Penry

Wargaming - Computer or otherwise....

134 posts in this topic

For the discussion of wargaming, computer or otherwise.....

 

Taken from this thread

 

Campaign for North Africa by SPI the ultimate 'monster' wargame. Before you start photocopy of unit org charts and copy the detail information for each counter (i.e. each unit) on to a separate log. The Libyan 2nd Division has six infantry battalions, 3 HQ units, three 105/28 guns and has nine CV33 tanks attached at the start as well as 15 light and 15 medium trucks. Each sub unit (except trucks) has up to seven ratings which must all be noted down. The trucks can carry ammo, fuel, stores or water as well as troops. The pasta comment is true and in hot weather you even have to factor in extra evaporation.

 

nearly all the reviews I read the authors had to admit they only played a few turns but that took long enough. As one said the first ten years is the hardest.

 

Yes, it was a monster, but it was fascinating nonetheless.

Alas, I went through a "I will study war no more" period in the 1980's and no longer have any of my SPI games or magazines. :(

 

Man am I ever posting in the right forum! Good to see other wargamers still exist.

 

Standup, thanks for that review. I never owned the game, only heard of it. Somewhere I have a copy of 'War in the East' (I think) that has a few play tester notes. (unless someone tossed it)

 

jaybe, when I went into the army my stepfather, a really great guy actually, cleaned out the attic. Goodbye wargames. :(

 

Can anyone recommend any currently available computer wargames. I used to play these plenty back in the day, but have fallen out of the loop in the last 10+ years.

 

http://www.a-d-g.com.au/

 

Go to 'WiF the computer game' on the left towards the bottom. I was hoping it would be out by now though.

 

Just below it 'Empire in Arms' is out for the comp though I don't have it...ooppss, nope maybe its coming out.

"Game Features

 

* Faithful adaptation of Empires in Arms

* Network play

* Play by Email support

* Intelligent computer opponent

* Many optional rules and game system enhancements"

 

 

'7 Ages' is a Civ like board game.

 

Hey! Here's 'War in the East' for computer!

 

http://www.matrixgames.com/store/372/Gary.Grigsby%27s.War.in.the.East:.The.German-Soviet.War.1941-1945

 

Direct download available, or shipped.

 

"Gary Grigsby's War in the East: The German-Soviet War 1941-1945

Release Date: 7 DEC 2010"

 

Just came out.

 

"War on an Epic scale from Moscow to Berlin – this is War in the East!

 

Gary Grigsby’s War in the East: The German-Soviet War 1941-1945is the spiritual heir to the great Eastern Front board and computer wargames of the past; a turn-based World War II strategy game down to the division and brigade level, stretching across the entire Eastern Front at a 10 mile per hex scale. Gamers can engage in massive, dramatic campaigns, including intense battles involving thousands of units with realistic and historical terrain, weather, orders of battle, logistics and combat results. As with all the award-winning titles made by the 2by3 Games team, factors such as supply, fatigue, experience, morale and the skill of your divisional, corps and army leaders all play an important part in determining the results at the front line. Gary Grigsby’s War in the East comes with 4 massive campaigns as well as many smaller scenarios all with different strategic and operational challenges.

 

Gary Grigsby’s War in the Eastrepresents a truly epic representation of the Second World War on the Eastern Front and is unparalleled in its scale, detail, and ambition!"

 

I have a funny feeling there's no AI, but I'm not sure.

 

More details...

 

* 4 major campaigns starting at 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944

* 10 scenarios range in length from 10 turns to 25 turns

* Map stretches from 100 miles west of Berlin to Ural mountains

o 10 miles per hex with weekly turns

* Up to roughly 4000 units in the game database with the ability to create many more!

