Video Game: Wargame: European Escalation

The last guy he played with ragequit.

Wargame: European Escalation is a Real-Time Tactics game revolving around NATO vs Warsaw Pact countries in a Cold War Gone Hot. Made by Eugen Systems and published by Focus Home Interactive. Featuring LOTS of real life vehicles and weapons. Players gain stars through gameplay which they can use to upgrade/buy units into their "deck" to use in multiplayer, resulting in wide variety of tactics like rapid light tank attacks, airborne infantry rushes, artillery-based army etc.

A sequel, Wargame: AirLand Battle, is now out. It is set in the Scandinavian theater, and in addition to aircraft it introduces Canadian, Danish, Swedish and Norwegian forces.

A third game, Wargame: Red Dragon has been released, focused on the Korean Peninsula. It will introduce amphibious vehicles & landings, frigates, sea command sectors, and more complex terrain. It adds the People's Republic of China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the Republic of Korea, Japan, and Australia and New Zealand combined into ANZAC, as well as some new units for some existing factions.

This game provides examples of:

  • Alternate History: The single-player game is a series of campaigns with diversion points rooted in real-world flashpoints, such as the Polish Uprising or Able Archer.
  • After the End: Most of the campaigns are disconnected from each other, with the exception of the last two, Able Archer and Wasteland. Specifically: the first mission of Wasteland starts somewhere between two and three months after the final mission of Able Archer... which ended with French nuclear missiles getting fired at the Warsaw Pact. No points for guessing what happened after that...
    • Partially averted, in that the polities of the USSR and major NATO powers are stated to have survived the nuclear exchange, and remain sufficiently intact to attempt peace negotiations. Even though Central Europe has been reduced to warlordism between isolated military units, it appears that the USSR and USA at least remain somewhat intact.
  • Artistic License Geography: While cities outside Germany are more or less in the place they should be, Bonn has apparently moved to the Saarland (closer to the French is safer, now that they are allies), Frankfurt marched south (to avoid the tank wedge?) and Hannover, while not as badly misplaced as the others, is not really in the right place either.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Two of the Command Vehicles, West Germany's Pz.Bef.Wg. Leopard 2 and the Soviet Union's T-80UK, are both command variants of their respective country's best tank. This means that they can control sectors when stationary but also pack quite a lethal punch against any ground unit that think they're going to pull an easy kill.
  • Awesome but Impractical: Just like in real life, weapon systems can be overly complex compared to old style guns and bombs:
    • Anti-tank guided missiles: ATGMs tend to be incredibly powerful with even heavily armoured tanks only able to take two to three hits at most, far outrange small arms and even some main tank cannons. However, this game is set well before the most modern fire and forget weapons like the Javelin came into use for vehicle and infantry troops. Like real life they will go off course at the slightest provocation, have long travel time, and most vehicles have limited ammunition.
    • MLRS systems vs. standard artillery: MLRS can saturate an area, killing almost everything there, but most of the weapons in the game are inaccurate and have limited range. They can fire faster than artillery, but supply is used up phenomenally quickly, especially with the very biggest rocket systems.
  • Awesome Personnel Carrier: Both sides have well armed APCs.
  • Brits with Battleships: The British Forces in continental Europe have the best tanks in NATO, and the easiest access to dedicated infantry units and some lower-tier helicopters (especially transport and recon).
  • Canucks with Chinooks: Appear in AirLand Battle. They get the unique ADATS vehicle, whose missiles are both anti-tank and anti-air.
  • The Cold War: The setting of the game.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Played straight, receiving damage will not reduce the effectiveness of the unit, though vehicles are liable to receive a "critical" randomly that will hamper then. Infantry squads, however, basically get the Conservation of Ninjutsu compensating for them as they take damage and losses because their damage output won't get hurt from it. Players thinking about this are liable to joke the last man standing becomes some sort of Walking Armory Hollywood Action Hero.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Many units have only one useful role, and are mincemeat for anything that isn't their sole counter. Examples include anti-air or anti-tank missile vehicles.
    • Averted realistically by some units; infantry carry anti-tank or anti-air missiles, assault rifles, and grenades and a good infantry unit is capable of taking on a surprising range of units. Also, certain tanks come with autocannons as well as machine guns, making them effective against vehicles, aircraft, and infantry all in one. The best example of this would be the M60 Starship, which carries an anti-tank missile, a main gun, and a 20mm autocannon to use against helicopters.
  • Cycle of Hurting: Tanks can be stunned and routed by attacks that do relatively little damage, but high morale damage, such as flamethrowers, autocannons, and rocket artillery. When a unit routs they have a tendency to break cover and run, and as soon as they stop routing (but are still in a Panicked state of low morale) they'll turn and head back towards the enemy...just to get routed again. It can be rather frustrating watching a cheap unit with an autocannon or flamethrower play yo-yo with an expensive Abrams, Leopard 2, or T-80.
