Decks Of War: Wargame: Airland Battle Trailer

By Craig Pearson on May 10th, 2013 at 8:00 pm.

That's a big deck, if you don't mind me saying.
Apologies to non-UK readers for the next few sentences. Here is some hold music to tide you over. The word “deck” is interesting. In the hands of Alan Titchmarsh, for example, it means “The bit of a garden that is not the grass”. In certain parts of northern England it means “He who is not Ant”, and it is spoken with reverence and awe by court jesters. It is a word that can even mean “The bit of a ship that is not the floaty bit”. In games, though, it means the collection of units you bring to battle. And in Wargame: Airland Battle, that means tanks, jets, and everything in war that is not a tank or jet.

In Airland Battle’s multiplayer, you’ll be building a deck to take online and fight with. Your selection is drawn from the 800 or so units that the game has available, mix and matching war machines from 12 Cold War countries. Decks can be patriotic, with their selection drawn from a single country, or you can choose from your favourite units and ignore those pesky borders. Or you could focus on a specific type of class. There are bonuses added whichever way you go. Have a peep at this short, explanatory video below.

I am terrible at Airland Battle’s predecessor, European Escalation. I bought it after meeting Alexis Le Dressay, the game’s creative director, at a preview event where he demoed Airland Battle. He spoke with such enthusiasm about what he was making that I went home and bought it. Even for a strategic simpleton like me there’s something in Eugen system’s games to love. I enjoy watching it the fight flowing around on the giant maps. I might be losing, but I’ll be doing it with style.

Hey, it’s out on May 22nd 2013. I did not know that.

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47 Comments »

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  1. BTAxis says:

    I think for me this is in the “want but won’t” category. It looks really appealing, but I can’t justify spending the money because I just know I’m not going to play it for lack of friends who like this kind of game.

    • Halvor says:

      I have pretty good luck in the beta with finding competent players to join with. There is a friend system in game and that works pretty well. Don’t loose faith. Try to recruit your friends!

  2. aldo_14 says:

    I have to admit to a little internal ‘squee’ at the sight of a Harrier, there.

    Not buying this, though. Still not got round to playing RUSE and got past the second mission of Wargame EE.

  3. GreatUncleBaal says:

    I’m another one watching this cautiously – liked some of the stuff in European Escalation but the deck building interface was bloody horrible. WIll check a few reviews on release and see if the general interface has improved since the last game.

    • Halvor says:

      The beta has been great. Can’t stop playing it. The deck system interface has improved as seen in the beta video above. It is actually pretty sexy and part of the fun of the game. Each unit has its own icon and you can see the actual look of the vechicle in the hanger when you select it. Also, the stats are spelled out numerically but also graphically. Artillery costs about the same per unit but there are constraints on how many you can field. I find that if you want artillery to be effective, you will have to use two valuable slots on artillery.

  4. Dominic White says:

    A recent update to the Airland Battle beta allows 10v10 matches. Total war, and being just one member of a very large team reduces the amount of individual pressure/stress a lot. Good fun.

    • Halvor says:

      The 10v10 are fun. You can just micro manage your troops and air strikes. I love 10v10. If you are fickel with your troops you might run out of units to deploy in long 10v10 games which typically last 30 min but sometimes an 1 hour.
      I highly recommend this game. Wargame EE was great but this just blows it out of the water. Air planes are so much fun and the other units are done better as well. For example, the towns that troops hide in look better, the troops hide in buildings, and the maps looks fantastic.

  5. Bhazor says:

    As the last trailer said
    “Remember, its a RTS.”

  6. Premium User Badge

    Vandelay says:

    I was put off European Escalation, as it looked like an overly complicated RUSE, without base building and resource collection (I know, I’m weird, but I like that stuff.) This looks like a continuation of that and I would much rather see a sequel to RUSE.

    Am I wrong/a bad person?

