A2Z

A is for Alphabetised wargame and sim news. I could have scattered these topical tidbits throughout the week in the hope they’d make Tally-Ho Corner look lively and well-staffed. Concern for your LMB dabber persuaded me to glue them together and present them as a single Ever Given-sized tract instead.


B is for Bell 47

The whirlybird that made an unlikely appearance in Where Eagles Dare is set to make an equally improbable one in Flight Simulator. The fact that Asobo’s chart-topper doesn’t, on paper, support rotary wing aerodynamics doesn’t seem to bother the team behind VFR flight sim FlyInside. FlyInside Inc say they already have their Bell 47G “integrated into MSFS and working nicely… Our flight model provides an authentic helicopter flight experience, with realistic collective/cyclic response, ground effect, flap-back, transverse flow, torque/yaw, and auto-rotation capabilities.”

C is for Combat’s consequences

Let’s hope the aptly named Brave Lamb aren’t so focused on crafting a “deep emotional experience” they end up inadvertently creating an implausible one. When War Hospital’s project lead does their first dev vlog, I want to see well-thumbed copies of tomes like The Great War and the R.A.M.C. and Medicine in First World War Europe on the bookshelves behind them.

D is for Dispensing with dice

We knew that number-slathered counters would play no part in Comrades and Barons: Gates of Freedom, the world’s first Latvian War of Independence digital wargame. The vid above implies dice won’t get a look in either. Māris Ozols plans to resolve enagagements with the help of stylish cards. How refreshing.

E is for Engineering expertise

Subject Matter Experts don’t come any apter or older than Friedrich Grade, the 104-year-old currently assisting the Crush Depth devs Overworked Studios. In his youth Friedrich was Chief Engineer aboard U 96, the ‘Das Boot’ boat.

F is for Friendly advice

Hands up who thinks Madnetic Games should abandon WW2 Rebuilder this instant and use their London assets in a game about wartime bomb disposal in the British capital. Who wants to toss lumps of tarmac into a wheelbarrow or scrub soot off a facade when they could be sitting at the bottom of a dirty great hole, easing the fuse out of a Sprengbombe Cylindrisch 1000.

G is for Grieving aces

Friendships are coming to Until the Last Plane. Buddies that fly together will get combat bonuses, but if one pal dies, the other’s morale will plunge like a Tirpitz-bound Tallboy.

H is for How much is that doggy in the windthrow?

Just £2.16! You can buy your very own theHunter: Call of the Wild bloodhound for two quid at the moment. Purchasers get to choose the name, sex, and coat colour of their hunting companion, and pick character traits. Petting, praising and proffering treats at appropriate moments improves the beast’s ability to follow blood trails.

I is for Iberia imminent

I don’t keep Euro Truck Simulator 2 and American Truck Simulator permanently installed for the same reason I don’t keep custard creams and honey-roasted nuts within easy reach. The self denial preserves my productivity/waistline, but means I probably won’t get to see the transformational lighting improvements introduced by recent updates until Iberia drops later this month. In preparation for ETS2’s next adjunct I’ve been doing some exploring in Street View. The first person to tell me where I was when I took this snap gets use of the THC morion for the next month.

J is for Just teething troubles

Slitherine/Matrix haven’t exposed hexy heavyweight War in the East 2 to Steam scrutiny yet. Judging by the number of crash reports posted on the official forum since last Friday’s launch, their decision to sell only through the Matrix store initially, was a wise one.

K is for King of the mountains

Be sure to warm-up your little grey cells before trying The Cyclist: Tactics demo. Automation’s bicycle racing TBS is bally clever, but the unusual approach and depth of the simulation make for a learning curve as steep as Alpe d’Huez.

L is for Left hand down a bit

I’d pay good money for a Suez Canal ship sim made by VSTEP, Ilan Papini, or Michael Donning. Sorry screenshots, suspicious timing, and an unknown dev mean this may be the one and only time this imminent Med2Red rudder-em-up appears on Tally-Ho Corner.

M is for More mediocrity?

