The Flare Path: And The Battling Bastards Of Charlie Sector

By Tim Stone on August 22nd, 2014 at 1:00 pm.

Those creatures perched on the finials of Castle Shotgun? Pigs. The headline on the front of today’s Hell Gazette – “HITLER AND STALIN WIN FIGURE SKATING GOLDS IN INAUGURAL WINTER GAMES”? Totally true. Pour yourself a stiff drink and schedule an emergency meeting between your eyebrows and hairline. You’re about to read a late but heartfelt billet-doux to Wargame: Red Dragon on RPS!

Hopefully, you won’t mind if that billet-doux takes the form of a lavishly illustrated AAR. In the week I’ve spent with Eugen’s ravishing/riveting RTS thus far, I’ve seen enough to realise that Red Dragon is culmination rather than revolution – a creeping barrage rather than a breakneck blitzkrieg. Largely thanks to an extra speed setting – bullet-time (effectively an active pause) – it’s the four-instalment Wargame series at its most wargamey and wargamer friendly. What I don’t feel I’m in a position to do quite yet is completely write-off the new, slightly soggy naval dimension, or pass judgement on the long-term appeal of the plethora of unscripted Total War-style campaigns. (If you’ve been playing since release day, perhaps you’d be good enough to star shell these areas via the comments section).

I’ve spent recent days attempting to prevent Korean reunification. There have been some gloriously tense and plausible tussles but as Red Dragon refuses to record campaign scraps, I’m switching to the skirmish generator for this account.

Wonsan Harbour is a bijou seven sector map designed for 1v1 contests. Though I’ll be playing in ‘Destruction’ mode (the first player to cause 3000 points worth of damage carries the day) control of those sectors will still be vital. If I can take and hold Alpha, Charlie, and Delta (I start in possession of Beta) over 60% of the map’s Deployment Points will trickle into my treasury. Assuming I choose and choreograph units wisely I should, in theory, be able to keep the ravening AI hordes at bay.

The game’s unit selection is dizzying, but a deck system, a role sorting GUI, and crystal-clear unit info displays mean selecting appropriate tools for the job isn’t as hard as it first appears. I start by spending my initial DP fund on three distinct forces. C and D Force will attempt to seize their respective sectors with a mix of APC-delivered infantry and MBT-furnished firepower. Both groups include a Vulcan M163 air defence unit, a Sheridan recon tank, and – of course – the command jeep essential for securing the prize. Because Alpha Sector is likely to be shielded from attack by the troops in Charlie, its capture will be undertaken by a single command vehicle and infantry squad.

As the prongs of my misshapen trident extend, tracing roads to their destinations, I use the last of my DPs to buy a trio of pricey M1 Abrams tanks and a single Skyhawk II. The M1s are footloose firefighters. They’ll plug holes in my lines should holes appear. The A-4M is token air cover, something to raise the spirits and settle the nerves of those about to enter the Valley of Death.

+3.30. Echo Sector turns scarlet and a pair of enemy Hip helos appear in the distance.

+3.40. My soaring symbol of hope starts popping flares. SAMs launched by unseen systems are seeking it and – gosh – finding it. Down it goes, trailing accusatory smoke. Damn! Unusually sickly mayflies have enjoyed longer lifespans.

+3.50. Alpha sector is now blue, the colour of freedom. I celebrate by purchasing my first naval unit, a Chamsuri-class patrol boat.

+4.00. The first sign of hostile ground forces. In Charlie a scuttling BRDM armoured car appears then disappears close to where my M113s are disgorging their human cargoes.

+4.13. Those Hips were scouting for a scarier sibling! A Hind gunship has just flung a fan of, thankfully, woefully inaccurate rockets at the throng of friendly units accumulating in Charlie.

+4.21. On the scoreboard at last. The bold BRDM has a close-range run-in with the M1s and , predictably, winds up smoke-blackened and sepulchral.

+4.30. Delta Sector is mine. Over in Alpha my hot-off-the-slipway gunboat immediately makes itself useful by downing a nosey Hip.

