Imperator Rome : Yet Another Review

Paradox’s Imperator : Rome tackles the Roman world circa 200 BCE. Carthage is ascendant, Alexander is still a recent memory, and Gaul has yet to be conquered. The world of antiquity is being replaced by what will be the Roman behemoth.

In a nutshell… it’s a good game. We’ll get more into it later, but I see a lot of reviews comparing it to EUIV or CK2, games with added DLC, patches, and a plethora of mods. They say the same thing, “Wait for a few patches and some DLC.” The game will be really good in a few patches, but I think you’ll miss out on a rewarding experience.

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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

Command Modern Air Naval Operations : LUA Waypoints

Today’s Lua repository is covering a relatively simple, but infinitely useful waypoint method. You have to manually path your strike missions and this can lead to some comedy when you forget a plane and it flies over some MANPAD’s. Or maybe you want the OPFOR to act sneaky and fly a strike mission between some mountains? So today we’ll cover to how to use Lua to set a course for your aircraft!

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Command Modern Air Naval Operations : Custom Overlays & Campaign Overlays

Out of the box CMANO uses a map set known as SRTM 30 Plus. This is an open repository from the USGS with tiled data from across the globe. It’s great for CMANO on a macro scale, but what if we want to get right in and see individual target points? What if we want to do it on existing campaign scenarios? Luckily it’s not too hard! A caveat, this won’t work for the standalone versions, you need the full version of CMANO with the editor.

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Command Modern Air Naval Operations : Lua Repository #4 Random Traffic

Every so often you meet a script that’s beautiful. My first script moment was when I saw the differential equation for a moon shot rocket as it loses fuel, gravity drops, velocity rises, and… well you get the idea. The below script, courtesy of Apache85, is a script like that. This wonderful bit of poetic code generates random merchant traffic within a set area and assigns it to a mission. I’ll get into more of it after the break, but if you want to bring biologics, fishing boats, aircraft, or whatever to your scenarios, check it out!

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Command Modern Air Naval Operations : Lua Repository #3 – Weather

Weather in CMANO is one of those things you don’t think about until suddenly you can’t attack a target. Then you realize that the world is alive below you. As a scenario designer it’s one of those things that can really fill out your scenario and bring it to life. We’ll explore a few simple methods to give both random weather and one neat trick to make scheduled weather that saves you from making dozens of triggers!

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Command Modern Air Naval Operations : Lua Repository 2

This is another entry in my Lua Repository for CMANO. (Find the first one here) I have a large and ungainly notepad++ document with notes, ideas, scribbles, and even a bit of Lua. To start with we’ll run down what I currently have, later we’ll look at other functions from the list and make some other examples. If you’d like to see a particular script feel free to ask in the comments and I can see what I can do!

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