Posts Tagged ‘wargames’

The Flare Path: Full Steam Astern

The labyrinthine Steam department store now stocks mind-blowingly rich historical strategy epics, military-grade battle sims, and flight sim add-ons so dense they can punch through Chobham armour like it was damp loo roll. Is there any chance My Wargame of 2014 will be appearing on its shelves any time soon? Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Bulges

Deck the halls with boughs of holly,

Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la,

But forget ye not war’s cruel folly,

Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la,

Ringed by corpses and burning tanks,

Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la,

70 years ago, Bastogne gave thanks,

Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la. Read the rest of this entry »

The Flare Path: Wargaming – Where To Start?

Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm, Command: Modern Air Naval Operations, Combat Mission: Red Thunder… most of my favourite wargames of recent years are hulking beasts studded with obscure units, potentially overwhelming scenarios, and abstruse tactical subtleties. I’m not sure I could wholeheartedly recommend any of them to a genre newcomer. A fellow or fellowess just arrived in the land of hexes, morale checks, and myriad Sherman variants would be far better off starting with… um… errr… sorry, I’m going to have to consult my notes at this point… hmm… be with you in two shakes of a lamb’s tail… maybe three shakes.

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The Flare Path: John Tiller, Boredom Killer

Today in FP I question a man who has been testing, besting, and interesting PC wargamers for nigh-on twenty years. In my imagination, the legendary John Tiller lives in a hexagonal mansion/pillbox atop a hexagonal hill in Hexham, Northumberland. He never drives anywhere without first checking which hexes are visible from his destination, and setting aside sufficient Action Points for unloading. Read on to discover just how accurate my mental picture is for pithy personal reflections from one of wargaming’s most popular and prolific designers. Read the rest of this entry »

Wot I Think: Simulating War by Philip Sabin

To Professor Philip Sabin a wargame isn’t just a plaything, a contraption for turning weapons-grade boredom into 24-carat fascination. To the man that teaches the World War Two in Europe, Warfare in the Ancient World, Fighting in the Air, and Conflict Simulation modules at King’s College, London, high-quality historical strategy games are invaluable research and educational aids, as useful in their own ways as conventional written histories. In his latest book, Simulating War, he explains why his Strategic Studies students are often to be found hunched over hexgrids, and details a design approach that, though geared towards the creation of board wargames, contains much that will interest and inspire computer wargame creators. Read the rest of this entry »

VASSAL: A Virtual Army of Conflict Sims In One Client

If you want to play a board game, one of the most essential ingredients is someone to play against. I found this out the hard way as a first-time parent, house bound by the demands of a baby and drained of energy but not my feverish appetite for gaming.

That’s when I discovered VASSAL. It’s a freeware, open source Java program that lets you play boardgames over the internet, either live or via email. And not a narrow selection, either: each game requires that you download a specific module, and the official site alone lists over 1,300 of them. There are more out there in the wilds.

At the point of succumbing to child-induced cabin fever, I was suddenly free to choose from this bewildering library of brilliance and play games as slowly as I wanted without ever leaving the house. There were games I already owned, games I wanted to try, games I’d never heard of but sounded superb; all at my fingertips alongside an army of eager opponents.
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The Flare Path: Hurls Demo Charges

Demos are a digital wargamer’s Predator drones and PR Spitfires. They allow us to scout new battlefields safely and smartly. They furnish us with the information reviews, AARs and Let’s Plays can’t provide. I wouldn’t be without them, yet, these days, often am thanks to the questionable policies of sector-dominating militaria-mongers Slitherine/Matrix Games. Read the rest of this entry »