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WG or wargames are not the same as online WG. WG actually refers to military simulation, either live or computer based, to develop real world military strategies. War-gaming refers to recreational games that simulate a military operation. There are a number of disagreements as to what qualifies a WG as such. The common thread seems to be that all war-game explore, simulate or illuminates aspects of human behaviour bearing on the way of war. WG should normally keep very close to the real world and not fictional or make believe.

There is a difference between what are referred to as computer or online war games and WG per se. Many modern computer strategy games are considered WF in that they are a simulation of warfare. However as the mechanics and language are not the same as board and miniature games many WG enthusiast claim they are not as realistic even though online games provide much more detail.

The reason they feel this way is generally because online war games are meant to be easier to get into and quick to play. Therefore the developers considering a slavish attention to the real world makes the game uninteresting or boring, excludes some important facts.

Online WG are a variety of strategy games. They emphasise the strategic and tactical nature of war on a map. They frequently base themselves on an historical event or war. For example in Hidden Mysteries - Civil War players join General Walker, loyal follower of Abe Lincoln, for a Civil War adventure.Online WG are typically tactical including the fighting of battles. Two popular games are Rail of War and Skies of War.

These WG have a strategic mode where players may plan their battle or choose an area to conquer, but players typically spend much less time in this mode and more time actually fighting.

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Online war games or WG can be categorised into four being historical, hypothetical, fantasy and science fiction. Historical games are the most popular and comprise the largest group of war games. These are based on real events and provide a close approximation of the actual conditions of war including actual forces and terrain and other relevant factors such as weaponry. Hypothetical games may be grounded in historical fact but take on battles or conflicts that are not factual. Fantasy and science fiction WG draw on works of fiction or provide their own imaginary setting and for this reason they may appear to be war games but are not considered to be so by purist.

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The most noted computer WG include Panzer General. Panzer General is most definitely a traditional war game. There are a number of sequels to this game with different scenarios. Steel Panthers, Close Combat and Combat Mission are considered true to the tradition of WG. World War II has lent itself particularly well to war games and online WG.