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Topic: HPS Simulations - Purchasing Advice

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All Forums : [GAMES] : Computer Gaming > HPS Simulations - Purchasing Advice
11 DEC 2011 at 10:59am

Macleod

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Hi, been following the lastest discussion about Tigers Unleashed.   I have also visited the HPS website.  Wanted to ask you guys about what you would recommend for a purchase.   I am a fan of solo play and don't do a lot of PBEM.   I noted the various Civil War games, the squad battles series, the naval series, and the panzer campaign series.   What do you guys recommend as a good place to start?   Things I am interested in are decent AI for solo play, relatively stable (guess that makes Tigers Unleashed a risky one) and replayability.   I am a civil war fan and I own large scale and detailed WW2 strategy games like WIP AE, Ageods Civil War, and Time of Fury (all through Matrix).  

 

Also noticed that they have a Midway game - that looks decent as well.   Do you guys recommend any titles from their download service?

 

Thanks!



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11 DEC 2011 at 11:34am

printshop

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If you can wait, you'll get a better price on all HPS products from NWS.

 

HPS has a full range of ACW games but from what I have observed is that they are best played PBEM.

 

If you want something on divisional scale with a pretty good AI, try their Total War in Europe series.



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11 DEC 2011 at 11:34am

Bison36

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Well tough question honestly.  I'd just go with what era you like best, but a few things to note.  I think if you only want to play solo the civil war games are somewhat hard to recommend not because they are bad games, but the AI is lack luster in larger scenarios and the campaigns.  I still play them solo, but I also don't expect the AI to be overwhelming me with original or organized tactics.  There are some AI programmed scenarios, I know Chancellorsville for sure has them.

 

Solo play only.  I'd recommend the Squad Battles easily.  I think the Vietnam, Red Victory and the afghan-soviet war ones are avalible for download.  I purchased Vietnam and it was a smooth easy process.  Also look at John Tiller Software there are two additional squad battle titles availible there.  Falklands, which is a great game.  Modern Warfare, which I don't own but if your into modern stuff that might be an option.

 

I've played Midway, but honestly it's just not my bag of tea.  The Naval battle series are RTS and very detailed.  From my limited experience the AI isn't too horrible.  Then again it might have been more do to my poor play, but whatever it kicked my butt.


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11 DEC 2011 at 12:10pm

Philippe

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Originally Posted By Macleod

Hi, been following the lastest discussion about Tigers Unleashed.   I have also visited the HPS website.  Wanted to ask you guys about what you would recommend for a purchase.   I am a fan of solo play and don't do a lot of PBEM.   I noted the various Civil War games, the squad battles series, the naval series, and the panzer campaign series.   What do you guys recommend as a good place to start?   Things I am interested in are decent AI for solo play, relatively stable (guess that makes Tigers Unleashed a risky one) and replayability.   I am a civil war fan and I own large scale and detailed WW2 strategy games like WIP AE, Ageods Civil War, and Time of Fury (all through Matrix).  

 

Also noticed that they have a Midway game - that looks decent as well.   Do you guys recommend any titles from their download service?

 

Thanks!

 

Anything that goes into a response to a post like that is going to be governed, to a large extent, by what I happened to have for breakfast.  But I'll try to put together a short list of HPS titles you should take a look at.

 

But before I start churning out lists (which no one else will agree with anyway), I will make one very strong recommendation that you should look into.  If you don't plan on indulging in instant gratification and can wait a week or so for your game to show up (assuming you live in North America -- otherwise go with instant gratification), you really need to check out this page on this site:

 

http://yhst-12000246778232.stores.yahoo.net/noname.html

 

This is Chris Dean's Naval Warfare Simulation site.  Service is fantastic to over the top -- if you have an issue with something call the phone number and you'll probably catch him sitting around the kitchen table.  You can sometimes get better prices elsewhere, but apart from Amazon this is the cheapest and most reliable surface mail method for buying the games.

 

Now, on to the list.

 

I think the ACW entry would have to be Campaign Gettysburg, given how widely well received it has been.  I know, not another Gettysburg game... But look at it this way.  If you're already very familiar with the topic,  playing the Tiller/HPS version of it will give you added insight into what is and isn't special about the system.  I've never tried it myself, but I hear the Campaign game system in this title is especially good.  [I've played some of the smaller scenarios just to see how it compares with the old Talonsoft version that you can buy at Matrix -- much better and several levels and fifteen years of development  beyond the earlier titles, so no comparison (except that the graphics aren't very good)].

 

I've only played around with Jutland a little bit, and can't really speak for the naval games, so I'll pass on that topic.  People say nice things about the HPS Midway title, but I'm still stuck on Carriers at War and Great Naval Battles of the North Atlantic.

 

The Squad Battles system is a very nice system.  My points of comparison are Steel Panthers and the original Combat Mission games.  As far as I can tell Squad Battles does most things better than Steel Panthers, but frequently suffers in comparison to Combat Mission.  The system is IGOUGO (that's my main beef), there are lots of scenarios with not many units in them (that's a plus), but the scenarios tend to be short and end within a very predictable time frame (on balance a slight minus).  The series is mature and stable, but (I believe) still evolving slowly. And there are some fascinating mods for it at Task Force Echo Four, some of which were made by some of the game designers.  Which title you go for has a lot to do with your interests, but you might want to try something like Spanish Civil War or Dien Bien Phu.

