SGS Operation Hawaii is a “what if” scenario that has the Japanese invade the Hawaiian island of O‘ahu. SGS, The Strategy Game Studio, was founded by Philippe Thibault of AGEOD and Europa Universalis fame. It is in the same vein as the other games in the SGS stable that are firmly grounded in the realm of board games but with a PC interface.
For several hours over 150 people watched a gentleman wax poetically on the state of table top war games, and occasionally clip the corners on counters. It’s almost routine to watch someone un-box a board war game and loving display the counters, map, even the manual. Twitter is filled with folks gushing over game design, board layout, and how well Verdun is modelled on the table top. So where is the digital equivalent of this? And why is the board wargame seeing such a resurgence?
The last couple of months for wargames has been busier than the Pumpkin Spice industry. Releases, re-releases, ownership changes, and completely new announcements all come together for what is shaping up to be an interesting year.
Get ready to crank the Creedence Clearwater Revival, roll a doob, and slap a peace sticker on your pot. Campaign Series Vietnam is looking at a Q4 2021 release. Information is sparse but there’s some dev blogs that we’ll highlight below the break so you can get your Vietnam groove on.
Edit : Release date of January 20, 2022. https://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=5093532
Immolation is the career hazard of armored crewman. A tank is a steel box filled with machinery, explosives, and fuel. Pierce that armored shell and odds have it, your crew will burn. I know this because in Armoured Commander II most of my crews suffer this terrible fate. But, like the troopers they are, the survivors try again.
Hex of Steel, previously know as Operation Citadel, is a multi-platform turn based war game set during World War 2. Designed by Valentin Lievre, this is a first release for the designer as a self taught programmer. The title is both on Steam, as well as Android and iOS. Interestingly, there is multiplayer cross play between the platforms.
Subject of the Game
Hex of Steel is a turn based IGOUGO war game set from 1939 to 1945. You can play as any Allied, Neutral, or Axis power in a range of scenarios, campaigns, or even a random battle that is similar to something from Advanced Tactics. You begin with a range of units and can upgrade units or purchase new ones to be deployed as your advance and capture locations.
A few years ago I picked up a read for a brief vacation, “With Wings Like Eagles” by Michael Korda. My knowledge of the Battle of Britain was pretty basic, a general idea of the smackdown, but never a deep dive. Michael Korda’s book lays it all out and really pins how unwinnable the Battle of Britain was for Germany. About the same time my Matrix Anniversary coupon arrived, and well, I ended up getting Gary Grigsby’s Eagle Day to Bombing the Reich… and didn’t play it for a few years. Until…
High Fleet is a title from the phoenix reborn, Microprose, released on July 27th. It is many things all at once, like the desert and air ships that make up the core of the game. Diesel punk? Immersion shooter? Roguelike? It has a tactical layer akin to Command Modern Operations and a combat layer rather like Endless Sky. The immersion is where the game really shines, and if you don’t want the immersion it can be a difficult title to enjoy. Rain drops will streak your view as you struggle to land a wounded ship on a sand swept repair dock.
But it’s something more, it has a ship editor, a skirmish mode, and a fairly unique tactical mode utilizing comms interception, electronic warfare, nuclear weapons, and the potential for mutiny.
Combat Mission Cold War fills a fairly wide open niche between the World War 2 titles and the ultra deadly combat of Combat Mission Black Sea. Built upon the same engine as the previous releases it is showing its age but also is very functional. With a few mods it can look as good as any AAA title. Of particular interest is the partnership with Matrix Games which is bringing us a new PBEM server system, a much needed improvement to the clunkiness that currently exists. Lets dive in to the world pre-Berlin Wall topple!
Lately I’ve had three games on my mind. Two are firmly in the digital space and one is in the cardboard space. War in the East 2, Pavlov’s House, and No Retreat. Comparing and contrasting has made me look at boardgames of years past, what the future may hold, and does a black box of stats engage one more than transparent gameplay?