Strategic board games let players test their generalship in wars of conquest. TripleA is a free, open-source, Java-based pack containing several strategy games with single-player, multiplayer, and online modes, with more available online. Players manage vast armies of men and weapons, including ships, planes, tanks, and transports, supplies, and other resources. Rolling virtual dice simulates the random element in battle, but different values for various elements mean that strategy trumps chance, at least for skillful generals.
TripleA downloads and installs normally but requires the JRE (Java Runtime Environment) to open, but that's free, too, and easy to install. TripleA's plain start-up screen let us start a new game, but we could also choose another game, load a saved game, start local and online game sessions, download games and maps, and configure game options from this same central point. Clicking Choose a Game let us choose from Big World: 1942, the default game; the classic Capture the Flag; Great War, a WWI game; and Minimap, a quick two-player game. We opted to refight World War II and clicked Play and then Start Local Game. The setup let us choose which armies to play by selecting Human from a list that also offered two AI opponents, E.Z. Fodder and Moore N. Able, to manage the other allied and enemy armies. Selecting Human for all armies lets you play against yourself, while selecting an AI opponent lets the game initiate attacks. Big World: 1942 opened with an interactive global map board with tabs for History, Stats, and Territory. If you've played Risk, you know the basic premise of TripleA's games, which involve moving armies, engaging in battle (rolling the dice), and amassing more pieces to conquer more territory. Instead of dice and a cup, TripleA's pop-up dice-rolling screen contains information about your move, resources, and status. We could even calculate the odds of a battle succeeding, based on the amassed forces.
Why fight your own battles when you can fight someone else's, like, say, Napoleon's? Strategic board games like TripleA offer a level of complexity and detail that is reminiscent of the real thing, but they can also be as simple as a duel. TripleA is an excellent portal to a world of historical and fantasy scenarios ranging from the Roman Empire to WWII to zombie hordes and J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth.