Posts Tagged ‘The Flare Path’

The Flare Path: More From The Web

With Fidget, our Ferret scout car, on loan to the Peshmerga, and Pam, our photo-reconnaissance de Havilland Mosquito, grounded with dry rot, Flare Path is totally reliant on the intel-gathering equipment of cyber comrades at the moment. Today’s stories came via Subsim.com’s cod-kissed sonobuoys, Tactical Wargames’ perpetually circling Auster AOP, Real and Simulated Wars’ energetic-Dutch-schoolboy-on-a-bicycle, and Rock, Paper, Shotgun’s own infinite Tu-95.

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The Flare Path: A Roundhead Reflects

Apologies. This brief but heartfelt Pike & Shot: Campaigns recommendation is going to be heavy on the assumptions and inferences. Expect lots of statements like… The game’s unscripted version of the Great Turkish War is probably highly entertaining… Swedes will almost certainly adore the Gustavus Adolphus campaign… Multiplayer should be a hoot… I suspect there’s some cracking engagements amongst the historical battle selection… You see I’ve been so absorbed in a marathon recreation of the English Civil War that, despite playing Byzantine’s latest for the best part of a week, I’ve seen nothing of the game’s other charms.

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The Flare Path: A Flood Of Foxers

The Flare Path turns four this week. Here in the UK that means it can legally bear arms, arm bears, bear grudges, and drive geese and Vauxhall Chevettes across London Bridge on public holidays. To mark the occasion there’ll be no news items or inscrutable intros today. The entire column will consist of puzzles. On the moss-upholstered bank beyond the break eight fat Foxers lounge. Tackle these brow furrowers within the next 48 hours   and you’ve a chance of winning various top-notch wargames. (COMPETITION NOW OVER) Read the rest of this entry »

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The Flare Path: Now Even Harrier

Swift sequels make The Flare Path uncomfortable. When I see a flight sim follow-up like Combat Air Patrol 2 set to arrive a mere 23 years after its predecessor, I find myself wondering how much genuinely new content will be included. Yes, the engine, feature set, and premise look totally different, and Sim155’s commitment to dynamic campaigns and intermediate ‘IL-2 level’ realism sounds right up my bomb alley, but that preposterously tight 276 month development cycle surely means corners have been cut.

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The Flare Path: Perpetually Monitoring

Close Combat was PC wargaming’s Hirō Onoda. Years after his comrades emerged from the jungle with hands raised, the turn-spurning CC engine was still busy patrolling… scouting… soldiering. People like me would periodically point our bullhorns at the undergrowth and urge the old fool campaigner to “Jack it in!”, or at the very least learn some new tactics. Usually he’d reply with wild rifle shots or deluded AI improvement boasts.

Now, thank goodness, the decade-long farce is finally over. Last year Slitherine/Matrix announced that they were retiring Atomic’s ancient code tangle and commencing work on Close Combat: The Bloody First, a new 3D-engined-but-still-top-down successor. There’s been no news of that project since, but, in an intriguing development this week, another developer announced that they too intended to take up the CC torch. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Flare Path: Beardy Bits And Bobs

Heard of Kim's Game? Tim's Game is very similar. You have 60 seconds to memorise (no writing anything down) the twelve objects in this photo. Your 60 seconds start now.

I think it’s about time I cut my beard. This morning while Brylcreeming my eyebrows (they probably need a trim too) I discovered the above items nestling in my W.G. Grace-inspired chin thicket.

They weren’t alone either. Further rummaging revealed:

– One Mills Bomb pin
– A 1/4 scale replica of the Jules Rimet Trophy
– A wren’s nest (unoccupied)
– A Wren’s vest (unoccupied)
– The Bruce-Partington plans
– A Pike & Shot news story
– A speedboat sim news story
– Topical paragraphs on DCS World and Copa Petrobras de Marcas

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The Flare Path: Rules The Waves

I am the very model of a contented desktop Admiral,

I’ve information financial, political, and tactical,

I grow my navy patiently to echo fights historical,

Not Tsushima or Jutland, but battles roughly comparable;

I mull over decisions with implications international,

And design my own ships using rules quite mathematical;

Exposed to a wargame this deep, fresh, and dreadnoughtical,

It would be profoundly criminal not to get a little evangelical.

