A Warbands: Bushido battle narrative
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 »
Communal Combat Mission
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 »
Are you ready to order?
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 »
A Yom Kippur War yAARn
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 »
Wargame & simulation blather
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 »
2-1 up with 45 minutes left to play
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 »
30 years a wargamer and I still can't spell 'reconaissance'
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 »