Original thread has a number of dead links and other clutter by now. So let's start a new thread with up to date info. Legitimate games & downloads only! NO ABANDONWARE!
Back in the 1980's, Empire was award winning Wargame of the Century and one of the first computer wargames ever created. Released for a number of different computers by Interstel Corporation, game got a number of sequels which are still played today. Classic Empire is the free version for modern PCs from the original creator, Walter Bright. Game is very minimalistic, but still the same world conquest city by city with a small selection of different units. Careful with movement! If you move ground force army to water by mistake, you lose it! If you move ship/fleet to land by mistake, you lose it! If you try to load an Army onto Transport already in full capacity, you lose that Army! Simple but fun, and much recommended to newcomers to war strategy game genre.
Field of Strategy II
Grand tactical (is that a term?) scale square grid based wargame which covers great many historical eras. Game play isn't too hard: click on a unit, available hexes are highlighted, click on where you want unit to move, and it goes there. Combat is automated. Important things are maneuvering and unit positioning: enemy is crushed with concentrated attack of multiple units from different directions. Therefore flanking plays a crucial roles, as does proper use of terrain. Napoleon's cannons won't shoot through friendly units unless they (cannons) are on the higher ground.
Multiplayer SHOULD work directly between players, but I didn't get it to work; other player's firewall is to blame? But developer has a dedicated multiplayer server. When all the players (can be more than 2) are in attendance, game can be played in real time (still turn-based) between the players. Alternately players can play their turns when they feel like, and saves stay in the server. Log in to check is it your turn, play your turn, turn the game off, and log in the next day (or the next week) to check on is it your turn again. This is BRILLIANT!
Battle for Wesnoth
Now THIS is an excellent example of open source game. Wargames in general aren't winners of a beauty contest, but Battle for Wesnoth don't need to be ashamed of its looks. Game is fantasy strategy game. I haven't played Fantasy General but I guess it is good example for comparison. Available sides include humans, elves, orcs... standard fantasy stuff. Variety comes to play in form of attributes. Each new unit gets two traits which are assigned randomly. Traits may increase unit's attack, speed, hit points etc. When unit fights, it gets experience. When unit has enough experience, it can "level up" to a more effective unit.
Player(s) can spend gold to get new units. Gold is get from villages in form of tax. In addition villages and base (castle/fortress/camp) itself offers defense bonus and heal units which are located in them. Large number of units require gold for upkeep. "Army marches on its stomach" you know. In single player scenarios there are a number of objectives to be completed. Multiplayer seems to be traditional 'kill them all'.
But what really hits the eye is a very long list of available languages. I was startled when my native language was on by default and all I could do was stare at the screen and think "WTF!!?" Finnish translation isn't too bad, but there are enough errors and gaps (English mixed together with Finnish) for me to prefer English (UK version).
Advanced Strategic Command
It looks like Battle Isle and it plays like Battle Isle. Very similar to Panzer General & derivatives. But what REALLY makes a difference is that transport units are on the map at the same time with infantry! That's right: empty APC remains there to provide MORE DAKKA what I was sorely missing in Panzer Corps & WH40k Armageddon. What I remember from single player is VERY challenging. It felt so much like Chess, where 1 wrong move would cost the scenario. So when my infantry got hit by artillery beyond LOS and I had no idea where it was coming from, I couldn't think of no other way than charge blindly to locate enemies, then reload and play scenario again. Not my cup of tea.
MegaMek is based on rules of BattleTech and follows them almost to letter. Game has vast number of official BattleTech units from Poor Bloody Infantry (PBI) and submarines up to massive space WarShips and EVERYTHING between. In addition to the units, game includes number of maps and random map generator (RMG). Host player can define parameters for RMG including amount of water, woods, roads and so on. Game is open source and is in constant development. New elements are added and bugs squished on regular basis.
For those who don't know about BattleTech, it is tactical wargame on unit level. Main focus is in 12 meter tall walking war machines of mass destruction, commonly known BattleMech or 'Mech for short (in MegaMek called Mek becouse copyrights). Game is played in phases. Game starts with deployment phase where units are place to the map. It is followed by movement phase where units are moved and firing phase where targets are declared for weapons. Hit and damage calculations are made after target declarations. Next is physical attack phase where BattleMechs can use their own mass to make damage: punchs, kicks and push (to water).
MegaMek isn't most exciting game but it is tolerable with sufficient amount of cola and cookies. When something happens, it may happen BIG time. Expect shouts of joy and damaged keyboards when playing MegaMek.
Earlier known as MegaMekNET, MekWars is online campaign game built around MegaMek. Short and sweet: players join to factions and fight over Inner Sphere ( = known galaxy). Players launch attacks against planets of opposing factions. Focus is conquering enemy. If captured planet includes factory, it is possible to use that factory to produce enemy units for own use. Other available task types include raids to steal units or components from enemy. Default server is based on year 3025 with level 1 introductory technology only. Available units include most level 1 'Mechs and ground vehicles that are detailed in Technical Readout & Record Sheets 3039.
Predecessor of Advanced Tactics from same developer. Build a battalion or a division size units from company size (?) pieces, take care of logistics, and conquer the enemy. If you like it, you won't go wrong with Advanced Tactics Gold.
You know what they say, don't you? About how us MechWarriors are the modern knights, how warfare has become civilized now that we have to abide by conventions and rules of war. Don't believe it. MekWars