Reviews

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As the hot North African desert sun began to set on the night of 20 November 1941, two battered tanks, all that remained of a squadron of American built Stuart M-3 light tanks were laagered in a defensive position for the night. Three exhausted gritty, dust-covered British tankers were seated, leaning against the side of their tank nick-named "Old Bill" while the fourth crewman sat up in the turret providing over watch and monitoring the radio. They'd had the devil's own day after a fierce day long battle with the German 15th Panzer Division.

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Of all the British, Canadian and American D-Day invasion beaches along the Normandy coast, none was as fiercely defended nor caused as many lost Allied lives than at Omaha Beach. The reasons for the near disaster at Omaha beach were many, with both Allied and Axis forces directly or indirectly sharing the blame for this near defeat, turned to costly victory.

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Today we bring you the first in what we anticipate will be a series of columns by Jim Cobb, one of the most respected strategy game reviewers around. In this first offering Jim casts his eye over the Smithsonian Channel’s recent documentary on the Battle of Waterloo and gives his trenchant views of the program and how well it works as a tool for delivering history education. So without further ado, here we go …

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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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Sales are like busses – they all come along at once. We’ve just had a whole raft of summer sales from the likes of Steam and Paradox and now it’s time for the Independence Day sales. Matrix Games are kicking these off and it lasts the whole weekend so if you miss out on July 4th itself due to celebrating you’ll still have a chance to take advantage of it.

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Makin Island is a triangular shaped atoll in the Gilbert Islands about four degrees north of the equator, It is eight miles in length and less than a half mile wide and covered with coconut palms. It had been under Japanese occupation and control since 10 December 1941. D-Day for Carlson's Raiders was set for 0300 hours on 17 August 1942. If all went well, the raiders would come ashore unobserved while it was still dark. However, "Murphy's Law" soon made an appearance and would remain in evidence throughout the entire raid.

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As was widely reported and commented on last week Apple pulled a number of games from the App Store due to the inclusion of a Confederate flag – not that it was THE Confederate flag as often stated, but hey, that’s just a detail. However, for those who may have just missed it, they are now back and available after some minor changes for one.

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In a recent bid to outdo themselves in the political correctness department, Apple has decided it would discontinue offering games featuring the Confederate flag. This might not come as a surprise to most people in the wake of the horrendous shooting in Charleston and the debate over the flying of the Confederate flag in the Southern United States. Obviously, this has affected games such as Civil War: Gettsyburg which offer historical scenarios that feature the Confederate flag and was, up until Apple's decision, available on the Apple App store.

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I generally don’t write negative reviews because most serious wargaming efforts – board games, PC games, and magazines – are brought to us by small companies who truly endeavor to put their best foot forward. So the last thing any reasonable reviewer really wants to do is, on the basis of one or two marginal titles, demoralize a group to the point where that the phenomenal game they were about come out with never comes to pass. After all, isn’t this existence is nothing more than an extended learning process? But I have no such compunction when it comes to the mainstream companies!

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OK, a touch dramatic and, of course, not the whole story but nevertheless basically true. However, to find out more of what the headline means, and some other snippets of information from the Slitherine Group’s annual conference you’ll have to follow the link …

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