+4.55. Initial goals achieved. The capture of Charlie Sector means we now have the economic edge. Whether we can hold onto it for the next 25 minutes remains to be seen.

+5.09. Right in the kisser! The Hind that has been mercilessly pummelling Charlie’s new tenants, has just tasted Vulcan wrath. Waltzing drunkenly, it spins to the ground adding another 60 points to my all-important kill tally.

+5.40. Things are really hotting-up in the middle of the map. M113s and BMP-2s burn merrily as infantry trade fire across narrow streets and alleys.

+6.43. My first tank casualty. The trio of friendly MBT-70s linchpinning my frontline is now a duo thanks to a sly T-64.

+7.00. I’ve just impulse-bought a costly La Fayette-class frigate. I hope I don’t come to regret that.

+7.10. In Delta Sector birds are singing, butterflies are flitting and daisy-chains are lengthening. The enemy seems obsessed with Charlie. Should I weaken my right in order to strengthen my centre?

+7.15. The steel tide of Hind-supported T-55s, T-64s, and BMPs is rapidly eroding my centre. Another MBT-70 has just exploded. All that’s left of the original C Force is one tank, a handful of almost useless APCs and a dozen increasingly alarmed infantrymen.

+7.32. That’s the ticket. A rising ‘+120′ marks the spot where an enemy command tank (?) met its maker. My three Abrams, now permanently attached to C Force, are, at present, outclassing everything the AI pushes down the left side of Charlie Sector.

+7.50. Charlie is neutral again. It seems I hadn’t hidden the command jeep well enough. As the M1A1s breathlessly trash T-55s, smoke shells start bursting over the one building still held by friendly infantry.

+8.31. Raptors killing ungulates with snakes? The zoological surrealism of modern warfare. In an effort to see-off the Mi-24 threat once-and-for-all I’ve invested in a couple of flashy F-15s. Satisfyingly, the pair have just Sidewindered an enemy gunship out of the sky.

+9.00. MBT-70s are evidently carved out of blocks of pure mithril! My last one has been weathering a storm of vicious 30mm autocannon rounds for what seems like an eternity.

+9.30. Ah, even mithril has its limits. Farewell stout MBT-70, your implacability has bought us precious seconds. Even now reinforcements are spilling from dusty M113s and rushing to occupy buildings lining the highway the AI seems so keen to utilize.

+9.40. Cripes. Three empty M113s immolated in under ten seconds. I’m giving points away here. Must be more careful.

+9.50. C Force’s eleven surviving riflemen are running desperately short of ammo and courage. It’s vital I get support or supplies to them swiftly. Where’s my nearest cargo truck? Damn. Miles away. It’s at time like these that I miss RUSE’s automated logistics.

+10.10. Behind swirling smoke, the eleven fight to the last man. As the enemy overrun their position, I’m busy establishing new strongpoints with fresh footsloggers just metres away. If you want Charlie Sector, Mr. AI, you’re going to have to fight for ever bloody inch of it.

+10.13. D Force’s MBT-70s and Sheridan are now enroute to Charlie. A small counter-attack from an unexpected direction may not turn the tide but it should slow it. Rifleman from Delta are also moving out. The foe seems to be pushing most of his attack down the long straight road that connects Charlie with Echo and Golf. If I can disrupt traffic on that road, even for a few minutes, by occupying a crossroads or two then I’ll be happy.

+10.42. A replacement command jeep bounces to a halt in one of Charlie Sector’s few quiet corners. That precious +4 DP income is mine again.

+11.02. As smoke clears, shoulder-supported LAWs spit 66mm rockets at approaching T-55s with gratifying results. Backed by the M1s, the second batch of defenders are proving as hard to dislodge as the first. Red Dragon captures the vulnerability of AFVs in urban terrain better than many of its more serious peers.

+11.10. Engaging at long range the arriving MBT-70s are doing their bit admirably, and yet somehow the armour-heavy red wedge continues to edge in the direction of Beta. Glancing at my DP total I decide to splash out on a couple of hovering hoodlums. Under the protective umbrella of the Eagles, two Cobra gunships mosey towards the mayhem.

