Posts Tagged ‘AAR’

Communal Combat Mission: Turn 4

Every year in The Flare Path I run a communal Combat Mission skirmish in which RPS readers attempt to outwit and outfight CM’s decidedly dangerous AI. Turns span 60 seconds and rarely go according to plan. Late-war and Eastern Front, this year’s scrap centres on a German-held Baltic port. It’s been three turns since the commenter-controlled Soviets left their deployment zones, and things are just starting to hot up… Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path Welcomes Combative Commenters

I was tempted to explore Nineteenth Century warfare or try something operational for this year’s play-by-comment wargaming marathon, but after surveying my game collection and conducting experiments, found myself gravitating towards Battlefront’s oeuvre and WW2 once again. When it comes to generating gripping unscripted dramas I reckon first-generation Combat Mission is peerless, and that clever WEGO turn structure (the orders of both sides are executed simultaneously) might have been designed with communal combat choreography and episodic AAR writing in mind.

If The Battle of the Perfectly Rectangular Olive Grove is any guide, the coming scrap will play out at approximately 1TPD. Every 24 hours, the Red Army troops and armoured vehicles under your control will experience 60 in-game seconds of Eastern Front hell. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Horatian Ode

B-17: Queen of the Skies is a solitaire board wargame that talked its way past the RPS platform police with help from this VASSAL module and this emulator. The star of my current game is a Liberator called Infinite Horace II. Crewed by Tim ‘Stonewall’ Stone and nine FP readers (JFS – nose turret gunner, Eightball – bombardier, phuzz – navigator, JB – co-pilot, bsplines – engineer/top turret gunner, unacom – radio operator/waist gunner, Lord Byte – ball turret gunner, Rorschach617 Snowskeeper – waist gunner, Shiloh – tail turret gunner) this is the story of Horace’s eighth and ninth missions. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Must Stop Skirmishing

Samurai slaughtered Shermans at last night’s FP game awards. Slitherine’s Sengoku Jidai won Best Wargame of 2016, Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun won Best Strategy Game, and Warbands: Bushido bagged Most Promising Early Access Game. Though it’s short of maps and exclusively multiplayer at the moment (a sizeable solo campaign is imminent) Red Unit’s katana-crammed tactical TBS is already dangerously distracting. This week’s column is an attempt to explain the allure of WB’s bijou battle ballets. Beyond the break is an account of a typical scrap – ten minutes of brisk skirmish converted into two thousand words for your entertainment and edification. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Welcomes Combative Commenters Again

Click to go to latest turn.

The Flare Path’s first attempt at play-by-comment Combat Mission proved rather exciting. Over the course of five days mountains of orders were issued, multiple Shermans were slain, and numerous fingernails were nibbled. I think it’s about time we had a second scrap. Anyone fancy a spot of sandy skirmishing courtesy of the olden-but-golden Combat Mission: Afrika Korps? Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Welcomes Combative Commenters

Hefty, persuasive, and reeking of spruce-scented Eau de Ardennes, the new Bulge-themed Combat Mission unquestionably deserves a Flare Path After Action Report. The trouble is, after seven days of snowy slaughter, fraught forest probes and costly cottage clearing, I’m now in no fit state to shepherd Shermans or put plucky pixeltruppen in harm’s way. Worn to a frazzle by delicate tactical decision-making and teeth-rattling mortar stonks, I’ve totally exhausted my capacity for command. There is a battle yarn waiting below the break, but to unspool it I’m going to need your help. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Bee-Eater Beelines

Campaign Series: Middle-East 1948-1985 wasn’t one of 2015’s bolder wargames. A repaired, refurbished and reinforced version of a dusty TalonSoft disappointment, it was an easy title to overlook and underestimate. I’ve been playing it a lot recently, and, though the £30 price-tag still feels a tad cheeky, its likeable mix of relatively obscure wars, decent AI, and nicely judged complexity (think thinking man’s Panzer General) has convinced me that a Flare Path battle commentary is in order. That empty chair there is yours if you want it, all I ask is that you refrain from backseat brasshatting and don’t guffaw too loudly when I blunder. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Black Sea Battlecast

Phone switched off? Bladder empty? Puffed corn snacks to hand? I only ask because last time The Flare Path ran a Combat Mission battle commentary, I seem to recall you missed that amazing turn where I dropped a mortar bomb down the hatch of an unbuttoned King Tiger then wiped out an entire squad of Fallschirmjäger with a single ricocheting ATR round.

I can’t promise jammy Tiger II kills or preposterous PTRD shots today (Combat Mission Black Sea imagines a contemporary conflict involving Ukraine, Russia and the US) but the combination of CM’s hi-res ballistics and my tactical hamfistedness is sure to generate the odd “Gosh!” and “Well I never!” Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: A Rumble Of Thunder (Part Two)

The samovars have gone cold. The cigarette-smoke butterflies have dispersed. The commissar is starting to scribble names in his little red notebook… it’s time my intrepid but incompetently led Combat Mission: Red Thunder Soviets roused themselves and got on with the second part of the Battle of Baronovichi. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: A Rumble Of Thunder

Anyone eager to spend a modest portion of their Friday shaking their head and tutting while a tactical halfwit sends virtual Soviet soldiers to their deaths, is in luck. A lend-lease version of the close-to-release Combat Mission: Red Thunder‎ has just been craned onto my bustling quay by my bustling stevedore, Steve Dore. Give me a second to finish my molotov cocktail, quietflowsthedon my ushanka, and retrieve my Bumper Book of Annoying Russian Clichés, and we can get started. Read the rest of this entry »

