Author Archive

The Flare Path: Jump Jets For Goalposts

dandelion00

In order to justify that tortured title and maintain the illusion that The Flare Path is primarily a simulations and wargames column, today’s out-of-character love letter to a football game will follow a quick news round-up involving Harriers, Manx motorcycle combinations, Old West wheelslip, Interwar warship design, and American Civil War ambition.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Foxer

hivefoxerDoom

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 unique theme (some past themes: roses, gold, postage stamps…) Identifying this theme is a vital part of the defoxing process. Today’s puzzle contains 24 words 23 words and one acronym.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: This and That

commandofthesea00

The mighty Tirpitz spent most of her short life skulking in Norwegian fjords. Fuel shortages and Kriegsmarine caution meant she never braved the Denmark Strait or traded shells with a truly worthy opponent. To get a feel for what the Bismarck’s sister ship might have achieved had she been employed more aggressively, you need a game like Command of the Sea. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Gongs and Gripes

flarepath01

Although Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord doesn’t do medals, The Flare Path does. If you’ve been following the fortunes of Caent’s doughty defenders for the past three weeks, you may be interested to learn that a) the scenario used is now available for download, and b) several units involved in the action were decorated for their efforts.

(This week’s FP also includes some impressions of 303 Squadron: Battle of Britain, an Early Access air combat game that’s more Defiant than Spitfire at the moment.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Overlordy: Turn 20

overlordyturn20aa

When it comes to scenario durations, CMBO is as pedantic as a parks department pedalo führer. Unlike its successors, it always halts battles at precisely the advertised time. Overlordy will have no false dawns… no painfully extended death rattle. The defence of Caent will end in exactly sixty seconds’ time.

(Overlordy is a 20-turn open-to-all game of Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord in which German forces are orchestrated by commenters while British units are computer controlled. For a scenario outline and summaries of earlier turns, click here). Read the rest of this entry »

Overlordy: Turn 19

overlordyturn19a

Of all the German units involved in this turn’s tussling, none makes a more valuable contribution to our questionable cause than the PSW armoured car.

Which is a trifle odd considering the PSW was slain by a Stuart back in Turn 6.

(Overlordy is a 20-turn open-to-all game of Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord in which German forces are orchestrated by commenters while British units are computer controlled. For a scenario outline and summaries of earlier turns, click here). Read the rest of this entry »

Overlordy: Turn 18

overlordyturn18aa

During yesterday’s minute of mayhem the unsporting Brits sprung an aerial surprise on the Comment Commanders. A Hawker hoodlum rustled treetops with its slipstream and slew Soldaten with its bomb load. As the Tiffy was probably after our precious Hetzer tank destroyer, there’s a chance it will return for a second attempt before Overlordy is over.

(Overlordy is a 20-turn, open-to-all game of Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord in which German forces are orchestrated by commenters while British units are computer controlled. For a scenario outline and summaries of earlier turns, click here). Read the rest of this entry »

Overlordy: Turn 17

overlordyturn17aa

Outnumbered and facing fearsome Allied siege engines like the Churchill AVRE and Wasp flamethrower, Caent’s dwindling band of German defenders is beginning to give ground. Or perhaps “relinquish ground” would be more accurate. The behaviour of our forces during the last couple of turns has been anything but acquiescent.

(Overlordy is an open-to-all game of Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord in which German forces are orchestrated by commenters while British units are computer controlled. For a scenario outline and summaries of earlier turns, click here). Read the rest of this entry »

Overlordy: Turn 16

overlordyturn16a

Combat Mission’s WEGO turn structure (Battles are delivered in sixty-second bursts with leisurely order sessions in between the intervention-free ‘action phases’) might have been designed with play-by-comment one-turn-per-day play sessions in mind, but that’s not why I rely on the series for these mob-handed martial marathons. I keep coming backing to CM, and the CMx1 titles in particular, because I don’t know of any other wargames that produce plausible WW2 drama so consistently and industriously.

(Overlordy is an open-to-all game of Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord in which German forces are orchestrated by commenters while British units are computer controlled. For a scenario outline and summaries of earlier turns, click here).

