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GoG Releases a LOT of LucasArts Star Wars Games

Forums: Latest Threads - Fri, 01/23/2015 - 06:41
Some classics have seen a rerelease that's been a long time in coming (Galactic Battlegrounds for me) and others are nice to have in a DRM-free/non-physical state (KOTOR):

Current Lucas Art/Disney library at Good Old Games

The list of Star Wars games:
X-Wing
X-Wing Alliance
Tie Fighter
X-Wing vs Tie Fighter
Knights of the Old Republic I & II
Dark Forces
Rebellion
Rogue Squadron 3D
Battlefront II
Empire at War: Gold Pack
Galactic Battlegrounds

List of non-Star Wars games:
Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis
Sam & Max Hit the Road
The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition
Categories: Forums

Story in strategy games

Forums: Latest Threads - Fri, 01/16/2015 - 11:10
Hi guys,


What is your opinion about the story in strategy games, is it important, do they need one?

For me this is one of the things that make start playing a new strategy game, if there is a good story present with detailed description of the events it is a huge plus.
Categories: Forums

Guardians of the Galaxy Could Learn from Neon Genesis Evangelion

Latest Blogs - Sun, 01/11/2015 - 21:58


If you are expecting a comprehensive overview of Neon Genesis Evangelion, I am sorry to say that you are not going to find that in this post. Truth is, I have only watched the first five episodes of this piece of anime, and then only because Adult Swim was showing Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death and Rebirth a few days ago. From what I could tell, this was a movie cobbled together from various episodes of the series. Sadly, I had no idea what the heck was going on, but I was intrigued by the many religious themes that kept popping up during the movie, such as the logo for NERV, mankind's defense from the "angel" onslaught:



Anime with religious sensibilities and mechs? Sign me up! So I decided to start at the beginning of the series.


Like I said above, I've only made it past the first five episodes, so I cannot reach any conclusions yet. However, while the jury might still be out on this series, I can say that episode 4 has already captured my heart by doing something very simple: it paused for dramatic effect.


Let me back up here and explain something. As of late, I have been bemoaning the awful state of Hollywood, particularly the dreadful live action cartoons (as I like to call them) that Hollywood seems to think qualify as science fiction. Guardians of the Galaxy is a perfect example. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed that movie like so many others, and look forward to further adventures with its delightful cast. But I definitely believe that movie was harmed by its frenetic pace. The movie never once slowed down, but instead careened from one action sequence to another with breathless pacing. Attention Hollywood! Cinema is not a video game (and, indeed, even most video games give the player time to catch their breath!), and it certainly isn't a roller coaster ride! SLOW DOWN!


This problem with frenetic pacing was recently demonstrated by the director of Guardians himself, James Gunn. In what I consider to be a breathtaking revelation, Gunn explains how a single, brief joke was cut from the script because they thought it slowed down the movie too much!

In the film’s final version, Drax responded with “Don’t ever call me a Thesaurus” and left it at that. We figured Gunn shortened the line to make it less of a buzzkill, but Gunn explained why he abbreviated the joke....

"I think we were just making things move faster, and we had a bunch of good jokes in that section." Wow. A six word joke was excised to make things move faster. Faster! In a movie that was already supersonic!

This is my most serious problem with modern movies: they are moving so darn fast that the audience is often left with a blur of CGI and little else. What about character development? What about pathos? You cannot truly have any of those if the darn thing won't stop to catch its breath every now and then, and give the audience a chance to process all that is going on. Stop it, guys. Just stop the needless and endless adrenaline rush. Life is about more than explosions.

Now, what does this have to do with Neon Genesis Evangelion? Just this: in Episode 4 there is a wonderful moment where director Hideaki Anno just stops all activity to allow two principle characters, protagonist Shinji Ikari, and his mentor/commander Misato Katsuragi, to have a moment of powerful understanding:



Wasn't that a wonderful scene? Brilliant, even? I particularly like how Anno uses ambient noise to haunting effect. The chirping of the summer cicadas, the music quietly escaping from Katsuragi's car, and the tram stations PSAs - it all makes for a very pregnant pause where two troubled characters realize that, if nothing else, they have each other.

Sadly, and simply, you will never, ever come across such a powerful scene in any big budget Hollywood blockbuster these days. Could you imagine the chaos when the production team discovers that their movie contains sixty seconds of film that lack any explosions, punchlines, or shoot outs? The horror. The horror.

If you will permit, I will quote myself one again. As I wrote in my reviews of Girls und Panzer and Hellsing Ultimate, how badly is modern Hollywood doing its job if anime is repeatedly schooling them in the better aspects of storytelling?

This bad:

Box Office 2014: Moviegoing Hits Two-Decade Low


Wake up before it is too late, fellas.
Categories: Blogs

Into the Stars

Forums: Latest Threads - Wed, 01/07/2015 - 11:50
Here's another SP space game but with what I think is an interesting concept. Sounding like Battlestar Galactica, you leave Earth as Captain of a spaceship with the only survivors of an Alien attack. You then proceed to explore and fight your way across the galaxy looking for a new home. I like the pick your crew aspect as this is more of a tactical game then the fly your ship combat games. https://www.facebook.com/FugitiveGames Also just landed on Kickstarter. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects...into-the-stars
Categories: Forums

War gaming fun tools

Forums: Latest Threads - Tue, 12/30/2014 - 08:28
Hi there,

Would you share your expectations on the war strategy game? What would be your most desirable functionality?

I would expect to see a great amount of re-playability, realistic war weapons, story, intuitive UI, nice strategic and tactical map, some story behind, various battle scenarios and challenging enough AI. Certainly to be impress to find good variety of military equipment at my disposal and ability to customize my units. How hard the game should be?
What you will expect to see in the game and what will definitely frustrate you?
Categories: Forums

The Campaign Series and Facebook

Latest Blogs - Mon, 12/22/2014 - 07:55
The Campaign Series is now found on Facebook.

