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Transcript of Joel Billings  of 2by3 Games Interrogation      Good morning Mr. Billings, I hope you had a pleasant night. Now ...

Interrogation of Joel Billings Interrogation of Joel Billings

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

Transcript of Joel Billings of 2by3 Games Interrogation
 
 




Good morning Mr. Billings, I hope you had a pleasant night. Now to continue with our 'interview'. If it will help matters we can do a little role playing. I will go get my dentistry tools and ask you if it is "safe".

First some quick fire 'about you' questions.

Name? 

Joel Billings

Hair colour?

Brown
 
Eye colour?

Brown

Age?

58

Height?

6’3”

Single or in a relationship?

Married 27 years

Little Joels or..erm..Joelettes?

2 daugters, Melany 26, Jenna 23, 1 son, Alex 18 (about to leave for college, at which point all 3 will have gone to the dark side - Southern California - while my wife and I are in the San Francisco Bay Area).

Favourite food?

Mexican

Favourite film?

Das Boot

Favourite colour? 

Really? (mumbling between interrogators)

Favourite book?

Task Force Lone Bandit (my father wrote it, so I’m biased)

Favourite music genre and bands?

Jackson Browne, Neil Young, Elvis Costello (rock of the 70s, as my music life peaked when I was in college)

Favourite holiday destination?

Western Europe

Lucky Number?

43 (actually my wife’s, but it’s been my roller hockey jersey number for the past 20 years)

BF109 or Hurricane?

BF109

Sherman or Panzer IV?

Sherman

West front or East front?

It depends on the scale and/or battle, but I like them both.

Tactical or Operational?

Operational

Rommel or Patton?

I’m too much of an American to not pick Patton. My father took me to the movie Patton when it came out when I was 12. My uncle served in the 1st Division in Sicily and he had a mixed opinion of Patton. My dad was just happy that Patton didn’t go into politics.

Hmmm..interesting....Now we have a good idea from the ACME Lie Detector when your telling the truth we shall get on the real questions. Remember ACME Lie detector currently has a money back guarantee, that's how good it is!

 


What started your career with computer gaming in general, and specifically wargames?

I started playing wargames with Tactics II at the age of 7 in 1965. My father got the game from his brother (both WWII vets), and my father taught it to me. After that Gettysburg, and many other Avalon Hill boardgames followed. I loved it as my father got me interested in military history by the time I was in 2nd grade. I spent the next 14 years playing as many wargames (and some statistical sports games) as I could afford, while I eventually got a degree in Economics from Claremont McKenna College in the Los Angeles area. In 1979 when I graduated from college and saw my first personal computer (a TRS-80 at Radio Shack), I thought the time was right for wargames to be made on computers. I had a small amount of computer experience in college, and had programmed a very simple wargame for a BASIC computer class. I didn’t have the skills to do the programming myself, but I was lucky enough to be spending my summer after graduating working in Silicon Valley. Through the local wargame stores I found two programmers that were also wargamers and interested in working with me. At that point, I founded Strategic Simulations, Inc (SSI). Had I not been in Silicon Valley, I don’t think any of this would have been possible. For that I have to thank my favorite college professor who had gotten me an internship at Amdahl that led to the summer job, and my uncle for letting me live in his house in Palo Alto that summer and for giving me encouragement to put off business school and start SSI instead.



What have been the major hurdles you’ve come across during your game development career?

Early at SSI since most of our games were in BASIC, we struggled with making the games run fast enough. Later on, the issues became that the games grew to be so complicated and time-intensive that testing them in a reasonable time-frame became very difficult. My major struggles weren’t so much in development of wargames though, as they were managing SSI as it grew and produced non-wargames. I enjoyed all kinds of strategy games, including statistical sports games, although wargames were my real passion. Many of the development people at SSI were big role-players (not me), so that allowed us to branch out into role-playing games generally and the SSI D&D license was the culmination of that effort. By 1990, wargames were no more than 25% of SSIs sales, so a lot of my time was spent on the business and not as much of my time went into game development. Two years after selling SSI to Mindscape in 1994, I decided to end my short lived executive career at Mindscape and go back to being a wargame developer at SSI. In 2000 the opportunity came up to partner with Gary Grigsby and Keith Brors and create 2by3 Games with the idea to focus entirely on developing Gary’s wargames. I had been developing Gary’s games since 1982 and his were always my favorite wargame designs, so it was a natural partnership. The challenge we’ve faced at 2by3 is how to continue making these ever increasingly complex games given their limited market. It wouldn’t happen without the group of volunteers that came from our fan community and have done all kinds of work needed to produce these projects (database, scenario, testing, programming and more).


Which game are you most proud off that you’ve been involved in?

That’s hard to say. Over the years, starting with War in Russia in the early 80s and ending with War in the East in 2010, Gary’s eastern front series of games have been very special to me. I was a huge fan of SPI’s War in the East monster board wargame when it first came out in the early 70s). Another game I am very proud of is the original Panzer General. As arguably the best selling personal computer hexagon based wargame of all time, it was a very special project created by an all-star group of employees at SSI in 1994. I think the many games in the Panzer General series, and the PG inspired Panzer Corps series put out more recently by Matrix, have introduced a lot of people to PC wargaming. I’m proud of War in the Pacific, given just how difficult it was to develop. Once released, I never wanted to see it again, but I was very proud of its release and subsequent improvement by the community with the release of WitPAE.

So War in the Pacific was the hardest to see to completion? Why was that?

Every ship, every plane, pilot, squad fighting in the entire Pacific. A game that played in daily turns executing ever airstrike for 4 years. It was massive. The only way it could be tested quickly was using the AI to play the AI, and even that took days. Having human players test it was very difficult. We had done massive games before, but this was the biggest by far.



What have been your low points and what have been the high points?

Getting to develop 10-15 games a year in the 80s was a lot of fun, although it was also hard work. Getting SSIs first game completed in 6 months, and then getting SSI to turn profitable within a year were big early high points. Later on, getting the Dungeons & Dragons license in 1987 and releasing many successful D&D products over the next few years were high points. Not being able to take advantage of those D&D products on the early consoles, and problems with completing the 2nd generation D&D engine, and the layoff that came because of it were low points. The sale of SSI was both a high and a low, and the early success of SSI within Mindscape, thanks in part to Panzer General and Steel Panthers was another high. Forming 2by3 Games in 2000 and getting to work with Gary on a day to day basis again as I did in the 80s was another high point, as were the release of WitP (more of a relief) and War in the East.

