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Posts tagged “The Flare Path”

Feature: The parable of the greedy engine driver

The Flare Path: Derail Valley Diary

My favourite Thomas the Tank Engine book is 'Zlatko the Shunter', the one where Thomas travels to Yugoslavia for his holidays, makes friends with a Series 621, and becomes a committed market socialist. Sadly, the little orange Zlatkos that are everywhere in Derail Valley: Overhauled have nothing to say on the subject of planned economies, worker self-management, and the perils of unchecked incentivisation. If they…

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Feature: Poundshop PC games

The Flare Path: Steam Snips

When I was a teenager buying a budget computer game involved pedalling your penny-farthing along cobbled streets until you happened upon a branch of GAME, Electronics Boutique, WHSmith, or Woolworths, entering said store, selecting a hardback-sized box largely filled with air, and then handing a shop assistant a crumpled banknote with a picture of Florence Nightingale on one side. Today, my penny-farthing sits rusting in…

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Feature: Thoughts on 1272010, 1227530, 1341170 and 873840

The Flare Path: Fletchers and Forklifts

Thinking about making a U-boat game? Unless you've some quirky new angle or have a mind to model WWI U-boats my advice would be don't. The genre is as rammed as a freshly sealed sardine can at the moment. First-time devs Iron Wolf have the right idea. Instead of following their well-reviewed co-op board game about Kriegsmarine convoy molesters with a PC take on the same…

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Feature: A round-up of the realistic

The Flare Path: A2Z

A is for Alphabetised wargame and sim news. Every four weeks or so I hang up a streamer of industrial strength fly paper in The Flare Path water closet and see what wargame and simulation news items stick to it. Below is this month’s bag – 25 stories, most of which involve virtual vehicles and surrogate slaughter. If you’ve visited a transport museum or heritage…

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Feature: Cull cussing cowboys creatively

Desperados 3 review

Claymore Game Studios, the newly formed outfit tasked with reviving the Commandos franchise, is in need of an Unreal Engine expert, a 3D artist, a 3D animator, and a senior level designer. Whoever secures the latter job will, if they are sensible, do nothing their first week except watch old war movies and play Desperados III. Proving that the superb Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun…

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Feature: Return of the king?

The Flare Path: MicroProse Memories

Having imprisoned you in his dungeon in the bowels of Mount Olympus, Emesdos, the Greek god of computer gaming, asks his customary question. You ponder for a few seconds, more out of seemliness than necessity, before responding with an unequivocal “MicroProse!”. If you have to spend Eternity playing the oeuvre of just one developer/publisher, then obviously that oeuvre has to be the one that includes…

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Feature: A life aloft

The Flare Path Talks to a Test Pilot

Near the top of my ‘Things to do when lockdown ends’ list is ‘Visit my local public library’. Obviously I'm missing its extensive history and transport sections, and the profound feeling of well-being that comes from being surrounded by the printed word, but there are other draws too. You can meet very interesting people in libraries. People like John Williams.I struck up a conversation with…

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Feature: A round-up of the realistic

The Flare Path: A2Z

A is for Alphabetised wargame and sim news. Every four weeks or so I hang up a streamer of industrial strength fly paper in The Flare Path water closet and see what wargame and simulation news items stick to it. Below is this month’s bag – 25 stories, most of which involve virtual vehicles and surrogate slaughter. If you’ve visited a transport museum or heritage…

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Feature: Colonel Croesus commences

The Flare Path welcomes combative commenters

Peter Peiper picked a pack of pickled Panzergrenadiers. A pack of pickled Panzergrenadiers Peter Peiper picked. If Peter Peiper picked a pack of pickled Panzergrenadiers, Where's the pack of pickled Panzergrenadiers Peter Peiper picked?Apologies - you've caught me limbering up in readiness for the exertions to come. For the next fortnight I'll be chronicling, with daily battle reports, The Flare Path's sixth experiment in co-op play-by-comment wargaming.…

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Feature: Belated birthday bash

The Flare Path: A Farrago of Foxers

The Flare Path turned eight last summer but was so busy doing the things eight-year-olds do (Stress-testing their ankles, baiting ghosts, drawing WW2 bombers with 17 simultaneously firing turrets...) that it forgot to celebrate in the traditional manner. Amends will be made today with the help of half a dozen puzzles and a cache of high-quality prizes donated by 2x2 Games, DeGenerals, Foolish Mortals, Ndemic…

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Feature: 3D in wargames – bane or boon?

