Matrix Christmas Sale 2016 Highlights

It’s that time of the year again where we finally get some time off and decide to spend it playing video games. Matrix has released a fairly massive PDF list of what games are on sale, I’ve culled that a bit and provided my own list of what’s worth buying. Now it’s still worth browsing if you’re looking for some oddball era or theater. It’s worth noting that if you buy a game from Matrix, and it’s available on Steam, you can get a Steam key from Matrix. (Note, you actually need to log in at Slitherine’s website to get the Steam Key.)

So, here we are, the Matrix Games Sale List of Good Games.


Command – Modern Air / Naval Operations  65% Off – $27.99

Available on Matrix and Steam

Command is one of those games where you wake up in the middle of the night and have a burning desire to route a submarine through a different thermocline. It’s deep. It’s detailed. It’s big. The interface can be a bit wonky at times, but there’s so much information available that it kind of has to be. Now on the plus side you can ignore a lot of it and still have fun, just don’t expect to live long. (Sorry pixel pilots)

There’s a very active, and professional, community of modders and support. The detail in the game is amazing, they do as much as possible to mimic existing capabilities of subs and aircraft. Now if you prefer older eras they have a lot of scenarios with that too. The Falklands war has a few interesting scenarios for example. If you’re into this era it’s a must have.


Command – Northern Inferno 50% Off – $9.99

Available on Matrix and Steam

Not sure if a behemoth Naval Command Simulator is your thing? But still curious?

Then try out Northern Inferno. It’s the exact same game engine but instead focuses on a cold war gone hot in the North Atlantic. If you already have CMANO then this is a big ole expansion pack, and definitely worth the $10. This is a great way to dip your toes into the sonobuoy filled waters and see if you like it. (You’ll get that joke once you play the game and drop a 3rd world countries worth of sonobuoys down.)


Decisive Campaigns : Barbarossa 34% Off – $32.99

Available on Matrix and Steam

If hexes, turns, and Germans are more you’re thing, than you have to get this game. It takes a pretty good strategic level and adds on a political simulation as well. This makes it unlike any other game of this type. Not only do you have to invade Russia (or defend it) but you have to appease various Corps Commanders, Luftwaffe heads, and of course the Truck & Train Nazi. Do you take resources from one front to support another? Fine, but run the risk of everyone hating you.

The political simulation adds in a whole new layer of decisions that make this game a ton of fun. No matter how hard you try you can’t keep even some of the people happy some of the time. Most of my games end up with me stuck outside Moscow devoid of any trucks, planes, or rail support while all of my Panzer Commanders hate me. I say this in a good way, it’s comical to watch it all go down the toilet.


Flashpoint Campaigns : Red Storm 50% Off – $24.99

Available on Matrix and Steam

And now for something completely different. Flashpoint Campaigns is unique not so much for the theatre (Cold War 1980’s) but for the command mechanism. It’s not a IGO-UGO games but a WEGO. What this means is you give orders and then watch as your units attempt to complete them and instead smash head first into a battalion of Soviet armor.

The game is fun, intense, and unforgiving of rookie mistakes. With the fog of war covering not just exposed units but also command delays, you find yourself tempering aggressive movements with having to wait for the unit to get the orders. I always go aggressive and it almost always bites me in the behind as my units get into a running engagement with the Soviets.

The bigger scenarios can be a clickfest but it’s a well structured game with a wide variety of engagements.


Gary Grigsby’s War in the East 50% off – $39.99

Available on Matrix and Steam

Another one that takes us back to the Eastern Front in one of the most detailed and complete games available. If you’ve ever wanted to play through the entirety of the Eastern front from Barbarossa to Bagration, this game is for you. It’s big. It’s meaty. It’s filled with enough information to choke a wehraboo goat.

It has a wide range of scenarios, some of which you can finish in under an hour, all the way to the 1941-1945 Campaign that might take you hundreds of hours. There’s an active multiplayer community along with a couple of expansion packs. Now the game can be daunting, but luckily I’ve got some great guides here on this site, so check em out up above.

Note : The War in the West game is not as good as this one and suffers from a horrid air combat engine along with a very un-intuitive interface. I wouldn’t get it unless you’re very into organizing the air war in Western Europe. The game is an air campaign simulator with a ground combat engine tacked on.


Pike and Shot 50% Off – $19.99

Available on Matrix and Steam

Are you into the Thirty Years War? Does the name Gustavus Adolphus or Wallenstein pique your interest? Do you want to watch a wall of pikeman smash into a formations of tercios? The game looks good, plays well, and covers a timeframe that most designers skip right over.

The current game is actually an update from the original with an added scenario pack. There’s a ton of new units, historically accurate armies, and even a few new campaigns to try out. If you’re looking for a completely new era to learn about, check Pike and Shot out.


Unity of Command 60% off – $7.99

Available on Matrix and Steam

A testament to great design and aesthetics. Unity of Command is an Eastern Front game unlike any other. While it may lack things like an accurate count of the buttons on a soldiers jacket in the LVI Corps, it makes up for it in simple, satisfying, and ultimately interesting gameplay.

The scenarios are tough. And I do mean tough! Between the general layout, and the quick gameplay, it really makes one question if all of that extra simulation nuance is really required in a game. When is too much, enough? This game This game proves that you can have a modern, intuitive graphical layout without resorting to gritty hexes and an interface that makes Windows 3.1 look good.


War in the Pacific : Admirals Edition 50% Off – $39.99

Available only on Matrix

A total counterpoint to Unity of Command. This bad boy models production, individual pilots, training levels, base and troop movements, hell even what it takes for Patton to arrive on the West Coast of the USA. It’s tough to get into, tough to learn, and I’d argue impossible to master.

But it fills a niche like no other game. I’m just starting to get into myself and I’m surprised at how good of a game it is. Previously I’d just read through AAR’s and watched some Let’s Plays. It’s an epic game in it’s time scale. If you don’t mind playing for months of game time with little happening only to suddenly have a massive carrier battle. Well, that’s War in the Pacific.

Also, there is a regular version of the game, but I’ve been told to avoid it like the plague. The Admirals Edition is supposed to be the one to get.

So go forth! Beg some cash from Santa and get your holiday grog on!


Gamer, Author, Engineer, Dad.

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