The Ultimate Guide to SPI Board Games Download Options
SPI Board Games Download: How to Play Classic Wargames Online
If you are a fan of historical wargames, you might have heard of SPI board games. These are the games published by Simulations Publications, Inc., a company that dominated the wargaming hobby in the 1970s and early 1980s. SPI produced hundreds of games covering various conflicts, eras, and scenarios, from ancient battles to futuristic wars. Many of these games are considered classics and have influenced the design and development of modern wargames.
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But what if you want to play these old-school wargames today? How can you find, download, and enjoy these classic SPI board games online? In this article, we will answer these questions and show you how to play SPI board games online. We will also give you some background information on what are SPI board games, why you should download them, and where you can find them.
What are SPI board games?
SPI board games are wargames published by Simulations Publications, Inc., a company founded by James F. Dunnigan in 1969. Dunnigan was a wargame designer who worked for Avalon Hill, the first company to popularize the hobby of wargaming. He decided to start his own company after he acquired Strategy & Tactics, a magazine that included a complete wargame in each issue. Dunnigan hired a team of talented designers, developers, and artists, such as Redmond A. Simonsen, Al Nofi, John Young, and Richard Berg.
A brief history of Simulations Publications, Inc.
SPI quickly became a major force in the wargaming industry, producing an enormous number of games and introducing innovative practices. Some of these practices included:
Using hexagonal grids instead of square grids for maps
Using die-cut cardboard counters instead of wooden blocks or plastic pieces for units
Using ziplock bags instead of boxes for packaging
Using modular systems instead of fixed rules for game mechanics
Using historical research instead of guesswork for game scenarios
Using feedback from players instead of internal testing for game development
SPI also expanded its product line beyond Strategy & Tactics magazine. It launched Ares magazine, which focused on science fiction and fantasy wargames. It also published standalone games in various formats, such as flat packs, folios, quads, monsters, and designer editions. Some of these games were sold through mail order or direct sales, while others were distributed through retail stores or hobby shops.
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SPI reached its peak in the late 1970s, when it had over 100 employees and published over 400 titles. However, it also faced several challenges and difficulties, such as:
Increasing competition from other wargame publishers, such as Avalon Hill, GDW, Victory Games, and TSR
Decreasing demand from wargame players, who were attracted by other hobbies, such as role-playing games, video games, and miniatures
Increasing costs from production, distribution, and marketing
Decreasing quality from overproduction, underdevelopment, and errors
Increasing debt from mismanagement, fraud, and lawsuits
These factors led to the decline and demise of SPI in the early 1980s. In 1982, SPI was acquired by TSR, the company behind Dungeons & Dragons. However, TSR did not continue the SPI legacy and only published a few of its games. In 1983, Dunnigan and Simonsen left TSR and founded a new company called 3W (World Wide Wargames). Many of the former SPI staff also joined other wargame publishers or started their own ventures.
The types and themes of SPI board games
SPI board games covered a wide range of topics and genres, from historical to hypothetical, from realistic to fantastical, from tactical to strategic. Some of the common themes and categories of SPI board games were:
World War I and World War II: These were the most popular and prolific themes for SPI board games. They included games on various theaters, campaigns, battles, and operations of the two world wars. Some examples are War in Europe, War in the Pacific, The Russian Campaign, Panzergruppe Guderian, Battle for Germany, and D-Day.
Cold War and Modern Warfare: These were the themes that reflected the contemporary issues and conflicts of the time. They included games on the nuclear arms race, the Vietnam War, the Arab-Israeli Wars, the Iran-Iraq War, and various hypothetical scenarios. Some examples are NATO: The Next War in Europe, Red Star/White Star, Sinai, Gulf Strike, and Central America.
Ancient and Medieval Warfare: These were the themes that explored the historical wars and battles of the ancient and medieval periods. They included games on the Roman Empire, the Greek City-States, the Persian Wars, the Crusades, and the Mongol Invasion. Some examples are Caesar: Epic Battle of Alesia, The Peloponnesian War, Alexander the Great, The Siege of Jerusalem, and Genghis Khan.
Napoleonic and Civil War: These were the themes that focused on the Napoleonic Wars and the American Civil War. They included games on the campaigns, battles, and leaders of these two wars. Some examples are Napoleon's Last Battles, Wellington's Victory, The Battle of Waterloo, Terrible Swift Sword, and The American Civil War.
Science Fiction and Fantasy: These were the themes that explored the imaginative and speculative worlds of science fiction and fantasy. They included games on space exploration, alien invasion, time travel, alternate history, and mythical creatures. Some examples are Starforce, Starship Troopers, The Creature that Ate Sheboygan, The War of the Ring, and DragonQuest.
These are just some of the many themes and categories of SPI board games. There were also games on other topics, such as the Renaissance, the Colonial Era, the French Revolution, the American Revolution, the Crimean War, the Franco-Prussian War, the Russo-Japanese War, the Korean War, the Six-Day War, the Yom Kippur War, the Falklands War, and more.
Why download SPI board games?
If you are interested in playing SPI board games, you might wonder why you should download them instead of buying them. There are several reasons why downloading SPI board games is a good idea, such as:
The benefits of playing digital versions of SPI board games
Playing digital versions of SPI board games has many advantages over playing physical versions. Some of these advantages are:
Convenience: You can play SPI board games anytime and anywhere you want. You don't need to set up a table, a board, or a map. You don't need to sort out or store hundreds of counters or pieces. You don't need to worry about losing or damaging any components. You just need a computer or a device with an internet connection.
Cost: You can play SPI board games for free or for a low price. You don't need to spend a lot of money to buy or collect rare or out-of-print games. You don't need to pay for shipping or handling fees. You don't need to pay for subscriptions or memberships. You just need to find a reliable source or resource for SPI board games download.
Choice: You can play any SPI board game you want. You don't need to limit yourself to what is available or affordable in the market. You don't need to wait for reprints or new editions. You don't need to settle for inferior or incomplete versions. You just need to browse through the vast catalog of SPI board games online.
Challenge: You can play SPI board games with different levels of di