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 Battle Academy 3?

Headquarters: World War II, a Battle Academy sequel in all but name and visuals, hit Steam shelves yesterday. Ghastly screenshots like the one above convince me Slitherine/Starni should have stuck with BA’s stylised/simple aesthetic, but I promise not to devote too much of next week’s review to graphics griping.

C is for Cadaver collectors required

I fear the history within Plague: London 1665 is going to be too adulterated for my taste. The demo showcases the fairly engaging balancing act at the game’s core (the best way to make the money you need to support your wife and six nippers is to work as a body collector, an occupation that steadily increases your infection level/risk). However, it also reveals ahistorical elements such as the digging of individual graves and the crafting of ‘humane rat traps’. The realisation that the plague was spread by rat fleas and human lice came, of course, centuries later. Ironically, it was the rat’s arch enemies, cats and dogs, that were trapped and exterminated by fearful Londoners in 1665.

D is for Difficult decolonisation

Most of the conflicts Britain has been involved in since 1945 have never been transformed into standalone computer wargames. A good few, however, have spawned solitaire-friendly board games, and because the board games in question have been converted into Tabletop Sim modules, it is now possible for unsociable digital wargamers to orchestrate ‘brush fire wars’ such as the Mau Mau Rebellion, and the Cyprus and Malayan Emergencies.

E is for Era errors

Who’s going to tell Games Incubator that control towers, jerrycans, concrete hangars and concrete runways, were unheard of in 1914?

F is for Fecund face follicles

Award yourself a Flare Path flair point if you guess first time which Steam game forum I was perusing when I came across this complaint. (Answer at end of A2Z)

G is for Gratis guerre game

As prolific digital wargame designer Mark Ainsworth has paid Valve US$100 for the privilege of giving away his latest Steam release for free, I thought the least I could do was give it a whirl. WWII Squad Level Land Battles’ amateurish graphics and scattered instructions do it few favours, but it’s the lack of small, plausible scraps that are, I’d argue, the biggest obstacle to enjoyment at present. Because all of the supplied scenarios seem to feature numerous chits chaotically and claustrophobically deployed, the turnbased firefights lack coherence and shape.

H is for Hussites and Ottomans get hurt…

…and ear-drums and eyeballs get wooed in stylish Slovak JRPG Felvidek. The creation of Plzen-based art student Jozef Pavelka, the £9 offering has garnered 458 Steam reviews since its release on March 29th. Only six of those reviews come with a red downturned pollex.

I is for Inspired by an antediluvian RTS

Talking of interesting projects from the land of Smetana, Staropramen, and Sparta Prague, Spytihněv, the developer of HROT, one of my favourite retro FPSs, is currently working on a homage to Paranoia, a (very) early Czech RTS. SHROT, a “bite-sized old-school action RTS set on a sandy planet with horses, tractors and techno music.”, is expected to arrive in June and has a feature list too good not to paste verbatim:

  • 3 playable stellar clans, each with a different color
  • Procedurally generated battles that never play out the same way
  • Base building, hops mining, and large-scale battles lasting hours with hundreds of units and thousands of casualties
  • Techno soundtrack as the most suitable background
  • Voice acting by my mom

J is for Jimi Hendrix and John J. Rambo

There’s some great segments in this making of Vietcong documentary. The portions that shed light on the 2003 hit’s cinematic roots and memorable soundtrack I found particularly interesting.

K is for Kevin Klemmick…

…the man who single-handedly devised and coded Falcon 4.0’s legendary dynamic campaign engine, is about to retire. In this riveting interview he talks about his masterpiece and his retirement plans.

L is for Land speed record holders make sailing sim

Hydrofoil Generation has competition. The free-ish AC Sailing doesn’t let you race against silicon skippers – a failing it shares with HG – but is coded by an outfit with serious aerodynamic expertise. When the modellers and coders at Emirates Team New Zealand aren’t making sailing sims they are designing America’s Cup vessels, hydrogen-powered chaseboats, and record-breaking land yachts.

M is for Mind the Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaap

Warning! When playing this free Prague metro sim in passenger mode don’t disembark at stations north of Florenc or south of Kačerov. These stops aren’t pitch black because the lights have packed up. They’re pitch black because Josef Ondaš and chums haven’t got around to modelling them yet.

N is for Nerve-racking nightshift

My ambivalence towards horror games is pretty strong, but probably not strong enough to prevent me test-driving Night Bus, a new PCV game from Auckland, NZ. The concept puts me in mind of ‘13N’, a movie I mentally storyboarded while guiding an OMSI doubledecker through the deserted streets of night-time Berlin back in 2012.

