June 20, 2013 | 10:44 AM (BD Time)
20 June, 2013 Thursday
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Four new games for armchair generals
CNN Online :
For gamers, the urge to conquer and pillage dates back to time immemorial. Tabletop amusements like chess and its numerous variants have enthralled players for centuries.
Given their often-complex rules and cluttered pieces, military simulations were among home computing's earliest killer apps, giving rise to popular publishers such as SSI and MicroProse.
But despite a rapid retail decline in the late '90s that forced many titles out of stores and into the hands of niche online publishers like Matrix Games and HPS Simulations, "wargames" are still going strong today.
Now disguised under catchall categories like "strategy" and "simulation," you can find them on every platform-from PC to iPad to Xbox 360 -- clothed in an equally diverse array of styles, from contemporary to futuristic.
Here are four virtual spins on classic combat that armchair generals of all ages will appreciate, whether they're looking to build an empire after a trying workday or crush Constantinople under their iron heel during a quick coffee break.
"Empires & Allies" (Free)
Courtesy of Zynga, creator of hit social game "FarmVille," this cartoonish Facebook game combines air, land and sea combat with economic management and troop deployment.
Players collect resources to build planes, tanks and destroyers, fight with friends and even progress through a suitably melodramatic storyline. Its makers describe the game as " 'CityVille' meets Risk." We concur.
"World of Tanks" (Free)
The name says it all. Think action-packed, team-based tank combat against groups of rival Panzers piloted by live opponents. The game offers endless ways to wind up a pile of blazing scrap metal if you don't employ coordinated assaults. Nearly 3 million players have helped it earn Guinness World Records for its mass playability and addictive gameplay, which blends World War II-era strategy with smoking guns and 3-D pyrotechnics. An interoperable follow-up, "World of Warplanes," is also coming soon.
"History Egypt: Engineering an Empire" ($2.99)
Created by veteran software maker Slitherine, this sun-baked historical simulation for iPad (iPod version also available) lets you build cities, grow an ancient empire and engage in turn-based battles.
From amassing wealth to engaging in diplomacy and leading virtual spearmen into war on grids of hexagonal tiles, it translates the classic desktop versions into a more approachable tablet format.
"Civilization World" (Free)
This immersive game reinvents designer Sid Meier's popular dynasty-building PC game as a free, multiplayer-oriented battle of resource management, combat and diplomacy for Facebook.
Teaming with other social network users, you'll collaborate to research new technologies, build manmade wonders and ensure your society's survival. Its novel approach to group collaboration provides extensive replay value in short, digestible spurts.
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