* Division sized maneuver units with thousands of battalion and regiment sized support units

o Many different classes of support units like artillery, engineer, ski, anti-tank, pioneer, tank destroyer, and much more

* German Corps/Army HQ's and Soviet Army/Front HQ's

* Air units are organized group and can run both night and day air missions, complete with night fighters

* Manually upgrade aircraft within units or automate new aircraft allocation

* Detailed production with Russian factory evacuations realistically modeled with production penalties and rebuilding delays

* Extensive spreadsheets and reports representing tons of data and information

o Detailed yet automated accounting for support personnel and supplies/fuel/ammunition

o Losses in individual vehicles and squads

o Display of the various modifiers affecting how efficient units receive what they need

* More than 500 historical commanders with a detailed promotion and rating system

o Leaders can be dismissed, executed, fired, killed in action

o 8 rating fields measuring different attributes from combat skill to political rating

* Very detailed system to account for troops/vehicles that are disrupted, disabled and fatigued

* Accurate modeling of the need for training units before entering combat

* Detailed weather zones and ice levels for rivers with the option to randomize or fix weather patterns for each scenario

* Intricate Fog of War rules and unit detection levels - units are rated based on their ability to conceal themselves and their ability to recon other units

 

***Okay, there is an AI. Players 1-2 is tough. When I was a youngster we had 4 guys to a side.Here's the info on that.

 

File Size: 652mb

Download Time:

- 56K Modem: 25hr 52min

- DSL or Satelite: 84min

- High Speed: 17min

Version: 1.00

Manual: PDF E-Book, Printed - Black & White

Editor: Yes

Theatre: Eastern Europe

Unit Scale: Division, Brigade

Turn Scale: Weekly

Players: 1-2

AI: Yes

PBEM: Yes, Server Based

Display Resolution: Variable, 1024x768 minimum

 

Thanks Lancer.

 

I remember Matrix games now! I used to love their V for Victory series waaaaaay back when......

 

Looks like I've got myself some research to do.....

 

You're welcome Rob. If you are interested when the Australian Design Group's 'Empire in Arms' comes out with 6 players (Each gets a major country) I'll be getting it and seeing if I can a get game up.

 

Sounds like a plan! Let's hope they don't simplify it!! ;)

 

As a board and computer wargamer myself I have a keen interest in the concept of computer wargames. Unfortunately in my opinion they tend to suffer from information overload, either becoming "spreadsheet games" like Hearts of Iron/Europa Universalis and their ilk, or else have the wrong time/unit scale (brigades or divisions but 4 hour turns, like The Operational Art of War and other operational level games - in a boardgame, that unit scale would have 1-3 day turns and attacking an enemy unit could destroy it, not just cause 3% fatigue, 4% disorganization and 2% attrition). Grigsby's stuff is infamous for its excessive micromanagement - games on the entire Pacific War where you manage each P-40 squadron, etc. I don't want to give 3,000 unit orders and then click "Resolve," it's boring as hell. Too many computer wargames follow this model, attempting to be realistic but succeeding only in being boring and tedious.

 

One of the few games that gets it right is Strategic Command II. It has all you would want from production, weather, supply, unit types, research, diplomacy, terrain etc. and has a quick pace, and is also very customizeable. Unfortunately the company that makes this line of games has moved to an obnoxious online-activation DRM model called eLicense so if they go out of business, no more installs for you. As a result I can't recommend any of their recent games, but you may be able to find a Strategic Command II Blitzkrieg without this DRM, which is called eLicense.

 

A site and forum of interest:

 

http://www.tacticularcancer.com/

 

It is associated with RPGCodex, thus the tasteless name, but it focuses on computer wargames.

 

Good wargames are hard to find. The Blitzkrieg series of games is fun for tactical action, but they get ridiculously hard on the higher difficulty levels, and in later expansions. They have destructible terrain and cool little tanks and men moving around, and artillery is quite dramatic, so I had some fun with them.

 

Incidentally, Campaign for North Africa was designed as something of a joke by Richard Berg, who is infamous for not actually playing games, just cranking them out and selling them. It was never meant to actually be played. The pasta rule was deliberately placed in to create publicity for the game and create the illusion it was the ultimate simulation.

 

Lancer the Grigsby War in the East has nothing to do with the simple SPI game of the same name. There is a computer version of War in Europe, of which War in the East was a part, made by Decision Games, who owns most of the SPI intellectual property now, but it has no AI, it is strictly a PBEM aide.

 

Personally I think the old SPI chestnuts are pretty poor simulations. A much better division level game on 1941 is XTR's Proud Monster, I highly recommend tracking down a copy if you want an exciting, fast paced board game about Barbarossa. Only has two maps so it can be set up on a reasonably sized table.

 

Note: at all costs, avoid the terrible "remake" of Proud Monster called Land Without End.

 

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Thanks Rob!

