Advance Wars By Web is a long-standing website allowing for Advance Wars games to take place between players online. It’s old enough that it came out before Advance Wars Dual Strike, the first DS Advance Wars game, and has survived long enough to see the release of Dual Strike, Advance Wars Days of Ruin, and now Advance Wars 1+2: Reboot Camp.
The first Advance Wars game had a legendary awkward launch date: September 10, 2001. I don’t know if world events following it had any influence on its popularity, but Advance Wars had the advantage of being a long-running series, going back to the Famicom, that had never been given a chance in Western territories. (One reason? Super Famicom Wars had a notorious character named Hister, with a moustache that made its inspiration unmistakable.)
The first two Advance Wars titles, taking their name, like previous versions, from its release platform the Gameboy Advance, were unexpectedly popular. The gaming groups I was in in college played an incredible amount of Advance Wars 2. We maxed out the game’s timer at 999 hours! I have no doubt that, if our group hadn’t broken up from people graduating and leaving, we’d still be playing it today.
Both of these games are preserved in proper fashion by Wayforward’s Switch remake of Advance Wars and its immediate sequel. Of the two games after it, Dual Strike leans a bit too hard on CO powers (already a creeping problem in AW2), and Days of Ruin implemented a lot of gameplay adjustments and fixed but, alas, lost the weird sense of fun from the semi-cartoony characters and setting of the first two games.
The Gameboy Advance Advance Wars games did not have internet-enabled multiplayer. The DS versions had better options, but they’re unavailable now, at least without some technical effort, due to the shutdown of the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.
Advance Wars By Web both allows a game much like AW2 to be played over the internet, and it does so with features that make it feel like a play-by-mail game, with the site handling the state involved with turn-based multiplayer. It does this at the of having any form of single-player: all of its battles are against other human players. So it’s not an excellent way to learn to play Advance Wars games interactively, as with the official games, which easy you into the game a bit at a time. But as for learning how to play this online version, there’s a number of useful videos available on their Tutorials Page. I especially like their video on overcoming first turn advantage, which they do by spotting the second player one Infantry unit. It’s not a perfect solution, but one that works out fairly well in play. And the video on designing balanced multiplayer maps, which offers a lot of practical advice that can be carried over into designing maps for the original games. And there’s a huge library of over 3,800 games to view, if you want to see how the community plays.
I don’t know if Reboot Camp is helping to sustain the avid fandom that the first Advance Wars games did, but I’ve enjoyed it a lot. If you enjoy it too, you can go from Reboot Camp right into playing against people online on AWBW. I can’t offer much more about it than that, for Advance Wars is a deceptively deep game and I have to make a post here, on the average, every day, but it’s been offering online play between humans for nearly twenty years now! That has to count for something.
Advance Wars By Web (awbw.amarriner.com)