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Top ten war games that won't ruin your life

Top ten war games that won't ruin your life

Indulge your military fantasies with our selection of modern-warfare games that can be completed in an afternoon.

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Published by Alex Kearns on 18th August 2010

My friends and I have an agreement. We will never play THAT multiplayer online war game again. I am not going to share with you what THAT is, because I'd feel very guilty if you then went off and got as addicted to playing it as we did. All you need to know is that the game is pure, unadulterated evil, and that if you start playing it, it will rob you of every minute of spare time you have. That's one of the biggest problems with many multiplayer online war games - they are so huge that you pretty much have to invest every waking moment in them to succeed. So how then can you indulge in your passion for online war games without sacrificing your life?

The answer, we hope, is our list of Top ten war games that won't ruin your life. These games, like most games we write about on this site, are casual games that can be played in your browser for free. They can be completed in a couple of hours or less. And yet they are packed full of all the war strategy and action goodness that any self-respecting military commander could want. For this list, we have focused on games with a modern warfare theme (ie, guns, tanks and planes rather than arrows, cavalry and swords or lasers, quantum canon and light sabers). Historical and futuristic war games will be covered in upcoming lists. We hope you enjoy the games.

1Warfare 1944

Indie game developer ConArtist might be best known for its hit zombie game The Last Stand but, in my mind, the studio's best creation is its couplet of war games - Warfare 1944 and Warfare 1917. In both games, you are given the chance to lead either the allied (British or American) or German forces. You then command your army through a campaign-style series of levels, choosing which types of unit - rifleman and bazooka teams up to tanks and armor vehicles - to deploy and how many. Once you have completed a level, you are rewarded with research points that can be used to upgrade your equipment or the strength of your units. You can play Warfare 1944 here and Warfare 1917 here.


Steambirds is a turn-based aerial dog-fighting game from the team that developed such legendary Flash games as Fantastic Contraption and Canabalt. Take control of a squadron of fighter planes and defeat your enemies across a series of increasingly difficult levels, encountering tricky boss fights along the way. The game is slickly produced and features one of the easiest to use control systems we have came across in a strategy game. Even non-strategy fans should enjoy it. Steambirds can be played here.

3Battalion Ghosts

The Battalion games by Urban Squall are among the most popular Flash war strategy games, and the latest game - Battalion Ghosts - is one of the best in the series. Clearly inpired by hit Nintendo DS game Advanced Wars, Battalion Ghosts, like its predecessors, offers fun turn-based game-play where you have to take over a map against a single enemy. Battalion Ghosts can be played here. Earlier games in the series can be played here, here and here.

4303 Squadron

Fly as an RAF pilot in the Battle of Britain in this beautifully-produced aerial combat game by the UK's Channel 4. The game is impressively slick, featuring a fully-voiced campaign mode, loads of unlockable aircraft and achievements. You can even play with others in huge multiplayer skirmishes. The game's developers also deserve credit for making the planes dead simple to control using just the right and left arrow keys to turn, and Z to increase throttle and X to fire guns. You can play 303 squadron here.


In this real time strategy game, you play as the commander of a mercenary force hired by governments to carry out secret missions. Each mission takes place in a 2D area that you can scroll around using your arrow keys. Your base is at one side of the area, the ememy's at the other side. You can build additions to your base - such as a refinery or power plant - that provide you with money and soldiers.

Once you have built up a decent sized army, you launch your attack on your enemy by selecting your soldiers and moving them to the enemy base. A mission is complete when you destroy the enemy base. If you are after a real time strategy game with an impressively simple interface, then Shadez: The Black Operations should be right up your street. You can play the game by clicking here.

6Modern Tactics 3

Now in its third iteration, Modern Tactics is a squad-based tactical war game set across a series of isometric maps. On each map, you are set the task of defeating your enemy. The combat uses a turn-based system very similar to Battallion Ghosts. On each turn, you give each member of your squad a set command - such as shoot, move, knife, pick-up etc. Your enemy will then do the same with his troops. A very nicely made war game with plenty of challenging tactics. Modern Tactics 3 can be played here. An earlier version of the game can be played here.

7Mud and Blood 2

You are the leader of a small squad of soldiers. Your orders are to prevent the enemies penetrating your defences at any cost. During each battle, you are given a number of tactical points that you can spend on calling up reinforcements, raising the morale of your soldiers, taunting the enemy, equipping your squad with better weapons, improving radio communicationsâ?¦and so on. The sheer number of options is one of the things that make Mud and Blood 2 such a fun game. You can play the game by clicking here.

8Ultimate Assassin 2

Don't be put off by the very basic graphics. This is a superb action puzzle game where you play an assassin on a mission to execute a target. Unfortunately, between you and the target are a number of vigilant guards whose sole objective is to scupper your mission. Dodge behind buildings and hide in crevices to avoid the guard's gaze, and when the time is right jump out and kill the target. A simple idea perfectly done. Ultimate Assassin 2 can be played here.

9Endless War: Defense

Choose to play as the US, Germany or the Soviet Union in this challenging defend-your-base style strategy game. Try to build up your base before the enemies are unleashed against it, and think carefully about what types of unit to man the base. The game includes 14 levels across three campaigns, and should keep fans of strategy defence games entertained for a while. Endless War: Defense can be played here.

10Black Navy War

Black Navy War is a real time strategy game where you have to destroy the enemy's base before he destroys yours. Unlike most games of this type, the battle in Black Navy War takes place at sea. Launch patrol boats, fridgets, submarines and helicopters at your enemies, making sure that at the same time you invest in upgrading your base. The graphics in this game might not be up to much but the game-play is challenging and addictive. Play Black Navy War here.

During our research, we came across several other pretty good war games. It would be a shame not to share them with you, so find below a list of other war games that won't ruin your life:

Palisade Guardian Modern Combat

Battle Gear 2

Skies of War

Sea of Fire

Art of War 2

Elite Forces Warfare 2

Steam of War

Endless War 3

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Add comment

Published by 31ee on 8th June 2014
battalion eats all of these other games, should be nr 1
Published by Manny on 16th February 2012
Don't forget Shogunsfate. One of the best.
Published by n on 4th February 2012
its great to see a list like this somewhere.even better to know that ive played almost all of these
Published by MeNoLikey on 13th July 2011
Brilliant list! Well done! I didn't even know Warfare 1944 existed. After playing it though, I still prefer Warfare 1917.
Published by AlphaKretin on 15th May 2011
"Clearly inpired by hit Nintendo DS game Advanced Wars...: Advance Wars was on Game Boy /Advance/ first.
Published by Mc on 1st May 2011
I bet it was a version of advance wars.
Published by Behavior on 5th September 2010
Rawr, what is the game you and your friends got addicted too?! I must know.
Published by joe on 25th August 2010
play arma II

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