Rich, Detailed Naval Warfare Simulation
Once upon a time, well-researched, detailed military simulations were a mainstay of the PC games industry--rarely best-sellers, but with a hard core of enthusiastic fans. Many were published by companies like Talonsoft--which was run, not coincidentally, by Jim Rose, co-designer of this game. Computer wargames have today almost disappeared from the store shelves, as the conventional market has narrowed its focus to potential best-sellers.
Luckily, companies like Storm Eagle are working to keep computer wargames alive, moving primarily to online distribution, and this is an excellent example.
The naval side of the Russo-Japanese War is an extraordinary story; the bulk of Russia's fleet was based in the Baltic Sea, and it steamed literally half-way around the world, even as Russian diplomatics negotiated for coaling rights en route, only to be handily destroyed by the smaller but more modern Japanese fleet at the battle of Tsushima. Along with the First World War's Battle of Jutland, this was the classic engagement of the battleship era.
Distant Guns models every ship on both sides at a minute level, down to fields of fire for individual guns and variations in armor and armament. Lighting and weather conditions affect both accuracy and fog of war; action is real time (pausable in single-player games), with up to 16 players supported over LAN or the Internet.
Distant Guns is not a cheap title; you're paying a premium, in essence, for a polished and high-level development aimed at an audience of modest size. But the demo provides a generous 30 days of play (though limited to one scenario). It is also not for people who don't believe in manuals; though the interface is relatively intuitive for a game of this depth, this is a complicated game. But those who value historical accuracy, strategic complexity, and detail, and fans of naval history, will find a lot to like in this game.