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The Flare Path: A Frank Hexchange

The work of helmet restorers Alexander & Sons

Yesterday morning, quite by chance, I found myself sharing a tuk-tuk with one of my personal heroes. The six sides and rotational/reflection symmetries, the 120 degree internal angles, the faint whiff of blood and cordite… I recognised Theo Hexagon, aka ‘The Hex’, the moment he hopped aboard. By the time we hit our first traffic-jam, I’d introduced myself, whipped out a voice recorder and commenced an impromptu interview. A transcript of that all-too-brief exchange follows. If you’ve ever waged war on a battlefield draped with outsized chicken wire, the 1200-or-so words beyond the break should prove interesting.

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The Flare Path: Considers Going Rogue

Ever fallen out of love with one of gaming’s Big Themes? As a youngster sci-fi was my soylent green. I watched it, read it, and played it avidly. Sometime towards the end of the Eighties, however, something changed. History books and less fantastical forms of fiction began muscling out the Asimov and the Aldiss, the Bradbury and the Sheckley. Dust layers deepened on stacks of Starblazers and 2000ADs. Progress on my Blake’s Seven RPG/wargame slowed then halted. I stopped fantasising about Jenny Agutter in Logan’s Run. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Flare Path: Is Computer Ambushed

When Computer Ambush finally departs for that cherub-garrisoned VL in the sky, it can expect a star-studded send-off. If Close Combat, X-COM, Commandos, and Men of War aren’t amongst the pallbearers, I’ll be disappointed.

While the majority of his trailblazing contemporaries were focussing on naval skirmishes (limited computing power made wet warfare particularly attractive in the early days of PC wargame design) SSI‘s Ed Williger was bravely attempting to digitize squad-level WW2 urban combat. The result, Computer Ambush (1980), was flawed but breathtaking. Thirty-five years on, fighting your way through the game’s shell-ravaged French town is still a bally exciting business. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Flare Path: In E-Boat Alley

According to the posters that adorned the walls of the library in my old secondary school, books have the power to “break hearts”, “stop bullets”, “move mountains”, “tear down prison walls” and “produce mild psychotropic effects in the minds of the sleep-deprived and feverish”. Since leaving school I’ve discovered that the written word is also rather good at damaging productivity and improving flawed videogames. Flawed videogames like PT Boats: Knights of the Sea.

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The Flare Path: Waterloot

You can’t move in the Flare Path office at the moment for Battle of Waterloo bicentennial gubbins. The place is overflowing with cuddly toys, commemorative cider selections, souvenir chess sets and branded Wellington boots. I’m currently storing my paper clips in a porcelain Hougoumont, opening my letters with a 1/5 scale cavalry sabre, and treating my piles with ‘Bonaparte Balm’ haemorrhoids cream. To be honest, most of the stuff is complete tat. The only items unlikely to end up in the bin or at a local charity shop by the end of the week are the Airfix gift set, the Lord Uxbridge action figure (superb attention to detail on the uniform, and the detachable leg is a lovely touch) and the copy of Scourge of War: Waterloo. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Flare Path: Missing Link

Back in the mid 1920s there wasn’t much point in going into a game retailer and asking to see their flight simulation selection. At best you’d be directed towards a display of dead pheasants, partridges and pigeons by a burly man with blood on his apron. At worst you’d be branded a “timewaster” and a “loon” by a burly man with blood on his apron, before being unceremoniously ejected from the shop. Until Edwin Albert Link’s electro-pneumatic pilot trainer arrived in 1929, flight simulation involved outstretched arms and enthusiastic droning; it was what children did on seeing the biplanes of touring barnstormers overhead. Read the rest of this entry »

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