The gameplay of Wargame consists of deploying and commanding units on the battlefield in real time. This type of gameplay is usually referred to as real-time strategy (RTS), but due to the lack of base building and resource management, it is also referred to as real-time tactics (RTT). The gameplay of Wargame is very similar to Eugen Systems's previous game, R.U.S.E, since both games utilize the IRISZOOM, which allows players to view the units and the battlefield in stunning detail, which is similar to World in Conflict's MassTech Game Engine.
- Main article: Morale and Veterancy
The morale of a unit affects its accuracy, firing rate, and speed.
- Main article: Zones
Zones are strategic areas on the map in which players must capture by using command vehicles to gain command points to deploy more units and dominance over the battlefield. If both sides have a command vehicle on the map the sector will stay neutral.
- Main article: Deck
Decks are a major feature in the game, which allows the player to create their own NATO or Warsaw Pact armies. For players to add units into their decks, they must first complete objectives from the campaign, AI skirmishes, or multiplayer matches to earn stars, which is the currency to unlock new units and their variants.
Starting from Airland Battle, the stars are no longer used. Instead, there are more complex limitations on what kind of units one can deploy, depending on deck type, nationality, era, etc.
The four game modes in Wargame: European Escalation and Wargame: AirLand Battle are Destruction, Siege, Conquest, and Economy. They can be played as Confrontation (NATO vs PACT), NATO (NATO vs NATO OpFor), or PACT (PACT vs PACT OpFor).
- Main article: Destruction
In this mode, players will have to eliminate the opposing team in order to win the round.
- Main article: Siege
There are two teams, the defenders in the center of the battlefield, and the attackers around the map. The defender in the center will have to fend off and eliminate the attackers, while the attackers will have to eliminate all of the defenders forces. This game mode is technically the same as Destruction.
- Main article: Conquest (Gamemode)
The Conquest Game Mode uses different mechanics in the two iterations of the game. The common point is that victory can be achieved from control of map locations regardless of the balance of units lost and destroyed.
In Wargame: AirLand Battle Conquest (see main article) the Objective Zones have the same area and positions as in the other W:ALB game modes, but reward the controlling side with Victory Points instead of Command Points. Reinforcements are purchased with Command Points accumulating at a constant pace irrespective of Zone control.
In Wargame: European Escalation Conquest (see main article) players will have to capture a certain of "Victory Sectors" (small circular strategic points) scattered around the map. If a player and his side reach the certain amount of Victory Sectors they have to capture, that players side will be granted victory.
The players will have a certain amount of time to get the most reinforcement points, which means that players would have to capture the most zones on the battlefield in order to get a larger income of points and spend wisely.