A is for Alphabetised wargame, sim, and site news. Once a month, assuming I can persuade Austerity’s Blackburn Cirrus Bombardier engine to perform the miracle of internal combustion, I spend a day or two scouring Simulatia and Grognardia for stories with the potential to fascinate, startle, cheer, dismay or amuse. Those stories are then dehydrated, alphabetised and delivered, via articles like this one, to people who’ve got better things to do than plough through puff and platitudes.
B is for Billboards for rent
Isla, my accountant, is threatening to quit unless I address the Sd.Kfz. 184 in the room – the feeble state of THC’s finances. Apparently, if this endeavour of mine is ever to pay its way I need to find more airlifters or grasp the nettle that is (gulp) advertising. As the ugly billboards that carbuncle most other gaming sites fill me with horror, I’ve convinced her to try a halfway-house before completely surrendering Tally-Ho Corner’s artistic integrity to Google Ads. I believe, perhaps naively, there has to be a few individuals and companies out there who’d be willing to pay modest amounts to advertise within THC’s stylish header.
My plan. Adverts, which will all be bi-colour and bespoke*, will come in three sizes – 98 x 98 pixels (nine tile) , 98 x 65 pixels (six tile), or 98 x 32 pixels (three tile) – and appear for periods as short as a month. The mock-up above shows the sort of thing that’s possible. Fancy publicising your game, book, beer, toy, chocolate bar, charity, or whatever, on the Corner? Contact me (tim at tallyhocorner dot com) for further details.**
* Design your own, or rely on my skills.
** Obviously, advertised games won’t get preferential treatment if and when I review them.
C is for Check out this downloadable digital board game
In the Twilight Struggle-influenced Heroiam Slava: The Russo-Ukrainian War, the player attempts to repel Russian invaders during the early days of Putin’s ‘special operation’ by spending Action Points in different ways. APs allow you to improve the military situation in threatened territories, play powerful cards from your hand, and nudge a selection of sliders (air superiority, western relations, Russian stability…) in helpful directions. Based on the couple of games I’ve completed thus far, fezzik21 has done a grand job of boiling down the conflict’s opening chapter to its strategic essence.
D is for Death From Above
A game inspired by drone operations in Ukraine was almost inevitable. What I hadn’t predicted was that the trailblazer would include comic elements and, like Heroiam Slava, help fund Ukraine’s war effort:
“30% of the net proceeds will be equally split between two Ukrainian organizations supporting non-offensive aid to the Ukrainian Armed forces: Come Back Alive and Army of Drones. This way, you can feel confident that your purchase contributes to a worthy cause. Once we’ve broken even on the game, we will increase this contribution, sending 70% of our net revenues to these good causes. The remaining 30% will be invested in further developing the game.”
E is for Eviscerate T-80s
TankStudio, the makers of another in-development byproduct of the Russian invasion, are less frank about their inspiration and less willing to part with their profits than Rockodile and fezzik21. Judging by screenshots like this, tactical realism won’t be Tank Hunter TOW Operator’s strong suit.
F is for Formicidae fan…
…Roman, has insisted I A2Z this love-letter to Fifties sci-fi movies. Like its Cinemaware inspiration, the £7 It Returned To The Desert switches genres at regular intervals. Where Tim Rachor departs from the It Came From The Desert formicula is in his use of turns and an isometric grid for ground combat.
G is for Good golf game gets more realistic
Super Video Golf’s greens and golf sticks/balls gained some pleasing characteristics earlier this week. Thanks mainly to a new moveable strike spot, you can now persuade spheres to scamper backwards or forwards after landing, and curve to port or starboard in flight. Naturally, wedges impart the most backspin and topspin, and fades and draws aren’t always intentional. The Monday update also improved the sim’s short game by adding more pronounced green contours, and a revised putting meter that scales depending on the distance to the hole.
H is for Hang on to your hat
The sense of speed you get haring across a choppy North American lake in one of HydroSim’s faux thunderboats is truly remarkable. A vantage point very close to the wet stuff, and the massive power plant just behind your seat, are the two quay reasons you’ll feel like Donald Campbell every time you put pedal to metal, but this free sim’s great audio, and fine water and cockpit graphics also intensify the illusion. Serious about realism, generously venued, and equipped with excellent camera, replay, and controller configuration systems, all the Unity-based HS seems to lack at present is bots to race against. Unless you’re willing to multiplay, your recordbreaking laps, alarming jiggles, and spectacular prangs will be witnessed by no-one else.
