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 Maksim Gorky-sized tract instead.
B is for Brinkmann’s Bridge
THC’s first communal Combat Mission marathon finished on Wednesday. When the prattle of submachine guns and the murmur of AFV engines subsided, the only Allied unit within spitting distance of the titular canal spanner was a Cromwell VIII, and that unsupported support tank was just one ill-judged move away from a 75mm AP or 105mm HEAT round in the mush or a Panzerfaust in the flank or backside.
Noting this and the fact that famed Luftwaffe air ace Bernhard ‘Der Sperber’ Brinkmann had got through 25 turns of torrid tussle totally unscathed, the GM decided the canny Comment Commanders deserved a TACTICAL VICTORY result. Well played, order issuers and thank you for your hard work and enthusiasm!
C is for Counting the cost
There’s no denying the Germans paid a high price for taking the bridge.
Almost as many fusiliers fell during the course of the battle as glider riders.
I was hoping inspection of individual kill tallies would help me assign the Unit of the Unpleasantness award, but, if anything, stats scrutiny made the task harder. Should one of the scrap’s deadliest units – the Panther (11 infantry, 1 Sherman, 1 Staghound) or the Cromwell (a dozen kills) – get the title? In the light of their natural advantages, I think not.
Should the award go to Best, the implacable British gunner, Belin, the gung-ho gong hunter, or Wilberg, the walking armoury, for individual elan? While all three undoubtedly deserve to be Mentioned in Dispatches along with 6 Squad, who silenced seven paras on the west side of the monastery without suffering a single casualty, I’m reluctant to go further.
After long deliberation I’ve decided it would be a cruel injustice if communal CM’s equivalent of a ‘Man of the Match’ award didn’t recognise the fighting spirit, skilful synchronisation, and dogged determination of “The Easterners”.
In action from the outset, the three squads of 2nd Platoon eliminated 26 foes between them (37 if you include the victims of the HQ team and the two light mortars).
They secured the all-important bridge, and their presence in the white house during the last few turns probably saved Brinkmann’s bacon. Woikin, Griess, Hirsch, Meister etc… the honorary title is yours.
D is for Dock a Dragon 2
E is for Extra time
Thanks to a patch released a day before Barbarossa, Unity of Command II’s second DLC, players of 2×2’s superb sequel are far less likely to experience FTF (Final Turn Frustration). In addition to completely reworking the tutorial, the update allows out-of-time field marshals to buy extra turns with Prestige.
F is for First-person wargaming?
It’s been four years since reader William Barnum wowed the Flare Path dragons with his outline of first-person general-em-up ‘Smoke and Thunder’. Prime & Load: 1776 isn’t the promised land William described, but it may well be the closest thing available at present.
G is for Ghostly goings-on
The winner of the inaugural DCS World International Film Festival is Top Gun meets Duel, and well worth a watch.
H is for Hand-wash only
What happens if you accidentally boil-wash a T-34? It turns into a T-50, the star of Typhoon Rising, the latest Graviteam Tactics expansion. Just 69 examples of this unreliable, expensive light tank rolled off production lines before the Red Army lost interest in the design.
I is for Implausible eels
Since THC reviewed Crash Dive 2, depth charges have gained potency, and destroyers have gained torpedo launchers. As the eels launched by Japanese ASW craft are capable of sinking subs lurking 100 feet or more below the surface, I’m not totally convinced the latter addition qualifies as an improvement. Any chance of a “realistic torpedo performance” tickbox in the next update, Panic Ensues?
J is for Jeju Uprising
Learning about the Jeju Uprising via a winsome, unflinching adventure game, sounds great. What a shame COSDOTS’ history lesson comes with a mandatory side-order of horribly contrived inventory puzzles.
K is for Kraken’s plans
Like VR Designs, Kraken Studios’ obsession with WW2 isn’t all-consuming. The makers of WarPlan (2019) and WarPlan Pacific (released yesterday) intend to use their hexy grand strategy engine for a fantasy wargame next.
L is for Long way off
Take this trailer with a big pinch of sulfanilamide. Sherman Commander is still at least a year and a half away. Before turning their attention to AFVs and their entourages and enemies, Polish dev Iron Wolf Studio have a promising North Atlantic destroyer sim to finish.
M is for M4 mythbusting
Hundreds of WW2 wargames and sims may be unfairly maligning the ubiquitous Sherman. As Wargaming America’s resident AFV expert, Nicholas Moran, explains in the above vid, the M4’s reputation as a “Tommy cooker” is based on misinterpreted data.
N is for Naked numbers
“Why are my men struggling to take that fort and bludgeon their way through that pass?” will be questions easily answered in upcoming WeGo/real-time wargame Attack at Dawn: North Africa. In addition to illustrating AaDNA’s simple order issuing system and feisty enemies, the embedded footage shows the title’s willingness to display military maths.
