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The Flare Path: Trained To Kill

Simulation & wargame blather

Deciding which story should lead Flare Path each week is never easy. Today, rather than risk causing offence by putting the Civil War II announcement above the Germany at War: Barbarossa 1941 one, or the Graviteam Tactics: Zhalanashkol 1969 words in front of the Open Rails news, I thought I'd let the stories sort out their own running order. Beyond the jump: raised hackles and crazed heckles, cross words and crass ones.

Germany at War: Barbarossa 1941: First!

Civil War II: So ironic.

Graviteam Tactics: Zhalanashkol 1969:  :-)

Germany at War: Barbarossa 1941: What do you mean by that?

Civil War II:

Open Rails: Look, no offence Germany at War, but your recently unveiled feature list makes you sound like exactly the sort of line-toeing Panzer General disciple that wargamers have been inundated with of late. There's no way your announcement should lead today's Flare Path.

Graviteam Tactics: Zhalanashkol 1969: Unity of Command, Panzer Corps: East, Conflict of Heroes, Decisive Campaigns: Case Blue, Operation Barbarossa: The Struggle For Russia.... How many hex-strewn Eastern Front wargames does the World need?

Germany at War: Barbarossa 1941: But I'm not like all those other wargames!

Open Rails: Of course you're not.

Germany at War: Barbarossa 1941: I've got a dynamic branching campaign and, um, “interesting and innovative mission objectives that make each scenario unique”. I've got a wide variety of units that can be upgraded in a historical manner. I've got a 2D counter-style view for those that don't like their T-34s to be taller than their Stalingrad Grain Elevators.

Open Rails: Somebody wake me up when he's finished.

Germany at War: Barbarossa 1941: My main campaign includes 37 scenarios.

Graviteam Tactics: Zhalanashkol 1969: Actually, that is quite impressive.

Civil War II: Look mate, I'm sure you'll turn out to be a perfectly peachy pop wargame, but the fact is, conceptually and thematically, you're yesterday's jam. The Flare Path has always favoured freshness. Get to the back of the queue.

Germany at War: Barbarossa 1941: Fine. I assume, being a cynical rehash of a six-year-old WeGo operational title, you'll be joining me there?

Graviteam Tactics: Zhalanashkol 1969: Ooh. That's a bit below the Sam Browne!

Civil War II: Breathtaking ignorance. For your information, AGEOD don't do cynical rehashes. I'm what happens when a highly respected French wargame studio celebrates restored liberty by returning to the setting of one of its strongest releases with a tête full of new ideas. Take a look at a work-in-progress image of my totally new 3000-region map and tell me I'm not the very apotheosis of a sequel.

Germany at War: Barbarossa 1941: I would but I'm not 100% sure what apotheosis means.

Graviteam Tactics: Zhalanashkol 1969: It's a skin complaint isn't it?

Open Rails: When I was a kid I used to get really bad apotheosis during the summer. Mainly in the groin area.

Civil War II: Simply put, I deserve to headline June 21's Flare Path because, with my 1000+ unit types, 400+ historical leaders, sophisticated supply modelling, mass of battle factors, and reworked GUI there's every chance I'll turn out to be the ultimate ACW big-picture wargame.

Germany At War: Barbarossa 1941: And completely unplayable like that ponderous white elephant Pride of Nations.

Civil War II: How would you like a punch on the nose?

Graviteam Tactics: Zhalanashkol 1969: Guys! If you're going to brawl, please brawl quietly; I'm about to explain to the lovely readers why the latest piece of Graviteam Tactics DLC, is this week's most interesting wargame story.

While you two plan to visit battlefields churned into treacherous quagmires by the tramping hooves and trundling wheels of countless other wargame studios, my venue is a tract of land completely new to PC gamers. I intend to simulate a day of the fiercest fighting in the little-known 1969 Sino-Soviet border conflict. Using GT's incomparably immersive mix of 2D strat-map operation orchestration and 3D real-time combat choreography, players will have the option of either controlling the 120-man Chinese force that crossed the border on August 13, or the 50-man Russian border guard contingent that - ultimately - drove them back.

Civil War II: That sounds incredibly small-scale... remarkably specific. Will period Chinese AFVs like the Type 63 APC and Type 59 tank feature? Will larger-scale hypothetical scenarios be included?

Germany at War: Barbarossa 1941: Any chance of trees?

Graviteam Tactics: Zhalanashkol 1969: Probably not. Graviteam want to keep things authentic.

Command Ops: Battles for Greece: I'm unconvinced.

Germany at War: Barbarossa 1941: Himmel!

Civil War II: Who the hell are you?

Open Rails: And how did you get in here?

Command Ops: Battles for Greece: I'm the second expansion pack for the critically acclaimed, Sandhurst-smart Command Ops: Battles From The Bulge. I was unveiled this morning. I'm going to be fucking marvellous.

Civil War II:

Germany at War: Barbarossa 1941:

Graviteam Tactics: Zhalanashkol 1969:

Open Rails:

Command Ops: Battles for Greece: What?

Civil War II: No-one ever swears during Flare Path debates.

Command Ops: Battles for Greece: Oh. Sorry. But I am going to be rather marvellous. The novelty, plausibility and drama of Conquest of the Aegean's WW2 Greek scenarios, together with BftB's sharper AI, expanded order options, and improved interface. What could go wrong?

Open Rails: The price? Asking punters to pay £25 to refight CotA battles seems a tad greedy.

Command Ops: Battles for Greece: CotA owners will get a $10 discount.

Open Rails: Big deal. FP readers aren't made of money. What today's cash-strapped realism-hungry column peruser really wants to read about on a lazy Friday afternoon is a fabulous free Microsoft Train Simulator rewrite like Open Rails.

Watch on YouTube

Install 0.9, the latest update, and you've got smarter AI trains, improved instrumentation, fogless horizons, swaying cabs, and sleeker multiplayer.... Basically, the best free rail sim money can buy.

Civil War II: I heard you still need an MSTS install to play Open Rails.

Open Rails: You do, but total self-sufficiency is on the way.

Germany at War: Barbarossa 1941: If Open Rails included armoured trains with workable guns and deployable tankettes then and only then would it warrant a Flare Path top spot.

Command Ops: Battles for Greece: A WW2 train-cum-tank sim with RTS elements? Fu... Crikey! That sounds ace.

Graviteam Tactics: Zhalanashkol 1969: Skirmishes could be interspersed with Transarctica-style foraging, repair, and exploration!

Germany at War: Barbarossa 1941: Wunderbar!

Civil War II: Gentlemen, I think we've found this week's lead story.


The Flare Path Foxer

Stay away from disease-riddled riddle-master Midwinter. Last week, after Zephro, skink74, FuryLippedSquid and Smion sneezed in his general direction, he got flu (Flushing Airport), TB (TB-3), Legionnaires' disease (French Foreign Legion badge), MS (M.S.406) and ME (Me 410). If he'd caught thrush (Rockwell Thrush Commander) off inferno493, and remembered that the Ilyushin Il-2 was nicknamed 'The Black Death', his misery/mastery would have been complete.

There's a fearsome winged malady-monger in today's foxer too, but it's out of shot. During a WW2 patrol in your faithful RAF Mosquito FB XVIII 'Tstse' you spot the eight machines collaged above. All you need to do to win a Flare Path flair point made from bonded balsa and birch wood is tell me which of the octet are friends and which are foes.

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