I is for Independence or death
Armies in upcoming American Revolutionary War wargame SGS We The People, will scuffle and encamp close to HydroSim venues now and again. Like Strategy Game Studio’s Battle of Stalingrad recreation – a title that looks, from a distance, better suited to series newcomers – We The People should hit Steam circa July.
J is for Jagged ‘Nam…
…a free prototype TBT that already serves up chlorophyllic Vietnam War firefights that are as colourful, exciting, and convincing as those furnished by the likes of Combat Actions: Vietnam.
K is for King’s kubes
This month’s spotlit FPS is free, brief, ingenious, and not, strictly speaking, an FPS. Playable in your browser, Blood Rite of the Dice King would have made a wonderful Quake secret.
L is for Listen up, devs
The military firing ranges and exercise areas not far from THC HQ have been unusually busy these last few weeks, and listening to the distant sounds of ‘battle’ has reminded me just how poorly most wargames do ambient audio. At play I seldom seem to hear the sort of soft-edged weapon reports I hear while tramping the footpaths, fields, and lanes around Bramley End. The terse basso profundo thunderclaps of artillery, the hill- and cloud-reflected rattles of heavy machineguns and autocannons, and the muffled pecking of rifles… evocative background sounds like these could and should infuse more battle sims.
M is for Miniature interview…
…with modern-day Oracle of Delphi, ChatGPT.
THC: Is wargaming morally dubious?
ChatGPT: Whether or not wargaming is morally dubious is a complex and controversial topic, and opinions on this issue can vary widely depending on cultural, historical, and personal perspectives. Here are a few points to consider:
Historical Accuracy – Many wargames are set in historical periods, and some people argue that these games can be a valuable educational tool for understanding historical events and military tactics. However, others argue that wargames can promote a simplistic and romanticized view of history, and can reinforce harmful stereotypes and biases.
Glorification of Violence – Some critics argue that wargames can glorify violence and promote a cavalier attitude towards the human cost of warfare. However, others argue that wargames can actually encourage players to think critically about the ethics of war, and can help them to understand the complexities and consequences of military conflict.
Desensitization – Some people worry that playing violent wargames can desensitize players to real-world violence and make them more likely to engage in aggressive behavior. However, research on this topic has been mixed, and it is not clear whether or to what extent wargaming can have this effect.
Personal Values – Ultimately, whether or not wargaming is morally dubious will depend on your own personal values and beliefs. Some people may feel comfortable playing wargames that simulate warfare, while others may find them distasteful or offensive.
Overall, whether or not wargaming is morally dubious is a complex issue, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer. It is up to each individual to decide for themselves whether or not they feel comfortable playing these games, and to consider the potential benefits and drawbacks of doing so.
THC: I’m looking for a high fidelity PC tank simulator not set during WW2. Which titles would you recommend?
ChatGPT: If you’re looking for a tank simulator that is not set during World War II, there are several options that may interest you. Here are a few recommendations:
Steel Beasts Pro PE: Steel Beasts Pro PE is a tank simulation game developed by eSim Games. It is considered one of the most realistic tank simulators available, and it includes a wide range of modern tanks and vehicles. The game offers a variety of scenarios and multiplayer modes, as well as a mission editor for creating your own scenarios.
Armored Brigade: Armored Brigade is a real-time tactics game developed by Matrix Games. It focuses on modern armored warfare, with a wide range of vehicles and equipment from the 1960s to the present day. The game features a detailed command system, terrain analysis, and realistic combat mechanics.
Tank Warfare: Tunisia 1943: While this game is set during World War II, it focuses on the North African campaign and includes a range of tanks and vehicles that are less commonly featured in other World War II games. It is known for its attention to detail and realism, and features a variety of scenarios and multiplayer modes.
DCS World: DCS World is a free-to-play digital battlefield game that includes a range of aircraft and ground vehicles, including tanks. It is known for its high level of realism and attention to detail, and includes a variety of single-player and multiplayer missions.