What advice would you give to someone who was contemplating designing\developing wargames?

Play a lot of games. Get involved with beta testing wargames. You may find you can talk to various game designers/developers and help out with various tasks aside from just testing. There is a difference between a programmer/designer and someone like me that hasn’t programmed since 1982. It’s hard for non-programmers to get to be designers, but it’s more possible for them to be a developer. However, I found that my basic knowledge of BASIC back when most of our games were programed in basic did help me deal with programmers, so I’d encourage developers to get some experience if they can with programming, if only at a very basic level.

How do you feel about the change from brick and mortar commerce to the new internet download version?

I’m very happy to see it go this way. It works for wargames, especially when we have a great distribution partner in Matrix. Most wargames are niche products and had an increasingly difficult time finding shelf space. Unsold gamers were returned, forcing prices down as inventory stacked up. Removing the middle man (retailer and often a distributor) means more for the designer and publisher. For downloaded products, the cost of the download is less than the cost of the box and docs, so that’s another advantage.

Do developers and programmers get a larger percentage of profits with the new model and the absence of overhead?

Yes, generally royalty percentages are higher than they were back in the 80s and 90s, and the percentage of the retail price actually received by the publisher is higher than it was in the brick and mortar days. That’s not to say you get rich making serious wargames, but the amount received per game sold is higher than it used to be.



Can you give us a brief run down on how SSI came into being and what are your feelings when you look back to that time?

I got the idea of making computer wargames in 1979 while working at a summer job in Silicon Valley between graduating from college and going to business school. When I was able to find two programmers also interested in making computer wargames, we started SSI. I did not plan on becoming a publisher, but once Avalon Hill said they weren’t interested in what we were doing, I had to figure out how to publish and distribute our first wargame when we finished it 6 months later. It was a great time, when personal computers were just getting into stores, and computer users were hungry for software. For me, it was great fun because once we started publishing our games, people started submitting games for publication. I got to work on a new game every month, and I got to work with some great designer/programmers. When I look back, I wonder just how everything came together, and how much we were able to do without any experience. Of course, when you’re young, you’ve got time and energy. It helped to have my sister running the production part of the company, and having my uncle available to provide business advice. In many ways it was a family business. At the same time, the people that joined our R&D department were all wargamers, so we had that in common. As the company grew, there was always a game going on of some kind, at lunch, or afterwork. Board games, miniature games, role-playing, you name it. When I met my wife in 1986, she described the company as a treehouse for gamers.

Was it a terrible blow to let go of SSI, or was it a relief at the time?

It was a bit of both. I knew that selling SSI to a bigger company would inevitably change the company forever. If it wasn’t for the increasing cost of development and the risks associated with that for a small company, I would have been happy to stay independent. However, with the gaming consoles coming in, the rising cost of development, and the increasingly hit driven business, the risks were too great. Once we decided it was time to become part of a bigger company, it then became a matter of finding a company that valued us. It took over a year, and two possible deals going south (EA and Spectrum Holobyte), before Mindscape came along. Since they had recently been bought by a big British conglomerate, it seemed as if there was a good chance for us to do well there. In fact we did very well for the first two years within Mindscape (partially because we were no longer shackled by the EA affiliated label distribution deal that was costing us a lot and partially due to some timely hit products). Unfortunately, Mindscape had its own problems, and I found I really didn’t enjoy the corporate management game and preferred working directly on the games.



 
You must understand that this mode of questioning is a means to an end. This isn't just an outlet for my salacious appetites. Some people believe that the heyday for computer wargames was years ago. My feeling is that we are in the golden age right now. What are your thoughts on the matter?

Thanks to Matrix and internet distribution, I’d agree that times are pretty good for computer wargames. Unlike boardgames, computer games are constantly changing due to changing technological capabilities. So it’s hard to compare a game from the 80s to one of today. There seem to be plenty of good games for people to spend time on.

Wargaming (both board and computer) is a hobby where the players are, to put it gently, aging. Do you see it this way, or do you feel there is actually new blood filling the hobby's veins?

Yes, I think a lot of our customers are aging baby boomers that started with hex based board wargames in their youth, and then got computers after college and moved their gaming to computers. Back in 1980 I found the average age of our customers was 23, and I was 22 at the time. Over the years, the average age of our customers kept going up. There was a wave of new gamers that came in during the 90s via games like Panzer General and Steel Panthers. Those games sold 5 to 10 times what any other wargame had sold. They were easy enough and good looking enough to attract some new gamers. Some of these people went on to play more complex wargames. Of course wargamers are outnumbered by other computer gamers, but some percentage of computer games manage to find computer wargames and get interested. I don’t have any hard data on our customers these days, but I’d bet for games like Gary Grigsby’s War in the East, the average age is probably near 50. I’d bet that the average age of Panzer Corps players is much lower. Hopefully games like Panzer Corps will continue to create new wargamers, although I do wonder how different wargames will be 10-20 years from now when the old guard that played wargames before computers came along are mostly gone.

What do you feel needs to be done to bring younger wargamers into the fold?

More games like Panzer General and Steel Panthers. Good looking, intuitive, easy to play games that are more accessible to non-wargamers. Is it fair to compare an author and a programmer? Both are in some way creating something new. A programmer/designer is like an author in a way, as game design is a creative process. Of course understanding high level programming is a barrier to entry for many would-be designers. At SSI back in the 80s we used to say that designs were a dime a dozen. The key was finding a designer that had the ability to program his design. Keith Brors was a great help in those days creating tools that Gary and other others used to make many of our early wargames. Without those tools, it would have been much harder for some of the designers to program their games. But fundamentally, it took a designer that could program to make a game happen.

Does a programmer suffer things like 'programmers block' etc?

I’m not really one to answer that as my only experience at programming was programming Pursuit of the Graf Spee back in 1981. I know that Gary often hits problems that require him to take a long walk on the beach to work out in his head. After taking that time, his mind manages to come up with solutions to the problem he’s trying to deal with.

Please hold still and stop squirming, and let the sodium pentothal do its work. You were involved with some wargame releases whose longevity boggles the mind.

Some in our hobby keep an extra old DOS computer just to play some of your games. The original SSI wargames are spoken about in hushed tones like the boardgame giant SPI, in our hobby.

There are four games from twenty plus years ago that everyone seems to want to have an updated version of. They are 'Age of Rifles', 'Battles of Napoleon', 'Great Naval Battles' and 'Steel Panthers'; you were involved with all of them in some way or another. Are you surprised at this fact, or when you saw the completed editions, did you know they were winners?

