Māris Ozols throws open the Gates of Freedom

While the armistice of November 11, 1918 brought peace to Western Europe, it paved the way for new conflicts in the east. Thanks to Māris Ozols, the solo coder behind the £15, twenty-scenario Comrades and Barons: Gates of Freedom, it’s now possible to computer game one of those conflicts – the Latvian War of Independence.

As I’ve only spent about an hour with Gates of Freedom so far, I’m afraid I can’t tell you anything useful about its AI, difficulty, or allure yet. What I can say is that C&BGoF is very easy on the eye and mouse hand* and is equipped with a tutorial that is probably too terse for its own good.

* Battalion movement – moving two to five units with a single click – is possible.

How to move units and initiate combat is explained well enough. What I’m still struggling to understand is exactly how the unconventional card-based combat system works. Attack an enemy company (busts generally represent companies) and the number of cards your side contributes to the combat deck (one card of which is drawn to determine the battle result) is dependent on the strength and the number of units you’ve committed to the clash.

Unfortunately, the tutorial fails to explain what the various combat cards signify. Viewing the imminent engagement in ‘combat review mode’, I have no real idea whether my attack is likely to cause a retreat, a step loss, a ‘weakened’ state, some combination of these, or nothing at all. More guidance please, Mr. Ozols!

EDIT: After swapping a few emails with Māris, I think I now understand how combat works. Retreats happen automatically if the defending side loses the engagement (I.e. if a card belonging to the attacker rather than a card belonging to the defender is drawn during the combat phase). Losses only occur when a previously weakened unit (marked with skull icons) loses an engagement.

The battle pictured above produces a five-card combat deck that favours the Reds (red and yellow roundel). The Germans (black and red roundel) ‘lose’ one of their two cards because of the involvement of Red artillery, but gain a replacement because they are defending in a town.

One comment

  1. Thanks. I purchased the game and was fooling around with it, but combat confused me. This post helps a lot.

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