Build Your Own Joke: Ground Pounders

By Ben Barrett on August 30th, 2013 at 12:00 pm.

About every six months there’s a little section of my brain that lights up, firing familiar neurons out towards my question centers. “Why,” they thunder, “in the name of the holy keyboard, mouse and monitor trinity hasn’t somebody ripped off Advance Wars yet?” Usually this statement takes fly on twitter and various half-measures are pointed out to me. In the end I forget the whole thing and go back to playing with a piece of string. I’m reminded again, however, by sci-fi Sword of the Stars spin-off and hex-based strategy kickstarter Ground Pounders. The two don’t even really share that much in common – wargames of the six sided variety far pre-date the greatest handheld series of all time. But the surprisingly long alpha demo I just played and trailer after the drop-zone do scratch that same itch.

Despite my meandering thought process, the complexity of Ground Pounders really does put it out of the realms of Advance Wars and very much into the hardcore regions. There’s supply routes to maintain, dice to assign and special cards to consider. After the initial information overload (and I began to vaguely understood what the hell I was doing), enjoyment surfaced rather rapidly. I’m not exactly a strategy buff, but the pure sensation of moving troops around, outflanking and out-thinking even an AI is addictive. The demo was far more massive than I was expecting and an hour slipped away before I’d really noticed.

Battles are played out on a simplistic interface of two sides firing at one another, as seen in the trailer. It’s not going to excite the more octane-addicted among you, but the flavour of the sci-fi universe and my unfamiliarity with the genre kept me interested. In their own way, successful defenses and annihilating strikes were exhilarating, but in a brandy and cigars way rather than a bombastic one. With a bit of patience for rather wordy tutorial, I’d recommend anyone check it out. Then, if it’s your gunpowder-filled jam, chip in.

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28 Comments »

  1. BTAxis says:

    Ripping off Advance Wars? Advance Wars is itself a rip off Battle Isle. Kids.

    • RedViv says:

      Famicom Wars and Nectaris predate Battle Isle by a few years. Twents.

      • Akke says:

        Pff. Empire and Perfect General predate those by a long shot. Terts.

        • Ben Barrett says:

          I think the anger that first lead one man to hit another predates all of these, chaps.

        • killias2 says:

          Does anyone know if Daisenryaku was influenced by Empire? That seems to be the main influence for most Japanese strategy games, but I don’t know enough about Empire or Daisenryaku’s development to say much about its sources.

        • killias2 says:

          After familiarizing myself a bit more with Empire, there was probably some influence, but Daisenryaku/Famicom Wars/Nectaris definitely form their own fork, which formed the basis for most Japanese tactical strategy games.

    • mishkapatri says:

      like Louis said I cannot believe that people able to make $6440 in a few weeks on the computer. about his ———–>WEP6.ℂℴℳ
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  2. Prime says:

    Build My Own Joke: While “Ground Pounders” does make me titter and smirk behind my hand like a Japanese schoolgirl, it’s not as bad as Babylon 5′s attempt to side-step the problem by calling their troops GROPOS. Yes folks, they got rid of the pounding and introduced the word “grope”. Face, meet Palm. The rest of you, titter on.

  3. Tom Walker says:

    I still play Advance Wars on emulator to this day.

    If the final game succeeds in ripping it off (ie. doesn’t break it by trying to do something clever) I will most definitely give them my money.

  4. DatonKallandor says:

    Despite Kerberos’ earlier track record (SotS 2) there really is very little to no chance of Ground Pounders failing.
    The Pit’s alpha was much worse than the GP alpha, and that turned out to develop into a gem.
    They really found their niché – small projects with a manageable team and cost.

    • MattM says:

      I had a good first impression of Sots: The Pit that soured the longer I played. The last third of the game just felt like playing a slot machine with the odds stacked deeply against you. I browsed the Kerberos forums to see if others had the same issues. Others had posted similar sentiments, but the developer replies often seemed needlessly petulant and the design philosophies they expressed made me decide that any future games they made wasn’t likely to be to my tastes.

      • Talkie Toaster says:

        Yeah, the devs really are toxic. I’ve submitted bug reports with extensive testing and documentation on their forums, been told I’m an idiot who clearly can’t tell that their game is working perfectly, then seen the very same bug turn up in the patch notes a few weeks later.

        • Angryinternetman says:

          The CEO whose name starts with an M really sucks in PR. The others are nice enough, but this guy… It’s hard to like their games when I know my money goes to him.

          • Sarissofoi says:

            Agreed.
            Not mention that it will be probably full of bugs with hard to operate GUI and need to click more then one thousand to accomplish some basic things.
            Also their games aren’t great so there is no reason to even throw money at them.

          • BlueTemplar says:

            How can you say that? Have you even played SotS1 or The Pit?

          • Angryinternetman says:

            Sots1 was fine after YEARS of pushing extra material. Would you pay for horribly buggy product and then submit yourself for berating by MeXXX when you do free bughunting? The guy is a total tool.

          • BlueTemplar says:

            My answer was actually directed to Sarissofoi, but due to the comment nesting limits I had to reply to your comment.

            SotS1 was fine already after the 1st expansion pack (I haven’t played it enough before that to judge). The Pit was almost bug-free on release. Both have good UI’s. (I really can’t fathom how they managed to screw SotS2 so bad… though even I have to fight with the UI, the game is now getting finished enough that I can enjoy it.)

            As for Mecron’s abrasiveness, I think that’s probably just a defensive mechanic trying to deal with the Internet on daily basis. Anyway I don’t really care. It’s just words. As long as there’s a chance of them making a game even remotely as great as SotS1, I will support Kerberos.

  5. AngusPrune says:

    Isn’t Enhanced Wars the Advance Wars clone of your dreams, right down to the art style? They also have a kickstarter running right now, and might appreciate your hard earned cash. Not really my bag, but seems like a decent enough game.

  6. jiminitaur says:

    Obviously RPS hasn’t heard of Future Wars.

  7. zontax says:

    Was expecting a game about building jokes. Now I’m disappointed

  8. BlueTemplar says:

    I would have supported that just for the off-chance that that will help Kerberos one day publish Sword of the Stars 3 themselves, but there are two other good reasons:
    - Wargames are quite rare these days.
    - Android is still sorely lacking good and deep games (native, not emulated ones).

  9. belgand says:

    Assault Squad Online is very similar to Advance Wars and is a free-to-play browser-based game. There’s a bit more depth than Advance Wars, but the basics of gameplay are pretty much identical.