Posts Tagged ‘The Flare Path’

The Flare Path: And The Judgement Of Solomon

By Tim Stone on October 17th, 2014.

Are you ‘feature complete’ yet? Have you written that novel, made that parachute jump, found that special someone? By my calculations my own personal beta test still has about 250 years left to run. Circa 2264 the handful of people that backed my 1970 Kickstarter campaign will get an email thanking them for their patience. The email will include the following changelog.

New in Version 1.0

  • Focus
  • Patience
  • Charm
  • Gravitas
  • Wisdom…

Read the rest of this entry »

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The Flare Path: Lochs And Unlocks

By Tim Stone on October 10th, 2014.

Today’s column bestrides Europe like an unusually colossal colossus. Quite why an unusually colossal colossus would be standing with one foot on Fort William, Scotland and the other on Volgograd, Russia is, frankly, anybody’s guess. He could be doing his pre-breakfast callisthenics. He could be admiring the Northern Lights. He might have got a sudden urge to urinate on Finland or Algeria. There’s just no way of knowing for sure. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Flare Path: Allday Breakfast

By Tim Stone on October 3rd, 2014.

Flare Path War Hero #31. Major Leonard Allday. A trained watchmaker and keen amateur ornithologist, Allday joined SOE in August 1940, and spent much of the war working on a series of top-secret bird and bat-based schemes. While his carrier pigeon munitions and ‘Pocket Pipistrelle’ personal sonar never progressed beyond the testing stage, Project Pantheon – a plan to disrupt the Axis war effort using thousands of specially trained magpies – was implemented. Trained to steal keys, nuts, bolts, and small machine parts, Allday’s corvids were delivered in batches of 24 by lone low-flying Blenheims (later, Mosquitos). By April 1945, over 4000 birds had been dropped behind enemy lines. While the overall impact of Project Pantheon is difficult to assess, evidence gathered after the war by SOE historian G. M. Birkin indicates that magpie mischief seriously damaged production in several key industries and may have delayed the introduction of the formidable Me 262 fighter by up to six months. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Flare Path: Breaks The Golden Rule

By Tim Stone on September 26th, 2014.

Back in 2004 a mix-up in a Japanese maternity ward led to one of gaming’s finest armour simulations emerging as a PlayStation 2 exclusive. Hobbled by platform limitations and exiled from its natural audience, Panzer Front Ausf.B failed to flourish. Many potential paramours missed out on its incomparably atmospheric Desert War scraps, its refreshingly Tigerless tank duels. It’s taken modern emulator technology to right the decade-old wrong. Now, thanks to free marvel PCSX2, Panzer Front Ausf.B is where it belongs – on PC and prettier, faster, and more convenient than ever before. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Flare Path: Is Worn To A Frazzle

By Tim Stone on September 19th, 2014.

…having spent the last seven days touring Scotland in an SA Scamp* on behalf of the ‘Better Together’ campaign. If you live in Dumfries, Stranraer, Ayr, Kilmarnock, Glasgow, Falkirk, Edinburgh, Perth, Dundee, Aberdeen, Inverness, Ullapool, Stornoway, Portree, Fort William or Balamory, you may, at some point during the past week, have seen/heckled/pelted a corduroy-suited Sassenach while he teetered on a soapbox and rambled about the Battle of Waterloo, HMS Hood, Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown, and the Collected Works of D.C. Thomson. That Sassenach was me. Apologies if the following Naval Action, X-Plane, Train Simulator, and Volo Airsport news snippets contain more typos and tripe than usual.

*And a BMW R75 (the Scamp expired on the outskirts of Prestwick) Read the rest of this entry »

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The Flare Path: Bedtime Games

By Tim Stone on September 12th, 2014.

Bedtime games are the games you reach for when the cocoa is steaming and the duvet is beckoning. They make allowances for weary hands and tired minds They don’t punish you for over-indulging in the pub. They don’t lead you on and on by leaving long breadcrumb trails in the forest. The perfect bedtime game isn’t loud, gory, or coldhearted; it’s a softly spoken sandman, a ludological lullaby, a sweet dreams seeder. Right now, my bedtime game of choice is Volo Airsport. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Flare Path: Edges Towards Edgehill

By Tim Stone on September 5th, 2014.

