Description of UMS: The Universal Military Simulator
A poor man's Empire, UMS is a very ambitious abstract wargame that attracts a minor following among hardcore wargamers, but fails in the bigger market. M. Evan Brooks sums it up in his synopsis:
"A visual feast, but a playable desert, UMS was incorrect on two counts -- it was neither universal nor a simulator. It lacked a naval option, and the user interface was quite clumsy. The initial disk included the Battles of Arbela, Hastings, Marston Moor, and Waterloo (the last of which omitted the Prussians entirely)."
Despite his (and most other critics') harsh words, UMS does deserve recognition for a few innovations, its ambition notwithstanding. First, it was one of the first wargames that offer intriguing isometric wireframe view of the battlefield. Sure, it's nearly useless due to the clutter of unit banners that are almost impossible to separate, but at least it hints at a great potential if it works (the system was actually revamped and used to much greater effect in War College years later). The game also contains a versatile map and scenario builder that is easy to use, with full controls over terrain features and unit placement.
Overall, UMS may not top any wargamer's must-play list, but it is an ambitious, broad tactical wargame that is worth a look.
Review By HOTUD
Comments and reviews
Mike 2021-02-10 0 point
I loved this game. Specifically the civil war version and played it for hours.
I also enjoyed Red Lightening.
Retro Gamer 2016-01-25 0 point
U.M.S., Empire: Wargame of the Century, Command H.Q., & The Ancient Art of War, were the first PC war/strategy games I ever played. (on a Tandy 1000 HX) Before that, it was Colonial Conquest & Lords of Conquest, on the trusty old Commodore 64.
Ed 2015-06-05 2 points Mac version
These screenshots are from the PC version. I should know since I wrote it.
It was terrific fun working at Intergalactic Development.
Bob a Job 2014-07-16 2 points DOS version
If you can stand the retro graphics, it is at worst, head and shoulders above the mindless offerings of a modern day war game. There is some thinking required and you can command proper armies that really did what they did, unlike the overblown tall tales of fighting with US troops. Overall a great game but not for the feint witted!
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