 

chuft, thanks for all the good info. :b: War in Europe, yes I recall now I downloaded the demo a few years back iirc. Like I was telling Rob when Empire in Arms comes out I'm getting it. Hope to find a few of you guys willing to belly up to the bar and get it too. :)

 

I've heard great things about the board game and if we get 6 players well then its basically the board game isn't it?

 

Same goes for all you guys with like interests...

Edited by Lancer

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Grigsby's stuff is infamous for its excessive micromanagement - games on the entire Pacific War

 

I do have Uncommon Valour which is a good example of this. I do so want to play it but just can't seem to get in to it. For me PC games should help simplify the micromanagement and I shouldn't have to be making notes on paper to remember what I'm doing.

 

I do still have all my wargames just nobody and no time to play them. Probably my favourite monster is Atlantic Wall which is the D-day landings at Company level. 25 square feet of map and additional charts. We played most of it two a side one summer before heading off to college and it was surprisingly accessible. Unfortunately game play wise it becomes about managing decline for the German player and the Allied air superiority means you're too scared to move your panzer divisions. Realistic but not always fun.

 

The other one we started about 25 years ago was Vietnam by Victory Games. Actually managed to get a couple of years into this by writing down all the locations and settign up for a couple of days during summer holidays. Fun game which is very fluid and you have to abandon your ideas about frontlines and controlling areas.

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Like I was telling Rob when Empire in Arms comes out I'm getting it. Hope to find a few of you guys willing to belly up to the bar and get it too. :)

 

I've heard great things about the board game and if we get 6 players well then its basically the board game isn't it?

 

I have a lot of experience with PBEM wargaming and in my experience, more than 2 players is asking for a really long, probably unfinishable game unless the game itself has a very short number of turns. Empires in Arms is a very, very long game (like World in Flames - what is it with these Australian game companies? :D ), probably 120 hours face to face assuming you can get a group that will play it regularly. The groups I knew who played it typically played a ten hour session every weekend for three or four months to play one game. By e-mail, with added diplomatic exchanges, I doubt it could be finished in a human lifetime.

 

If it could be played in real time it is a different story, but you would have to coordinate the playing times so everyone could play simultaneously for each session - it would still take a lot of sessions, and time zones could be a real problem.

 

I like large long games face to face, but the brutal realities of PBEM have taught me to avoid them for PBEM, especially if they involve more than 2 players.

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Thanks chuft, I'll be giving it a try anyway. Been waiting for a good comp game of the Napoleonic era for a long time.

 

Dale, that's the game that covers the entire universe in hexes that represent one meter? ;) I think its because you Aussies have a country so big it takes a continent to fit it all, you think the game has to be the same size. :nod:

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Game map scale is

 

European map: 100km per hex

Pacific map: 230 km per hex

 

Judging by the Matrix website they are going to a 90km per hex universal scale (the luxury of not needing a real table to set it up on).

 

This thing has been promised for like 12 years, I will be amazed if it ever appears with a working AI.

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Chuft, I can gladly say it's almost finished. Internally, they're saying 2011. :)

 

And yes, the scale is a bit big, but that's the beauty of going computerised you can have the ENTIRE WORLD depicted at this scale:

 

 

 

241E02E67A3B4FCDB6713735DD43BD07.jpg

BB21ED584FB7414AA33353C21A76B683.jpg

 

 

 

(I know the two images don't line up perfectly, but for the purposes it serves well).

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Thanks for the sneak peek Dale.

 

I love the smell of panzers in the morning!

 

 

 

Here's a shot from a PBEM game of Proud Monster. I was the Soviets.

 

sovsteph.jpg

 

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Oooooo nice panzer stack to the south-west of Moscow, though the Russians seem to have a solid line of defense there. From the white terrain I assume it's snow? Time to get those tac bombers going. ;)

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Proud Monster just covers the summer of 1941 at the division scale. The map is actually a pale yellow for clear, but in the PBEM tool Cyberboard it looks a little too pale I suppose.

 

Yeah the defense was solid, I was the Soviets and stopped the Germans cold in that game.

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Yes, nice defense chuft!

 

Dale, that map is a thing of beauty. I wonder if its possible to play Civ on it? :D The grandest world map ever seen...