O is for Outlawed oddity
Automobilista 2‘s newest kerb caresser is a facsimile of a race car that generated controversy as effortlessly as it generated downforce. After Niki Lauda piloted a Brabham BT46B “fan car” to victory in the 1978 Swedish Grand Prix, the type was swiftly banned by the sport’s governing body.
P is for Penis envy
Always wanted a Little Willie? Get Tank Mechanic Simulator! Generous DeGenerals plan to add free versions of the world’s first tank prototype and the Vickers Mark E (one of Little Willie’s neighbours at Bovington) to their AFV recovery/refurbishment game today.
Q is for Quick teabreak
R is for R.I.P. John Tiller
The world of digital wargaming lost a legend this week. During a thirty year career in games design, John Tiller hexagonised more history than anyone in his field. His high-quality designs upset few applecarts, but never failed to entertain and educate. My favourite Tiller titles were products of the TalonSoft years. Those of you with extensive Squad Battles, Panzer Campaigns, or Civil War Battles experience may want to steer the uninitiated in other directions.
S is for Skirmish surprise
Firefight acquired a skirmish generator and better pathfinding in March. The unexpected update went down well amongst fans of tense Close Combat-style scrapping, but left longstanding shortcomings like sedentary enemies (currently, the player is always cast as the attacker) and absent multiplayer unaddressed.
T is for Textbook ditching
I suspect no-one watched the dramatic footage of TBM-3 Avenger N108Q ditching off Cocoa Beach, Florida, on April 17, with greater interest than realism chasers Drydock Dreams Games.
U is for Unconcerned
PBEM implentation issues mean Combat Mission: Cold War, the title I’ll probably use for the next communal CM game, now won’t be ready before June. Most of the BFC faithful are – I suspect – too busy enjoying Fire and Rubble, Red Thunder’s long awaited first module, to give a fig about the short delay.
V is for Volgogradian microfoxer
Fancy an all expenses paid trip to the (Caspian) seaside? Maestro Cinetik have donated four copies of the ace Cauldrons of War – Stalingrad to Tally-Ho Corner. I’ll be giving away three of these via the subscribers-only Sunday raffles.
The fourth will go to the first person to send me (tim at tallyhocorner dot com) the names of the four streets I was standing in when I took these Street View snaps. (PRIZE WON)
W is for War in the wastelands
Armageddon Empires has finally made it to Steam! The 2007 version of Tim Stone Esq. will now explain why this news warrants an exclamation mark:
“Vladimir Kost, my ablest general, was assassinated twelve turns ago. Since his death, Kost’s Kommandos, the ragtag collection of men and mecha that single-handedly saw off the Xenopod menace, has suffered defeat after defeat. Now they huddle nervously in an abandoned missile silo waiting for the Mutant assault that will almost certainly finish them. Things look hopeless; I shouldn’t be smiling, yet I am. I’m smiling because I’m playing one of the best strategy games I’ve played in ages.
Oh, I’m also smiling because Valentine, my favourite saboteur, has just sneaked a briefcase nuke into the Mutant capital.
Welcome to Armageddon Empires, a rich, riveting post-apocalyptic mix of Civ-style TBS and Magic-style CCG. Newcomers Cryptic Comet might not know much about interface design (embarrassingly clumsy) or tutorial provision (go to http://snipurl.com/1v0fp for a decent primer) but the way they’ve blended warfare, economics, base-building, logistics, heroes, espionage and exploration, borders on the brilliant.
Every game begins the same way. You place a base on the edge of a randomly generated hex map, and pore over a hand of beautifully illustrated cards. With luck they’ll be some recon units there, speedy spider bots, dinos, buggies or bat-things (depending on your faction) perfect for probing the surrounding wilderness. A few turns further on and you’ll probably have some hero cards on the map. These named bigwigs, each with their own specialisms, lead armies, conduct research, and oversee the erection of the resource-harvesting buildings that fund all unit actions, and hand replenishment.
Often the best sources of manpower and materials are already occupied. Those deceptively drab landscapes in the screenshots are actually littered with exotic tribes, critters and structures. One turn your troops could be skirmishing with cultists in a canyon temple, the next they might be salvaging a nuke from a beached sub, or recruiting an itinerant scientist. Boredom never gets a look-in.
When factions meet the fun really begins. AI recon forces usually show-up first, then, maybe there’s an air-raid or two, or a visit from a sab or an assassin. Eventually large variegated armies arrive and you find yourself wishing you’d created more tactics cards (used to modify combat dice rolls) and built the lab that would have enabled weapons upgrades.
Then again maybe you get lucky. Maybe the CPU powers rip each other to shreds before stumbling your way. There’s no telling what’s going to happen. The turn of the cards, the plethora of unit types, and the colourful encounter system ensure a different experience every time. Only adventure and absorption are guaranteed.”