Combat Mission on GOG

Hell has not frozen over. Pigs are not flying. But, somehow, Battlefront game(S!) are on GOG. Battlefront has been vociferous in their opinion of third party storefronts like Steam or GOG. So much so that when it was pointed out that Combat Mission : Beyond Overlord was on GOG, they weren’t even aware. Then it disappeared…

But now CMBO is back, along with a few others.

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TOAW IV Revisited

10/22/18 – RTFM has been spouted. I’ve RTFM. Am returning after reading some 3rd party guides that seem to be more helpful. My argument still stands, but I really want to like this game.

It started in Finland. June 29th 1941. A narrow peninsula was held by Russian troops threatening to drive on Helsinki. The scenario was for Finland to recapture what was lost during the Winter War. The game, The Operational Art of War IV.

To my east is a string of units from the Gulf of Finland all the way to the arctic ocean. But this little thorn… I decide to start there. It doesn’t go well.

TOAWIV is a hex-and-counter multi-theater wargaming simulation base. Upon it you can layer any conflict from pre-ww1 all the way up today. It’s a fairly lofty goal that aims for what CMANO does in the air-sea theater but also adding land units.

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On The Western Front : Early Access Look

On The Western Front is a wargame unlike anything we’ve quite seen in the genre. One part trench warfare simulator, one part meatgrinder, and one part logistics. You are tasked with taking a section of trench and, well, doing whatever it is one does with a trench in 1915.

First things first : It’s Early Access. It feels like early access. It looks like early access. It plays like early access. So, if you’re not into beta-testing for some random dude, just add it to your watchlist. Right now it’s a bit wonky and lacks a save function.

One controls a Division of either French, British, or German troops. This Division includes infantry, engineers, medical staff, signal corps, supply units and of course… artillery. Lots of artillery.

You must hold your section of trench. Engage the enemy when required. (And yes, there are mandatory assaults) Keep your troops in top shape. All the while digging underground mines, keeping supplies flowing, recovering the wounded, and capturing prisoners.

Each of your units has morale, supplies, readiness, and a set of attributes. 

But it’s not all red poppies. It’s rough. It’s buggy. Unit selection and tasking are the two immediate glaring issues. It’s a pain in the ass to manage the entire line. I had a medical unit go on leave only to spawn a dozen copies in the rear area. 

Now these are all things that can be remedied, but right now it makes for a clunky endeavor.

But then you see how you trade lives for progress. The experience of the dead and wounded lead towards a sick sort of progression. You can picture a general in the rear poring over casualty charts and going, “Jeeves, yes, this isn’t working, bring in that chap with those mortars.”

The game could use more flesh to it. We have no commanders and I think that’s something that’s missing. Find an OOB from 1915 and actually put the player in charge of a real unit. Add even more depth to the game.

As much as anyone hates to hear it, the game could benefit with some Dwarf Fortress style task menus. Who is doing what? Are they done? Is that trench open? Maybe let some units automatically repair things. Sometimes too much micro is just, well, too much.

The aerodrome looks to be interesting, as does the ability to create underground tunnels and lay mines. I haven’t delved deeply enough to see if we can run into counter mines. I picture terrible battles in the dark with only a candle to guide a blade.

As to the robustness of the AI, well, I moved up some of my artillery, just slightly, and pounded a section of German trench. Then a single platoon, the 136th, set off towards the enemy trench to take prisoners.

And the bastards fled just meters away and retreated back to the line. I know this wasn’t a bug as the British in a previous game made it all the way to the German trench where they met an untimely end.

Time advances rather like a Paradox game. Set the speed and let it go. Which is an amazing departure from hex-and-counter IGOUGO. Finally we have a wargame that isn’t like every game since TOAW1, Tiller, or Grigsby. While these are great games, they miss out on what the PC can do for live gaming.

I’ll stick with the game. So far my comments have gotten a response and the dev(s?) have been very active on the Steam forums. Hopefully this continues in the long run and the game turns into a gem. It has an almost Rule the Waves’esque feel to it, the tension of your skirmishes all leading up to a nasty battle.

All in all, keep an eye on it. For $9.99 (as of 10/13/18) it’s not bad. I paid more for far shittier games. (Looking at you No Mans Sky) At least this has the potential to turn into a damned good beast. I’d love to see an expansion for the Eastern Front, or the Americans. It could use some historical maps, give me trench sections that are varied and unique. Give me an underground primed and ready to go.

Check it out on Steam : On the Western Front

The Strategy Gamer Podcast #5 : Graviteam Tactics Mius Front

In today’s episode we’ll be discussing Graviteam Tactics : Mius Front. This simulation is one of the most detailed company-platoon level war games on the market. It features a tactical and an operational level that really set it apart.

My guests for today’s show is Phi230 and TortugaPower.

The game is available on Steam for $35 and, while it has a steep learning curve, is well worth the money for anyone into war games.

Get it on iTunes here.

Direct Download Link.

Graviteam Tactics : How to Use Artillery

Artillery is key in Graviteam Tactics Mius Front and this guide will show you exactly how to call it in.

Graviteam Tactics Mius Front is, once you get past the UI, a really great game. Unfortunately the manual is lacking so it becomes extra difficult to track down things like calling artillery. We’ll go through it, in a few pictures, and break down exactly what you need to do. There’s not much to it. You’ll be calling down Nebelwerfers (or Stalin Organs) in no time short.

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Moscow 1941 iOS Review

There is an unfortunately low amount of quality strategy games for mobile. This amount is about to get even smaller with the upcoming app store apocalypse where anything not 64 bit will be pulled from sale.

Yobogames is stepping in to fill the gap with a couple of titles. First up is Moscow 41, and they also have a Kursk game too. So how does it stack up in hex and counter land?

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Steel Division : Normandy 44, A New Paradox / Eugen Game

Finally. Steel Division.

The info is still pretty sparse but it looks like Paradox Interactive, the studio who developed Hearts of Iron, Crusader Kings, Europa Universalis, and Stellaris, are publishing a Tactical RTS WW2 strategy game developed by Eugen Systems. You might remember Eugen from RUSE and the Wargame series.

This is gonna be good. Here’s a few things that caught me eye in an otherwise sparse press release.

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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.

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