Some wargames attempt to reconstruct a single battle in detail, be it Agincourt, Waterloo or the Somme Offensive. Some attempt to recreate an entire conflict or theatre of warfare. Norm Koger's Operational Art of War series covers all of 20th century warfare, utilising a flexible set of mechanics and design tools. Today, Matrix announced that The Operational Art of War III, the sixth entry in the series, is receiving its long-awaited final update. On top of that, the development team behind the game have begun work on a sequel to this most intricately flexible of wargames prepares to enter the modern era.
I spent half of my holiday last week lounging around in a field reading 20th century military history and installed just about every modern era strategy game I own as soon as I returned to my computer. Even though I've barely spent any time with the OAOW series, I'm enormously excited by the idea of a new entry, that lets me flit from conflict to conflict like a quantum-leaping general.
Development of the fourth game began two years ago and the improvements were originally intended to form part of the final update to OAOW III. As you might imagine, two years of development led to more upgrades than a mere patch can comfortably contain so everybody involved committed to a full sequel. Here's the full story, straight from Matrix:
The Operational Art of War IV started as an update intended to be TOAW III version 3.5, but when we were able to re-start full development on the series, it allowed us to do much more in the way of significant improvements than we had originally considered and it kept growing until it became a full release plan. As a result, we’ve invested the time and resources to continue the series while also continuing support for TOAW III and the TOAW community in the form of this update. As many bug fixes as possible, basically anything that was not too tightly intertwined with new features and code, were removed from the Operational Art of War IV process and are included in this 18.104.22.168 release.
The Operational Art of War IVwill fully support modern computer hardware and operating systems. This will make it more user-friendly and able to scale to higher resolutions, especially in terms of font and button size. It reorganizes and adds functionality to many very useful screens and dialogs to make them more informative and easier to use. Once released, TOAW IV will continue to be supported for some time, hopefully leading to many more updates and improvements. TOAW IV will be the new base point for the TOAW series and future updates will be based on this new release.
The update includes new scenarios, revisions to existing scenarios, bug fixes and improved method of calculating "retreat-from-combat" details. You can read all about the changes here and download the patch here. I'll be keeping an eye out for more details about OAOW IV but don't be surprised if Tim Stone's spotter planes beat me to the punch.
The Operational Art of War III is available direct from Matrix.