  • Easy Logistics: Averted. Your units need fuel and ammo. You'll need supply truck or forward operation base to support them. This makes destroying enemy convoy viable.
    • On the other hand, all supply is handled via generic "fuel" which can turn into ammunition for any weapon in your arsenal or even reinforce troops. Also, supply trucks and supply helicopters never run out of fuel.note 
  • Enemy Exchange Program: If you leave supply units or a forward operating base (FOB) unguarded, then enemy units can just walk up and capture them and take the supplies for their own use. Oddly enough in a case of Easy Logistics (see above), NATO supplies can be used to replenish ammo for Warsaw Pact units and vice versa.
  • Fog of War: You can see all the terrain but not your enemies until they come into line of sight of your units. Interestingly, guided missile units and artillery will remain hidden even when they are attacking you. You have to look at it's projectile and make a guess.
  • Gauls with Grenades: The French are one of the NATO nations whose units are available.
  • Geo Effects: Trees hide your units. Hills block your line of fire etc.
  • Just for Pun: Czechoslovakia is a playable REDFOR faction, and players tend to go for any and every possible "Czech" pun they can with deck names.
  • Killed Off for Real: Every unit in the single-player campaigns; you have a single TO&E per campaign and any unit you lose is dead for good. This means a careless commander may have to start the entire campaign over from scratch if early mistakes leave you shorthanded later. Additionally, units gain veteracy that carries over into later missions, making their performance significantly better.
    • Also, in any given multiplayer game, you only have a discreet (and for high-end units, surprisingly small) amount of any particular unit; in long games it's entirely possible to run out of some favored units.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Each side doesn't just have one unit per niche role, they frequently have several that can be chosen based on relatively minor stats or just preference. Especially in the Warsaw Pact side, they're frequently (but not always) the same Soviet design but with a different name.
    • This is, of course, Veracity in Video Games as the USSR was the main supplier of war materiel of all types to the Warsaw Pact nations.
    • Also, the infantry list is rather crowded, since every unit of infantry also has several different transports attached to them. For example, there isn't one U.S. Riflemen entry, there's U.S. Riflemen + UH-1 Huey (and variants), U.S. Riflemen + M2 Bradley IFV (and variants), U.S. Riflemen + M113 APC (and variants) and so on. For every infantry unit.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: NATO has its share of missile units, but PACT is remarkable for the majority of their tanks having ATGM missiles, meaning a strong Soviet tank rush can see entire swarms of missiles flying.
  • Nuke 'em: What happens at the end of final Warsaw Pact campaign.
  • One-Hit Kill: AirLand Battle adds the French Super Etendard attack aircraft (aka the "Super Retard", or "Super Nintendo"), which carries a single missile capable of one-shoting any ground unit it hits. It's a popular counter to the Soviet T-80U.
  • Ossis with Osas: The East Germans are a playable faction.
  • Palette Swap: Certain Warsaw Pact units are literally the same unit but with a different paint scheme and language; for example East Germany's forces include T-34/85Ms and BMP SP-1s/2s that are exact copies of USSR units but with a different name or designation.
    • The variants of any particular unit tend to be this as well. The only visible difference between an M1 Abrams and an M1A1 for example is a change in camouflage. The Pact are kings of this trope in this arena as well. Units like the T-62 can have more than six variants, without counting the identical versions used by the other Pact nations, and the only visual changes will be camouflage or the addition of ERA on later variants.
    • In AirLand Battle, the PACT T-55 has 17 variants, most of which look identical. Similarly, the UH-1 Huey transport chopper is used by just about every NATO country, just with new camo.
  • Poles with Poleaxes: Poland is a playable Warsaw Pact faction.
  • Reds with Rockets: The USSR is undisputably the major player in the Warsaw Pact faction.
    • And they didn't forget to bring the rockets.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Standard Status Effects: Ranging from annoying ones like Track in mud : xx sec (Slow movement), Ammo box hit (Lose half of carried ammo) to Fire-control computer rebooting (Your tanks can't fire) and Detracked (your tank can't move).
  • Straight for the Commander: Doing so nets you a lot of points, which can be used to acquire more units.
  • Take Cover: Certain terrain like forest gives out cover bonuses aside from invisibility.
  • Tank Goodness: This game doesn't just have tanks. It doesn't even just have tanks per classification (light tank, medium tank, main battle tank etc) - it generally has multiple different tanks per niche role and every major historical variant of every tank too.
  • Units Not to Scale: Averted.
  • We Are Not the Wehrmacht: West Germany one of the NATO faction armed with modern weapons such as the Leopard 1 tank.
  • World War II: The Warsaw Pact side realistically uses several surplus World War 2-era vehicles as second-line units, such as the T-34/85 tank and the SU-85 tank destroyer.
  • World War III: Well, duh...
  • Yanks with Tanks: The USA has some of the best tanks in the game (such as the Abrams tank and the only NATO tanks with ATGMs) and by far the best helicopters.