Steel Armor: Blaze of War: Steel Armor is a tank simulator developed by Graviteam that focuses on the Soviet-Afghan War. It includes a range of Soviet and Afghan vehicles, and features a detailed damage model and realistic terrain.
I hope this helps and that you find a tank simulator that you enjoy!
THC: Surely Armored Brigade and Tank Warfare: Tunisia 1943 are wargames rather than simulators?
ChatGPT: You are correct that Armored Brigade and Tank Warfare: Tunisia 1943 could be classified as wargames rather than tank simulators, as they focus on tactical combat rather than the intricacies of operating a tank. However, both games offer a high level of realism and attention to detail, with a focus on accurate vehicle and weapon systems, terrain analysis, and strategic decision-making.
In comparison to more traditional wargames, these titles also offer a higher level of immersion and attention to detail in their vehicle simulations, making them appealing to players looking for a more hands-on experience. However, if you are specifically looking for a tank simulator that provides an in-depth look at the operation of modern tanks, Steel Beasts Pro PE may be the most appropriate option.
I apologize for any confusion earlier, and I hope this clarification helps.
THC: And Tank Warfare: Tunisia 1943 is set during WW2 isn’t it?
ChatGPT: You are correct, my apologies for the mistake in my earlier response. Tank Warfare: Tunisia 1943 is set during World War II, specifically during the North African campaign of 1943. It features a variety of tanks and vehicles used during this period, as well as detailed terrain and weather conditions.
If you’re looking for a tank simulator that is not set during World War II, I would recommend looking into Steel Beasts Pro PE or Armored Brigade. Both games offer a more modern setting and a range of vehicles and equipment from the Cold War era to the present day.
THC: I hear GHPC is good. Might that be worth a look?
ChatGPT: I’m not familiar with a game called GHPC. However, if you’re referring to GHPC (Gunship Helicopter: Political Crisis), it is a helicopter simulation game that focuses on combat missions in a fictional setting. The game features a variety of helicopters and weapons, and offers both single-player and multiplayer modes.
While GHPC is not a tank simulator, it may still be of interest to you if you enjoy military simulations and are looking for a helicopter-focused game. However, if you specifically want to simulate tank operations, Steel Beasts Pro PE or Armored Brigade may be better options.
THC: GHPC = Gunner, HEAT, PC, an Early Access tank sim.
ChatGPT: Thank you for the correction. I apologize for the confusion. Gunner, HEAT, PC! (GHPC) is an Early Access tank simulator that is currently in development. It is designed to simulate the experience of operating a tank in a realistic manner, with detailed controls, weapon systems, and physics.
While GHPC is still in development and may have some bugs or limitations, it may be worth a look if you are interested in tank simulators and want to experience a more modern setting. However, I should note that as an Early Access game, it may not be as polished or feature-complete as a fully released game. It’s important to do your own research and read reviews before purchasing any game, especially one that is still in development.
THC: Thank you for your time
N is for Norway added
Helicopter Gunship DEX pilots can now take a break from beige if they wish. Since I 3x3ed Jimmy Arcade’s promising ‘simcade’ creation last month, the £15 Early Access title has gained a mountainous Norwegian slayground and a flyable OH-58D Kiowa Warrior. Lockheed’s lanky/luckless AH-56 Cheyenne could well be the sim’s next new steed.
O is for One Military Camp
I imagine occasional Cornerite CarloC wasn’t exactly overjoyed when he realised Full Metal Sergeant (now just two weeks from release) had competition. Although One Military Camp broke cover six months after FMS, the fact that a playable preview was available in April 2022 suggests Abylight didn’t crib the concept.
P is for Piratical party trick
Pirate dreadnoughts in the The Brew Barons, a fairly imminent (Q2 2023) Crimson Skies-style flight sim, will have an unusual defensive weapon in their arsenals – howitzer-deployed flak guns!
Q is for Quick tea card
In the early hours of the 18th of August, 1919, seven Royal Navy Coastal Motor Boats of the type depicted on this 1962 Lyons card swept into Kronstadt harbour and began slinging torpedoes at the Bolshevik warships moored there. Many of the eels missed their targets, but the daring ‘Scooter Raid’ so alarmed the Russians that the Royal Navy’s Baltic taskforce went largely unchallenged for the remainder of the British intervention.
