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Posts tagged “The Flare Path”

Feature: Replenishing the Reading Room

The Flare Path: Phase 2

Thanks to money raised by the last Flare Path Funicular Fun Run, our somewhat neglected six-year-old Reading Room has recently gained a third wing. While the addition hasn't brought the climb and turn rate improvements that some wags predicted, Joyce, the Chief Librarian, couldn't be happier with the extra capacity. As she said to me this morning while surveying her new vacant tome tenements “We're…

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Feature: Difficult questions

The Flare Path: History or Victory?

The Special Prize at this year's foxerfest was guest editorship of Flare Path for a day. Winner Peter Arnott has chosen to use his 24 hours of authority to send this column to a locale it has never visited before. This week, in accordance with Peter's wishes, I've been thinking about difficulty in computer wargames. Although the Difficulty Compact between historical wargame creator and historical wargame consumer is…

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Feature: Your Friday realism ration

The Flare Path: Tankettes Etcetera

Perfect timing! After the Armored Brigade preview code shook the mothballs from my interest in post-WW2 Armoured Fighting Vehicles, along comes an unusually corpulent wargame demo absolutely packed with the things*. Lurking in this five-scenario Combat Mission: Shock Force 2 trial are not only modern warfare yeomen like the M1A1, Challenger 2, Leopard 2 and Bradley IFV, but rarely recreated exotics such as the pint-sized…

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Feature: Armored Brigade inspected

The Flare Path: Iron Curtain Call

Before the Su-17s showed up, the defence of Großenlüder was going like clockwork. Dug in behind wire and minefields, my Chieftains were dominating. Their poppy-brushing 120mm guns had barcoded the eastern horizon with pillars of black smoke. Nothing of Soviet manufacture had made it as far as the village, and nothing looked likely to. But then the napalm came. Tumbling canisters of molten lava delivered…

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Feature: Snippets of sim and wargaming news

The Flare Path: A2Z

A is for Attentat approbation The team behind the thought-provoking Attentat 1942 won't forget 2018 in a hurry. After a nomination for Excellence in Narrative at the IGF, the sleuth-em-up centred on the aftermath of Operation Anthropoid, swept the board at the Czech Game of the Year awards (Best Story, Best PC Game, and Czech Game of the Year) and scooped prizes at A MAZE…

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Feature: A surfeit and dearth of war

The Flare Path: Feast and Famine

SystemSoft, the devs behind Daisenryaku, Panzer General’s long-lived Japanese cousin, don't make a habit of courting English-speaking desktop generals. Quite why they've decided to sally across the platform border with Daisenryaku Perfect 4.0 is a mystery. You have to wonder whether there are enough deep-pocketed, rough-edge-tolerant nostalgics amongst Steam's customers to justify the experiment.

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Feature: A Wings Over The Reich diary (Part 1)

The Flare Path: Bigginings

Recently discovered, along with a silver-plated Luger, Shergar's noseband, and a 1940 copy of Razzle, in a hidden wall safe during a house demolition in Eastbourne, Neville Novichok's Wings Over the Reich memoirs were described as “vivid”, “utterly compelling” and “very cheap” by the bloke I purchased them from in the Dog and DUKW yesterday night. Though the few pages I've read thus far don't really justify such enthusiastic…

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Feature: Wings Over the Reich test-flown

The Flare Path: Merlinadequate?

Setting your new combat flight sim in beleaguered 1940 Britain is both a safe and a risky choice. Because helpful individuals have been producing publicity material for BoB sims for almost 80 years, most potential customers won't need to peruse a feature list or read a preview to realise that you're offering them a recreation of an air battle in which the stakes couldn't be…

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Feature: This and that

The Flare Path: Fragments

In all but one of the 32 airliner shootdown incidents listed on Wikipedia, the culprits have either owned up or been convincingly identified by subsequent investigations. Only in the case of Itavia Flight 870 does a shootdown remain veiled in mystery. Progetto Ustica, a free title from RIOT producer Ivan Venturi and games academic Mauro Salvador, sets out to remind and remember rather than lift…

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Feature: Buses and Blitzkrieg from Budapest

The Flare Path: Hungarian Edition

Hungarofacts! Budapest is actually two cities, Budap and Est, separated by a low privet hedge and profound mutual loathing. LVTs were nicknamed 'Magyars' because fully-loaded and silhouetted against  the skyline they resembled the outline of Hungary. Secretly dug during WW2, a three hundred kilometre subterranean tunnel linking Lake Balaton to the Adriatic allowed twelve submarines of the Hungarian Navy to defect to the Allies in…