Link to Facebook

You will be able to find what we're up to and some new screenshots.

Jason Petho
Categories: Blogs

GSC Game World Back in Business

Forums: Latest Threads - Sun, 12/21/2014 - 22:12
Could Stalker being coming back soon?

GSC Game World, developers of STALKER, are back in business


Quote: Stalker is my very favourite game based on a ponderous Tarkovsky film, and also one of my top five games of all time. I imagine a lot of people feel similarly, which is why the following news is rather exciting: Stalker (or, if you prefer, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.) developers GSC Game World are back in business. They're working on an "old-fashioned, full price", unrevealed new game at the moment, though whether it's a Stalker type game or a Heroes of Annihilated Empirestype game, or even a Cossacksy one is still unclear. It could also, obviously, be something completely different. Based on past history, tomorrow's headline could be "GSC Game World are out of business." :D
Categories: Forums

Shadowrun Returns to Kickstarter

Forums: Latest Threads - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 15:11
Not much to report right now but this:

10850117_748988431835993_6568721575673141596_n.jpg

:supper:

I didn't back the original, but I will be backing this (funds permitting). Even though people thought the first game was mediocre, I loved it. And since then HB has only improved the formula. I trust them with my fundage. :) Attached Images
Categories: Forums

Naval Action - Age Of Sail - Fps - Open World And Customisation - historical and accu

Forums: Latest Threads - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 17:58
Came here to see what was going on with SES Jutland and its sequel - there was supposed to be one! Seems they sold it and it's dead now though.
While I am here....

Just thought in relation to computer ship modellers that may be here that some like me may like the n a game called NAVAL ACTION that has a public pre-order BETA playing at the moment.
The developers pay for good quality and historical ship models for this game.

Requires DX11 though. The open beta is already in action

You get to command one ship only and either play in open world or I think perhaps single scenarios or PVP/PVE battles.
Ships are individually customisable I believe.

What I am excited about is that you get down and fire ranging shots from deck level before releasing your broadside.
* Can turn on and off individual gun decks and fire them in any order
* Can allocate the crew to prioritise different task
* Control the mast sails individually or auto
* Control the helm\rudder obviously along with the speed of the ship
* Weather such as fog, storm seas among others
* Choose round types like roundshot, chain, grape\shotgun sort of shot
* Forts and I think other land things like ports and the like....
* IIRC game tracks every ball fired and damage like smashed cannons and leaks or sail damage/masts falling off etc are all there.

The ships are pretty much replicas of famous real ships.
So far seen are the HMS Victory (over 100 guns), USS Constitution(heavy super frigate 44 guns), HMS Tricomalee (a match for the USS Connie?), cutter, brig, mortar brig, Yachts, HMS Surprise (Russel Crowes ship in master and commander), Bellona (74 guns).


Here are a few shots of me testing. But in essence are there any 3D ship modellers here?

Anyone who loves Hornblower and 1700 - early 1800 age of sail ships might like this one. It's kind of unique.

http://www.navalaction.com/#ageofsail












Categories: Forums

Call of Duty: Ghosts - PC Review

Forums: Latest Threads - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 08:39
Hi, I'm very interesting with this game (Call of Duty). I play it in PC, but it make it confusing because very difficult. Can you share anything toward this game?
I get this game from amazon 2 months ago : http://amzn.to/1xkM3zx

Thank you for advice
Categories: Forums

Traipsing Through the Countryside Punching Dragons

Forums: Latest Threads - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 15:21
How Banter and Music Work in Inquisition

Came across this article in my FB feed. Thought some would be interested in reading about how Bioware does this.

Quote: We wanted to clear up some of the confusion surrounding the banter and music systems in Dragon Age: Inquisition by giving you some insight into how they work. By now we’re sure many of you’ve seen the wide variety of supposed “fixes” out there, which range from a few simple steps to borderline blood magic. Hopefully detailing how these systems were designed to work will put a few minds at ease.

Before we get into the details, please know that we are continuing to look into player concerns on both fronts.

What follows is a quick guide to let you know what’s going on behind the scenes.

Banter

The way banter works in Inquisition is quite different from what you encountered in previous Dragon Age games. In Origins, all of the banter you heard occurred at scripted moments in the game, firing when you passed Point A in Level A on your way to Point B.

For Inquisition, this sort of scripted banter still exists. As you play through missions, you will hear your party comment on the plot at specific points. However, when you are running around in the wilderness, there are additional kinds of banter at work.

We built Inquisition to be an expansive, immersive experience, giving players plenty of reasons to keep coming back, hour after hour. Part of this is the random banter that now occurs in the wild. Your party may chat (or bicker) among themselves about all kinds of topics: getting to know each other, working through issues, or even just commenting on the surrounding scenery. All this works quite differently to the scripted plot-related banter you may be used to.

Behind the scenes, this is one of many ways that the game creates opportunities to experience procedural content at regular intervals. Sometimes this means combat encounters. Sometimes this means NPCs acting out ambient scenes or simply living in a space, as people will. More rarely, this means banter.

On average, you have an opportunity to hear banter every 10-15 minutes. But the frequency is largely left up to chance. It’s a lot like flips of a coin. Just because you flipped heads this time, or the previous five times, doesn’t mean you’ll flip tails next. Because of this, it’s perfectly normal to hear more or less banter at different points in the game.

The element of chance is also influenced by what you are doing and what is going on around you at any given time. How you play the game can and does affect how often you hear banter.

A number of things can interrupt banter, such as:

  • A conversation starting, both simple or fully cinematic
  • A level transition
  • Combat
  • Getting on a mount


There are also things that will prevent banter from firing entirely:

  • Riding a mount
  • Participating in a conversation
  • Being in combat or close proximity to enemies (if you are seeing red on your mini-map, you may be blocked from hearing banter)


There are also areas where this kind of banter will not fire at all. These include Skyhold, Haven, and Val Royeaux.

