Armored Brigade

By Tim Stone on March 30th, 2008 at 5:38 pm.

A T-80 tank bogged-down beside a river gets cluster-bombed by a passing A-10. The plane then strays too close to a Shilka and is shot from the sky, crashing next to a forest occupied by two Russian ATGM teams. These teams have just killed the lead vehicle in a column of Bradleys and, anticipating a retaliatory artillery strike, are pulling back. They’re retreating on foot because their taxis, two BMP-2 IFVs, were destroyed five minutes earlier by prowling M1A1s.
 
Sound interesting? If the answer’s yes then you may enjoy Armored Brigade. A free real-time wargame with Combat Mission and Close Combat echoes, it’s causing quite a stir in groggy circles at the moment. Shock Force might have the graphics and the granularity, but AB has the flexible skirmish generator and the wary TacAI. Hopefully, future versions will include better map shading (reading terrain can be tricky), a save function, and a few fripperies like unit photos. Not everyone knows just how cool MIM-72/M48s look.

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17 Comments »

  1. Cigol says:

    Oh thanks for this, it looks really promising and the Close Combat/Combat Mission leanings make it even more mouth watering a prospect. I hope they think of adding online capabilities in the future as it seems ideally suited to that sort of thing. Can’t wait to sit down and give this a proper going over… I was sceptical at first because I’m not a hex gamer fan at all (and the screenshots aren’t encouraging) but the game plays like Close Combat for the most part.

  2. Musenik says:

    My grognardness has fallen behind. Close Combat was a local nirvana, and then I got too busy to play more than a demo of Combat Mission. Really want to play this, if only I could work through my stack of bugs faster…

  3. Sum0 says:

    I’ll try this because proper hardcore nuts strategy is always fun, although the extremely abstract graphics make me just a tad uncomfortable.

  4. Cigol says:

    You can zoom in to see the troops and the flashes of the gun – a bit like supreme commanders scrolling ability. The screenshot is the strategic view (which you also got in Close Combat).

  5. Tim Stone says:

    Starting out it’s probably wise to go with small maps and low ‘combat power’ (purchase points) settings. Hitting ‘W’ three times makes all waypoints visible (useful). Giving orders via the floating platoon icons helps keep things manageable.

    I wish I could make sense of the victory conditions. The last couple of assaults I’ve played have ended abruptly for no apparent reason. I’m making progress when suddenly the defeat window pops up. Hmmm.

  6. Sir Podder Raleigh says:

    This looks fun. Mr. Stone, do you have an opinion on the latest Close Combat release? The one based no the RAF/Marines thingy? I think it’s called “Modern Combat”. It seems to have been completely ignored by the gaming press, which is a shame, as CC was one of the best things to happen to Wargaming :(

  7. rb_lestr says:

    I have no idea whats going on in this game

  8. Cigol says:

    It’s pretty straightforward really, basically a more sophisticated real time strategy game.

    I’ve only completed one game thus far, a small defence mission (which is the easiest way to acclimatize yourself in a game like this), so not really had a chance to take it all in – but I can see myself watching this game very closely. It’s a bit jerky, and ugly and ‘notchy’… and unfinished… but fun nonetheless.

    There must be a secret to using pillboxes though because mine just go pop in the night. A guide to all the jargon would be nice too, I’ve no idea what a lot of these munitions are for example, could be a bit clearer in game terms.

  9. Tim Stone says:

    Close Combat: Modern Tactics

    http://www.matrixgames.com/games/game.asp?gid=350

    I reviewed it for PC Gamer (UK) a few months back, gave it 60%. I’d have been more generous had CSO Simtek provided a campaign (there’s no CC4/5-style strat layer, just a heap of 25 maps) and sorted out some of CC’s niggly AI issues.This was how I wound things up:

    “It was the CPU’s woeful deployment skills, fidgety tanks, and penchant for slow swarmy advances that finally drove me away from CC. Modern Tactics reminds me why I loved the series, but also reminds me why I moved on to rivals like Combat Mission (slower, smarter) and Firefight (sleeker, smarter).”

  10. icegreentea says:

    Cigol: If you have any specific questions, I can try to point you to the right direction… but in general http://fas.org/programs/ssp/man/uswpns/uslandwarfaresystems.html and http://fas.org/programs/ssp/man/rowwpns/russia/land_warfare.html should help you out.

  11. NRD says:

    the abstract graphics you refer to are loosely based on the 2525B standard outlined here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2525B
    which is used by many combat systems

  12. Sum0 says:

    I always hoped for a modern warfare counterpart to CC, and now I’m spoilt for choice…! (Well, there’s three.)

  13. General Poddington says:

    I gave this a go last night. I found it quite confusing to rationalise and visualise the terrain around my troops, and often had them in locations that got them pummeled. One thing I found a bit confusing was target designation; how the hell do I tell my tanky tanks to stop shooting the sodding infantry and pummel the Abrams?! However, for a beta version it’s pretty fun. I can see it being a very interesting game given a few more iterations. Tom Chick would be a bit angry by the stupid hotkeys though :)

    Regarding the symbols; I was trying to make some new icons for SOASE (because I can’t tell the default ones apart — horrid!) and so I didn’t have to remember what the “alien” ships did (After all, they are just renamings of their TEC counterparts). Anyway, I experimented with AAP-6A symbols. I found this very useful :
    http://www.mapsymbs.com/app-6ahandbook.zip

    It’s by the British Army and basically tells you all you need to know!

    Tim Stone: I’m disapointed to hear CC hasn’t gotten any better :( It went downhill after the Atomic/Microsoft partnership stopped doing it. Also, I’d never heard of Firefight before. I’m going to give it a look.

    Sum0: What would you consider the counterparts? (I’m eager to play!)

  14. Zoso says:

    Man, I haven’t had as much fun picking units since Steel Panthers II. Be good to get the Brits in there, needs more Wombat.

  15. Sum0 says:

    General Poddington: Well, the aforementioned Combat Mission and Firefight. I’ve tried Combat Mission, and looks like it’ll be promising once I’ve figured the interface out (and got to grips with the clunky camera). It’s essentially Medieval’s battles with tanks. A platoon of M1A1s firing a volley and lighting up the night – mmmm.

  16. General Poddington says:

    My computer is too rubbish to run the new CM :(
    I own both the original ones. I found I quickly got bored of it and emmensly frustrated that if I encounted an enemy 2 seconds in I had 58 seconds of wasted reaction time. Bak!

  17. fast says:

    I found I quickly got bored of it and emmensly frustrated that if I encounted an enemy 2 seconds in I had 58 seconds of wasted reaction time.

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