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Feature: Wargame and simulation blather

The Flare Path: Infinite Patience

Patience Scullion's Patience Treasury (1942) might not be the most comprehensive collection of patience rules ever published but, for my money, it's the best. What sets the volume apart is the way it's structured. Miss Scullion curates with context and consumer in mind. There are chapters aimed at insomniacs, invalids, and expectant mothers. She lists game forms that play well on crowded trains, in prison…

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Feature: Tactical talismans and traumatised testicles

The Flare Path: Doubty

When it comes to modelling courage and its wholly logical antithesis, cowardice, wargame devs are a conservative bunch. A morale test here, a leadership bonus there... why innovate or illuminate when you can follow and fudge. Very few delve into the complex psychology of the warrior as deeply as Green Tree Games, the makers of Burden of Command, or shun the subject with such baffling…

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Feature: 100% benediction

The Flare Path: A Filch of Foxers

The Flare Path turns seven this week. Here in the UK that means its base chance of spotting fairies decreases to 0.4%, and, in the event of it being arrested for murder or treason, it can no longer opt to be tried by a jury of stuffed toys and action figures. Growing up is a mixed blessing and no mistake. Unlike today's competition-crammed column which…

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Feature: Snippets of sim and wargame news

The Flare Path: A2Z

A is for Absence of Amiens wargames. Want to mark the Battle of Amiens centenary by recreating the dazzlingly successful Allied push on your PC? Good luck with that. Amazingly, no-one except the odd Open General and Panzer Corps modder seems to have deemed “the Black Day of the German Army” as scenario- or game-worthy. I can only assume that no dev has ever stumbled…

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Feature: Updated knights

Has Wars Across the World been improved by its updates?

If you don't want your column to be joyridden you really shouldn't leave it unattended next to a chap who's just spent the past week replaying one of the most diverse and colourful wargames money can buy in order to discover whether the talk of improved AI and fewer bugs is true. Strategiae's history-bestriding conflict compendium has been around for over a year now. I've been watching…

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Feature: Lock me up and throw away the quay

The Flare Path: Narrow Minded

I never tire of the view from my office window. The patchwork of fields and spinneys draped haphazardly over rolling chalk downland. The dusty willows and alders cooling their heels in the canal. The triffids milling in the pasture. The uniformed children marching another captive down the footpath to Brackley Manor. Escapism? It has its uses, but more often than not I hanker for games…

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Feature: Bipedal whiting and sky pedal writing

The Flare Path: French Edition

Although a person with long-term experience of just one rudder set really isn't equipped to review PC plane pedals, in a pinch he can probably be trusted to dash off a passable preview. Next Monday Thrustmaster release a 7kg, £450 lump of strikingly unorthodox engineering that will, I suspect, end up supporting the soles of many a serious flight simmer. Last week this hardware dilettante rested…

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Feature: Clandestined to endure

Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines review

Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines turned twenty a couple of weeks ago. My enthusiasm for stealthy team tactics diversions rekindled by the magnificent Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun, I thought it was high time I reacquainted myself with the game that single-handedly established the sub-genre. Is Pyro Studios' debut offering as maddeningly difficult as I remember? Is it still worth playing? Here's wot I think.…

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Feature: Servals ignored as usual

The Flare Path: Lions and Tigers and Scares

There's a frightening invisible monster at large in my corner of Wiltshire at the moment. It can kill you with a single touch and is completely indiscriminate when it comes to selecting victims. Should I pick up and bin that rubber glove that someone has discarded next to my front gate, or incinerate it with a gout of flame from my butane-fuelled weed burner? I just don't know. Lionising pillars of the…

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Feature: Teeming with Creoteam and Graviteam teamtalk

The Flare Path: Ukrainian Edition

Compiled on Ukraine's Constitution Day, this FP only covers games made in the world's 46th largest country. Beyond the break, I conclude my Football, Tactics & Glory coverage with some excerpts from a conversation I've been having with Creoteam supremo, Andrey Kostyushko, talk about the latest and strangest Graviteam Tactics: Mius-Front add-on, and point out that 4th Best Game Ever to Emerge From Ukraine is a…

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