Hands On: Sir, You Are Being Hunted

You can’t survive 15 years in the writing-about-games business without understanding the importance of magnanimity. Just because Jim & Co. have, thus far, failed to implement any of my Sir, You Are Being Hunted improvement suggestions doesn’t mean I’m sulkily cold-shouldering their Hammer-House-of-Hannay creeping-around-on-the-moors game. Just because Sir’s player-protagonist still isn’t a) A downed Luftwaffe pilot endeavouring to retrieve and destroy parts of a top-secret radar jammer, b) King Charles II fleeing to France across a Britain crawling with ruthless Robo-Roundheads, or c) A hedgepig the like of which Wiltshire has never seen the like of which, didn’t stop me spending the weekend with the latest alpha. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Elegant Elefanticide

How rude. I sidle off to the seaside for a week of sun, sand, and saucy postcard scrutiny and instead of downing tools and waiting patiently for my return, the World’s wargame workshops and sim smithies press on regardless. Combat Mission’s assault on the Gustav Line appears to have commenced in my absence. DoorKickers’ doorkickers are now toting sledgehammers and breaching charges. Blimey, even the forest-furrowingly brilliant Spintires seems to be on the verge of slithering out of the Siberian slough where it’s been bogged for ages. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Refleks Action

For the last twenty years Eagle Dynamics have been turning complicated contemporary warbirds into complicated contemporary warbird sims. In their latest DCS World add-on, flight is optional and cold start cold sweat highly unlikely. Half real-time wargame, half barebones tank sim, Combined Arms is a game that anyone however dense, work-shy, or prone to airsickness can enjoy. Need proof? Here’s a battle tale from a dense, work-shy, airsickness sufferer. Read the rest of this entry »

Heavily Engaged: 101 – Airborne Invasion of Normandy

The replacement of today’s Flare Path with this tale of turn-based D-Day derring-do means one of two things. Either Interpol has finally worked out the identity of Red Shrike (highly unlikely) or Yours Grudgingly has been persuaded to brave rain, family, and unfamiliar chip-shops, and Go On Holiday. Assuming I’m currently sunning myself on some storm-lashed British beach, normal FP service will resume next week. In the meantime why not sit back and feign interest while I regale you with another wargame-generated battle ballad.

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The Flare Path: Set To Idle

Has anybody seen a brown and white Protestant Work Ethic, about this big? He answers to the name of Scamp. I was walking him in the park yesterday morning when the little so-and-so ran off. I’ve contemplated searching for him, and I was going to print some ‘LOST’ posters, and stick them up in the local area, but – well – I just don’t seem to have got round to it yet. Right now, I’m not even sure I can summon-up the gumption to tell you about the delights of Combat Mission: Battle For Normandy Commonwealth Forces and Accu-Feel. Read the rest of this entry »

Heavily Engaged: Waterloo

Turn to page 20 of Flight Simulator X’s pathetic excuse for a printed manual and you’ll see a credits list of around 160 names. To my knowledge only one of those names belongs to a wargame design visionary. Quite what Peter Turcan contributed to the final FS isn’t made clear (‘User Experience’ covers a lot of territory). To understand what he contributed to computer wargaming, you need look no further than 21-year-old watershed Waterloo. Read the rest of this entry »

Heavily Engaged: Panzer General 2

Three of PC wargaming’s most succulent fruit reached ripeness in the same fortnight in autumn 1997. Having featured Sid Meier’s Gettysburg! and Close Combat 2 in the last two Heavily Engageds, it only seems right that the subject of this week’s rumble reportage is the third of the trio. Beyond the jump is a world of hard-won hexagons, coveted core units, and tight timetables. Ready a salute, you are about to enter the command tent of Panzer General 2. Read the rest of this entry »

Heavily Engaged: Close Combat 2

This week’s battle broadcast comes to you from a picturesque Dutch city on the banks of the Rhine. It’s September 1944, and a beleaguered force of British paratroopers, clinging by their fingernails to positions around Arnhem’s strategically-vital road bridge, are about to participate in what could well turn out to be their final action. All that stands between the Red Berets and total annihilation is a couple of 6-pounder anti-tank guns, a flamethrower, two PIATs, a few dozen Stens and Lee-Enfield rifles, and one mediocre wargamer who has known and loved Close Combat 2: A Bridge Too Far for the best part of 14 years.

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Heavily Engaged: Sid Meier’s Gettysburg!

Being the oldest RPS contributor has certain advantages. You can attend preview events in un-ironic cardigans, you can admit to finding 90% of manshoots deadly dull, and best of all, you get to sit in the RPS rocking chair and regale the young’uns with tales of wargaming glory. That’s what Heavily Engaged is all about. Over the next month or so, I’ll be giving a selection of the worthiest military strategy games on my shelves, the AAR treatment. Expect lashings of martial drama, tactical blunders aplenty (it’s a while since I last played some of these), and maybe even a little dash of post-result historical analysis. Read the rest of this entry »

Norman Conquest: A Combat Mission AAR

This way to victory

Hampshire – well, my little corner of it – is all fire and brimstones at present. A Spring-enthused Mother Nature is providing the Brimstones. A preview build of Battlefront’s Combat Mission: Battle For Normandy is supplying the fire. Beyond the html hedgerow below, you’ll find a first-hand account of my second brush with this realism-rammed game-o’-war. Fingers-crossed, you’ll also find numerous pictures of kaput Panzers and surrendering Stormtruppen. Read the rest of this entry »