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Tim Stone

The Flare Path contests a continent

Strategic Command: World War I reviewed

12

Today

Feature: Strategic Command: World War I reviewed

The Flare Path contests a continent

Like all the WWI grand strategy titles that came before it, Strategic Command: World War I isn't awfully good at pathos. When a flurry of enemy assaults reduces one of your infantry corps from “10” to “3” in a single turn, your first thought is rarely “That's another 20,000 families who won't be seeing their loved ones again”. It's generally “Ouch. But it could have…

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The Foxer

The 25 pictures in a cluster foxer are arranged in 5 discretely/discreetly themed clusters. Pictures in a particular cluster must be cardinally contiguous to be valid. For example, A1, B1, C1, D1, D2 is a possible cluster, unlike A2, B2, C2, D2, E3. To fully defox today’s enlargeable puzzle identify the themes and constituent images of all five clusters.

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1 week ago

Feature: Rusty but trusty

The Flare Path: Verbose Captions

Terrorists = grief. Headsmen = heads. Politicians = distrust of politicians. Long-distance lorry drivers = plastic bottles full of piss. Every occupation has its byproduct. I'm not overly proud of the tens of thousands of screenshots I generate each year. Yes, some of them are put to good use illustrating articles about tank restoration and U-boat games (see on) but the vast majority end up…

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The Foxer

Below is a list of ‘30 things wot av bin stolen or abducted’ (‘things’ is used in its broadest possible sense). Entries have been stripped of vowels and numbers and had any inter-word spaces repositioned*. For example, if Patty Hearst was present she might appear as PTT YHRST. Shergar would be SHRGR. *Hyphens are treated as spaces. Apostrophes are ignored.

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2 weeks ago

Feature: My inbox paraphrased

The Flare Path: A2Z

A is for Alphabetised wargame and sim news. Every four weeks or so I hang up a streamer of industrial strength fly paper in The Flare Path dunny and see what wargame and simulation news stories adhere to it. Below is this month's bag - 25 bite-size stories involving virtual vehicles and surrogate slaughter. If you wince when someone calls a locomotive a train, and…

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3 weeks ago

The Foxer

The 127-cell honeycomb below is a fancy form of wordsearch in which every cell is used, and words can curl and zigzag but never overlap. Each hive foxer has a theme (some previous ones: sheep, mazes, The 39 Steps, and Doom). Identifying this theme is a vital part of the defoxing process. Today’s puzzle is made up of 18 answers.

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Feature: Marvels I missed

The Flare Path: Sidetracked by Steam

I'm not sure if it was a consequence of the redesign or simply a result of restlessness on my part, but last weekend I found myself doing something I rarely do - scrolling through the list of games Steam 'thought' I might enjoy. Three of the Learning Machine's suggestions did indeed float my LCT, in fact they floated it to such an extent that I've…

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4 weeks ago

The Foxer

Roman and Joyce always have a jigsaw puzzle on the go. Their current undertaking is a montage of book illustrations sliced into 10k pieces by one of Rooksburger’s slightly blunt punching machines. Below are 36 pieces from that puzzle. Identify all the books to complete the defox.

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Feature: Embrace the octopus

Unity of Command 2 review

The awesome destructive might and continent-shrinking mobility of a WW2 army came with strings. While an antique army could fragment at will and locust everything it needed from the countryside it passed through, its 1939-45 equivalent was an essentially indivisible organism, a tangle of dangerous tentacles emanating from a cumbersome organ-clump of vital support staff, equipment, and stores. The unmissable Unity of Command 2 recognises…

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1 month ago

Feature: Demaster and Commander

The Flare Path: Games That Gruntle

What devilry is this – a Flare Path devoid of disgruntlement? Either I'm going Semtex-soft in my old age, or I've spent the week in the company of games so marvellous they could turn Moaning Minnies into Appreciative Annies simply by smiling at them. Readers, meet Unity of Command II and A Painted Ocean, two titles that buoy the spirit and massage the mind as…

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The Foxer

To completely defox today’s word chain you’ll need to provide Roman, my Chief Foxer Setter, with the sequence of 24 words suggested by the clues below.   A word can be any length and is linked to the next word in the chain by its last two or three letters. For instance ‘honeysuckle’ might be followed by‘leviathan’. ‘Handel’ could come next. Then ‘delta’. And so…

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Feature: Conflicts confronted

The Flare Path: New Wave Wargames

After decades of stasis, the landscape of computer wargaming is beginning to change. Here and there desert hexagons are greening... dry arroyos are becoming rivers again... the accumulated dust and debris of forty years of conservative thinking is being sluiced towards the sea. Tired of threadbare, truth-blurring conventions, imaginative devs are looking at war and warriors in fresh, arresting ways. In today's column, I talk…

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The Foxer

The 25 pictures in a cluster foxer are arranged in 5 discretely/discreetly themed clusters. Pictures in a particular cluster must be cardinally contiguous to be valid. For example, A1, B1, C1, D1, D2 is a possible cluster, unlike A2, B2, C2, D2, E3. To fully defox today’s enlargeable puzzle identify the themes and constituent images of all five clusters.

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2 months ago

Feature: Snippets of wargame and sim news

The Flare Path: A2Z

A is for Anticipating awesome AI. General Staff's AI sounds smarter than a sack of weasels. In a recent blog post Ezra Sidran describes how MATE, the upcoming American Civil War game's ersatz commander, works out which section of an enemy line it should “Schwerpunkt” during an attack. It “identifies the opposing force that must be dealt with to achieve its assigned objective, does strength…

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The Foxer

The 127-cell honeycomb below is a fancy form of wordsearch in which every cell is used, and words can curl and zigzag but never overlap. Each hive foxer has a theme (some previous ones: sheep, mazes, The 39 Steps, and Doom). Identifying this theme is a vital part of the defoxing process. Today’s puzzle is made up of 15 answers, one of which is an…

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The Foxer

Below is a list of ‘30 things wot you might find in a courtroom or courthouse’ (‘things’ is used in its broadest possible sense). Entries have been stripped of vowels and had any inter-word spaces repositioned. For example, if Perry Mason was present he might appear as PR RYMSN. Gavel would be GVL.

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Feature: “WTF is going on out there?”

Radio Commander review

Radio Commander is a lit thunderflash tossed through a barracks doorway at two in the morning. It's arriving at the firing range and finding all the rifles in bits at the bottom of treacle barrels. It's John Wayne dressed as a coelacanth conducting the Berlin Philharmonic. It's Dad's Army dubbed into Swahili. It's Polio The Musical... wasabi toothpaste... a Slush Puppie enema... Ho Chi Minh kicking…

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Feature: 1024 x 768 memories

The PC that time/Tim forgot

A combination of a bugged mission and a campaign as straight as a bamboo cane has put paid to my plan to review convention-flouting Vietnam War wargame Radio Commander this week (Expect analysis in next Friday's Flare Path assuming Serious Sim patch promptly). The closest thing I have to a 'Plan B' is a tad self-indulgent but will, I hope, prove moderately entertaining. I'd like to show…

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The Foxer

Roman and Joyce always have a jigsaw puzzle on the go. Their current undertaking is an animal montage sliced into 10k pieces by one of Rooksburger’s slightly blunt punching machines. Below are 36 pieces from that puzzle. Identify all the animals (Species required. "Some sort of antelope" won't wash.) to complete the defox.

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