+11.53. Their first contribution is as spectacular as it is effective. A pleasing rash of ‘rout’ icons sprout amongst enemy dismounts. Red Dragon gunships are scarily vulnerable to fighters and AAA, and require a fair bit of micromanagement (like all units they must be periodically rearmed and refuelled) but in situations like this one there’s nothing quite like them.

+12.50. Interdicting the main highway with small suicide squads of infantry, catching the enemy in the flank with long-range MBT-70 fire, while punching him in the face repeatedly with Hydra rockets (I’ve now got four Cobras working in shifts) seems to be getting results. The pressure on Charlie finally seems to be decreasing. I take advantage of the half-lull to move up cargo trucks and withdraw redundant M113s.

+13.35. That will teach me. The flanking MBT-70s are now fiery monuments to foolhardiness. Instead of leaving them where they were I decided to advance them. They ended-up tangling with a gang of tough Chinese-made Type 89 tank destroyers.

+15.00. “Your team now has 70% of the destruction points needed to win”. My foe’s fixation on Charlie means I’m well ahead in points. Unless the AI is massing for a final tsunami, I reckon I’ve got this in the bag.

+15.57. A sharper AI would have spotted the understrength garrison in Alpha and attempted an amphibious assault. Cooling their keels in the harbour, my naval investments are doing excellent white elephant impersonations at the moment.

+17.40. Aha! The gunboat isn’t totally useless. By sending it up one of the rivers I can harass targets on the main highway.

+17.54. The AI has just gifted me four armoured supply carriers (unlike most vehicles, ammo and fuel deliverers can be captured). I accidentally repay the favour by carelessly deploying my Eagles far too close to one of his advancing AAA units.

+19.16. Things are plainly pretty desperate now for my rival. While I attempt to seize his one remaining sector – Golf – with a circuitous mechanized infantry sally, he raids the local tank museum. My M1s and gunboat are now exchanging AP with WW2-vintage T-34-85s.

+21.20. Put away your opera glasses, holster your hip flask, collapse your deckchair… it’s all over. The culling of those superannuated Soviet trundlers has nudged my score over the requisite 3000 points. I’m now free to go study the timeline of destruction courtesy of the detailed de-brief, enjoy my triumph in movie form via the replays folder, or – and this is the option that appeals most at the moment – return to Wonsan Harbour in the company of a ‘hard’ or even ‘very hard’ artificial adversary. Tactical tips for the imminent rematch would be most welcome.

 

The Flare Path Foxer

After an hour of prodding and poking from the likes of BryanTrysers, Rorschach617, All is Well and Beowulf. Mark Judd’s Terra Nova expedition foxer cracked like a fumbled Emperor Penguin egg.

A. Bower birds
B. Wilson basketball
C. Inniskilling Dragoons badge
D. Emperor Penguin egg
E. Teddy Roosevelt
F. James Taylor’s ‘JT’ album
G. Cherry Picker
H. F-16 Fighting Falcon

It took the mental trebuchets of Rorschach617, JustAPigeon and BryanTrysers a little longer to batter a breach in Mark’s ‘parts of a castle’ collage.

A. Turret
B. Ward
C. Barbican
D. Keep
E. Curtain
F. Hall
G. Bailey bridge

**********

Defeated by the collages in last week’s digital foxer collection? Read, learn, kick yourself…

(Elephant Graveyard)

(B is for Baffled)

(Leap)

**********

Dances to Podcasts is today’s guest foxer setter. Stare at the components of his comely composition until General Knowledge and Colonel Ofanidea flush out the theme.

All foxer answers in one thread, please

, , .

43 Comments »

Top comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    Thurgret says:

    I usually play Wargame on multiplayer – it provides a very different experience indeed from singleplayer, where, unfortunately, the AI cranked up to hard simply gets more points to spend on units.

    Since you sort of kind of invited critical analysis:

    What the devil is a Skyhawk doing there? Personally, if I’m using an American deck, I tend to pop two F-15Cs in. Pricey, I know, but I have found that price tends to pay off. It’s not on a par with the Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon or Su-27S, but it’s what you’ve got.

