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


Lock up your turnips! Priesthole your ladyfolk! Disguise your pigs as elderly relations! Pike and Shot, a turn-punctuated Seventeenth Century wargame beloved beliked by Yours Truly is about to hit the campaign trail.

Pike and Shot Campaigns, due on August 13, will combine the original P&S, its Tercio to Salvo expansion and – the real attention grabber – a completely new strat layer. Having scrutinised the feature list and the available screenshots with my most powerful Hastings Triplet, I can tell you the following about this intriguing prospect:

  • There will be opportunities to orchestrate the English Civil War, the Great Turkish War, and the Swedish phase of the Thirty Years War.
  • You’ll also be able to map roam in a less specific pick-any-European-nation campaign.
  • Penury, supply issues and sieges will complicate province snaffling.
  • It will be possible to split armies.
  • Tactical-layer battlefields are likely to be randomly generated.
  • Owners of P&S will get Campaigns at a reduced price.
  • A month or two after purchase, unless you’re extremely careful, the fetching-but-fragile campaign maps will be striped with sellotape.



Does anyone reading this happen to have a Live and Let Die licence sitting around doing nothing? I only ask because Todd Wasson, the sim physics maestro behind VRC Pro’s incomparably life-like miniature vehicles, is working on a standalone speedboat sim at the moment that might benefit from a pinch of 007 and Sheriff J.W. Pepper.

I’m worried that without a dash of theme, whimsy, or competition, Design It, Drive It: Speedboats could end-up a little too buoyant/bone dry for its own good. Yes, the physics look and sound amazing…

“The physics code is a proprietary system that solves hydrostatic, hydrodynamic, skin friction, buoyancy, and aerodynamic forces separately on every triangle in the boat mesh as well as the individual propeller blades. When the jack plate is raised or the trim is adjusted so the propeller comes partly out of the water in the search of maximum speed, there is a paddle wheel effect that turns the boat which must be compensated for in the steering. Just keeping the boat on the water and pointing in the right direction at top speed can keep you busy.”

“The aerodynamics are complete enough for the boat to blow over if the speed and angle of attack get high enough. The boat can also rise up onto the pad and virtually fly with only the stern skimming the surface of the water. With the physics model acting on the individual propeller blades, the engine trim has a large effect on bow lift and the attitude of the boat.”

But once you’ve experienced the terror of a beautifully simulated blow-over or chine walk a few times, and fiddled with the integrated boat designer for an hour or three, it seems there won’t be much left to do except tear around disappointingly flotsam- and jump-free lakes.

Watch the following video then tell me that map wouldn’t be vastly improved by a sprinkle of leapable levees, rotting jetties, and rusting LCTs.

I think I’ll enjoy Design It, Drive It, Speedboats. I know I’d adore Motoboat Madness: Everglades Escape



DCS World 2’s release date remains shrouded in fleecy 15-tog fog, but a recent Mudspike preview includes some tantalising glimpses of the new engine in WW2 mode and some heartening news of the inbound performance improvements.

Module artisans don’t seem put off by the slow-to-arrive Second Coming. The list of planned DCS payware steeds grows longer with each passing month. It now includes…

Having watched a rare aerial arachnid fly several surprisingly wobbly approaches at a local airbase this week, I’d love to see Textron/AirLand’s budget jet appear on that list at some point.



It looks like owners of top-notch race sims Stock Car Extreme and Formula Truck are in for a good year. With a few days left to go, Reiza’s Indiegogo funding drive is within a Tigrina whisker of reaching its $78,000 goal.

The Brazilian devs plan to use the cash injection, together with a newly acquired ISIMotor source code licence, to enhance and expand their current titles. Several extra race series and circuits are on the cards. Grids crowded with Lancer Evos, Copa Montana pick-ups, ramp-happy Supertrucks, V8 Supercars and Formula V10 open-wheelers are now guaranteed, as are custom championships, dynamic track conditions, tyre damage, better drivetrain physics and sundry graphics and UI improvements.

The RPS post announcing the start of this whip-round prompted a Copa Petrobras de Marcas recommendation from commenter Grizzly that’s well worth repeating. The free six circuit (Brasilia, Curitiba, Goiania, Interlagos, Taruma, Velopark) three car (Focus, Lancer, Corolla) mini-sim is an excellent introduction to Reiza’s work. Offering talkative rides, persuasive physics, and close competition, it’s far far better than its mystifying 6/10 Steam score suggests.


The Flare Path Foxer

Two of the objects have gone AWOL! Award yourself a Flare Path Flair Point if you can identify the missing pair *without inspecting the original image again*.

Roman described last week’s foxer as “easier than a Grade 1 pianola exam”. Me, I’m not so sure.

(Theme: prizes)

a Colonel Gadaffi (Shiloh)
b Dassault Mercure (corinoco)
c Nobel Fuldamobile (Llewyn)
d Short Stirling (AFKAMC)
e Polaris missile (billy_bunter)
f Frankfurt Stock Exchange (operated by Deutsche Börse) (Stugle)
g SpaceShipOne (AFKAMC)
h Richmond K. Turner quote (Stugle)
i Operation Wolf (Artiforg, JB)
j Erasmus Bridge, Rotterdam (Stugle)


Blimey. It only seems like yesterday you and me were sharing a school desk. Now look at us. Grey hares. White rabbits. Rusty eagles.


  1. Premium User Badge

    Matchstick says:

    Foxer Answers:

    Bottom Left Barbara Bain as Dr. Helena Russell in Space 1999 I think

    • Stugle says:

      Hell’s bells! Pinterest is obstructing my search for the finely-be-Fezzed and mustachioed gentleman (no, I’m not signing up for a bloody account!).

      • Stugle says:

        Google “dapper gents with handlebar mustache and fez” and it’s the sixth image from the left. Anyone brave enough to go into Pinterest?

