Naval Gazing – Wargame: Red Dragon Trailers Still The Tops

Hannibal must be on one of the boats, right?

Wargame: Red Dragon is a large-scale strategy game in which you command imprisoned serial killer Hannibal Lecter as he assists in the creation of a wargame. The wargame is set in Asia during an alternate history 1980’s in which the cold war ran hot, and is being designed by Will Graham, whose apparent empathic gifts are only functionally useful in the creation of boardgame rulesets when paired with a manipulative and violent psychopath.

While Graham attempts to make the best wargame possible, your role as Lecter is to subtly sabotage the design without being caught. Do you dare suggest a roll-to-move mechanic? Will Will Graham see through your introduction of a series of random miss-a-turn fail states? Why is the trailer mostly full of boats and jets and military warfare?

I wouldn’t normally post so many trailers of a game like this – or any game, really – but each trailer for Wargame: Red Dragon makes me more excited than the last. I know I’ll spend most of my time zoomed out to a strategy-layer from which it’s possible to actually control the action, but Supreme Commander taught me that extreme zooms are there for those ultimate moments of victory and failure, during which you sit back and survey the havoc you’ve wreaked.

The game is due out in spring. I hope that means it’s out soon, because I’m running out of concepts for these posts. Pretty soon I’ll just be relating facts.


  1. BobbyDylan says:

    Preordering also gets you into the beta, which goes live at the end of this week (apparently). Game should go live on the 17th April, if steam is to be believed.

  2. BTAxis says:

    I’ve never played any of the Wargame games (or RUSE), but I hear they’re pretty good. This trailer certainly makes Red Dragon seem exciting.

    • DatonKallandor says:

      Everybody should play RUSE. It’s really awesome and a very unique style of RTS/Boardgame hybrid. It’s not like Wargame at all for the most part – so there’s no sense of wasted purchase like there would be if you picked up the older Wargame titles now.

    • Comrade Roe says:

      Airland Battle is quite entertaining, RUSE has the issue of arty spam ruling the game where WALB has mostly addressed this issue. There’s a wide variety of units, and as a result and also to follow how certain military formations would have certain units, you can mix and match what units you want to battle with. It’s tough to get into though, especially if you’re new or eternally bad at the RTS genre though. You need to remember to watch how many units you have left or you won’t have enough for an offensive/reinforcement, you have to keep units good on ammo and fuel, and you need to make sure in MP and sometimes SP that no one slips through your lines and blows up your command vehicles.

  3. golem09 says:

    Was waiting for the game tie in to my favourite TV show.

  4. rustybroomhandle says:

    Ah yes, the great strategy series that nobody at RPS has played! This must be remedied.

  5. CMaster says:

    Yes, you spend most of your time fairly zoomed out – but not ridiculously so.

  6. Lenderz says:

    Please cover this RPS, this is some PC Gaming at its finest, I don’t care if its not up all your alleys, find a freelancer or anyone to talk about it. Its made by a small developer, looks amazing, scales fantastically and it has a much lamented old fashioned in its business model.

    IE fair pricing, lots of support, free DLC, loads of content out of the box.

    It deserves the coverage, and if your coverage leads one additional person to purchasing it, supporting a dying genre in PC Gaming and a genuinely good developer its worth it.

    Its tough and takes time to get your head around, but it is a great series and deserves more coverage from the gaming press.

    • BobbyDylan says:

      Here here!!!!

    • bills6693 says:

      Exactly. It is a very rare thing indeed.

      Its a great strategy title (rare)
      With a simple pay-once get all the content (rare)
      And that one-off fee is not even a $60 AAA pricetag, its reasonably priced and very high hours/money ratio (rare)
      Without unblanced DLC or map packs you have to pay for (rare)
      And no bonus content for pre-ordering, only beta access which is a genuine beta not an advertising stunt (rare)
      But they DO update the game for free including proper bug fixing and new content including new maps FOR FREE (rare)

      Most if not all of these things are what people have been complaining about in reference to ‘the good old days’ and how massive publishers have ruined the industry – well if thats what you miss from gaming, here it is! The worst part is that for something like this, with all these features, it doesn’t get much of the hype around the big AAA titles that seem to offer less and be complained about more, it doesn’t get the ridiculous sales of said titles, and it tends to get much less press coverage. This time around its looking like RPS is actually going to mention it in more than passing, but yeah… make sure you do!

