Wargame: Red Dragon was announced at last year's Gamescom, but there was very little to see of Eugen's latest large-scale real-time tactics game. Maybe nothing? I don't know, I wasn't really there. Now the first teaser trailer has been released and it has boom, bakoosh, skadoosh, krekekkkckckck, ra-tt-tt-tt, fwoosh, skrooooosh and fump-fump-fump. Even the YouTube logos at the end make exciting war noises.
The Wargame series has the scale of Supreme Commander, the dynamic campaigns of Dawn of War: Dark Crusade, the tactical nous of Eugen's own RUSE, and it seems there's a new entry in the series every year. I'm pretty sure we should all be playing these games.
As the name suggests, Red Dragon is the first Wargame to take the series out of Europe and set it instead in Asia. It's still a Cold War-ish affair, this time set between 1975 and 1991, but with 450 new units including tanks and planes from China and North Korea. Multiplayer returns also, for up to 20 players.
I haven't played these games, but I want so badly to play these games, except that I haven't played these games. Everyone I know is in a similar position, so let's examine these feelings a little.
Why I want so badly to play these games
- War is cool.
- They look pretty.
- They've got big wars in. Big wars are the most impressive wars.
- RUSE, which Eugen developed, was excellent. It was a World War 2-set RTS in which deception was part of your active abilities. Poker was the metaphor used: you could spread misinformation to make it look to your multiplayer opponent as if you were sending tanks one way, when actually it was a clever ruse, and your tanks were already outside their base. It was tactically intelligent, original, very pretty, and a lot of its tech and ideas are present in Wargame.
- Everyone I know who has played them says they're good, including The Flare Path's Tim Stone.
- Dynamic campaigns are boss.
Why I haven't played these games
- Very few people I know have played it, though they all say they want to.
- It's called Wargame. The last one was called Wargame: AirLand Battle. I know where that comes from, but it's a bit like naming your shooter Shootergame: ManJeep Fight. Questgame: OrcsElves Loot. (John: "Adventuregame: InventoryClick Wait". Adam: "Artgame: AbstractSorrow Observe"). I guess more broadly there's a thematic issue: I don't care about the setting that much. It feels like the theme for this strategy war game is "war and strategy".
- They've got big wars in. Big wars are the most time-consuming wars.
- I'm lazy????
Red Dragon looks exciting, but obviously I'm ill-equipped to make a decision. Decisions. So I'm willing to hand control over my life to the commenters. We're all friends. Should I throw down tools and go play AirLand Battle right now? Should I wait and start with Red Dragon? Don't make me do something I'll regret, but I could play one of ALB over the weekend...