Games that have the flexibility to cover many different battles of a period are always more interesting (and popular) than those covering just one battle. AoR, BoN and SP, all fit that category. Of course SP was much more commercially successful than the others, but we knew all three were fundamentally good products that covered their subjects well and allowed players to simulate a wide variety of battles. It’s no surprise that people would like to see these games return in an updated form (I’d like to see them as well). GNB was special because it was a much better looking game than other wargames of its time and had a real time element. All 4 of these gamers were made by experienced designers that had a lot of experience making computer wargames and knew a lot about the subjects they were working on.

 

If you stop fighting, I will loosen the ropes a bit. This is hurting me as much as it is hurting you, you know. So, now to the elephant in the room. We have had '2 by 3 Games' ' Gary Grigsby's War in the East', now ' Gary Grigsby's War in the West', and ' Gary Grigsby's War in the Pacific: Admirals Edition'. There have been some mutterings on Matrix's forum about the schedule of upcoming games. If memory serves me, 'Gary Grigsby's War in the East II' and a compilation that will be 'Gary Grigsby's War in Europe' have been talked about. In the midst of these postings was a nugget called ' Steel Tigers', so just sit back, and I will get you some water and you can tell us all about '2 by 3 Games' upcoming schedule. Which future release are you most excited about working on, if any?



At the moment, we’re working on both War in the East 2 and Steel Tigers, and I’m equally excited by both. War in the East 2 is a continuation of the progress we’ve made with the WitE and WitW system, using the map we created of all of Europe that was used in WitW. Exactly how far we will take this system is unknown. We’d like to be able to ultimately reach a point where we can have games with Soviet, Axis and Allied units all fighting in Europe. Getting a game that allows this starting in 1943 would be easier than starting in 1941, and much easier than starting in 1940 or 1939. At the moment we’re relying on Gary for the AI programming while Pavel is doing 90% of the rest of the programming. I really like the changes we’ve made so far, and think this game will go a long way to providing an even more accurate simulation of the Eastern Front. As for Steel Tigers, we’re working closely with Matrix’s internal development team. It’s really a joint effort as the goal is to be every bit as state of the art with ST as SP was when it was released.

Steel Tigers is the one I’m really excited about. Will old Steel Panther players recognise it as a new Steel Panthers game, or will it look very different?

Steel Tigers will be a top down hex game with the same scale as the original Steel Panthers. However, the look and feel and interface will be up to today’s standards and should be very impressive. The original Steel Panthers looked as good as most AAA products circa 1995. We’d like Steel Tigers to be just as impressive relative to today’s games. It’s not 3D, but it uses 3D models to provide a great graphical look. The ability to play individual scenarios, linked campaigns and semi-random campaigns will be familiar to those that played SP. Of course Gary has added some new elements (like the ability to split infantry units), but fundamentally we want this to play as smoothly as SP did, but with the benefit of 20 years of improvements in graphics and interface.

Will you be aiming for historical accuracy and realism with detailed ballistic model and armour modelling, if not how will these things be modelled?

With Gary involved, we’re always aiming for historical accuracy and realism. When you realize that the combat in War in the East is being resolved in a shot by shot method that began with Steel Panthers (or even before), you know that Gary has a lot of experience making combat systems. His primary responsibility with ST is the under the hood code, so I have complete confidence that the game will be realistic.

No one expects these days for Steel Tigers to be released with all the Nations etc Steel Panthers was released with. Can you tell us what Nations will be in the first release?

I’m glad you asked. The effort it takes to create artwork for all the weapons is much greater these days than it used to be in 1995. For that reason alone, we realized early on that we needed to break SP into pieces. The first product will focus on the Eastern Front. We will have the Soviet Union, Germany, and most if not all of the Axis Allies that fought on the Eastern Front. If I recall correctly, we’re also including Poland. We fully expect to release expansions covering Western Europe and the Pacific, but for now, we’re focused on the Eastern Front.

Last question on Steel Tigers. What years will it cover?

It will cover battles from 1939-1945.

You’ve been very co-operative. Which upsets Mike as he still hasn’t got to use the nose tickler! In fifteen minutes the ACME Kidnap rope will automatically release you from the ACME kidnap chair, well that’s what it says on the box. Oh no not again...Mike, Run…sirens..Jay this way..no that way..no th(sounds of someone or something running into a wall,,more shouting fades into distance..sounds of victim getting themselves free)...TAPE ENDS

                            The War of The Spanish Succession by James Falkner     The War of the Spanish Succession was probably ...

The War of the Spanish Succession by James Falkner The War of the Spanish Succession by James Falkner

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

                            The War of The Spanish Succession by James Falkner





  
 The War of the Spanish Succession was probably the world's first world war. It was fought in areas as far flung as the Seven Years War, which it preceded by fifty years. The war was fought between the French, and Spanish on one side, and the English, Dutch, and Holy roman Empire. It also had bit parts played by the smaller players that Europe abounded with at the time.

 Our story begins with Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire and Carlos I of the Spanish empire. Through his mother and father, he was the heir to both of these along with the Netherlands and more. His reign saw the house of Hapsburg become the world's greatest multi-national dynasty. The story continues until the late 1600s when Carlos II reigned over the Spanish empire. He was unfortunately childless and represented the last true Spanish Hapsburg. Leopold I (Holy Roman Emperor), and Louis XIV (king of France) were both grandsons of Phillip III of Spain. They, with their children, had the greatest claim to the throne of Spain. There was a third candidate who was very important to our story (but who unfortunately for the the people of Europe and beyond) that died young. This was Joseph-Ferdinand Wittelsbach of Bavaria. He was the son of the Elector of Bavaria and the grandson of Leopold I. There were treaties in force between the major powers that would make Joseph-Ferdinand the king of Spain after the death of Carlos II. His death in 1699 turned Europe into a powder keg waiting to be lit by whomever had the will to strike the match. 

  Carlos II passed away, but before he did drew up a will. In it the Spanish crown was to be offered to a grandson of Louis XIV, the Duc D'Anjou. In the event that he or more to the point his grandfather turned it down it was to be offered to the Hapsburg Archduke Charles of Austria, son of Leopold I. 

  Louis XIV's and the Duc D'Anjou's (now Phillip V of Spain) acceptance of the crown struck the spark that turned into the aptly named War of The Spanish Succession.