The Flare Path Dimension Debate

Old friends of The Flare Path, Erwin Rommel and Bernard Montgomery, rarely agree about anything. Their latest difference of opinion is over the use of 3D graphics in PC wargames. Monty, as the following frank exchange of views makes clear, thinks polygons are about as much use in hexiana as feather dusters are in coal mines. The Desert Fox, in contrast, is rather partial to…

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Feature: Fug of war

Radio General review

Is now the moment to commit my reserve? Should I send my infantry down the road or through the forest? Do I have sufficient resources to take both villages or should I settle for just one? Many of the questions Radio General asks are as old as the Apennines. You will have encountered them countless times before. It's novel noggin warmers like “Where on earth is…

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Feature: A round-up of the realistic

The Flare Path: A2Z

A is for Alphabetised wargame and sim news. Every four weeks or so I hang up a streamer of industrial strength fly paper in The Flare Path water closet and see what wargame and simulation news items stick to it. Below is this month’s bag – 25 stories involving virtual vehicles and surrogate slaughter. If you've visited a transport museum or heritage railway in the…

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Feature: Panzer Corps 2 reconnoitred

The Flare Path: Unhexceptional

What do Slitherine's latest piece of hexiana and the coronavirus crisis have in common? They both invite comparisons with WW2, but, on close inspection, bear little resemblance to the 1939-45 conflict. Panzer Corps 2 is as stout as a Sturmtiger and perfectly capable of accelerating clock hands and monopolising cerebra, but loyalty to its predecessors means most of the time it feels more like a…

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Feature: Panzer Corps 2 substitutes for the stony broke

The Flare Path: Priceless Victories

Wondering whether the latest in a long line of Panzer General descendants is worth 405 Botswana Pula or, to put it in terms easier to grasp, 4041 Albanian Lek? Me too. I should know by next Friday, assuming I can drag myself away from the quartet of WW2 wargames I've been using as wallet-kind appetite whetters. If Panzer Corps 2 is to drop a fascine…

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Feature: Qualified Ultimate Admiral admiration

The Flare Path: Dogs and Lobsters

I pride myself on being able to spot game flaws lickety-split, but it took me two whole days to put my finger on Ultimate Admiral: Age of Sail's key shortcoming. Game-Labs' new surf-and-turf RTS is horribly, unforgivably, short of dinosaurs. Compare and contrast:A) Having landed on a small tropical island to gather fresh fruit and fill water barrels, the crew of HMS Vortigaunt run into…

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Feature: “Beat to quarters”

The Flare Path: Fourtastes

You don't need to be Sherlock Holmes or my favourite Sherlock Holmes substitute John Thorndyke to work out which games I've been playing this week. A quick browse of my pocket diary will tell you all you need to know. Feb 28: Refurbished Afghan petrol station. Feb 29: Stood in chilly field waiting for Flying Scotsman. March 1: Lost the Battle of the Denmark Strait…

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Feature: Antony Beevor never mentioned this

The Flare Path: Broken Lines

If your hometown is full of Pilsner-swilling Schützen at the moment, if you can't pass a pub without hearing strains of 'Lili Marlene', or walk down a tram aisle without tripping over a Karabiner 98k butt, blame the makers of Broken Lines. Realising that the Wehrmacht was desperately in need of some time off, thoughtful Danish developer PortaPlay has left them out of the £20…

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Feature: "A veritable TARDIS"

The Flare Path: A2Z

A is for Alphabetised wargame and sim news. Every four weeks or so I hang up a streamer of industrial strength fly paper in The Flare Path water closet and see what wargame and simulation news items stick to it. Below is this month’s bag – 25 stories involving virtual vehicles and surrogate slaughter. If you know what the G stands for in TGV, or…

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Feature: “Morale? Personally, I am not a fan.”

The Flare Path talks Task Force Admiral

For a man patently hellbent on developing the most realistic Pacific Theatre of Operations wet wargame ever, French flat-top fan 'Amiral Crapaud' uses the 'R' word extremely sparingly. Still at least a year away*, Task Force Admiral Volume 1: American Carrier Battles is a project with ancient touchstones, but a thoroughly modern approach to graphics, physics, and what Carl von Clausewitz called “friction”. I've high…

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