 

Nah WW2 would be grand enough. Do you know if one has to take nations down the paths historically chosen? In other words, how is the entry into the war of Italy determined? I like hopeless causes so I always lean towards Italy in these things. Could Japan have gone all in vs Russia instead of bringing the US into the war? ...That would cause Japan to take a huge hit in petroleum supply with all the detrimental effects considered, ie it would have to be a short land war in Asia. ;)

 

Very cool, how many players? :expect: (Don't say 2)

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OK, after a weekend and a bit of research I think I've narrowed my potential first purchase down to two (and a bit).

 

To 'ease' me back into wargaming I thought that one of the following would be ideal.

 

Conquest of the Agean (2006) - I like the sound of the 'hands off' approach and also the pausable real time nature of the game flow, while still being a very detailed wargame in its own right. From what I've read the AI seems very competent and there seems to be no AI scripting which should add considerably to the replay value. I think the theatre is an interesting one and not one I've come across in wargaming before. There seem to be numerous scenarios, which all sound replayable multiple times due to the non scripted nature of the AI, so it should be good value for money at NZ$56.

There also seems to be a handful of additional scenarios and user created scenarios from North Africa through to Operation Sealion and on up to Narvik!

Archair General review.

Out of Eight review.

 

Command Ops : Battles from the Bulge (MAY 2010) - From the same developers, but updated and on more well trodden ground for me. Loads of scenarios and improved AI sounds like they bring a whole new edge to the game. I read rumours about some additional Market Garden scenarios but I've seen nothing concrete in my limited research. NZ$84

Armchair General review

Out of Eight review

 

or I'd jump back in at the very deep end and take a punt on

 

GG War in the East (DEC 2010) - Monster wargaming but with an 'accessable' interface. Sure it's expensive and could be a waste if it doesn't suck me in, but this is where I want to end up eventually, so why not get going straight away? Everything I have read says it is GG's most user friendly game so I'm real tempted to take the plunge, especailly as the theatre really pushes my buttons. My only concerns are that it is too much too soon (no in-game tutorials) and I might get ejected from the genre before I get comfy, and also that the game is so new that there are still some issues that need ironing out. One bad new game experiance is enough for the year....... NZ$112

Fog of Wargames review

Testicular Cancer review - Aweful name!!

 

Your thoughts on the above would be very much appreciated, or even other suggestions in a similar vein. I'd prefer to stick to the European theatre for now, although I'd be very interested in future to venture to other theatres, especially as I now live much closer to the Pacific theatre ;)

 

To give you an idea of some of my favourite game of old here are a few that come esily to mind - V for Victory- Utah beach, V for Victory - Velikiye Luki, Combat Mission - Beyond Overlord, Combat Mission - Barbarossa to Berlin, Korsun Pocket

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Bulge is always an awesome scenario. ;)

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I approve of the 'geekiness' in this thread :yes:

 

(The last board game i half-played was 'Settlers of Catan', but i just have a soft spot for board-games and board-gamers, even if not the patience myself to have really got into in a big way)

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GG War in the East (DEC 2010) - Monster wargaming but with an 'accessable' interface. Sure it's expensive and could be a waste if it doesn't suck me in, but this is where I want to end up eventually, so why not get going straight away? Everything I have read says it is GG's most user friendly game so I'm real tempted to take the plunge, especailly as the theatre really pushes my buttons. My only concerns are that it is too much too soon (no in-game tutorials) and I might get ejected from the genre before I get comfy, and also that the game is so new that there are still some issues that need ironing out. One bad new game experiance is enough for the year....... NZ$112

Fog of Wargames review

Testicular Cancer review - Aweful name!!

 

Wow, this one looks magnificient, thanks for the heads up. :b:

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Personally I like moving units one at a time, or in stacks, like you do in a real boardgame (or in Strategic Command 2, or Civ or SMAC for that matter) so you can see the developing situation. I really dislike games like V for Victory or Operational Art of War where you have to give movement orders to the entire army at once and then hit End Turn. The more units the game has (and War in the East sounds huge), the more of a problem this becomes, as it becomes really difficult as the turn goes on to keep track of what units you have told to go where so your remaining orders make sense. Plus I think it's rather boring, personally, just giving order after order with no feedback except at the end all at once. But of course that is personal taste. I just like computer wargames that play more or less like board wargames. The "give orders" ones do not. Also I have found these games tend to have time scales that are too small for the unit scales. In a post-SPI boardgame, when you attack, you tend to do step losses to the enemy, often clearing the hex by blowing up enemy units. In "give orders" computer wargames, usually you just do small percentages of fatigue, disruption, morale, disorganization etc to both sides, because the time scale is so small, which turns even the most mobile of situations into something that feels like trench warfare attrition.