    • Dominic White says:

      If you refused to play one of the most highly regarded strategy games in recent years due to a knee-jerk reaction? Then yes, you are bad and should feel bad.

      • Premium User Badge

        Vandelay says:

        Hey, I never said it was knee-jerk reaction. I watched a couple of gameplay videos as I was intrigued by the follow up to Ruse, which was one of the most interesting RTS games in a very long time. It just didn’t look like my thing (reminded me too much of World in Conflict, albeit with a bit more depth.) I’m sure I would have tried a demo if one was available though.

        By complicated (poor word choice,) I mean it looked like it had a cluttered and unclear interface, with a lot of unnecessary bits to fiddle with.

        • BlackAlpha says:

          This game is nothing like any other game. If you enjoy RTS games, then you should try it, as it’s a really good game in general.

        • aldo_14 says:

          In my experience – and I’m crap at RTSs – it’s pretty complex to look at but not too bad to do; basically it boils down to fire and maneuver and a lot of the more confusing stuff can be ignored. At least in the singleplayer missions I’ve played.

          • P.Funk says:

            Ironic that you would characterize it in that way, since in my experience the foundation principle of much of modern conflict, ie. fire and maneuver, is something the vast majority of players have no ability to easily comprehend without practice and lots of losing til they figure it out.

            There is a bit of a primer to the idea of cover being superior from Company of Heroes but still most people are used to traditional RTS games like Starcraft that have no interest in anything except heavy micro charges and intensely practiced build orders.

            Wargame kicks most of those paradigms out because it cuts straight to the fight without the resources. Its interesting that people might balk at it when its basically a modern version of a Total War game. You have points, you buy units, you buy veterancy, you fight tactically.

            Wargame has the additional factor of having resupply by buying new units which is more like modern conflict than ancient conflict.

            I’m defending git all though I in the end found it very spammy thanks to Russian players always either going full attack helicopter or all out MLRS arty.

            My favourite thing about Wargame though is the heavy focus on recon.

      • sabasNL says:

        European Escalation is not in any official list of top strategy games of the past few years. R.U.S.E. is though, albeit on the edge.

        • P.Funk says:

          Watch nobody care about “official” lists of anything. Whats official anyway? Some guy’s opinion that is usually suspect as to his motivations care of his site/publication’s tendency to suck up to the big companies for exclusives?

          Wargame is novel in many respects, regardless of whether you consider it successful at what it tries to do. In other ways though it presents ideas that have existed for a long time but not seen production in the most recent cycles.

      • Halvor says:

        The game is not hard to play. It is just challenging to master. There are pre built decks that have well rounded armies. Just play one of those against the AI or the campaign till you get the basics. And if you find multiplayer too hard, you can always invite a friend to do AI stomp. As far as military sim like games, this one is pretty straight forward and not that hard to figure out.

    • Dana says:

      Complex, maybe. Complicated ? Not really. And it does have resource, you get it for killing enemy units, and holding areas on the map. You spend it to call reinforcements.

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        Thurgret says:

        You only get deployment points (the ‘resource’) for holding areas of the map. The points from killing hostile units are only for scoring in destruction mode games, and don’t contribute to your deployment points.

    • soulis6 says:

      It’s hard to judge tastes, but as a person who thought Ruse was mostly crap, I enjoyed EE a ton, and am really looking forward to this one.

      It’s Ruse without the spammable weird/cheesy god-powers, more strategy, more balance, and the overall gameplay mechanics vastly improved.

    • Oak says:

      I’m going to give Wargame another shot, but my experience with it has been decidedly un-fun. I don’t think Ruse is a helpful comparison, really; that was a relatively uncomplicated bomb-beats-tank-beats-man RTS, but Wargame is a different animal.

  7. EOT says:

    Some coverage. Finally.

    The game is great. Plays better than EE I feel. It’s much more dynamic and arty spam is a less viable tactic. Also, the beta? Is an ACTUAL beta for once. Not a glorified demo used to garner pre-orders.