It’s also possible to exhaust all of the random banter for an area or for a certain set of party members. Additional banter can be unlocked by talking to your party members, playing through their personal plots, and advancing the main story. Music at rest of Link
Categories: Forums

1953: NATO vs Warsaw Pact

Forums: Latest Threads - Thu, 12/04/2014 - 16:10
Grogheads' Facebook feed alerted me to this interesting sounding wargame:

http://store.steampowered.com/app/325470/

Quote: 1953: NATO vs Warsaw Pact is a classic wargame dedicated to the hypothetical conflict between West and East. Something what we have been reading so many times. Take a command over the whole alliance or just focus on leading single country.

In the game player is able to control any single country or any combination of countries and easily adjust difficulty level for each of them separately.

The game introduces the historical forces and economical potential in the post war Europe and a number of events which might actually happen if such conflict would arise.

Features:

A huge campaign map spanning the entire European theater with more than 40,000 hexes and massive armies with hundreds of units.
Epic Campaigns covering the entire war starting from 1953
Play against yourself, you can take the lead over two opposing factions
Use Diplomacy points to influence the war readiness and war entry of neutral nations. It’s even possible to cause coups changing the governments completely or to control your own populations ambitions for war.
Technology system with 5 areas of research. Upgrade obsolete units to modern weaponry.
Invest the atomic bomb and destroy the enemies will to fight or just make their cities to evaporate.
Play as any country, or any combination of countries with the AI controlling the rest. Fight the war as just the UK or maybe you fancy your luck as Romania, Hungary & Bulgaria! 30 playable nations.
Fog of war, dynamic weather, supply and many other factors give player realistic decisions to make throughout the war.
Use your resources to buy new units, repair, maintain and upgrade them, to research new technologies, invest in strategic movement, naval transport and amphibious landing craft.
Use strategic weapons to damage the enemies infrastructure.
Use convoys to keep cities and armies supplied.
Detailed & historical orders of battle with historical names for hundreds of land, air and naval units for full immersion. This sounds really good! Sort of like that Cold War Paradox HoI mod that was abandoned a few months back. I just wish the graphics were a bit sharper. But solid gameplay can easily overcome that limitation, not to mention mods (if allowed).

As an aside, I am interested to see the renewed interest in NATO vs WP battles.
Categories: Forums

Tomorrow's War: You Made Me Do This (Revisited)

Latest Blogs - Fri, 11/28/2014 - 01:49

Almost a year ago to the day, I posted a blog entry entitled "You Made Me Do This!" In a nutshell, it was my rant about the terrible state of PC gaming. At the time I had every intention of checking out of PC gaming and devoting my free time to board games and miniatures, something I hadn't done since the mid to late '90s. Unfortunately, that never came to pass. Shortly after setting up my first game of Tomorrow's War, I became ill and had to let it sit fallow for a few weeks. By the time I felt better, the madness of the holidays had arrived and I just didn't have time. Then the holidays passed, and while I did finish painting a few more miniatures, I never did recover the impetus to return to the game.

Winter turned to spring, spring turned to summer and, as is usually the case, summer turned to autumn, and now here I am, right back where I started. With the exception of needing to clear off some dust, and making a few repairs (I am discovering rubber cement cannot be trusted), the game board is almost exactly as I had left it. Seeing how PC gaming has only marginally improved over the last year, this has proven fortuitous as I am, once again, seeking an exit.

So let's return to this futuristic battle, shall we? It is long past due for this battle to be resolved!

Notes:

1) Obviously, all images are heavily touched up. I have done this because a) I have become addicted to fancy PC gaming screenshots (LOL), and b) I am just a beginning miniatures player, so both my artistic skills, as well as my paltry collection of minis and terrain, need all the help they can get! Plus, I like the graphic novel look I came up with.

2) I make no pretense about the accuracy of my rule interpretations. I am finding Tomorrow's War to be a bit hard to digest at first. I am also finding myself deliberately changing things just to suit my own sensibilities. One of the great things about non-PC gaming is that I can tinker with the 'programming' all I want!

3) I added graphical snow and, sometimes, a bluish tint to the images because I love winter fights when it comes to a sci-fi setting.


With that out of the way, let's begin!





This is based on Lost & Found, the infantry-based training scenario found in the rule book. Here, a technologically superior USMC force (on the left of the board) needs to cross a river and rescue a downed fighter pilot who is sheltering in some ruins. A force of technologically inferior DPRG troops (deployed on the right of the board) are going to attempt to stop that from happening by ambushing the Marines.

I began by sending Fire Team 3 from its patch of wooded ground in an attempt to cross some open terrain and make it to the crashed fighter (the fighter is my personal addition to the original set-up). Meanwhile, Fire Team 2, which was hunkering down in the same patch of woods, would provide overwatch fire if needed.

As they left the woods, Fire Team 3 came under heavy fire from a five man DPRG squad that was hiding in the patch of woods on the far right of the game table. My overwatch team preempted their ambush by bringing them under heavy fire:




The more advanced technology of the Marines made a big difference in this long range shoot-out: they inflicted casualties on the enemy, stopping their ambush, and pinning them down. The Marines received no casualties in return.

While that fight was taking place, Marine Fire Team 1 to the far north quietly made their way to their first objective, a patch of trees crowning a small hillock, meeting no resistance.

Before the battlefield could completely quiet down, however, the enemy decided to make a move of their own. A large, seven man squad, including an officer, departed some ruins and made a quick run at the ruins where the pilot was hiding. Their intention seemed not to be to capture the pilot, but to make a firing line along a low brick wall the lined the property, something that could prevent any attempted river crossing. Fire Team 2 spotted the movement and open fire on the column of troops:




Again, the superior technology of the USMC weaponry took a heavy toll on this unit, pinning it down and inflicting casualties while receiving none in return. So far, the Leather Necks were in control of the situation!