Setting your bus sim in Berlin, the home of the undisputed king of bus sims, is an awfully bold move. As Early-Accessable-since-Sunday The Bus is the work of TML Studios there’s probably little point grumbling about poor physics, lack-lustre audio, and lumpy frame rates in the forums. Calls for more convincing conveyances in TML’s Fernbus Simulator and Tourist Bus Simulator fell on deaf ears.

N is for Non-lethal nuances

Uncomfortable with DoorKickers 2’s setting and “shoot first, soul-search later” approach? Hot Brass might be more to your taste. This £11 top-down SWAT title features WASD-guided operators, and punishes you if you top an unarmed suspect, even if that suspect is lunging for you when you pull the trigger. Tasers and shouted warnings are just as important tactical tools as MP5s and M1911s.

O is for Oddly octagonal

There’s a reason wargames with octagonal movement grids are rarer than fossilized Stegosaurus saddles. I look forward to finding out how the ones in Fire & Maneuver, the first game from animated documentary maestros The Armchair Historian, justify their presence.

P is for Plague of honey badgers

Ratels seem to be everywhere at the moment. Leopard’s Leap, the latest add-on for Graviteam Tactics, features them. They’ve just arrived in War Thunder courtesy of the Ixwa Strike update. And pretty soon they’ll be scampering about in Wargame: Red Dragon too.

Q is for Quick teabreak

R is for Reentry revamp

Wilhelmsen Studios spent a significant portion of 2020 upgrading Reentry’s recreations of the Mercury and Gemini projects. They’ve started 2021 by giving Apollo the same treatment. The sim’s moonshots now utilise the new physics engine – TSS – and are undertaken in a Command Module transformed by refurbishment.

S is for SGS Halls of Montezuma

If I end up reviewing Mexican-American War recreation, SGS Halls of Montezuma, I hope the review doesn’t boil down to “Fascinating theme, feeble AI”. My time with SGS Winter War and SGS Afrika Korps suggests it might.

T is for Tally-Ho Corner top tip

Struggling to come up with a memorable moniker for your new game or searching in vain for a theme for your next project? THC recommends turning to the turf for inspiration. Today’s Newcastle racecards prove my point. The runners there include Perfect Soldier, Legion of Honour, Spartan Fighter, Curfewed, Oakenshield, Seas of Elzaam, and Quintillus – all games I’d willingly cross the paddock to fetlock fondle.

U is for Under consideration

It’s possible the next 3×3 will have a political theme. Recently released Rogue State Revolution beckons, I’m keen to discover whether the first three hours with Shadow Empire is slog or swan, and I’ve been meaning to try Suzerain since Sin Vega described it as “absolutely fantastic” back in December.

V is for Vertiginous violence

I’m thinking of asking friend of THC, Erwin Rommel, to run his eye over multiplayer FPS Isonzo when it launches later this year. A brilliant Mountain Battalion company commander in 1917, Erwin ran rings around the Italians during the final Battle of Isonzo. Leading a force of 150 men, he engineered attacks that led to around 19000 Italians surrendering.

W is for We are rail fantasists

Dovetail Games’ thin skin, failure to embrace object-oriented programming, and maddening habit of over-promising, all draw criticism in this insightful Sim UK vid. It’s been four years since Train Sim World: CSX Heavy Haul snaked onto Steam, and customers are still waiting for touted features such as steam locos, multiplayer, and a full suite of editors. Is it any wonder people like Mike are all out of trust.

X is for Xceptionally menacing

Livery artists are going to have a field day with the due-this-quarter Early Access DCS: Mi-24P. In the forty years since it first flew, the Hind has worn the insignia of around seventy different air forces.

Y is for Yes, please

The trailer above undersells Attack at Dawn: North Africa. It makes it look like a Panzer Corps 2 clone with amateurish, asthenopia-inducing visuals when actually it’s Something Far More Exciting with amateurish, asthenopia-inducing visuals. Designer Tomislav Čipčić’s second unorthodox Desert War wargame (The Flare Path covered the first – Iron Cross – a decade ago) aims to kick Convention up the arse by offering the option of WeGo or turnless play. Factor in formation movement, thick FoW, strong AI, and carefully researched OoBs, and you’ll understand why my preview code request went out this morning.

