Author Archive

The Foxer

Warm-up Foxer (Where am I?)

I’m 100 metres from a road that shares its name with a Roman god. I’m in a country named after an Italian. A town once stood on this spot. One nearby sign informs me that visitors should use the left lane and check in at the security station. Another warns that “cell phone use is prohibited while operating vehicles on ********* property”. In 2013 a record-breaking geological event occurred a couple of miles from here.  I’m at a higher latitude than Beijing, and a lower one than Istanbul. The nearest city is twinned with Sarajevo. This location has a lexical link with a French helicopter and a popular piece of British classical music. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Catch of the Day

Not an easy week to be a wargame and simulation correspondent. If I bite my lip and try really hard I think I’ll be able to rattle off today’s column without mentioning the lovely DUSK, but I know I won’t be able to get through without acknowledging that cetacean in the room, Nantucket. Released yesterday, Picaresque’s piquant and pacy whaling RPG is far too close to that Age of Sail game we’ve been discussing for years to pass unhailed. I hope it hasn’t arrived too late to influence HMS, Every Single Soldier’s cutaway captaincy title. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: How’s it going?

Operation Pump Handle went rather well, all things considered. Of the ten peanut-powered mechanical magpies dispatched on Monday morning, nine returned home with sim developer status reports in their leg canisters. Only Domino (destination Deadstick) is still out there somewhere. If you live in the Guildford area and have recently had a smoke or spark emitting Pica pica visit your bird table, please let me know. Read the rest of this entry »

The Foxer

Warm-up Foxer (Where am I?)

I’m on a busy coastal road. I’m in a country that has no stripes on its flag. There’s a silver two-car electric multiple unit emerging from a tunnel 20 metres to the NW of me. I’m 5 miles from a Decade Volcano. I’m at the same latitude as an African square declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Eighties. I’m in a country that’s above Italy in the World Rugby rankings. The nearest level crossing is 500 metres away. I can see a sign aimed at litter bugs. I’m just about to be passed by a white no.66 bus with an unusually attired chap behind the wheel. Read the rest of this entry »

The Foxer

Warm-up Foxer (Where am I?)

I’m standing next to a thick steel door with the words “CHATWOOD’S PATENT LONDON” painted on it. The country I’m in has produced two Nobel laureates and last hosted a Formula 1 GP seven years ago. I’m due North of an enclaved country and a town that gave its name to a famous WW2 battle. 220 metres away is a 220 foot tall medieval tower. I can’t see the sky. I’m 250 metres from a bascule bridge. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: How’s it going?

The Flare Path doesn’t do ‘amiable’ or ‘throwaway’. When I ask a developer  ‘How’s it going?’ I’m not being friendly. I’m fishing for cold, hard facts. I want to know if 2017 was an annus mirabilis or an anus hemorrhoidis…  why ‘Experienced AI Programmer’ has recently appeared in their site’s Situations Vacant section… what ‘Soon’ next to ‘Release Date’ really means. In today’s column, the people behind some of the work-in-progress wargames I’m most excited about, proffer spin-free progress reports. Read the rest of this entry »

Tim Stone’s favourite games of 2017

We asked a handful of our contributors to put together a list of their three favourite games from 2017. Their picks are running across the week while the rest of RPS slumbers.

Having just re-read all 51 of this year’s Flare Paths carefully noting when and where words like ‘lovely’, ‘compelling’ and ‘clever’ were used, I now know for sure what my Favourite Games of 2017 are. It turns out that although Tank Warfare: Tunisia is 55% ‘lovelier’ than Steel Division: Normandy, Diesel Railcar Simulator is 113% ‘nicer’ than Train Sim World, and Venti Mesi is 33% ‘more memorable’ than Way of Defector, none of them have quite enough ‘magic’, ‘charm’ and ‘personality’ to displace the three evening-eaters described below. Read the rest of this entry »

The Foxer

Warm-up Foxer  (Where am I?)

There’s something fruity about my location. I’m within 15 km of two European capitals. If I flew around the globe at this latitude I’d pass over a country with a tree-adorned flag and at least two countries with bird-adorned ones. The country I’m in joined the UN before Switzerland and after Kazakhstan. I’m 4 km from a hotel named after one of Yorkshire’s most famous sons. The local airport is 1km from here and is served by an airline with a j in its name. Sixty years ago most of the people in this vicinity were foreigners. Today, most of the visitors you meet are anglers. The nearest mountain is 350 km away and bears the name of a famous cosmonaut. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Walking in a Winter Wonderland

I was all set to brand Medved-Taiga, the latest expansion for theHunter: Call of the Wild, “the perfect Yuletide mood generator”. Its stunning snow-mantled wilderness was putting me in a seasonal frame of mind almost as effectively as my usual aids –  The Greatest Christmas Movie of all Time and lashings of cream sherry – up until the point last night when I encountered the ‘Euthanize the Wounded Reindeer’ mission. Read the rest of this entry »

The Foxer

Warm-up Foxer (Where am I?)