A medic was attached to the DPRG squad that was caught moving to the stone wall, something that helped lessen the severity of the casualties.




The medic (front) treats the man behind him (standing on a wound marker) while the CO orders everyone forward!

The most seriously wounded were stabilized, while the lightly wounded were stitched up and returned to duty. Good thing, too, because they were going to need it!

The next few minutes of combat were furious as every DPRG soldier opened fire on Fire Team 3 as they attempted to cross the open ground and, eventually, ford the river and make it to the pilot's location. Fortunately, Fire Team 2 was still on the ball and delivered devastating overwatch support to interrupt many of the planned DPRG ambushes:




Superior technology continued to prove decisive for the USMC. Nonetheless, it was only a matter of time before the tremendous volume of low-tech enemy fire took their toll on the Marines. Fire Team 3, as it neared the crossing, took its first casualty.



A DPRG team preparing to ambush USMC Fire Team 3 as it approached the crossing


The team leader was seriously injured by the squad of DPRG troops that was sheltered near the pilot's building:




Their morale held, but would they be able to make it the rest of the way with such a badly wounded man? Guess I would find out!

Despite successfully wounding the team leader for FT3, the situation looked grim for the DPRG. Casualties were mounting, and morale was breaking. Surely the Marines would be able to dash across the river, snatch the pilot, and get back to base in time for dinner!

Well...not so fast. Even though the superior USMC tech had been savaging the DPRG, their troops were still a tough, committed lot. They weren't going to allow these leathernecks to just waltz into their territory and snatch a high value target! Whether by willpower or, more likely, by the threatening muzzle of their CO's sidearm, the DPRG suddenly roused themselves into action. In an unexpected flash of fury, the DPRG regained the initiative from the USMC and unloaded on Fire Team 3. Their fire was so intense that Fire Team 3 was forced to abandon their attempt to cross the river, and needed to flee for their lives!



These DPRG troopers mock the retreating Marines. On a nearby hill, a USMC squad leader can be seen calling FT3 into cover
Even Fire Team 2's overwatch proved ineffective. In a rare reversal, the dependable Fire Team 2 proved ineffective against the enemy. This left Fire Team 3 totally unprotected. Enemy fire nipped at their heels the whole way back to cover:



But the DPRG wanted blood this day. Even though the Marine fire team made it to some light cover in the form of sheltering pine trees, the DPRG fire exacted a heavy toll as the seriously wounded team leader would be hit again, this time fatally:



The Marines had suffered their first KIA of the battle. Fire Team 3 was now thoroughly shot up. One man KIA, one man seriously wounded, it was down to half strength and incapable of fulfilling its mission.

If the news was bad for Fire Team 3, the USMC did get some good news further north. Fire Team 1 had managed to gain the upper hand in an attack launched by a DPRG team on the opposite hill. This attacked proved to be a very bad idea as the DPRG squad wound up with three severely wounded men, one lightly wounded man, and just one man intact. This enemy squad wouldn't be much of a factor anymore.

A calm descended on the battlefield, leaving both sides to lick their wounds. The SITREP:




The original USMC plan was now in tatters as FT 3 was no longer in any condition to rescue the pilot. It looked like Fire Team 1 might have to leave the fringes of the battlefield and attempt a crossing at the ford located further north, near a lake.

With time running out, the success of this mission hung in the balance!

With Fire Team 3 being a shadow of its former self, Fire Team 1 took the lead. Taking the initiative back from the DPRG, Fire Team 1 dashed from cover and quickly forded the northern crossing. They were covered the whole way by Fire Team 2. Good thing too, as every unit still capable of firing on the DPRG side did so! Fortunately, Fire Team 3 continued to provide deadly accurate fire, pinning almost every unit that tried to make trouble for the would-be rescuers. The plan worked: Fire Team 1 made contact with the downed pilot shortly before 1530z hours. The celebration was short lived though as the DPRG squad that successfully fought off the crossing by Fire Team 3 now made a furious charge and attempted to smash FT 1 in hand to hand combat. The remnants of FT 3 and the overwatch team opened fire in an attempt to pin them in place before they could do much damage:




The USMC overwatch team was as deadly as ever, killing the DPRG leader mid-stride, and pinning the rest of the team. Emboldened by the awesome "can do!" attitude of their fellow Marines (officially, a "It's a Good Day to Die" Fog of War card), Fire Team 1 redoubled their efforts to bring back the package. Grabbing the pilot, Fire Team 1 let loose one last volley at the pinned enemy before attempting a getaway:




Meanwhile, in the north, the savaged DPRG squad's morale finally broke - no surprise with one dead, three seriously wounded, and just one effective! Disgusted, they trudged through the snow and left the battlefield:



It was the result of a Fog of War card called "It's a Bad Day to Die" - I reinterpreted it to mean a complete rout for this badly hit squad

This was now crunch time for the DPRG. If they didn't stop Fire Team 1 from getting away with the pilot, they never would. With the unit CO killed the previous turn, it was up to the squad leader to rally the men. With a bellow, the DPRG squad picked themselves up from the ground and charged through the snow at their USMC enemies once more. Fire picked men from their ranks, but they managed to close with the enemy nonetheless:




But it proved to be not enough. The full strength USMC fire team was ready for a fight and met the enemy gun barrel to gun barrel, iridium bayonet to iridium bayonet. Despite their best effort, the DPRG squad was beaten to ground again, this time losing yet another member of the squad, with the rest receiving various injuries. It was too much. The DPRG had to break contact. The USMC fire team was free to take their charge across the river:




Liars! With their last rounds of ammo, the DPRG squad attempted once more to pin the Marines but failed miserably due to their casualties. All they really accomplished was to get another squad member killed as he attempted to rush across the ford.





