Slitherines HoW14 The Final Round Up

By Nik Gaukroger 28 May 2014 0

The last, but by no means least, of our articles of the products presented at Slitherine?s annual press conference we cover a mix of styles of games including 2 boardgame conversions. So once again we invite you to read on ?

Close Combat: Gateway to Caen

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Due for release this week all being well, this is the latest instalment in this popular series, but probably the last its current form ? see below for info on the future for the series. This game covers the British offensive of Operation Epsom following the successful D-Day landings. The game looks and plays like its predecessors, however, the graphics have been tweaked (the explosions look nice), there are new sound effects and there is an enhanced scenario editor to help those so inclined.

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There will be 13 maps to fight over and you can play at the strategic and tactical level and the 65 vehicles modelled include the infamous Tiger II which may prove tricky to take out. As in becoming their norm the game is planned for a Steam release on PC with 6th June the anticipated release date.

 

Close Combat: The Bloody First

Perhaps oddly the next game is the next iteration of Close Combat?s engine which upgrades the graphics to a 3D approach. As this is slated for release before the end of 2014 it begs the question of why Gateway to Caen was developed at all if it was to be superseded so quickly. Slitherine?s Iain McNeil explained that as it has been so long since the last Close Combat game they felt that players would appreciate another instalment before the new version was released; also it has been know for release dates on new products to slip ? The game demoed to us was quite an early version but it looks as though the 3D effect will be relatively ?top down? if that makes sense ? anyway, here are a couple of screenshots to illustrate.

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The game itself will follow the campaigns of the American First Infantry Division from their introduction into WW2 in Tunisia through their campaigns in Sicily and Normandy. Equipment will upgrade during the course of the game as new kit becomes available. We are promised an increased number of options as to when and where to fight, and even some opportunities to play as the Germans and Italians occasionally, but the game emphasis will be on the tactical rather than strategic battle. A firndlier UI is planned, however, with the game in such an early stage we could not be shown this as it is very much work in progress.

 

Heroes of Normandie

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First of the boardgame conversions this is an iPad version of the game of the same name from Devil Pig Games which was produced following a very successful Kickstarter campaign last year. The boardgame was at the event and proved very popular with the delegates which suggests the iPad version could be a winner. The game is inspired by the classic Holywood WW2 films and is designed to be played as a series of missions which should play out fairly quickly; 15-30 mins perhaps.

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As development only began about 2 months ago details were still sparse, however, we are told there will be a number of campaigns ? US, German and perhaps Commonwealth ? and there will be facility to create your own scenarios as well. There will be special characters/heroes who will have their own unique abilities, and these will obviously be key to winning in many scenarios. The look and feel of the game is very true to the boardgame.

As mentioned above the game was a hit with the journalists so this should be one to watch out for with interest. Indeed, have a look at this promo video.

 

Legions of Steel

Last year we featured an interview with Romain Soulie of Studio Nyx about a crowdfunding campaign they had launched to produce a tablet version of the Legions of Steel boardgame - http://wargamer.com/article/3435/Legions-of-Steel--Wargamer.com-interview. The funding campaign did not achieve its target, however, they have now partnered up with Slitherine to bring the product to market. For those interested in the history of the original game have a look at Boardgame Geek here.

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As the game involves running around rooms and corridors in a Sci-Fi setting there will be inevitable comparisons drawn with Games Workshop?s Space Hulk, however, this is a quite different game, if only because both sides have guns, etc. which lends a very different dynamic. Players will get to play either side in the game ? the Humans and the Empire of the Machines. As with Heroes of Normandie this game is still quite early on in the development stage, however, the demo showed very smooth graphics and a pretty easy to use interface. It looks like both games are being aimed at a wider market than just the traditional Slitherine/Matrix/Ageod one ? which seems to be something of a theme at the moment. Play will progress through a number of campaigns of linked scenarios, as you might expect. The first campaign will also act as a tutorial (and back story) so these are likely to be quite short, after which you will move onto a second campaign with fewer, but bigger, maps to fight over. A third campaign was mentioned as a future release to the game when they have been tested and balanced ? this one will major on playing the Machines. Leadership is slated to play an important part in the game affecting each turn?s initiative and also allowing some actions in the opponents turn; however, this is still to be implemented so we cannot report on it in action. As ever, we will keep our eyes peeled on this one and report back when further info becomes available.

