Preview - Pure Wargame, The (DOS, 1995)

QQP is a company known for friendly strategy games – games that can challenge the most die-hard grog – and games that can be ENJOYED by the grog's sister who works in the perfume section at a department store. That kind of game design takes a special talent and has earned the company a well-deserved good reputation. QQP is no one-note company, however. They don't JUST do wargames (as evidenced by the addictive ZIG-ZAG, among others), and now, they've decided to take a step into the realm of the hardcores with Pure Wargame.

Pure Wargame is exactly what the name implies – a traditional unit-vs.-unit scuffle on the hex-grid along the lines of games by Avalon Hill or SSI. But far from being a rehash or a derivation, Pure Wargame attempts to move the elements of that venerable form into a new state of the art.

There are no bells and whistles in play; Pure Wargame promises to be utterly glitz-free. The displays will be clear, attractive, and functional, but not flashy. There will be no animations, no flashing gunshots, no exploding troopers or burning buildings. There WILL be fantastic sound, however – a full 10-part score will provide the atmospheric audio backdrop, and dozens of realistic sound-effects will punctuate every moment of carnage in every turn of the game.

The major thrust of QQPs programming and design resources are being purposefully channeled into the strategy, detail, and simulation aspects of gameplay. Units, in addition to their attack and defense strengths, are rated in all the terms that we've grown used to in the Age of Electronics – ammunition, food, fatigue and morale are among the many factors that determine the overall usefulness of a unit, and each can affect the outcome of a battle.

Pure Wargame, in addition to being jam-packed with detail, is one of the most thoroughly *historical* games yet put on the market. Not only does every scenario represent an actual battle, but the actual battalions are in place, in the positions that they had in the original conflict. Even details such as weather and light conditions are accurate down to the six-hour game turn that Pure Wargame divides time into.

Pure Wargame's scenarios are all paratroop-landing battles, and even the landing positions are completely accurate in scale. Players may, if they wish, allow realistic drift for drop-sites based on the intended marks, creating a new game within each scenario – but for the purist, the real thing is the default. Of course, once the battle starts, history slides slowly into the background as your own tactical and strategic skills are brought to the fore, and history becomes YOUR story, and victory or defeat is on your head.

Victory in Pure Wargame is determined by ground taken in battle. The display can be toggled at any point to display the exact hexes controlled by either side in the conflict. Points are awarded not only on the grounds of raw hexes, but in terms of important sites. In one scenario, the Kanev bridge in Russia is worth 12000 points, but the other bridges – less vital to victory overall – are worth only a thousand each. Control of cities and other important areas is also worth points, and winner is determined by a point-count comparison at the end of the allotted turns.

Of course, these are only a few of the features to be found in Pure Wargame – QQP is no doubt holding onto a few surprises for the final release. One thing is for certain – among pure wargamers, Pure Wargame is bound to be seen as a classic.