O is for Odd carrier warbird

This recent vid prompted a flurry of Googling in the Sea Power community. Triassic’s upcoming wet wargame is firmly rooted in the real, but it appears the devs aren’t totally averse to including semi-fictional flying machines. I think I’m right in saying in real life no Korchagin Typhoon ever left the drawing board let alone the ground.

P is for Pith helmets and pythons

A year on from their A2Z debut (see ‘J is for jumpy jam material’) Aussie one-man-band, Friday Night Software, secures a second appearance by releasing a digital version of 1978 board game, Source of the Nile. In the next 3×3 I’ll tell you whether exploring an uncharted African interior liberally sprinkled with lethal hazards is as exciting as it sounds.

Q is for Quick fag card

Issued in the mid Thirties by W. D. & H. O. Wills, the fifty-card Safety First set was intended to help keep smokers and potential smokers motorists and pedestrians alive on Britain’s increasingly dangerous highways. While the warnings about chasing runaway hoops into roads (card #48), passing led horses (card #29), and hindering constables on traffic duty (card#16) may not be quite as pertinent as they once were, much of the proffered advice has aged surprisingly well.

R is for Rather premature?

Early Access SimRail’s first DLC has a faithfully recreated ET22 electric loco at its heart, and is just over a week away. The Cargo Pack announcement hasn’t pleased everyone. Some fans feel, at this stage in the SimRail story, the devs should be concentrating on adding core functionality like saves, not payware* add-ons.

* Presumably.

S is for Scrutinise sooty street scenes

Nostalgic, atmospheric, and slightly cryptic, Doodle Streets: London 1950s is my kind of hidden object game. Passively scouring the busy hand-drawn street scenes for the clue-accompanied objects displayed at the foot of the screen, isn’t always enough. Sometimes you must mouse-click interactive elements in order to reveal sought items.

T is for Tim’s Touchstones: Comics Edition

If I ever get round to writing a comics version of this article, two of Pat Mills’ creations will feature prominently. Before Pat pummeled the pliable imaginations of British kids with 2000AD, he gave us a taste of things to come via the controversial, short-lived, and relatively little-known Action.

U and V are skipped because it’s sunny outside and I’m in urgent need of UV

W is for Watch-watching waypoints

Mounting complicated attacks in Armored Brigade II should be relatively easy thanks to a natty waypoint synchronisation option. Said option is one of the few things not discussed during this fascinating chat between Veitikka Studios and fellow Eighties aggro enthusiasts Radian Simulations.

X is for Xcessive zeal

Mermaids, a charity/lobby group promoted and supported by many British games sites, seems to have played a not insignificant role in the appalling medical scandal detailed this week in the Cass Report. Will sites like Eurogamer, RPS, and PCGamesN rethink their allegiances in the light of recent GIDS revelations? I’d be surprised if they didn’t. Will they ever apologise for banging the drum for an organisation whose dogmatic approach to treating childhood gender distress may inadvertently have caused serious harm? I doubt it.

Y is for Yawman Arrow…

…a new gamepad-style controller aimed at desktop pilots after a compact yet capable alternative to rudder pedals and yoke.

Z is for Zodiac Legion demo available

Hexagons galore, turnbased tussles, and comely Fantasy General-style sprites? The trialable Zodiac Legion might describe itself as a tactical RPG, but I reckon there’s enough wargame on show to justify a mention on the Corner. Somewhat bizarrely, the due-in-Q4 title is partly funded by the taxpayers of Provence.

(Fecund face fungus game = UBOAT)


  1. I was completely wrong on the hairy game.

    The Yawman Arrow looks like an interesting concept. Definitely space in the market for something like this.

    The pull/push pins that’d be pointing at you feel they’d snap off within the first hour or two of use, and even using more rigid and robust materials probably wouldn’t help; they’re destined to be caught, snagged, bent and otherwise abused.

    But what’s really deterring me (aside from being available in the US/Canada only) is the sense that the rest of it isn’t precision engineered either. If it was a 3D printed prototype I’d accept that, but those images aren’t conveying the manufacturing excellence a $200 price point requires.

  2. If anyone’s thinking about buying ‘Headquarters: World War II’, Green Man Gaming are currently selling it for 28% off, which is considerably better than the current ‘Introductory Offer’ on Steam.

    I’ve been hovering over the buy button as I was planning on waiting until Tim’s review but I’m a huge fan of Battle Academy and the Steam forum comments seem generally positive other than some niggles which I suspect that the devs will resolve at some point.

  3. @Tim
    Did you ever complete Aviators?
    There was a late update to the previous A-Z saying you were stuck. Just get into the rhythm of cranking and keep going way, way past the point you think it should work.

  4. P – Is for Psychiatrist. As in, I happen to be one. I just want you to know that I, and the vast majority of my colleagues (at least in private), entirely agree with your stance on letter X. The truth will out, but in the meantime a lot of kids will be irreparably harmed.

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