      • tnankie says:

        Although the part of the online community that feels the need to use the lobby chat is fairly vile. Just pointing out for balance, and the single player AI can be a bit cheaty in AirLandBattle.
        Just pointing out for fairness.
        Despite these Issues I really like the game, and have played quite a bit of multiplayer.

        And if you think this is a click fest, all I can do is point you in the direction of Starcraft/company of heroes/men at war.

  7. CookPassBabtridge says:

    I still can’t figure out if Graham is being sarcy or actually likes this O~O

    Still those boats look rather smashing. Makes me want to buy an Airfix kit and some cyanoacrylate so I can stick my fingers to bits of plastic all over again

  8. SuicideKing says:

    BUT WILL GRAHAM PLAY IT? And write a WIT on it? Because no one at RPS wrote a WIT about AirLand Battle. :(

    The game looks bloody beautiful, though. Won’t buy without a WIT.


  9. Mittens89 says:

    I haven’t played any of these games yet, but they do look good. Is the first one worth picking up, or shall i jump straight in with this or AirLandWarTanksomething? Are they in chronological order, or are they all seperate?

    Basically i think i want someone to sell the game to me. Tell me why i should buy this. I keep hearing that they’re fabulous, but why?

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      Click on the eugen systems tag and look back through old airland battle posts. RPS actually asked us to sell it to them in one post and many attempts were made, so if that doesn’t convince you then this may not be your game. I would start with airland battle though as it’s more fleshed out and accessible.

      • Alfius says:

        Fabulous is the word. RPS take note – these are exactly the sort of games, and the sort of studio, this site should be championing.

        The Wargame series continues to elicit a ‘wow’ response every time I fire it up. The scale, the attention to detail, the focus on multiplayer – unsurpassed in the military RTS genre.

        The environments cover hundreds of square kilometres and contain, I believe, something of the order of 100 million objects.

        The unit roster is staggering, name a Cold War vehicle, aircraft, infantry formation and it’s there. ~800 Units in Airland Battle and apparently ~1300 in Red Dragon.

        The developers clearly work hard to keep the community happy, patches are frequent and address player feedback and additional content is forthcoming and free. They even give 25% off new titles in the series for anyone who owns the previous one.

        If you’re looking to jump on-board at this stage I wouldn’t bother with European Escalation, go for Airland Battle, get the hang of it then migrate to Red Dragon when you’re ready.

    • smatcher says:

      You can play those in any order but going back to European Escalation after Airland Battle is quite hard because they really improved everything and you miss your planes a lot. Also this game is best for its multiplayer so I would say take the last one.

      European Escalation has hard but awesome scripted solo campaigns, the first campaign is a very good introduction to the game mechanics.

      Airland Battle is more refined, but it doesn’t have an equivalent to EE’s introductory campaign so look for guides online, you will learn more about the game by doing so (win win). If you don’t want to wait for Red Dragon and you mostly want to play multiplayer start with this one.

      Red Dragon has all the new cool suff, the beta starts in a few days. Expect a lot of balancing during this beta so it’s probably not the best moment to learn. If you can wait, take this one.

      Don’t forget that if you own airland battle you can preorder Red Dragon at -25% and that there is a franchise pack with European Escalation and Airland Battle.

      • MrUnimport says:

        Want to mention that European Escalation’s campaign is not just hard but nearly impossible, thanks to being designed prior to a series of major MP balance patches that also affected the single-player mode.

    • bills6693 says:

      I would recommend, if you can, waiting for a month until Red Dragon is released proper. You can play the beta (pre-order) if you want but it will be a genuine beta with lots of changes and balancing, not just the finished game a month early to build hype/advertise.

      But, in a month ALB’s playerbase will largely migrate over to Red Dragon (and much of it sooner, to play the beta). The only ones left will mostly be the very experienced, and as a new player there can be a steep learning curve, and you will probably be stomped on continuously if you’re only playing those hardcore players still there.

      You won’t be missing too much by skipping the previous ones for Red Dragon – the campaign in ALB isn’t something to write home about, and the core game is really the same but with more – nothing really lost, a lot gained.

  10. DatonKallandor says:

    This is the last chance for RPS. No more Wargames after Red Dragon so if they miss the bus AGAIN there isn’t another Wargame on the horizon to promise and not WIT.

    Eugens next one is going back to the Act of War train.