  8. wodin says:

    Not wargame enough for me..love to see the graphic engine being used for a proper grog like wargame though.

    • Cuddlefish says:

      I would auction off a kidney for a VASSAL or Maptool style virtual tabletop in this engine, with a user-friendly map editor and a nice array of generic models to use, scripting support for automating the functions of one’s favorite game optional, etc. Maybe they should Kickstart that or something, I bet it’d take.

  9. WinTurkey says:

    Great game, even the beta is enjoyable.

  10. Akke says:

    My son just wants to fool around with the vehicles in some kind of sandbox. Does it support that?

  11. zabulon says:

    Back in the day I absolutely loved World in Conflict. I missed on EE and I wan’t to play something similar. Should I buy this?
    Thanks guys! :)

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      EE is a little tougher and more cereberal; it’s harder to just pile units through checkpoints.

    • Halvor says:

      Airland captures the fun of calling in air strikes like WiC but now you can change the planes orders as units move or even have the air plane track a tank column’s movements. I always felt like the troops and tanks were expendable in WiC but in Airland battle, you need to put your tanks in cover and do a good job of covering your troops with air support. Airland battle also has map 100x larger than WiC (you can play on smaller ones if you want). Lastly, WiC required you to specialize in tanks, planes, or troops. In airland, you can specialize and you get bonus for doing that but most people play a well rounded army in the beta. However if you get on voice chat, you could specialize in air and support your team with mostly air units. Calling in Stealth boomer strikes, tomcat aa runs. O fun to be had.

  12. Premium User Badge

    Gap Gen says:

    Air vs Land: Whoever wins, we lose.

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    colossalstrikepackage says:

    Pearson, you’re on fire today with these intros. Thanks for making my day!

    I got all the Deck jokes apart from the court jester. Can anybody help?

  14. SuicideKing says:

    What about of deck of cards?

    And yeah i’m watching this too…good reviews + Steam sale = buy.

  15. sabasNL says:

    R.U.S.E. , while really attractive to me, couldn’t keep me interested with it’s multiplayer for too long (probably my own fault, I was very busy at the time). European Escalation was a real disappointment for me.

    Although this looks great, I’m holding off my purchase. Don’t want to waste my money again.

    • handyman24602 says:

      Escalation is considered by some to be the best RTS of 2012. It’s certainly much better than Ruse.

  16. tehsorrow says:

    Is this game worth it if I’m not into playing MP? I like RTS but the online scene has always been too cut-throat for me. Does this have any SP worth it?

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      All is Well says:

      Since it hasn’t been released it’s really hard to tell, but if W:EE is anything to go by, I’d say yes. It had 4 campaigns with persistent units and a lot of good missions, although some were mostly frustrating and/or tedious. The most notable example would be a Soviet mission in which you have to get as many units as possible across the map to an “evacuation zone” in a set amount of time, while you are under more or less constant assault from both flanks. As an added bonus, you’ll lose all units that aren’t evacuated for the remainder of the campaign.

      However, that really is an exception, most missions are “Take and hold position X, then Y&Z” in whatever manner you see fit, which, in my opinion, is where the SP is at it’s best.

      The skirmish is horrible though, mostly because of the poor AI. It seems to only have one or two pre-determined attack options, so once you learn what those are you know exactly what units it is sending and what route they’re taking. And if those attacks fail it just sits there doing nothing until you attack and destroy it, because it can’t build a defense.

    • Halvor says:

      In the beta the skirmish mode is great. The ai tends to mix it up. Sometimes it runs a balanced army and other times it throws a ton of airplanes at you. I recommend it for single player as well as multiplayer. Although on a 10v10 You could act as full time air support have units supporting from the back if you want a slower paced experience.

    • Tim says:

      The SP mode is supposed to be a Total War like campaign, with a map of Europe and territories you fight over. It will also be playable in co-op or 1v1 modes, which is something I’ve wanted in Total War forever.