In this addition to our new series ‘Gamifying History,’ we will be covering the Battle of Kursk. This was a decisive battle between the Soviets and Germany. It’s well known for being one of the largest tank battles of World War 2, lifting the Soviets into a power play after the successful counterattack of Stalingrad.
Within the historical gaming genre, many games don’t lay into exploring this conflict. There are very few that even choose to build a game around it, but those that do are often met with a mixed reception. With how in-depth this engagement was, there are ways though to successfully adapt it into many gameable formats.
After the victory from the Battle of Stalingrad, Soviet forces traversed south in Operation Little Saturn. This was a course of military campaigns that lasted from December 12, 1942, to February 18, 1943. By near the end of the operation in January, a gap had formed between two remaining German army groups, with the Soviet armies advancing to cut them off.
Eventually, after the ongoing pressure, the Soviets retook Kursk and several other pivotal locations. In response, German field marshall Erich von Manstein would request complete control over operational freedoms. Hitler would approve of this and later assign Manstein to commit a counteroffensive against the Soviet forces. German forces would reorganize and resupply themselves, separating from north to south within the region.
Manstein would soon then utilize his armies to progress in a series of counterstrokes into the backline of Soviet armored formations. This was made with the intent of breaking these divisions as well as beginning to retake Kharkiv and Kursk. Eventually, as the indecisive and pyrrhic Third Battle of Kharkiv began and concluded, both sides fell back in their reach.
Now, a Soviet line of weakness was opened and centered on Kursk, the main fighting point of the famous conflicts namesake. Operation Citadel was set into motion, and numerous battalions of tanks, planes, and infantry fled into the area surrounding Kursk. There were weighing vies to control armored and aerial supremacy throughout the battle, resulting in the Soviets striking through the German’s hold in a decisive triumph.
The Battle of Kursk has an undeniable amount of gameable elements that would work in a gaming medium. Keeping in mind tanks, something similar to World of Tanks or War Thunder could be replicated. An emphasis on vehicle combat is a plentiful vault of entertainment and immersiveness that would give the player a drive to compete and fight on great armaments.
While on-the-ground vehicle combat is a possibility, something from the perspective of strategy or an RTS can work as well. Exploring the battle in the mind of a leadership role can incorporate numerous pathways into how said battle can be recreated. It also ties players heavily to the gameplay, keeping them sharp on what to manage and control.
With all in mind, the Battle of Kursk proves to be a great event from the past to bring into a gameable format. There are many opportunities to apply it to the forms of historical action and strategy. It has the history and enthrallment to gather any audience, and you as a developer can take advantage of such to make a successful game around it.
At Epoch XP, we specialize in creating compelling narratives and provide research to give your game the kind of details that engage your players and create a resonant world they want to spend time in. If you are interested in learning more about our gaming research services, book your consultation today!