    You need more AAA and an assortment of SAMs, especially if you’re playing multiplayer. The various Hawk systems are worth a look at when using an American deck, and should be used in conjunction with a Vulcan of some sort – probably PIVADs. Bear in mind that a competent player will try their absolute damnedest to knock those expensive SAMs out – it just so happens that one of the most efficient ways to do so (short of scouting it and dropping a half dozen 203mm rounds on the position simultaneously) is with an aircraft with anti-radar missile, so it might be a good idea to keep your radar-based AA hotkeyed so you can switch it off at a moment’s notice.

    On that note, I think you had a CAP running there. Just, I wouldn’t usually commit aircraft to taking on a Hind, unless I know for absolute certain that there’s no AA around. MANPADs and IR AA are the way forward – Stingers and Chapparals, in your case (there’s also one quirky Humvee variant, the Avenger, to take a look at, which moves fast and has missiles).

    Lots of basic infantry. Not so many ATGMs, I think? Actually, that’s okay, because US infantry-carried ATGMs are appallingly bad for whatever reason. But if playing against another player rather than the AI — which is quite happy to trundle its tanks into garrisoned towns — I would invest in a dedicated tank destroyer or two.

    Speaking of which, to carry on this good old ramble, reminds me that it bears noting that with the advent of 1990s units, a lot of older missiles and entire units have become quite redundant. The basic TOW is a nearly pointless investment, and while the I-TOW might knock out a medium tank or two, the TOW-2 is the way to go. The MBT-70 is hopelessly under-gunned at this point. I would almost hazard that the same applies to the M1A1s. They are still good for knocking out swarms of lower-end tanks, but personally, I would replace them with M1A2s, or maybe the HC or HA variant — I’m afraid I tend not to play America so much, so their specific strengths elude me this instant.

    Personally, I’m rather partial to APCs for my command vehicles, rather than jeeps. They can withstand at least a small amount of artillery fire, giving a chance to escape in case the vehicle is spotted, or if someone’s blind-firing at a zone.

    Also, there’s a toggle in the options menu to use NATO symbols instead of Eugen’s own icons. They’re generally much clearer and more informative, I’ve found.

  1. Ace Rimmer says:

    That’s the title page of Hark Olufs’ autobiography.

    e: And is that an advent wreath on the upper left?

    • Premium User Badge

      All is Well says:

      That patch is the patch of the volunteer Georgian Legion, a part of the Wehrmacht.

      Edit: Is the coffee an Irish Coffee perhaps?

      • Ace Rimmer says:

        Parts of The Georgian Legion were stationed on the Frisian island Texel during the War, and led an insurrection there during April-May 1945.

    • FurryLippedSquid says:

      Not sure about the wreath, there’s something quite specific about it I can’t put my finger on.

      • Syt says:

        The coffee looks like what Viennese might call “Franziskaner”, though it could also be a “Pharisäer”, a North German variant with rum and whipped cream topping.

        Or probably just a Cappuccino, i.e. Capucin monk. :P

        • Premium User Badge

          All is Well says:

          Image searching for Pharisäer gives you the exact image used, so I believe it is Pharisäer :)

          • Ace Rimmer says:

            German Wikipedia says der Pharisäer supposedly originates on the North Frisian island of Nordstrand. Hark Olufs was born on the North Frisian island of Amrum.

          • BryanTrysers says:

            The ‘wreath’ is a kenkenbuum (Frisian Christmas Tree).

            Edit: Oopsie, didn’t see deejayem’s point below.

            The top right photo is Lale Andersen, from Langeoog (East Frisian Island).

          • Premium User Badge

            All is Well says:

            The Georgian Legion was stationed on Texel, a Frisian Island. So Frisian Islands it is then?

          • Gothnak says:

            The map in the background does look a bit like one of the islands in the Wadden Sea, with a north coast, solid land and then a watery section and sea to the south, perhaps that is what the blue graph lines represent that it is underwater for a lot of the time.

