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Front Roads: Kharkov 1943 Demochka

The makers of my favourite simulation of 2008 may, fingers-crossed, be about to unleash my favourite wargame of 2009. The demo of ЛИНИЯ ФРОНТА: БИТВА ЗА ХАРЬКОВ is disappointingly nocturnal and only available in Russian right now, but I reckon there’s enough Close Combat-calibre tactical action and Combat Mission: Campaigns-style meta-game discernible, to warrant incautious optimism.

In between bouts of confusion, I’ve witnessed my gallant Ivans Molotov passing halftracks, flee  warehouses set ablaze by flammpanzers, and perish under the tracks of predatory Pz. IIIs. More significantly, I’ve been able to fiddle with an intriguing turn-based ops layer that looks certain to give Front Roads skirmishes rare rootedness. However skilled a scenario author and well-paced a campaign sequence, nothing beats the thrill of the unforeseen unintended engagement.

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Tim Stone

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