      • Gothnak says:

        He is Lord Herbert Kitchener according to the Facebook page ‘Famous people in Fez’s’.

        • Stugle says:

          Thanks! Just now figured it out myself. Apparently, you can get the same image as a dashing iPhone cover.

    • Premium User Badge

      Matchstick says:

      Even if you don’t share the same office with him, you can still tell that AFKAMC is not at his desk as that plane has gone unidentified for more than 10 minutes :)

      • Premium User Badge

        Matchstick says:

        Plane looks a lot like a Dpuglas A-20 Havok but I’m not sure exactly which type (there seem to have been a hell of a lot of them)

    • Stugle says:

      That lickle train (?) is adorable and looks like it has a ‘tache, too. Could varieties of facial fuzz be today’s theme? Too easy, probably.

    • Stugle says:

      I think the plane’s a Douglas A-20 Havoc.

    • Premium User Badge

      Matchstick says:

      Stamp top centre is a 17 1/2p Syrian Arab Republic Airmail stamp from 1964 celebrating 1st Anniversary of the March Revolution.
      link to

    • Premium User Badge

      Matchstick says:

      Helmet bottom centre looks to be a Belgian Adrian Pattern M1915

      link to (think the image may actually be the one from that page)

    • Electricfox says:

      Lots of H’s here, Havoc, Herbert, Hamburger, Helmet, Helena…

      • Electricfox says:

        Hefez al-Assad, came to power after the 1963 coup, portrayed in the stamp…

      • Stugle says:

        The building in the picture in the background could be a hotel, but that feels unsatisfyingly vague.

        • Gothnak says:

          I did check to see if it was the notorious H. H. Holmes’ Murder Hotel, but sadly it wasn’t, that would have been the ultimate H answer!

        • Stugle says:

          Hotel Chelsea in New York City.

          • Electricfox says:

            Excellent…so that just leaves the gentleman on the top right…who looks very familiar to me but I’m damned if I can place the name.

    • Electricfox says:

      Next to the Belgian Helmet is a Sticky Bomb – link to ‘Hand’ Grenade, more H’s

    • Gothnak says:

      I’d just like to say that investigating the picture of the hotel further, there looks to be a rather strange vehicle overlapped by the helmet. I can see a rear wheel, but the rest of it looks like it is some kind of cross between Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Professor Pat Pending’s Convert-a-car. (Unless there is some kind of optical illusion)

      • Stugle says:

        I suspect it’s just a Google Streetview mix-up, a couple of photos pasted not quite right, but then I’m cynical and world-weary like that. :)

    • Harrington says:

      I’m a couple days behind, but I can contribute to the Flare Path for once! The last unidentified picture, the gentleman in the top right, is Bunny Currant. If the theme is the letter H, he achieved ace status flying Hawker Hurricanes. Hope that does it.

      • Stugle says:

        That name is fantastic! Thanks for uncovering it!

      • Electricfox says:

        Thank you very much, you don’t know how much old Bunny was bugging me, his face looked so familiar yet I just could not place it. I must have seen him in a book sometime.

    • Stugle says:

      Still wondering about this week’s theme. I don’t have anything better that ‘H’s, but I’m wondering if there’s some kind of record breaking theme, perhaps? The Chelsea was the tallest building in NYC at the time it was built, Kitchener oversaw the creation of the world’s largest volunteer army, Space 1999 broke the record for most expensive British television series at the time, the Flying Hamburger broke the record for fastest regular railway connection… And, erm, Bunny Currant broke his nose in an air crash. That’s as far as I can stretch that idea.

      • Electricfox says:

        H does seem a little easy for one of Romans puzzlers, but we’ll see. :)

  2. Auldman says:

    August 13th needs to be tomorrow!! I cannot wait for Pike and Shot to have campaigns! It’s been one of the most fun wargames of the last few years for me! Going to try the Great Turkish War first as this has been an area to long ignored by wargames.

  3. iainl says:

    “There’s no racing or virtual money here, it’s just you, your designs, and the water.”

    Boo, I say! BOO! The world is (OK, I am) crying out for the Hardcore Nerdy Sim version of Waverace 64, to go with those simmy kart games we’ve already got.

    Curiously, once you get into the higher classes, WipEout HD is already the simmy version of WipEout.

    • iainl says:

      Though what would really be great is a simmy nerd snowboarding game.

  4. Eightball says:

    Any idea on what the Pike & Shot Campaigns pricetag will be? No doubt awful seeing as it’s from Matrix Games, but even then I’m sorely tempted (they owe you a commission, Mr. Stone).

    • Auldman says:

      I balked at the price for months. Bought it two weeks ago and have 25 hours in already and more to come. It seems to be returning on it’s investment!

  5. CookPassBabtridge says:

    A blue bear uses a key to open a pig which makes a bomb fall out, striking a target of a button.

    Meanwhile a blue fish holds a magnet, which holds a screw which is screwed into a white pencil which is colouring in a polo.

    Elsewhere a tiny german comes out of his tiny ammonite shell to throw a grenade.
    I read that Derren Brown book you know.

  6. P.Funk says:

    I’m so excited about Reiza getting their full funding, and more. Its crazy but the campaign is set to finish in just about 22 hours and they’re more than 15% past the goal and only a week ago it was bogged down in the 50-60% range.

    If every there were a dev to deserve the support of a fully funded crowdfund its them. Bring on the Super Trucks!

  7. peterako1989 says:

    Unfortunately for DCS’ WWII modules, IL-2 1946 and cliffs of dover got me covered. Im into the mondern and semi modern stuff. And good grief! When are we going to see a proper, persistent, dynamic campaign!?

  8. El Mariachi says:

    Would an F4F ever have worn invasion stripes?