Fittingly, it was the shot-up Fire Team 3 that stopped the attempted rear attack. They might not have been able to complete their mission to get the pilot, but they certainly helped Fire Team 1 get the job done!

And with that, Operation Lost & Found came to an end as the remaining DPRG squads were all rendered combat ineffective due to casualties sustained during the course of the battle. Victory for Charlie Squad of 1st Platoon!


Casualties


USMC DPRG
Dead 1 11
Seriously Injured 1 9
Lightly Injured 1 1

Overall, I really don't have any thoughts on what I might have done differently as the DPRG player. This was a messy play-through as I was just too busy coming to grips with the rules to have keenly focused on the optimal tactics. Truth be told, I often just threw the troops at each other to see how the rules worked! I will say that the quality difference between the USMC and the DPRG definitely swung the balance in favor of the Marines. Even though the DPRG had far more troops, a d8 roll for the Marines versus a d6 for the DPRG was just too great an advantage at times, hence all the DPRG casualties. Still, I like to think that the DPRG put up a good fight nonetheless!


Concluding Thoughts


Wow, that was tough! This PC gamer isn't used to doing so much work myself to play a game. Usually I just sit back and punch buttons. LOL! Being in total control of a game - not just moving the pieces, but also applying the appropriate rules and calculating the results - can be a shock to the system after having a computer do the heavy lifting all these years. Still, it was a refreshing experience because it was nice to have such control. Not having to wait for a dev to fix a bug or tweak a sub-optimal rule is a breath a fresh air (seems like PC gaming these days is 25% gameplay, 75% waiting for a patch). Also, knowing just why a certain result was reached - that is, seeing all the usually behind-the-scenes calculations for yourself - makes for a much more transparent experience. I found these factors made this a much more memorable gaming experience.

As for Tomorrow's War itself, I have to say that I find the rules to be a bit cumbersome. Even though each part of the game is relatively straight forward, I find putting it all together can get confusing at times. I think this might be do to how dicey the game is. A d6 for this, a d10 for that, an initiative die for this, and quality die for that...it can all get very muddled. I think I would have appreciated some streamlining abstractions instead as having to constantly recall which die, not to mention how many of them you need for a roll, can be a pain. Still, I have no regrets about trying this system. And I am looking forward to seeing how vehicles are handled....

Speaking of, that is the next chapter in the book that I need to learn. However, I don't think I will be getting to it any time soon because I haven't even began to paint the three tank miniatures I received as a gift last Christmas, and I doubt I will get to do so anytime soon what with the Christmas rush kicking off NOW. Not only that, but having the infantry portion of the game sitting on my table for so long has made me a bit tired of looking at this particular game (this is no fault of TW, of course!). LOL! So I think I will shelve this minis adventure for a bit and explore the many, many other board / minis games out there in the short term. Still, I am eager to return to Tomorrow's War ASAP!

[This is cross-posted from my main blog. For a slightly more in depth retelling of this battle, visit here: http://burkesjoystick.blogspot.com/2...revisited.html
Categories: Blogs

Tomorrow's War: You Made Me Do This Revisited

Latest Blogs - Fri, 11/28/2014 - 01:49

Almost a year ago to the day, I posted a blog entry entitled "You Made Me Do This!" In a nutshell, it was my rant about the terrible state of PC gaming. At the time I had every intention of checking out of PC gaming and devoting my free time to board games and miniatures, something I hadn't done since the mid to late '90s. Unfortunately, that never came to pass. Shortly after setting up my first game of Tomorrow's War, I became ill and had to let it sit fallow for a few weeks. By the time I felt better, the madness of the holidays had arrived and I just didn't have time. Then the holidays passed, and while I did finish painting a few more miniatures, I never did recover the impetus to return to the game.

Winter turned to spring, spring turned to summer and, as is usually the case, summer turned to autumn, and now here I am, right back where I started. With the exception of needing to clear off some dust, and making a few repairs (I am discovering rubber cement cannot be trusted), the game board is almost exactly as I had left it. Seeing how PC gaming has only marginally improved over the last year, this has proven fortuitous as I am, once again, seeking an exit.

So let's return to this futuristic battle, shall we? It is long past due for this battle to be resolved!

Notes:

1) Obviously, all images are heavily touched up. I have done this because a) I have become addicted to fancy PC gaming screenshots (LOL), and b) I am just a beginning miniatures player, so both my artistic skills, as well as my paltry collection of minis and terrain, need all the help they can get! Plus, I like the graphic novel look I came up with.

2) I make no pretense about the accuracy of my rule interpretations. I am finding Tomorrow's War to be a bit hard to digest at first. I am also finding myself deliberately changing things just to suit my own sensibilities. One of the great things about non-PC gaming is that I can tinker with the 'programming' all I want!

3) I added graphical snow and, sometimes, a bluish tint to the images because I love winter fights when it comes to a sci-fi setting.


With that out of the way, let's begin!





This is based on Lost & Found, the infantry-based training scenario found in the rule book. Here, a technologically superior USMC force (on the left of the board) needs to cross a river and rescue a downed fighter pilot who is sheltering in some ruins. A force of technologically inferior DPRG troops (deployed on the right of the board) are going to attempt to stop that from happening by ambushing the Marines.

I began by sending Fire Team 3 from its patch of wooded ground in an attempt to cross some open terrain and make it to the crashed fighter (the fighter is my personal addition to the original set-up). Meanwhile, Fire Team 2, which was hunkering down in the same patch of woods, would provide overwatch fire if needed.

As they left the woods, Fire Team 3 came under heavy fire from a five man DPRG squad that was hiding in the patch of woods on the far right of the game table. My overwatch team preempted their ambush by bringing them under heavy fire:




The more advanced technology of the Marines made a big difference in this long range shoot-out: they inflicted casualties on the enemy, stopping their ambush, and pinning them down. The Marines received no casualties in return.