          • BryanTrysers says:

            There was a Battle of Texel in 1671 with a Royal Navy ship commanded by Edward Spragge (the wiggy chap in the oval portrait).

            Edit: A company called Armadillo made a rocket called Texel that was part of an attempt to win the X Prize for lunar landing. It appears to have exploded in 2007 according to a New Scientist article.

      • FurryLippedSquid says:

        Or an Irish coffee, according to any food pub in the land.

    • deejayem says:

      I think Ace has it – that particular form of Christmas wreath (kenkenbuum) is a Frisian tradition, according to Wikipedia.

    • Ace Rimmer says:

      On the left could be one of the A2 rockets test launched by von Braun from the Frisian island Borkum.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      That poor guy in the bottom right…

      • Ace Rimmer says:

        Godfried Bomans and his eyebrows once spent a week isolated on the otherwise uninhabited Frisian island Rottumerplaat.

        Can’t hazard a guess on the identity of the island in the background, though. Gothnak’s observations seem reasonable, but what’s that reticule-like thing partially obscured by the drawing on the left?

  2. philbot says:

    Excellent stuff, Commander, I had long been waiting for RPS to cover Red Dragon, and I’m so happy to see some coverage. For me, it;s the only game that has managed to capture my attention from the shortest second to the longest hour. The deck creation is my favorite thing about this game. FYI to all readers: A free DLC has already been released for this game, and there is another free one coming along, with some more balance and improvement updates inbound.

  3. Syt says:

    I got Wargame:EE when it was new, and while it was awesome, it was way too hectic for someone like me who’s more used to turn based wargames, or the likes of either Combat Mission or Command Ops.

    Glad to see they added “bullettime” to the game, I might give Red Dragon a spin, then. :)

    Has that speed setting been patched into the previous games? (I don’t presume that Red Dragon includes the previous games’ scenarios.)

  4. hamilcarp says:

    Tim Stone covering Wargame, made my whole week.

  5. DrollRemark says:

    I really must buy Wargame at some point. It looks fantastic.

    • hamilcarp says:

      These games are absolutely amazing. I highly recommend them, particularly for the multiplayer component. AI battles are fun while you’re getting accustomed to the game’s complex tactical realism. But the real pleasure of the game comes from facing human opponents. I would call it a visually impressive and incredibly rewarding battalion-level tactics simulator.

      • WiggumEsquilax says:

        Make sure that you buy Red Dragon, though. Not it’s predecessors. There have been substantial balance changes between each release, and for the better.

        One of the most effective strategies in European Escalation, for instance, was to deploy nothing but recon, artillery, and anti air. Artillery than won every ground battle, every time. Anti air that no helicopter could survive. In concert, and used properly, they pretty much rendered every other unit type irrelevant.

        • WiggumEsquilax says:

          Or just get Airland Battle, if the you consider the ships to be pointless, as many do. As you prefer.

  6. CookPassBabtridge says:

    Does it still go HONK HONK HONK when a unit is destroyed? How I hated that sound :(

    YOU THOUGHT THAT M1 TANK RUSH WOULD WORK EH HA HONK YOU HONK SUCK HONK

    • hamilcarp says:

      The sound is till there and a little piece of me dies every time I hear it.

  7. Spinoza says:

    Red Dragon, in my humble opinion , is a step back from the excellent Airland Battle. The addition of ships have no impact similar to adding planes in Airland Battle and will be ignored after novelty wears off. The campaigns , the only reason I play this games really, feels much more restricted from the previous title and personally I’m not so happy with the new Total War style tokens instead of the old battlegroups. The speed slide , as much as it will be nice to have it patched in to the Airland Battle, does not make much difference , for me , as I never fund the original speed an issue. If you own Airland Battle , I see no reason to get Red Dragon now , unless later on at very discounted price.If you don’t , get AB now for 5£ on gamersgate or anywhere else where is cheap , and I guarantee you’ll have more fun and save yourself some money.
    PS: all above apply only , of course , if you, like me, playing exclusively against AI in campaign mode.

