Piercing Fortress Europa23 Jan 2014 0
Firstly thank you
very much for taking the time to answer these questions; I?m sure our readers
will appreciate it.
The Italian campaign in WW2 is often overlooked, and not just by gamers ? especially the post D-Day operations. Why do you think this is?
FH : Well the Italian campaign is somewhat unique. The campaign in Italy is seen as being a long tediously slow advance up the Italian peninsula. The rough terrain in Italy favoured the defence and therefore the Allies were unable to carry out the big breakthrough and exploitation by armoured forces we see in France. Instead its more of an eighteen month long campaign in the bocage of Normandy.
Bearing that in mind, what inspired you to do a game based on this campaign?
FH : I?ve been interested in this campaign since I was a teenager. I can?t recall which book it was that got me interested but I do recall buying the Avalon Hill boardgame ?Anzio? shortly after. It was the uniqueness of the campaign that attracted me. There were no big breakouts, no overwhelming numerical superiority, instead it was a long campaign where success was the taking of an obscure town, securing a bridgehead over yet another river or forcing the Germans to fall back from yet another mountain. Although the Allies enjoyed the advantage in resources it was a toughly fought campaign from beginning to end.
For those readers who may have missed the press releases, etc. can you give us an overview of the game and the style of gameplay.
FH : The game is si-move with an emphasis on logistics. In a turn a unit can only perform one action, move, attack, withdraw or take on supply and rest. There are also special actions such as paradrops and amphibious movements. In the initial design I chose simultaneous moves and therefore the more traditional move and then fight sequence type just didn?t work. Instead I settled on a time scale where it would be reasonable to expect units to perform only one action. This produced the effect I was looking for where turns are short enough that reactions can be made to enemy moves but only if reserves are available. Its very difficult to pull units out of the line and send them to a threatened sector and expect them to arrive in time to plug a hole. So keeping reserves available is vital.
What do you think is the key gameplay element of Piercing Fortress Europa? The part that players will really have to master to be successful.
FH: There are several keys to PFE, logistics and disruption as well as the si-move sequence of play. Players should have to think about which units to use as their spearheads. As units engage in battle they will lose strength, their level of disruption will increase markedly and their level of combat supply will decline. Eventually the player will have to pull that unit out of the line or watch it disintegrate. Therefore the key to winning battles is using fresh units that are at full supply. And therefore the key to the game is keeping the sharp end of your army in good supply and remembering that the enemy will be moving at the same time.
The game was announced quite some time ago,
however, there is still no release date. Is there any particular reason for
this? Have there been unforeseen difficulties to overcome, and if so what have
FH : The base system hasn?t changed at all but it took a lot of playtesting to get all the kinks out. Movement points, combat, levels of fuel and supply, all of these were redone a couple of times until I felt things were working properly. The AI also took a long time before we felt it was giving a good game.
I realise that the game has not yet been released, however, are there any plans you can tell us about for future expansions or similar? Personally I was wondering if there might be an expansion to cover operations in Southern France in the later stages of the war.
FH: There are no plans for expansions.
Additionally, have you any thoughts for future games?
FH: I?d like to continue to use this system in the future to do other WWII campaigns. I haven?t decided yet which campaign but I?d love to do a game on the China-Burma-India and Southeast Asia theatre.
Lastly, a chance for the team to get a name check and recognition. Who is involved and what does each do?
FH: It?s just me, my artist and a few dedicated playtesters I?m afraid.
Piercing Fortress Europa game website - http://www.matrixgames.com/products/467/details/Piercing.Fortress.Europa