Z is for Zero-G R&D

The latest Jigsaw Club upload is a nod to Space Station Designer, an upcoming management game about building, maintaining, and monetising spindly space labs. As Polar Motion, the studio behind Buzz Aldrin’s Space Program Manager, began working on SSD around four years ago, the release day surely can’t be far away now.

12 Comments

  1. Seas of Elzaam: a fantasy merchant company management game, notable for its accurate and evocative treatment of ship-to-ship and ship-to-monster combat in the eponymous world. Equip your ships with rugged, reliable ballistae and depend on sword and shield should pirates close the distance, or chance spending the coin on cannon, persnickety but more than capable of demolishing corsair and colossal squid alike?

  2. Fire & Maneuver is giving me simultaneous Battle Academy and Franco-Prussian War vibes. Definitely headed over to that YouTube channel to see if there are any other nuggets of info!

  3. Raising a forepaw in favor of repurposing WWII Rebuilder. At least going by the trailer, it’s difficult to imagine enjoying a game in which “build a multistory mansion in contemporary Georgian style” and “pick up this piece of rubble” or “clean a tiny bit of soot” seem to be equally weighted click-ops.

  4. That 3×3 sounds interesting. I’ve had my eye on Rogue State and would value a view. I bounced off Suzerain the two times I tried to start it, think that was on me and because it was too late at night to get into the world properly. I also couldn’t quite work out the extent to which it was a game vs being a “visual novel”. Another interesting “choose your own adventure” game is the wonderfully titled The Life and Suffering of Sir Brante which has three increasingly ambitious paths through it. Shadow Empires looks like it could be great, I wonder if it takes more than three hours to dig into properly though?

    • This is the first I heard of Suzerain. Looks fairly interesting, and the Steam reviews seem a fair bit better than Yes, Your Grace, which also looked interesting in the preview but was lambasted on release.

      I rather like these VN games that break out of the anime/dating sim adjacent world. They’re a bit out of the Tally-Ho Corner wheelhouse, I suppose, but there have been a few that have some thematic overlap. Over The Alps was a neat WW2 spy yarn, for example, and Wheels Of Aurelia felt like a nice slice of period drama too. I still have Through The Darkest Of Times on my wishlist thanks to an old Flare Path feature, though I’m not sure if that might have too much randomness in it for my tastes (I didn’t buy Way Of Defector for same reason). I feel like the “no failure path” adventure game and VN formats tend to be used more for fantasy, which is fine and I love it, but there’s potential there for telling more grounded and historical stories too.

  5. Bingo!

    You, Tim, are at Oasys MiniHollywood
    https://www.google.com/maps/@37.0212093,-2.4348017,3a,75y,232.84h,86.03t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s6TSH4R4wT6p2cDu5kv_JcA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en-GB

    (Shakes body in uncoordinated manner, imagining some sort of victory dance).

    ETA: The flags are
    Alamo Flag, 1824
    Bonnie Blue
    California Republic

    And, if I may say, an unusual choice for Tim who would, I’d have expected, been visiting the second-largest chair in the world.

  6. The cycling tactical game reminded me of a problem I have found recently, a sports management game at a good medium complexity level.

    I have FM2021 on Xbox Games Pass, but the depth is too much. I have finished Motorsport Manager 3 on mobile where the depth is a little too low, but there is nothing in the pick team/squad & tactics and sort out transfers and that’s it and zoom through matches a’la original championship managers.

    The cyclist video certain seems interesting though, kind of a more in depth Formula De by the look of it?

  7. Euro Truck Simulator also has a shiny new truck coming – they’ve posted to say that Renault are announcing their new RL truck via the game!

    It’s an interesting deviation from massive licence fees car marques charge for in-game inclusion.

  8. Shadow empire is deep and frustrating but very rewarding. I keep going back even though it looks awful. True love I suppose. But yeah it’s a real story teller. And it’s not fair or balanced. So a bit like life. Give it a few days. Patience rewards.

    • There are some good video tutorials for Shadow Empire by Edmon & Das Tactic, at least through the initial learning curve, and there’s a decent textual collection on its Steam Community page.

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