    • hamilcarp says:

      I agree that the naval component is inconsequential and that the campaign is sub par but what makes RD shine above the others is the maps. The terrain topography makes for much more interesting tactical opportunities

  8. darkshadow42 says:

    It’s about time rps had an article about wargames with more than just “we really need to write about wargame”. Pleased to see an action report as I’ve not had time to play red dragon like I had with airland battle.

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      It was just waiting for Tim to stockpile enough tunnocks tea cakes to sit through all the unit stat pages :)

  9. SuicideKing says:

    Finally! Thanks, Tim!

    Wonsan Harbour looks exactly the same as Vladivostok’s harbour in the China vs Russia campaign.

    I usually find the campaigns annoying because they don’t give me enough time to finish the game, 20 mins is way too less.

  10. Premium User Badge

    Stellar Duck says:

    I desperately want to like Wargame and have bought the first two games. But I don’t. Or rather, I mostly liked EE but ALB left me cold and even turned me off EE.

    The 20 min time limit in the campaign forces me to play in a way I don’t like so that part it out for me. I’ve gotten what I can from AI stomping and multiplayer is something I tried a couple of times and then swore never to touch again. So many dickbags and racists! And the deck building can go jump in a fire.

    They’re such lovely games and the attention to detail is great! It’s just a shame they’re wrapped in stuff that makes them unplayable to me.

    • Premium User Badge

      Thurgret says:

      The people who hang out in the chat in multiplayer are mostly morons. The people who actually play the game have, in my experience, been quite polite and sporting. Not all, obviously, but that chat really isn’t representative of the playerbase as a whole.

      • Premium User Badge

        Stellar Duck says:

        I would hope not, but seeing as none of my friends play the game I’m mostly limited to random opponents and suffice it to say, those have not been positive experiences and basically just served to further cement my unwillingness to play online in anything.

  11. Premium User Badge

    Thurgret says:

    I usually play Wargame on multiplayer – it provides a very different experience indeed from singleplayer, where, unfortunately, the AI cranked up to hard simply gets more points to spend on units.

    Since you sort of kind of invited critical analysis:

    What the devil is a Skyhawk doing there? Personally, if I’m using an American deck, I tend to pop two F-15Cs in. Pricey, I know, but I have found that price tends to pay off. It’s not on a par with the Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon or Su-27S, but it’s what you’ve got.

    You need more AAA and an assortment of SAMs, especially if you’re playing multiplayer. The various Hawk systems are worth a look at when using an American deck, and should be used in conjunction with a Vulcan of some sort – probably PIVADs. Bear in mind that a competent player will try their absolute damnedest to knock those expensive SAMs out – it just so happens that one of the most efficient ways to do so (short of scouting it and dropping a half dozen 203mm rounds on the position simultaneously) is with an aircraft with anti-radar missile, so it might be a good idea to keep your radar-based AA hotkeyed so you can switch it off at a moment’s notice.

    On that note, I think you had a CAP running there. Just, I wouldn’t usually commit aircraft to taking on a Hind, unless I know for absolute certain that there’s no AA around. MANPADs and IR AA are the way forward – Stingers and Chapparals, in your case (there’s also one quirky Humvee variant, the Avenger, to take a look at, which moves fast and has missiles).

    Lots of basic infantry. Not so many ATGMs, I think? Actually, that’s okay, because US infantry-carried ATGMs are appallingly bad for whatever reason. But if playing against another player rather than the AI — which is quite happy to trundle its tanks into garrisoned towns — I would invest in a dedicated tank destroyer or two.

    Speaking of which, to carry on this good old ramble, reminds me that it bears noting that with the advent of 1990s units, a lot of older missiles and entire units have become quite redundant. The basic TOW is a nearly pointless investment, and while the I-TOW might knock out a medium tank or two, the TOW-2 is the way to go. The MBT-70 is hopelessly under-gunned at this point. I would almost hazard that the same applies to the M1A1s. They are still good for knocking out swarms of lower-end tanks, but personally, I would replace them with M1A2s, or maybe the HC or HA variant — I’m afraid I tend not to play America so much, so their specific strengths elude me this instant.