    • Lenderz says:

      I wasn’t aware of that, and I’m quite sad to see it, Wargame is a series which genuinely makes me excited every time I see its name. And makes me love it each time I boot it up.

      Its hard, brutally so at times, but fair and so well balanced, which is quite the feat with the unit numbers.

      • DatonKallandor says:

        It’s understandable though – the devs have been doing nothing but work on Wargame for years now, with basically no breaks and while that’s surely a nice steady revenue stream, they have to be sick of it by now.

  11. Philopoemen says:

    you get 25% if you own Airland Battle too – not sure if that’s just the pre-order, or a standing deal.

    • bills6693 says:

      Pre-order only if I understand correctly. Still nice that they include this – fair and makes sense, too, I think, since

      1) its building a lot of the foundations of the last game and is not 100% new
      2) players of the previous games seem to be very vocal champions of the series and probably help sell copies to their friends and people in their online communities (like here)
      3) it ensures a large playerbase on launch of experienced players, which really helps because nobody wants to buy a multiplayer-focused game with a dead multiplayer scene, and it causes it to go into a downwards spiral. Wouldn’t happen anyway, but this is a nice extra safeguard.

  12. Gap Gen says:

    This trailer was based on a study by the Pew Research Center.

    • Alfius says:

      The Pew Research Centre: More pew pew, less QQ since 1972

      • Gap Gen says:

        Sponsored by the Reagan estate (say it out loud).

        • CookPassBabtridge says:

          Indeed. This one has a Pew Density of more than 1.21 gigawatts per cubic explosion

    • bills6693 says:

      Its strange because the trailers are very pew, but the game, while having pew, doesn’t really focus on the pew much, and more focuses on your tactics and the zoomed-out pewless view you are in most of the time. Although flares and ships have added more pew since before (from my experience in the closed beta)

      • Gap Gen says:

        Yes, it’s a shame a lot of these games have great engines that you never see because you’re spending all your time shuffling icons around. You could conceivably have multiple levels of command like Scourge of War, so one person sees icons whilst another is reacting on the ground amidst the explosions, a bit like something from ArmA, when played with a big, organised clan, I suppose.

        • bills6693 says:

          A tiered strategy game would be awesome. Kind of like the FPS-RTS hybrid games but a little more focused I would imagine. It could be split into maybe 3 tiers – a global commander who controls at the very highest level – army/reinforcement/resource allocation to the different individual theaters. Then you have theater-level commanders who are directing those resources and forces around, leading to battles. The battles could be one player or they could be a top-level again, with individual players also controlling little squads of up to two dozen men/tanks/etc…

          Lots of players and probably would be a slow-paced game at the higher-levels with lots of downtime at the lower-levels, so don’t actually know how viable it would be, but it sounds cool to me.

          • Gap Gen says:

            It’s a shame Scourge of War died down, we had some good times with multilevel command games, where one of us was galloping around on horseback as Lee or Meade sending shouty notes at subordinates leading divisions who would in any case ignore them or conspire amongst themselves.

  13. horsemedic says:

    Pretty soon I’ll just be relating facts.

    Please feel free to just relate the facts!

    I read RPS in part because of the talented writers, Smith included. But the one-post-one-joke policy makes me cringe more than it makes me smile. In this, the gag was confusing and distracted from the game—and I’m probably one of few readers who know what Red Dragon and Will Graham are.

  14. Dominic White says:

    Everyone else and their dog has said it already, but somehow RPS have failed to cover the two best RTS games released on the PC in recent years. The series is now up to its third release, and there’s still no guarantee it’ll even get a review.

    It really is the most baffling failure. Cmon, you guys – you’re far better than this.

  15. Madzack says:

    If this game lets me play “Ina Gadda Da Vida” by Iron Butterfly in the BG while I blow away some seamen, I’ll plunk down more money, and maybe a few more bad innuendos.

    Plus, have Brian Cox (the actor) to play Admiral while Manhunting the enemy.

  16. MrUnimport says:

    Might be somewhat important to note that the helicopter taking off from a naval warship in the trailer is in fact not a feature in the game, and also that the post-processing filter seems to be absent as well.

  17. HugobertingtonEsq says:

    Come on you fewls, make a W0t I Think
    Otherwise I will tell your mothers you are very poor at your job

  18. wodin says:

    Found the Wargame games to be an unholy click fest with very little on offer in terms of realism.

  19. Sharongamer978 says:

    Definitely picking this one up when I can.