ever so closer and black Friday right across the stress, every videogame publisher out there is salivating for your attention. I’ve compiled a list of the best wargames on sale right now and where you can get them. This list heavily draws from my 100 Amazing Steam Summer Sale Recommendations but has been adapted to include other stores. Matrix is running a sale of up to 90% off and Steam is running its Autumn sale too.
The games are displayed by price, from lowest to highest. If you have some suggestions, please place them in the comments for everyone to see. Thanks!
Stronghold HD – 0,99 € – Become a Lord, build your own castle and wrestle your opponents for control of the British Isles. One of my most played games ever, just about perfect in every way possible. It’s even cheaper than last time it went on sale. Go get it.
Battle Academy – 1,49 € – Never played a wargame before but getting ready to jump into the grog-habitat? Have a go with Battle Academy, the friendliest of wargames. Battle Academy deserves a spot in every strategy pundit library and for less than a cheap, unhealthy breakfast, there’s really no excuse.
Blitzkrieg 2 Anthology – 1,49 € – There’s just something fascinating about the honest brutality in which the Blitzkrieg franchise depicts warfare. Tanks and arty reign supreme, infantry is just meat for the grinder. 1 and 2 are still great throwback experiences. It might be old, but it’s still a nugget of nostalgia gold.
Radio Commander- Complete Edition – 2,21 € – It seems such an obvious concept that it boggles the mind on how it was never done before. Use the radio to command the soldiers fighting in the front lines. Use only their voice lines to keep track of what’s going on and to delegate new tasks and orders. Don’t skip on this one, it’s too good, even if it cost 9,99 but at 2,18 it’s just a steal.
Vietnam ’65 – 2,49 € – Not old yet but already showing signs of white hairs and balding spots, Vietnam ’65 is one of a couple of very select games that explore the concept of COIN doctrine.
Unity of Command Trilogy Bundle – 2,49 € – The original UoC was more puzzle-like than UoCII but this is a good entry nonetheless. Buy only if you don’t mind replaying missions all over again until you find the perfect solution.
Ultimate General: Gettysburg – 3,74 € – The first game from Game Labs focusing exclusively on the bloody battle of Gettysburg. A lot of “what-if scenarios”, detailed units, and a very slick design.
Brothers in Arms Hell’s Highway – 3,99 € – The last piece in the B.i.A series, a visual treat when it came out all the way back to 2008 and it remains beautiful to this day. Play through the Market Garden misadventures of the 101st Airborne Division. An FPS that turns third person when in cover makes for some cinematic, movie-like pew-pew akin to Saving Private Ryan. Coordinate your fire teams to suppress your enemies and flank them for ultimate victory. Interesting character development and set pieces carry the campaign.
Red Orchestra 2 – 4,49 € – A dying game for sure but one whose depiction of the battles in the Eastern Front is so memorable that it deserves a last great chance before fading into oblivion. I have very fond memories of fighting in Stalingrad. I bet you didn’t expect to read that one.
Panzer Corps Gold – 4,99 € – It’s Panzer General but new-ish! Panzer Corps II is already out and less aware customers might be tempted to get it. Allow me to steer you back into the first one. The Gold Edition has hundreds of detailed scenarios and units, covering pretty much every aspect of the war from accurate, real-life events to “what if” scenarios such as “Sea Lion” (Invasion of the British Isles by Germany) but the amount for the amount of content avail
Atlantic Fleet – 4,99 € Fancy a chance at sinking the Bismark? Think your HMS Hood might not end up breaking in half? Atlantic Fleet is the cheapest way to put those armchair skills to the test. It’s loved by many for its simplicity and how easy it is to engage with its systems, putting the players in charge of both steering the ships and firing its main guns. The guys behind Atlantic Fleet development would move on to create the excellent Cold Waters (read more bellow).
XCOM: Enemy Unknown The Complete Edition– 5,99 € – The remake of the early 90’s turn-based darling. It alone reinvigorated the turn-based strategy genre by streamlining the management aspects of the meta-narrative and base-building and by making tactical battles more concise and less frustrating than it’s predecessor. Enemy Unknown can be directly credited as the game that brought an obscure genre into the spotlight. Having recently played it from beginning to end just a couple of months back, I can safely recommend XCOM. It’s as good as the day it came out. A game that influenced a generation of turn-based tactical game design. Buy this one before getting the second.
Wargame: Red Dragon – 5,99 € – Love it or hate it (or both, if you’re like me), the Wargame franchise from Eugen Systems is an unavoidable giant and its the third iteration finally managed to cram a decent campaign.
Radio General – 6,71 € – “The game is intense, loud, chaotic and stressful, perfectly capturing the feeling of helplessness of a commander relaying orders unto the front-line without actually being able to physically impact the fight going on on the ground.”
Sengoku Jidai: Shadow of the Shogun – 6,99 € – Another digital iconostasis of strategy accolades. This one focuses on the poorly explored period of the Sengoku Jidai. Its Japanese ink-like art style might not be everybody cup of sencha but other than Total War: Shogun 2, wanna-be Daimyos will struggle in finding a better option.
ARMA III– 6,99 € – The universal WarSim and Military Sandbox. Packing extremely realistic physics, sprawling maps, and a very dedicated modding community. With literally thousands of weapons and vehicles, an easy-to-learn real-time editor that allows you to modify your missions on the fly, Arma 3 stands as the Go-To-Shooter if you’re craving a life-like experience of modern combat without getting shot IRL.
IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad – 7,04 € – The best WW2 flight simulator around.
