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Review

Review: Bomber Crew

06 Nov 2017 3
  • PC

Marcello takes to the air in command of an Avro Lancaster in this latest World War II aerial game.

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The 19 twin engine British Mosquito Mk VI light bombers flying at well over three hundred miles per hour roared in fast and low at church steeple altitude through the slate grey, late morning winter skies of 18 February 1944. Their bombing target was the German Gestapo prison in the French town of Amiens. Inside its high masonry concrete prison walls were held 717 French resistance fighters and other political enemies of the German Third Reich. In less than ten minutes the Mosquito's bombs breached the prison walls, completely destroying the Gestapo barracks and killing most of its soldiers within who were then eating their lunch. As nearly 300 French prisoners escaped through the newly opened, still smoking walls, the Mosquito bombers quickly departed, leaving behind the shell shocked, incredulous Germans to wonder what had just hit them.

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First published in 1998, this legendary series of operational wargames has seen six releases, including the latest Operational Art of War III, released to the wargaming audience in 2006. Now, as we conclude The Operational Art of War III, we are also taking a new step to continue the series into the future. Publisher Matrix Games and the TOAW Development Team have been working behind the scenes for nearly two years to take this landmark brand to new heights.

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Last week we reported in the snippets we’d extracted from the Slitherine Group’s annual get together that they had signed a contract with BAE Systems for collaboration and development – although what of was, unsurprisingly, not mentioned.

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Released back in November 2014, Slitherine’s Warhammer 40,000: Armageddon has been expanded 4 times and has now been converted to the iPad.

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Hearts of Iron IV is the latest iteration of Paradox Interactive’s successful World War 2 grand strategy title. However, I have to confess that the last version was, for me, a failure as I just couldn’t get into it at all. Therefore, it was with some trepidation that I accepted an invitation from Paradox to a two day multi-player event being held just outside of London – that’s a lot of time to commit to something you really may not like from the off. This was not helped by having very little time to get to know the game with the beta that was kindly provided and having to get going with game from the start of the event. So how did it work out; read on …

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Before you dismiss this statement as sacrilegious, please remember that I still have that life size poster of Gary Grigsby hanging on my bedroom wall. But with all due respect to one of our founding fathers, given the vast complexities of the particular conflict, like Goldilocks in that ursine abode, no one has managed to get that Second World War Pacific theatre just right. Until now! So at the risk of exposing my blatantly bald head, my hat’s off to The Artistocrats for finally doing that island hopping campaign justice. Though I still say they’re tied with Muzzy Lane for strangest wargame developer company name ever.

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First there was Armageddon where the main forces of the Imperium of Man were the Armageddon Steel Legion. Then came the Salamander Space Marines followed by the Blood Angels. Now it is the turn of the third, and we think final, chapter to have a pop at the invading Orks – the Ultramarines.

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Possibly the best wargame to be released in 2013, Matrix Games Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm is still extremely popular and the game has great replayability (see our extensive review here). Additionally, the game has been heavily updated following feedback from the player base and last November a “Player’s Edition” was released based on the feedback. To see why Flashpoint is enduring we have here an AAR from Michael Capobianco of one of the classic scenarios based around (the theoretical) fighting in the strategic Fulda Gap.

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“Will there be a Mac version?” or “When will this be out on Mac?” are common questions when a new game is released, often followed by an evasive or holding reply from the publisher leaving the gamer none the wiser. The sad fact for people looking for wargames on the Mac is that the market segment is pretty small – let’s be honest, the PC is the norm for a games machine – and so the economics of porting a game to the Mac are usually a bit marginal.

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