A is for Alphabetised wargame, sim, and site news. Now and again, assuming I can persuade Austerity’s Blackburn Cirrus Bombardier engine to perform the miracle of internal combustion, I spend a few days 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 Bang up-to-date?

As SmartWargames’ Karl Müller explains in this Let’s Play, although winSPMBT now includes drones and Russo-Ukrainian War scenarios, until Camo Workshop revise ATGM capabilities, Steel Panthers will struggle to provide totally convincing recreations of the fighting in Ukraine.

C is for City clashes

Strategy Game Studio’s last release encompassed a continent, the previous one a country. The next two, Battle for Madrid and Battle for Hue, will be far more intimate affairs. 95% complete and well into beta testing, Madrid should be available by the end of the month.

D is for Deep State’s deliciously dated alpha demo

Black Site Cobalt makes Abu Ghraib look like Disneyland as you’ll discover if you play this mostly fantastic nod to classics such as GoldenEye, Deus Ex, and Resident Evil. “Mostly”? Developer Frogman Interactive has yet to implement planned stealth mechanics and the Afghan foes that populate Cobalt could, I feel, use sharper hearing and exhibit a dash more curiosity and cunning.

E is for Experience life aboard a prison hulk during the Napoleonic Wars…

…in AGO BRISTOL 1775, a free VR curio from Canada. If I’ve understood the Steam blurb correctly, as well as allowing users to shrink down small enough to explore a scanned ship model, the software also allows museum curators to lead guided virtual tours of the miniature vessel in real time.

F is for Furball like it’s 1985…

…in free retro jet sim SEAD/DEAD.

G is for Grimy Gagarins

If I’d been brought up in the Eastern Bloc, Cuba, or North Korea rather than Britain, the portion of my heart currently set aside for Class 47 adoration would, I suspect, be reserved for M62 worship. Exported in significant numbers from the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation between 1965 and 1995, the M62s are one of the smokier stars of free Polish rail sim, MaSzyna.

H is for Hard act to follow

MicroProse have a ‘lite’ WW2 sub sim in the works. I hope they realise Silent Depth 2: Pacific will need to be bally good in order to compete with the current king of friendly Gato games, Crash Dive 2.

I is for Interminable incubation

James Warshawsky of Forced March Games has been working part-time on a sequel to the much loved Hannibal: Rome and Carthage in the Second Punic Wars for over a decade. One of the reasons game #2 is taking so long is James is tackling a much bigger chunk of ancient history this time. Fall of Rome’s grand campaign map will stretch from Iberia to Persia… Scandinavia to the Sahara. New civil and military mechanics are also adding to the workload.

J is for Just about done

Operation Austere Thunderbolt is drawing to a close. The purchase, delivery, and assembly of ‘Ada’, my new fun-furnisher/toe-warmer, went pretty smoothly, all things considered. Ignore a couple of “Where on earth does this plug go?” moments and a spot of I/O shield wrangling (Genuine questions: Why are they so flimsy and why aren’t they integral parts of the mobo?) and the build was entirely perturbation free. True, I’ve yet to stress-test my handiwork by playing the likes of Flight Simulator, DCS World, and SimRail. And I have just remembered I meant to replace the thermal paste on my video card before installing it!

To all those Cornerites who funded Ada via subscriptions or one-off donations, and to everyone who helped me design her, I’d like to say a big Ta.

K is for Key West and Keflavik

“Discover the most famous airports in the world”? Whoever scripted this trailer clearly has never heard of London Heathrow, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Los Angeles International etc. Released on October 19, the demo-equipped AirportSim lets players tend airliners in Warsaw, Vagar, Key West, and Keflavik. Despite the absence of big name hubs and the lack of saving and synthetic workmates, most Steam customers seem content.

L is for Lots more to come

Giant Flame isn’t finished with The Troop yet. The “easy to champion” Operation Overlord wargame might have left Early Access and gained its full complement of campaign missions (35) recently, but work on ‘Battlegroup Mode’ – semi-random campaigns with unit purchasing and carry-over – continues. And if sales are healthy, a US forces expansion pack is a strong possibility.

M is for Marvellous machine-made maps?

Headquarters: World War II, the fairly imminent Battle Academy-reminiscent TBT from Starni Games and Slitherine, will come with an endless supply of skirmish-suitable violence venues. There’s a glimpse of the random map generator UI about 100 seconds into the above video.

N is for No bestsellers

The flat you scour for clues in the diverting Scene Investigators demo is occupied by a couple with seriously weird taste in books. Forget figuring out the identity of the killer and the motive for their crime, the real mystery is why Henry and Clara don’t own any books published after 1958.

