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Posts tagged “The Flare Path”

Feature: Embrace the octopus

Unity of Command 2 review

The awesome destructive might and continent-shrinking mobility of a WW2 army came with strings. While an antique army could fragment at will and locust everything it needed from the countryside it passed through, its 1939-45 equivalent was an essentially indivisible organism, a tangle of dangerous tentacles emanating from a cumbersome organ-clump of vital support staff, equipment, and stores. The unmissable Unity of Command 2 recognises…

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Feature: Demaster and Commander

The Flare Path: Games That Gruntle

What devilry is this – a Flare Path devoid of disgruntlement? Either I'm going Semtex-soft in my old age, or I've spent the week in the company of games so marvellous they could turn Moaning Minnies into Appreciative Annies simply by smiling at them. Readers, meet Unity of Command II and A Painted Ocean, two titles that buoy the spirit and massage the mind as…

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Feature: Conflicts confronted

The Flare Path: New Wave Wargames

After decades of stasis, the landscape of computer wargaming is beginning to change. Here and there desert hexagons are greening... dry arroyos are becoming rivers again... the accumulated dust and debris of forty years of conservative thinking is being sluiced towards the sea. Tired of threadbare, truth-blurring conventions, imaginative devs are looking at war and warriors in fresh, arresting ways. In today's column, I talk…

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Feature: Snippets of wargame and sim news

The Flare Path: A2Z

A is for Anticipating awesome AI. General Staff's AI sounds smarter than a sack of weasels. In a recent blog post Ezra Sidran describes how MATE, the upcoming American Civil War game's ersatz commander, works out which section of an enemy line it should “Schwerpunkt” during an attack. It “identifies the opposing force that must be dealt with to achieve its assigned objective, does strength…

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Feature: “WTF is going on out there?”

Radio Commander review

Radio Commander is a lit thunderflash tossed through a barracks doorway at two in the morning. It's arriving at the firing range and finding all the rifles in bits at the bottom of treacle barrels. It's John Wayne dressed as a coelacanth conducting the Berlin Philharmonic. It's Dad's Army dubbed into Swahili. It's Polio The Musical... wasabi toothpaste... a Slush Puppie enema... Ho Chi Minh kicking…

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Feature: 1024 x 768 memories

The PC that time/Tim forgot

A combination of a bugged mission and a campaign as straight as a bamboo cane has put paid to my plan to review convention-flouting Vietnam War wargame Radio Commander this week (Expect analysis in next Friday's Flare Path assuming Serious Sim patch promptly). The closest thing I have to a 'Plan B' is a tad self-indulgent but will, I hope, prove moderately entertaining. I'd like to show…

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Feature: Le Bocage aux Folles

Close Combat – The Bloody First review

Anyone who has poured hundreds - thousands - of hours of hard work into Close Combat: The Bloody First and has the skin of an Opel Blitz rather than a Jagdtiger risks taking a substantial morale hit if they read beyond paragraph ten of this review. After telling you about the ways CCTBF is superior to its august ancestors, I'm going to tell you about the…

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Feature: Close Combat is back

The Flare Path: Thicker Than Water

How much of Close Combat's charm emanated from its blood-spattered sprites and non-negotiable shoegazy camera? We're about to find out. Close Combat: The Bloody First, Matrix Games' seven-years-in-development 3D sequel releases next Thursday. In preparation for the big day, I've been playing the heck out of a preview build that contains a third of the game's full complement of 36 battles. While my time in…

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Feature: Why are there no Operation Banner games?

The Flare Path: An Invisible Insurgency

I've been superintending Saracens, Saladins, and Scouts in the Fulda Gap for the last few days courtesy of Armored Brigade (this column concludes with some thoughts on the current state of the game plus a competition with two expanded copies as prizes). This restricted play diet in combination with some compelling TV documentaries has turned my thoughts to the Troubles, a conflict that my extensive…

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Feature: Alphabetised snippets of sim and wargaming news

The Flare Path: A2Z

A is for Antediluvian art. Go to iEntertainment for your WarBirds 2020 information and you're sure to come away unimpressed. The pics on show here suggest this imminent MMO sequel is going to stick out like a Sopwith Camel in a sky full of Spitfires and Bf 109s when it appears this autumn. Confusingly, cockpit images recently tweeted by resurrected developer MicroProse give a very different impression.