While that fight was taking place, Marine Fire Team 1 to the far north quietly made their way to their first objective, a patch of trees crowning a small hillock, meeting no resistance.

Before the battlefield could completely quiet down, however, the enemy decided to make a move of their own. A large, seven man squad, including an officer, departed some ruins and made a quick run at the ruins where the pilot was hiding. Their intention seemed not to be to capture the pilot, but to make a firing line along a low brick wall the lined the property, something that could prevent any attempted river crossing. Fire Team 2 spotted the movement and open fire on the column of troops:




Again, the superior technology of the USMC weaponry took a heavy toll on this unit, pinning it down and inflicting casualties while receiving none in return. So far, the Leather Necks were in control of the situation!




A medic was attached to the DPRG squad that was caught moving to the stone wall, something that helped lessen the severity of the casualties.




The medic (front) treats the man behind him (standing on a wound marker) while the CO orders everyone forward!

The most seriously wounded were stabilized, while the lightly wounded were stitched up and returned to duty. Good thing, too, because they were going to need it!

The next few minutes of combat were furious as every DPRG soldier opened fire on Fire Team 3 as they attempted to cross the open ground and, eventually, ford the river and make it to the pilot's location. Fortunately, Fire Team 2 was still on the ball and delivered devastating overwatch support to interrupt many of the planned DPRG ambushes:




Superior technology continued to prove decisive for the USMC. Nonetheless, it was only a matter of time before the tremendous volume of low-tech enemy fire took their toll on the Marines. Fire Team 3, as it neared the crossing, took its first casualty.



A DPRG team preparing to ambush USMC Fire Team 3 as it approached the crossing


The team leader was seriously injured by the squad of DPRG troops that was sheltered near the pilot's building:




Their morale held, but would they be able to make it the rest of the way with such a badly wounded man? Guess I would find out!

Despite successfully wounding the team leader for FT3, the situation looked grim for the DPRG. Casualties were mounting, and morale was breaking. Surely the Marines would be able to dash across the river, snatch the pilot, and get back to base in time for dinner!

Well...not so fast. Even though the superior USMC tech had been savaging the DPRG, their troops were still a tough, committed lot. They weren't going to allow these leathernecks to just waltz into their territory and snatch a high value target! Whether by willpower or, more likely, by the threatening muzzle of their CO's sidearm, the DPRG suddenly roused themselves into action. In an unexpected flash of fury, the DPRG regained the initiative from the USMC and unloaded on Fire Team 3. Their fire was so intense that Fire Team 3 was forced to abandon their attempt to cross the river, and needed to flee for their lives!



These DPRG troopers mock the retreating Marines. On a nearby hill, a USMC squad leader can be seen calling FT3 into cover
Even Fire Team 2's overwatch proved ineffective. In a rare reversal, the dependable Fire Team 2 proved ineffective against the enemy. This left Fire Team 3 totally unprotected. Enemy fire nipped at their heels the whole way back to cover:



But the DPRG wanted blood this day. Even though the Marine fire team made it to some light cover in the form of sheltering pine trees, the DPRG fire exacted a heavy toll as the seriously wounded team leader would be hit again, this time fatally:



The Marines had suffered their first KIA of the battle. Fire Team 3 was now thoroughly shot up. One man KIA, one man seriously wounded, it was down to half strength and incapable of fulfilling its mission.

If the news was bad for Fire Team 3, the USMC did get some good news further north. Fire Team 1 had managed to gain the upper hand in an attack launched by a DPRG team on the opposite hill. This attacked proved to be a very bad idea as the DPRG squad wound up with three severely wounded men, one lightly wounded man, and just one man intact. This enemy squad wouldn't be much of a factor anymore.

A calm descended on the battlefield, leaving both sides to lick their wounds. The SITREP:




The original USMC plan was now in tatters as FT 3 was no longer in any condition to rescue the pilot. It looked like Fire Team 1 might have to leave the fringes of the battlefield and attempt a crossing at the ford located further north, near a lake.

With time running out, the success of this mission hung in the balance!

With Fire Team 3 being a shadow of its former self, Fire Team 1 took the lead. Taking the initiative back from the DPRG, Fire Team 1 dashed from cover and quickly forded the northern crossing. They were covered the whole way by Fire Team 2. Good thing too, as every unit still capable of firing on the DPRG side did so! Fortunately, Fire Team 3 continued to provide deadly accurate fire, pinning almost every unit that tried to make trouble for the would-be rescuers. The plan worked: Fire Team 1 made contact with the downed pilot shortly before 1530z hours. The celebration was short lived though as the DPRG squad that successfully fought off the crossing by Fire Team 3 now made a furious charge and attempted to smash FT 1 in hand to hand combat. The remnants of FT 3 and the overwatch team opened fire in an attempt to pin them in place before they could do much damage:




The USMC overwatch team was as deadly as ever, killing the DPRG leader mid-stride, and pinning the rest of the team. Emboldened by the awesome "can do!" attitude of their fellow Marines (officially, a "It's a Good Day to Die" Fog of War card), Fire Team 1 redoubled their efforts to bring back the package. Grabbing the pilot, Fire Team 1 let loose one last volley at the pinned enemy before attempting a getaway:




Meanwhile, in the north, the savaged DPRG squad's morale finally broke - no surprise with one dead, three seriously wounded, and just one effective! Disgusted, they trudged through the snow and left the battlefield:



It was the result of a Fog of War card called "It's a Bad Day to Die" - I reinterpreted it to mean a complete rout for this badly hit squad

This was now crunch time for the DPRG. If they didn't stop Fire Team 1 from getting away with the pilot, they never would. With the unit CO killed the previous turn, it was up to the squad leader to rally the men. With a bellow, the DPRG squad picked themselves up from the ground and charged through the snow at their USMC enemies once more. Fire picked men from their ranks, but they managed to close with the enemy nonetheless:




But it proved to be not enough. The full strength USMC fire team was ready for a fight and met the enemy gun barrel to gun barrel, iridium bayonet to iridium bayonet. Despite their best effort, the DPRG squad was beaten to ground again, this time losing yet another member of the squad, with the rest receiving various injuries. It was too much. The DPRG had to break contact. The USMC fire team was free to take their charge across the river:




Liars! With their last rounds of ammo, the DPRG squad attempted once more to pin the Marines but failed miserably due to their casualties. All they really accomplished was to get another squad member killed as he attempted to rush across the ford.





