The Only Winning Move: Wargame: Red Dragon Trailer

It's got war, it's a game... but what should we call it?

I showed the last Wargame: Red Dragon trailer to a friend who is knowledgeable about games. As it drew to a close they turned to me and asked, “What kind of game is this?” It’s a large-scale real-time strategy game with a dynamic campaign map, multiplayer, hundreds of modernish military units, and taut tactical combat, but I don’t know if it’s a good thing or not that you can’t immediately tell from the trailers that it’s not, for example, a first-person shooter. I do know it means it looks visually impressive. I do know it means you should watch the latest trailer, twice.

Once to appreciate how it looks, and a second time to double check how the voice-over pronounces the world “stealth”.

To confirm, the narration pronounces it “steelth”. The sneakiest of all metal alloys.

Wargame: Red Dragon is the third in the Wargame series, and like its predecessors its set during the Cold War. This time it takes you east, and is centered around a fictional Korean conflict. I’m reliably informed (by Tim Stone, among others) that its predecessor AirLand Battle was excellent, but I have not yet found the time to double-click the play button inside Steam. Will I do that right now, after I finish writing this post? Probably not, but I do want to play Red Dragon more and more with every trailer. Which I suppose is the actual point of trailers.

Good job, trailer.


  1. Thurgret says:

    One of my favourite games of 2012, and probably my favourite of 2013, too, and undoubtedly one of my favourites of 2014, and I haven’t even played it yet. I play mostly multiplayer, but I hear that some people enjoy the single player parts, too.

    I must say, I’m not sure how there could be any doubt from that trailer that it’s a real time strategy.

  2. Synesthesia says:

    Cover a Wargame already! Shame on you, rps.

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      They are all scareded of it, apart from maybe Tim – but he is too busy being cool somewhere drinking mojitos with Belgian paratroopers

    • Arathain says:

      I’m desperate for RPS to cover it. Look, if you care about PC games you know that RTS is one of the historically core genres of PC gaming. The RTS has fallen on hard times recently but Wargame is a genuine, honest to goodness, brilliant rethinking of the RTS. It has a dynamic campaign. It handles things like recon and air power in a fresh and clever way. It’s really deep.

      Wargame: Airland Battle is one of the truly great games of last year, and one that just sailed by a whole lot of journalists and other PC gaming advocates, ones who ought to really care about it. Most odd.

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        I’m not saying that the RPS chaps are WOOLLY WOOFTERS of the first order. Or scared stiff of pages of lovingly rendered military hardware and honest to goodness petrified of good stiff tactical warfare (you know, the very thing their SELF SACRIFICING ancestors lapped up like the true bulldog spirited gentleman warriors they were). I’m not saying that. Its a modern time. RPS have traded in the sand coloured berets and dagger-shaped toothpicks for comfy slippers and lemon scented towelettes. That’s OK. That’s fine.


        EDIT: Here is a picture of Winston Churchill, also clearly being ‘fine’ with it too link to . Proud to be British.

    • Raymond Saint says:

      I’ve offered them access to Red Dragon beta, no answer. They just don’t want it.

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        I think the clue is in the title. The second part of the sentence “the only winning move” is “is not to play”. It’s from the movie Wargames, so i think Graham is setting out his stall via the medium of journowordalisation.

        That is a WOPR of a disappointment.

  3. CookPassBabtridge says:

    I have a sneaking suspicion that is not a human narrating that video. TTS software has got bloody good nowadays. “Steelth” though … and the little stutters and inflections, makes me think its computer generated

  4. Vandelay says:

    Was anyone else getting double vision on this video? Might just be a weird iPad glitch.

    Looks really great. I picked up Airland over Christmas and, despite being awful at it, it is a really great game. I also say that as someone who didn’t get on with the similar, but much more arcadey, World in Conflict.

    Did I hear correct that Airland was expansion price for those that owned European Escalation? Anyone know if the same applies for this one?

    • Thurgret says:

      Yeah, AirLand Battle had either a 25 or 33% discount for owners of European Escalation. I wouldn’t be surprised if the same applies to Red Dragon. It would seem to fit in with their MO.

  5. RedViv says:

    Steelth is rarely used today, as Science! only recently developed theoretically proper protection from the volatile reactions in the creation of this alloy. Most blacksmiths that did fuse iron and blinth in history did just disappear at some point, due to raw strength of the latter, the element of surprise.

    • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      The main difficulty is finding enough blinth to fuse to make the alloy. You need to keep it under observation at all times to prevent it from disappearing, but if you observe it for too long it simply denatures, as something kept under constant observation loses the power to surprise.

      The trick is to order it too late, then be surprised when it turns up just in time.

      • Llewyn says:

        Actually Smingleigh, I believe you need to keep it under observation at all times to prevent your under-gardener from nicking it. You ought to keep a closer eye on any number of things, judging by what he’s been selling in the snug of the Dog & Duck.

        • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

          I’m less worried about that than you might think. The mysterious bearded chap he sells everything he steals to, is none other than myself in a false beard, which I wear to conceal my real beard.

          I trade him a bottle of “BLAMMO”-brand weedkiller for anything he brings. The weedkiller comes from his own personal stash, which he thinks I haven’t found yet. Any silver or similar valuables he steals he polishes up so it looks more expensive when he’s trying to fence it. So I get my stuff polished for free, and he gets the warm glow of thinking he’s getting one over on his boss.