  The book tells the story of the War, its military campaigns, political machinations, and final outcome. The war would see the rise of England to be a global power. It would also really be the last time the Netherlands was a top player in the world of European politics. France would be brought to the edge of ruin.  

 This being my first review of a book, I wanted to delve into the physical makeup of the book itself. I have some books that I have owned for twenty years that look as bad as some hundred year old newspaper. They are yellow and falling apart. I'm not just talking mass market soft cover books, but hard cover. The older mass market books are only fit for the inside of a reptile's cage. So what does go into the making of a 'good' book that will see you through the years? Well I am here to tell you don't start your search using book making. At best you will find a plethora of hits on 'la Cosa Nostra' etc. As far as the actual pages turning yellow, it is a process that is well known for making our lives more miserable, oxidation. Lignin is found in all trees to varying degrees. It is actually thought to be the reason that trees can grow to great heights. If too much Lignin is in the book's paper, it will oxidize faster. Some book pages are now bleached to make the pages more white. This can break down the page's cellulose and also cause oxidation to happen faster. Book bindings can be either sewn or glued. Suffice to say that in my delving into this arcane study I did find out one thing. The books that Casemate publishing brings to the public are built to last. So, leaving the actual makeup of the book aside, let us start on the Mr. Falkner's part of this endeavor. 

  Louis Le Grand was unlucky in the timing of this war. The Frenchmen that he ruled were still as courageous as they were at the beginning of his reign. The problem was, where were his generals? Turenne, Conde, and Luxembourg were all gone. Only two French Marshals, The Duke of Berwick, and the Duc de Villars were to shine in this war, but not as brilliantly as those older diamonds had.

  Marlborough was close to winning the war in 1709, but his casualties at Malplaquet caused his allies to hamstring him. The Dutch were always an anchor around Marlborough's throat, and even more so now. The political fighting between the Whigs and Tories in England sealed his fate. Louis XIV, with the help of Villars was able to fight on, and managed to broker a much better negotiated peace then was thought possible a few years ago. The author shows this and more in this well done history of the war.

  This book is a godsend for people who want to read about the history of the War of The Spanish Succession, but also the politics and warfare of the time. The author goes into all of the different areas of where it was fought. There have been a few books on Marlborough himself, and a few more about his battles. There have even been some on his entire campaigns, but none on the other parts of the war in recent years. To read about the actions in Spain and elsewhere, you have to spend hundreds of dollars, if not more, on some older books about the war and its personalities. There are some PDF and EPUB versions of these books, but the copying process has left them to be pretty much unreadable, at least to me.  

 This book is an overview of the entire conflict and does not go into the minutiae of the separate battles or sieges. For those, you will have to look elsewhere. However, it does fill the gap in a book that brings the entire war to your finger tips. The author has a solid grasp of the history and reports it in a well done no-nonsense style without any hint of bias. I find this refreshing in a book about this war. Most of the books I have read on the subject have a definite English bias, at least in the amount of information about each side in the war.

 So thank you Mr. Falkner, and Casemate, for this book. It brings to life the war and its battles, and campaigns, and is a great addition to anyone's library.

  Mr. Falkner has the following books (among others) on the history of the times listed with Casemate Publishing:

  http://www.casematepublishers.com/index.php/james-falkner-s-guide-to-marlborough-s-battlefields.html

 http://www.casematepublishers.com/index.php/marlborough-s-war-machine-1702-1711.html

http://www.casematepublishers.com/index.php/marshal-vauban-and-the-defence-of-louis-xiv-s-france.html

Robert

Book: The War of The Spanish Succession
Publisher: Casemate Publishing, Pen & Sword
Author: James Falkner
 Review Date 8/14/2016

                                                        Last Days of Old Earth Review   Hang on, wait a second. Why am I r...

Last days of Old Earth Review Last days of Old Earth Review

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

                                                        Last Days of Old Earth Review










  Hang on, wait a second. Why am I reviewing this game? I am a grognard whose pedigree goes back to the early days of board wargaming. I don't even read Sci-Fi; well, very little. The map isn't of Europe or anything I have seen before, and what about all of the strange units? What's up with them? Just as companies have to branch out like Slitherine has done into IOS, Android, and non-historical games to keep pace with, and sometimes create new markets. We wargamers should do the same. I know I used to look down my nose at a map that had "shudder" areas instead of hexes. I now play Ageod games all the time and love them. So please, people, step out of your comfort zone with games every once in a while and check out those beer and pretzel games, fantasy, and Sci-Fi games. So does Slitherine and Auroch Digital hit one out of the park to the ultaran nebula, or is this game the last spark of a super nova turned cold?

  Last Days of Old Earth was reviewed earlier here when it was still in early access. The game has changed since then, and also just received a very large update.

 In this turn based strategy game, you can play as the Skywatchers Clan or the Automata.

 The Skywatchers Clan are the last remnant of humans who live on Earth; not ours, but one that has been turned into a freeze pop. Playing as them, you are marching toward the equator, which is still warm enough to sustain some life.

 The Automata are a robotic race of sentinels that are in the way of the Skywatchers Clan on their trek to the equator.

 The only thing that confused me is that the Skywatchers clan is set on doing its Northwalk. Living in the northern hemisphere, it had me turning my head several times. This again is proof that people should think, look, and walk at times out of their comfort zone.

 In some ways, the game resembles a turn based RTS game. You build facilities and upgrade them. You explore the map looking for both resources and enemies. The map is a blank slate except for the few tiles that you can see at first. As far as similarities to RTS games, that is about it. At its heart it is a strategy game as much as any wargame is.

 The main difference is that it is turn based. So you have no need for frenetic map searching or finger clicking. It reminds me of the newer board games with its die rolls and cards to pull.

 The terrain is varied, and gives bonuses to the defender like a typical wargame. The units have all strengths and weaknesses that have to be used to used to attack or to defend against your enemy.

  You can build outposts which are military installations, and also build collectors on resource tiles.

 One place the game really shines is in terrain height. In this game it actually matters. You not only get the expected defense bonus, but your units can actually SEE farther on the map. This helps immensely with recon, attack, and defense planning.



 The other very well done part of the games is in its hero units. They have special abilities, and also have a set amount of units that they can command in armies.

You can garrison your HQ or your outpost or deploy your armies out of them. If you lose your HQ to the enemy, the game is lost. All of your installations have limits on the amount of units allowed to be present in the garrison. Units in installations can also be healed and repaired. There are a few units that can do this for your armies in the field.