Fittingly, it was the shot-up Fire Team 3 that stopped the attempted rear attack. They might not have been able to complete their mission to get the pilot, but they certainly helped Fire Team 1 get the job done!

And with that, Operation Lost & Found came to an end as the remaining DPRG squads were all rendered combat ineffective due to casualties sustained during the course of the battle. Victory for Charlie Squad of 1st Platoon!


Casualties


USMC DPRG
Dead 1 11
Seriously Injured 1 9
Lightly Injured 1 1

Overall, I really don't have any thoughts on what I might have done differently as the DPRG player. This was a messy play-through as I was just too busy coming to grips with the rules to have keenly focused on the optimal tactics. Truth be told, I often just threw the troops at each other to see how the rules worked! I will say that the quality difference between the USMC and the DPRG definitely swung the balance in favor of the Marines. Even though the DPRG had far more troops, a d8 roll for the Marines versus a d6 for the DPRG was just too great an advantage at times, hence all the DPRG casualties. Still, I like to think that the DPRG put up a good fight nonetheless!


Concluding Thoughts


Wow, that was tough! This PC gamer isn't used to doing so much work myself to play a game. Usually I just sit back and punch buttons. LOL! Being in total control of a game - not just moving the pieces, but also applying the appropriate rules and calculating the results - can be a shock to the system after having a computer do the heavy lifting all these years. Still, it was a refreshing experience because it was nice to have such control. Not having to wait for a dev to fix a bug or tweak a sub-optimal rule is a breath a fresh air (seems like PC gaming these days is 25% gameplay, 75% waiting for a patch). Also, knowing just why a certain result was reached - that is, seeing all the usually behind-the-scenes calculations for yourself - makes for a much more transparent experience. I found these factors made this a much more memorable gaming experience.

As for Tomorrow's War itself, I have to say that I find the rules to be a bit cumbersome. Even though each part of the game is relatively straight forward, I find putting it all together can get confusing at times. I think this might be do to how dicey the game is. A d6 for this, a d10 for that, an initiative die for this, and quality die for that...it can all get very muddled. I think I would have appreciated some streamlining abstractions instead as having to constantly recall which die, not to mention how many of them you need for a roll, can be a pain. Still, I have no regrets about trying this system. And I am looking forward to seeing how vehicles are handled....

Speaking of, that is the next chapter in the book that I need to learn. However, I don't think I will be getting to it any time soon because I haven't even began to paint the three tank miniatures I received as a gift last Christmas, and I doubt I will get to do so anytime soon what with the Christmas rush kicking off NOW. Not only that, but having the infantry portion of the game sitting on my table for so long has made me a bit tired of looking at this particular game (this is no fault of TW, of course!). LOL! So I think I will shelve this minis adventure for a bit and explore the many, many other board / minis games out there in the short term. Still, I am eager to return to Tomorrow's War ASAP!

[This is cross-posted from my main blog. For a slightly more in depth retelling of this battle, visit here: http://burkesjoystick.blogspot.com/2...revisited.html
Categories: Blogs

Here come the sales!

Forums: Latest Threads - Wed, 11/26/2014 - 12:29
Blizzard has a sale, StarCraft-Diablo. But Origin has everything on sale, 400+ games. Titanfall-$5/deluxe-$20. Take me back on the wayback machine, Wing Commander...kilil the kitties...$2.50. Ultima, Sim City, Battlefield franchise; the list goes on. Everyone can find something...https://www.origin.com/en-us/store/?no-takeover=true
Categories: Forums

World of Warcraft: Looking for Group Documentary

Forums: Latest Threads - Sun, 11/23/2014 - 06:40
I discovered this as a commercial while having someone playing Rise of Nations on in the background while I did my homework. I ended up getting stuck watching it. Although I never played WoW very much, about half a year or more at best, I can say that it is one of the best, realized worlds I have ever seen on so many levels. This documentary is also, in my opinion, a fantastic example of what makes gaming so godd***ed great.


It's 1:01:45 long and I hope that whoever watches it, enjoys it as much as I have.

Categories: Forums

“This is EVE” - Uncensored (2014)

Forums: Latest Threads - Sat, 11/22/2014 - 11:27
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdfFnTt2UT0

“This is EVE” - Uncensored (2014)
Categories: Forums

Moving Away From 4X

Latest Blogs - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 21:58
Crossposted from my blog at Rindis.com.

This was originally going to be a completely different essay, but I've realized it's past time to tighten up my definitions some, so I'm not continuing having to stop and figure out/explain pieces of my foundation just so I can say something coherent. This really should have been the first post in the 'game genre' series. Well, second would have been acceptable.

So, now to talk about what's been the elephant in the room, the 4X genre. Borrowing from Wikipedia:

The term "4X" originates from a 1993 preview of Master of Orion by Alan Emrich, in which he rated the game "XXXX" as a pun on the XXX rating for pornography. The four Xs were an abbreviation for "EXplore, EXpand, EXploit and EXterminate".

....