    Personally, I’m rather partial to APCs for my command vehicles, rather than jeeps. They can withstand at least a small amount of artillery fire, giving a chance to escape in case the vehicle is spotted, or if someone’s blind-firing at a zone.

    Also, there’s a toggle in the options menu to use NATO symbols instead of Eugen’s own icons. They’re generally much clearer and more informative, I’ve found.

  12. Stugle says:

    I don’t have the money for this! With that whine out of the way: that was an amazing writeup that really makes me want to rush home and buy the game already. So, for someone new to the series (and keeping in mind that I generally have the reflexes of a sedated sloth), what would be the best starting point?

    • Premium User Badge

      Arathain says:

      Skip European Escalation, which lacks the brilliantly implemented jet aircraft and has only a linear scripted campaign. Consensus is a little more mixed about which of the other two to get. Airland Battle seems to have the better of the excellent non-linear campaigns, whereas Red Dragon adds more units to an already absurdly large pile, and has slightly unsuccessfully implemented naval units.

      If you think you might be interested in multiplayer I’d go RD, otherwise AB is likely cheaper.

      • Premium User Badge

        Thurgret says:

        The updates to the terrain and topography in Red Dragon – actual natural hills and such instead of slopes and plateaus – make it stand head and shoulders above AirLand Battle, in my opinion, though the naval portion is decidedly lacklustre. I also like the new units a lot.

  13. kshriner says:

    (1) Yay for getting this great game/series some good review time. It’s been a lot of fun and I hope they do well enough for sequels/innovations.

    (2) Naval innovation wasn’t the strongest play, but on maps like the one you played with land and sea I think it adds a fun dynamic. (When buying a ship, it will say coastal or river in description which is why some of yours were able to go up the river.)

    (3) Some basic tips for tactical AI play (appreciating that there are hundred+ page guides/videos out there). AI play is very different then multiplayer. Wining the AI campaigns with total victories in every battle is possible exploiting AI holes. Some AI battle tips:

    (A) Don’t try to take too many territories at one time. Unless you are fast, the AI is better when you open a wide number of fronts because it is faster at commanding large numbers of smaller groups (dang computers). you won’t generally have time to scroll between multiple fronts (although bullet time helps). Also, the AI seems to have near perfect recon of where your forces are even without recon troops. It won’t cheese this advantage (i.e. it wont artillery your forces without a recon unit present), but you should be aware that it knows when planning your attacks.

    (B) Try to focus on getting good defensive groups into the terrain they are good in, and let the AI crash his best troops against you. Once his initial wave of T-80s or troops of excellence have been destroyed, launch a counter attack. Keep in mind that air-defense and ATGMs require lots of support vehicles or FOBs once they start launching.

    (C) Related to (B), if you have one or two territories where you can achieve a high force exchange ratio against they AI, you are likely to achieve a “Total Victory” by the points you win by destroying AI forces. The AI is aggressive and will prioritize your recon and command vehicles. Use this to your advantage. See also (A).

    (D) Your longer range ATGMs will require large open areas and recon to shoot their maximum distance. Terrain analysis required. Given the usually heavy tank forces of AI, infantry in cities and ATGMs in open fields is a good defensive starting point. (protected by AA of course).

    (E) Once you have good defensive zones to destroy on-coming AI forces, use your points for recon+helicopters+airforce to hammer the AI and support their forces destruction. When you go on offensive, this airforce will also be of great value (Bombers against INF/BMP, Helicopters/A-10s against Tanks, Air vs. Air, and Napalm is imo near worthless). Typically, your defensive areas will be near spawn points which means as soon as you click your air, it arrives and strikes. Hot key evac for planes that want to wander over to the AI side of the map. AI has AA and will punish pilots who get lost. If you use helicopters (awesome for anti armor roles), then you will need a FOB.

    I have lots more, but I think those are the basics that got me total victories during the campaign. Figuring out the campaign map can be a little wonky (tanks cant attack a zone the turn they move on campaign map, but infantry can). But potentially, even though my strategic campaign map play was weak, I I won the war by winning every battle using tips above.

