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?
Command : Modern Operations PE has been the sole source of multiplayer for the platform. Only those professional or military folks have been able to shoot each other in real time. Until now. Matrix Forums user musurca has released IKE, a way to play PBEM CMO in a really awesome way. Let’s dig into it and see how it works.
Building on the solid base of UoC2, 2×2 Games has announced a Barbarossa DLC. Slated for a Steam release sometime in April 2021. It really looks to expand upon the usual UoC maps and take advantage of the wide open spaces provided by the Soviet countryside.
The fine folks over at NWS have announced the first expansion to Rule Waves 2 and it will cover from 1890 all the way to 1970. In addition they will be enhancing the modern aspects of jets, ASM’s, night air operation, along with a whole host of related improvements. On top of this is a “refurbishment” of the submarine system. One of the more interesting additions is a persistent ship history.
WeaponsRelease is humming along and I wanted to give you folks a quick update.
No More Ads
Hosting fees for the site are like $8 a month. I normally run an adblocker and I assume all of you will as well. You’ll see a button on the sidebar for BuyMeACoffee. This is a quick and easy way for you to give a couple of bucks to the site. If you so desire you can pitch me a couple bucks, or not. It’s cool either way. This way you aren’t forced into seeing digital ads, auto playing video, or whatever other garbage Google sends at you.
You’ll start seeing some other hobbyists that have a particular niche. If you are interested in contributing content please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s unpaid! Seeing as it’s unpaid there isn’t a schedule or anything of that such, contribute as you see fit. I’d love to have a table top aficionado come in…
Content & Reviews
Some of the most popular content here is tutorials. There is a serious lack of decent tutorials for a lot of games. It’s useful and doesn’t involve me chasing after the latest game fad or news tidbit. When there is big news we’ll highlight it here. Same for reviews, they will be broken down into “feature reviews” and “critical reviews”. Think of a feature review as an unboxing and a critical review as an opinion. Feature reviews will tell you all about what to expect in a game along with some thoughts. Critical reviews will dig into the nuts and bolts and define what is good and bad.
I realized there is a distinctive split between telling you what you are buying, and telling you what I like or don’t like about a game. A good example is one of the new JTS games. Me criticizing it because it’s not real time is not useful if all you want to know is what scenarios it has or how it handles artillery. Most of the time I’m interested in the mechanics of the game and what to expect as a player. My definition of fun is probably quite different than yours. (Or maybe not, if you’re reading this)
Some of the most useful content is seeing how someone else plays a game, especially a complex one. My tendency in games is small to mid sized scenarios that I can digest in a day or two. I’m also looking at some cooperative Let’s Plays in the similar vein of the Flare Paths / TallyHoCorners version of Combat Mission. Except I’ll probably do CMO or Armored Brigade or some such.
What do you want to see? More in depth look at Armored Brigade mods? More CMO scenario & Lua design? Professional guest interviews for a look at the other side of wargaming? Let me know!
On December 8th, 2015 I purchased War in the Pacific Admirals Edition from the Matrix store. In the 5 years since I’ve probably logged less than 4 hours playing the game. But I’ve spent countless hours following others as they dash across the Pacific, engage in daring battleship raids, and hunt for the elusive Tokyo Bay Fortress. WitP is not alone, there are many games I love to see others play but loathe to dig into myself.