 The game turn starts with a die roll to determine who wins the initiative. You can use your resources to buy more chances to win the die roll. Gaining the initiative not only lets you move first, you also gain more action points to use during that turn.

 Battles occur when units of both sides are in the same hex. You can choose to autoresolve it or move it to the field of battle. The field of battle is pretty typical in its look and usage. The front line is for units defending and attacking directly with the second line used for support units.






 The AI is very competent on both the field of battle, and the maps.

 The graphics at first seemed to me a bit cartoon-like (see above), but the maps and units grew on me. They are actually well done for the game's story line.

 Resources are the key to the game.You have to get moving on the first turn. For both recon and to search, find, and capture the different resource hexes on each map. Not only finding, but also defending your resources is really the crux of game play. If the enemy can take away your resources you will lose. Possibly a slow loss, but a loss nonetheless.

 The game comes with the ability to choose your units before you start with the ability to build your own 'decks' of them before battle.



 The game also has an adjustable 'sudden death' meter in the skirmish games. This is a good addition so the player doesn't have to destroy all of his enemies or capture the entire map to win that scenario. 

  


  To add to the player's choices, the game has some interesting features. A unit can go into stealth mode in a forest tile and become hidden. You can try to assassinate your enemy's heroes. Sabotage is also something you can do against your enemy and cut down on his supply. The game also has 'encounters' where the player's forces will move next to a tile that has a force that is not one of the two antagonists. The player has to choose on how his forces will react to this. It is possible to gain allies during one of these encounters.

 To sum it up, this game is an interesting title that really does have some depth if you take the time to play it. A lot of wargamers or grogs would look askance at it due to the story and graphics. This one will remain on my harddrive and I will definitely play it. In the beginning I was skeptical, but it has proved its worth.

  Robert

 Game: Last Days of Old Earth
 Developer: Auroch Digital
 Publisher: Slitherine
 Date of Review: 8/6/2016

Thomas Gunn: New Releases 'Stand To' for inspection!     This is the second review of Thomas Gunn miniatures and this time I ...

Thomas Gunn: Another first class collection stand for inspection! Thomas Gunn: Another first class collection stand for inspection!

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

Thomas Gunn: New Releases 'Stand To' for inspection!
 
 
This is the second review of Thomas Gunn miniatures and this time I present their most recent releases. We have a collection of Roman Legionnaires, Fallschirmjager and two sets that make a great little diorama of WW2 Aussies!  I was extremely impressed last time round. So had high hopes for this second collection sent to me for review. Read on to see if they lived up to my expectations..
 
First we have to go back to the days of the Roman Empire as we inspect the latest additions to join the ranks of Thomas Gunns Legionnaires.
 
 


 

 
 
As you can see from the pictures it's very doubtful this Legionnaire is going to aid you in any future battle soon. The poor chap has done a 'Harold' and taken an arrow to the eye. Typical of Thomas Gunns attention detail is that the Pilum is separate, as the unlucky Roman would have dropped it when the arrow hit. For the review I received both the Red Shield and the 30th Legion variant as seen in the pictures above. There is also a 9th Legion variant with the black shield and bull motif. The 30th Legion and 9th Legion versions are limited edition, so if your after one of those I'd be quick! The quality of the miniatures is excellent. The posture looks natural and the sculpting from head to toe can't be faulted. The painting is up to Thomas Gunns high standards, with all the details picked out perfectly and not even a spot of paint where it shouldn't be. Shading is well done as is skin tone. This is a rather gruesome miniature, but I love it! Top marks all round. He comes in a silver box and great care has gone into padding so he doesn't get damaged in transit. I'm sure he is happy about that, I expect even the slightest knock on the arrow is going to cause even more pain than he is already in.  He retails at £32.50
 



 

 

 
Here the Legionnaire is kneeling with Pilum raised all ready for the order to go into battle. For the review I received both the standard Red Shield variant as well as the black shield 9th Legion variant. It also comes in a 30th Legion version. You can see both the 9th Legion and Red Shield in the pictures above (the picture at the bottom shows all versions lined up). The figures posture is well sculpted and natural. The uniform, from Helmet to Sandals, is superbly detailed and not just the front but attention is given to all sides of the figure. Paintwork is of the usual high quality, shading is well done as is skin tone. What I've noticed is the uniformity in colour across all the Legionnaire miniatures which is important when dealing with uniforms. What else can I say? He is typical of Thomas Gunns extreme attention to detail across all aspects of the miniature. As usual 9th Legion and 30th Legion are limited editions so be quick if it's one of those you have your eye on. Would look great in any Roman diorama. He comes in a silver box and as usual great care has gone into the padding. To really appreciate how much care and attention Thomas Gunn go into their miniatures all you really need to do is look at the padding in a box. He retails at £32.50
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The last Roman Legionnaire to be inspected today is a Legionnaire who can either be seen as in reserve waiting to go into battle or on sentry duty. The shield comes as a separate piece so you can use it or not as you see fit. For the review I received both the Red Shield and the 30th Legion miniatures. Like other Roman Legionnaires he also comes in a 9th Legion version. The pictures above show both the Red Shield and the 30th Legion miniatures. The last picture shows the miniature in with ROM002 and ROM003 figures to show how the look good as a collection and would be an excellent choice for a Roman Diorama. Like all the other figures there is no drop in standard in both the sculpt and the paintwork. Thomas Gunn figures are ones you just can't stop looking at with a big smile on your face. Care and attention is given to all sides of the miniature which goes without saying for Thomas Gunn. Remember if you want the 30th Legion or 9th Legion they are limited editions!He comes in a silver box and is very well padded. He retails at £32.50
 

 Now we jump forward in time to WWII so we can review the next set of miniatures...

 






 
 
This is a special anniversary set of FJ020A - HMG Set (Normandy) that came in three different versions and is now sold out. As demand was great Thomas Gunn have decided to make another variant in a limited edition set of 100. I have to say this, if you only ever buy one Toy Soldier in your life I have no qualms at all in saying this is the one to buy, oh and be quick as it wont be around for long. We have two FJ manning a heavy MG 42, one FJ firing and the other  loading. It's hard to find words that do this miniature justice. The sculpt right down to the tiniest detail is perfect and the paint work is a triumph. Even the FJ shooting has one eye closed and the other open! They also come with their separate small arms weapon for you to place where you see fit. It's a miniature I'll always treasure and one that will be the first to get shown to anyone interested (or not). You wont find anyone that isn't impressed even if they have no real interest in Toy Soldiers. Seriously be quick and snap this one up before it's gone for good. It comes in a silver box and the usual care as gone into padding. This little marvel retails at £70.
 