 

Buzz Aldrin?s Space Program Manager

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Announced some time ago and with an Early Access Campaign the main news on this title was the change of emphasis brought about by feedback from the early adopters ? very much a case of an EAP working well as a mass beta test it would seem. The change is that instead of just being a sandbox game there is also now a campaign mode which allows you to play as NASA or the Soviets in a race to the moon. These will be historically based but will also allow you to diverge from the decisions made by those agencies historically and play the race out as a ?what if? scenario using technologies and approaches that were rejected in real life.

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The release plan is still for 3 parts: first the Race to the Moon, second covering contemporary activity and tech, and thirdly a near future scenario ? but very much plausible in a few years and not sci-fi. Future releases may also include the Chinese and Indian space programs as playing options.

 

Sovereignty

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Developed by the Lordz Games Studios we were treated to a look at an alpha build of what appears to be a very interesting and playable turn based Fantasy Strategy game. The game is build about provinces, roughly 35 in fact, so management of your kingdom is going to be a significant part of the game I would expect. These provinces all have individual characteristics which can give advantages or disadvantages depending on who you are.The usual array of fantasy races look to be present, so we have elves, dwarfs, orcs, undead and the like as well as good old humans ? and these can be affected by provinces in different ways.

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The world contains a mixture of Great Powers, Powers and Minor Powers, all of which can be played and this will obviously present different levels of challenge to the player. The start of every game is random so extended playability should be built in.

As well as the strategic level of the game there is also a tactical level. When your armies come into conflict you can play out the battle in a fairly traditional hex based wargame on a map of the province where the fighting takes place. The battle mechanism includes a card system to play abilities, etc. to get an advantage over your enemy.

Overall I was really impressed by the look of this game both graphically and in terms of gameplay as explained to us. Obviously the real test is when the game is completed, but this is on my current ?to play? list.

 

Armageddon

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As a wargames license goes a Games Workshop Warhammer 40K is a pretty big one ? there is a huge player base for the miniatures game with a vast and deep history/story to draw on. If implemented well it should be a biggie.

The game being developed covers the Second War for Armageddon and pits the Imperial Forces against the Orks in one of the major events in the 40K universe involving a number of famous characters such as Commissar Yarrik and Warboss Ghazghkull Thraka. The main combatants are the Orks on one side and the Astra Militarum (Imperial Guard) and Space Marines of the Blood Angels, Salamanders and Ultramarine chapters on the other. All the artwork has had to be approved by Games Workshop so we can assume that the fans will be happy on that score. All sorts of pieces of equipment are available but perhaps the most anticipated will be Titans! Alas no examples of these were shown ?

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The game is turn and hex based, and, let?s get this out of the way early on, is clearly based to some degree on Slitherine?s very successful Panzer Corps ? although the developers are insistent that this is not Panzer Corps 40K. To be fair there are definite differences (a morale system for example and ranged attacks are the norm for units), but if you?ve played PC it will look familiar. We shall now say no more on this.

Play is based on a campaign of some 30+ scenarios. You can play single scenarios as the Orks, but the full campaign is played only as the Imperials. Multi-player is available through the Slitherine PBEM++ system and up to 4 players can fight either in co-op mode or against each other. Armies can be pre-defined or custom made in multi-player mode and we are promised extensive modding capabilities that will not involve programming.

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Future expansion is already being planned out and it is hoped that this will evolve into a series of games allowing you to play the Orks in campaign mode for example, as well as DLCs for additional locations to fight over and an expansion to cover the Third War for Armageddon.

Release date is Autumn/Fall of this year ? keep your eyes peeled ?

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