My left foot is on the number ‘1800’, my right on the number ‘4220’. I can see a white and green tram. I’m on the banks of a river that gave its name to an aircraft manufacturer. I’m due south of a famous prehistoric hill figure. The country I’m in has hosted the Winter Olympics more times than it has hosted the Summer Olympics. This city has something in common with Norwich. I’m a kilometre away from the birthplace of a literary giant and half a kilometre from a warship that starred in a recent movie. I’m a stone’s throw from a bridge named after a duchess. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Regrets Everything

The sound of another year deploying its speedbrakes, dropping its flaps, and lowering its landing gear is the cue for me to switch into Regret Mode. Depressingly, my ‘List of Things That I Wish I’d Done More of in 2017’ is almost identical to my ‘List of Things That I Wish I’d Done More of in 2016’. The top four positions are still occupied by ‘Reading’, ‘Writing’, ‘Exercise’, and ‘Accordion Practice’. ‘Playing OMSI 2’ is still stubbornly clinging to slot #21.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Foxer

Warm-up Foxer (Where am I?)

I’m at the junction of three roads, all of which are named after rivers. I can see an airship. If I walked north ten paces I’d end up on a railway line. The country I’m in has a female head of government and has qualified for the FIFA World Cup twice. I’m in an oceanic climate zone. Mesopotamia is 100 miles away. The town I’m in has something in common with a Manic Miner level. A famous PC game designer grew up here. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Greek Ire

Field of Glory II: Immortal Fire burst into flames on Tuesday and today’s column is crowded with Greek warriors. The pictures above explain, as effectively as any string of letterclots, why these two facts aren’t connected. On the left is RIOT, a handsome crowd control wargame partially undone by its eye-catching aesthetic, and on the right is Trireme Commander, a history-steeped Iron Age naval sim with frustrating martinet tendencies. Read the rest of this entry »

The Foxer

Warm-up Foxer (Where am I?)

I’m standing under a rusting railway bridge constructed in 1894. I can see a red octopus. I’m at the same latitude as one of France’s régions d’outre-mer. I’m a stone’s throw from a stadium named after a winner of the world’s oldest annual marathon. The country I’m in has weapons on its flag. The antipode of this spot is in the Indian Ocean. I’m 250m from a railway museum. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Claas War

For the past decade GIANTS Software has had the farming sim sector pretty much to itself. None of the competing agri offerings that have arrived in the years since FS2008 first lowered a plough and spreadeagled a sprayer have succeeded in loosening the Swiss stranglehold. Might Cattle and Crops have what it takes? Now approximately a month away from a Steam Early Access release, C&C’s not-so-secret weapons are physics, mud, and weather. Developer Masterbrain Bytes want to remind us why tractors are such stocky fellows and why they wear such big boots. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Defects

The dystopia at the heart of singular RPG Way of Defector is a truly grim place. It’s a country where you can be imprisoned or killed for criticising the government or for being related to someone who has criticised the government. A land where the state routinely uses detention without trial, torture, and sexual violence against the people, and many go to bed hungry every night. Developers Dev Arc call this repressive totalitarian hellhole ‘North Korea’. Read the rest of this entry »

The Foxer

Warm-up Foxer (Who am I?)

I had something in common with a 10th Century bishop of Winchester, an early George Lucas film, and a type of eagle. I died in the same year as a famous Czech writer. My oldest friend, a freedom-loving female, outlived me. My killer was convicted with the help of digital evidence. I was named after a politician. I never left my country of birth. To view my remains you’ll need to travel to a spot thirteen miles from Geneva. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Emotionally Authentic

Because Luke Hughes has a master’s degree in neurophysiology and psychology from Oxford, and uses terms like “emotional authenticity” when talking about his upcoming “leadership RPG” Burden of Command, I reached for my little tin of Big Questions when preparing today’s interview. Amongst the sensitive subjects discussed below: the glorification of war through video games, swearing on virtual battlefields, and why players of XCOM resemble seagulls. Read the rest of this entry »

The Foxer

Warm-up Foxer (Who am I?)

I almost died in the year WWI formally ended. I crossed an ocean post-mortem. A shape of a specific colour links me to a Bowie album and an Asian sidearm. I was born in Middlesex. I’ve appeared on postage stamps and coins. I’ve an Irish surname. I once topped the bill at Madison Square Garden. I spent time in prison. I’ve something in common with a man mentioned in this document. I was an entrepreneur and poet but am remembered today primarily for achievements in a different field. Read the rest of this entry »