Posts Tagged ‘The Flare Path’

The Flare Path: Infinite Horace R.I.P.

Glen Frank’s B-17: Queen of the Skies has been mesmerising board wargamers for more than thirty years. A recreation of the USAF’s early Flying Fortress forays over Europe intended for solitaire play, it breaks one of the golden rules of strategy game design by depriving its players of almost all agency. You don’t think your way through a multi-mission B17QotS tour, you dice your way through. The approach shouldn’t work yet does. It succeeds because the tumbling bones invariably weave exciting stories, and the sense of powerlessness is actually chillingly appropriate. Although crew skill and teamwork improved the chances of a B-17 getting back to Blighty in late 1942, they guaranteed absolutely nothing. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Sequel This, Please

Today’s column is aimed squarely at Brian/Briony, a hypothetical FP reader who also happens to be…

  • An avid computer wargamer
  • A big Falcon 4.0/DCS fan
  • The owner of an unusually well-thumbed copy of Mike Spick’s ‘The Ace Factor’
  • An unemployed developer searching for project ideas
  • Extremely impressionable

If my calculations are correct, Brian/Briony won’t be able to read my paean to the tragically unsequeled Flight Commander 2, without reaching for a code hammer. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Propliner Perfection


The DLC page for Microsoft Flight Simulator X: Steam Edition doesn’t do the alleged Best Simulation Game Ever Made any favours. Littered with the unambitious, the mediocre, and the aged (the listed ‘release dates’ are highly misleading) it suggests a third-party development scene short on craftsmanship and almost completely devoid of excellence. I fear there are users out there who assume that the tired selection of admittedly fairly affordable add-ons is it when it comes to enhancing gaming’s most rounded and richly provisioned pilot-em-up. My heart’s Nagging Nora mutters ‘SINK RATE! SINK RATE!’ when I picture the FSX aviator destined never to encounter masterworks like A2A’s Lockheed Constellation. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Things to Come (Part 2)

Like that chap just to the left of the lady in the big hat in every Victorian crowd photo ever taken, the world of simulation refuses to stand perfectly still. During the next eleven and a half months a constant stream of the Globemasters that have served as the genre’s storks since sector deregulation in 2003, will be touching down at Simulatia International eager to disgorge their cargoes of new titles, add-ons, upgrades, and patches. Read on for précis of some of the more noteworthy items due for delivery in 2017.

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The Flare Path: Things to Come (Part 1)

Until my ongoing Nostalgium 76 experiments bear fruit, Time will continue to march on in seven-league boots hobnailed with uncertainties; the Future will continue to yawn like a bored crocodile while we stumble towards it like distracted ducklings. On the bright side… [checks notes] soothsayers will remain in employment, caterpillars and acorns will have something to look forward to, and work-in-progress wargames such as the ten word-sketched in this week’s column will get a chance to turn promise into pleasure. Read the rest of this entry »

The Foxers


A week of rich confectionery, cold turkey and fortified wine can do terrible things to an organic CPU. An hour or two in the company of the following three puzzles may not repair all the damage, but it should leave you fit enough to take on simple tasks like deciphering the Voynich manuscript, discovering the whereabouts of El Dorado, and completing an HMRC self assessment tax return. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Must Stop Skirmishing

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 »