Author Archive

The Foxer

Warm-up Foxer (Where am I?)

I’m at the same latitude as one of Portugal’s autonomous regions. I can see two suspension bridges. I’m in a country that has produced two Formula One World Drivers’ Championship champions. Roughly thirteen miles away is one of the places pictured in today’s Feature Foxer. I can see an invasive plant that came originally from South Africa. I’m standing in the shadow of a lighthouse. I’m less than a mile from a SAM launch site active between the mid Fifties and and mid Seventies. This location featured in one of Ubisoft’s 2016 releases. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Asks Oskari

Crafted with care and marketed without hyperbole, Diesel Railcar Simulator is that rare thing, a transport sim that transports without crucifying your wallet, cooking your GPU, and burying you under an avalanche of key commands. A conglomeration of incredibly sensible design decisions, it’s been winning friends and gaining content steadily since appearing, seemingly from nowhere, late last summer. In today’s FP I talk to Oskari, the man behind all those sensible design decisions. Read the rest of this entry »

The Foxer

Warm-up Foxer (Where am I?)

I’m ten metres from a climbing frame and a sandpit. I can see more than one hundred balconies. The country I’m in is a NATO member and has a bicolour flag. 150 metres away is a sizeable marshalling yard. I’m being watched by a tabby cat and a woman in a high-vis vest. It would take me about minutes to walk to the local football pitch. The nearest capital city is in another country. If you circled the globe at this latitude you’d pass over a body of water mentioned around a dozen times in the book “Above Us the Waves”. I’m due north of an island that features in a Hieronymus Bosch painting. Roughly three kilometres SW of here is an impressive Nineteenth Century fortress. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: March to Glory

Shenandoah Studio are anti-hexites and proud of it. Equilateral, equiangular, six-sided polygons aren’t common on their battlefields. They prefer more misshapen shapes – the squashed pentagon, the leaning lozenge, the skewed quadrilateral with one wiggly, dog-eared edge. The crazy paving makes for attractive maps but as I’ve discovered during my diverting but disappointingly smooth and brief March to Glory march to glory, creates problems too. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Tank Clashes and Manx Dashes

How annoying. As Wikipedia is adamant Field Marshal Wavell didn’t dote on a Manx cat called Matilda during his time in North Africa, and the 1947 sidecar TT wasn’t won by Rommel’s twin sons riding a stripped-down, souped-up BMW R75, it looks like I’m going to have to introduce this week’s pieces on TT Isle of Man and Desert War 1940-42 with an admission that this week’s pieces on TT Isle of Man and Desert War 1940-42 have flip-all in common. Read the rest of this entry »

The Foxer

Warm-up Foxer (What am I?)

I’m from Catalonia. For a while I was a record holder. I come in a container the size of a large suitcase. This container has wheels and a handle. I have something in common with a set of tea cards released by Brooke Bond in the early Sixties, an album released by Motörhead in the late Seventies, and this Boeing 737. I’d make a poor present for a jailbird. This picture clue may help you identify me. I can be purchased through Amazon.com for around 350 USD. Read the rest of this entry »

The Foxer

Warm-up Foxer (Where am I?)

I’m standing outside a restaurant that shares a name with a Chuck Connors movie, a brand of cigarettes, and a British paddle steamer that served during both World Wars. I can see several dinosaurs including a T. Rex and a Triceratops. I’m 80 metres from a likeness of this man. I’m in a mineral-rich landlocked land that sent a citizen into space before the UK or China. If I was to circle the globe at this latitude I’d cross the Canada-US border. I’m 500 metres from a monastery and 880 metres due north of a monument to a pop group. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Kuban Epistle Crisis

Although IL-2 Sturmovik’s new Rise of Flight-style career mode looks decidedly unambitious when set beside the best the genre can offer a solo campaigner, it’s a big improvement on what it replaces and, assuming you’re playing with the ‘iron man’ box ticked and don’t wander too far from assigned routes, a powerful drama amplifier. During his first five randomly-generated sorties over the Kuban bridgehead, my current in-game alter-ego, Nikolai Novichok, had several opportunities to inspect the Grim Reaper’s shrapnel-sharp soul-scythe at close quarters. Will his luck and nerve hold for another five missions? Read the rest of this entry »

The Foxer

Warm-up Foxer (What am I?)

I’m roughly twenty-eight years old. I have something in common with both hearts and diamonds. My homeland is a country with a ‘w’ in its name. My smaller offspring can be found in two European capitals. I’m indebted to a ripped flower. If she was alive today, this woman would definitely approve of me. I have my own website. I’m part Protestant. I’m probably not popular with PETA. I make Roman think of Logan’s Run. I have something in common with this invertebrate. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Cries “Havoc!”

Gentlemen of England now a-bed shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here to read my IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Kuban war diary, participate in today’s Close Combat competition, assist in the defoxing of this fiendish word puzzle, and pedantically point out that “Cry ‘Havoc!’ and let slip the dogs of war” is from a completely different play to “Gentleman of England now a-bed shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here…”. Read the rest of this entry »

The Foxer

Warm-up Foxer (Where am I?)

