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John D Salt

“Combat Mission” is pretty much the only WW2 computer game I have found worth bothering with, and I still play all three of the original series games a lot.

Back in the old days I played a very great deal of Microprose’s “Silent Service” — a remarkable game, and a great way to learn painlessly about the course of the war in the Pacific.

Because of a conflation of odd circumstances involving a conference paper we still haven’t written, a couple of years ago I started writing a Python program to implement the combat resolution procedures of “Surface Action”, a set of naval miniatures rules for surface gun and torpedo combat 1906-1945 published, last century, by a friend of mine and some of his pals (including me) under the name of Falcon Game Design. Implementing combat results tables is pretty trivial, it’s just a question of slapping data into a big lookup table. Then I discovered the Python “turtles” package, which meant it was very little extra effort to add a representation of ships’ relative positions, and move them each turn. Before long I have a more or less complete computer version of “Surface Action”, which I occasionally play for amusement value, and intend to use for scenario testing once we get round to serious work on the 3rd edition. The odd point about this is that it was not written as a computer game (for which I would not use game-turns or d6-driven CRTs), nor as a computer assistance program (which I think is a daft idea anyway), but as a computer implementation of a miniatures game. The benefit of having such an odd creation is that explaining the rules to the computer needs you to be *really* precise about what the rules actually say.

All the best,