O is for Open October might be over…

…but if you’d like to use Tally-Ho Corner to evangelise, educate, share stories, guide greenhorns, or provoke thought, chances are I won’t look your gift horse in the hayhole.

P is for Problems aplenty

Two weeks and nine patches after it launched, players of Alaskan Road Truckers are still reporting myriad problems. Peruse the massive bugs thread on the Steam forum and you’ll find page after page of crash reports, performance grumbles, and complaints related to graphics, audio, handling, physics, career progression and collision detection. Worryingly, some of the issues appear to have been caused by recent patches rather than alleviated by them.

Q is for Quick tea card

The SS Great Western – the vessel depicted on card #27 of Brooke Bond’s 1970 set ‘The Saga of Ships’ – had an inauspicious birth. A shipwright was fatally injured during her launch in 1837, and while sailing to Bristol to begin her maiden transatlantic voyage, an engine room fire almost killed her designer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Happily, that was the end of her major misadventures. For a couple of years the largest passenger ship afloat, the first purpose-built transatlantic steamer went on to make forty-five round-trips to the USA, fourteen to the West Indies, and nine to Brazil. She ended her working life ferrying Tommies to and from Russia during the Crimean War. If the SS Great Britain Trust’s ambitious plans come to fruition, one day visitors to Bristol’s Albion Dockyard will be able to walk the decks of a full-size replica of this maritime milestone.

R is for Radar realism

The fact that the vast majority of DCS World users probably have no idea the sim’s AN/APG radars have realism shortcomings, hasn’t stopped Eagle Dynamics from aiming higher. On the way are a bevy of sensor improvements that are sure to make life more challenging for Viper and Hornet pilots.

S is for Slow Roads 2

The sequel to mesmerising procedural driving game Slow Roads is so close its “IF YOU CAN READ THIS YOU ARE TOO CLOSE!” bumper sticker is legible. As this Discord message explains, although all of the benefits of a rewritten environment engine won’t be available from the outset, SR2 will eventually sport improvements such as shadows and 3D trees.

T is for TERCIOS: Honor and Glory

Mortal trait-endowed avatarsextensive unit customisation optionsmeaningful weatherTERCIOS – Honor and Glory aspires to be more than a pike and shot-era Total War. Judging by these videos, it won’t be all that long before Seville-based Tree Games Studios deliver a demo or offer the first Early Access build.

U is for Unmarked snow

The latest version of aerofly RC includes an atmospheric winter flying area and a model Ju 52. Sadly, IPACS has yet to figure out how to combine their handsome photo-based sceneries with deformable snow, and dynamic trains and chimney smoke.

V is for Veitikka Studios…

…is there any chance you could include round replays in Armored Brigade 2? One day I’d love to run a play-by-comment game using something other than Battlefront’s brainchild, and it strikes me AB + 3D graphics + CM-style WEGO functionality could be just the thing.

W is for Wargamer.com now openly trolling its readers

X is for Xtremely unexpected news

Y is for Yak-141

Although Tiny Combat Arena’s tool pack only arrived on Wednesday, mods like this Soviet Harrier equivalent are already appearing.

Z is for Zeppelin Raider…

a solitaire board game in the mould of B-17: Queen of the Skies, now playable on PC thanks to this Tabletop Sim module.


  1. The pricey motherboards do have the I/O shield integrated for what it’s worth. Glad it’s coming together well.

    These “explore things in VR” experiences always intrigue me, but I wish they weren’t necessarily in VR. I have VR, but the tedious:fun ratio is such that I rarely use it.

  2. What happened to wargamer.com remains immensely sad. And also incomprehensible; I still struggle to figure our what executive somewhere decided that the best thing to spend money on for their website targeted at Magic the Gathering, fantasy figurines, Barbie dolls and whatever other nonsense they’re hawking was…. to buy a minimally trafficked domain dominated presumably by a small contingent of, well, wargamers. It’s as if you wanted a website to promote sports cars and you decided to do it by purchasing the domain finewinesandcheeses.com. I cannot even begin to fathom what their thought process was.

    • a) Lack of sobriety
      b) Being related to the boss
      c) Assuming it was related to other war… hobbies ie. Warcraft=fantasy; Warhammer=miniatures
      d) All of the above

    • I assumed it was a combination of rapacious venture capital buying up random things, then zeroing out costs by firing all these expensive ‘writers’ and leaning into SEO maximisation.