 

It is actually a reason I have purchased so few computer wargames, I am afraid they will be of the "give orders" variety. Usually the game descriptions do not say, even reviews tend to fail to mention this, and I don't want to get burned again. So if anyone knows of/tries out a wargame in which you move units as you go along, like a real boardgame, please let me know.

 

El_Cid are you familiar with http://www.brettspielwelt.de/?nation=en ? It allows you to play all sorts of Eurogames like Settlers, Puerto Rico, Carcassonne and others in real time online with others (there are 1,771 people logged on right now) using either a web client or an optional (but superior) downloadable client. Free.

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Testicular Cancer review - Aweful name!!

 

It is actually "Tacticular Cancer" (get it?) but it is still an awful name. As I mentioned, it is associated with RPGCodex, which should explain the tastelessness and general offensiveness of the name if you are familiar with the place.

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I got WITE. Sometimes I can be quick in my decisions. I bought it through Slitherine and saved a few Euros compared to the Matrix store (not much tho). The price is steep for a single game (over €70 including VAT), but from the first look it seems well worth it. It's very complex, but the interface seems to be ok and I think after toying around with the smaller scenarios a bit I can get into it quickly and finally try the big campaign.

 

The historical accuracy seems to be very good, I had a look over the Barbarossa scenario OOB and was pleasantly surprised (in your face, HoI2/3). Combats unfold right after initiating them. The AI seems to be not very bright, but that is perhaps an unfair and premature judgement after only seeing the fairly easy tutorial scenario. I'll see as things are getting more complex. The first 2 hours of playing certainly raised my appetite for more.

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@ chuft

 

Do you know of any other computer wargames that adopt the 'as you go' approach. I've never come across any, but would be interested in finding our more.

Also, :lol: at my misread - funny how the eye reads what it expects to see.... I'm not familiar with RPGCodex, what's the deal?

 

@ Harovan

 

I'd be VERY interested to read your continued thoughts on WiTE. As mentioned, this is where I'd like to end up eventually, what route I take to get to the end point remains to be seen.....

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Love the thread! The World in Flames-image look awesome, definitely getting it when its ready.

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As I say I haven't bought a lot of computer wargames because the norm seems to be the "give orders" approach, to the point where it is not even mentioned in reviews.

 

There has always been a tradition of "as you go" in computer strategy games, shown in such titles as Strategic Conquest/Empire Deluxe, Warlords, Age of Wonders II, Panzer General, Strategic Command European Theater, and of course the Civ games. It seems as soon as you try to move "up" a level in realism/detail, however, this fun approach is dropped in favor of "give orders." (Only in computer games, I might add; giving orders with simultaneous resolution, while it exists in boardgames and has a tradition going back to the old chestnut Diplomacy, is an approach typically used only for games with a very small number of pieces, it being considered too cumbersome a mechanic to use in games with a lot of units.)

 

The reason for the give orders approach is that it is supposed to be more realistic. It may be, in some respects, but I think a lot of the issue has to do with time scale; at appropriate time scales, having multiple phases such as prepared attack and mechanical movement/exploit, or impulses like World in Flames does, can accomplish the same thing in a more elegant and fun way. After all, in real life, it was common for some units to make a breakthrough and other units, standing by, to move forward and exploit it by moving through the hole.

 

The issue here really is one of the effect of time in the game world. If you allow units to move and attack one at a time (and using movement points to attack is a common mechanic in many boardgames, especially ones that feature mobile warfare/tanks) then you run the risk of allowing a situation where some units engage in a pitched battle and other units can then take advantage of the results with no loss of movement, while in reality in order to do that they would spend time sitting around waiting for the hole to be made. Similarly, allowing units to attack one at a time or in small groups, one after another, allows them to grind down a defense in an unrealistic manner; in reality each battle would take the entirety of the turn's time scale.