R is for Runs better now
DCS World received a mighty kick up the afterburner a week ago. The introduction of multi-threading via an open beta significantly boosted performance for many. Almost the only users not seeing double-digit framerate gains are those with GPU bottlenecks and older, core-poor CPUs.
S is for Steam-bound CMs
A relatively high asking price and performance issues earned the last Steamed Combat Mission a few red thumbs. Will the four CMs on Matrix’s 2023 release schedule – Battle For Normandy (March 28), Red Thunder (June), Fortress Italy (September), and Final Blitzkrieg (December) – fare better?
T is for Tabletop vibe
There’s a good chance the next A2Z will include impressions of Field of Arms: Tactics, a £13 multi-layer wargame with an 18th Century Caribbean setting, a tabletop vibe, and Columbian creators. I wasn’t blown away when I tried the original demo back in October 2021…
“….tactical simplicity (no formations, commanders, ammo representation, or gun limbering/unlimbering), AI weakness (batteries are easily overran), and LoS issues  mean few bona fide wargamers are likely to give it the time of day”
…but a lot can happen in a year and half.
U is for Unlucky U-boats
Success in war sometimes breeds complacency. The sight, last Saturday, of a heavily escorted Allied convoy accompanied by a Coastal Command Catalina really should have put the captain of chart-topping U-52 on his guard. Instead I threw caution to the wind and trusted to home advantage, and the luck that has, for the past 33 encounters, shielded my Type VII from harm. At three minutes past four in the afternoon, a keen-eyed PBY crewman spotted the feathery wake of a raised periscope and alerted his skipper. At precisely 16.06, straddled by two perfectly delivered DCs, the Swindon Town-powered U-52 (Ships sunk: 15. Total tonnage: 86,400) commenced her final crash dive.
U-30, a DFB boat with a tally just as impressive as U-52’s (Ships sunk: 17. Total tonnage: 78,500), also came to grief this month. Cruelly, it was an unnoticed fuel leak that cost Belgian skipper mverdo his craft. The sub with the stylised ram painted on her conning tower ran out of diesel while heading for home, and had to be scuttled to prevent capture by the RN.
V is for VTOL VR trainer
VTOL VR’s second add-on will be the T-55 Tyro, a fictional two-seat jet trainer that appears to have a fair bit of DNA in common with the real-life South Korean T-50. Keen to encourage buyers to use the Tyro for tuition as well as combat, Boundless Dynamics are making the front seat of the new machine free to use. Assuming you know someone who owns the add-on, you’ll be able to fly with them as their student.
W is for War Hospital’s wordsmithery
War Hospital’s cinematic trailer featured some decidedly dodgy writing/translation. Thankfully, the wordsmithing in the latest video is much better. While lines such as “I want to tell you what it’s like to be here so I can imagine you here with me.” and “If you ever meet a chap that says he wants to go back, call him a liar.” still feel a mite clumsy, they’re a vast improvement on “Mud and the smell of death are friends who will always judge you.”.
X is for Xtreme conditions
Fog, ice, and gale-force winds probably aren’t the first things that spring to mind when you read the words “Pacific theatre wargame” but the latest Lock ‘n Load Tactical Digital DLC has a PTO setting and manages to be both bitter and blowy. Yours for seven quid, Hell Frozen Over translates the chilly three-week Battle of Attu into ten torrid scenarios.
Y is for Yearnworthy team tactics romp
Z is for Zoological Game Jam extended
As Jason & Johnnie, my own Zoological Game Jam-inspired project, remains unfinished, it would be hypocritical of me to grumble about the lack-lustre response to THC’s last game design compo. After long deliberation, the judges ultimately decided to award an interim prize to mverdo for Saint Patrick Simulator, an amusing card- and dice-driven solo RPG about ridding the Emerald Isle of serpents, and to extend the jam in the hope of attracting a few more entries. Sitting on a promising WIP? You have until Jan 1 to transform it from cushion to submission.
