The View From The Bunker – The PC games I’m lookin’ forward to!

By Jeff Ward 27 May 2015 0

Considering the vast amount of wargame wealth that’s come our 2015 way, it seems a wee bit avaricious to long for more. But that’s exactly what I’m doing! I guess that’s a good thing though, because if we weren’t buying, they wouldn’t be developing. 

Think about it! We’ve seen some great titles that haven’t just covered the same old stuff. Order of Battle Pacific, the Pike and Shot expansion Tercio to Salvo, Battle Academy 2 Kursk, Brother Against Brother, Vietnam ’65, To End All Wars: Breaking the Deadlock, and Vengeance

Sometimes, I swear I can hear my hard drive creaking under the duress of all those glorious bytes. But despite those vast PC riches, there are three-and-a-half upcoming games to which I’m anticipating with great glee. 

I know what you’re thinking. Much like Opie Taylor marveled at that half-a-boy named Horatio, how the heck can we have half a game? I’ll fully explain that possibility when the time comes. But for now, let’s get started! 

 

  1. Naval Action – Games-Labs LLC 

Much like our half-a-game, this one is kinda out already, but not really. 

What our Ukrainian development team seems to be doing is releasing this game – for purchase – in separate steps. In other words, they’re leveraging the game community to fund further development and, as they currently put it, “We also do not have enough human resources to provide the excellent level of support if player numbers increase further.” 

That is an excellent strategy if they can continue to pull it off correctly. 

My fondest wish is that Naval Action turns out to be the Wooden Ships and Iron men PC port that Age of Sail never quite lived up to. My fear is that it will be a bit “arcadey,” but if the website description holds up, I think we’ll be OK. 

The graphics are gorgeous as the plethora of Naval Action Youtube entries attest and I’m particularly intrigued by the hour-long video of a “Trafalgar mode” battle with 40 ships – each captained by a different player! 

Games-Lab appears to have gone to great lengths to correctly model wind effects, types of artillery, and the deleterious impact of different types of damage. The website states they’re currently working on an “open world prototype” in which commanders can “write their own story.” 

They say the game will be up for sale again in the “near future” so I’ll certainly be keeping my eye on this one. 

 

  1. Scourge of War: Waterloo – NorbSoftDev 

Remember my spring break columnar complaint about those dated Waterloo: Napoleon’s Last Battle graphics? Apparently heeding my powerful plea, the fine folks at NorbSoftDev are finally filling in the real-time Napoleonic battle game gap just in time for the 200th anniversary of the epic showdown between the French and Anglo-Prussian forces. 

And I can’t wait for this one, dear readers. In fact, I’ll almost assuredly do some sort of review. Again, I love Mr. Tiller’s Waterloo offering, but you have to be in the correct depth of detail frame of mind to get into that one. 

I’ll leave the finer details for your own Matrix Games website review, but here are some of the highlights that have me drooling over this particular prospect: 

  • A completely revamped interface which, when you consider how good the Scourge of War Civil War games looked, has really piqued my graphic interest.
  • Twenty separate single-player scenarios sounds really good to me
  • Full modding support including a moddable AI! That is a brilliant move because I’ve seen what some of y’all have done with moddable games and it’s pretty darned good!
  • And much like our above title, SOW Waterloo will support 32 separate players. 

Now, the reason my column’s called “The View From the Bunker” is, I tend to enjoy being left to my own devices. But if the opportunity to join a 32-player Battle of Waterloo session comes my way, I’m gonna leap right at it. 

With torn meniscus surgery likely coming up, I’ll be doing a lot of sitting anyway! 

NorbSoftDev always does a great job so firmly believe that Scourge of War: Waterloo will meet all of our lofty expectations. 

 

  1. Thirty Years War – HQ 

Some people think that World War I started on July 18, 1914, but they’re wrong. The First World War began in 1618 and ended with a series of treaties in 1648. 

Considering the French, Russians, Swedes, Dutch, Poles, English, Papal States, Denmark, Transylvania, Hungary, Croatia, the Ottoman Empire, Bohemia, and that endless number of Holy Roman Empire states were involved in this devastating conflict, for westerners, it truly was the first global conflict. 

The war may have originally pitted Protestant against Catholic, but it soon became a sort of proxy war between the French and the Hapsburgs for continental domination. And just like I said, it devastated Central Europe complete with roving bands of mercenaries exacting tribute, pestilence borne of multiple nationalities coming into contact, and then it managed to bankrupt all of the powers involved. Some historians estimate the population of the Germanic States declined by 20 to 40 percent through the course of the war. 

My high school friend Tony and I were so fascinated by this conflagration that one of our first wargame creation efforts was the Thirty Years War. Considering how poorly we did, I’m really looking forward to seeing what HQ does with it. 

This title will employ the familiar AGEOD engine as well as production, historical events, battlefield tactics, and siege and naval warfare. There aren’t a lot of details at the Matrix site yet, but I’m sure more will be forthcoming. 

All I can say is, I’m seriously considering a human sacrifice to the wargame gods to ensure HQ gets this one right! 

 

3.5 Hearts of Iron IV: Victory at All Cost – Paradox Interactive 

And we’ve finally come to our half a game because this isn’t a genre I generally enjoy and all of the previous versions have been disappointing. I still remember even Panama could take over the entire world in the first iteration. (For bonus points – who can name the famous 50’s movie with that very theme?) 

But you have to give Paradox credit for sticking with the franchise, and maybe, just maybe, the fourth time will be the charm! 

The reason I’m so interested in this one is, back in my collegiate days, applying that venerable dining room ping-pong table once again, we played a four-player free-form version of SPI’s War in Europe adding a little more politics and some random events to spice it up. It was the most board gaming fun I’ve ever had – and that include playing Wabbits! 

Even since then, I’ve been longing for a no holds barred World War II PC game that works and I’m crossing my fingers that Hearts of Iron IV will the one. Sadly, the Paradox website doesn’t have much to say about it the video trailer doesn’t even show the game. All we know is, it’s “coming soon.” 

 So there you have it! The upcoming PC wargames I can’t wait to get my grubby little hands on. 

 

Jeff Ward is a free-lance writer, radio show host, and former opinion columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times Media Group. He got hooked on wargames immediately after he picked up that copy of Avalon Hill’s Midway from Hobbymodels in Evanston, Illinois in 1970. You can reach Jeff at jeffnward@comcast.net.

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