 

 
 
This along with it's variant summer version is the last FJ set Thomas Gunn is going to make this year. Not until next year will we see anything new with regards to the FJ and apparently in a format not previously released by Thomas Gunn which sounds very interesting, however that's for another time. For the review I received the winter version which you can see in the pictures above. The winter version is a limited edition of 100 and the summer version limited to 80. They are wearing winter smocks\trousers and are taking aim. Shell casings are scattered on the floor after being ejected whilst firing. It's the detail I love from Thomas Gunn. The sculpt and paintwork are of the highest quality. I love how Thomas Gunn manage to get personality into the faces of their miniatures, no standard look here. They have also got across the feeling of cold especially with the frost effect on their helmets. Another superb miniature from Thomas Gunn. If your after FJ in winter uniform firing a HMG for your diorama, then look no further. Or if you just love collecting Toy Soldiers you can't go wrong putting this in your collection. He comes in a silver box and is very well padded as we have come to expect. He retails at £69.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Here we have two Aussies who are laying down  an intense mortar barrage to help out a patrol deep in the jungle. This A version are dressed in fatigues worn in the 1940's during jungle warfare. There will be a B version that will be in early war battledress worn during desert fighting or the fighting in Greece early on in the war. The A version is limited to 100 and the B version will be limited to just 80. The posture of the two figures is alive and full of animation as the sculpture has done a first class job in capturing this intense and frantic moment. The faces of the two Aussies show not only the situation they are in but also the personalities of these two men. Just like the sculpt the paintwork can't be faulted and believe me I do try! The figures are separate as is the mortar. As you'll soon see the next set I review go hand in hand with this one to create a dynamic little diorama. They come in a silver box with the usual first rate padding. This excellent set retails at £75 and is well worth every penny.
 
 
 
 
 
 

The final set I get to review is another Aussie two piece set. Here we have an Officer desperately trying to hear what's being said on the radio as the cacophony of battle sounds all around in the hot steamy jungle. Whilst his  No2 sits patiently, all ready to write down the orders as and when they get relayed to him from his  Officer, when he finally manages to hear them! The set comes with two separate weapons an M1 and a Owen MG to enhance any diorama you put them in. Now talking about a diorama, have you noticed yet? We have the perfect companion piece to make an excellent little diorama, yes that's right the Mortar set reviewed above! As you can see in the last picture they all look wonderful together. Getting back to the set, just like the mortar set above the sculpture has captured the moment exquisitely. Each figure tells a story! The paint work is fantastic as you now come to expect from Thomas Gunn. They also wear the same jungle fatigues as the Mortar set above. A Japanese tank will also be released soon for the RS series and then like the FJ series the RS series comes to an end.

This set is limited to 100 pieces. Comes in a silver box and is fully padded. The set retails £75
 

 
 Being able to review Thomas Gunn miniatures is becoming the highlight for me with regards to running the blog. Opening each box is like a mini Christmas morning for me:) I really can't get  over enough how impressed I am with their miniatures. I honestly do try to find something to fault, but so far no matter how hard I've tried I can't find anything. So until the next set of Thomas Gunn miniatures that come in for review I bid you good bye! (Oh and if you like any of the miniatures above and they are limited edition, then be quick, you've been warned)


13 DAYS THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS FROM ULTRA PRO via JOLLY ROGER GAMES I would love to be able to write this review without...

Review: 13 Days The Cuban Missile Crisis Review: 13 Days The Cuban Missile Crisis

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

13 DAYS

THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS

FROM ULTRA PRO via JOLLY ROGER GAMES






I would love to be able to write this review without referring to Twilight Struggle, but as the designers themselves heralded it as Twilight Struggle [hereafter TS] in 45 minutes that's not going to be likely.

There are plenty of other reasons too.  Victory determined by who has gained most Prestige at game end, a Defcon track and the possibility of a player losing by triggering nuclear war; playing a hand of cards each turn and each card playable for either its events or placing influence; an abstract board to represent the areas to be influenced.  The Cuban Missile Crisis - one card in TS : a whole game in 13 Days. Nuff said - mini-TS or TS-lite?  Thankfully, it's better and worse than that.

To start with, it has a much smaller footprint.  The board is a mere 11 x 16 inches and though a map of the world hides mutedly in the background, the superimposed, large, rectangular boxes where the fight for influence takes place transforms the experience into a much more abstract form, especially  as three of the boxes aren't countries, but Television, United Nations and Alliances.  Calling these battlegrounds [however metaphorically true that might be] stretches my ability to sink myself into the atmosphere.


To be honest, atmosphere is what I think the board lacks and in that respect is much inferior to TS, but, like most CDGs, the cards are the main creators of the ambience.  In this case, a deck of 39 Strategy cards, 13 Agenda cards and one card titled Personal Letter [in effect the classic Advantage card which gives a bonus of one cube, when played alongside a Strategy card] which the US player possesses at the beginning of the game.  The Strategy cards are the key ones being illustrated with photos taken from the period, some of which I distinctly remember from T.V. news broadcasts and newspapers of the time, such as the meeting between JFK and Kruschev and most disturbing of all the shot of the ship carrying the said "Cuban Missiles".

By comparison the Agenda cards are disappointingly bland with either icons from the Defcon track or representations of faded map pictures.  Overall the quality of all the cards is adequate, but of a distinct thinness that does need sleeving, especially if, as a quick-playing game, it does get many plays.




The rest of the contents are a set of 17 small wooden cubes for each player in their respective colours of blue and red to mark influence in the battlegrounds, six wooden discs to chart Defcon status,  a yellow disc to mark the score on the  Prestige Track and a black disc to mark the turn and finally six small cardboard flag counters to be used each turn to indicate each player's Agendas drawn.

The rules are a small booklet of 9 pages for the rules themselves and 12 pages of a complete play through of a whole game.  That can be achieved as the game lasts a mere 3 Rounds with 4 card plays in each Round.  Yes, that's it; 12 Strategy cards are played by each side in the game.  In this respect, it is TS very, very, very lite!  But, more about those Strategy cards later.




Below is a picture of the board set up at the beginning of the game.


It shows the playing board with the 9 Battlegrounds: 3 Political [green], 3 Military [orange] and 3 World Opinion [purple] and the Defcon track [seen in greater detail below].