Read the rest of this entry »

Overlordy: Turn 15

overlordyturn15a

Your requests for turn reports incorporating moving images have been noted. While Overlordy will remain an exclusively words and jpegs affair, reportage for next year’s communal CM marathon will, touch wood, incorporate some video highlights. If I’d had a cine camera during the complicated, chaotic turn recounted below, I suspect it would have spent most of its time ogling the action swirling around Larcher, our doughty, seemingly indestructible pioneer leader.

(Overlordy is an open-to-all game of Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord in which German forces are orchestrated by commenters while British units are computer controlled. For a scenario outline and summaries of earlier turns, click here). Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: No Respite

blacksnow00b

War-weary after fourteen days of communal Combat Mission battle reports? Today’s competition and collection of news stories probably won’t help. Apart from a bit of Deadstick pre-alpha footage, and a poor-quality phone snap of two de Havilland beauties I encountered on a recent excursion, everything in today’s FP indirectly celebrates state-sanctioned murder.

Read the rest of this entry »

Overlordy: Turn 14

overlordyturn14a

Thus far the Comment Commanders have sustained very few infantry casualties. In the west the bulk of Lt. Nerbul’s rifle platoon, together with a flamethrower team, wait patiently for the Englanders to emerge from ‘West Wood’. In the centre, Larcher’s pioneers are in the process of evacuating the blazing hotel, while, close-by, the lion’s share of Schenck’s recently arrived paratroopers endeavour to influence the furious firefight raging in the middle of Caent. During the course of Turn 14 one part of this tiny tank-short Kampfgruppe goes from intact to in tatters.

(Overlordy is an open-to-all game of Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord in which German forces are orchestrated by commenters while British units are computer controlled. For a scenario outline and summaries of earlier turns, click here). Read the rest of this entry »

Overlordy: Turn 13

overlordyturn13aa

There’s a firebug loose in Caent. Last turn it torched the village’s oldest/holiest building. This turn it… well, if you heed the red recommendation below, you’ll find out.

(Overlordy is an open-to-all game of Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord in which German forces are orchestrated by commenters while British units are computer controlled. There’s a scenario outline plus summaries of earlier turns here). Read the rest of this entry »

Overlordy: Turn 12

overlordyturn12a

Operation Overlord’s rising tide is lapping against the ivied walls of the hotel in the centre of Caent. Though every room is occupied and the sign on the door clearly says “COMPLET” the British seem determined to stay there. Perhaps a blizzard of Maschinenpistole fire laced with the odd Stielhandgranate will persuade them to look elsewhere for accommodation.

(Overlordy is an open-to-all game of Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord in which German forces are orchestrated by commenters while British units are computer controlled. For a scenario outline and summaries of earlier turns, click here).

Read the rest of this entry »

Overlordy: Turn 11

overlordyturn11a

“If you want something done right, do it yourself!” mutters Unteroffizier Stein as he snatches the bag containing C Squad’s last demolition charge and darts out of the door of the hotel. Seconds later he scampers back into the lobby without his burden and with a seething cloud of dust and smoke in hot pursuit.

(Overlordy is an open-to-all game of Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord in which German forces are orchestrated by commenters while British units are computer controlled. For a scenario outline and summaries of earlier turns, click here). Read the rest of this entry »

Overlordy: Turn 10

overlordyturn10a

Things are really hotting up in this year’s communal Combat Mission clash. During the weekend, the British stopped probing and began pushing. When the clock froze yesterday, our Pak 38 AT gun had a Cromwell’s rump in its sights, the Hetzer was disentangling itself from a dispiriting duel with a Churchill, and our off-map mortar battery was doing its best to break up a worrying enemy infantry concentration in the centre of the map.

(Overlordy is an open-to-all game of Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord in which German forces are orchestrated by commenters while British units are computer controlled. For a scenario outline and summaries of earlier turns, click here) Read the rest of this entry »

Overlordy: Turn 9

overlordyturn09a

After a slow start the Allied juggernaut is now within spitting distance of Caent. Turn 9 promises to be eventful. Can the Comment Commanders’ thinly spread anti-tank assets blunt the British spear? Can their off-map mortar battery splinter its human shaft? Let’s find out.

(Overlordy is an open-to-all game of Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord in which German forces are orchestrated by commenters while British units are computer controlled. For a scenario outline and summaries of earlier turns, click here) Read the rest of this entry »