2024 Quarter One Update

Hi all,

Our Quarter One update means the first three months of the year have flown by!

There has been a flurry of news and releases over the period.

Panzer Campaigns Spring Awakening ’45 was released just as the quarter finished, to very positive feedback and has sold well in the weeks since. The Spring Awakening campaign was one of the last offensive operations initiated by the Germans in World War 2, which provides a unique and desperate background to the campaign. The ad-hoc, rag-tag Axis forces were facing Soviet units that were undermanned after two years of offensive operations. Both sides knew the war would end soon, but that did nothing to blunt the ferocity. For those uncertain about the title, we included some background and reading materials in our preview blog and release announcement.

A lot of work has gone into the Musket & Pike series. Following on the release of Vienna 1683 Demo for the series in December 2023, work has continued on the whole series. Musket & Pike is one of the more modern engines we have and many of its features are subsequently being added to both the Napoleonic and Civil War Battles series. Players will be experiencing improvements to overall AI in gameplay, and you can expect that to be further refined in the future.

A series update (4.04) and expansion pack for Great Northern War were released in March. As is our usual approach when releasing large updates, we only updated the Vienna 1683 Demo and Great Northern War to ensure any issues that arise are covered when the other titles are updated. The Great Northern War expansion pack is free (no paid DLC’s at WDS!) and includes 20(!) new scenarios. Anyone buying this title after the announcement will have all the expansion pack scenarios included in the master build.

All the Musket and Pike titles were updated to version 4.04.1 in March, completing that round of revisions.

It should be mentioned that the 4.04x updates for Musket & Pike required a fresh installation of these titles. Why are we forcing you to do this?

Beginning with the recent Squad Battles updates, then Panzer Battles then the aforementioned Musket & Pike updates, Civil War Battles and now on to Panzer Campaigns - we have been requiring a complete clean install of your games to get the new version. There's a variety of reasons for this - core changes to file formats (moving to PNG files in some cases), new infrastructure for future A/I enhancements, Windows 11 compatibility changes and the enormous size many of the updates have grown to be. Regarding that last point, many of the updates were retaining backwards compatibility with ancient installers, in some cases back to the HPS days! This required inclusion of a huge number of files, and in some cases an additional Batch file to reorganize everything into the new file structures. It was getting problematic on several points, not the least of which was some security software packages were blocking the batch files from running.

So, these fresh installs will resolve all of those problems in one fell swoop. You uninstall your existing copy of the game using the built in Windows "App Management" feature in the Control Panel. You then do a clean install of the game, and everything is in its proper place. 

We will be doing this for every game series we publish, in time - if all goes well during the course of 2024. Once the new "base line" is established we will begin to offer incremental updates again on the site. These will only include files changed since that new baseline for that series. With that said, you can ALWAYS do a clean install at any time, and the installer linked in your Store Account is the most recent version.

So, again, how do you get these new versions? 

You must go and login to your Store Account to download new full installers. 

Notes regarding Store Accounts.

  1. If you go to login using one of the above links and it tells you "no account found" - don't worry! - just send us an email at the Help Desk and we will locate your records. It's just a matter of completing the account setup process.
  2. When you login you will see all your orders listed there. Under each order number is the word (Downloads). If you click that it will take you to a page where you can do a new download of the game and it will also display your serial number. Again, each of the installers is fully up-to date with the latest patches already included.

We know we have been repeating ourselves over the last couple of blog posts, but we want to make certain you understand why we are requesting you start afresh. And we continue to see a fair bit of questions at the Help Desk and on the various public venues each time a new update is released - so the message has not reached everyone, yet.  

Panzer Battles was updated to version 4.02, adding a range of enhancements primarily ‘under the hood’ as well as a range of scenario and data fixes. You can read all the Panzer Battles 4.02 news here.

We have continued to convert existing titles, and enhancing Squad Battles generally. We have been very pleased to see the response that the upgraded titles have received. In January, the Western front title, Eagles Strike was updated to version 4.02. This release prompted a lot of feedback from the community, and a number of issues were subsequently raised. One area that was queried was related to artillery. Players could not understand how their requested indirect fire was working in game, with an apparent random factor on where it landed. We worked through the rules to check all was working correctly (it was), but importantly added in-game icons that indicated who was spotting and where the fire was landing relative to the selected target hex. These changes made it much more self-evident where a player was having issues, such as using the wrong leader to call in fire. All the proposed changes for version 4.03 were listed and shared in this article. Subsequently, some minor bugs were identified and all the Squad Battles titles were updated to version 4.03.1.

Following up from our very successful five-part Introduction to the Napoleonic Battles series last year (see hereherehere,  here and here), a detailed exploration of the Campaign engine in the pre-twentieth century titles was published. The campaign engine is very similar across the Napoleonic Battles, Civil War Battles, Musket & Pike and Early American Wars series, and the article delves into the various way to use this feature.

We were also very fortunate to have one of our developers, Andrew Bamford shared his approach to designing and developing games with a particular focus on his Wellington’s Peninsular War title. If you haven’t read it, have a look here!