Unlike TS, the Defcon track has three columns to indicate how placing influence in the battlegrounds affects the respective Political, Military and World Opinion status.

The bottom of the Defcon track is printed with the starting positions of each players 3 coloured discs and if the resolution was good enough you'd see that they all start in the Defcon 3 zone.  Things have already hotted up before the 13 Days start.  If any single disc is still in the Defcon 1 zone in Phase 7 : Check Nuclear War that player loses, but what's worse a player can also lose, if all three of his/her discs are in the Defcon 2 zone in Phase 7 : Check Nuclear War.  This is a game that is very easy to lose, as each Round all discs move up one square on the table and every time you place cubes in one of the Battlegrounds on the map the relevant marker on the Defcon track moves up the number of cubes placed minus 1.  So, place three influence and you shoot up two squares on the appropriate track..

For me this is one of the best and well crafted mechanisms in the game.  It places you on the horns of a huge dilemma.  A major way to gain Prestige to win the game is from tallying the difference between the number of each player's cubes in a Battleground or the difference between the number of spaces of each player's discs on the Defcon track.  You have to place cubes in order to gain winning Prestige, but at the same time you are pushing yourself up the Defcon track towards potential defeat!  Lovely twist.

However, there is another twist that relates to the three Agenda cards [yellow-backed] each player draws at the beginning of each Turn.



just two of the Agenda cards

First the player uses his/her flags to mark on the board the  areas the three Agendas relate to, but only one of those three will be secretly chosen by each player and only the chosen ones will score Prestige points.  Again this feature of the game is a major one; it signals where a player's interests may be focused for this turn and allows for some degree of bluffing to try to misdirect your opponent from your target agenda.  Also, it is perfectly possible that your opponent ends the Round having been the more successful in fulfilling the conditions of the Agenda card and so gains the Prestige points instead of you.  Best of all you have to take that decision before you know what five Strategy cards you will be using to implement your choice.

This may not be to everyone's liking.  I can imagine some gamers, especially those who prefer absolute control to the vagaries of fate, would have preferred to make their choice of which Agenda card to be their chosen goal after seeing what cards they had to work with.  For myself, I love having to craft a plan out of what the draw has dealt me and in that respect 13 Days seems closest here to what I enjoy in TS.







three of the leading protagonists in the drama of history

First of all, in the deck of 39 strategy cards, each player has 13 in his colour and there are 13 United Nations cards.  With so few cards played, every single one is crucial and many of the dilemmas familiar in TS will be yours in 13 Days.  Each card has an Event and the number of cubes you can place or remove. These work in identical fashion to the War cards in TS.  If you play a card that is of your own colour, you have the choice of playing the Event or placing or removing from one Battleground on the map up to the number of influence cubes shown on the card.  If it is a United Nations card, you have exactly the same choice.  But if the card has your opponent's Event on it, your opponent has the choice of playing the Event [notice he/she can decline to play the Event] and then you place or remove up to the number of Influence cubes.

If you have been doing your maths, five Strategy cards drawn each turn and four played, what happens to the fifth card each turn?   This is the last of the important, innovative elements in the design.  That last card is placed face down in the Aftermath Location at the bottom of the board and provides the final whammy at game end.  The six cards are a final additional Prestige scoring - if the card is a Russian red one,  the number of cubes on it are added to the Russian player's score, if a blue  American card the number of cubes on it are added to the American player's Prestige, if a United Nations card nobody gets any Prestige points. 

You're probably thinking why on earth would a player not put a card of his colour in the Aftermath pile.  Well, it's a bit like the Space Race in TS, perhaps you had a card with an opponent's Event that at a critical point you just did not dare to play.  What can you do with it?   Bury it in the Aftermath pile and cross your fingers.

Obviously the decisions are more limited because, if you do not choose to play the card for its Event, there are only two things you can do either [1] add your cubes to a Battleground  or [2] remove them from a Battleground and there will be many occasions when you must simply take that negative choice of taking them away.  Why? Because it is the only way you can move one of your Defcon markers down the track and away from possible defeat!  However, you will find the action allowed by many of the Events to be especially useful, as they often modify basic rules in advantageous ways.

Before giving you my conclusions on this game, I need to mention the last item in the game box, namely the historical booklet which provides a concise  picture of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the significance of Berlin, Italy and Turkey which explains why all three are battlegrounds in the game, as well as a good explanation of the history behind all the Strategy cards.  For such a small game, this is an elegant addition and one I much appreciated.





So, fewer choices, fewer cards, fewer Rounds than TS, but always, always difficult, critical decisions and enjoyable absorbing play.  It may be a fairly quick game to play, but it is no filler, as I first thought it might be before I played the game.  Every game has been tense with all our attention focused unremittingly on the situation on the board.  Every card play is like a subtle fencing match with genuine opportunities for misdirecting your opponent

I have no hesitation in urging you get this in your collection.  It is an excellent design and exciting gaming experience that I know I shall play over and over again.



To find your nearest retailer in the UK or Europe who stocks 13 Days please click HERE





RRP £34.99







































Naval Warfare Simulations Steam and Iron and campaign expansion review   Some people are into heavy metal, meaning armored vehicles. ...

Naval Warfare Simulations Steam and Iron and campaign expansion review Naval Warfare Simulations Steam and Iron and campaign expansion review

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!


  Some people are into heavy metal, meaning armored vehicles. Then a smaller subset is into heavier metal trains. Once more we cut the group down to those who are obsessed with the heaviest metal battleships and battlecruisers. To me, they are elegant and stately in their deadly beauty. It is no wonder that for a hundred years or so the guns and armor of these behemoths were the epitome of weapons, and also a nation's ego. To send your mighty ships across the globe was a hallmark of a nation's place in the sun. Even the most backwater nations would strain their economies to own at least one battleship.

 The world in WWI waited with baited breath for the clash of the German, and British titans. In what should have been a Wagnerian finale in 1916 off the coast of Jutland, the German fleet twice sailed into the blazing guns of their more numerous cousins. Due to their greater durability, and a Valkyrie like death ride of the German battle cruisers into the hell of British 15" guns, the German navy survived, but not to fight another day. The Kaiser hadn't wanted to risk his pretties anyway. I beg your indulgence for this paean to these marvelous gods of the sea. Now to the matter at hand.