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Feature: A rivet runs through it

The Flare Path: Fish Tanks

Since getting struck on the side of the head by a speeding cricket ball at the age of eleven, my neighbour, Keith Kincaid, has been interested in only two things - fire engines and the music of Nana Mouskouri. If that fateful leather-sheathed sphere had clouted his coronal suture a smidgen higher, Keith would, according to my well-thumbed copy of Dr Melvin Pewsey's Brain Atlas,…

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Feature: First impressions of Fantasy General 2

The Flare Path: Operation Barbarouser

Stukas in ill-fitting Roc costumes, Sturmtigers with “I am a Stone Giant” painted on their sides, Wirbelwinds in long blonde wigs, talking pidgin Elvish... there was a slight danger Fantasy General II was going to end up inheriting more DNA from its publisher's back catalogue than the 1996 classic I eulogised in May. Having roamed Aer aggressively and quizzically for the past two days, I'm…

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Feature: Battles For Spain review

The Flare Path: Homage to Catatonia

Being a left-leaning teenager in Britain during the 1980s wasn't particularly dangerous. You might pick up the odd knock during a fractious anti-apartheid or pro miners march, or accidentally scald yourself with clumsily poured carrot and coriander soup during a CND rally, but the chances of serious injury and death were slim. Commitment to the cause fifty years earlier meant something very different. Of the…

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Feature: A Quitting Qatab epilogue

The Flare Path: Quandaries and Q-Ships

The NATO peacekeepers might have failed to keep the peace in make-believe Gulf state, Qatab, but judging by the comments generated by my daily sitreps during the past three weeks, they did manage to keep some of you entertained and on the edge of your seats, so perhaps their deployment wasn't a complete waste of time. Yesterday morning, dislodged by the shockwave from an exploding T-72, the curtain fell on…

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Feature: Alphabetised sim and wargaming news

The Flare Path: A2Z

A is for Apology. Sorry. Wordblind and weary after two weeks of non-stop battle narration I very much doubt I'll get as far as Z today. Please spend the time you would have spent Flare Path perusing doing something equally worthwhile such as finishing that design for a solitaire board game about swallow migration you've been working on for the past seven years.

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Quitting Qatab: Turn 7

Apologies. I may have misinterpreted and thus misrepresented the marketplace skirmish. It's possible that the enemy anti-tankist on the roof at redg44 has no beef whatsoever with Stone's snipers. He may just have a thing against hotels. He's certainly eccentric. Having used up all his RPG-29 rockets in attacks on the Lux, the lightly wounded hotelaphobe unholsters his pistol and begins blazing away with that.…

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Feature: Quitting Qatab

The Flare Path welcomes combative commenters

While the inhabitants of High Ashton, Wiltshire have their annual hedgehog rolling competition, the residents of Balybridge, Cumbria their nettle wrestling day, and the people of Temple Habberjam, Dorset their combination cider festival/Papist hunt, the highlight of the year in the parish of Flare Path is a communal game of top-notch tactical war-em-up Combat Mission. Having relied on first generation Combat Mission titles for the…

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Feature: Pick the bones out of this

The Flare Path carps on

In Taosoft's upcoming fishing sim Zen Angler, rods, lines, hooks and bait are strictly forbidden. You stand around in beautifully recreated lakes, rivers, and lagoons waiting for beautifully recreated piscines the way a Venus flytrap waits for flies or a middle-aged flight simmer waits for a Crimson Skies sequel. As Taosoft haven't got around to releasing any screenshots yet, or writing any code, or learning how to code, I'm…

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Feature: Field of Glory: Empires appraised

The Flare Path Declines and Falls

Making bold statements about titles you've never played is a recipe for disaster in my line of work. I only do it when the risk of being wrong is infinitesimal. I can, for instance, tell you that waging war in Field of Glory: Empires is far more interesting than waging war in Imperator: Rome despite never having played the Paradox game. What I'm not prepared…

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Feature: Alphabetised sim and wargaming news

The Flare Path: A2Z

A is for Afghan annihilation. A British Army defeat so unexpected and complete it caused a Governor-General of India to suffer a stroke on hearing news of it, inspires Wars Across the World's newest module. In the 16-turn Gandamak 1842 (£2) a vicious kick up the Khyber Pass awaits British players unable to overcome the overlapping challenges of rugged terrain, harsh weather, vulnerable lines of…

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