      A lot of the internet feels like slop now, and googling any game-related question throws up endless LLM-generated nonsense.

      Feels like the golden age of quality online writing is over.

      • I often reflect on how remarkable it is that for all the hubbub and activity and money pouring into internet stuff, there’s actually infinitely less useful content there in many ways for folks like ourselves than there was 20 years ago, when there was actually differentiation and specialized quality writing.

  3. Comment Commander in an Armored Brigade game is a thrilling prospect. I spent a lot of hours with AB1, and AB2 is a day-one buy for me.

    I missed Open October, but the topic I had in mind was simulation vs. LARP, for lack of a better term, seen through the eyes of a game I wish existed. Flight sims in particular have swung very far toward maximum fidelity. I won’t argue that there is fun to be had, learning what every switch in an F-16 cockpit does, but I’m also sympathetic to an argument made by a number of recent tabletop RPGs: your character is better at [the subject of the game] than you are.

    So, why not apply that idea to a flight sim? Paint it with the RPG brush. You control a pilot character. You can turn on assists based on the pilot’s skill. Do you want to twiddle mixture, RPM, and throttle controls yourself? Go for it. If not, turn on the ‘engine management’ assist, and your pilot’s skill determines how good at it he is. Want lead indicators? Sure, that’s an option, but their accuracy (or even presence, for quick snapshots) depends on how much you’ve put into the Gunnery skill. Spotting other aircraft is always a challenge. Why not turn on the ‘aircraft markers’ assist? You don’t get 100% situational awareness; if you-the-player aren’t looking around, you-the-character won’t see things to your sides or behind you, and you might need to look toward a far-off plane for a while before your character spots it to put a marker on screen.

    The RPG style lends itself to some kind of campaign. In my head, it’s “Crimson Skies: The Air Pirate Company Management Game” (with world map and flight sim layer, in the manner of Mount and Blade).

    In the arena of multiplayer tank battle games, something like this dichotomy already exists. War Thunder and World of Tanks are both arcadey in their own ways, but World of Tanks leans more heavily into the player/character distinction.

    • I reckon this qualifies as a totally original idea. I’m not aware of any flight sims that blend RPG concepts with difficulty/realism settings in this way. Combine stat-based aids with set-in-stone character traits and attributes like morale and composure, and the resulting sim/RPG/wargame hybrid couldn’t fail to stand out.

      • I agree, although (for example) both DCS and IL-2 effectively give you most of these options in menus and could be role-played this way right now if desired.

        • In re: your other reply, with the “decreasing assists on level up”, that’s a clever idea! My conception of this subgenre doesn’t limit the player to what the assists allow. In the flight sim spotting example, the far-off airplanes are still rendered before the player character spots them, so really zooming in and straining your eyes against the monitor might let you spot something first—it’s just that you don’t *need* to.

          Flight sims were actually the second idea I had in this style. The other “game I’d play” I was going to bring up was something like World of Tanks or War Thunder (ground version), seen through the same lens. I’m a little less clear on what that looks like, however: I’m not even settled on whether it should be single-player or multi-player. (If multi-player, I think random maps are all but a necessity. Every arena team battle game with terrain is at least as much a test of ‘how well do you know the map?’ vs. ‘how good are you at the pursuit being simulated?’)

    • For the training portion of a game it might be the right thing to do, but many players would hate it if the whole game was like this:
      1) players self-declare their skill level from absolute novice to veteran; less experienced get many more skill points
      2) use those skill points to buy aids
      3) every time they level up, they lose a skill point and have to choose which aids they can do with less of

      I haven’t properly played a flight sim in more than 15 years but, being an incorrigible deviant, three days ago I dug out my old stick and started on Microsoft Flight, yes Flight.

      [Installed Flight (see YT vid), installed Games for Windows Live (YT vid), installed Flight Toolkit 1.1.31 in non-GFWL mode, added DLC (https://archive.org/details/com.microsoft.msflight)
      – probably not approved by Microsoft, but a couple of reboots and it’s visible in game.]

      I have mixed feelings about the progression system since both tracks (XP-based levels and mission chains) are gameable: repeat challenges to earn XP; meet the oblivious-to-all-else criteria needed to complete the mission.

      I guess it’s the Eternal Struggle of Gaming: players feel devs are preventing them from getting at the good stuff; devs think players haven’t earned it (and won’t appreciate it unless they do).

      Suggestions for other articles:
      1) a teacher assesses tutorials, possibly genre-specific, ie. flying instructor on the first missions in flight sims
      2) what sim provides the most honest and accurate assessment of a player’s skill?

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