  6. Tiax says:

    Okay RPS, maybe THIS TIME you’ll make a Wot I Think on it, yes ?

  7. Blinky343 says:

    I hope the singleplayer is better this time around, the campaigns were a neat idea but a real mess to play and conceptually really awkward; tactical nukes that just lower some stat only on the turn they’re used, the battles being a race to get your points above the “I-Win” threshhold, attacking a territory with two units but only one will show up on the battlefield, lack of any auto-resolve and on and on

    I mean, I get that it was designed as a conceptual framework for random skirmishes rather than an actual strategic campaign, and I guess it’s okay for that purpose but even then it could be a lot better

  8. Warduke says:

    1,300 units?? Yikes!

    • Thurgret says:

      If you’re not familiar with the game, you really don’t need to know every unit. It helps, of course, to know the strengths and weaknesses of the units in your own deck so you can pick them to deploy them when appropriate, but for everything else, you can just mouse over and check the info panel if you need deeper details than “This is an IFV” or “This is a recon chopper” or whatever (you often may). My average deck might only contain about twenty distinct unit types.

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        Respectfully, I disagree with that view Thurgret. I find that If you don’t know the stats of ENEMY units you’re kind of buggered, especially when a bunch of indecipherable acronyms come barreling down a road you forgot to recon.

        Frantically trying to hover the mouse over that swedish thing and speed read it’s stats does not set you up at all well for a counter and it’s normally too late by the time you realise it’s a tank killer, and not one of the lesser armoured vehicles. Personally I got nowhere until I began finding out what the enemy units were, and then of course by the next map they’re all different. Time in the Tank Porn screen I found to be quite essential. I am talking about single player however.

        It’s also worth pointing out that though it sounds like a large number of units, there’s a lot of ‘variations on avtheme’ e.g. The same basic infantry squad but with different weapons or vehicles.

    • WinTurkey says:

      In the latest leaked beta build the actual number is around ~1460, they’re downplaying it in case they need to cut units for the final version

  9. HugobertingtonEsq says:

    Oh RPS, you do yourselves a terrible disservice by not covering the original European Escalation
    Then you REALLY lost out on covering the much larger Airland Battle
    Please give this one a good going over, I swear it’ll be worth your time, it really is an RTS at its’ best.

  10. Smoof says:

    I’m afraid of the Wargame series. I spent a good 40-hours with Airland Battle and never really managed to go beyond “noob” in multiplayer. Of course, this wasn’t helped by the rampant teammates quitting in PuGs, so I never really had a proper opportunity to learn the game very well and I’m just utter shit at real time strategy, especially if it involves thinking tactically and not just sending a mass of units at the enemy.

    I really love this series, I just wish I was better at thinking on my feet and reacting to my opponents. I want to buy Red Dragon, but I might just hold off because I’m so fucking terrible.

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      Heh. Yeah this is kind of me too :)

    • BLACKOUT-MK2 says:

      I was the same with Total War. I tried it and couldn’t even get past the bloody tutorial. I can imagine their is now many-a-neckbeard chuckling and calling me a daft noob who should go back to COD, despite how that doesn’t appeal to me either.

  11. Premium User Badge

    FhnuZoag says:

    Slightly peeved that China is part of the Warsaw Pact. Isn’t the Sino-Soviet rift in this period?

    • Pharos says:

      In this period, the Cold War was still cold.

      (I suspect there’ll be some kind of campaign event that mentions something like this, though.)

    • Silvermarch says:

      Actually, I think they are no longer splitting the factions between NATO and Warsaw Pact. I think its going to be BLUFOR and REDFOR now. The latest devblog (about the naval support tab) mentioned it as that, and there will be a campaign based on the Sino-Soviet border skirmish.

    • Wookie says:

      Yeah the Sino-Soviet Split has happened, they are loosely using Blufor/Redfor as the larger groupings and then they have introduced coalitions. Blufor has The USA, the Commonwealth (UK, Canada, ANZAC), Eurocorps (France and West Germany), Scandinavia (Sweden, Denmark, Norway) and Blue Dragons (Japan and South Korea). Redfor is Soviet’s, Non-Soviet Warsaw Pact (East Germany, Poland and Czechoslovakia) and Red Dragons (Communist China and North Korea).

      Also RPS really needs to report on the series far more as they really are good strats.

  12. stahlwerk says:

    Penetrating defenses by clipping right through de fences.

  13. The First Door says:

    So, am I getting confused: Are these games by the same people who made Ruse (or R.U.S.E.)? If so, does anyone know how they compare? I remember really quite liking Ruse, and it sounds like the infantry still behaves in a similar way to how I remember… I guess I’m asking: ‘do these games still have ruses’?

    • StashAugustine says:

      I didn’t play RUSE but I have played a lot of ALB/EE (they are the same people). There’s no ‘ruse’ system anymore. The closest thing is manipulating LOS- since there’s no visual confirmation of LOS and stealth/terrain can drastically reduce vision, there’s a lot of guessing enemy defenses, trying to get recon, sneaking special forces behind enemy lines to kill that one bastard that brought nothing but rocket artillery. There’s no basebuilding- points are awarded by holding zones in Destruction (kill the most points) or just as a constant income in Conquest (hold ground, always play this) which are then spent on reinforcements- planning your ‘decks’ or army lists is a big part of the game. It’s still got the same feel of RTS on a grand scale- you can zoom so far out all you can see from the battle is fire and then zoom in and micro your tanks around.