As I type this article on my amazing brand new, 30-year-old IBM Model M it’s hard not to type with a smile on my face. What brings me here however is the most recent news in this small corner of the internet which we call Strategy and Wargaming. As expected, the number of gaming news will dwindle into the summer ether during the following couple of months until everything comes back to full strength in September. However, there are quite a couple of things to take notice of.
Radio Commander: Pacific Campaign
The most exciting news this week is the announcement of Radio Commander: Pacific Campaign, after the success of their original 2019 release Radio Commander -which had players leading combat platoons in the jungles of Vietnam.
Radio Commander, if you’re unfamiliar, puts you in the role of a commander shouting orders from a radio, removed from the frontlines. The commodities we’ve grown accustomed to in strategy and wargames are stripped: you don’t know the real-time location of your units, you can’t micromanage how they fight, what equipment to use in a certain situation, how to react during troublesome moments, where the enemy is and what it’s planning to do, and no accurate units (friendly or otherwise) locations are known. Decisions require constant requests for situation updates with your troops and mapping out their movements on your own on a map, all the while keeping tabs on the enemy-reported locations.
This is a very different kind of experience that might enamor some and disgust others. I personally loved its World War II brother from another mother, Radio General a whole lot more due to its setting but I’m really pleased with the announcement of Pacific Campaign and the changes Squadron Studio are doing to bring their idea to the warm contested waters of the Pacific while keeping the core very much the same. In their own words: “Picture the situation based on radio reports, analyze, make decisions”.
Fighting will take place both on land and sea in encounters spanning from 1941 to 1945 (will this take the form of a Grand Campaign or single, isolated scenarios?). There are going to be two levels of command now, a strategic one, where players will don the cap of a theatre commander. Occasionally, they’ll be asked to step down from their strategic room and wear the boots and helmets of tactical commanders, leading their troops from the front. To help you achieve victory a Chief of Staff will be by your side at all times to ensure situational awareness and information is arriving at a steady enough pace. To keep up with the fighting going on on the ground your precious maps will be complemented by other tools such as a radar plot and a mission board.
No release date has been announced yet but I’ll be keeping an attentive eye on it.
Graviteam Tactics -Mius Front: Predators in the Mist
Eastern Front digital head honchos take notice: a new DLC for the outstanding Graviteam Tactics: Mius Front called Predators in the Mist has arrived! This latest expansion takes place over the 12th and 13th of September 1943 during the Soviet offensive to Poltava and will feature an area of over 80sq. km comprised of harsh terrain and settlements to be explored by the means of overtaking two operations with 12 turns to each fighting side. As usual, the military organization of the units fighting was meticulously recreated, however, no new units were added -not that Mius Front needed them.
If you like World War 2 and are looking for new games to play make sure you check out my Ultimate List of the Best World War II Games of All Time.
Napoleonic Battles Series Updated
The fine folk behind Wargame Design Studio are hard at work updating their existing titles, and next on the battle line is the Napoleonic Battles series, originally created by the late John Tiller. The focus of their work was on programming, graphical enhancements, and documentation updates.
The massive update introduces adjustable replay speeds, dynamic toolbars, and a new sub-phase “done for melee’s exclusive” (other updates can be read up here). The graphics are under the watchful eye of Nick, the new graphical coordinator for the series: “most of the elements that are presented have been re-worked […] – new unit boxes, nameplates, and backgrounds”. The new alternatives in what 2D symbol concerns were designed to offer players other alternatives to the NATO ones.
Paradox Running a Massive Sale
Grand Strategy extraordinaire Paradox Interactive is running a mighty Publisher bargain over Steam with some of its titles going for as low as 80% in some of their older titles. If you can only grab one title I would like to personally direct you to either Cities Skylines, the best city-management sim out there (with an astounding amount of mods and DLC to keep you entertained for years to come!) and it’s going for only 6,99€. If you’re more of a destroyer rather than a builder then Hearts of Iron IV (my 2017 review) is a no-brainer at 9,99€, even though I’m sure you can find the game cheaper elsewhere, like Fanatical.
Arma Reforger Out Now, Gets Mixed Reception
Arma Reforger caused quite the commotion when it was released this week- after being leaked a couple of days prior. The game feels more like a tech demo for the much anticipated Arma 4, yet it has an absurd 29,99€ price tag attached to it. The community was swift in its judgment, both praising the improvements of the new Enfusion Engine (frame rate stability, better graphics, contextual action, flushable toilets, and the new radio system) a while slamming the lack of content (there are no tanks and planes at the moment and a small array of weapons to play with) and ambition for the Early Access project because, as announced, Bohemia Interactive only plans to update it for a year and owning Arma Reforger won’t even get owners of the game a discount later down the line for Arma 4.
It’s clearly a play from Bohemia to see if console users would adopt the platform and how they might react to it and at the same time a mechanism to put the Enfusion Engine tools out in the wild for modders to start creating content for Arma 4 and provide a healthy amount of content for that game when it releases.
While I would love to give Arma Reforger a whirl I can’t justify paying several games’ worth of hard-earned euros for a glorified demo. I also suspect this will be going on sale later down the line for much cheaper, so it’s easier to stomach the wait to get my hands on the stop-gap between mainline Arma titles.
Gunner, HEAT, PC! Has M1 Tanks
The 15,000€ Gunner, HEAT, PC! is garnering each month on Patreon has me convinced that the community is more than aware of its existence after it spent some time as a barely noticeable project. Now, the new generation tank-sim has added M1 Abrams tanks to the mix and Patreon Supports will be able to test the might of the United States Military fighting beast in four missions as well as generated ones. Here’s the changelog of the most recent update:
- Added M1 tank
- Added M1 to missions:
Fog of War
- Added M1 to generated missions
- Updated T-72M1 model to re-add log and equipment
- Slightly improved effectiveness of all commander night vision goggles
- Corrected M60A3 TTS engine bulkhead armor based on better sources
- Removed old placeholder engine start sounds from all vehicles
- Fixed an issue where a platoon would drive back and restart its route when the leader was knocked out or immobilized
- Fixed texture issues on T-72M
- Fixed vehicle numbers not syncing for T-72M platoons
You Can Try Hard West 2 Beta For Free
Playing cards with the Devil was always a recipe for disaster. That is unless you’re the developers behind Hard West, an XCOM-like that came out all the way back in 2015 and was received with a decent amount of success. I remember playing it all the way back then and loving it. I’ve actually gotten as far as finishing the main campaign, even if I don’t remember meddling too much with the subsequent expansions. It’s a game that mixes turn-based combat set in the Weird Wild West, where forces beyond human comprehension are at play. You’re able to tap into the dark side of the cowboy’s force to right the wrongs the bad dudes did to you. Hard West is back with its second iteration, coming out in 2022 but you’re able to play it right now, just go to the games’ page and enter the beta.
Sniper Elite 5 Out This Week
I guess this is a thing! God! I love the Sniper Elite series and I’ve played all of them since the first one on the Playstation 2! So glad to see we’re going to have another iteration on the series. This time, prestige quick-scoper Karl Fairburne is going to France to try and uncover Project Kraken (not sure what this entails but it’s something related to the invasion of mainland USA?). The usual sniper goodness is to be expected: crouch a lot, set up traps, find out your targets and kill them in gory, testicle exploding, slow-motion fashion.
Sniper Elite 5 will arrive on Steam on May 26th.