For Panzer Campaigns, Spring Awakening ’45 was our first version 4.04 title. The Panzer Campaigns, First World War Campaigns and Modern Campaigns are planned to be updated to this standard over the next couple of months and we will roll them out as soon as they are ready.

An important development for us was the launching of our ‘Game of the Week’ promotion. This allowed us to highlight a title, reduce its price by 25% and share further information on its background, research, and additional reading material. We are very pleased to say that the response has been universally positive. Commentary around the additional research material and explanation of why players may want to buy the game has resonated. We are now planning to do this every week of the year, other than when our bi-annual sales are running. Thank you so much for the support, it has allowed us to bring forward some developments and other items that otherwise would have been cost prohibitive. Please keep an eye out for our Monday emails to see what title has been highlighted.

On a more somber note, we lost our friend and programmer, Robert ‘Berto’ Osterlund to cancer. Berto was a foundation member of WDS and critical for many of the innovations since WDS bought the John Tiller catalogue. Berto was lead programmer for Panzer Campaigns, Modern Campaigns, First World War Campaigns as well as Panzer Battles (and previously Civil War Battles). His illness was one of the reasons that you have seen less ‘updates’ to these series in the last 12 months. These titles now have a new home, and you can expect a continuation of the support and features achieved in the past. Rest in peace Berto.

As we approach the third anniversary of John Tiller’s passing in 2021, we wanted to share some news from John’s daughter, Julia. In her words:

Hi all. I hope you are having a great 2024! Fundraising is underway for the National Brain Tumor Society for this year's New York City marathon. I'll be running the 26.2 mile course in November 2024 in honor of my dad, John Tiller. He was an inspiring figure in my life and continues to be. For this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, I'm asking for donations to meet my fundraising goal. The National Brain Tumor Society is very dear to me for their unrelenting support of people who have experienced brain cancer. Please follow the links, watch the video on my dad's story, and share. Thank you so much!!


There is also merchandise you can buy to support Julia, click the image below to see Tees, Hoodies and Sweatshirts.

Julia has also created a short video highlighting John and the fund raiser on the following link: YouTube video

If you can afford to help, please do, cancer is such an insidious disease that could impact any of us.

Looking Forward

Normally we try and announce an upcoming title in our quarterly update. Not this round unfortunately! This is not due to a lack of titles, but rather as we have a number of titles currently in testing, we are not certain which one will be ready next. There is a solid range of titles progressing in development.

Our programmers are also working on several new series, that will cover either new time periods or different scales in existing periods. There are some very exciting ‘launch’ titles being prepared for these new series and we will share more as soon as things are further developed.

We also want to call out the status of Strategic War. We mentioned in our News Shorts blog post last year that we were working on a range of enhancements to the game engine. These have all been completed, including implementing the WDS User Interface and other features. What has slowed down release is that we have been having a good look at the AI in this series. It is (very) different to the other games and we have been determining what works and what doesn’t. In addition, we must add AI to use all the new engine features, and this has added to the development cycle. We are planning to go back and update all the scenarios in the existing two titles (The First Blitzkrieg and War on the Southern Front) to use the new features, such as replacements, headquarter activation and a range of other enhancements.

We have also been trialing a different look to the counters in game, with a more boardgame feel as well as little additions such as the nationality added. Like the 4.04 Panzer Campaigns release, we have also simplified the Unit Boxes to make them more readable. All is shown in the image below:

So, there is a lot that is proposed to change and a lot still to be done and that is without adding in any titles currently in development! We apologise for the delays, but things are still moving.

And finally, we can’t finish up without teasing you!

We have been building out our map library for future titles.

This jump map covers a number of existing maps:

To which we decided to ‘fill the gaps’, using this overlay map:

Resulting in this jump map

Which fits roughly where the yellow square is below:

Here are some detailed screen shots from the expanded map (please note these are oversized images and can be clicked for full-size). The first two are at maximum zoom out. The remaining three are at the middle zoom level:

Use your imagination and you can see a ‘few’ potential titles!

With us already well into April, we are not resting on our laurels. There are a lot of projects underway as well as the continuous improvement to existing games, that you have all come to expect from us. If you have not already subscribed to our email list, please do so you don’t miss what’s happening next! You can do that either by the pop-up that will display when visiting out site - if you are not already logged into your Store Account. Or, at the bottom of our main page.




  • Rod Dickson

    I have an HP legacy system. Still growing strong runs on Win 7. But it CANNOT be upgraded to Win 10.
    If I put ALL my Tiller/WDS titles on my legacy system is there a downside for the future like…‘This game requires WIN 10 or higher’ ? My high performance system I leave for my flight sims.

  • Christopher

    I hope Strategic War gets a new toolbar and I think the nationality on the counters is not necessary.

  • Harry

    Will be proudly wearing my Tillers Troopers Tee while getting my butt kicked in my next PBEM (I really got to get some games going again)!

  • Al Amos

    Love the map expansions. Bravo. The new counter look in Strategic War series will help. Still trying to find time to learn that one, love the concept.

    Happy to hear about all the Al improvements…he needs all the upgrades he can get. 😉

  • martin

    Can I suggest a UI update? OOB dialog box…can it stay sticky and expanded. It’s super useful for command overview but also for selection…rather constantly checking individual units. thanks

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