 

Which Panzer Campaigns game you start with has a lot to do with which theater interests you the most. Your choices are Eastern Front, North Africa, or Western Front, probably in that order.  This will undoubtedly trigger a lot of arguments, but I think Smolensk might be a good eastern front game to start with.  In North Africa you should probably try El Alamein, and I'm not sure I can give a good recommendation for the western front because I haven't played a couple of key games there (even though I've modded their graphics).  Panzer Campaigns games often have a lot of units, but that's because of the scale.  A division attack is not represented by a single counter, but often by a dozen different units.  Larger games might have upwards of a dozen divisions, smaller games might only have part of one.  The scale is two hours per turn and one kilometer per hex -- so you can really get down and dirty with history and see those abstract battle accounts come alive.

 

My all-time favorite HPS game is France 1914,  and based on a variation of the Panzer Campaigns engine and the flagship game on the First World War Campaigns series.  What it gives you is the mobile battle of maneuver that took place on the western front before everyone got stuck in trenches.  The maneuvering 

done with infantry, trains, and the occasional taxi) is oddly Napoleonic, learning the different functions of cavalry is really important, and after a few major battles you'll understand very clearly why people started digging those trenches.  What makes it a real gas is that you have to plan some of your moves five or six moves ahead: if you want that ersatz infantry division on your right flank and not your left you'll have to march it there, slowly, with appropriate rest stops and don't forget the night time bivouac.

 

AI is a complicated subject.  Scenarios are usually marked as head to head or solo, and solo scenarios let you know which side should take the AI.  Generally the AI is better at defense than at offense (true in all games, not just HPS).  It also tends to get weaker and confused the larger a scenario is.  Fortunately there are two alternatives: one is pbem, the other is solitaire head-to-head play.  If you think about it that last method is how most people play paper board games, and it has the advantage of giving you a perfectly evenly matched opponent.  Squad Battles may have the strongest AI, though part of that may have to do with the number of units in play at any one time.  Panzer Campaigns' AI is pretty good, but a lot depends on how good the designer was in tricking it into doing what he wanted. AI in the ACW is ok, but there are the occasional tactically boneheaded moves. [Of course, I caught myself making one of those same boneheaded moves out of desparation in a pbem the other day, so maybe I shouldn't be so critical].  The Napoleonic series (which you didn't ask about) is similar to the ACW in AI, though perhaps not quite as good (probably because the small unit tactics that are used in the Napoleonic games are more complicated than the ones used in the ACW games).

 

All of the games are weak to terrible in the graphics department, but there are lots of mods out there that can fix that.  But that's a whole 'nother topic altogether.


  

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11 DEC 2011 at 12:12pm

Macleod

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Thanks for the help guys.   If the civil war games are weak on AI in the big scenarios, then I will keep that one in mind.  Honestly Tigers Unleashed looked pretty good until I started reading the thread here in the forum. 



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11 DEC 2011 at 12:30pm

Dale H

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If you are a Civil War fan then I would recommend getting the latest release & try it out. Play the smaller scenarios because the ai does better in the smaller ones. Who knows, the pbem bug may bite you. HPS/ Tiller games best played against a human opponent. I agree with Philippe though that you can't go wrong with the Gettysburg title. It has so much in it.


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11 DEC 2011 at 1:30pm

Philippe

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I forgot to mention that there's a small game/demo that uses the Panzer Campaigns system.

 

You can get it at John Tiller Software (after registering ?) or you can just download it from here:

 

http://hist-sdc.com/spotlights/pzc_m43.html

 

And if you find it interesting but hate the way it looks, there are mods available at Task Force Echo Four (among other places).

 

 


  

Every generation gets the Greeks and Romans it deserves.

 

 

History is a bad joke played by the living on the dead.

 

 


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11 DEC 2011 at 2:07pm

RodyMetal

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I need an advice, I really never played any of HPS games, I see the price is kinda high, I am not sure if it is really addictive, which game shall I start with as a demo?



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11 DEC 2011 at 2:43pm

Wolverine101

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If you're going to buy an HPS game go here http://yhst-12000246778232.stores.yahoo.net/ save yourself about $20. Playing demos are definitely a good start but I don't recall HPS putting out demos? I can recommend the Squad Battles games and the Ancients games as that is what I've bought from their catalog (although from http://yhst-12000246778232.stores.yahoo.net/). I enjoy the Squad Battles very much as they are tactical. These games are your grandfathers wargame types though. The graphics are nothing to write home about and the detail and complexity is greater than most. Where these games shine is in their detail and accuracy. There's short and medium and long scenarios so it's easy to find some that fit your game time limits even in this type of gaming system. For a starter game I would recommend Squad Battles "Eagles Strike". Easy to pickup, easy to learn but still not a pushover to master.


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11 DEC 2011 at 4:14pm

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I'm a Squad Battles fan.


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11 DEC 2011 at 4:56pm

Dale H

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http://www.johntillersoftware.com/Demos.php

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally Posted By RodyMetal

I need an advice, I really never played any of HPS games, I see the price is kinda high, I am not sure if it is really addictive, which game shall I start with as a demo?


Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it. George Santayana

I'd rather be right than be president. Henry Clay


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11 DEC 2011 at 5:33pm

medck

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I'll second Philippe's recommendation for Chris Dean's NWS site -- it is superb and the prices are excellent.

 

On HPS -- Gettysburg is very good and has a lot of good scenarios of all sizes.  That is a good one to start with and I've found Antietam to have a good range of scenarios, too.

 



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12 DEC 2011 at 7:59am

mscano

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Any of the HPS titles by John Tiller are great.  The new one Tigers Unleashed, is very complicated and doesn't really fit the definition of a "game".  Games are supposed to be fun.  I would stick with Squad Battles, Panzer Campaigns, Civil War, Early American War, etc.....



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12 DEC 2011 at 9:16am

Nefaro

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Originally Posted By jomni

I'm a Squad Battles fan.

 

This.

Aye!


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