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 »
Dodging the eel spear
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 »
Simulation & wargame blather
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 »