Love A-Z! It makes my Friday whenever I see it. I have been trying out We The People in its early stages. Still a fair amount of work needs to be done, but it is showing promise. It is a complicated struggle and a hard one to simulate.
Same! A-Z is my favorite.
This is my favorite site on the internet and I’m sick and tired of content I like going the way of the dodo- I’m going to up my monthly subscription to help out.
Much appreciated. Thanks.
Love the A2Z, so I’ve also jumped a tier in appreciation of Tim’s Tremendous Work.
Thanks a lot!
If you – or any other airlifter reading this – fancies a bespoke commenter/logo tile, provide a couple of subject ideas, and I’ll get to work.
Hi, I’m the creator of Jagged Nam.
First time I see this website: I saw a weird influx of views coming from my game’s analytics page and I had to check it out.
I’m actively working on the game and will upload an updated version soon
Thank you for featuring my game!
My pleasure and welcome to THC. I’d be very interested to hear what your plans are for Jagged Nam.
The version that’s online, the one you played, is outdated.
I’ll soon(?) release an up-to-date version in which players can actually have a “full playthrough” with some sort of basic score-keeping.
The basic game cycle would be:
1. Create a profile [player Name and Lastname], choose a weapon. A team of soldiers is given to you.
2. Press “Deploy”, your character uses your Name Lastname. Losing your character means your profile is deleted. You can lose other soldiers and they will be replaced after missions.
3. Complete objective, extract at marked point. Completed Missions score counter goes +1.
(Also, added the Grenadier MOS armed with a grenade launcher. Hella fun.)
This is the most basic and short term thing I can do.
Long term? Many things can be done: such as dynamic campaigns, different enemy types and objectives. Non-combat RPG missions such as interrogating civilians, vehicles, etc.
And most importantly: hiring an actual Artist to make everything prettier. My skills are limited.
Unfortunately right now I’m in the middle of changing city and job, so I’ll have to settle for the basic game cycle for now.
Regarding money, there must be a be way to make some money off your recommendations. I just bought three titles in the recent steam sale which i wouldn’t have bought without your wordsmithing. Similarly perhaps it’s an idea to look into becoming a steam curator (since you already have your review text here), leading more people to the website?
I’ll look into Steam Curator thing. Thanks for the suggestion.
ChatGPT interview was amusing. Gunship Helicopter: Political Crisis could actually be an interesting title, if it was real 😀 would like to see more tactical wargames consider political limitations and implications.
Lots of good stuff in this A2Z! Also is Jan 1 a typo for the extended compo deadline, or do we get almost an extra year?
Jan 1 wasn’t a typo. From here-on THC game jams will be known as THC game jam roly-polies and roll on and on and on.
Ooh, nice. Sounds like a good idea, I wouldn’t even mind seeing occasional updates whenever there have been a few interesting entries to look at.
Maybe even I can make a game in that kind of time 🙂
Sad to hear that the finances aren’t coming together in this second (third?) year of THC. It’s a pretty penny to be a monthly supporter compared to all the “free” news out there, but it’s been well worth it to me.
I hope the tile idea works out, but if WDS, Battlefront, and Microsoft wanted to put regular wargame and sim ads up, I wouldn’t mind. I just don’t want Google Analytics feeding me ads for VRBO and kitchen appliances.
One thing I do wonder about is the absence of other writers on the site. Is that something where having a diverse set of writers covering different angles might reach a wider audience? I feel like going it alone must be really difficult.
Thanks very much for the support, Oneknown. My original goal was to replace my RPS income (£200 a week) through THC and while that hasn’t happened yet, airlifters like yourself are keeping me and Roman fed, warm, and keen/productive.
I’d love to involve other writers, but as THC’s sole wordsmith is still not earning ‘minimum wage’ from the site, there’s no way I can commission pieces from others at fair/competitive rates at the moment.
My prediction that my jam project would prove hopelessly ambitious for the timeframe proved even correcter than I’d imagined, so I am happy of Z!
I’m currently fabricating another submission to the game jam.
At the moment I have the feeling it could be superior in every way to St Pat sim.
Have you considered making THQ into a Substack? A lot of people already use that, so it might be easier to coax people into paying a subscription.
If I was starting again from scratch I’d probably use Substack. Switching now would, I think, be too disruptive.