 Naval Warfare Simulations have tried to give the wargamer the chance to experience WWI from a captain, admiral, and naval high command seat. Have they succeeded, and if so how well?

  The game comes with several well written manuals to help you in your quest for maritime dominance. These are:

Campaign Manual
Players Manual
Scenario Editor Manual
Tutorial 

 The first absolutely amazing fact about the game is its size. the entire game with the expansion is less than fifty MB. The size brings us back almost to the days of floppy disks. True, it is in 2D and has minimal colors, but what they have stuffed into this bag of goodies would make Santa proud. 

              
                                THE HIGH SEAS FLEET AT THE BEGINNING OF THE BATTLE OF JUTLAND


 The game itself can be played out in scenarios that are tactical in size, and an hour of game time. To operational scale ones that can last several days. The nations that can be played are as follows:
US, Germany, Britain, Italy, Russia, Austria Hungary, Turkey, and France.

 You have the ability to fight anywhere in the world. It comes with a scenario, a ship editor, and a battle generator with multiple options. There are thirty two scenarios. Here is a small list:

The Goeben
Heligoland Bight
Coronel
The Emden
The Falklands
Scarborough
Dogger Bank
The Bosporus
Jutland
Otranto 

                       
                                                       CLOSE-UP OF THE BATTLE OF DOGGER BANK

 The scenarios range from simply duking it out or laying mines and bombardment, to even launching primitive airstrikes.


 
                                                           HERE IS THE PREFERENCE SCREEN


 The game models weather, night and day, and various visibility. One thing that the game models, which is truly annoying but historically accurate, is mechanical breakdowns on the ships. You will sometimes be all set for your next foray, and then when halfway there find one or two ships have had to turn back. It adds to the 'what if' nature of the game.

 The campaign expansion adds a total of four campaigns:
Baltic
North Sea
North Sea 1916
Germany Stronger 1916 

 The North Sea campaign gives an armchair admiral the chance of playing 200 weekly turns. It includes over 800 ships of all types and sizes. You not only have to battle it out with the enemy admiral. Your countries entire naval program is in your hands. Training, organization, and maintenance are all up to you.

 The campaigns add immensely to the game and immersion. Every turn of the campaign you are given a mission or a choice of missions to accomplish. The missions are assigned a point value toward victory if they are completed. This adds a cat and mouse feeling to the game. Unlike the scenarios which are usually ingrained already in players' heads from reading about them  (although the scenarios do not always play out the same and there are alternative history ones). With the missions in the campaign game you have absolutely no idea of what is over the horizon. The Grand Fleet may be out for target practice at the precise spot your mission wants you to be. Juggling the need to complete the missions, and also deal with regular maintenance and the chance of mechanical breakdowns is nail biting. Add this to the already very up in the air nature of naval warfare and it becomes a bit maddening. A few, or even one hit on your ships can completely turn the situation around at any second.

  
                                                         TURN DURING THE 1916 CAMPAIGN


 Submarines, although in their infancy, were a major part of the war at sea. A quick look at the reason for ship losses in WWI will show that many more were torpedoed than actually sunk by gunfire. 

  Submarines have their own patrol area, and can attack ships that enter it. Always keep destroyers near your capital ships. They make it harder for a submarine to attack, and increase the chance of the submarine being spotted. Of all your ships, weather affects your submarines the most. Calm seas make them easy to spot, and in rough seas it is hard for them to stay at attack depth. Per the manual, "a sea state of 2 to 5 is optimal for subs".

 Although both sides used submarines in their operational planning, they never really fulfilled their role. The navies tried to use them as spotting forces, but the game shows their historical failings in that role. In the game, their reports are only correct about 50% of the time. The game also shows the fear that navies had at the time of submarine attack. This is shown by having false reports of submarine, and torpedo wake sightings.

 You will also have to worry about anti-submarine warfare or ASW. Some destroyers will always need to be held back and unassigned to carry out this function.      
                        
                                  BRITISH AND GERMAN FIXED MINEFIELDS


  The other weapon that caused a large amount of ship losses and damage was mines. The game has two distinct types of minefields. most scenarios, and campaign turns show the fixed minefields that both used in the war.

 The player can also make his own minefield, either by having it as an objective to fulfill or as his own decision. Player laid minefields do disperse as time goes by. Enemy laid minefields can be detected and will then show on the map. The different countries took a dissimilar  approach to laying and removing mines. The British used specially built minelaying ships, while in other navies some of their other classes of ships could also lay mines. 

 The navies at the time had two main fears never realized in the war: that a retreating fleet would lure the attacker onto a minefield or into a waiting group of submarines. This never happened with submarines because of the infancy of the ships themselves and their communications. While mines at the time were the ultimate dumb bomb, it really would have been the height of folly to attempt to lure another fleet onto a newly placed minefield. The chance of mines floating free was a very real hazard, and more than a few ships were struck by their own side's loose mines.

  Your crew's training and ship maintenance cannot be overlooked. For many days of the war, ships (especially capital ships) were in their bases, and not at sea. You will see your crew's training level drop during the campaign due to rustiness. Your ships will also need to be refitted every twelves months. Letting your ships get close to or go over the one year mark increases the chance of mechanical failure. The game does come equipped with a 'Fleet Engineer' button. Clicking that will show you all ships that need refitting.

  Some ships will also be able to be upgraded during your time as admiral. This will show up in the turn events.

   The AI in this dwarf sized game is non-pareil. You will need all of your wits about you to even play the British side with all of their built in advantages. Things will seem slow and calm. The next minute it is full steam ahead. Then you realize that a few of your best ships are still in dry dock for maintenance. Shiver me timbers, the electronic Scheer has humbugged you.

 As far as other games like Steam and Iron, the games it brings to mind are Warship and Battlecruiser from thirty years ago, and The Great Naval Battles series from twenty years ago. This is not a knock on the game whatsoever . I spent hours playing those games, and will spend plenty more playing this one. 

 Once you have picked up this little gem, continue on in your naval adventures and pick up Steam and Iron The Russo-Japanese War, and see if you can outwit Togo.

Robert

Game: Steam and Iron with Campaign Expansion
Developer: Naval Warfare Simulations
Software Publisher: Naval Warfare Simulations
Review Date: 7/30/16

 

Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm AAR by Michael Capobianco    

Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm AAR Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm AAR

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm AAR by Michael Capobianco
 
 


AAR by J Petho

Campaign Series: Middle East AAR Campaign Series: Middle East AAR

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!

AAR by J Petho

PixelPLaybox.co.uk