While many strategy games arguably contain a similar "explore, expand, exploit, exterminate" cycle, game journalists, developers and enthusiasts generally apply "4X" to a more specific class of games, and contrast 4X games with other strategy games such as Command & Conquer. Hence, writers have tried to show how 4X games are defined by more than just having each of the four Xs. Gaming sites have stated that 4X games are distinguished by their greater complexity and scale, and their intricate use of diplomacy beyond the standard "friend or foe" seen in other strategy games. Reviewers have also stated that 4X games feature a range of diplomatic options, and that they are well known for their large detailed empires and complex gameplay. In particular, 4X games offer detailed control over an empire's economy, while other strategy games simplify this in favor of combat-focused gameplay. The next thing to note is that I both agree with the fact that '4X' adequately describes the course of a wide range of strategy games, and that I tend to define it even more narrowly than the restrictive game journalists. Because of the initial definition of "4X" with MoO, I always associated it with space conquest games. Part of this is also from the fact that the standard 4X cycle is implicit in the nature of space-based wargames. The standard idea, from Stellar Conquest and StarWeb on, is to start with one planet in a big, unknown universe, explore it, claim and settle it, build your empire into a powerful economic force, with which you can eliminate the other players and win the game.

In fact, MoO itself subverted this already existing style with its diplomatic model, and the ability of the game to end without conquest (the Galactic Council vote). For me, 4X naturally already meant games that strongly relied on this cycle without fiddling around with 'greater complexity' or 'intricate diplomacy' as differentiators, and I would indeed say those don't make an adequate definition. Reach For the Stars is not that complex compared to many strategy games, and there is no in-game support for any diplomatic status other than 'war'. But it is a space 4X game.

The heart of the 4X game is the interplay of discovery (explore), colonization (expand), development (exploit), and warfare (exterminate). I've touched on the role of colonization in some strategy games already, and should probably tackle those subjects explicitly soon.

But for the overall definition of '4X': Command & Conquer (to use Wikipedia's example) has you explore the map, and Tiberium fields are one of the things you look for. Then you send units out to get the Tiberium, and get it to your base so you can build more units to kill the enemy with. Sounds fairly 4Xish. And it is. As Wikipedia then points out, it can get hard to say many typical combat-heavy games are not 4X games without a lot of hair-splitting and tightening of definitions.

But I would say the difference is the hair-splitting of scope and emphasis. In fact, it has to be, as everything we are talking about here belongs to the general category of 'games about being rude neighbors and wanting their stuff more than they do' (and 4X, no matter how defined, is a subset of that). My first rough breakdown, with the genre labels I tend to like using:

  • Wargame
  • (Base-building) RTS
  • Fantasy Conquest
  • (Space) 4X
  • Empire Management
  • Civilization


There's more, and overlap, and complications, but that's enough to be going on with. I've also arranged them in something of a sliding scale with games that have detailed combat and little else at the top, and games with simple combat a lots of other detailed systems at the bottom.

There's some strangely specific ideas mixed in with some very broad ones. Of course, these are meant to be... real genres—genres where there are a number of different games that center around similar ideas or mechanisms, even if that is a fairly lumpy distribution. The main standout from that viewpoint is wargames, which is a superset genre with a long and varied history in both board and computer games, and has plenty of sub genres, like hex-and-counter, CDG, area-impluse, and so on. The definition in this list says they are games with combat, and no real economic or diplomatic systems. Risk fits here as easily as War in the East, but Third Reich starts separating out and moving down the list. That will sound a bit strange to an old board wargamer, but helps with the more general discussion I hope to continue soon.
Categories: Blogs

This War of Mine

Forums: Latest Threads - Tue, 11/11/2014 - 03:05
First of its kind as far as I know.

From its page on GoG:
Quote: This War of Mine is the first game that lets you experience war not as a soldier, but as a group of civilians in a besieged city, struggling with a constant threat of disease, starvation and death, either from hardship, a sniper's bullet or at the hands of bandits. Do whatever it takes to survive - without destroying your souls, if possible.
The pace of the game is imposed by the day and night cycle. During the day snipers outside stop you from leaving your refuge, so you need to focus on maintaining your hideout: crafting, trading and taking care of survivors. At night, take one of your civilians on a mission to scavenge through a set of unique locations for items that will help you stay alive.

  • Experience war from a completely new angle: play as civilians trying to survive
  • Forge emotional bonds with your characters
  • Inspired by real events
Categories: Forums

Valkyria Chronicles for the PC

Forums: Latest Threads - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 01:07
I saw this on Steam the other day, and I have to say that it does sound interesting:

Quote: The critically acclaimed RPG Valkyria Chronicles is now available on PC! Set in a fictitious continent reminiscent of 1930s, Valkyria Chronicles depicts Europe divided in two and ruled by two super powers: the Empire and the Federation. The Empire has set its sights on invading a small neutral country called Gallia, situated in the middle of the two superpowers territories, in an attempt to secure invaluable natural resources. Within this struggle a hero named Welkin, and his fellow soldiers of the Federation's 7th Platoon, are fighting back against the invasion and the Empires attempts to unify the continent under its power.


During the ensuing war the Federation discovers that the Empire possesses a secret weapon, known as the "Valkyria" - an ancient race with special powers thought to exist only in legends. With this new discovery the fate of the Federation's ability to turn the tide of the war, and the hope for a better future, hang in the balance.


Key Features:


“CANVAS” graphics engine: A unique engine that produces breath taking images that look like watercolour paintings in motion.


“BLiTZ” tactical battle system: Experience strategic manoeuvring of units combined with conventional RPG gameplay, all layered on top of the moment to moment action afforded by real-time controls as players command each squad member and tank in battle.


Epic storyline: Players will immerse themselves in the epic struggle for freedom, as the fate of the world lies in the hands of Welkin and the members of the 7th platoon.


Customisation: Over 100 customisable characters allow players to create a variety of platoons to suit each battle’s needs.


Beautifully rendered battlefields: Players explore 30 different environments, using unique terrain features to gain advantages in battle. It certainly looked like fun on the PS3:



I definitely will have to give this a shot if it turns out to be a good console port.
Categories: Forums
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