Growing up in the Seventies my favourite comic was probably Meteor, my favourite story within Meteor, Paddy the Pikeman. Paddy the Pikeman was set just after the English Civil War and told the story of an unemployed soldier who travelled round England righting wrongs and solving problems with the aid of an 18 foot-long polearm. One issue he might use his unwieldy weapon to push a burning barque clear of a gunpowder-stacked jetty, or vault over a swollen stream and save a stranded Leveller. In another he might use it to support a sagging washing line in a brothel, or skewer a mewing moggy stuck up a tree. It was inspirational stuff. I found myself thinking of Paddy yesterday while playing the beta of Slitherine’s new 16th/17th Century TBS Pike & Shot. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Flare Path: Fruit Of The Thorn

By Tim Stone on August 29th, 2014.

It’s blackberry time here in Upper Bumhope. Brimming punnets of fragrant fruit clutter kitchens and courtyards. Almost everyone you meet has indigo fingertips and scarred forearms. Finding villagers willing to gather simulation and wargame news at this time of the year isn’t easy but thanks to Gleaner, Gusto, and Ghast (FP’s trio of duraluminum-and-balsa reconithopters) I do, just about, have a column for you today. On the other side of yonder html hedge, slim paragraphs on To End All Wars, First World War Campaigns: East Prussia ’14, DCS World, Unity of Command, and Combat Helo. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Flare Path: And The Battling Bastards Of Charlie Sector

By Tim Stone on August 22nd, 2014.

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! Read the rest of this entry »

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The Flare Path: A Flummox Of Foxers

By Tim Stone on August 15th, 2014.

I found a foxer, caught by dogs. He let me take him in my hands.

The Flare Path turns three this week. Here in the UK that means it can legally buy khat, attack bouncy castles with bouncy siege engines, and speculate about Thomas the Tank Engine’s sexuality. To mark the occasion there’ll be no news items or inscrutable intros today. The entire column will be given over to puzzles. Slumbering hypertextually beyond the break is a link to the very first (and – quite possibly – very last) digital foxer collection. Download, then defox with dispatch, and a Good Old Game or a Just Flight sim selection could be yours. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Flare Path: Dora Explorer

By Tim Stone on August 8th, 2014.

One hundred years ago today, DORA – the Defence of the Realm Act – came into force in the UK. Citizens caught lighting bonfires, flying kites, or feeding crusts to ducks risked prosecution. Shops were obliged to remove binoculars from their shelves. Unpatriotic wargame and simulation correspondents that chose to use their columns to promote rigorous replicas of Teutonic flying machines faced the prospect of sharing prison cells with the kind of troublesome intellectuals that dared to question the sanity of sending the flower of British manhood off to die in France and Belgium. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Flare Path: Belt-Fed, Bipod-Mounted, Beer-Cooled

By Tim Stone on August 1st, 2014.

For the last three years this column has used an ancient bolt-action Lee-Metford to dispense sim and wargame news. This week, as an experiment, we’ll be trialling a far more modern fact flinger, the MG 42K. According to its manual, this Mauser-manufactured marvel can fire 20 separate story snippets in under a minute! Obviously, the high ROF comes at a price. Accuracy – “especially at the end of long bursts” – can be “slightly compromised” says the bumph. Give me a second to insert my ear plugs and press my cheek against the porcelain-cool steel stock, and we’ll set about finding out what “slightly compromised” means. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Flare Path: Attends Battle Academy 2

By Tim Stone on July 25th, 2014.

At Battle Academy 2 students study Student, Rag Week is known as StuG Week, and mortarboards are made from actual mortars. I’ve spent a few days sampling the syllabus in Slitherine’s upcoming tactical TBS and, thus far, have found very few reasons to reach for my red biro. If you happen to be searching for a pacy WW2 wargame that won’t weary your mouse hand, offend your eye, or insult your intelligence, then this hex-spurning sequel, due in September, definitely warrants a bookmark. Read the rest of this entry »

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