    (F) Oh, last tip for us older Grogs: Re-bind the keys. Mine are: Q=Move Atk, E=Move fast (proper use of these two keys alone improves your game by 50%), WASD for scrolling, R=Stop, F=Reverse (Also important key), V=Evac (for lost pilots or circling aircraft), C=unload, T=Target an area (when you glimpse the AA or Tnks are there but scout gets shot down or loses them, you can send a bomber to target the area pretty effectively), G=Split forces.

    Thanks again for the coverage of this great game. Plenty of You Tube videos can improve your game as well. Not sure if I’m allowed to but ICBMRaptor videos are great for multiplayer tips (although his Singleplayer/AI play is comically bad, complete reverse of my skills). AI play and getting familiarity with units and hotkeys will make your multiplayer much funner. My multiplayer has been the typical mix of amazing, x10 better than playing AI (with fun players), to a total waste of an evening (people who try to roll up all tanks/or other steam roll, then log off once it wins/loses). Pretty standard for multiplayer games I guess.

  14. Premium User Badge

    Goodtwist says:

    Longtime I was wishing for RPS to write a WIT on Wargame but, alas, I utterly lost interest in that game.

    I “invisted” a good thousand hours in WargameAB and similarly much in the predecessor WargameEE. That’s a lot of time.

    Funnily, though, I lost any interest in Wargame abruptly. I think I was put off by a certain segment of Wargame’s community because of its asocialial, bully behaviour.

    Wargame Red Dragon eventually didn’t trigger not the least curiosity after having had read impressions of that game. Knowing the rather erratic, non-controlable nature of planes in WargameAB, I immagine the ships in Red Dragon being rather a lacklustre impression.

    On the other hand, turning my back to the Wargame franchise helped gain my life back ;-)

  15. WiggumEsquilax says:

    A) Don’t try to memorize every unit in the game’s tables of organization, not at first. Rather, memorize the weapons, and consider each unit to be a weapons/armor platform. Simply understanding what each of your units are capable of hurting, and what shots your armor can bounce, is often the first big hurdle.

    B) Don’t forget smokescreens! Blinding the enemy gives you a near incalculable advantage when attacking across open ground. Mortars are often grossly underestimated because of their meager anti-armor firepower, but they have a bigger trick up their sleeve.

    C) Napalm. If dug in, invisible infantry and tank destroyers will kill everything thrown at them, remember your area-effect weapons. Artillery’s good, but it comes and goes. Napalm leaves a persistent cloud of death.

    4) Protect you command vehicles. It’s not cost justifiable to garrison powerful forces just to cover command units, but cheap units can buy the time your airpower needs to arrive.

    • Chiron says:

      Fire truly does solve a multitude of problems.

      So much so that the standard tactic in MP games is for the opposing force to rush in a plane full of the stuff and block key roads and bridges leading to your fiery demise as you rush ahead with your fellas.

      Which makes MP games somewhat cheesy and same for the most part :(

  16. Duke of Chutney says:

    I had a brief romance with the T80u during AirLand battle, have not bought into red dragon yet, but will do sooner or later.

    Good AAR.

    My only real criticism with Airland battle was the scoring systems for games. In the kill them dudes scoring system i tended to find there would be an early clash, one side would get a head, and then both would dig in and snipe each other with rockets and arty, until a big push at the end. The conquest mode switched it too far the other way with absurd throwing of men and tank at the enemy with little thought. The composite scoring was probably the best, but i played it so irregularly i always forgot the exact scoring system. I guess a true leet player wouldn’t have such problems but on casual 10v10 it could get a bit annoying after a while. Also, loads of people jump game all the time. I once ended up commanding a whole force against 8 other players after the first 2 mins. I didn’t quit because i think its lame just to leave, but my W/L ratio tended to suffer a lot. Speaking of which, I wish W/L records could be toggled on and off. Im all for people who want to play the stats, but If i don’t want to be reminded about how bad I am, can i just have the game not record it?

  17. SuicideKing says:

    I’m a noob at the game, but I found that ships can be excellent AA and ATG support, provided they have a LOS.