 

There are solutions to these problems. Most notably, the boardgame Trial of Strength has a movement point cost associated with battles. If units attack a hex, not only does it cost them movement points, but the movement point cost of the battle is placed on the defender's hex as a marker (like "+2"). Any other units wishing to attack this hex the same turn would then pay an extra +2 movement points to reflect the fact they sat around waiting for the first battle to finish before attacking. So the hex might get, say, a +4 before it is cleared. Any units moving through a cleared hex pay this cost as a penalty to reflect the fact they sat around waiting for the hex to be cleared before moving through. This elegant mechanic means units which are used for echeloned attacks, or exploitation, pay the "time cost" of sitting by the sidelines while earlier battles for the hex are proceeding, and thus must be closer to the cleared hex, and cannot exploit as far, if the hex took time to clear with attacks.

 

It would be quite simple to implement this system in a computer wargame, which would let you move your units one at a time or in stacks, while at the same time paying the time cost for taking advantage of battles earlier in your turn which open a pathway into the enemy rear. However I am not aware of any computer wargames which have tried this approach. Computer wargame design seems stuck in a "give orders" rut in order to avoid some of the realism problems of igo-yugo without resorting to clumsy interactive mechanics like letting the defender react-move into a hex under attack, which works in a boardgame with both players hovering over the board but does not in PBEM (and probably would be a nightmare to make a good AI for, since the player could so easily manipulate the AI with "soakoff" attacks on hexes of lesser importance). I wish some of them would use the Trial of Strength time-cost system to mark hexes, or at least use larger time scales and phases to end up with realistic results even where players are allowed to move all their pieces on their own turn.

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Interesting stuff chuft, thanks! I'll keep an eye out during my continued research......

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chuft, I see that the same people did your Trial of Strength boardgame and the Battles from the Bulge and Conquest of the Aegean games that I linked to earlier. What are your thoughts on pausable real time wargaming? There certainly seems to be the depth that wargames have, while allowing for more realistic movement and the exploitation of time and space. It also appears you can adopt a macro level approach and just control HQ's, or drill right down to the individual unit and control every unit, or anything inbetween.

 

Having watched some utube videos of this game it certainly looks fluid and dynamic and a very interesting approach to wargaming!

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chuft, I see that the same people did your Trial of Strength boardgame and the Battles from the Bulge and Conquest of the Aegean games that I linked to earlier.

 

I'll be damned, so they did. Trial of Strength was from 1985 and they never did another boardgame, I had no idea Panther Games was still around and now making computer games. I would definitely take a close look at anything they did.

 

 

What are your thoughts on pausable real time wargaming? There certainly seems to be the depth that wargames have, while allowing for more realistic movement and the exploitation of time and space. It also appears you can adopt a macro level approach and just control HQ's, or drill right down to the individual unit and control every unit, or anything inbetween.

 

Having watched some utube videos of this game it certainly looks fluid and dynamic and a very interesting approach to wargaming!

 

I had a lot of fun playing the real-time-with-pause series of Blitzkrieg tactical games.

 

 

blitzkrieg_thunder_23.jpg

 

blitzkrieg-2.jpg

 

blitzkrieg-4.jpg

 

 

 

Ultimately my problem with these games was that, on Easy setting, they were too easy and on any higher setting, they were too hard! But they sure were beautiful looking and fun to play, so I believe in the concept, at least for tactical gaming. (Some reviews will call these "real time strategy" but they aren't - you don't build any units, your forces are fixed for each battle, and while you can do stuff like entrench, build wire, plant mines, remove mines, resupply units with little supply trucks and men, blow up buildings and wire with artillery barrages etc. you don't "harvest resources" or build units like in a regular RTS - this is a historical tactical sim) I don't have any experience with real-time operational or strategic scale games. Anything is better than the drudgery of giving 200 unit orders with no action - well anything other than spending the game with your nose in a spreadsheet, which is why I have avoided the real-time strategic games in the Europa Universalis/Hearts of Iron vein.

 

There was an absolutely hilarious promotional video for HoI III on Amazon that showed a guy basically opening, closing and scrolling through spreadsheets, to a swelling crescendo of dramatic music as he selected this or that column, I was rolling on the floor with laughter after watching it. Unfortunately, they removed it (maybe due to the game's 2.4/5 star rating?).

 

I know some people like these games. I just can't figure out why. No accounting for taste I guess.

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