I’m standing outside a cheese shop, admiring a rather smart blue and white electric multiple unit. The street name suggests a plant used to make a local beverage was once grown in this vicinity. I’m in a country that’s in the G20 but not the G8. I’m 9.78 kilometres from an obelisk and 11.64 kilometres from the statue of a sportswoman. The local football club was founded in 1913 and play at a ground one and a half miles from here. That ground shares a name with the venue of a Twentieth Century War. I’m at the same latitude as a country with four stars on its flag. I’m 100 metres from a carousel. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Battle-Scarred

Check Your Six! vs Panzer Strategy. In the ‘Battle of the Wargames Wot Have Hit Steam in the Past Week and Feature Hexagons and WW2 and Suchlike’ there can be only one, two, or zero winners. If you’re happy to adopt the role of Reader for the next five minutes, I’ll don the mantle of Critic and, using screenshots and conglomerations of letters arranged in sequence and separated with punctuation marks and spaces of varying lengths, liberally dust you with my novichok-strength opinions. Read the rest of this entry »

The Foxer

Warm-up Foxer (Where am I?)

I’m standing next to a blue gate. A nearby sign points out (in a language that isn’t English) that the gate is an “emergency entrance with manual opening”. I can see two orange Bo-Bo diesel locomotives. I’m 500 metres from a Commonwealth War Cemetery containing over 2000 graves and less than a kilometre from an airport named after a composer. I’m in a country with a bigger GDP than Australia and a longer coastline than Argentina. If I circled the globe at this latitude I’d pass over one of the 2018 Winter Games venues. I’m due North of a capital city with a population of more than a million and no railway stations. Visible to the North is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that has given its name to numerous warships. I can see an Opuntia. Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t Buy ProFlightSimulator

proflightsimulator (1)

Judging by the “I fell for it too” messages still appearing regularly on flight sim forums, the shameless parasites behind ProFlightSimulator and its equally vile sibling VirtualPilot3D are still persuading unwary online punters to pay 67+ USD for an old, superficially tweaked version of FREE open-source flight sim FlightGear. In today’s Flare Path I examine some of the latest lies the ProFlightSimulator scammers are using to fleece fans of faux flight. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: A2Z

A is for A7V action

WWI armour sims are such rare creatures, I can’t bring myself to say anything negative about 79p work-in-progress Cry of War. Currently boasting one tiny cosy map and three tank types (the A7V, Mark IV, and Renault FT), the game combines amateurish quirky presentation and crude forgiving movement physics with surprisingly sophisticated ballistics (shells can ricochet… system damage is determined by post-penetration trajectories) and the best ‘tip’ ever to appear on a military game loading screen. Disarmingly honest developer ShanghaiWindy will be coding around his university commitments, hence the 3-4 year Early Access period. Read the rest of this entry »

The Foxer

Warm-up Foxer (What am I?)

Some people think I shouldn’t exist. Parts of me are solar-powered. I have a lexical connection with a WW2 AFV. I was completed in the year a famous pachyderm died. I’m in the Guinness Book of Records. I’m currently roughly the same height as an average British male adult. I have something in common with the protagonist of a Thomas Hardy novel. One of my kind provided the title for a 2002 movie. My homeland’s flag doesn’t include the colours yellow, green, of black. Riders are my doctors. Read the rest of this entry »

The Foxer

Warm-up Foxer (Where am I?)

I’m standing outside a school. One of the posters on the wall of that school insists “honesty is the best policy”. I’m in a country that boycotted the 1980 Summer Olympics and has a higher population than Germany. This street shares a name with an Interwar RAF aircraft and a Thomas the Tank Engine character. I’m 430 metres away from a WW2-era anti-aircraft gun. I’m at the same latitude as a country with ten yellow stars on its flag. I can see numerous motorcycle combinations. You see the phrase “Transparency & Good Governance” a lot around here. Twenty six and a half years ago this neighbourhood looked very different. The name of this city starts and ends with the same vowel. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Waives and Waves

All that needs to be said about the tragicomic Flight Sim Labs affair has been said several times over. I could add my tuts to the tut heap or write something confessional about the handful of times I’ve found myself mingling with pirates and cracksmen, but I think I’d rather devote today’s FP to sky sailing and semaphore signals, BoBing wargame makers and bobbing whalegame players. Read the rest of this entry »

The Foxer

Warm-up Foxer (What am I?)

I’m a bit of a mouthful. I was created in the year one of Queen Victoria’s children died and altered a year later. I’ve a connection with a Band of Brothers scrap. In two-thousand-and-WITHHELD a man with an English county for a surname raised my public profile by lowering my public profile. I have something in common with a notable British steam locomotive engineer. I’m about the size of a tea tray. My homeland has yet to produce a Formula One WDC winner or a female Nobel laureate.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: PIAT fails and PITA whales

Three of the first four Close Combat games are now back in legal circulation thanks to GOG.com and current licence holders, Slitherine. For years I’ve been telling myself that prolonged exposure to Combat Mission and Graviteam Tactics would make a long-term relationship with Atomic’s top-down tussle series – a series I loved dearly in the late Nineties – difficult today. I now realise I was wrong. Twenty years on Close Combats 2 (aka Close Combat: A Bridge Too Far) and 3 still entertain as consummately as any of the tactics titles that followed them. Read the rest of this entry »