Field of Glory II – 6,99 € – A niche game for a niche audience. FoG is a fantastic turn-based tactical ancient and medieval battle generator. With nearly 100 different units, thousands of army lists, and an innate ability to recreate nearly 3000 years of warfare, FoG sits atop the turn-based Olympus. Its most recent iteration, Field of Glory II: Medieval is also fantastic. It is the lowest price I remember seeing it.
Pike and Shot: Campaigns – 8,87 € – It’s Sengoku Jidai but instead of 16th and 17th centuries Japan it’s not Europe. Thirty Years War? Check. English Civil War? Check. Early to late Renaissance tactics? Check. Twenty playable nations and more than a hundred battle lists should keep even the pickiest of historians occupied for a while.
Battle Academy 2: Eastern Front – 8,87 € – The friendliest of wargames goes to the Eastern Front.
Decisive Campaigns: The Blitzkrieg from Warsaw to Paris – 8,87 € – An operational-level World War II wargame that focuses solely on the first couple of years of the war and the German success across Poland and France. It’s a couple of steps above Panzer Corps and Unity of Command in terms of operational complexity but two steps below Gary Grigsby games. It’s getting old by now and its younger brother Decisive Campaigns: Barbarossa might captivate those looking for a more “political” take on the whole War.
Tank Warfare: Tunisia 1943 – 8,99 € – Tank Warfare is Graviteam Tactics absurdly detailed and complex tactical battles going into North Africa. Pick this one if the setting tickles your fancy more than the Eastern Front.
Unity of Command II – 9,99 € – Never got around to reviewing it but Unity of Command II is the successor to the 2012 classic, Unity of Command. Praised by critics and fans alike for its simple control scheme and UI, friendly-looking style, and easy-to-understand logistics mechanics.
Steel Division II – 9,99 € – Eugen Systems’ second attempt at the Second World War has panned out better than their landings at Normandy. Their second iteration brings a slower pace, a dynamic campaign mode called Army General, and takes all their Second World War hardware to the eastern front. Eugen has been expanding it ever since with new divisions, new campaigns, and maps. Also, it is the cheapest price I’ve ever seen on it.
Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm Player’s Edition – 13,33 € – The number of medals and accolades garnered by Flashpoint Campaigns over the years would put to shame even the most accomplished of soviet soldiers from the battle of Moscow. It’s a complex simulation of “Cold War went hot” that puts a twist into the turn-based formula by constantly shifting the time tables of each turn according to players Command, Control, and Communication stats.
Ultimate General: Civil War – 13,99 € – The successor to Ultimate General: Gettysburg, Civil War takes the muskets away from the pivotal battle for a tour across 19th century America at war. It’s very much the same game but expanded to encompass all the war. It also has a campaign/career mode.
Graviteam Tactics: Mius Front – 17,59 € – The ultimate World War II tactical experience with a 1:1 scale. No game does it better, not even Combat Mission. It’s hard to get into and it’s going to require some tutorial watching and manual reading but there’s nothing quite like it. Before playing this better learn how units will spend some time laying wires on the field, which squads are in shouting range, and which ones need radio contact to do their job. No line of communication? How will your artillery commander know when and where to fire? It’s that kind of game. And it’s better to go in with some understanding of WWII tactics and unit organization. Mius Front pulls no punches and it is marvelous.
Scourge of War: Waterloo – 17,93 – We’re on a roll. This one is the ultimate Waterloo tactical experience. It’s one of the most complex games ever created for the general public and the amount of detail in each individual regiment is awe-inspiring. There’s little abstraction going on, this is no Empire Total War level of a tactical battle. It’s awe-inspiring to watch literally dozens of thousands of units march into the field of battle. Its performance is terrible, rarely going above decent FPS range and the sheer scale of the battles can be overwhelming but SoW: Waterloo allows players to step into the shoes of lower rank commanders receiving and executing orders reeled into them by their superiors.
Cold Waters – 18,49 € – Killerfish’s killer hit of 2017 brings the cold back into the cold war by putting you in charge of several US submarines of the late ’60s until the early 2000s. Very simplistic submarine movement (WASD) but it allows players to explore the combat aspect of the game easily with less to no fussing about it. A good game to learn on the fly, each submarine
WarPlan Pacific – 18,99 € – “When push comes to shove, WarPlan Pacific is a worthy addition to every wargame collection and a game worth having if you enjoy the operational layer of strategy with a simple, easily accessible design that will keep you island-hopping across the Pacific for weeks”. Read my whole review here.
Armoured Brigade – 20,39 € – This is one of my favorites on this list. I would advise you to watch the trailer instead of reading, otherwise, this might go on for a while.
Gary Grigsby’s War in the East 2 37,99 € – The textbook definition of a hardcore wargame, Gary Grigsby is to operational level warfare that GraviTeam is to tactical. Expect a steep learning curve, a difficult (easier if you compare it to previous iterations), and one of the most detailed World War Two simulations ever created. Also, for the game and the genre, it’s probably the lowest you’ll ever get it. If I didn’t own it already, this would be one of my priorities to get.
Combat Mission Black Sea – 34,99 € – Finally, a decade-long debate has been settled and Battlefront has finally made the business sound decision of bringing their most beloved franchise, Combat Mission, into the massive market that is Steam. CM Black Sea depicts a US intervention in Ukraine after its invasion by the Russians. The most technologically advanced armies in the force face off in Eastern Europe so, besides the usual lead spitting killing expect things like night and thermal vision, electronic warfare, and drones to play vital roles. Novice wargamers might not look at 34,99 as a steal but trust us, older folk, it pretty much free.
Combat Mission Shock Force 2 – 34,99 € – It’s the same as the above but now US army vs Syria, depicting two very different (technological) armies facing off in a desert setting. The game has some expansions and those are definitely worth it depending on much money you’re willing to spend.