Monday, 28 January 2013

The cost of producing computer wargames

Why do manual military board games still get produced.

There are many board games still being produced by makes such as Decision Games. The question is asked why are the best of these games not converted to run on a computer. The answer is cost. A major computer game costs an average of $20 million in 2010 and takes a team of 20-100 people. To produce a military simulation for the computer, of a standard to match a game from Strategy and Tactics, would cost a staggering amount and would never be recouped by selling several thousand copies. So manual wargames continue to be produced in a format that the early developers at SPI and Avalon Hill would have recognised. Paper maps, cardboard counters and printed rules will be with us for a while yet.


  1. Hi John,

    Quite right as well! Playing a boardgame as opposed to a computer game just feels better in my opinion. Using something like Hexon takes this a stage further with the concept of the 3D boardgame.

    I always liked S and T and thought it was such a great concept - the game and a magazine built around it.

    All the best,


  2. Strategy and Tactics magazine is perhaps the best known example of linking a game to military history. Each game is accompanied by articles on the same subject as the game and the articles are based on the research used to make the game.

  3. The series of computer games by HPS offer a brilliant alternative to board games - they really are like playing an SPI game but without having to put out all those counters! The graphics are quite simplistic but the games are great when played against a live opponent using the play-by-email system (not so good against the computer AI). All the ACW and Napoleonic games are excellent and I'm sure they didn't cost $20 million to produce!

  4. You are right, HPS do a fine series of computer games that most board gamers would recognise. However, to turn these products into 'high street' games with state of the art graphics and animation would take a lot more investment per game. I must try another HPS game.

  5. The answer is cost. A major computer game battlefield 4 costs an average of $20 million in 2010 and takes a team of 20-100 people.